OMG! My Blogger Recognition Award Nomination 

OMG! My Blogger Recognition Award Nomination 

I am so honored to have been nominated for this awesome award after a month of blogging.  Getting this award lets me know that people are enjoying what they are reading! Huge thanks to all my lovely readers; and I promise to continue posting what you will enjoy! Also, special thanks to Susan from Girlie Fix Blog for her nominations. I feel honored to have my blog nominated for this awesome blog! Feel free to click on the link to visit their blogs!

To begin, what is the ‘Blogger Recognition Award’?

The Blogger Recognition Award is an opportunity for bloggers to connect and recognize one another for their contributions. As part of the nomination, each nominee has to nominate some other bloggers for the award as well. I will know answer the two questions I asked to on this post!

  1. A brief story of how/why I started blogging.

I’ve been journaling for seventeen years now and have loved every second of it! I decided to add my Journal to a small corner of the Internet.  Once my life transitioned from full-time employee to full-time wife and mother, I felt a void in my world that I was eager to fill. I love expressing myself including the tears, failures, accomplishments, and passions.

  1. Two pieces of advice I would give to brand new bloggers.
    1. Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life
    2. Blogging provides freedom of expression, feel free to express yourself

I would love to also nominate these blogs as well:

The rules for accepting this award:

  1. You must thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. You must write a post to show your award and write about how your blog started.
  3. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  4. You must nominate 15 other bloggers for this award.
  5. Please, comment on the nominated blogs to let them know you nominated them and provide a link to your post.
  6. Congratulations to all Nominees! I forward to reading your post!

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Daddy’s Little Girl

Daddy’s Little Girl

Throughout my childhood, I remember having so much love for my father. I remember his special knock at the front door. I remember no matter what we’re doing, once my siblings and I heard that knock, we raced to the door to be the first one to get a hug.

When I was first, I would run to him and as he picked me up I would tightly wrap my legs and arms around him. My grip so tight he didn’t have to hold me up at all. He’d walked over to my mom and gave her a kiss while I was still holding on. Then he asked me about the day. I would give him a rundown of all the things mom had to yell at my siblings about.

I remember calling him Big Maurice when I reported the news and Daddy when I wanted something. He also noticed. One day, he told me, “It’s not fair, once I hear your sweet voice and look into your beautiful brown eyes, it’s impossible to say no.”  He looked at me and I remember his smile when he said,  “No matter how old you get, never stop calling me daddy.”

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I also remember the day when I refused to say daddy ever again. I was in the third grade and he was moving out. I was so mad at him that I wouldn’t say a word to him to entire week before he left us. My life was so different after that. I was in constant state of confusion and anger because my parents couldn’t work it out. No matter how much he gave me over the years, I refused to say, “Daddy”.

During my senior year in high school, I went to visit him. He pleaded for me to call him daddy and my voice cracked as I explained why I couldn’t do that. I tried to put into words the pain and abandonment I was feeling on a daily basis. My dad apologized for the pain he finally saw in my eyes and explained that no matter what I call him, I will always be his baby-girl.

Then he talked to me about his relationship with my mom. My mom is the love of his life, he said, and he will love her until he dies but he wasn’t good enough for her and she finally realized that. I admittedly objected. I remember the date nights; I remember him bringing her home her favorite food; I remember him dancing with her in the living room; I remember him cooking for her and all the good times in between. Our nearly four-hour conversation seems like a few minutes. I said “Talk to you later, Big Maurice”

Once I made it home, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I kept seeing my father tear up as he expressed his love for my mom. I was so confused but I was sure I never wanted to fall in love.

When I opened the door, the strongest woman I have ever met, my mom, was on the phone and without saying anything, she wrapped her arms around me. She gave me the phone and it was Big Maurice. I looked over at my beautiful mom as she made me a plate of dinner. She was truly happy as she sang along with the radio with a huge smile on her face.

Then it finally registered that my dad was saying goodnight to me. I know he said it at least three times already but once again he said: “good night MyChelle, I love you.” I utter without reservations, “Good night daddy, I love you too.” 

