Bling Bling Ring a Ding Ding!

Peeps!

Ever since HMH finally broke down the floodgates when it comes to my creativity, I’ve been very crafty. Not only have I started writing fiction again for the first time in years, but I’ve gotten back to my needlework and I’m crafting jewelry as well. And then, of course, there’s the whole memo board from hell fiasco. Some of this is for me, some is meant to share with others…including the Hot Mess bling I’m offering in my new Etsy shop. To kick this off in style, I’m hosting a giveaway today!

First, I should tell you…don’t get too excited. My original Etsy grand opening was supposed to be much more grand. Miss Kirby has decided that this weekend should be all about her, however, and I’ve spent a lot of time this weekend nursing a 120 pound Saint Bernard with a wound from a ruptured cyst. (Don’t worry…she’s healing fast and sassy as ever!)

Before I get to the juicy details of the Etsy shop, I have to share this with you. I saw the tutorial for this adorable bird’s nest ring a few weeks back and knew I had to make one for myself. I still have to mess with the way the bird’s nest is attached to the ring, but if I can perfect it then I’ll definitely put a few in the shop. If not, then this one is just for me. Don’t be jealous!

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Back to the Bling Bling Ring a Ding Ding:

Just click here to get to my new Etsy shop, lovingly called Hot Mess Bling. There are just a few items in the shop right now, but as I mentioned you can thank Kirby for that when she gets a minute. She’s a little busy sucking up all the attention she can get and taking medication cleverly wrapped in sausages. #SpoiledRotten

For now, you can have your very own Hot Mess BadAss stamp to hang around your neck. Or, if the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters are more your style you can sport the HMP version as well. Go check them out…I dare you!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll have more and more designs up in the shop – some blog related and some not – including this effing awesome necklace themed after my Motivation Marbles:

Marbles-teaser

The exclusive HMP “Losing My Marbles” necklace will be available in three colors originally: pink, blue, and green – but if there’s a color I’m missing that you just have to have, comment here and let me know. I’ll get on it.

Which color will you choose?
Which color will you choose?

No, I haven’t forgotten the giveaway either! To celebrate the opening of my Etsy shop, I’m giving away one Hot Mess Bad Ass necklace and one Keep Calm necklace. There are two ways to enter:

1. Leave a comment here and tell me which necklace is your favorite.

2. For an extra chance to win, you can also FAVORITE my shop on Etsy (you must have a profile on Etsy to do this. It’s free and lets you buy cool handmade stuff, so go get one!) Once you FAVORITE my shop (click the ♥ button), comment here with your Etsy name so that I can confirm you favorited me. (To preserve your privacy, if your Etsy name is your real name feel free to leave your first name and last initial).

Maximum of two entries per person.

You have from now through Monday, September 16, 2013 at midnight CST to enter.

Winners will be chosen at random by random.org and will be announced by midnight CST Tuesday, September 17, 2013.

So get busy, peeps…the giveaway starts now!

 

How I Started to Control My Food

I have a long, long way to go in my own personal struggle with food and exercise…which is a little scary to say when I consider how far I’ve already come. Sometimes I wonder why I was given this particular challenge in life. Things would have been a lot more interesting if my biggest problem was what to do with my gorgeous long legs or how to keep my $800 million invested wisely. Fate is a bitch.

There was a time, however, when I didn’t care about controlling my food intake. I was lonely all the time. I had some really great girlfriends, but my heart was yearning for Hot Mess Hubby long before I ever met him. I hadn’t had many positive relationships with the men in my life and dating for a plus sized girl is a pretty horrific experience (at least for me it was), so instead of dealing with my problems I comforted myself with food from sunrise to sunset. I didn’t care. I didn’t even want to care.

fries - blog

Eventually, I changed my mind…so I did the thing I thought I was supposed to do: I made an appointment with a nutritionist. When I arrived at my appointment, I was greeted by friendly staff and escorted to a small office with lots of plastic models of healthy food. I don’t remember her name and I’m not exactly sure where she was originally from, but I’ll call her Dr. No English…because I could barely understand an effing word she said.

