Invisible

Is there anything that hurts like being invisible? I’m beginning to wonder…

Invisibility sounds like a cool super power. You can sneak around without anyone noticing. You can eavesdrop. You can scare people. It all sounds like buckets of fun. Unfortunately, the invisibility I have is not a super power.

I understand people get caught up in their own lives. We all have our own issues. We are all fighting a battle, some public and some private. We all struggle. We expect people to be there for us and listen to us, but do we do that for others?

I have always been somewhat of push over. My needs come last. My focus is always on others’ issues and how to solve them. I trust easily. I forgive easily. I genuinely enjoy helping others and being a friend, but I feel like I get that in return from very few.

This last year I have often fallen into my rut, my dark place. Struggling to map out my career goals, unable to decide what I want to do, trying to grow my family, trying to lose weight, and ultimately feeling like a failure. Some days all I want is sleep, some days sleep isn’t possible. Most days all I want is for some of the people I love most to realize I’m struggling, and care.

I have people in my life who are there for me and beyond, but the people I need it from the most simply aren’t there. The people I’ve done the most for. The people I’ve put first. The people I go to bed worrying about. Where are they on days I can’t get out of bed? Where are they when I get bad news? Where are they when I need to vent or cry?

No matter how much some of my family has hurt me, I can’t just cut them out. They can continue not to call. They can continue to drop me lower and lower on their list of priorities. They can make a million excuses. They can paint me as the bad guy. I still can’t bring myself to treat them how they treat me. Instead I try to talk to them.

I say to them: Yes, I’ve told you how I feel before. I don’t need you to rescue me. I don’t need anything from you. I just don’t want to feel invisible. You use the excuse that I’m fine, stable- you don’t need to worry about me, but I’m not always fine. You don’t understand that all I want from you is love. Call me. Invite me to things. Include me. Let me know you care.

I’m not asking for much, I just don’t want to feel invisible.

I don’t know what will make me reappear, but I will keep you all updated.

Stay tuned.

He Doesn’t Give me Butterflies

My husband and I have been together for three years (married for almost two). We have been through a lot in that short amount of time; we often joke that it feels more like it’s been ten years.
Normally when people say things like that it’s a bad thing, but in our case I don’t think so at all. We always talk about how hard it is to remember life without each other. It’s hard to believe there were moments in my life when he wasn’t apart of it. From the beginning we had this, “I feel like I’ve always known you” thing going for us.

We have grown a lot in three years and we’ve grown together. Our relationship has been beautiful. We have learned a lot and gone through so many changes together. We went through nine months of beyond stressful wedding planning and hiccups. We dealt with people judging how fast our relationship was moving. We’ve both changed jobs, went to school, bought cars and for the past year and a half we have been struggling with infertility. It has been a wild ride and overall it has been a good one.

I am completely head over heels in love with my husband, but he doesn’t give me butterflies.

Everyone seems to think love is butterflies in your stomach. Electricity. Never being able to predict what the person will do next. Grand gestures, flowers and lavish gifts. I’m not saying those things aren’t great but I can tell you what’s better.

If I’m at a party by myself and feeling on edge, my husband walks in and a wave of relief washes over me. I am instantly more comfortable and less afraid. He looks in my eyes and I don’t feel butterflies, I feel safe.

If I’m having a bad day; one of those days that spiral from bad to awful to worse, I need him. When I’m fighting back tears and holding it together all day, I get home to him and I can fall apart in his arms. He wipes my tears away. I don’t feel electricity, I feel calm.

When I have something funny to tell him or good news, I almost always know how he’ll react. We can guess each other’s thoughts, we have picked up on each other’s habits. I don’t feel like I don’t know what’s coming next, I feel content.

When life gets crazy and gets in the way, he buys me ice cream. I don’t get roses anymore and lavish gifts only come around at Christmas, but I get so much more. Letting me sleep in, rubbing my neck when I have a migraine, and holding my bag while I shop. I don’t feel spoiled with grand gestures, I feel taken care of.

His eyes melt my fears and his arms save me from my anxieties. I can be the raw, unfiltered version of myself with him that not everyone knows. The parade of dysfunction that swirls around my life, the stress that keeps me up at night, it all used to consume me. Now I have this strong man, willing to do anything to protect, comfort, or help me.

No, we don’t have the same spark we did on our first date. He doesn’t blush as much. I don’t spend three hours getting ready before he can look at me. We don’t write as many love notes as we once did. We don’t plan elaborate dates. We aren’t as spontaneous. “The honeymoon” is over, but it’s okay.

My husband doesn’t give me butterflies anymore, but he gives me so much more. He gives me a future I can’t wait for. He gives me security and safety. Contentment and calm. He gives me love bigger and better than any butterflies I’ve ever had.

I Can’t Live Without These 9 Beauty Products

I know usually when you click on a Jess-Because link you expect something deep, raw and emotional. Well to be quite honest, I need a break from drama and craziness. Believe it or not, makeup is my escape these days. I can stand in front of a mirror, hide my flaws and highlight my best features. It’s almost therapeutic and totally qualifies as self care in my book. Makeup to me is about so much more than “looking better”, it’s about the confidence it gives me that makes me feel better.

