Sunday, October 11, 2015

More Than A Fat Bitch

Someone called me a "fat bitch" the other day.

Being called a bitch isn't a new thing. There are always going to be people who don't like you and people who will call you names for not doing what they want. That's life. 

I wish I could say that after being fat for a long time it eventually stops hurting when someone else points it out, but that's a lie. The truth is, I know I'm fat. 

I knew I was fat when I started gaining the weight in high school.

I knew I was fat when I reunited with an old boyfriend after not seeing each other for 5 years and he told me that I was perfect in every way, except for my "physique".

I knew I was fat when I started shopping in the plus size section.

I knew I was fat when I needed plus size stores, and not just a section.

I knew I was fat when I saw a doctor, two dietitians and a therapist for my binge eating disorder.

I knew I was fat when I realized I felt safer and less likely to be victimized in a body I felt was less accepted and considered attractive by society.

Being fat doesn't make me stupid. I know what being fat does to my body. I know that some of my physical ailments would be eased with the loss of some weight. I also know what being fat will do to my body in the future.

I know I'm fat, and you're not hurting my feelings by telling me something everyone can see. What hurts my feelings is when people can't see past it.

I once worked for a large, well-known company as a contract employee. I started during what was supposed to be the slowest time of the year, but for the first three months on the job I was working full-time with overtime (in addition to working a seasonal job). Things were going well, my coworkers seemed to like me, my supervisors seemed to appreciate me and I was often complimented on my hard work.

I enjoyed my job until one day I went into the break room where one of my coworkers (who would later become my supervisor) was sitting. I jokingly suggested we run away because I was tired of working that day.

His response? "Well, you could get a sugar daddy and you wouldn't have to work anymore, but you'd have to lose some weight first."

I could've laughed off the inappropriate sugar daddy joke, but the weight comment stung because I thought we were friendly and he himself was morbidly obese. He regularly told me what a hard worker I was, I thought he saw me as a hard worker and not just a fat person.

I should have reported him for sexual harassment. At the very least, I should have told him to go kick rocks, but I was too shocked. I'd busted my butt to make sure deadlines were met. I'd worked more overtime than anyone in addition to working another job and he had complimented me on my work ethic countless times.

That isn't the first time I've encountered that in the workplace. It isn't the first time I've encountered that in public or anywhere.

I am fat.  I might even be a bitch.  I am also more than a fat bitch.

I am a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. I'm fairly intelligent (at least intelligent enough to know that being fat doesn't make someone stupid). I'm good at my job. I read up on current events. I strive to eat healthy. I'm a pretty good speller. I'm sexy and there are people who are attracted to ME just as I am. I'm kind. I am a yogi. I am an animal lover. I am all these things and so much more.

But most importantly, I am a person.

At 29 years old, I struggle with accepting my body the way it is. I would love to be able to say"Fuck your Beauty Standards" and feel beautiful in my skin, but I can't because I feel like so much of who I am as a physical person is proof that I am failing by falling victim to the things that have happened to me. That doesn't change the fact that I am still a person. I am still a person with feelings and thoughts and I am part of this human experience whether or not anyone likes it.

Absolutely no one is perfect.  No one.  If "fat" is the worst thing someone can think of to call me, then I am not failing too horribly at being a decent human being, and that's why I think using "fat" as a means to insult me is such a low blow.


This has been a Sunday Confession.  The topic was "Low".

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Social Anxiety Wins

"Hi! My name is Ashley and I have social anxiety."

Just kidding.  If Social Anxiety Sufferers Anonymous were ever to become a thing, it would crash and burn because maybe 1/3 of the participants would force themselves to attend meetings.  The rest would feign illness or show up and hide in the bathroom.

I wish I knew when social interaction began causing anxiety for me. I think it was middle school.

Growing up I had a lot of female friends, but the older I got and the more hormones started cruising through my body and the body of all the little girls around me the more we seemed to despise each other. Puberty seemed to make the glittering world of sisterhood and tie-dyed girl power a war zone of jealousy.

I don't have a large group of friends.  I don't even have a large social network.  About twice a year something comes over me and I remove people from my Facebook "Friends" because one of my greatest fears is that I will die and people who haven't had a conversation with me in over a decade will show up at my funeral.  Seeing people show up at a funeral with big emotional outbursts and flashy grieving is what I consider to be the highest forms of insult to both the deceased and the people who actually had a close relationship with them.  When I die, I hope only the people who actually gave a shit while I was alive show up (if anyone bothers, that is).

The last time I forced myself to attend a social function, I made the mistake of going alone when I only knew the hosts.  I ended up standing next to the pool, eating mashed potatoes from a plastic martini glass and fighting back lonely, awkward tears.

I'm not usually lonely.  I enjoy my own company.  It's only when I attempt to be social in ways other people deem acceptable that I find myself feeling awkward and lonely.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Please Share Food

I'm avoiding social media right now.

It's sounds like such a passive aggressive thing to do, except I'm really just being polite.  I just can't take the widespread ICK that is the Internet right now. 

Inspirational memes make me want to throw up lately.  I keep seeing the same sentiments posted over and over.  The most irritating being the one that denies all responsibility for your own life.  The message, in summary, being: "If you're facing challenges, it's because you're being made better.  If people are leaving your life, it's because they're the wrong people.  If bad things are happening, it's not because anything in life is actually a consequence of your actions...it's because there is a higher purpose".  Sometimes when you're struggling, you need to believe there is reason behind it.  But sometimes in life, you face challenges, people leave you, and bad things happen because you're being a dick as a direct result of your actions. 


I've started unfriending people who made nasty comments on my status updates.  It isn't that I don't think we can disagree, have differences of opinion, or share our own thoughts without staying friends.  I've simply run out of excuses or patience for people who want to use the things I share on social media as an excuse to take a dig at me for something they're unhappy about in their own life or in "retaliation" for being unhappy with me for some reason.

