Sunday, October 29, 2017

Poe Party

I'd been missing the early days of our homeschooling years, when my children were "little," and school was fun. I longed for the excitement of activities we all looked forward to doing and the memory-making times of the past. Well, thankfully, I discovered that homeschooling high school can also be fun! I want to give a huge thank you and a shoutout to fellow homeschool high school blogger, Nerdy Little Birdie, for inspiring me. She shared a wonderful idea for a poetry party, and it sparked a fire in me. So, I took that desire and combined it with my love for Edgar Allan Poe. We studied his life and poetry throughout the month of October, and then we culminated our studies by having a Poe Party. Here are some of the highlights I'd like to share with you.

I printed out quotes, framed them, and placed them in various places in the dining room. I purchased the candleholders and raven on the pumpkin decor from Target.

We decorated coffee mugs with black Sharpies and then baked them in the oven to set the designs. Here you see the famous 'Nevermore' quote from Poe's well-known poem "The Raven."

And here, obviously, is a raven.

Another raven.


The 11th grader painted this to represent the last stanza of Poe's poem "Annabel Lee."

The 9th grader sketched this and then colored only the couple to convey artistically the meaning of the second stanza of "Annabel Lee."

We had a delicious apple crisp dessert while we took turns reading and discussing quotes of Poe's.

We wore these "masques" so we could be like the revelers in "The Masque of the Red Death." Well, not EXACTLY like them. We're still alive, thankfully!

We had a simple dinner: veggie nuggets, vegetables & ranch, & wine-for those 21 and over only!

More decor on the piano.

Vegetables and ranch for the party.

Cheese & crackers for an appetizer.

Tabletop decor - all purchased at Target.

More decor, printed by me or purchased at Target.

Finally, a coffee mug with the first stanza of "The Raven" printed on it.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Bitter Truth

Most of us eventually reach a certain place that will never allow us to go back to the place we used to be. We know too much. Our eyes have seen far too many things. Our hearts have been asked to bear more pain than any one human should have to stand. The answers we thought we had suddenly blow up in our faces, leaving us wounded and gasping for air. We look for new answers, but can find none that satisfy.

It's as if a hole has been ripped through our chests. The sorrow is tangible; we feel it in every painful breath we draw and every morning when we open our eyes. We long for our younger days - the days when we thought we knew the answers and could wrap difficult concepts up in neat little packages. But we got older, and the hard things got harder. There is no explanation now. We don't have one. Nobody has one. We're forced into this enigma of pain and cynicism, and there is no escape.

We are locked in this world where so many things don't make sense. This is hard for me to accept, and the older I get, the harder I gets. I can't imagine that it will ever get better. This is where I am now, and I can never go back.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Legacy of Love and Faith

This year I've had to bid farewell to the last of my grandparents - my father's mother and father. While I'm sad to see them go, I know that I will one day see them again in my eternal home in Heaven, where they are already rejoicing together. This knowledge brings me both peace and joy.

My grandparents celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary just a few months before my grandfather passed away this past March. How amazing is that? 75 years of love and faithfulness, which included three children, my grandfather's service in World War II, the path to my grandfather's recovery after his stroke, and the countless misadventures that my granddaddy always managed to have. He was stubborn and quite a handful, but my grandmother loved him deeply, just as he loved her. 

Once my grandfather was gone, my grandmother was lost without him. He was truly the light of her life and her best friend. She thrived on the act of taking care of him. It was how she showed love. She served, whether it be through her delicious cooking or through her prayers for her family. She was a strong woman; saying goodbye to her this week was hard, yet we smile at the precious memories that will sustain us as the years go by.

They leave me with big shoes to fill. A marriage like theirs doesn't come along every day. It doesn't just happen. It takes work. It requires endurance. It needs faith. It calls for sacrifice. My grandparents are examples of all of that. Their faith is a testimony to the love and goodness of God. Throughout their lives - in times of joy and sorrow - they clung faithfully to the Father. I am inspired to walk in faith as they did. My grandfather said many things while he was alive, but two things that I will always remember and strive to live in light of are the following:

"If you want to know how much God has blessed me, just go outside and look at the stars at night. That's how many blessings God has given me."

"I know the reason that I made it back safely from the war. It's because Lucille [my grandmother] was on her knees every day praying for me."