After 10 minutes of me awkwardly smiling and nodding as she droned on about something called “chee-ken” and “broke-holy”, she broke out a worksheet that looked like it had been repeatedly photocopied by someone with a bad case of the hiccups. I managed to figure out that she wanted me to write down what I typically ate in a day. As I wrote, she smiled and nodded at the paper – which I found strange because you wouldn’t expect a nutritionist to smile and nod affirmatively when a client says they eat a whole large Dominos pizza for dinner at night. But she did.

With painful awkwardness, we went over the worksheet. I used to drive thru McDonalds every morning on the way to work and get 2 cheese danish and a large Coke. Not Diet Coke. Regular Coke. That’s a ton of calories already and I felt like a total loser having to write it down.

Me: “I know, I know…I shouldn’t be eating at McDonald’s, right?”

Dr. No English (nodding & smiling): “With mod-er-ay-chun!”

Blank stare.

Next we went over my morning snack. I enjoyed a bag of Cheetohs and a Snickers to get the ol’ tum tum ready for lunch. And a can of regular Dr. Pepper. More smiling and nodding.

Back to McDonalds for lunch, where I usually had two hamburgers, a super size fries, and a large Coke. I mumbled something about too many calories.

Dr. No English: “Yes. Mod-er-ay-chun!”

At this point I’m wondering if I’m being punked.

Afternoon snack. More crap from the vending machine, followed by a dinner of the aforementioned whole pizza or greasy tacos. I figured it out once. I was eating almost 3,000 calories a day.

Dr. No English took the worksheet from my hand, smiled gleefully, and said “Can have! Can have taco. Can have pissa. Wit mod-er-ay-chun!”

Last straw.

Me: “Ma’am, do I look like the sort of person who knows the meaning of the word moderation?”

She laughed. Heartily, as if she thought I was joking, and then she said “No, you can do!”

I placated her for the rest of the time and left, knowing very well that I wouldn’t be back. I was rapidly approaching 300 pounds and scared to death. I lacked the ability for mod-er-ay-chun.

I decided to go to the one place that never failed me: the bookstore. Back then, the biggest bookstore around was about a quarter of the size of the average grocery store, but it was the best source of current information. And I found this book:

The Complete Book of Food Counts, 9th Edition: The Book That Counts It All

Well, not this edition…the stoneage edition. This was years ago. This book was the beginning for me. Desperate to control my unhealthy eating habits, I curled up on the couch with a pint of ice cream and a highlighter (I’m totally not shitting you) and started at the beginning.

As I made my way through the book, I highlighted every healthy food that I would eat. I ignored the bad foods. I completely skipped the “baked goods” section. I didn’t even glance at the “candy” chapter. I aimed for foods that were 30% fat or less per serving.

When I was done, I whipped out some paper and I made a list of all the “approved foods” I could eat. And then I went shopping.

carrots - blog

That’s not the end of it, there’s more to share but not today. I had other lists to make and other decisions to ponder. But these were the first baby steps I took that really made a difference to me.

Y’all know I’m fond of reminding you that you have to find your own path. This is the beginning of what worked and is working for me – and that’s why I’m sharing my experience with you here. I’ll probably set the record for the slowest person to ever hit their weight loss goal, but I don’t give a crap when it comes down to it.

What really matters is that I no longer find it acceptable to eat an entire large pizza in one sitting. In fact, I rarely eat pizza at all. I can’t remember the last time I was at a McDonalds. I deserve a medal for successfully avoiding the Little Debbie section at my local grocery store for nearly three years. So while the scale may not be moving quickly, I am still changing. Most importantly, I’m learning to give myself credit for the work it took to get me here.

Everyone has to start somewhere. This was it for me.

I’ll be back in a day or two to talk about the other two lists I made that weekend…and to announce the opening of my Etsy shop. I’m getting crafty again. Holy crap, I’m a busy girl…that’s why this blog post took so long.

I promise to be back in a couple of days. In the meantime, are there tips and tricks that work for you? Share them here and help your fellow hot messes. We’re all in this together.

Hey, buddy…slim THIS!

This is going to be a rant. A snarly, pissy rant about a topic near & dear to me…and it may leave you shaking your head and telling me to get off the crack pipe, but still…I must rant. If you’re an emotional eater like me, however, it might be worth it to read.

