Beauty Sleep

For many, many years I have had a lot of trouble falling asleep. Not sleeping, just falling asleep. Once I’m asleep, its all good. Even if I get up in the middle of the night to visit the “Little Lawyer’s Room” or to help my elderly pup use the “Little Weenie’s Room” I have no trouble falling back asleep. Its that first hour or two that I will toss and turn. My brain runs at a million miles per minute, which can be expected with my day-to-day routine and career. The hamster in my head, as I picture, is running on her wheel, doing her taxes, redesigning her kitchen, and planning her quinceanera all at the same time. I need help.

I’ve tried everything under the sun to get myself to fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time excluding any prescriptions. I come from a long line of addicts who have struggled with various addictions so I have made a life commitment to try and stay away from any controlled substance that was not medically necessary.  What methods have I tried, you ask?  Let me count the ways…

I started with keeping the room dark for the last hour before I went to bed so my body could go through the cycle of producing melatonin to help me fall asleep. Fail.

I started taking melatonin supplements. At first it helped a little, but then it started to wear off no matter how much I upped the dosage.

Alcoholism wasn’t an option.

Then I turned to  turning off all “blue screened” electronics about 30 minutes to 1 hr before going to sleep. Nope.

The one thing that did help was Sleepy Time Weed, as it was known around my house. Don’t worry I only started this when medical marijuana was legalized in California, so don’t get your panties in a bunch. Also, my Grandpa knew about it, so it can’t be that bad, right? I’d meet my “dealer” (AKA the very nice guys from a delivery service) outside and exchange my cash money for something in a brown paper bag. No, I wasn’t rolling joints or doing anything cool like the kids did when I was in high school. Instead I vaped it. No pomp and circumstance here. This seemed to be a good method for getting sleep, but here’s the tricky part- although it worked for me when I was home or in the bounds of California, we also travel a lot. This put the lawyer into a very legal predicament. Do I take the chance and travel with it breaking all sorts of federal laws? I am too cute for prison. So instead when I traveled, and I know this is breaking one of my rules I stated above, I’d pop a Xanax. This was a solution, although not a good and viable solution. As you can see, I hit rock bottom and needed something healthier than smoking and dropping Xanies.

Thats when my weight loss doctor introduced me to NeuroScience Kavinace Ultra PM, a dietary supplement. Ready for some copied and pasted nerd talk? I’ve tried to explain as well as I can without a PHd. Here goes nothing… This magical supplement includes the GABA derivative, 4 amino-3-phenylbutyric acid, which easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and acts as a GABAb agonist (a substance which initiates a physiological response when combined with a receptor). GABA is the body’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, meaning it slows down the brain or a reaction. It also contains 5-HTP to support serotonin production, a precursor to melatonin. Serotonin is one of the most important brain chemicals for regulating the sleep/wake cycles. Last, it also contains good ol’ melatonin to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promoting restful sleep. So, in a nutshell, this is like your grocery store bought melatonin supplement on steroids, which also takes care of what your body needs to do and produce before it can even effectively get to the melatonin stage.

I guess you can already guess what I am obsessing over this week- Neuroscience Kavinace Ultra PM. I have slept better than I have in a long, long time. I’ve been weed free since Thanksgiving 2018 and sleeping soundly. I take the supplement about an hour before I go to bed and wake up in the morning with no residue effect. It doesn’t “knock me out” so I am still able to hear when Audrey, my senior citizen dog, needs to powder her nose.

In addition to taking Kavinace Ultra PM, I also try to stay away from all electronics an hour before I go to bed. I have found that reading a good book helps to get my “sleepy process” started. Right now I am almost finished with “The Witch Elm” by Tanya French. Nothing like a good murder mystery to lullaby you into a great nights sleep, but it works for me!

Whiskey for my Women

A famous author once said, “Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life, you can barely remember what life was like without them.”  This gives me all the feels because I couldn’t relate to this more.  I have been blessed in so many ways in my life, but the one blessing I hold most dear are my friendships.  Whether its with my family, or friends I’ve know since I was a young girl, or friends I just met- my friendships are my most valued assets. They’re the first things I’d grab in a fire.