That summer I moved a few cities away to stay with my big sister and earn some college money. I would talk to my dad at least once a week. Those weekly calls gave me a chance to express my fears. With my mom, I put on a brave face but with my dad, it was unfiltered chaos. He always made me feel strong and capable. I remember during my second year of college, I took the 2-hour bus ride to his house and told him that I was done with college. I had experienced my first heart break and I didn’t want to go back. He listened to me cry and I feel asleep on his couch. He took me to breakfast the next morning and shared several stories about him and my mom. My daddy asked if I wanted him to take me to my mom house or back to school. I told him I wanted to go to school.

He was sick the weeks leading up to my graduation. He apologized because he wouldn’t be able to attend. I thought would be fine as long as mom was there. The day before graduation I went to visit him, while I was getting my hair and nails done. He was still in horrible shape and I told him I loved him. That night, my mom found out her ride wouldn’t be able to make it. She wanted me to know she was extremely sorry. She said she would ask my father, but I told her not to worry because I just saw the terrible condition he was in. She called me back an hour later and said my dad was bringing them up for my graduation.

I remember calling my dad and he said that my mom had a healing voice and it was too hard to say no to her. My graduation was one of the best days I had spent with my parents in years.  Over the next 11 years, our weekly calls became bi-weekly and eventually monthly. However, our relationship was still strong and our monthly calls would last hours.

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July of 2012 the monthly calls were now every other day. I went from living a few cities away to living several states away. We talked about everything, at least that’s what I believed. Late August, my sister informed me that my dad had lung cancer. I obviously didn’t believe her because he would’ve told me himself. I tried calling him and he didn’t answer. The next day, he called me and I remember saying “not just a summer cold?” His voice cracked as he said, “afraid not.” He told me he was home and doing better and he wanted to hear about me. We talked for a few hours and I said goodbye around 1:30am.

The next day I researched his cancer and I cried nonstop. I asked him to fight it because I really needed him more than ever. He promised he would and we talked over the next few days. After a day of radio silence from him, on September 13th of 2012, my sister called me at work. I remember my boss looking at me with sadness in his eyes as he passed me the phone.

After my sister told me he passed, I don’t recall anything but waking up in bed and my husband holding me. I cried uncontrollably for hours. I felt numb until Christmas. I knew this Christmas would be my first Christmas without him making fun of my love of this great holiday.  Although it has been five years since my father went home, this day is still hard for me. My journal is full of letters to him. I will always be daddy’s little girl.

What are your thoughts on grief? Does it get easier? Are you a daddy’s girl or a Momma’s boy? Do you have a daddy’s girl or a Mommy’s boy?

Until next time, shine amongst the stars.

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For Love or Money?

For Love or Money?

I have loved expressing myself through pen and paper since I was a pre-teen with a diary. During that time, my journaling was about my parents not understanding me and my countdown to adulthood (aka the dawn of my independence). Like most young girls, I spent a lot of time wondering why I didn’t magically blossom during the summer between middle and high school and seriously contemplating the maturity (or the lack thereof) level of high school boys.

During my college years, my journaling was about traveling, meeting new people, and missing home. Yes, after struggling to maintain a proper balance between school work and having fun, I just wanted my mom to tell me when I should be back in the dorms and to smell her cooking. I also expressed my frequent frustrations about how college “men” were just older high school boys so that left me to focus on my studies because the college boys just weren’t going to cut it.

After college, my journaling came to be about my career path, achievements, and a 10-year plan. From time to time, I’d find myself remarking on the blatant similarities between grown men and high school boys.

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I fell in love with a man 7 years my senior. After we said our vows, my journaling became about the growing pains of becoming one unit. Even now, from time to time I look at my husband and think to myself, “I married a much older high school boy, but he’s all mine.” One of my favorite things to do was write letters to my high school-self on how to enjoy every carefree second I had because adulthood is full of responsibilities.

When I became a mother my passion for journaling grew exponentially because my girls gave me so much material. I would literally journal nearly three times a day. I’d write letters to my girls on how excited I was to be their mother. I’d write about our daily adventures and how much they were growing. I had so much to say about the beauty of motherhood.

Fast forward a few years and my family is complete with a husband, a teenager, two pre-teens, and a dog named Zeus. I’ve realized that, whether I was aware or not, journaling is my therapy. It’s the time I spend reflecting on my life and my days as a mom and wife. The process of getting my hopes, thoughts, and experiences down on paper is an ingrained part of my life.

