Friday, April 15, 2016

Spring Break 2016

Life has been a whirlwind for us, y'all! I left you right before Easter weekend. What I didn't tell you was that we were skipping all of our Easter traditions to visit my stepkids and take the whole family to Washington D.C. for Spring Break. We were there to see the kickoff of the Cherry Blossom Festival and see them in full bloom as well! It was such an amazing experience for all of us! 

Ryan, Caleb and I haven't seen Bryce and Madison since mid-August of last year so we were missing them beyond belief. As soon as we all got together, we were ready to have a blast. I wore my Fitbit the whole weekend and I got close to 20,000 steps the first full day. This trip was exhausting, but so much fun! 


I drove most of the way there and we traveled through the night. I ended up with a huge migraine and really wore myself down. You can read about how I found help {HERE}. The trip really took a lot out of me, but this was so special. I loved spending time with my family!


Seeing the cherry blossoms was amazing! Everything was pale pink or almost white. Everywhere you looked there were gorgeous trees.


I had no idea there would be so many people. It was overwhelming at times and I realize that my Southern mentality is tough in a crowd. My child handled it much worse. He could not understand why people were pushing him and not saying sorry. Ryan and I laughed so hard over this poor child!





We were so fortunate to get to spend the day with Ryan's aunt and cousin while touring D.C. on Saturday. We don't see them often enough and we couldn't miss the chance!


I just love these three so much. I can't believe how similar they are in personality and how much they remind me of their daddy.



Caleb is growing so fast and it's neat to see him hanging out with his brother. I love how their relationship changes each time they get together.



I think seeing the Smithsonian museums were the best parts for me! I am such a history nerd. I could not get enough! From the mummies to the civil war displays, I was so amazed. My heart was so happy.



And no trip would be complete without acting silly with this girl. 


I cannot wait for summer to get here so they can be with us longer. A few days just wasn't enough. Our family just doesn't feel whole without all of us together. I'm so thankful the times apart are just pauses and we can always pick up right where we left off. 


Daith Piercing for Migraines

Okay, let's talk about it. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know what I did. After a lot of research/stalking/careful consideration and a ton of craziness, I finally decided to try it. That's right. I went and got my daith pierced. Not once, but twice.

But, let's talk about why. Let's actually discuss this. I am not a person that just jumps on every fad and crazy trend, y'all. I am a researcher. I plot everything out. I do NOT alter my body. I have no tattoos. I have my ears pierced once per side. I am very traditional and conservative. On social media people noticed that migraine relief came after some people pierced their daith. It's based on acupuncture. There's a nerve that runs deep in the ear in that area and if you pierce it, there can be relief for migraine sufferers. Some people have to move the piercing when they feel symptoms. Others have relief from just the piercing. Some don't have any relief at all because the piercing didn't hit the nerve. Who knows?!? There's actually no medical evidence supporting this. Just tons of social media excitement. See why I was skeptical?

A little over two weeks ago, I found myself in a seven day migraine streak. I think our Spring Break trip ran my body down to the point that it brought this on. I was nauseous every day, I couldn't keep food down, and I was struggling. On the 5th night I honestly considered an emergency room trip to have it shut down with serious medications. None of my meds were working. It was the second worst migraine of my life. I asked my Zumba® Divas for prayers and one of the ladies reminded me that she had gotten her daith pierced and had not had a migraine since. I was desperate and asked her who did it. Before I knew it, several ladies started talking about their migraine struggles and we had a couple willing to go with me. 


My buddies and I piled into the car and drove to Standard Ink in Chattanooga. At the time, I was feeling tons of pressure at the base of my skull on the right side. I have a very high pain tolerance and this was wearing me down after seven days.


Grace and I were the ones actually getting pierced. It's such a relief to have someone who understands exactly what you're going through when you have migraines. I am blessed to have her in my life and share our struggles together.


And Lauren was our support system to hold our hands! I admit that I am the biggest baby about needles. I am just not good with them at all. She made sure that we stayed strong! She's fabulous, y'all.


I decided to get my right side pierced first. From everything I have read, you get your dominant side pierced. For someone with true neurological migraines, you typically have a side that is dominant. Most of your pain and symptoms will be on your right or left side. Mine are mostly on my right side. When I was pierced, I had the initial two seconds of pain and pressure. Then I felt okay. I don't really know how to describe things other than I walked into the place with a seven day migraine and I walked out with a sore ear.

My friends and I decided to test things out with dinner. We went to Aretha Frankenstein's and I ordered the French toast. I was able to finally eat and keep everything down. I went home and I was just relieved. I did not take my Fioricet for the first time in seven days. 