Before you read on know this: I’m no beauty blogger and don’t intend to be, I just love makeup, great deals and sharing my secrets.

Here are the beauty products I cannot live without and you can probably afford every single one!

1. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer


Some days this stuff is the only thing holding me together. I have never found a concealer that matched my skin tone so well. It gives enough coverage without being too heavy. I wear it alone on days I’m just watching the kids and need a little coverage. With the right setting powder it covers blemishes and even my ghastly dark circles.
The best part about this concealer? The price! You can pick it up at any drugstore for under $10 or subscribe and save 5% on Amazon.

2. Ulta Double Duty Wet/Dry Pressed Powder Foundation

I bought this on a whim during an Ulta brand buy two, get two sale. I wanted something I could put on when I needed a light coverage or didn’t feel like fussing with my liquid foundation. Instead I found the best powder foundation I’ve ever used. The shade “Fair” matches me so well you can hardly tell I’m wearing anything. The coverage is easily buildable. When I take the time to get glam I use it on top of my liquid foundation and concealer and it gives the illusion of flawless, smooth skin. I just beat it in with a flat top foundation brush, after applying liquid foundation, then blend with a kabuki brush. (Both found in this set that could also be on this list)

3. Covergirl Outlast All Day Lip Color Duo

I am a lipstick junkie. I’m embarrassed to even say how many tubes of lipstick I have. I have some high end lipsticks, a lipstick from about every bargain brand, tons of different formulas, tons of dupes and steals, and I always fallback on my trusty Covergirl. My grandma actually turned me on to it and it’s like the best kept secret in the drugstore beauty world. Seriously! It never shows up on lists of best drugstore makeup. I never see it on Pinterest. It’s under $10 and it will literally survive everything (except Tasty Tacos, or anything really, really greasy). It’s incredible. I wear the shade Blushed Mauve (550) almost daily, it’s a great nude pink. I have to take it off every night because it lasts all day long. They have 54(!) shades including metallic mattes and every red, nude, pink, and berry imaginable; I guarantee you find one you like. It also comes with a clear moisturizing balm (not pictured) that is nice to layer on top but I rarely do.
(Editor’s Note: The L’Oréal infallible lipstick is awesome too but lacks the shade range and costs a bit more at some stores)

4. Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr Metal

This stuff was a game changer for me. I actually bought the shade “Barely Branded” to try it as a highlighter dupe for a more prestigious one. Then I tried it on my lids and never went back. I do lots of nude looks for everyday and metallic smoky eyes for night; using color tattoo as a base for my eyeshadow is amazing! It holds on to my eyeshadow as well as my Urban Decay Primer Potion and since it’s a “metal” shade, it makes for a great brow bone highlight. Having a metallic neutral, a pink, and a silver shade to choose from in guaranteed one of them will work as a base for any eye look I attempt.

Yes okay, I’m a Maybelline girl and I blame it on following them on Snapchat, they show me something and I buy it, it’s a genius marketing tool for them. I have two high end nude palettes and still reach for this ten dollar original “the Nudes” palette almost daily. No it’s not insanely pigmented or buttery soft like prestigious brands’ palettes- however it is ten dollars and the possibilities are endless. If you use it on top of the color tattoo, you will not be disappointed. The Blushed Nudes and 24k Nudes palettes are also just as amazing, great colors at a great price. I highly recommend them for beginners as well!

6. E.L.F. Hydrating Under Eye Primer

I just bought this two weeks ago and I’m already declaring it something I can’t live without. I have terrible, dark circles, I’m talking basically two black eyes. This stuff is pink/peach tinted and you only need a dot. I rub it in under my eyes and it instantly plumps and hydrates. I dab my Fit Me concealer (or use my Master Camo if I want to take the time) on top and I look like a new woman. It’s such a bargain and so underrated, I’m shocked I’ve never heard anyone mention it. I stumbled across it during an online Ulta binge; meaning I needed to spend $2.50 more to use a coupon. No matter how I found it I am so thankful I did!

7. NYX Matte or Dewy Setting Spray

I reach for the dewy in the dry, winter months and the matte finish in the heat of summer or when I have breakouts. I used to “save” setting spray for days I thought I would really need it (sweating at the fair, busy days). Now I even use it on concealer only days. It’s keeps my makeup from budging or transferring and the price is right

8. L’Oréal Telescopic Mascara

My friend Heather showed me this stuff in high school and last year I bought some for the first time since then and I’m so glad. It’s defining and lengthening like no other drug store mascara. It takes my baby blonde lashes to great lengths (see what I did there ;)). When I want more volume I add a coat of Maybelline’s Colossal mascara on top.

9. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponges

I have never splurged on a Beauty Blender, I’m sure it’s magical and makes you instantly look like an Instagram model, however I’ve been told by many reliable bloggers this sponge is the next best thing. I use it daily. Damp or dry. Day or night. It just works better than any brush I’ve ever used.

 

There you have it! Some basic and affordable products that I can’t imagine life without. Like I said, I do not consider myself a beauty blogger but I am a makeup junkie. I have tried a lot of products and I’m always buying new, but these are just nine things I don’t think I’ll be trading out anytime soon.
I hope you enjoyed this post even if it wasn’t the norm for Jess-Because.
Please comment your beauty must haves below.