Throughout the written chapters in my life I have had many supporting characters there to encourage me and my crazy choices. They are the strong ones when I am weak. They are the comedian when I need a good laugh. This past weekend couldn’t have been a better example of my friendship wealth. I went away for a good ol’ fashioned girls’ weekend with two close friends- one I have known since preschool and the other I just met this year.  We ran away for a weekend to just be together and to just be well. This was our “wellness weekend.”

I’ve outgrown the weekends away in Vegas with my friends, laying poolside with a cocktail….. Especially because we all know that ends with me balls deep in a pizza yelling at the blackjack dealer that I just “took us out of a relationship on Facebook” due to the crappy cards he dealt me! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, JEREMY! UNCOOL. Clearly, this has happened more than once…. Anyho…. I don’t have the energy, the patience, or the room in my waistband for the weekends away of my past. My day to day dance card is already filled, I need to actually relax on my weekends.

As I’ve said before, traveling is hard on this fight. I’ve given myself some “Chubby Girl Travel Commandments” to live by but it’s not easy. That’s why I appreciate weekends like last weekend. Just a couple of good friends, in a beautiful spot, locked away and focused on the same goals- being healthy both inside and out. No, this doesn’t mean we just gnawed on vegetables and ice cubes all weekend. Instead it meant getting things done, both personally and professionally, to take our personal practices to the next level. We did just that while also eating well (think tacos, homemade flat breads, and BBQ) while sipping fun cocktails (I arrived with two different types of vodka and one bottle of whiskey. That’s a bottle a person. Do the math.).  Thankfully, gone are the days of acting like a bunch of 21 year olds experiencing their first beer. Instead they’ve been substituted with home cooked food and fun cocktails. I have finally perfected my night cap.

At the end of the weekend we threw a real grown up, family dinner. The table was surrounded by not just blood family, but also the new family we made that weekend.  We were in the middle of Nowhere Town, USA.  There was no cell reception, barely any WI-FI, and absolutely no TV.  So we invited not only other girlfriends from each of our own squads, but we also invited the women who worked on the farm to break bread with us. You’ve never seen a more efficient kitchen before. I’m impressed by what can get done when it’s only women. So we sat, ate, laughed, sipped, and we got to know not just one another, but also ourselves a little deeper.

On the final morning, as I sat on the porch of the beautiful farm we were blessed to call home for four days, I was able to really think about what the point is to this fight. Look, there have been some major ups. For example, the first five pounds I lost. There have also been some downs. For example, being stuck in those first five pounds. But besides the ups and downs there has also been a lot of learning, and not just about weight loss, but also about myself and the people I have chosen to surround myself with. Let me tell you, the metaphorical cream of my friendships have floated to the top since I started this fight, so to speak. They are the ones that have supported me through this. They’ve recognized that I am battling something and support me, no matter what that means. They get when I say “no” to things it’s not because I don’t want to see them, it’s because I want to see literally less of me.  There is zero pressure.  I like my friends like I like my cakes- guilt free, sweet, and full of ice cream.

Last weekend got me thinking that maybe it’s not just time to lose weight but maybe it’s also time to lose some metaphorical weight that has been holding me down. Meaning, maybe it’s time for a friendship spring cleaning. Now this doesn’t mean I am looking for an influx of phone calls and texts from friends seeing if this is a message to them because this isn’t to anyone in particular at all. Also, anyone who knows me well knows that I am a very direct person. So I would tell you. What I am saying is, I just need to figure out, now that I’m in my mid 30s and a lot of big things are happening in my life, who are the friends that are still supportive of my crazy ideas (like this blog life I’ve decided to take on)? Who makes it easy to call them my friend? Who just let’s me be me living my own version of my best life? Those are the people I want to surround myself. They are the frosting on my cake.

So I will end this blog as I always do- with a call to action. Mia Bella Lotta Faithful, take stock of the people in your life that you call your friends. Do a real good inventory. Look, the end of the year is coming up so this is a good time to do a little accounting. Next, who in your inventory is someone who supports you, loves you unconditionally, and is the effortless type of friendships where no work is needed but you want to put the work in? Right there are the ones that you should grab hold of and put in your MySpace Top 8. Don’t let them go.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 158.4 LBS, Chest 36.5, Under Boob 30, Belly Button 32.25, Below Hips 38.5, Largest Part of Butt 41.75.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “Drink You Away” by Justin Timberlake

I can’t drink you away
I’ve tried Jack, I’ve tried Jim,
I’ve tried all of their friends
But I can’t drink you away
All these rocks
I can’t swim
Out of this skin
I’m living in.