This morning I rolled out of bed, did my personal bizniss, and went straight to my laptop to check email. Stuck in the middle of a half dozen advertisements was an email from a wellness publication entitled “Slimming Comfort Food Recipes”. Shit like this really sticks in my craw.

danger small

I’m really tired of corporations making money off of fat people in the name of helping us “get healthy”. It’s bullshit. People start businesses to make money. If they “cure” all the fatties, they can’t make any more money. However, if they keep feeding us pills and special diets and miracle cures and bullshit…they keep making money.

I know, I know, I know…this is only an article. They’re not selling us anything here. Sort of. But they chip away at our resolve a teensy bit at a time with shit like this. They keep our brains in a “Hey, I can have it all…I’m just not smart enough to figure it out for myself so I need this article” mindset. The verbiage “Slimming Comfort Foods” implies you can have your cake and eat it too. You can comfort yourself with food and still get slim. And that’s what gets me – because that’s how people like me got to be so overweight in the first place: comforting ourselves with food.

They’re not interested in telling us the truth, they’re interested in telling us what we want to hear. They’re interested in what’s going to sell another subscription. What’s going to get more clicks. What’s going to make someone read the article and see the ad for the magic weight loss supplements on the sidebar and…order now. We make them a lot more money staying fat than we ever will living a fit, healthy life.

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What is the truth? The truth is that if you have a problem using food as an emotional band aid, you’ve got an uphill climb ahead of you. Because that pan of organic, lowfat lasagna that you just made in order to live a healthier life isn’t going to help you if you still eat the whole pan. And now you’re not only sick to your stomach because you crammed a whole pan of lasagna down your throat, you’re also completely grossed out that you ate something that tasted like new-age crap on a cracker. Because some recipes should never be fucked with…and sometimes you just have to let yourself eat the real thing. Because it’s worth it. As long as you can keep yourself from eating the whole pan after a shitty day at work.

The big truth I’m trying to convey here is that you have to make peace with food. I did. At times, I have to reinforce the peace when a craving comes along. And they come along. I know I’ll always have them. But I also know that I never have to act on them immediately. And I’ve learned what I can substitute and still enjoy…and what I must never mess with.

For example, I used to love a big bag of Wavy Lays and a vat of onion dip. Now? I make some seriously kick-ass potato chips from scratch…in the microwave…with no oil. They’re not fried, yet they’re crispy and crunchy and salty and awesome. They satisfy my cravings for chips 100%. And I came up with a totally yummy substitution for dip as well. Buffalo wings, on the other hand…not so much. After trying a million variations on a million recipes, I’ve come to realize that I really do prefer the real thing…and that the real thing is worth the sacrifice of extra time at the gym or having a light snack instead of a meal in order to make up for the calories. And I don’t eat them once or twice a week like I used to.

The article that caused my rant is, to me, useful and full of decent looking recipes. It’s the bullshit title I have a problem with. This is probably where you’re going to walk away from this post and say “That bitch cray!” That’s okay…part of this is just me being overly critical. The rest of it is dead-on balls true. I don’t even know if that’s a real expression, but it is now.

I don’t want to comfort myself with food. I don’t want anyone telling me it’s ok. I don’t want anyone telling other people like me that it’s ok. If I ever want to hit my goal and live healthy, I can’t do shit like that. The truth is…it’s hard to quit doing. But it is do-able. Especially for a bunch of badasses like us.

I’m going to talk more about making your peace with food in the next few days, but I just want to put this out there right now because it really grates on me to see article titles like this one. They’re everywhere. And the truth is that you have to always be mindful and true to yourself above all else. Don’t fall for this bullshit. Question everything.

“Slimming Comfort Food Recipes”, my ass. How about “Ways to Tell a Publisher to Piss Off”…how about that! I don’t want to comfort myself with cardboard fake lasagna. I’m all grown up ‘n shit. I can handle the truth. Sacrifices must be made.

The messaging gets in there even if you don’t click through and read the article. Your eyes skimmed it. Your brain read it. Comfort. Food. Slimming. I’m so busy half the time I just skim right past it. This morning I did a double-take and said “Whaaaat?”