This is their legacy. I have been blessed.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Beauty Giveaway Winner: Five Fun Fridays Series

Congratulations to Lorna! She is the randomly selected winner of the beauty giveaway. I really enjoyed this blogging series. Be on the lookout for another series soon! Happy weekend to all!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Five Fun Fridays: Week Five (My Secrets)

It's hard to believe we've reached the final Friday of this series, yet here we are! I hope you've had as much fun as I have. This week I promised to dish out some of my secrets. So, without further hesitation, here we go.

1 What time did you get up this morning? I woke up around 7:30 this morning.
2. What is your favorite wine? White - Pinot Grigio; Red - Cabernet Sauvignon
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Guardians of the Galaxy 2
4. What is your favorite TV show? The Walking Dead, The Office, Forensic Files, Once Upon A Time, Impractical Jokers
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Washington State
6. What did you have for breakfast today? Smoothie (ketogenic and vegan)
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Mexican
8. What foods do you dislike? Beets
9. Favorite Place to Eat? Local favorites, not the standard chain restaurants
10. Favorite salad dressing? Homemade dairy free ranch
11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? Dodge Caravan (And, yes, I rock that minivan!)
12. What are your favorite clothes? Yoga pants
13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Ireland
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 empty
15. Where would you want to retire? Washington State
16. Favorite time of day? Mid-morning
17. Where were you born? Jackson, MS
18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Football.
22. Bird watcher? Yes. Watching birds is peaceful and calming for me.
23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Neither. I don't like waking up too early, and I don't enjoy staying up too late. I like mid-mornings, so I suppose you could call me a mid-morning person.
24. Do you have any pets? Yes, one dog.
25. Do you have any children? Yes, four.
26. What did you want to be when you were little? A singer. (Sadly, my voice had other plans.)
27. What is your best childhood memory? Playing with my younger sister, Christmas, church
28. Are you a cat or dog person? Dog, but cats are cool, too.
29. Are you married? Yes. This December will make 20 years. ❤️
30. Always wear your seat belt? Yes.
31. Secret talent? Yes. I can recite the alphabet backwards.
32. Any pet peeves? Arrogance, racism, sexism, basically people who think they're better than other people, unsolicited advice, platitudes
33. Favorite Pizza Topping? spinach, mushrooms, black olives
34. Favorite Flower? Roses, because I always hope to get some on Valentine's Day.
35. Favorite song? "Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen
36. Favorite movie? Grease
37. Celebrity Crush? Jason Momoa, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Henry Cavill, Adam Levine
38. From whom did you get your last email? Etsy
39. Which store would you choose to max out your card? Ulta
40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Yes, every day. I'm keeping some secrets, though, so I'm not answering this one any further.
41. Like your job? Usually.
42. Broccoli? Yes, especially sauteed in coconut oil and seasoned with garlic, pink sea salt, and pepper.
43. What was your favorite vacation? Hawaii
44. Last person you went out to dinner with? My family.
45. What are you listening to right now? The Twilight Movie Soundtrack
46. What is your favorite color? Green
47. How many tattoos do you have? Five
48. How many piercings? Three: both ears, daith
49. Favorite book? To Kill A Mockingbird
50. Coffee drinker? Decaf

So, there you have it! Those are some of my hidden secrets. Is there anything else you'd like to know? Just ask in the comments. I'd also love to see your answers to these questions. Let me know if you decide to do a "Top Secret" post on your blog. Now, on to the final week of the giveaway. It will end one week from today - on Friday, August 4. Want to see what's included in this giveaway? Head on over to the other posts in this series and check out all the wonderful items that are included. For your chance to win, do one or any combination of the following:

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Five Fun Fridays: Week Three (Fashion)

I hope you're as excited as I am about Week Three in this series. This week, I'll be blogging about my fashion and style sense. If you missed the first two weeks of the series, you can read about my makeup and skincare routine here and my hair (care, cut, color, style, products, etc.) here. You'll also get a glimpse in those posts of some of the incredible items that I'll be giving away at the end of this series. Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win! Now, on to one of my favorite subjects: clothes! In the above picture, I'm wearing a black shirt, a printed maxi skirt, and black flats. I completed the look with a denim jacket. This is nice enough for church, yet also casual enough for a day spent shopping.

As you can tell, I like skirts. This one is shorter, so I wear it on date nights or when going out with friends. I pair it with a colorful shirt and comfy flip-flops, which are a must when the temperature and the humidity start rising during summers on the Gulf Coast.

I wanted to give you guys an up-close photo of these super-cute shoes. I found them at that large, well-known chain store that has pretty much taken over the world. I fell in love with these shoes the minute I laid eyes on them! I already had this shirt, so this was a match made in heaven. Yes, when I'm feeling a bit wild and daring, I like to wear my animal prints. I pair this shirt with black shorts (as seen in this picture) or black leggings.