I've run out of patience for people who misrepresent themselves.  There have been people I've met that I thought I could really love.  People who I invited into my life whose lives I tried to be a part of as well.  People who I messaged and had conversations with late at night.  People I thought cared.  It turns out I simply fell for the social media facade.  They wax poetic about their lives in public, but if you watch and wait long enough eventually you'll see that you can roll a piece of crap in powdered sugar, but that doesn't make it a jelly donut. 

I've grown weary of the kind of people who want to blather on aimlessly about eating healthy, avoiding processed food, gluten/corn syrup/GMO free food because they care so much about what goes IN their mouth but not so much about what comes OUT of it.  What is the point in making sure you get the best, organic, most healthy fuel if what comes out of you is toxicity?  What higher purpose do you serve if in all of your crunchy, organic goodness... you're a really mean-spirited, ugly person hiding behind status symbols of someone who is about goodness?

I'm over it.  I really just want everyone to go back to sharing photos of their food. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Broken Compass


My mom once told me that as a child I had a very strong sense of right and wrong.

I think that child died.

We live in a society where sharing intimate photos of a woman without her permission isn't illegal, but we'll shame her to the bitter end for taking them in the first place.

We live in a world where we look at someone for a reason they were victimized instead of looking at the perpetrator and asking them, "what the fuck is wrong with you?"

We don't take the CEOs, the other corporate whores and the Government to task for the raises and the handouts they get while food stamp recipients are torn to shreds for not being able to afford groceries.  Because a single parent who can't do it alone and can't get child support from someone who won't get a job or fled the state to avoid paying child support deserves to be demonized, right?

I see how people work a 40 hour work week, make good financial choices, and still can't pay the bills.  I see how people strive to make changes to succeed and only really achieve hitting the same roadblocks at a higher speed.

I look and I see people doing desperate things just trying to survive, and I can't bring myself to judge anymore.  I don't understand how anyone can expect people to maintain a moral compass when they're fighting to survive a system that is morally bankrupt to begin with.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Calling in Sick and Anal Glaucoma


I have never called in sick to work because I was hungover.  
Somehow, it felt extra dishonest to call in sick when I'd made myself sick.  Those times when I made a poor decision on a weeknight, I drank my Gatorade and went to work the next day because no one else deserved to suffer a bad day for my poor decision making. 
I've called in sick for food poisoning.  I've called in sick with migraines I could find no relief from.  I've called in when I was suffering from the common cold because I needed the healing power of a day spent cat napping, eating chicken soup and watching crappy daytime television.
But I am ashamed of the days in my past when I feigned illness to avoid my workplace.  Days where I almost called in to say I had anal glaucoma and I just couldn't see my ass coming into work.
People need time away from their place of employment. An employer who wants happy employees will encourage them to enjoy time away from the workplace. I believe employees should take those days and enjoy them.  I believe in mental health days: days spent doing whatever needs doing, time to just breath.  
I used that as justification to call in sick when I wasn't.  And I wasn't using my mental health days to just breathe.  
I once found myself in an employment situation where every morning I prayed for a car accident to derail my day.  There were days when I called in sick just because I couldn't face a day dealing with my abusive coworkers.  My manager not only ignored, but fostered a hostile work environment.  It wasn't unusual to experience yelling, name calling, threats, or feeling physically threatened weekly, sometimes daily. 
I hated calling in sick because I didn't want to experience verbal abuse for a day. I looked forward to flu season and strep throat because I could call in sick without the liars' guilt that came with feigning illness. I felt solace when I experienced illness I could get a doctor's note for. 
It was a hell I lived in for more than 3 years.  I should have left sooner.  But I spent a lot of time telling myself that work wasn't meant to be a cakewalk.  I told myself that no one loved their job.  I struggled to find alternative employment that would pay me what I was getting.  I wrote off the abuse as something that came with employment in a high stress environment and that's why I was paid so well.
When I left that job, I found myself in a relationship I took mental health days from. I called in sick and didn't tell my significant other just so I could sit at home in peace by myself.  
Looking back, I learned a life lesson.  Mental Health Days should be days you take to do things to take care of yourself.  They should be days spent doing things you don't always have time to do.  They should be days spent pampering yourself with things like sleeping in late, brunch, and drinking coffee in 10 a.m sunshine.  Mental Health Days shouldn't be days spent recovering abuse.  Mental Health Days shouldn't be hours spent preparing yourself for what will happen tomorrow.  Mental Health Days should be something planned and relished, not something obtained by leaving a hoarse, throaty message that you're too sick to work. 
If something in your life makes you feign illness, there's a good chance it is actually making you sick.  If something makes you want to call in with anal glaucoma because you just don't see your ass dealing with it, there's a good chance you need to tell it to kiss your ass and move on. 


Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Fine Line

I'm just a girl in the world. 
Isn't that how the songs goes?  
It never ceases to amaze me how our society refers to women as the weaker sex.  We are to be emotional, gentle, sweet, always somehow "lesser".  I'm supposed to be just a girl.  Dainty.  Feminine.  Weak.  Full of love and maternal instinct and sisterhood (as long as no man finds it threatening).   
Yet, I get up every morning and get dressed, sliding on one pant leg at a time.  I know that in spite of all the things I'm supposed to be, I'm still expected to walk out the door and rule the world.   I'm confused by this every morning.  I'm supposed to change the world, rule the world, take care of the world... yet, I'm supposed to be the weaker sex.


This has been a short Sunday Confession. The prompt this week was: Pant.  I hope you'll take the time to read the contributions from all of the great writers who have chosen to participate.  If the prompt inspires you, feel free to link up your own post below or share an anonymous confession in the comments below by clicking the blue linkup button.   Thanks for joining us.
An InLinkz Link-up

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I Can't Spare a Square!