I know this is hard and I hope it’ll be worth it. I know I won’t look like a fitness model when I’m done, but if I can at least look in the mirror without hating myself, I think I’ll be okay. What I’m not okay with is some jackhole who’s probably never been overweight a day in his or her miserable life trying to lure me into thinking of food as comfort….because I’ve been down that road many times and it’s full of fat pants and Little Debbie cakes.

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I’m actually not talking about the actual author of this article, by the way. I’m talking about the marketing/SEO geniuses behind the creation of the catchy title. Give me as many light and “tasty” recipes as you want. Give me useful and helpful information…and thank you for it! But don’t try to get me to click through your email with brainwashing bullshit.

*Sigh*

I guess I’m done ranting. For emotional eaters, making peace with food is hard. Shit like this makes it harder…and it adds insult to injury when it’s coming from a leader in wellness. That’s all I’m trying to say.

Next time we’ll talk about baby steps in putting an end to emotional eating. And I’ll try and curb the surly language. In the meantime, if there’s something that just drives you nuts feel free to share it here so I don’t feel like a total dork.

I need a margarita. Holy shit.

You Can’t Drink All Day If You Don’t Start in the Morning


Hand Painted Shooter Glass, Princess

DIY French Memo Board

Ah…the French memo board. They’re gorgeous. I love them. From the time I saw the huge board behind Rachel’s desk on Friends (I can’t find a picture of it, but trust me…it was awesome), I’ve wanted one. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I offer Exhibit A for your consideration:

They come in all types of fabric backgrounds from damask to burlap and use everything from ribbon to jute for the criss-crossy things. I’d looked around quite a bit and I couldn’t find one that I was absolutely in love with, so I decided to make my own. How hard can it be, right? There are a gazillion blog posts out there about how to make your own, so I schlepped over to Pinterest and found one. Here’s where it begins to go south.

I skimmed the directions. C’mon…it’s a piece of plywood covered in quilt batting and fabric, then wrapped in ribbon and finished with upholstery tacks. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist, right? Right. It does, however, take a person who can follow directions.

Hot Mess Hubby thinks he’s a woodworker, so he actually had 1/4 inch plywood in the garage. He didn’t even have to cut it for me. He had a piece that was 3 X 2 and that’s about the size I wanted. Perf!

I headed off to the fabric and craft store for the rest and returned with my stash: a nice, rustic looking burlap, a matching jute twine type trim, and deep brown upholstery tacks. Rock’in. Let’s do this.

I had quilt batting in my needlework stash, so I didn’t have to buy that. All I needed was HMH’s trusty staple gun and I was in business. He handed it to me as he walked out the door to go work, mumbling “And that’s all the staples we have, so…don’t waste ’em.”

Great. Thanks, babe!

Our house is currently one giant heap of disorganization, thanks to non-stop projects (which includes the current project of turning a spare room into my personal office and organizing a few dozen boxes of stuff to donate to charity). The only feasible place to put this thing together was the living room, so I used the coffee table for a work bench. I went to town, first laying out the burlap and then the quilt batting, then settling the plywood in the middle. I started in the middle of the board with the staple gun and worked my way out to the edges, pulling the burlap tightly as I went. It was louder than I expected and Dyson certainly didn’t appreciate it.

Momma...clean up all this crap before you make pretties please!
It wasn’t long before he was hiding out at the top of the stairs.

Once the plywood was completely wrapped, it was time to start with the ribbon. I’d purchased a spool of jute twine stuff and was pretty sure I’d have enough. Nope. Not even close. Three trips across the board and I was out. Major fail.

I stopped at the craft store on my way home and they were out of jute twine stuff. Bastards. I opted for turquoise satin ribbon. I bought two spools, 18 feet each. That should do it, right? Right. I rushed home and started with my project. Dyson fled to the top of the stairs again. Pussy.

Halfway through my first sweep, I ran out of staples. Shit.

Got staples?
Got staples?

HMH found some more in his “wood shop” the next day and loaded up the gun for me, but this project was really starting to piss me off.

Yeah, you read that right. I was pissed at the project, not my lack of planning. The closest I can come to explaining this phenomenon is to point out that I’ve been married to Mr. Let’s-Not-Plan-Shit-And-Just-See-What-Happens for almost ten years. It’s rubbing off.