I woke up the next day and everything felt good. I cared for my piercing just as Standard Ink instructed me to. No pain, no issues at all. In all honesty, I thought it was bogus. I kept thinking there was no way this had anything to do with my piercing. I did notice all pain on my right side was completely gone. All shoulder and neck knots were gone for the first time in months. That's actually one of my migraine symptoms. I remained skeptical.

The next day I noticed that I had a sinus pain on the front left side of my head. I never had that and I thought it was strange. One of my dear friends has a husband who does acupuncture. Since the daith piercing is based mostly on the acupuncture theory, it is recommended that you keep everything balanced. What you do to one side, you need to do to the other.

I spent Saturday afternoon with my niece at her softball practice.


And then my brother and I drove back to Standard Ink to pierce the other side. I cannot recommend strongly enough to you how important it is to go to someone that not only has a clean shop, but is accredited and recommended. I heard horror stories from people who knew others who got the wrong place pierced! It's also important that someone does this piercing deep enough. You are aiming to reach a certain nerve, in theory. If you miss it, you will not get relief. You're just going to end up with a hole in your head.


Before you try this, I do have some recommendations:


  1. Go into this with the expectation of just getting a piercing. If it works, fabulous! If not, do not be disappointed. What works for me, may not work for you. Do not be disappointed. 
  2. Use someone with experience, accreditation, a clean shop, and certification. Do your research! Do not be afraid to speak up and ask questions. This is your body. 
  3. Do not touch your piercing. You have germs on your hands and under your fingernails. This is a slow healing piercing and you need to keep it clean. Leave it alone. Follow the aftercare instructions. 
  4. Have someone with you in case you feel rough after. Some people don't handle needles well or it could even trigger a migraine. I've read some different stories. Just in case, have a buddy! 
  5. Pick your side with the most symptoms or pain to do first. 

How do I feel now?

I have had both piercings for almost a week now and I feel amazing! I have not had any headaches in a week and it's unreal. I don't have migraine symptoms, I don't have pressure, my energy is slowly coming back, and I am feeling more and more like me every day. I am still taking my Topomax every day and all of my vitamins, but I feel great. I don't know how much of that is helping along with the piercings, but I have no side effects from the Topomax so I am almost afraid to stop taking it. I have an appointment with my neurologist next week and I can discuss it then. I feel better and I am afraid to change anything right now.

If you had asked me a month ago, I would have told you that I thought the daith piercing for migraines was a myth. I thought it was just another desperate attempt that people were jumping on and it was a fad. Until you are desperate enough to try anything, you never know what you'll try. I'm actually kinda thankful I got that desperate because it gave me my life back. Is it going to last? I have no idea. But a moment of peace from the pain is worth it. At the end of the day, I still like the piercing and it works for me. The added bonus is that it did in fact work for me. Y'all know I've always been an open book around here and I always share what works. If you came here looking for hope, I am here to tell you that there could be some for you.

If it worked for you, would you please leave a comment sharing your experience? Would you mind sharing this post as well so we can help others as well? 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Eat Clean on a Budget with Easter Dinner Ideas!

This is such a special week for my family, y'all! We celebrate Easter with our families and it is packed full of traditions, memories, and time with the ones we love. It also means food! But I know most of us want to know how to enjoy a wonderful family Easter dinner and still not compromise our budgets and healthy eating habits that we have established over these past weeks together. I have some options for you that will still leave your whole family happy and not add to the scale!

This week at ALDI, I splurged a little. We have saved so much money in our grocery budgets and I was craving some of my more expensive meals. Now that you have the hang of this you can space them out in your weekly meal plans, but I did want to go ahead and share them with you now. Even though I splurged, I got a bunch of food and still stayed under a hundred dollars for the entire week! I don't know about you, but anywhere else I can easily drop $150-$200 on groceries. ALDI saves my family so much money and I think the produce and meat not only taste better, but stay fresher longer than other brands I have tried.


This week my before tax total was $94.84 for all of this food!!!! We pigged out this week and my little boy is going through yet another growth spurt. He ate two ears of corn at dinner one night and really surprised us!


Monday: Corned Beef with Cabbage and Carrots ($13.62) 

This is such an easy meal, but it is amazing in the crockpot! The meat is a little bit of a splurge, but we do end up with leftovers the next day. I absolutely love cabbage prepared this way. You simply dump the carrots in the crockpot, cut up the cabbage and place on top. Then lay your meat on top of your cabbage and I poured the seasoning packet over the meat. Cook on low all day and you can come home to a delicious dinner!