I was 3 years old when the first episode of Seinfeld aired.  As a kid, I found the sitcom boring.  As an adult, I found a genuine appreciation for the series and I find myself often quoting or referring to it.  I am an original fan, staying up watching reruns before it was available via streaming media.  I've seen them all. 
Seinfeld is life.
The beauty and true comedic genius behind Seinfeld were the series of moments everyone can relate to.  From Jerry's dating experiences to George's employment woes, we've all had a Seinfeld moment. We have all encountered our own personal Soup Nazi at one point or another. 
In January of 1994, "The Stall" aired.  In this episode, both Elaine and Jerry are at the movies with dates. Elaine goes to the bathroom only to realize, too late, that there is no toilet paper.  She pleads with the woman in the stall next to her who refuses, saying "I can't spare a square".  The women never see each other, and both leave outraged by the encounter.  Later, we find out that the woman from the bathroom is Jerry's new girlfriend, Jane.  When Jerry hears Elaine's version of the story, he decides not to introduce the women.  Elaine runs into Jerry and Jane at  the diner and realizes Jane is the woman from the bathroom.  When Jane announces she is going to the bathroom, Elaine runs to the door and shoves past Jane on the way.  The next scene opens in the bathroom to find Jane is asking her neighbor if they will give her some toilet paper. The stall door opens to reveal Elaine sitting in the stall with all the rolls.  She exclaims that she "can't spare a square" before running out of the stall with her stash of toilet paper.
I often overextend myself until I feel like I can't spare a square (I wish that didn't sound like a fat joke).  I strive to be generous, but sometimes give so much of my money, time, energy and spirit that I have nothing left for myself.
It is distressing to me that I don't have financial security.  It is more distressing to me when I see someone I care about struggling to make ends meet.  I choose to help people struggle less, even if it means I struggle a little more.  It is a choice I make but doesn't make situations where money is tight any easier for me when I need the same support.  
It bothers me when I give of myself, only to feel like my time isn't appreciated when it is such a commodity to me.  As someone who deals with chronic pain, I have limited energy.  Giving someone my energy means something in my life doesn't get completed that day.  I hate that when I finally ask for help I'm treated as a burden; a burden I wouldn't be if I'd focused on my own needs to begin with. 
 It's hard to see someone take my generosity and abuse it.  When I work for something and have enough to share, I choose to share with the people I feel need it.  It bothers me when I don't get a simple "thank you".  It bothers me when people use my generosity like a handout instead of a hand up as it was intended.   It hurts when I give things to people I could have gotten money for, and they don't use it in spite of "needing" it. 
It's hard when I accept someone only to find they don't accept me because I don't fit into some mold or box.  I hate feeling like I've given someone a special place in my life only to find out I don't hold a place in theirs.  I hate when I've been accepting and gotten judgment in return.  I hate when I've shown compassion and acceptance and in return found intolerance.
 I accept that I don't get to dictate how people use the things I give them.  I also know I should only give what I can afford to lose or replace.  If we teach others how to treat us, I'm failing because I feel like I build one-way roads to other people.  At some point, when I realize that no one is going to spare me a square in return... I stop.
And so when I feel like I can't give any more, when I can't give to people who can't spare a square for me, I hoard the squares.  I hate feeling like I'm alone in my cave, running my fingers over the soft, double-ply roll as I call it "my precious".  I hate feeling like I grow apathetic.  I need to learn how to balance caring for myself, and giving to others in ways that make me feel good.


This has been a Sunday Confession.  The prompt this week was: Square.  I hope you'll take the time to read the contributions from all of the great writers who have chosen to participate.  If the prompt inspires you, feel free to link up your own post below or share an anonymous confession in the comments below.   Thanks for joining us. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Huge Announcement

 Are you ready for my big announcement?  It's huge.  You're going to be so surprised and excited.... I just know it. 

MORE THAN CHEESE AND BEER: THE BOOK is coming to a bookstore near you next year. 

That's right.  I have a publisher.  I expect you all to go out and buy yourself a copy using my Amazon Associates code, or steal someone else's off the back of their toilet!

You know I'm joking, right?  Were you excited when you thought I wasn't kidding and this was going to be a real thing you could read the next time you're hiding from your kids in the bathroom under the guise of "taking a poop"?  Did you want to come meet me in a bookstore somewhere so I could sign your copy and you could walk away wondering if you smelled vodka?  Better yet, did you want to be the awesome person who came to meet me in a bookstore and BRING me vodka?

As much as I had aspirations of writing a book when I was younger, as an adult it just doesn't seem like something I can do.  I say this because I do, in fact, read my own blog.  

I am not everyone's cup of tea, and that is fine because I'd rather be their shot of whiskey.  But who ever started doing shots of whiskey with an end goal in mind?  If I were to write a book, I'm not sure what I would write it about.  I once had aspirations of going on the road with my own one-woman show; it was going to be called, "Shit my exes texted me: dramatic messages from the morons who've shaped my bitterness". Could I turn that into something people would actually want to read?

My life experiences aren't without value.  I make people laugh.  I've learned some lessons along the way that might impart some wisdom to someone somewhere along the way.  I know that what I share of myself has inspired people before.  Is that enough reason to write a book?  Somehow, I have this idea in my head that if I want to write about something I should know how it shapes me in an admirable way before sharing it.  For example, my trials in the dating world... I think I need to stop failing first so that I can see how those experiences truly shape me as someone another person wants to actually be with.  Is there any value to reading a book about dating from someone who is still single?  All of these other experiences I've had, I can't help but feel as though I am wholly incomplete and that writing a book in the middle of my story is like making a movie about the making of a movie you don't even have the screenplay for.  

All of the things I am doing and experiencing, they shape who I am right now but have I reached a point where I feel accomplished enough or shaped enough as a person to write a book about it?  I don't think so.   

So my big announcement?  I'm not writing a book this year.

I could always write fiction.  What small, short fiction I've read has been met with rave reviews.  It is the one place I feel comfortable exposing what a dark little weirdo I am, and that seems to be working out for Stephen King.  Maybe there is a future book in store after all....



This a Secret Subject Swap post!  This week 16 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.  