Stay Tuned.

9 Beauty Products I Can’t Live Without

I know usually when you click on a Jess-Because link you expect something deep, raw and emotional. Well to be quite honest, I need a break from drama and craziness. Believe it or not, makeup is my escape these days. I can stand in front of a mirror, hide my flaws and highlight my best features. It’s almost therapeutic and totally qualifies as self care. Before you read on know this: I’m no beauty blogger and don’t intend to be, I just love makeup, great deals and sharing my secrets. Please don’t judge.

Here are the beauty products I cannot live without and you can probably afford every single one!

1. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
Some days this stuff is the only thing holding me together. I have never found a concealer that matched my skin tone so well. It gives enough coverage without being too heavy. I wear it alone on days I’m just watching the kids and need a little coverage. With the right setting powder it covers blemishes and even my ghastly dark circles.
The best part about this concealer? The price! You can pick it up at any drugstore for under $10 or subscribe and save 5% on Amazon.

2. Ulta Double Duty Wet/Dry Pressed Powder Foundation

I bought this on a whim during an Ulta brand buy two, get two sale. I wanted something I could put on when I needed a light coverage or didn’t feel like fussing with my liquid foundation. Instead I found the best powder foundation I’ve ever used. The shade “Fair” matches me so well you can hardly tell I’m wearing anything. The coverage is easily buildable. When I take the time to get glam I use it on top of my liquid foundation and concealer and it gives the illusion of flawless,smooth skin. I just beat it in with a flat top foundation brush, after applying liquid foundation, then blend with a kabuki brush. (Both found in this set that could also be on this list)

3. Covergirl Outlast All Day Lip Color Duo

I am a lipstick junkie. I’m embarrassed to even say how many tubes of lipstick I have. I have some high end lipsticks, a lipstick from about every bargain brand, tons of different formulas, tons of dupes and steals, and I always fallback on my trusty Covergirl. My grandma actually turned me on to it and it’s like the best kept secret in the drugstore beauty world. Seriously! It never shows up on BuzzFeed lists of best drugstore makeup or products. I never see it on Pinterest. It’s under $10 and it will literally survive everything (except Tasty Tacos, or anything really, really greasy). It’s incredible. I wear the shade Blushed Mauve (550) almost daily, it’s a great nude pink. I have to take it off every night because it lasts all day long. They have 54(!) shades including metallic mattes and every red, nude, pink, and berry imaginable; I guarantee you find one you like. It also comes with a clear moisturizing balm (not pictured) that is nice to layer on top but I rarely do.
(Editor’s Note: The L’Oréal infallible lipstick is awesome too but lacks the shade range and costs a bit more at some stores)

4. Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr Metal

This stuff was a game changer for me. I actually bought the shade “Barely Branded” to try it as a highlighter dupe for a more prestigious one. Then I tried it on my lids and never went back. I do lots of nude looks for everyday and metallic smoky eyes for night; using color tattoo as a base for my eyeshadow is amazing! It holds on to my eyeshadow as well as my Urban Decay Primer Potion and since it’s a “metal” shade, it makes for a great brow bone highlight. Having a metallic neutral, a pink and a silver, one of them will work as a base for about any eye look.

5. Maybelline “the Nudes” Palette

Yes okay, I am so a Maybelline girl and I blame it on following them on Snapchat, they show me something and I buy it, it’s a genius marketing tool for them. I have two high end nude palettes and still reach for this ten dollar one almost daily. No it’s not insanely pigmented or buttery soft like prestigious brands’ palettes- however it is ten dollars and the possibilities are endless. If you use it on top of the color tattoo, you will not be disappointed.
Side note: I love the Blushed Nudes and 24k Nudes palettes as well, I haven’t tried the Graffiti nudes (Ulta exclusive) or the Rock Nudes but I’m willing to bet they’re just as good.

6. E.L.F. Hydrating Under Eye Primer

I just bought this last week and I’m already declaring it something I can’t live without. I have terrible, dark circles, I’m talking basically two black eyes. This stuff is pink/peach tinted and you only need a dot. I rub it in under my eyes and it instantly plumps and hydrates. I dab my Fit Me concealer (or use my Master Camo if I want to take the time) on top and I look like a new woman. It’s such a bargain and so underrated, I’ve never heard anyone mention it. One day I just stumbled across it during an online Ulta binge (okay I needed $2.50 more to use a coupon) and I’m so glad.

7. NYX Matte or Dewy Setting Spray

I reach for the dewy in the dry, winter months and the matte finish in the heat of summer or when I have breakouts. I used to “save” setting spray for days I thought I would really need it (sweating at the fair, busy days). Now I even use it on concealer only days. It’s keeps my face makeup from budging and transferring. It totally does the job at a great price.

8. L’Oréal Telescopic Mascara

My friend Heather showed me this stuff in high school, last year I bought some for the first time since then and I’m so glad. It’s defining and lengthening like no other drug store mascara. It takes my baby blonde lashes to great lengths (see what I did there). When I want more volume I add a coat of Maybelline’s Colossal mascara.

9. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponges

Now, I have never splurged on a Beauty Blender. I’m sure it’s magical and makes you instantly look like an Instagram model, however I’ve been told by many reliable bloggers this sponge is the next best thing. I use it daily. Damp or dry. Day or night. It just works better than any brush I’ve ever used.
There you have it! Some basic and affordable products that I can’t imagine life without. Like I said, I do not consider myself a beauty blogger but I am a makeup junkie. I have tried a lot of products and I’m always buying new, but these are just nine things I don’t think I’ll be trading out anytime soon.
I hope you enjoyed this post even if it wasn’t the norm for Jess-Because.
Please comment your beauty must haves below.

Stay Tuned.

Sneaky Negativity

How many times have you said or thought,
I need to cut all of the negativity out of my life?
You deleted people on Facebook, gave up on trying to make a failing friendship work, dumped a toxic partner, and probably cut your hair.

Somehow that negativity sneaks its way back in though, doesn’t it? You’re down in the dumps and upset. Thinking, It doesn’t make any sense. I deleted those drama addicts on Facebook. I quit talking to so and so. I got bangs. Why don’t I feel better?
The negativity is coming from somewhere, but where?

Sometimes it’s from people you love. Family, that doesn’t mean to stress you out or hurt you. Friends whose life isn’t meshing with yours like it once did.

Toxic people aren’t always meaning to be toxic. We all have friends or family members who live dramatic lives; always relationship problems, family issues, conflicts at work. You love them and would stop the world for them, but bearing the weight of others’ issues on top of your own can be overwhelming.

If you’re anything like me, you care to much. You get in too deep and feel every feeling hard, even when it’s not your feeling to feel. You lay awake at night trying to solve your own problems and sort out everyone else’s. You somehow get roped into drama between others. Put in the middle of tricky situations. Before you know it, the only hope of making it through a week is avoiding people all together.

As safe as it feels to ignore messages, lock the doors, throw on a blanket and turn on the tv, it’s not healthy either.
Here’s what you need to do instead:

Set limits and say no
Say yes when you feel like you absolutely need to, but don’t beat yourself up for choosing not to help someone out of a pickle. If I dropped everything and ran every time someone needed something, it would be a full time job. Sometimes you need to just say, No.
I know it’s harder than it sounds and I would be a liar if I said I’m good at saying no, because I am not. You don’t have to explain why you’re saying “no” but if you have to for your own conscience (or you’re as spineless as me), try this:
“No. I am dealing with some of my own stuff right now.”
It’s not going to be easy to do, but with practice it will get easier.

Give yourself time to get it out
Vent to a friend, but put a cap on it. Give each other a chance to get it all out. Agree that you will try and talk about other things, more positive things when you’re both done. Don’t let it turn in to a pity party.
If you don’t have a friend to vent to or you don’t destress that way, get a journal. You don’t have to write page long entries or get fancy. Just jot down what’s bugging you. I tend to work through things better by writing about them.

Don’t forget about yourself
Read my post about self care. Make your own list of things you can do to take care of yourself. Stress and negativity do more emotional and physical damage than you think. Counteract it as much as possible.

You’re never going to get rid of all of the negativity in your life. You’re never going to be able to cut out everyone that gives you stress. But you can choose how you’re going to handle it.

Stay tuned.

Infertility & Coping with a Loved One’s Pregnancy Announcement

When you’ve been trying for a while and your optimism is dwindling, every pregnancy announcement hurts. People you haven’t seen in years and went to high school with. People you have mutual friends with. Distant cousins. They all are painful in their own way. It’s not that I’m not happy for them, but I’m sad for me.

Sad, because it’s been ninteen months of negative pregnancy tests. Sad, that I was so sure in December that “this is it”, just to be told by my doctor, “I’m sorry, negative.” Sad, that my friends and family have a hard time understanding what this pain feels like.

Everyone attempts encouragement with their well meaning comments. Everyone says it will happen when we stop expecting it.
After so many negatives, we have stopped expecting it- so where’s my big fat positive, my two pink lines?

Did you know one in eight couples struggle with infertility? One in eight! I hate the term infertile, but technically that is what we are considered (under the age of thirty five and trying without success for over a year).

Before you flood me with the story of your friend’s aunt who tried for years before having two beautiful twin girls, or your coworker’s cousin who was told she’d never have kids and now has a son- I know these people exist. I read their blogs and stories daily. I know success stories are out there and yes they are inspiring.

Those success stories don’t guarantee me my happy ending.

Yes, there are options. Yes, there are other ways, other options that cost a fortune. Yes, we have looked into and/or tried all of the crazy remedies and advice strangers have given us. No, I don’t want anymore. No, I don’t want anyone else to tell me “oh it will happen”, “stop trying so hard!”, or my favorite “Just relax!” (Stress does not cause infertility- infertility causes stress!) I would take a well meaning and/or awkward hug over advice any day of the week.

I know my options, I know there is hope- that doesn’t change the fact that my heart shattered into a million pieces when my sister told me she was pregnant.

It’s was a new level pain. A dark, ugly cry filled pain that is unlike any I have experienced. A can’t-do-anything-without-crying kind of pain. A jealous, yet guilty, heart wrenching, indescribable pain. Seeing someone effortlessly getting what you’ve been longing for and trying for is never easy.