Tuesday: Frittata ($7.37)

I love breakfast for dinner! I have a recipe {HERE} and you can literally throw in anything you choose. I had some mushrooms and tomatoes this week. I sauteed them with a little garlic and some olive oil.


I also added some chopped, cooked bacon. I tried the new "Never Any" line from ALDI and it was delicious! This frittata is great heated the next day for breakfast!


Wednesday: Turkey Sausage and Grilled Veggies ($11.36)
Early spring means lots of grill time for us. We love evenings on our patio watching Caleb ride his four wheeler and our puppy play in the yard. It's a great time for Ryan and me to just unwind from the day and catch up.

I wrap my corn in foil and make packets to hold my bell peppers and mushrooms. We simply grill everything until tender and the sausage links are cooked through. I do add a little olive oil and garlic seasoning to my veggies and they are wonderful!



Thursday: Pot Roast with Carrots and Side Salad or Sweet Potato ($7.06)

Simply dump the carrots in the crockpot, add your meat and a half cup of water and cook on low all day. I serve with a side salad, but you can also serve with a sweet potato and it is delicious!!!

Friday: Grilled Steak and Veggies ($11.42)

I bought a cut of Carne Asada steak and marinated it with some of my garlic and a little olive oil. I also added some onion seasoning from my pantry. I let it sit in a baggie in my fridge overnight. I grilled it with asparagus, corn and mushrooms. This was by far my husband's favorite meal. I sliced the steak into thin strips after cooking and it had so much flavor! 

Saturday: Grilled Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and a Salad ($3.92)

I coated my chicken in paprika, salt and pepper and grilled it. We kept it simple with a sweet potato and a salad. I baked all my sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week and kept them in the fridge to just grab and go this week with dinners and lunches. It make a big difference! 

Easter Sunday: Ham with Pineapple, Sweet Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, and Steamed Cauliflower ($17.37)

I actually baked my ham and pineapple earlier in the week so I could have part of it for lunches on my salads. This ham really helped stretch my grocery budget this week. You can cut it up and serve it with brown rice in a stir fry for lunch or dinner or on a salad. You just a lot for your money! The ham was only $10.81 and I got a bunch of meat from it. I also saved my ham bone to make bean and ham soup later on. You can find my recipe {HERE}. 



ALDI has the best deal in town on pinaepples! You can get fresh pineapple for $.99 each! If you've never had fresh pineapple, you are missing out.



Just rip off the top, gently shave off the sides, and cut around the pineapple leaving the core (center). 


I rubbed and sprinkled just a little organic light brown sugar on my ham and pineapple. Add about an inch of water to your baking dish and cover everything in foil. Bake at 350 degrees. You typically bake your ham for 22 minutes per pound.



Serve with sweet potatoes, steamed brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. This meal is still special and delicious without sabotaging all of your efforts!

The rest of my budget went to salads and eggs for the week for lunches and breakfasts. I made an extra frittata to change things up! And I will leave you with a grocery list {HERE} to keep things simple!

Don't forget to find the amazing deals I discover at ALDI by following them here:
ALDI Website: https://www.aldi.us/en/
Pinterest (for GREAT recipes): https://www.pinterest.com/aldiusa/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ALDIUSA


If you want to follow me on all my social channels, I made you easy links below:

My posts with ALDI are wrapping up this week. If you have enjoyed our posts and ideas, please shout out to ALDI and all over social media! Tell us you want to see more! The way you do that is by sharing this post.

I appreciate each and every one of you who has taken the time to do that for me! I'd love to keep posting for all of you! And from my family to yours, we wish you a happy Easter and may God bless each of you! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Weight and Inch Loss Updates

I'm guessing it's about time for a long overdue weight loss/inch loss update, right? We all like those, am I right? Last year was a real struggle for me. My health battle was my main focus and I regained about 30 pounds. My energy levels were off because I was doing everything I could to just survive. I was misdiagnosed for most of the year and then I faced a real diagnosis. Reality hit me square in the face. I could either let it define me or I could learn to manage it the best I could. I decided to tackle things the best way I knew how: through living a healthy lifestyle. Everything over the past four years has taught me that a healthy lifestyle doesn't just help my waistline. It touches every aspect of my life. I took the time to dial down what worked for my body and then I relentlessly pursued a happy, healthy life. 



I have a very healthy relationship with food and exercise now. I am blessed with wonderful relationships and friendships. And I have peace finally... and my body is showing it.

I am only 4 pounds heavier than my lightest adult weight two years ago. But then it doesn't end there... My actual measurements tell me I am at my smallest size ever as an adult. I am more muscular than I have ever been. Thank you, Zumba® fitness!