If you haven't already figured out this little piece of information, I am, indeed, a "Free Spirit," just as this shirt reads. I pair this shirt with white shorts and gray and white tennis shoes. I usually wear outfits like this if I'm headed to a casual lunch or coffee date with a friend. (And, yes, I am AWARE of how white my legs are. I'm redheaded, and I'm fair-skinned. Guess what? I like it that way.)

We were headed to my husband's grandfather's birthday party when we took this picture. "Paw Paw" celebrated his 89th birthday this year! Wow, what a blessing! I chose to wear a white tunic and printed leggings of varying shades of blue. Again, my footwear is a pair of flip-flops, this time in white. For parties, I often choose a flowy tunic or dress and a pair of leggings.

This is the outfit I wore to my therapy session this past week. I also did some shopping after my appointment was done. I chose something that is both cute and comfortable: a short-sleeved black shirt with a red spaghetti-strap shirt over it, black leggings, the beloved flip-flops, and a favorite bracelet in black and silver.

I suppose my summer look is feminine and comfy, with a bit of casual thrown in there, too. I plan to do another Fashion Post in the autumn/winter. My look is a little different when the weather is cooler. Meanwhile, I'd love to hear about your favorite styles. Post a comment and let me know what kinds of clothes you like. Are you more dressy? Casual? Somewhere in between? Also, don't forget; the more you post and share, the greater your chance of winning the giveaway. For a list of some of the items featured in the giveaway, see Weeks One and Two of this series. Ready to enter? Just follow these instructions:

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Five Fun Fridays: Week Two (Hair)

Thank you to all who joined me for Week One! If you missed that post in which I discussed my makeup and skincare routine, you can catch up here. Okay, so, this week I'm talking (or I guess I should say writing) about hair. Let me start by directing you to a tutorial that I wrote recently. Here I give details about how I style and care for my pixie, and I also discuss which products I use. Go there first; then come back here.

Now that you're back, we'll get into some more details. As I'm getting older, I am starting to deal with some white hairs appearing every now and then. Say what?!?! Well, I'm not quite ready for that to happen, so I'm dealing with it by coloring my hair. I do it myself. I use a variety of brands, but my favorites are Madison ReedL'Oreal Superior Preference, and this, which is included in the giveaway! So, yes, if  you win, you get a chance to try out being an auburn-haired beauty. FIRST, though, you MUST be sure to perform the allergy test! That's very important. The directions are included in the box. Read everything COMPLETELY AND CAREFULLY, and then follow ALL instructions exactly as written.

Now, moving on. In addition to the shampoo & conditioner that I mentioned in my tutorial -which, by the way, are included in the giveaway- I also use a color-depositing shampoo & conditioner set sometimes as well. I like this brand. My red hair stays vibrant longer with these products, so I don't have to color as often, which is nice. That takes care of color, so let's go on to my cut & style.

You may suffer from the delusion that a pixie cut is boring. Well, let me put that misconception to rest. There are so many different ways to wear a pixie cut. You can find some inspiration here, or you can just keep reading to see some of the different things that I do with my pixie.

The three above pictures feature my pixie in a slightly messy style.

The two above pictures feature my pixie in a wavy, wild style.

Sometimes I accessorize with a hat.

Beaded black headbands are fun.

A flower adds a pretty, feminine touch.

Lacy headbands are delicate and flirty, and there are two in the giveaway set!!! 

As I mentioned in the tutorial, I use some volumizing products for my hair, and a travel-sized mousse and volumizing foam from Nexxus is included as part of the giveaway! It's just one of many truly awesome products that I am giving away. You don't want to miss a minute of this series! Come back next Friday to read about my preferences in fashion and my style and to increase your chances of winning the giveaway. The more you comment and share, the greater your chances are of winning! In order to win, you can do any one or combination of the following:

Comment on this blog post  =  One entry
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Friday, June 30, 2017

Five Fun Fridays: Week One (Makeup & Skincare)

Here we go! These are the items that will be given away at the end of the series, which runs today through Friday, July 28. Included are skincare, makeup & hair products, as well as some fun "extras." You'll get more details on each item throughout the series. Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win!