I don’t hate my sister. I’m not angry at her. I am excited to become an aunt and watch my sister grow over these next few months. I am thrilled there will be another sweet, little baby in our family. I’m sure I will throw her a baby shower and be in the delivery room when my first niece or nephew is born. I know I will be the best aunt. I know that little baby will be able to count on me for as long as I live;

None of those things mean I am not allowed feel this kind of pain. The pain of watching my mother excitedly prepare to be a grandma and gush on social media, for a child that isn’t mine. The pain of the congratulations, on her sweet Facebook announcement. The pain of my family torn between wanting to bubble over with baby anticipation, and being scared of talking about it around me.

It’s a melting pot of emotions. They are strong and they come in waves. Some days sadness and longing consume me. Some days I look online for “I Love My Aunt” onesies.
I’ve felt all the emotions. Guilt, for being envious of this pregnancy that came without any effort. Sadness, for my husband and I, who have been preparing and planning every detail for over a year. Heartbreak, knowing that there is a chance I might never experience the joy my sister is.

She is making baby wish lists and painting art for the nursery walls and I have started medications to prep for the next step of our infertility journey.

It’s hard to know how to feel. Luckily I’ve jumped into my usual super sister mode; flooding her with pregnancy information, chatting about baby names, and even attending a lunch with her and my (divorced) parents to discuss her pregnancy.

Each day has gotten easier. As she reaches milestones along the way I know it will bring the evilness of envy; but remembering that I’ll get to love her baby almost as much as she does, numbs the pain a little bit.

Surprisingly the more involved I feel with her pregnancy, the less it hurts. Knowing I’ve taken the next steps in my journey, helps even more.

If you’re struggling in the same way we are, know you aren’t alone. One in eight couples are going through this too. Some openly, some in silence. You’re entitled to your pain and heartache. I hope for all of us out there: we get our dream one way or another.

Stay tuned.

10 Songs

Hello! Happy Wednesday. Today I’m going to talk about something a little lighter than usual and something very important to me: Music

We all have our favorite songs; our good mood songs, our bad day songs, our road trip tunes and so on. But what are the songs that you’ll always love. I’m not saying if you had to listen to them on repeat forever which would they be, because let’s be real no song is that good.

Songs that mean something to you, songs that take you back to people and places you’ll never forget. We all have those songs that are almost like a time machine; transporting us to the feelings we once felt or places we’ve been.
We all have those songs that remind us of someone; a loved one who has passed away or your disconnected old friend.
Music is the soundtrack to our lives. If you had to pick ten songs that you will listen to for the rest of your life what would they be?

I made my own list and included my reasoning behind my songs, whether it’s the memory attached or the feeling it gives me. I can’t wait to hear yours.

1. Wonderful by Everclear 

I could list dozens, hundreds maybe, of songs that I can relate to. This song though, was one of the first songs that ever made me feel like I wasn’t alone. Now I don’t know the man who wrote this song personally, but it sounds like we could get together and do lunch. This song speaks to me on many levels.
“I close my eyes when I get too sad, I think thoughts that I know are bad. Close my eyes and I count to ten, hope it’s over when I open them” My parents had a messy divorce that seemed to drag on for an eternity. During that time, I was forced to put on a brave face and deal with the brunt of it to protect my sister. I heard fights, saw tears and dealt with things most people, let alone third graders, haven’t. Closing my eyes and wishing it was over was a coping mechanism for years.
This whole song makes me remember those years and takes me back to those feelings. It doesn’t make me sad, it reminds I got through that rough time and overcame it. To this day when things get rough, that songs says to me “you can do it again.”

2. Crusin by Huey Lewis and the News

Now this song is basically just a really happy, road trip, love song to everyone who has had the pleasure of hearing it. It’s from a movie actually, but that’s not where I learned of it. I can remember Mother’s Day weekend, 2003. My mom, uncle and grandma we’re going to Vegas. This was in the good old days when my family still seemed like a perfect little family to me. I can remember my dad playing this song loudly, while my mom was getting ready to head to the airport. I know it sounds like a boring memory and pointless reason to obsess over a song; but hearing it just makes me feel like I’m back there. Like I’m seven years old, about to spend a fun weekend with my dad and sister. My parents still love each other and we still live in the little house with the yellow walls. I remember that day and many like them everytime I hear that song.
Favorite lyrics: You’re gonna fly away, glad your goin’ my way/ I love it when we’re cruisin’ together/ The music is played for love, Cruising is made for love/ I love it when we’re cruisin’ together.