I get home from the gym the next day and start up again. Finally I’m going to get done with this damn board. I finish the ribbon and consider it a small victory. Then I get to work on hammering the upholstery tacks into the board. About halfway through the package, I realize I need a hell of a lot more tacks. I’m going to run out. Son of a…

See, I’m not so good with the math, yo. Not that I measured shit on this project – but even if I had, I would have screwed it up.

dumbass

At this point, my idiocy only spurs my desperation when it comes to getting this memo board from hell finished. I’m not going down without a fight, damn it. I grab my keys and head for the craft store. It’s on!

I get to the craft store and I’m pretty sure I’d grabbed the last package of this style of tac when I was there previously. Sure enough…none left on the little peg thing. Damn it! All was not lost, however. Thanks to bad customers or bad employees, I couldn’t tell which, I found two more packages of tacs mixed in where they shouldn’t have been. SCORE!!!

I drive home, wondering what the hell is wrong with me that every single step in this simple little project went horribly wrong. I pulled up in my driveway with huge sigh of relief. Now I know, without a doubt, the board will be finished tonight. Nothing else can stand in my way. I walk in, put down my purse and the bag from the craft store, and grabbed the board with one hand. It wouldn’t budge.

I’d hammered the damn memo board right into our coffee table.

Thank God our coffee table is old and crappy and I don’t care about it anymore. I just surrendered to the fact that I am, indeed, a Hot Mess Princess and finished up the board. Now I had a new problem: with all the tacks poking out the back, the board was now very stabby. Quick like a bunny, I grabbed some old cork tiles I had here and pushed those over the stabby parts. Voila! Done!!!

The "after" pic of my coffee table. Good thing it's on its last legs anyway!
The “after” pic of my coffee table. Good thing it’s on its last legs anyway!

Now it just looks like a French memo board. You can’t tell that the project took an entire week and pushed me to the brink. All you can see is a beautiful board that cost very little to put together.

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So my words of advice are:  buy your own – or make sure you listen to the directions and measure!!! Learn from me, my darlings!

Ivory Twill Memo Board


Damask with Black Ribbon French/memo Board

Don’t Let the Assholes Get You Down, Peeps!

I’m up to 21 minutes on the elliptical trainer now, which will seem barely average to some folks, but it’s effing stellar for a 300+ pound Hot Mess Princess wearing sweatpants that have been sewn back together so many times I call them my “Frankenpants”. Soon I’ll be at 22 minutes…and then 23 minutes…and then 24. This, my friends, is how a badass is built.

When I was done with my cardio today, I walked out of my gym with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. Another day closer to my goal. I’m a bit healthier today than I was yesterday. Tomorrow, I’ll be even healthier. Ready or not, world, here I come.

As I stepped off the curb, a beat up Honda went speeding by and the guy behind the wheel glared at me and yelled “Lose some weight, stupid fat ass!”

Wow.

Do I feel stupid. This guy really showed me, didn’t he? I mean…here I’ve been wondering why I have to buy such huge pants and all I needed was for some douchy teenager in his Mom’s beat up old Honda to swing by and tell me to lose weight. I had no idea until he said it. Mind. Blown.

Shit. I feel like a class-A dumbass. Thank God he crossed my path and got through to me.

Most people have to pay a doctor, nutritionist, or personal trainer for such learned advice – but I got it for free. I am the luckiest stupid fat ass in the world. He sped off so fast that I didn’t have a minute to thank him for reaching out. The least I could have done was buy him a new carton of cigarettes. I’m not sure which brand it was that he was smoking, but it sure made him look all grown-up ‘n shit when he was speeding through the parking lot.

Don't let the haters get you down, peeps

The world is full of haters, peeps, but don’t let it get you down. As much as I’m still shocked by this kind of behavior, I’m not going to let it bother me. I did say a silent prayer that he’s either rendered completely sterile or at least fails to produce offspring until he evolves into a decent human being – but I don’t think that was out of line.

There aren’t many people clueless enough to yell “Lose some weight” to a person who is exiting a gym. What the hell did he think I was doing in there…looking for food?

I sure hope he forgives me for stepping off that curb while he was driving 50 miles an hour in the parking lot. While I’m asking for forgiveness, maybe I should apologize for yelling back “Suck it, pinky dick!”

Or not. I’m good either way.