 My subject was “You are writing a book.  Is it fact or fiction? What is the title and what is it about?”.  It was submitted by http://Bakinginatornado.com.  Here goes: 




Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:



http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado

http://themomisodes.com                                          The Momisodes

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com                    The Bergham’s Life Chronicles

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                 Stacy Sews and Schools

http://dinoheromommy.com/                            Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                  Spatulas on Parade

http://www.southernbellecharm.com                        Southern Belle Charm

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                               Never Ever Give Up Hope

http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/                                 Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

http://www.silenceofthemom.blogspot.com                    Silence of the Mom

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                      Someone Else’s Genius

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/              Confessions of a part-time working mom

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com                The Angrivated Mom

http://morethancheeseandbeer.blogspot.com           More Than Cheese and Beer

http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                     Searching for Sanity  
http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com                           Climaxed







Thursday, July 23, 2015

Product Junkie Review: The Honest Company (1 Year Review)


Almost a year ago, I checked out The Honest Company at the recommendation of one of my readers.  I went to the site and got the Free Trial which included 5 trial size products and all I had to pay was $5.95 shipping.  Click here to read my first review of The Honest Company Products including Lemongrass Handsoap, Face + Body Lotion, Healing Balm, Shampoo + Body Wash, Laundry Detergent, Multi-Surface Cleanser, Fruit & Veggie Wash, and Toothpaste.

I've received a few more bundles from them with different products since then and enjoyed more of them.  The following products were received and used at some point during the last year.

Honest Deodorant (4 fl. oz/$8.95) I've heard so many people concerned about deodorants and the chemicals in them being linked to Cancer.  I honestly don't know what I think about that, but it isn't the main reason I chose to try Honest Company Deodorant.  I have found that most popular deodorants cause me to develop painful lumps in my underarms. These lumps eventually go away, but I've used the same clinical strength formula deodorant for nearly a decade because it doesn't cause that painful reaction.  I've tried salt crystals and sprays in the past with little or no success, but because I've been so thrilled with Honest Company products I decided to try one of the three scents Honest offers.  It is a clear spray in a pump bottle made with aloe, and an essential oil blend that includes oils commonly known for being antibacterial to neutralize odors with the zinc salts and aluminum.  So far, I'm in love.  While it doesn't provide 14-18 hours of odor protection with a single application like the deodorant I'm used to, application is fast and I have not experienced a reaction.  I also enjoy not worrying about white marks or stains on my clothes or stickiness.  I purchased the Bergamot Sage and I'm loving the scent as well.

Organic Shave Oil (2.25 fl. oz/$15.95) Touted as a shave oil allowing you to get super close while helping to protect skin against nicks and cuts, the Organic Shave Oil also claims to soothe irritation and calm sensitive skin.  The oil itself is thick and I loved the scent from all of the different oils which include sesame, argan, calendula, rosehip, lavender, bergamot, clary sage, tea tree, tamanu, jojoba and rosemary.  The ingredients also include menthol crystals, which some find pleasant but I find incredibly irritating especially in more sensitive areas.  I was worried that it would be slippery or oily and I didn't noticed much of a problem from that.  I wish I could say whether or not it made a difference in how often I have to clean my tub (as oils often do) but I simply could not bring myself to use it more than a few times.  While my legs felt great and were incredibly soft and moisturized after using, I found myself incredibly displeased.  The oil gunked up my razor pretty bad and rinsing was a bit of a struggle especially when you're in the shower dealing with a hairy, oily mess on the back of a sharp razor.  It did seem to work well with skin scalding water but makes in unusable in the bath (which is also not an option for me personally due to the menthol).  I'm still on the fence because it leaves my legs feeling amazing after, but the price, gunk and the menthol make me think twice. I'm going to see if someone will review it for their face because I bet it would be an amazing shave for that.

Organic Belly Balm (3.65 oz/$15.95)  If you're a regular reader, you know that my sister recently had twins!  After she found out she was having twins, I bought her this because I knew her belly was going to be pushed to it's limits.   Reading the ingredients and reviews, I hoped this would help.  The belly balm contains calendula, which is known as a skin lightener and I recently used in a underarm lightening product I'd used successfully and I hoped it would help with stretch marks.  My sister seemed pretty thrilled with it overall, she said it worked and was surprised her stretch marks weren't worse.  Her only real complaint was that she felt like it smell like licorice.  After hearing how much she liked it, I bought some for myself.  Not because I'm pregnant, but because I'm just overweight.  When using large amounts (full body application) it does kind of smell like licorice sometimes, but it does fade.  Very pleasant.  I'm going to continue to use this in the hopes that it lightens already present stretch marks, but even if it doesn't I might use this as an alternative moisturizer to the healing balm.

Dish Soap (26.5 fl. oz/$3.95) I'm in love with the White Grapefruit scented products.  While I wasn't in desperate need of dish soap, I use dish soap for a variety of things in my home and the natural alternative was very pleasing to me.  I use dish soap to clean my C-Pap supplies and this might not be for everyone because the scent of grapefruit is supposed to be stimulating but I much prefer it over the scent of Dawn. It seems to clean well, though it seems I've used it on everything from greasy stuff on my hands to pacifiers dropped on the floor.  They've recently change the formula, and I haven't tried the latest but I'm sure it is just as good.

4-in-1 Laundry Detergent Packs (50 packs/$15.95) They're quick.  They're easy.  They have no scent.  They don't look like candy unlike some popular brands.  They don't leave blue marks on my laundry from the dye in the detergent.  How well do they clean?  Well, most of my stuff goes in with something dribbled on the front and it comes out without it, and we all know I'm too lazy to pretreat so I'm going to have to say I'm pretty pleased with this.  I wish they were lightly scented, but if you're not into that kind of thing then I guess they're great.

Bathroom Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95)  I don't think anything from the Honest Company is as good as the Multipurpose spray.  While I like that it smells like eucalyptus, mint and tea tree oil.... I'm not sure how effective I think it is on the kinds of messes you can find in my bathroom.  I know the oils in it are anti-microbial/bacterial but I just don't see it cutting through soap scum and yuck the way I wish it would.  Overall, I think it is just a so-so product.

