diet coke 12-pack: week of august 8, 2011

Happy Friday, Diet Coke addicts! Hope you’ve all had a fantastic and fulfilling week. And hey, even if you didn’t, it’s the weekend now. Time to boogie. Start off your weekend off right by chowing down on these delicious Internet snacks. Xoxox.


That’s all for this week. See you Tuesday! Much love!

things i love thursday! (august 11, 2011)

Hello lovelies! Hope you’re having a wonderful Thursday! Today, the never ending money-suck that is my husband’s Volkswagen Jetta tried its best to ruin my day by breaking for the umpteenth time, but I will not be moved! Life is grand, babes. And Cameron, my 2000 Camry, is still kickin’ like a boss.

"I will heal you when you're sick or hurt."


  • Kids, and the sweet things they say. (See photo.)
  • Eating out for dinner for an entire week straight thanks to anniversaries and gift cards and being too busy to go grocery shopping. We can’t eat out for another two weeks but HEY. It was a pretty fun week!
  • Accidentally having two extremely delicious dinners on Thursday night due to a very fortunate miscommunication.
  • Mark Poole’s fries!
  • Wickle’s Pickles.
  • Bath time with Kylin.
  • “Five five five five five!” Oh, didn’t you hear? Kylin can count now!
  • Staying out way too late with Ashley and Mark (because we love them too much to get off their couch.)
  • A 40-day long anniversary present.
  • Manicures and pedicures.
  • Free nail polish.
  • Aveda.
  • Coupons for free undies and cheap bras.
  • Knocking out wedding invites with Chrissie and the girls.
  • Seeing Michael again!
  • “That’s what she said.”
  • “Sit.” “Hold.” “Bite.” “HOT!”
  • Stratton Glaze.
  • A bunch of old and new friends cramming into a teeny house to say goodbye.
  • Home brews and friends posing as amateur bartenders.
  • Falling back to sleep after being woken up way too early.
  • The entire story of Jacob in 20 minutes.
  • One Fresh.
  • Chili’s with the faves.
  • Redemption in the most unlikely form.
  • Strongbow and The Worst Case Scenario with Jessica and Nathan.
  • Lunch with this guy.
  • Drinks and appetizers after work with my coworkers, boss, and boss’s boss.
  • Truffle tots. Or whatever they’re called. Yummers.
  • Riesling.
  • Whispering.
  • Frozen Butterbeer.
  • Dark chocolate.
  • Love.
  • You.

That’s all for me. Now it’s your turn! What do you love? Let me know!

but they’re just children.

The other night, I was sitting on my couch, drinking a glass of pino grigio, watching the CBS Evening News. My sweet (and way too good for me) husband was in the kitchen, hustling and bustling to prepare dinner for us. As the news stories churned on and on, spewing gloom and doom about debt ceilings and helicopters full of our troops being shot down, I tried to focus on the tantalizing aromas floating out to me from the kitchen and the sweet, tangy wine dancing on my tongue. Working in news will do all but completely numb you to the pain and heartbreak of the world, so as I comfortably lay on that couch, I tried my best to channel that familiar apathetic mindset.

Just as I was adequately removing myself from the news, Scott Pelley popped up on the screen in a live shot from Somalia. He was reporting from a dark, dusty refugee camp, filled with groups of sad, emaciated children — 3.5 million children in Somalia are starving to death at this very moment. Before I could change the channel, I was awash in a sea of my own tears. I was breaking down, on my fluffy couch, thousands of miles away from these kids, and all I could think to myself was, But God, why them? Why? They’re just children! The story really hit home when the camera zoomed in on a tiny toddler, about the same age as my very good friend’s sweet daughter, whose arms were only a few centimeters around. In a matter of seconds I went to completely and happily removed from the situation, mindlessly enjoying the luxuries of hot food and cold drink, to sitting on the edge of my couch sweeping away tear after tear. But they’re just children! I pleaded with God in my head. Please God, you have to save them!

The next morning I came into work, those small, helpless children pushed into the back of my mind by the morning’s responsibilities. I pulled an apple out of my bag, and started to go through the news stories that had piled up on my Google reader since the last time I opened it. In an effort to get all of the world news out of the way before I clicked on my Awkward Family Photos tab, I sleepily clicked on the CNN tab. The first headline that appeared almost made me spit out apple chunks all over the screen:

The scary trend of tweens with anorexia.