Okay, so this week I'm talking about skincare and makeup. Let me start by first saying that I drink plenty of water and also eat a ketogenic diet. (I'll be discussing this in further detail in the last post of this series.) Healthy skin starts on the inside, so that's my first recommendation. Next, I make sure to wash my face twice a day. No one needs to go to bed without washing off makeup! That's an unbreakable rule. Also, because I have oily skin, I also wash my face every morning prior to applying my makeup. Now, what do I use to wash my face? Well, it's not some expensive, high-end product. It's Noxzema Classic Clean! Yes, that's my secret. Also, as a redhead with sensitive skin, I have to be careful with the products that I use, and this one is tried and true. It's all I've ever used and all I ever plan to use. And, guess what? It's included in the giveaway set! But, if you're super tired at night and just don't have the energy to use a cleanser, bath cloth, and water, then, you're in luck! Also included in the giveaway is a travel-size set of makeup remover towelettes. Now, you may really be surprised to find out how I remove my eye makeup. I have to use a gentle product because my eyes are very sensitive. My eyes themselves are prone to burning and redness, and my eyelids can get itchy and peel if I use anything too harsh. My go-to product? Johnson's Baby Shampoo! It works like a charm. It even removes waterproof makeup and causes no irritation. And, it's included in the giveaway set so you can see for yourself how beautifully it performs as an eye makeup remover. Okay, so back to skincare.
Another thing that I do to take care of my skin is to exfoliate twice a week. It's important to get rid of all those dull surface cells in order to make room for radiant new ones. I use Equate Refreshing Apricot Scrub, which is also included in the giveaway items! I also make sure to keep the skin on my body hydrated by applying lotion at least once a day. I really like scented lotions, but sometimes they can irritate sensitive skin; therefore, in the giveaway set I've included a travel size of Eucerin Daily Moisturizing Creme.

Now, I'll move on to three makeup looks that I alternate through depending on my mood or outfit of choice. The face stays the same, but the eyes and lip colors change. I'll start here by telling you what I put on my face:
  1. I start with a primer.
  2. Then, I apply foundation. I use Neutrogena Skin Clearing Foundation in Classic Ivory. I like the skin-clearing formula because my oily skin is prone to breakouts sometimes; however, if you have extremely sensitive skin, you should choose another formula. I'm quite fair-skinned, so classic ivory is the color that best matches my skin tone.
  3. Next, I apply concealer and highlighter. I use e.l.f. Under Eye Concealer & Highlighter in Light/Glow. Again, for my light complexion, this is the combination that works. If you're not sure how to use this product, here's a great tutorial.
  4. Afterward, I finish up with loose powder, which is better than pressed for me due to my oily skin. I use Almay Smart Shade; I use Light (Pale) 100 because it matches my skin color.
  5. Finally, I apply blush. I like e.l.f. Baked Blush in Rich Rose.
Now that my face is done, I'm ready to move on to eyes and lips. I will list the products and colors I use for each look beneath the individual pictures.

Look One: For my eyes here, I used lavender shadow from this set, which came in the June How to be a Redhead Subscription Box. My eyeliner is Almay Intense-i-Color Liquid Eye Liner in Purple Amethyst. The mascara I've been using is a sample that I got at Ulta for my birthday. It's this, and I plan to purchase a full-size bottle when it becomes available. It is phenomenal! It lengthens and darkens my lashes perfectly without any clumping at all. It is the mascara that I'm seen wearing in all the pictures in this post. Okay, moving on to lips. The cardinal rule of lips is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I make sure to keep lip balm handy at all times. I like Sun Bum CoconutMaybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm, and Burt's Bees. And guess what? A tube of Burt's Bees Lip Balm is included in the giveaway! Now, on to my lips for this look. Yes, they're pink! You might have heard the rule that redheads shouldn't wear pink lipstick, but I simply don't believe that it's true. And, hey, even if it is, I've been known to say a time or two that I believe rules are made to be broken anyway! So it's quite fitting that the pink lipstick I'm wearing is "Disobedient" by Urban Decay. Also, I'll interject here that it's important to take care of your teeth, too. Then, when you smile with those gorgeous lips, those teeth will look great as well. I use Colgate Optic White Toothpaste, and a trial size is included in the giveaway for the lucky winner!

Look Two: For my eyes, I used Almay Everyday Neutrals eyeshadow. My eyeliner is Almay liquid liner in black. For my lips, I used Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Amulet.

Look Three: My eyes are done with Almay Party Brights for Blue Eyes shadow and Almay Liquid Liner in Brown Topaz, which are both included in the giveaway! On my lips I'm wearing EZ from Urban Decay Vice.

To finish out the look, we have my toenails. I like vibrant blues, teals, and turquoises. Here I'm wearing Blue Me Away by Sally Hansen. You get to try out Wet n Wild's Be More Pacific if you win the giveaway!