Floor Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95)  It's great for quickly wiping up a mess on the floor or a fast spot mop, but I just can't bring myself to do the whole floor with it yet.  I tried once at work with this product and while it did a number on the stains, the time I spent hunched over was just weird.  I'm definitely going to use the rest of this bottle, I just wish there was an alternative for those of us who don't mind actually mopping... you know, with a bucket.  The smell is really great too.

Glass + Window Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95)  This is awesome.  It smells vinegary, but it cleans my windows and glass to an absolutely sparkling shine with fast dry time and little to no effort.  I was so glad to kick the Windex to the curb. This stuff is amazing, even on window crayons.  It just cuts right through everything that gets on bathroom mirrors.  I'm in love.

Toilet Cleaner (27 fl. oz/$5.95)  The scent makes cleaning the bowl much more pleasant than those other, chemical laden products on the market.  One interesting thing that I noticed is that I still get some moldy type stuff (I've always gotten it) but there seems to be less staining since I started using this product. 

Dishwasher Packs (32 packs/$10.95)  I wanted them to work well, but sadly these were set to the side as a product I just could not love.  They left all of my dishes filmy.  I tried adding vinegar as a rinse aid.  I tried cleaning the dishwasher.  They just didn't cut it.  What is worse is that after trying to use these for about a month, I started finding standing water in my dishwasher.  This has never happened in the nearly 10 years I've had it.  I know that things do break down, however after scrubbing the dishwasher and returning to my normal Finish tabs, everything has been fine and my dishes look clean again.  I will not be buying these again.

Dish Towels (2 towels/$7.95)  I am ashamed to say that I bought the dishtowels and ended up using them as burp rags.  When you have twins in the house, sometimes you just have to grab what's available and sadly these got caught in the crossfire.  I am happy to say that they absorb incredibly well, and despite being white, wash really well too.  I have yet to have a towel be stained beyond what the washer can get out, which is a challenge especially with formula in the house.  These are strong, super absorbent and work amazingly well.  My next bundle already has a pack of towels on the list.

Organic Baby Powder (4 oz/$11.95)  Now that we have baby girls in the house, we have to be worried about harmful talc.  So when I saw this, I knew I had to get some for my sister.  I wasn't expecting to love it myself, but I really, really do.  I was so confused as to how a powder could be infused with natural probiotics, but then I noticed that it has Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Lysate Extract derived from Yogurt!  While I bought some that ended up in my sister's diaper bag, this is also a product I will be ordering more of just for me.  I love the way it takes care of excess moisture without leaving my skin feeling dry like traditional baby powder.  The scent is awesome, and I will totally admit to powdering the babies a little just because of the smell. 


Kids Toothpaste (6 oz. (170 g)/$5.95)  I had to try it before giving it to my nephew to use.  I love the packaging, it tastes great and does the job without the fluoride (it's in our water anyway, but at least I know I'm limiting some of it from ending up in our bodies).  It doesn't make my nephew any more eager to brush his teeth, but I'm glad that when he finally stops fighting me over it he is doing it with a great product.

Bug Spray (4 fl. oz/$12.95)  I am a magnet for bugs.  There is just something about me that attracts them, and I have very nasty reactions to the bites when all is said and done.  I don't use bug spray because I would have to apply it all the time to really get any relief for myself and while I'm not concerned about the use of DEET were it limited to once or twice a year, that just isn't the case with me.  So I decided to give it a try for those nights where I stay late at the Farmer's Market listening to music.  The upside is that the can is lightweight, study and can be carried easily.  It was in my purse for a week before I tried it and it's been in my Farmer's Market bag since then.  It seems fairly effective, but I haven't tried it in the dark yet.  My only dislike is the citronella oil, because I feel like I smell like an OFF! Brand candle.


One year later and I'm still a huge fan of The Honest Company.  The products come straight to my door in attractive packaging.  I have yet to need to contact Customer Service for any issues (my favorite Customer Service is the kind I never have to contact).  While there are some products that I just don't love, overall I've been very, very pleased with the scent and quality of the products.  I will admit, I know there are other natural products out there that I could purchase.  I know that The Honest Company falls on the "so-so" lists of people who do the research into the ingredients in their products.  However, I've been very happy with the company and their products and I love that the scented products all seem to compliment each other.  I think I am definitely going to stay an Honest Company Customer for awhile.


*All photos courtesy of The Honest Company

**I did not receive any monetary compensation to review these products; All products were purchased and tested by me (with the exception of the Free Trial which is available to everyone).  The Honest Company offers a $20 bonus credit to your account for each friend who signs up and makes a shop or a subscription order using your link; I DO earn a $20 credit towards my next purchase if any of the links posted above are used, just like anyone else would.  I pick and choose what products appear on MoreThanCheesandBeer.com based on products I use or would consider using in my own home.  Receiving product samples does not influence the final review.  Period.  All opinions and experiences are my own and there is no guarantee with my review and I will not be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and you are dissatisfied with it.  My opinion is just that... my opinion.**


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Craptacular Crafts

I'm a terrible adult.

If you would have asked me what kind of adult I was going to be when I was 8, I'm almost positive I wouldn't have told you that I'd be the kind of adult who wears Christmas socks at random times throughout the year because she wont do laundry until she's worn all of her clothes.  I also probably wasn't anticipating that I would forget to register the plates on my car almost every year or that I'd be eating cereal out of the mixing bowls instead of doing the dishes (you can judge me, but we all know they're bigger anyway).  In spite of these things, I'm still independent and functioning - though some days it depends on your definition of "functioning" especially on days when I really don't want to wear pants

When I was growing up, my mom did fun, craft activities with us all the time and as an "adult" I  still find a certain level of enjoyment from expressing my creativity through what I call "Martha Stewart Craft Shit" (because I like to drink while I do it, just like Martha).  As a single introvert, I also find that doing crafts is a great way to spend my time instead of bemoaning my dislike for meeting new people while pity partying at not having a boyfriend to binge-watch Netflix with. Unfortunately it seems that while I'm independent and "functioning" in other areas of my life, I've never outgrown the need for adult supervision when I engage in arts and crafts.