Not even 24 hours after I learned about the children dying of starvation in Somalia, I read about kids, kids, in America falling victim to dangerous eating disorders as young as seven years old. God! Why? But they’re just children!

There are children starving to death all around the world because they physically do not have access to food or clean water, and in America, kids are doing it on purpose. Their mental states have become so fearful of becoming “fat” that they go to scary lengths to avoid it. Oh my, God! What is wrong with American society? What are we, as parents, as teachers, as members of the media, as mentors, as fellow human beings, saying to our children to cause this? What could we do to change this? We can’t let this happen anymore! They’re just children!

SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE. It all starts with you, and me, and what we tell our children. That they’re loved. That they’re valuable. That they’re smart. They’re talented. They’re beautiful. They’re fearfully and wonderfully made. They are worth more than this broken world would have them believe they are.

I don’t know what else to say about this. I’m just really sad.

tuesday tip — shift your focus.

We all have those days. I have them. You have them. I’m willing to bet that even the most beautiful and confident woman in the world (Kate Middleton, obvs) has them.

Days where no matter what we do with our hair, make up, fashion, whatever, our appearance is our enemy.

These days can take a myriad of forms. Sometimes they’re “fat” days. Or “bad-hair” days. Or “stay inside and avoid human interaction” days. No matter what you call them, they suck. If you’re anything like me, you tend to fixate on these problems, making your days excruciatingly difficult to get through.

The good news, though, is that these days don’t have to suck so badly. Despite the fact that your skinny jeans are sitting this week out, and that your anti-acne cleanser seems to have turned against you, and that the left side of your hair has been flat for no reason this week, you can make it through. I promise.


Photo Credit: Ashley Poole Photography

The best medicine for a “crap” day is to shift your focus to something your body can do, versus what your body looks like.  Here are some ways to kick the “crap” day blues:

  1. GO ON A WALK and focus on the fact that you have strong legs that can take you anywhere.
  2. PAINT A PICTURE (even if you wouldn’t call yourself an “artist”) and focus on your body’s innate ability to create.
  3. LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE BAND and focus on the fact that your body allows you to hear and appreciate music. Added bonus: dance, and be grateful for your body’s ability to move.
  4. CALL A FRIEND just to tell her you that you love her, and let her tell you she loves you back, and remember that this is true no matter how you feel about yourself on any given day. Added bonus: meet up with your friend and use your strong, beautiful arms to hug her.
  5. HOLD A TODDLER because seriously, how can that not make you appreciate how beautiful life is?

These are just a few of the many ways you can shift your focus onto something more positive, something more true, something more praiseworthy. I know that everyone’s different, though. (For instance, holding a toddler might make some of you reading this want to kill said toddler. That’s not productive, is it?)

So tell me — what works for you? On your “crap” days, what are some things you can do to shift your focus back to the truth? Comment and let me know!

diet coke 12-pack: week of august 1, 2011

Happy Friday, everyone! You know why Fridays are awesome? What’s that you say? Because they are the start of the weekend? No, sillies! Fridays are awesome because they come before Saturday, the only day a week I don’t need to wake up early, and so they’re the only day each week I, as an insomniac, can drink coffee worry-free!

Grab yourself a mug o’ joe and get comfy. Some incredible gems on the Internet await to be consumed by you. Enjoy!


That’s all, friends. Have a blessed weekend — see you in just three short days! xoxo

things i love thursday! (august 4, 2011)

Hello my lovely friends! Hope your week has been splendid. We are one day away from the weekend. If that’s not a reason to smile, well, I don’t know what is.

OH WAIT. Yes I do!