3. Better Together by Jack Johnson

I guess if you’re going to make me choose between this song or Banana Pancakes as my Jack Johnson favorite, it’s a close call. I have this obsession with listening to Jack Johnson poolside or inside during a good rain. It’s one of the songs where I can just close my eyes, feel the guitar, and instantly relax. It’s like a three minute and thirty-two second vacation. The first verse welcomes you in with an attempt to describe the indescribable-Love. And there is nothing more beautiful than that; the song ends with something I know is true, there’s no combination of words to explain it. Side note: I haven’t heard a bad Jack Johnson song yet, so if you haven’t checked him out-do it.
Favorite lyrics: I believe in memories/They look so, so pretty when I sleep/ Hey now, and when I wake up, You look so pretty sleeping next to me/ But there is not enough time,And there is no, no song I could sing/And there is no combination of words I could say/But I will still tell you one thing/We’re better together

4. Piano Man by Billie Joel

I don’t care who you are, what kind of music you like or where you are when you hear this song- you love it. If you don’t, I don’t think we can be friends. To me it’s a song that brings everyone together; we all have goals and dreams that we may or may not reach. No matter how sad or disappointed or heartbroken you are one thing is true: Time heals all wounds but music heals the soul.
Favorite lyrics: Sing us a song you’re the piano man/ Sing us a song tonight/ Well we’re all in the mood for a melody/ And you got us feeling alright

5. Respect by Aretha Franklin

My first karaoke song as a kid and still my karaoke song today. This song just makes me feel like a confident, rockstar of a woman and that feeling doesn’t get old. I can remember the summer before sixth grade, my family wanted me to do karaoke at the fair. I had been singing respect on my Karaoke Revolution game on our PS2, so I told my aunt Kari that’s what I was going to sing. You could tell they were all nervous for me because it’s not a song for someone shy. I remember getting up there, belting it out, and feeling like that plywood stage was an arena and I was a superstar. You can’t recreate a feeling like that and no song has made me feel that way since.

6. Before your Love by Kelly Clarkson

This is going to get mushy and cheesy so i apologize in advance. This song describes the way I feel and have felt about my husband per-fect-ly. John being my first love, first kiss, and first everything is what makes this song so perfect for us.
“I’d never lived/ Before your love/ I’d never felt /Before your touch/ I never needed anyone/ To make me feel alive/ But then again,I wasn’t really livin’/ I’d never lived/ Before your love.”
Yes it sounds cheesy and cliche but unless you’ve felt that kind of love you won’t understand how much that rings true.

7. What I Got by Sublime

Another song dripping in nostalgia. My first and only family vacation with my mom and dad, we drove to Florida to go to Disney World and Clearwater. Our car broke down in Illinois, and Indiana. It was a long ride for a six and seven year old. With all of its hiccups, it still stands as the best vacation and maybe even best childhood memory ever. The whole time we were in Florida, I think my dad’s Sublime cd lived in the CD player. The music fit the destination. I can picture my dad; younger, in his sunglasses, with hair, singing along in the front seat next to my mom, while my sister and I rode along amazed by everything we saw in this new, magical place. The whole CD is like a soundtrack to a perfect memory.
Favorite lyrics: Well, life is too short, so love the one you got/ ‘Cause you might get run over or you might get shot

8. You are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne

I became obsessed with this song so long ago that I honestly don’t even remember how I found it, but I’ve heard it in movies and commercials many times since. It’s just such a feel good song and it always boosts my mood. Not to my mention my love for the voice of Ray LaMontagne runs deep. I’ve been a fan of him for years and still buy his albums the second they come out because I know it’s going to be worth every penny. However none of his songs have beat this one (but there are many tied for second). From the opening music to the last note, you will want to sing along and if you have someone who is “the best thing” you’ll love it as much as I do now.
Favorite lyric: Baby/ We’ve come a long way
And baby/You know I hope and I pray/That you believe me/When I say this love will never fade away

9. I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe
I love this song and I hate this song, because I can’t listen to it without crying. It was played at my grandpa’s funeral, then my great grandpa’s and then my great grandma’s; it’s such a perfect song for the occasion, I’m sure I’ll hear it at many more funerals for people I love because my family all feels the way I do about it.
If you’re not a religious person at all, you probably won’t be a huge fan, but if you are and haven’t heard it- go do it yesterday. I can’t even attempt to describe the beauty of this song or how much it means to me so please click here and listen for yourself.

10. If I Can Dream by Elvis Presley
I love me some Elvis. I blame that on many Friday nights and many two hour car rides with my grandparents who are two huge Elvis fans. There is some significance behind choosing this song, because I’m not even positive it’s my favorite Elvis song. My grandpa has always been known for singing one liners and singing the wrong words. Somehow this song became our song on our road trips and I can’t even remember how, but we would both sing along to it and love it. I will sincerely cherish memories of singing with him forever. Even now when it comes on there’s only one way to sing it and that is loud and with the Elvis gestures Grandpa uses. Regardless of the sentimental value, it is a really great song through and through.
Favorite lyric: We’re lost in a cloud/ With too much rain/We’re trapped in a world/That’s troubled with pain/But as long as a man/Has the strength to dream/ He can redeem his soul and fly

 

There were so many contenders for this list and I’ve worked on this here and there for weeks and struggled to pick just ten. Honestly I could spend two days telling you about why I love certain songs but I think it would probably bore you to tears. (I did include a list below of songs that barely missed the cut.) I want to know about a song that means something to you! Leave me a comment with the song title and artist and I promise to listen to every single one.

Music is magical. Music has healing powers. Music makes the world go around.

Stay Tuned.


Editors Note: You didn’t think I’d finish this list without a mention of the Beatles did you?! I didn’t put a Beatles song in the list for the sole reasons of A) not being able to pick just one. B) to surprise anyone who knows me. In all honestly I will listen to 90% of the Beatles’ songs until I die and who knows, maybe someday I will publish a post on my deep love for all things Lennon and McCartney.