This is why I avoid Pinterest.

As someone who comes from a family history of hoarding, it's also just not a good idea for me to be active on a website that promotes crafts that involve stockpiling crap like toilet paper rolls so I can repurpose them by creating wall art in the shape of flowers.

But I digress.

Recently, after noticing the large pile of perfectly good pallets we've managed to collect at work while feeling particularly bored and single, I found myself perusing Pinterest for a pallet project; I'm still not sure how long I sat at my desk while visions of Pallet Gardens danced in my head.

Just as I was starting to make a list of the things I would need to pick up at the Home and Garden store, I had a flashback of the last time I started a project that involved making a list: a coworker had some really cute polymer clay coated pens, and when I complimented them she boasted about how easy they were to make before rattling off some directions.

I left work that day and went to the craft store for clay where I managed to find some on clearance; The little blocks felt a little hard, but I lied to told myself they wouldn't still be trying to sell them if they weren't any good.  My coworker had mentioned that I needed a specific kind of pen, and I made another stop to pick up two packages. 

Once home, I attempted to make a flower pattern which ended up looking more like mutated pink marijuana leaves.  I ended up rolling out the clay until it resembled pink camo (because I liked pink camo before it was an overpriced fad). The clay was so rough I only had enough energy to make three pens, which I then put in the pre-heated oven as directed.

I'm still not sure what went wrong.

Before I knew it, I was asking myself the dreaded question, "What is that smell?"

While the clay had baked exactly as it was supposed to (if not a over baked), the pens had melted and then burned to the bottom of the pan.  To this day, I wonder what the consequences will be for breathing in the more-than-likely toxic fumes released from the burning plastic pens. I also occasionally miss the cake pan I ended up throwing away because I was convinced anything I ever made would be tainted by the taste of burning plastic and polymer clay.

As the memory of the acrid smoke cleared, I returned to my "pinning" and removed every single pallet project that could end with me nailing myself to something, accidentally removing a body part, or asphyxiating on fumes.  While some might see this as quitting before I start, I choose to believe it is an act of self-preservation.  Either way, I think I'm going to just stick with things I know for now and the next time I find myself hankering for

Then again, I can totally see the value in a situation where I have to call a fireman.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Embarrass

Izabel Laxamana.

You might now know her name, but there is a chance you know her story. On Friday, June 5th the 13 year old jumped from a vehicle she was riding in, off a bridge and onto an interstate.  In the weeks previous, a video of her father cutting off her hair had been leaked online and has the Internet up in arms about public shaming of children as discipline.

I don't understand this new trend where parents feel they need to make a YouTube video of themselves disciplining their children.  I don't understand why dealing with your child's behavior needs to go viral, and it makes me wonder what is more important to the parent: social media kudos (because some parents agree with their actions) or discipline.

While my memory of the situation might be different than what actually happened, I distinctly remember being grabbed by the arm and forcefully removed from the room for a growled admonishment behind closed doors after telling another child to "shut up" at my birthday party and then being forced to apologize.  I was embarrassed because I was threatened and forced to cry before being sent back to apologize.  I'm 29 years old and this event that happened on my 6th birthday still makes my stomach churn with the humiliation.  I should not have been made to cry and feel threatened for telling another child to shut up, though I wholeheartedly agree that I should have been made to apologize.

The thing is... I'm not wholly against kids feeling ashamed of their behavior in public.  I'm not saying that I agree with the guy who videos himself running over his daughter's cell phone with the lawn mower.  I'm also not agreeing with the guy who made his kid wear a sandwich board declaring him a liar and a thief. What Izabel Laxamana's father did was not discipline.  Cutting off a girl's hair for partying or inappropriate social media interactions is abuse, plain and simple.

I support public "shaming" when it fits the crime, and by that I mean things like the kid who goes around on social media bullying and degrading others should have to post a public apology before having their electronics taken away or their accounts cancelled until they can behave appropriately.  A kid who disturbs an entire classroom with their behavior should have to apologize to the entire class.  If you should your ass, you should have to show your face to apologize...and if you've ever had to do that, you know how embarrassing that is in and of itself and I believe it is fair.

But this thing where parents do things to humiliate a kid that are completely unrelated to the offense?  Dragging out dirty laundry completely unrelated to the situation?  What the fuck is that?


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Confessions: FOR


Sometimes, it is when we have so many decisions to make that we find answers to feelings or problems we struggle with.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily make the decisions themselves any easier.

I'm struggled lately. I have felt burnt out. I have felt exhausted.  I've struggled to make decisions. I haven't wanted to blog.

I'd love to be able to blame my depression or my back pain for why I haven't wanted to do anything or take joy in things that brought me so much happiness before, why I've struggled to find purpose in the things that I do.

Over the last few months I've lost somebody very dear to me.  Sometimes, I think the death of a relationship hurts more than the actual death of a person because somehow their presence, the mere thought that they're still on this Earth, gives a kind of strange hope that things could be the same, or better, or different somehow in a way that would work.  Sometimes, when you've been forced into accepting the circumstances your heart struggles for awhile.

I'm the kind of person whose head always let's go first.  When it is time to do those things we do for the people we care about, my heart screams "Do it!", it's throbbing cries echoing inside my ribcage while my head looks at the situation, crosses it's arms, raises an eyebrow and says "what for?"

Normally, I let my heart lead.  I do this until my heart begins to notice that it spends more time championing from inside a ribbed cage than it does feeling grateful to be held inside lest it fly away.  Then, eventually, it stops raging and yearning and when the time comes it doesn't bother getting excited anymore because it doesn't seem to matter. 

Eventually, I just couldn't try anymore because I felt like it didn't matter what I did... I wasn't going to be given anything in return.