Photo by Katie Mick Photography @katiemickphotography on Instagram. She’s a genius.

#NoFilterNeeded

I think we may have gotten off on the wrong foot, or at least a misinterpreted foot (if that is even a thing?).  I don’t want any of you to think I am not, at my core, happy.  I am.  I am very happy, and gosh darn it people like me.

Trust me, I can see how reading my first blog posts would give you the idea that I am unhappy or depressed.  Let me assure you I am none of those things.  Like I said in my first blog post- I wouldn’t feel sorry for me.  I will be the first to acknowledge that I have a wonderful life with not a lot to complain about.  I have my general health.  Both my parents and those close to me are relatively healthy.  I have a career and I make pretty good money. I get to travel a lot and immerse myself into other cultures whenever I please. I have a very understanding boyfriend who loves me even when I’m in my sweats and suggest that if he really loved me he would go get me my DAMN CLOWN CONE (from Baskin Robbins).  I have made countless friends over the various periods of my life that I hold on to and cherish as if we met the day I was born. I have nieces and nephews that still think  I am young and can use me as a jungle gym, I can tan without burning….. AND I can rub my belly and pat my head at the same time- I have some real #GirlBoss skills.  Really the only thing that I can complain about is what inspired me to start this blog… my weight issues.  Period.  Full Stop.

One reason I decided to go public with this insecurity of mine is because every day we jump on social media, scroll through our newsfeed and we see all the greatness that is going on in our friends, family, or celebrities lives.  The celebrations, the pretty pictures with  great lighting and filtered to the ends of the earth… the list goes on.  I know this because I do it almost very gosh darn time I post a picture or “check in.” We are constantly trying to play “keeping up with the Jones'” with every post and click.   I think that is why the response to something imperfect made people wonder if I was in a bad place.  When the consistent themes on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are about politics and selfies, and we are all in this constant battle to one up each other and stay relevant – its easy to see how when one thing is not like all the others causes people to stop and think “oh shit, what’s wrong with her? Is she OK?”

Why don’t we share the mundane, the average, the everyday, the “Stars are Just Like Us, The Real People Version” more often? We are regular, everyday people!  There doesn’t always have to be something spectacular going on to share with those we love.   Doesn’t the average, no matter if its good, bad, or ugly make us more relatable to each other?  Its funny that we praise when a celebrity posts a #NoMakeUpSelfie or #NoFilter or #NoPhotoshop picture and applaud them for being so real and raw, but when one of our own does that we think that maybe its a cry for help.  I am quite often guilty of this.

A couple years ago (I believe it was) Tyra Banks, or Debra Messing, or some other rockin’ female empowerment celebrity who challenged us to take a #FreshFaceFriday selfie and post it to our social media page.  No make up, no great lighting, no filters, no nothing…. So I challenge you this Labor Day Weekend to post something that is real and raw.  Please no food pics, we’ve all had enough of those.  Don’t cover yourself up with a filter, great lighting, great angles, and/or “hand on hip” photo just once.  See yourself and let people see you for who you really are.  Just an awesome human being making ends meet and living YOUR best life.  Embrace your awesome.

Alright, I have to go right now b/c I am out of breath being so high up on this soap box I built for myself and right now is “magic hour”… these #Selfies aren’t going to take themselves.

WEIGH IN/MEASUREMENTS: 159LBS, Chest 37.5, Under Boob 30.75, Belly Button 33.25, Below Hips 38.75, Largest Part of Butt 42- not much moving but I’ll take it.  Slow and steady wins the race.

SONG OF THE WEEK: “It’s Only Life” by Kate Voegele

Take your hesitance,
And your self defense,
Leave them behind,
It’s only life,
Don’t be so afraid of facing every day,
Just take your time,
It’s only life,
I’ll be your stepping stone,
Don’t be so alone,
Just hold on tight, it’s only life,