My previously measurements in 2014:

Bust 35.5
Waist 27
Abdomen (My belly pooch) 33.5
Hips 37.25
Right Upper Leg 21.5
Right Lower Leg 16.25
Right Calf 15
Left Upper Leg 21.5
Left Lower Leg 16.75
Left Calf 14.75
Right Arm 10.75
Left Arm 10.75
2014

As of today:
Bust 35
Waist 27
Abdomen 32.5
Hips 36.5
Right Upper Leg 21
Right Lower Leg 15.75
Right Calf 14.5
Left Upper Leg 21
Left Lower Leg 16.5
Left Calf 14.5
Right Arm 10.75
Left Arm 10.75

I eat things I want in moderation and I workout to have fun. I don't torture myself! I simply workout with all of my favorite people twice a week in our Zumba® fitness classes. I sweat and laugh! Sometimes I eat doughnuts and fried rice, but I refuse to feel guilty and eliminate anything that brings me joy. I don't have fried rice every single day and I don't eat until I am stuffed sick. It's all about balance and moderation. I plan to talk about my lifestyle a little more in depth in the next few weeks. Do you have any specific questions for me?

If you're motivated by my progress or just plain happen to like stopping by my blog, would you take a moment to share it on Facebook? I really appreciate it!  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Where Have We Been?!?

I've got so much to catch up on! I was talking to my husband this weekend and I realized that blogging is just on the back burner of my life right now. Our Zumba® fitness ministry at church has taken over and is growing bigger than anything we ever imagined. We moved to our church's gym and had a huge party to celebrate it. I thought maybe we'd have a few extra ladies, but I was not expecting close to 80 women to show up! I can remember the days when there were only five of us working out together. To lead almost 80 was a very exhilarating, humbling experience. 

I will say it time after time, I cannot do what I do without these two ladies by my side. They are my best friends and I am so encouraged by them every day. There are even times they ensure my own sanity! If I ever need an example of amazing Christian women, I look no further to my left or my right side. God has blessed me beyond measure with these two. 


No party would be complete without zebra striped balloons and tons of girly colors! 


I was so amazed by the number of women who poured through the doors! Area businesses donated over $1000 worth of prizes to giveaway to our ladies throughout the night. It was just amazing!


This guy right here was my rock throughout the week leading up to our party. I had a feeling it would be my largest class ever and I was so nervous. I am probably the shyest Zumba® instructor you will ever meet. I love my girls, but lots of new people really do overwhelm me. I'm fine once I get to know everyone, but dang I am a wreck before that! My husband was so sweet and gave me pep talks throughout the day. 


When I'm not teaching Zumba® fitness, I am spending lots of time with this little one. We went on a field trip to the Tennessee Aquarium and had a great time together.


Until a couple of days later.... I put on my new workout pants for the day and I felt anything but fierce. I thought my allergies had kicked up, but class really seemed to drain me. I got in my car to come home and I don't really remember making it to the bed. I remember asking my husband to just call my dad to let him know I probably wouldn't be at work the next day. I never call in. 


I ran a high fever all night and then we woke up with a sick Caleb the next morning. We both ended up with Type A flu. I also had a respiratory infection. For two whole days we never left the bed. Caleb and I have never been sick together nor have we ever had the flu. Luckily, Ryan took great care of us and he never caught the flu. 


I was able to drink ginger tea throughout my illness and I think it helped me so much. I also never had a migraine during my sickness.


On day three Caleb was doing a lot better! His temperature got scary high. We were borderline going to the hospital with him.


I can say I've never seen him sleep this much in his whole life. He's always on the go and I would much rather him stay active.


On Monday, I was back to Zumba® class but I took it very easy. 


By the following Thursday I was back to my regular self! My Zumba® mama made me a new sign for our new spot and I love it! She played off my initials and it's so cute!


My high school Z-baby is back too! She finally got a different job and we have her back in class. I am so excited!!! 


Caleb's school pictures arrived too. Can y'all believe how big he looks? He's just in Kindergarten!


We have finally welcomed spring and things around the house are looking gorgeous! I enjoy just sitting outside watching Caleb play.



I've started refreshing my wardrobe and I've picked things for our upcoming trip. I am looking forward to pretty spring pictures with Caleb. I've been working out harder in class and the extra effort is paying off. It's so exciting to try on clothes now!


I also took a trip to ALDI this weekend so watch the blog this week for that! I have some Easter dinner ideas, grilling ideas, and crockpot ideas!



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