It seems I've grown to feel the same way about much of my own life.  I had a discussion with a friend the other day about something I've been thinking about doing for awhile and eventually I realized that I've struggled to commit because I can't see what for.

Then I realized, this is how I've been operating for awhile. Except, the reason hasn't been me. 
The answer to "what for?"  hasn't been "because I want to" or "because I like it" or "because it makes me feel good" or "because it makes me happy" in entirely too long. 

I've been discouraged and dissuaded from doing things because I've struggled to see the point. I've struggled because I've felt like what I do only provides good for others.  My "what for?" has been "meh, why not?" for too long.
I need to get back to making the answer to "what for?" be "FOR ME!".


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Anonymous

Anonymous.

I love the idea.

It was the original idea behind More Than Cheese and Beer.  To be anonymous and say all the things I really wanted to say about whoever and whatever I wanted to say it about.

It is the reason I love leaving my hometown, being in a place where no one knows me and I don't care what they see me do because I'll probably never see them again.

Sometimes, I wish there were more places I could just be anonymous.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Confessions: Situation

June 5th, 2016

Dear Diary,  Day 1:

"Dear Diary"?  Geez, how very adult of me.  Even when I have a nice, fresh start I always manage to fudge it up with something.  I know it isn't safe to talk to anyone about my situation and so I intend on writing my story here.  It might be nice if I felt like I was writing a letter to a friend, but at the end of the day...maybe I just need to focus on myself and not feel like I owe any explanation to a person, fictional or otherwise. After all, feeling that way was what was wrong with my old life. 

Today is Day 1 of my new life, of working towards being the person I actually want to be.  Day 1 is always a tough place to start.  Do I tell you about the past?  Do I tell you about what is behind me or do I focus on today and what I want for tomorrow?  I never know where to begin... 

My name is Paige and today is my birthday.  My real, birth-given name isn't Paige.  Today also isn't really my birthday so much as it is my Rebirth Day, the day I chose as my birthday on the Florida Driver's License in the bag sitting on the chair next to me.  I am not from Florida.  In fact, I've never even been to Florida.  Florida is where I'm headed.  

At the moment, I am in a little coffee shop filled with hipsters wearing stupid hats.  I'm sure I stick out like a sore thumb, but no one seems to really take notice of me and for the moment I'm comfortable with the most amazing chai tea and a blueberry scone.  It's the first time I've eaten anything since I left where I was raised, and this is the most relaxed I've been since I don't know when.

Honestly, any place would be more comfortable than the damn car I've been driving for the last 10 hours.  It isn't pretty and it isn't as luxurious as my old car, but it's gotten me nearly 600 miles away from the hell that used to be home so I can't really complain.  The price was right, the guy took cash and didn't ask too many questions and judging from the cannabis I saw peeking through the wood fence that surrounded his place I doubt he'll do much talking to the police if they come around.  I'm maybe a day's drive away from the beach yet, but I'm too exhausted to go on right now.

I am now sporting a very hot pink, angled bob.  I always wanted hair like this, and a new life means new hair.  I hit the road sometime after dark last night when the neighbors wouldn't see me leave, or would at least be too drunk to notice.  I threw the plastic bag of my hair and the boxes of dye in the trash bin of the apartment complex on the other end of the block.  Anyone looking for the girl with long brown hair and the conservative sweater won't look twice at me. 

I figure I have a week, maybe even two, before anyone notices I'm gone.  The longest mom has ever gone without calling is thirteen days, but I'm willing to bet after this last argument it will be longer.  My brother and sister never call.  I gave two weeks notice at my job and I've spent the last few days packing things up.  I paid my rent for the month and gave my landlord notice that I would be vacating in thirty days.  My loose ends are tied up and no one has any reason to suspect anything might be wrong.

Yesterday, I did all of the things I've wanted to do for so long after I slept in late in my bed for the last time.  I closed my bank accounts.  I cancelled my credit cards and cut them into tiny pieces.  I cleaned out the last remaining food in the house, Chinese take-out from the night before.  I cut my hair and bleached it, then dyed it bright pink. I deactivated my Facebook account, and scheduled my cell phone to cancel at the end of the month.  All of the things I couldn't bear to part with or sell were already packed in clearly labeled boxes in the living room, when the landlord goes in to clean the apartment for the next tenants he will find my note explaining that I've left and to call my mom to come get my remaining things.

I've never traveled so light in my life and it is kind of liberating.  I took nothing with me except some clothes, my cats, and the money I got from selling my things and saving over the past year and a half.  All of my identification, all of my photos, everything that was me and my life before today is in a box waiting for my mom.  I sold everything from my TV to the tennis bracelet my high school sweetheart bought me for my 18th birthday.  I wonder what he would think if he knew I'd sold it.  Not that it matters what he thinks anymore.  Hell, it doesn't matter what anyone back there thinks anymore. 

It doesn't matter.  If it did, maybe I wouldn't be running away from a life that never served me.  Isn't that what they say?  "Get rid of everything that doesn't make you happy and focus on what does" or something like that.  Well, that's what I'm doing.  The situation "back home" is one that never really served me.  I spent so much time asking myself "Is this really my life?".  I know my family loves me by genetic default, but the truth of the matter is that my own mother doesn't even like me as a person.  My sister has her pseudo family of friends she prefers to her real family; It doesn't matter I guess, she's happy and there's no place for me anymore.  My brother is just humiliated by us all, and I don't really blame him for feeling that way...after all, I'm the one running away so who the hell am I to judge?  I didn't have many friends to lose.  All I really left behind was a town full of history, too familiar places, some people who think they know me, and this idea of a person I was supposed to be but could never quite live up to. 

I experienced a moment of doubt when I hit the state line.  I actually pulled over, cried and thought long and hard about turning around.  I left a key under the flower pot next to the door.  I could walk back into my house, pick up my phone and cancel the cancellation, unpack and find a new job.  But I pushed on, and here I am nearly 600 miles away.  The prison that held me is still there if I want to return to it, I don't know if that thought is bothersome or comforting. 