Photo Credit: Ashley Poole Photography


  • Fridays.
  • Realizing that Lori and I got drinks together four times in one week. (NOT ASHAMED.)
  • Running into old friends at Finnegans.
  • Angie. I can’t help but smile when I look at her pretty face. Also, when she opens her mouth.
  • Staying in bed with my love until noon on Saturday morning.
  • Finding the perfect bridesmaid dress for Chrissie’s wedding. (Hello, pockets!)
  • Knocking out the beautiful centerpieces!
  • The fact that food coloring and lamp oil do not mix.
  • Zander.
  • Playing fun games with and then teaching my j-hi kids on Sunday morning.
  • Helping Libby and Rori move, even with a torn ACL, negligent moving truck companies, and 100-degree heat.
  • Bluegrass and banjos.
  • Miller’s post-church hangouts.
  • “Well, you’re not getting any tonight…”
  • Celebrating two years of marriage!
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love.
  • Every, single person in the picture above. Thanks for making my wedding day so awesome.
  • FBDC readers. Seriously, y’all rock my socks off.
  • My best friend and the boy that makes her “ridiculously happy.”
  • Hamlet has taken to dragging his favorite cat toy into our bed with him at night, like he needs to sleep with a security stuffed animal or something. It’s super adorable, even when I awake to him playing with it in a spastic manner around 6:30 AM.
  • The fact that I have friends who were disappointed to learn that I am not pregnant.
  • Surprise roses from my husband.
  • Surprise mani/pedi gift card from my husband.
  • 40 days of intentional love.
  • Being creative in a group.
  • Hugs from the Case kids (most notably, Levi’s, which he executes by running toward you from the opposite end of the room and then leaping into your arms.)
  • The fact that I have wonderful friends that text me to check up on me after a sad tweet.
  • Community.
  • Love.
  • Grace.

All right kids. What about you? What do you love this week?

the rexia series: mommyrexia.

the ‘rexia’ series:


When Dan and I were dating, everyone kept asking us, “When are you going to get engaged already?” When we were engaged it was, “When are you getting married already?” Now that we’ve been married two years it’s, “When are you having babies already?” (I’m honored that my life is so intriguing, by the way.)

When we first got married, I said we’d be married five years before we started trying for a baby. Dan said three. I said five. He said three to five years. I said okay. Dan also said we’d have five kids. I said two. He said four. I said two. He finally said two or four. I said okay.

But the reality is… I don’t really know when we’ll have a baby, let alone four of them. It could be three years, sure. It could be five years. Or, if I’m being 100% honest with you (which you know I always am) it could be never. I really want to have babies. I do. But I struggled with disordered eating for so long that the idea of losing control of my body to a fetus is terrifying for me. Would I be able to handle it? Would I be able to gain pregnancy weight for 9 months, have a baby, then have a body forever changed by carrying a child, and NOT end up in the same body-hating life I was in that forced me into years of eating disordered hell?

Is it even worth it to try?

About a year into our marriage, I decided that yes. It’s worth it. I was a full-blown self-love warrior by that point and I decided that because I’ve always felt as though God has created me to be a wife and a mother, my dysfunctional relationship with my body wasn’t going to get in the way of that calling. So, we elected to stop refilling my birth control. Mind you, we’re not actively trying to get pregnant. We’ve just eliminated unwanted chemicals and hormones from my body to keep me healthy enough, just in case. And besides, even if our society puts unreasonable beauty standards on women, they get a free pass when they’re pregnant, right?

Sigh. Wrong. Enter: mommyrexia.

Yes. This is a real word. Yes. This is a real thing.

Pregnant women are evidently so concerned with their weight that they are doing insane things to ensure they gain as little weight as possible while pregnant. Eating too little. Exercising too much. Wait, what?

Isn’t pregnancy the one time in a woman’s life she is allowed to eat whatever she wants and evade judgment? It looks like, in our society, those days are long gone. Magazines and websites in our celebrity-obsessed culture barf up cover after feature after spread of “post-baby bodies,” praising these starlets for getting down to pre-pregnancy weight in as little as one month. Naturally, women across the country are starting to think this is normal, despite the truth that every woman is different and not all pregnancies are created equal.

I reached out to some of my mom friends for advice about this. (The ones I contacted via text immediately assumed the reason I was inquiring was because I’m pregnant. I felt really bad having to tell them that I’m not.) Here is what a handful of them had to say about managing their weight during pregnancy:

  • Emily: I personally did not “manage my weight” but instead focused on eating healthy, whole foods, many smaller meals throughout the day, and saving sweets as a treat. Exercised as it felt good, but not to maintain a weight range. Childbirth is a marathon… and a person doesn’t prepare for a marathon by sitting on the couch and eating ice cream all day. She needs to condition her body with APPROPRIATE exercise and feed it with healthy foods so she is ready to “run” on race day.
  • Ashley C.: I did not worry about my weight and ate a ton of sweets — what I craved. I did jog in the beginning, then walked, then nothing. I gained the same amount of weight for each pregnancy…29 lbs.
  • Theresa: I ate when I was hungry, didn’t eat when I wasn’t. I was active, but didn’t work out or anything. If it isn’t good for you when you’re not pregnant, it’s not good for you when you are….it doesn’t have to be complicated!
  • Rebecca: I tried at the beginning, but my doctor convinced me it was about feeling good and the baby being healthy. I had preeclampsia and my blood disorder, so it was more about keeping baby and I safe than what foods to eat. You can always lose the weight, but you can’t always go back and make sure baby gets everything he/she needs.
  • Ashley P.: I didn’t give into “cravings.” I ate normally, just a little more of everything. I walked a lot, but never overdid it. And did light arm weights.
    Me: Cool. So nothing extreme?
    Ashley P.: Absolutely not! It’s so selfish!