I replaced my pen with a keyboard. There’s a little less ‘art’ to it but it’s 2017 so what can you do? This is my fourth blog so I guess I’m officially a blogger (Yayyy applause)! Recently, I enjoy reading other blogs and sometimes I hit the keys and start expressing how they made me feel.  I commented on a makeup blog and the fellow blogger wrote me back expressing her gratitude for the heartfelt post (Awww). Then she asked if I would rewrite it and include the brand that she was reviewing and if possible, could I be more specific on what gift I would purchase for a friend. I was curious as to why she needed this info or if this was just blogging etiquette.

The author and I chatted for a bit more and then I discovered that reviewing products was her job. She did it to make money. She didn’t even like blogging, but as a single mom, it was a way to create a stay-at-home income. She did it for her son. I agreed to rewrite the post and mention the brand name, however, I couldn’t in good faith, say I would buy something that I truly wouldn’t.

For me, journaling/blogging is just me expressing myself in a small corner of the internet. If I made money, it would simply be a bonus. I know many people with jobs that they don’t like, but they have to make a living. What are your thoughts? Should blogging be for the money or for the love? Is there a fundamental difference between journaling and blogging? What would be your dream job?

Until next, shine amongst the stars!

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How I lost 70lbs and jump-started my weight loss journey

How I lost 70lbs and jump-started my weight loss journey

After many failed attempts at the latest diets and quick fixes. I decided to literally research myself. This was the best decision of my weight loss journey! You might be wondering, “How did I research myself?” I took the following steps listed below.

  1. I got a journal. I wanted to document everything I ate and how it made me feel.
  2. I started counting my calories so I would know how many calories I took in daily. I was able to do this by downloading the MyFitnessPal App.
  3. I tracked my daily activities. This way I would know what I did during a normal day. I added these activities into MyFitnessPal and tracked my steps in the Pacer App. I currently use these apps and you can find me by searching LavandaMichelle.
  4. I also wrote down my body measurements. I wanted to know if I didn’t do anything different, what changes my body would make in a month. I also purchased a scale to connect to my phone via Bluetooth.
  5. I created a motivational calendar to track my sleep schedule as well as my weekly weight.
  6. I also track my liquid intake.

 

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During that month I reflected on my lifestyle for the last 20 years. The following is what I learned after one month of self-research.

  1. I was active. During my college years, I walked everywhere. After college I spent hours walking and talking with my hubby or friends, I would also take my children to the park or activity centers daily. During the past few years, I’ve had a desk job that was completely demanding so once I made it home I’d be ready to eat and sleep – in that order. After a short nap, I’d be raiding the fridge and cabinets for snacks.
  2. I started eating later in the day. During college, I wouldn’t eat until 12 pm daily and I would have my last meal around 5 pm or 7 pm at the latest. Also once I was married with children, while my family was eating breakfast, I’d be getting ready for my day. My first meal would be around lunch time. I ate a standard diet with no pork or and little red meat. Nearly 70% of the food I ate would be considered live food/vegan. For the past years, I ate food from the time I woke up until I went to bed.
  3. I slept more. During college, my days started early. I had classes from 8 am – 2 pm. Therefore I was in bed by 10 pm and I was getting up around 7 am. Wow! I miss getting 9 hours nightly. After college, my day started even earlier. I was at work by 7 am and home by 4 or 5 pm. We ate dinner as a family around 6 pm and I was in bed by 9 pm and didn’t wake up until 5 am. For the last few years, I barely slept 6 hours.
  4. I consumed more water. During college, I would drink 3-4 32oz bottles of water. After college, I was drinking a least a gallon a day. These past years were filled with diet soda, fruit juice, and only 48oz of water.

 

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Considering all this, I changed my lifestyle to be more conscious of my daily eating habits and activity level.