I suppose there is a kind of safety in the familiar.  I could have stayed there in the same mundane routine, in the same place, with the same people who would always think and feel the same thing about me.  I would have been safe.  It seems like the entire town was exactly like my dysfunctional family: they can abuse you and tear you apart, but everyone else had better treat you with respect or else.  I would have been safe so long as I let them tear me down, treat me the same way they always have, and do all the things they think I should be doing. I would have been safe if I would have been compliant and the person they wanted me to be.

Which is why I had to run.  As sick and sad as it sounds, I had to run away from the person I was and  the life I was born into.  If I didn't leave, I would constantly be at war with the people who are supposed to love me over the person they think I ought to be - someone I have no intention of being.  If I didn't leave, there's a chance I might have ended up going back to the relationship that ruined my life and my reputation.  I don't know how I could stay in that town where I lived in fear every time he drove past my house and was forced to hold my head high as the biddies in the beauty shop held their magazines up next to their faces to talk to each other in hushed tones about what they'd heard about me.  Our relationship was unhealthy.  I'd given in and done things he'd wanted me to do because I thought if I pleased him, it would make things better.  In the end, he used the things he'd asked me to do for him as means to shame me even though his behavior was what was shameful.  If I didn't leave, my choice was to return to the man who abused me, or live with the family who shaped me into a woman who would take the abuse.

But this... what am I doing?  I bought a new identity.  I changed what I could about my physical person.  I've changed almost everything I could change about myself to pursue what?  I don't even know who I am because I left behind the person I've always been.  I don't know if Paige is the person I've always wanted to be. What if I try and chase this dream down and it is nothing like what I imagined? What if the decision to run for another life leads me to a life that is even worse?

I'm headed for the beach.  I've never seen the ocean and I figure seeing something you've never seen before and going someplace you've never been is the right place to start a new life.  So that is what I'm doing.  Maybe changing my name was a drastic move.  I don't actually expect anyone to come looking for me, but if they do they wont find me.  I wasn't physically in danger, I just need to feel like I'm far enough away from what was that I am safe from not being that person ever again.  I just can't take the chance that I can't escape a past and a town that never really fit me anyway.  I need to try and make a go of my life the way I want it.   I don't know if the cage I was held in was of my own creation or the creation of the community that surrounded me, but I need to try to do it my way now.  And the first step is getting to the ocean.... 


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sex and Ding Dongs

When I was 19 years old, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I came home for summer vacation after my first year of college no less confused than I was when I had left for the small University of Wisconsin campus with the assurances from family and revered high school teachers that it might take some time but I would figure it out.

Over the summer, however, I decided to take a "process of elimination" approach to my future.  I was going to take some time off from my studies to experience full time employment and learn what I didn't want to do career-wise.  This plan also included moving out of my childhood home and into my first apartment with my high school sweetheart.

I don't recommend this approach to anyone.  Once you get your own place and start working to support yourself, it's really hard to stop working to support yourself.  As far as that boyfriend, we were barely halfway into our lease when I lost my job and three days later I found myself sitting at the dinner table by myself after he didn't come home from work.  There was no argument, no "Dear John" letter, and no phone call; He just didn't come back to the apartment for two weeks until one day when he snuck back to our apartment and took clean clothes.

I was devastated.  I couldn't understand how someone I'd known since we were 5 and had been one of my best friends for years could do such a thing to me.  The break up I could have handled, the heartbreaking and cowardly way he did it was what hurt. 

During this time, I grew more and more disenchanted with apartment living.  What seemed like a magical two bedroom apartment with a huge closet and a patio turned into a place where all I found was annoyance.  The walk to my apartment was always a scent based guessing game of "What the hell are they cooking?"  I would come home every night and find garbage in my patio from the three apartments above mine, including someone's used q-tips once.  My upstairs neighbor had a toddler by day, and a screeching, stomping little demon by night.

Needless to say, I struggled to sleep at night.  Many nights I sat on the back patio chain-smoking surrounded by other people's discarded cigarette butts while I wrote all my hurt feelings into a journal, always hoping to see his taillights headed for the back parking lot. When I would finally crawl into bed at night, I would lay there for hours with the windows open, imagining I heard his car on the road or the door unlocking.

I've come a long way since then.   I reached a point where I was able to wish him well in my own way.  I was taken back to that time the other night, however, when he sent me a Facebook Friend Request (DENIED!) and my dear friend Jenniy from Climaxed shared a cute little message she received on an online dating site:


Poor Jerimiah needs a clue in so many ways.  Apparently, I also needed a clue because I had no idea what "skeet skeet skeet" meant.  It was while I was making fun of poor Jerimiah that I suffered a mental flashback and suddenly I was back in my huge new bed by myself, in the dark, listening for my ex to come home.  It was a warm, quiet October night and I had left the bedroom window open.  I was again struggling to sleep, and just as I was closing my eyes and slowly drifting off to sleep I heard my loud neighbor from upstairs:

"Oh yeah. Suck it baby."

Yes, the guy upstairs actually uttered those words like every cliche Dom, Dick and Hairy that ever graced the x-rated screen.  I was too irked at having to hear the subtle details of coupling activities when I was struggling to get adequate rest, not to mention struggling with a broken heart, and I got up and slammed the window shut before going to bed.  I didn't see or hear from the upstairs neighbor again until they dropped an open (and full) can of beer off their balcony onto my stuff as I was moving out.

I'd almost completely forgotten about that moment and that night until Jenniy shared the message from Jerimiah, who at the age of 33 still refers to his genitalia as a "badass weiner" and "a fucking awesome ding dong".  It was as I was asking myself what kind of grown man refers to his man meat as a ding dong when I heard a voice in my head say:

"Oh yeah. Suck that fucking awesome ding dong, baby".

Unfortunately, the fit of giggles I found myself in did nothing for intense craving for Hostess Snack Cakes that followed. That being said, if you find me laughing hysterically in the snack cake aisle it's probably because I'm standing in front of the ding dongs.