There you have it. That completes my makeup look, from head to toe(nails.) Next Friday, tune in to find out about my hair: how I care for it, style it, keep my red looking vibrant, do different styles with a pixie, what products I use, and more. Also, there are lots more items included in the giveaway set, and next week I'll be telling you about the hair products that are included. You don't want to miss it! And, speaking of that giveaway, here's how YOU can *win:

Leave a comment on this blog post = One entry
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*You can try for one, two, three, or all entry types. The options will be the same each week, and you may also do this each Friday. Good luck!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Upcoming Blog Series: Five Fun Fridays

Lest you all think that I am always serious or never have any fun, allow me to introduce a new blog series: Five Fun Fridays. It will begin one week from today, on Friday, June 30, and it will end on Friday, July 28. On each of those Fridays, I will blog about something fun in my life. The categories are as follows:

  1. Week One - My makeup: what I use, tips for redheads with pale skin, etc.
  2. Week Two - My hair: how I keep my red hair vibrant, how I style my pixie, my hair inspirations, and more.
  3. Week Three - My fashion style: brands and stores that I like, colors that pair well with red hair, and how I dress to fit my body type.
  4. Week Four - My hobbies: What I like to do in my free time, which, yes, I actually do have on occasion.
  5. Week Five - Little known secret facts about me: This is where I'll dish all (well, maybe NOT all) of the dirt on myself. 
Now, that's not all that's in store. There's something fun for all of you, too! At the end of the series, I'll be giving away some of my favorite things that you'll be reading about each week. Look for details each Friday to see how you can increase your chances of winning. I look forward to the fun! 

Thursday, June 22, 2017


A snapshot. A brief moment. Captured and held forever in print or in digital form. Etched into our memories, where we can remain young, happy, innocent, naive - the way we were before...
Before the diagnosis came.
Before the death of our closest loved one tore our world apart.
Before the loss of the job.
Before we heard the words, "I don't love you anymore."
Before the night we repeatedly said no, but he didn't listen and did it anyway.
Before the darkness came and tried to rip the very life right out of us.

We are told that youth is fleeting, and while that is certainly true, innocence is even more so. I look back at my life and my heart breaks for the innocence that was taken from me, piece by piece, time and time again. As I watch people I love face tragedies, as well as strangers I see on the news, I am overwhelmed by their stories and grieve for the innocence that is lost every day. When I see pictures of them prior to the horrific events, their unknowing, smiling faces, oblivious to what's coming, I feel contrasting emotions. I feel even more saddened in some ways because they have no idea what is ahead, but on the other hand, I am glad that they are, at least for that moment, holding on to that one last piece of innocence.

I look at this picture of me and my youngest child. It was taken in December 2011. Yes, we're both smiling, but this picture makes me sad. It reminds me of what I've lost. This is my tangible, slap-in-the-face from reality; it's a reminder that I can never go back to the way it was. This picture was taken during my "ignorance is bliss" season. My daughter was happy. She was making progress and meeting milestones, a bit slower than normal, but she was meeting them. Two months later, things would change drastically. She would begin self-harming, regressing, and crying almost non-stop. We, of course, took her to several doctors; we finally ended up at the neurologist's office, where we received the diagnosis. And, just like that, our world changed.

Looking back, a part of me is glad that I didn't know what was to come; yet, there is another part that wishes that I could have known. Maybe I would have been able to appreciate those "snapshot" moments more. Or maybe I would never have been able to enjoy the happy times because I would have dreaded what was to come. That I will never know, of course, because we can never know what lies ahead; we can only learn from yesterday and live in today.

While life is certainly more difficult now, and I struggle each day, I know that our daughter was placed on this earth and in our home for a reason. I still don't know what purposes may come to be for her eventually, as she is only nine years old and still has so much potential, but as for now, she is already teaching me about compassion, unconditional love, and...innocence. Yes, this precious little one will live in a state of perpetual innocence. Her significant mental insufficiency makes that so. She will never understand that she is different from her siblings, or that her mom has depression, or that another act of terrorism has been committed. She will never have to worry about paying bills, or meeting deadlines at work, or even driving a car. She is a living "snapshot" of innocence, and I am learning to see each moment through her eyes.

So, slow down. Stop for a minute. Take that moment you're given and allow it to speak to you. Learn something from everything that happens to you. Be grateful for what you have today; you don't know what tomorrow may hold. But, no matter what happens, you must be strong enough to allow the events of your life to shape you into who you were created to be.