  1. I became more active. I made sure I was moving my body from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. I made small changes to get more steps in. Example. I would step while brushing my teeth. I would park further away from my destination. I would make a trip through the store before I purchased my items.    For example, I would step while brushing my teeth.  I would park further away from my destination (unless it was dark out).   I would make a trip through the entire store before I made my purchase.
  1. I scheduled my eating between the hours of 10a-6pm. Therefore I would fast from 6 pm until 10 am which is 16 hours. A form of intermediate fasting called 16/8 split. This was certainly a life changer. It helped me realize that I was mainly eating because it was being offered to me or someone else was eating. I said Goodbye to late night scarfing! It also helped me consume fewer calories. This allowed me to get more sleep in and my body rested better instead of working to suggest food.
  2. I got more sleep. I would go to bed no earlier than 3 hours after my last meal and I slept for 7-8 hours.
  3. I consumed more water. I completely cut all sodas including diet. I also revamped my love of organic decaffeinated teas.

After 3 months of this lifestyle change, I had lost 70lbs. I currently weigh 165lbs and for the last 2 weeks, my weight hasn’t changed much. I seemed to have plateaued; therefore starting this month I am changing my routine a bit to include weight training. Thus far I only walked off the weight. I am not a doctor or weight loss guru, I am only sharing what worked for me.

Until next,  shine amongst the stars!

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My Largest Weight Ever!!!

My Largest Weight Ever!!!

 

I enjoy cooking food and I enjoy eating. However, dieting? Not so much. Although I have always been a mostly healthy eater, I’m not one to avoid a late night bowl of ice cream. But indulging a little too much, and a little too often resulted in a slow gain of 100lbs pounds by my late-30s.

When I was younger, I managed to maintain my weight of 105 pounds by being active. During college a car wasn’t in the budget and the bus rides were always packed, therefore I walked everywhere. After college, I was very active over the years with my three daughters and I was able to appreciate and maintain my weight of 135. The weight came when I moved south and started a desk job. With that came long hours, fast food lunches, and plenty late night snacks.  It seemed like overnight my weight climbed to 235 pounds, which was too much for my 5-foot-2-inch frame.

Tim and MeOne day my husband pulled me aside for a picture. We haven’t taken a picture together in years. Looking at the physical proof, I was embarrassed by how much weight I had gained. I asked him not to post it online. I went home and rushed to the scale to see that I had gained 100lbs.  I started looking through the pictures on our phones and I wasn’t flattered by what I saw. I was so disgusted that I deleted most of them.

The next day a got a gym membership, which I thought I needed to take control of my weight. I started exercising at the gym most mornings. Even though I was burning plenty of calories through exercise, I wasn’t losing any weight. I found my eating habits were preventing me. While on the other hand, the busy season at work was quickly approaching.

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My girlfriend suggested I do the liquid diet since I wouldn’t have time to work out. This diet included drinking spicy lemonade and water only, a laxative tea at night, and salt water flush in the morning. THAT took a lot of willpower! So after 21 days, I lost 25 lbs. However, once I returned to my way of eating, I gained 20 back within a month.

Feeling defeated with two months remaining in the busy season, I had to face the fact that what I was putting into my mouth had to change. I researched the low-carb diets. After looking at the meal plans, I felt it work perfectly for my current lifestyle. After the busy season, I was happy, I was down 30 pounds with no exercising.  

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Welcome the holiday season! By New Year’s Eve, I was at my largest weight ever – 238 pounds. I did more research on the most popular diets. I read the good and bad stories. I realized all diet and fads are not a one-size-fits-all answer. Therefore, I decided to research me. What I learned about myself has changed my life. I can’t wait to share it with you in the next blog. In the meantime, if you tried a diet and had success or failure, I’d love to read about it in the comment section below. 

Until next, shine amongst the stars!

 

 

Hello You!

Hello You!

I’ve been journaling for seventeen years now and have loved every second of it! I decided to add my Journal to a small corner of the Internet.  Once my life transitioned from full-time employee to full-time wife and mother, I felt a void in my world that I was eager to fill. My life became more than what I was expected to do as an employee and scheduling my life around that; To scheduling my work around my husband and daughters, Daddy’s Little Girls.

The times we have shared, both good and bad has been a testament to my life.  I have looked to my journal over the years to help friends, family, and even myself. I realized that being transparent and discussing so many different aspects of my life has helped me form a bond with friends and family that goes beyond small talk.

With the support of my husband, family, and friends, I decided to take the plunge and pursue this industry full-time.  I truly feel like my journey can help and entertain more than just my family and friends and therefore I am sharing it with the world.

Until next, shine amongst the stars!

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