Contenders worth a listen:
In My Life- The Beatles
Baby, I Love Your Way- Big Mountain
The Hook-Blues Traveler
Crash Into Me- Dave Matthews Band
Float On- Modest Mouse
How Great thou Art- Carrie Underwood
I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues- Elton John
I’ll Make Love to You- Boys II Men
Landed- Ben Folds
Man in the Mirror- Michael Jackson
A Moment Like This- Kelly Clarkson
Seven Nation Army- The White Stripes
Shoop- Salt-N-Pepper
Somebody to Love-Queen
Storms and Hurricanes- ALO

Self Caring my Stress Away

Raise your hand if you are stressed out!

Okay well I can’t see you and odds are you’re not going to raise your hand while reading something on your phone.
I bet if I can guess, you ~mentally~ raised it.

“I stress about stress before there’s even stress to stress about. Then I stress about stressing over stress that doesn’t need to be stressed about. It’s stressful.”

If you read that and wanted to laugh and then cry at how accurate it is, we should start a club together. I have always been a worry wart and I have always battled with stress and insomnia. If that quote spoke to you on a creepily personal level, I assume you have fought the same battles.

If you’re an empathic person like myself, many of your stresses and worries probably have nothing to do with you. Your friend’s work problems, your sister’s crappy boyfriend, your coworker’s divorce, your cousin’s concerning Facebook posts….
The list could last for days, literally days.
Being a person who always wants to help people with their issues, makes it hard to deal with my own. Am I the only one who has ever felt guilty about stressing or complaining about my problems because my friend’s having bigger problems?

Lately I am constantly reminding myself, I’m just not strong enough to be the hero I want to be and have attempted to be. I’ve stretched myself like a rubber band and I’m ready to snap and fly in the other direction at the next sign of trouble.

You cannot care for others until you are properly cared for yourself.

I am not big on New Years resolutions, because usually they get lost sometime around mid January, but this year I am determined to make self care a priority, not a few and far between luxury.

I made a list of four simple, inexpensive things to do for me. Some are just to trick me into feeling put together and some are things that have proven in the past to reduce stress and improve my mood.

Polish my nails a new color every Sunday night.

There is something satisfying about looking down at my hands and seeing my nails perfectly painted. The time I spend picking the perfect shade or experimenting with a color combo or design, or asking my husband for his opinion as if I will pick the color he chooses (because it’s always blackest black), it’s just fun to take that time for myself and do something girly. Being a full time babysitter I don’t really go full glam everyday, but having pretty nails makes me feel that much prettier.

Bullet Journalling

As someone who enjoys writing, I’m always mad at myself for not setting time aside to get my stresses out on paper. (You can learn all about bullet journaling here.) You don’t have to get fancy or have instaworthy penmanship. I picked out a $12 journal from target and some $4 multicolored pens. You can be as artistic or minimalistic as you wish. My only goal with my journal was to track my goals and set aside more time to write.
(Stay tuned for a blog post about my bullet journal and what it’s taught me.)

Skincare. Skincare. Skincare.

If this isn’t your first time visiting my blog, you’ve heard me talking about developing a skincare routine as an item on The List Project as part of my journey to feel like one of those “Target moms”. I’ve slipped up through the holidays but getting back at it has been so nice. I’ve even gotten comfortably cuddled in bed and made myself get up and do my face routine before going to sleep. It’s such a small thing but it has a self indulgent, pampering effect that your soon to be perfect skin will thank you for.

New Music

It’s an indescribable feeling to listen to a song for the first time and connect with it; relate to the lyrics on a personal level or feel the music down to your soul. What better way to treat myself than with the gift of music? Every week I am going to treat myself to purchase three new songs on iTunes-but they must be from artists I’ve never heard of. This gives me the time to get lost in iTunes and dig deep; listen to numerous songs by new artists until I find three worthy of my $1.29.
(Recommendations are always appreciated.)

Don’t be afraid to start small.

These are just four little things. You can do more or less. Your little thing might be prepping lunches for the week, sneaking in some yoga, even enjoying ten minutes of peace with your morning coffee.
Whatever it may be, I want to hear about it.
I know what it’s like to want to be everyone’s hero. I know how it feels to pull your hair out solving other people’s problems. I know what it’s like to feel too guilty to talk about your own issues. I know how it feels to forget about yourself in the mess of your stress and everyone else’s.
Trust me when I say, you won’t be able to help anyone at the level you want to, until you help yourself. Treat yourself. Pamper yourself. Compliment yourself. Find yourself. Don’t forget who you are and what you need by trying to satisfy the all of the needs of others.

Stay tuned.

Both and Neither

Hello All! Hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season! I know I did, so much food, love and family all around. I am truly blessed to have such a big family and a jam packed holiday schedule.

My busy schedule had me running into family and friends I don’t see often or who probably know my Facebook page better than they know me! Some of the questions or comments I received from them proved that. No, I’m not saying my Facebook profile is a false advertisement of who I am; I’m saying there’s a lot more to me than what you see on the internet or what you hear through the grapevine.