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dad Bod

So, I don't know if you've heard of this new trend or not, but it's called the "dad bod." Don't know what it is? Allow me to enlighten you, with a little help from Google: A dad bod is the physique of a male that is relatively slim but not lean or toned. Need more help in order to understand? Urban Dictionary explains it as this: A male body type that is "softly round." It's based on the idea that once a man has gotten married and had a child, then he really should no longer concern himself with keeping a nice physique. And get this. Women actually find these dad bods attractive -as in, some women would rather date a guy with a dad bod than a guy with a nicely chiseled physique. And don't start typing ALL CAPS to me about how you have to go beneath the surface and look at what's on the inside; I know that, and that's not what this post is about. I'm talking women choosing dad bods for no other reason than the simple fact that they're dad bods. Personalities are not a factor. I just don't get it.

So, a dad no longer has to concern himself with his weight or his physique after his children are born? Am I understanding this correctly? Let's see now, hmmm, exactly HOW many months did HE carry that baby inside his womb? So he has exactly how many reasons to put on baby weight? According to my calculations, it is exactly zero. Yes, that's right. Zero months and zero reasons. And a womb? He doesn't even have one. I don't think dads should have any excuses to just let themselves go once the baby is born.They should still be able to make healthy food choices and find time to exercise. I mean, it's not like they're nursing the baby or anything.

Also, why isn't the "mom bod" trending? Why aren't men claiming to prefer a rounder version of females? For goodness' sakes, women are the ones actually giving birth to the babies! Women are the ones housing an entire other being within their bodies for nine months, so one might expect these women to carry around some extra weight not only during but after pregnancy as well. Why aren't women allowed to be a little - or even more than a little - overweight without someone being critical or even downright hateful? And this goes for all women, those who are currently or have recently been or have NEVER been pregnant. Why, how many times have we heard things like, "She's had over a year to lose that baby weight," or, "Are you sure you're not carrying twins?" Then, of course, there's the classic, "She'd be so pretty if she would just lose some of that weight."

If you think I was harsh on men in the second paragraph, some of it was tongue-in-cheek. Most of it, however, was based on expectations that society places on women. The pressure that we feel to be thinner or more beautiful is crushing to our self-esteem at times. It's enough to bring on eating disorders, depression, and self-harm issues in many females. Even young girls feel that they are worthless if they don't see themselves as beautiful. 

I know that obesity is unhealthy. I eat right and exercise, and I encourage others to do the same. So I also don't need any irate people writing to tell me about that, either. But eating right and exercising should be about HEALTH, and it should be for BOTH men and women. It shouldn't be something that's forced down women's throats so that we feel we have to meet some unattainable standard of beauty, while at the same time men get a pass to eat however they choose and do very little exercise because it's a trend and because no one really puts pressure on men to look a certain way. There's a double standard in our society, and I am sick of it.

Men are allowed to age gracefully. When a man begins to get a little gray hair around his temples or in his beard, people call it sexy or distinguished. A woman's grey hair will get her called old. Confession: I get a few white hairs from time to time, and I immediately rush right in and color over them. I'm not ready to let them show. I don't really mind getting older, but I do mind people thinking that I'm "old." It's just not that cool to be an old woman. I don't care what that song says about older women being beautiful lovers; one look at Ulta or Sephora and you know that women are paying big bucks to look young. Yes, I know that dying your hair grey is a trend. But that's for young people. It's not the same as actually going gray, and everybody knows it.

So, yeah, this whole dad bod trend has ticked me off. At first, I thought it was funny, but then I contemplated it a little longer. That's when I realized how it truly brings to light how unfairly women are treated in regards to beauty standards. Why is it trendy for men to be out of shape? As I thought about it more and more, I got angry. Not taking care of your body should never be a trend, but if it is, then why isn't a trend for both sexes?

Finally, I do not expect my spouse to have washboard abs, nor does he expect me to look like a supermodel. I'm not saying that in this post. I'm also not saying that we should spend excessive amounts of time in the gym, away from our families, in order to attain the perfect body. I'm saying that both dads and moms should take care of their bodies. I'm saying that women should be treated with respect and admired for their beauty regardless of their weight or body type. I'm saying that I want my daughters to grow up in a world where it's okay not to look like Scarlett Johansson, and, also, sweetheart, your husband probably won't look like Jason Momoa, either. And that's okay.

Self-Care That's Not So Fun

As promised in my previous post, I am now going to talk about self-care that's not so much fun. This kind of self-care involves thin...