Bam. Ashley P. nails it.

Look. I obviously understand the fear of weight gain. I absolutely get how scary that can be. But I also know that when I get pregnant, my body won’t belong to me anymore.

A little over two years ago, I was couple months out from my wedding, and I remember being so scared that my eating disorder would rear its ugly head when it came time for us to try for babies. The thought of going through that made me sick to think about, so I sought out some counsel. I sat down with one of my pastors (whose tiny wife is now, at the time of this writing, pregnant with their fourth child.) He showed me a bible verse (1 Timothy 2:15, for those of you who are following along in your bibles) that says women will be saved through child birth. I haven’t been pregnant, and I haven’t given birth, but I think this verse is true. Motherhood is arguably the most sacrificial act a woman can do. And offering up her body to the child during pregnancy is the first sacrifice of many the mother will make. But, not only does this sacrifice benefit the baby, but it also saves the mother. Oh, what a joyful and beautiful thing it is when a woman finally realizes that her body was built to do more magnificent things, sustaining and giving life, than looking “acceptable” in a bikini.

I just wish that society knew that about us. I wish they knew that about us and celebrated that about us, instead of making us feel ashamed of it.

tuesday tip — communicate.


For some reason, I was born without a thing called a “filter.” What that means for me is that if a thought comes to my mind, there isn’t anything between it and my mouth. A filter is manned by something called “restraint,” and nothing about that word sounds good to me. (I equate the word “restraint” with the words “Oreos are a sometimes food” and I just don’t believe that.) As a communicator, I don’t mind this all that much. I don’t like to be left alone with my own thoughts. Merely thinking is too solitary. Too lonely. I don’t like to be alone. I want to be around people all the time. Speaking is one half of communicating, and communicating is inclusive.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’re probably aware that my anti-filter is especially evident. Even if I’m pissed off. Or sad. Or frustrated. If I’m thinking it, you’re reading it.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that on my blog, I can create a filter. The backspace key allows for that. You are absolutely right. But here’s my question to you: why?

When I first started this blog, I elected to be as conversational as possible. That would mean, for me, holding nothing back. And that scared the living crap out of me. Spouting off everything that crosses my mind to my friends is one thing — putting it on the Internet for six billion people to read? Yikes. That’s a whole different can of worms. When I posted my first post, it was my assumption that anyone who happened across my blog would read it for five minutes tops before indifferently navigating to another page. I mean, let’s be honest, here — it’s not like I’m blogging about rocket science. The issues I write about are issues a lot of people already think about. I’m no revolutionary. And so, I created this blog, all the while accepting the fact that no one would probably care about it or communicate back.

Uh, wow. I couldn’t have been more wrong about this. I’ve gotten emails. Facebook messages. Stops on the street. The other side of the conversation has erupted. People aren’t just thinking about these issues anymore. They’re talking about them, too. In offices. In coffee shops. In bars. With friends. To me.

And so…


Do you think you look great today? Talk about it. Did you have a body-image meltdown last night because your “skinny” jeans don’t fit right? Talk about it. Do you hate hearing your friend say she’s fat and ugly all the time? Talk about it. I know it can be absolutely terrifying to share what is on your heart, be it joyful or morose, but that doesn’t get us anywhere. Nothing has ever been changed before someone opened up and talked about it.

This past week I stumbled across a Swedish proverb that states, “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” And I fully believe that. If you’re having one of those days where your self-love meter is off the chart, tell someone about it. Let them rejoice with you in your victory. Likewise, if you find yourself struggling to get through the day without thinking negatively about yourself, reach out to a friend. Let them lighten the load for you. A self-love journey is personal, yes. But real transformation happens when we allow enough room in our lives to others in.