People seem to think of me in two ways:

A Good Girl: A sweet girl who never does wrong; she has a stable life and lacks problems. She married a good man and is living her best life. She always puts others first. Never swears, never struggles. “We don’t need to worry about this you” is often said to her by her family and elders. Most acquaintances describe her as “nice.”

Or

Girl who keeps falling short: A scatterbrain who cannot decide on a career path. She relies on her husband too much. She is too sensitive. She has strong opinions that vary from the majority and she’s always too opinionated on Facebook. She doesn’t get out much. She is dripping in insecurity.

Well I’m here to say I am neither of these people and I am both of those people at the same time.

I have been considered the stable one, the one they all lean on; someone you can call for help, someone who will listen, someone who will bail you out of any situation if I can. I feel like I have a pretty good track record of being that person. People expect good out of me and I usually deliver.

But sometimes I fall short. Sometimes I let people down. Sometimes people I let down make me out to be this Girl Who Keeps Falling Short.

I am not perfect. I can be a scatterbrain. I can’t decide on a career path. Maybe I do rely on my husband too much, post too many opinions on Facebook and stand up for myself to anyone who dares to debate with me. I have some introverted tendencies and yes, I am incredibly insecure.

I am “opinionated” on Facebook and I stand up for myself when I feel the need. My beliefs and opinions have been the only things that I haven’t let other people influence. I am an insecure people pleaser who has always been desperate for approval, however no one has ever made me waiver in my beliefs or values.

I am not a perfect person. I am a good girl who falls short. I am much more complicated than most people realize. I am just like you. I am just trying to do good and find myself.

I know I don’t need anyone’s approval and it takes all I have to really believe that. I’ve spent my life as a people pleaser. Almost everything I’ve ever done has been in effort to make someone else proud, to make someone see me, to make someone like me, to make someone hear me.

I’ve been living for other people and I’m not happy with where I am. Doing everything to please others has gotten me no where. I’ve taken jobs I didn’t have any interest in, went to school for something I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do, and not done things I wanted to do, just because of what others expected of me.
It’s time to live for me or at least work on doing so. I deserve to be happy and find myself without the influence of others, and so do you.

Stay tuned.

My Weight & the unexpected issue it has caused


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When I look at myself in pictures, I’m almost always sad by what I see. “I look huge” leaves my mouth every time. Most days when I get dressed and look in the mirror, I don’t think that. I think I look good today. Make up is on point. I love this outfit. Hair looks okay.
But then I see a picture, I try on jeans that’s should fit me, according to the mirror- but they don’t. I am the heaviest I have ever been.

Few people know, that my husband and I have been trying to have a baby since September of 2015. We didn’t tell anyone for a while because we assumed it would happen fast and we wanted everyone to be surprised, not expecting it.

Well after a year of over fifty NEGATIVE pregnancy tests (I like to be really sure!), getting our hopes up month after month, seeing 65% of my Facebook friends having babies and announcing pregnancies weekly, smiling sadly when people ask when we are going to have kids, constantly talking baby names-we were faced with another negative test. (Okay nine negative tests.)

Finally I decided it was time to go to the doctor. I was terrified, panicked that they would tell me the worst possible thing: you can’t have children.

My doctor ordered six blood tests, all of them to test for terrifying diseases; PCOS, diabetes, others I couldn’t pronounce.

The main thing she kept repeating was, “because of your weight”.

And that’s when I realized, I’m not just plus size. I’m not overweight. I’m not curvy. I’m not just fat.

I am unhealthy.

I am at risk for so many things. If I were to get pregnant right now, I would be putting my child at risk too.

Thankfully, all of the tests came back normal. No scary diseases or syndromes or numbers too high or too low.
But the fact still remained, the wake up call rang out loud and clear:

I am not healthy.

My obsession with sweets, my hate for exercise, my “diet starts Monday” philosophy; these are all reasons I am still not pregnant.

This time it’s serious. Actually serious. No more yo yo diets. No more crash diets. This time I need to stick to it. It’s not just to look good in a pair of skinny jeans anymore. It’s not just for me. But for my husband, our dream of being parents, our future children. I want to be able to have fun with my kids and run around without needing to take a break every fifteen minutes. I want to be able to take my kids to a water park and play with them, not sit wrapped in a coverup and a towel hiding myself and watching them have fun.

The only thing I’ve ever been sure of in my life is that I want to be a mom.

There has never been a doubt- I want to be a mom, I want two or three kids and I want to be healthy enough to be around for those kids.

I have not decided on a specific plan of action, a diet plan or exercise routine. So I am asking, begging that you- my readers, family, friends, fellow bloggers- help me.

Pray for me, give me advice, tell me what works and what doesn’t. I’ve done it all and tried it all. Help me do it. Hold me accountable. I want to be healthy. I want to be happy.

The only way I will get there is giving it my all, no more excuses.

This wasn’t easy for me to write or to share. I’ve been depressed and feeling like a failure for months. I never thought I would have a problem, I didn’t even think fertility issues were a possibility at my age. Either way, it is what it is.

All I ask is for your prayers for strength and patience and your advice on what I need to do to be healthy.

A lifestyle change is the only way to get what I want most in my life.

As always, thank you for supporting me and reading, especially these things that are hard to write.