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mental health awareness month, mental illness, bipolar, depression, OCD, PPD, Eating Disorders

You’re crazy! Oh My God, she is acting so bipolar! I can’t go shopping this afternoon, I am so depressed! Get over it. Take a chill pill! Don’t have a panic attack.

We hear these statements made almost daily. For some, they may seem harmless but to those of us who suffer from these diagnoses, it’s far from funny.  It’s serious.

My chemical imbalance is not your bad mood. My battle with eating disorders is not you trying to lose 5 vanity pounds. Someone’s deep depression is not the same as you having a bad day or being sad because things didn’t go your way at the game tonight. My inability to see myself as I am in the mirror is definitely not the same as being slightly concerned with the way your ass looks in your jeans.  Someone’s PPD is not the same as you being overwhelmed because you took on too many things. Somebody’s OCD is not the same as you wanting to wash your hands before meals. Being afraid to take a risk is not the same as being so terrified to be in a room with people that your heart races so fast that you are sure you are having a heart attack.

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Telic Après Ski recovery boots

I’m fairly new to this all year workout stuff. I’ve never been one to work out and walk 5Ks every day just because. I was about as fair-weathered a workout friend as you could find. I loved working out. Cardio was my jam but only when it was convenient. I wasn’t about that walking in 110 degrees with 100% humidity. And I sure as shit wasn’t running in 20-degree weather but here we are. If I’m going to do it, I’d like to be able to do it the best way possible. Enter Telic Après Ski recovery boots, the one thing I never knew, I always needed. Look at me, learning all the new things about myself.

Disclosure: I gifted a pair of Telic Après Ski recovery boots to experience them for myself but all opinions are my own.

I’ve had to do some pretty substantial research and I’ve learned some hard lessons along the way. For instance, I learned that I am allergic to the sun last summer. Yep. This means that I need to wear SPF at all times or a rash guard or I break out in a crazy rash all over my exposed body. I’ve learned that I am stronger than I ever knew. I’ve also learned that fleece-lined running pants are my friend and all fleece-lined pants are not created equal. I also learned that yes, that very expensive North Face jacket and those $200 running shoes are absolutely worth the money. Guess what else I learned?

READ ALSO: Ways to Work Out When You Don’t Have Time to Hit the Gym

I learned about a thing called sports recovery boots. Sounds made up, right? I thought so too but hey, I love cute shoes and I was sold. When I think of after sports shoes, I think of the Adidas soccer slides we all wore back in the day after soccer games. But those are not the sports recovery shoes that I am referring to in this post.

Recently, I was gifted a pair of Telic Après Ski sports recovery boots. When I saw them, I thought they were super cute and what could it hurt to try them out. They came awhile back. We’d just spent 7 days walking 20000 steps daily around Walt Disney World. My feet were sore and in desperate need of some relief.

Telic Après Ski recovery boots

Since breaking my leg, most of my day’s end with a limp. I work with preschoolers all day and they like to pull and climb on you so it’s inevitable that my legs are sore each night. Today, I wore my Telic Après Ski recovery boots to work (I told you they were cute) and for the first time in 4 years, I was not limping at the end of the day. It was kind of a big deal for me.

READ ALSO: How I Broke My Leg in the Middle of My Sister’s Wedding

I wish I could say that I was exaggerating and every night I don’t walk like a pirate but it’s all true. Every night since September 2015, I’ve walked like a pirate. It’s my new normal. But not tonight and if I’m being honest, I almost cried because I was so happy. I never thought any shoes, other than a pair of Louboutin’s, could make me weep with joy but these comfortable, beautiful recovery boots did.

Let me tell you about the Après Ski recovery boot. Firstly, it’s not just for after you ski, as the name would imply. It’s for after any sport. If we’re being really honest, it’s pretty great for everyday wear.

Telic Après Ski recovery boots

Telic is known for its award-winning comfort. The Après Ski recovery boot is also:

  • Insulated & Water Resistant
  • Traction Control Out-sole
  • Pillow-Soft Comfort
  • Lightweight Stability
  • Athlete Approved
  • Dr. Recommended

100% all true and I can attest to it because I’ve worn them every day since I got them, in the mornings after working out during drop off but not until today did I wear them for my entire work day and they impressed me. Actually, they blew my mind. I don’t know that I really believed anything could really work, especially with my foot and leg issues from the break but these did.

READ ALSO: Never Ask a Disabled Person if They’ll Return to Normal

You can enjoy Telic’s award-winning comfort year-round. They are designed to be worn by athletes to help relax and rejuvenate after training and competition, this recovery series incorporates Telic’s Novlaon Footstrike Technology and offers a soft supportive comfortable fit and feel for year-round Telic comfort.

What does that mean for you?

It means that this really cute pair of boots are comfortable and really do help you recover. To be honest, the fact that my leg hasn’t hurt after work since I’ve started wearing this is enough to convince me to wear these shoes every day of the year but in addition to that, I got so many compliments on the look of the shoe. If I had my way, I’d gift a pair to every teacher in my school because they are absolutely that cute and comfortable.

If you’re an athlete looking for a fantastic recovery shoe or someone who spends long hours on their feet and needs extreme comfort without sacrificing fashion, I would strongly suggest giving Telic’s Apres Ski recovery boots a try for yourself.  FYI, it also comes in a recovery shoe if boots are not your jam. Those are next on my list.

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Telic Après Ski recovery boots

Last year, I started working out. I’ve never been one to work out and walk 5Ks every day just because. I was about as fair-weathered a workout friend as you could find. I loved working out. Cardio was my jam but only when it was convenient. I wasn’t about that walking in 110 degrees with 100% humidity. And I definitely wasn’t running in 20-degree weather but here we are. Me walking on ice, rain or shine, hot or cold in the holy pursuit of good health. If I’m going to do it, I’d like to be able to do it the best way possible. Enter Telic Après Ski recovery boots, the one thing I never knew, I always needed. Look at me, learning all the new things about myself.

Disclosure: I gifted a pair of Telic Après Ski recovery boots to experience them for myself but all opinions are my own.

I’ve had to do some pretty substantial research and I’ve learned some hard lessons along the way. I also learned that my teenagers don’t like to wake up early, clean, work out or do anything that involves any effort whatsoever before 10 am, even if they have to. But they are swiftly motivated by Starbucks and shopping for cute anything. If that’s what I’ve got to do to get my teens to exercise with me, well sign me and my silver sneakers up because walking in the mall still counts as walking.  Guess what else I learned?

READ ALSO: Ways to Work Out When You Don’t Have Time to Hit the Gym

I learned about a thing called sports recovery boots. Sounds made up, right? I thought so too but hey, I love cute shoes and I was sold and so were my girls. When I think of after sports shoes, I think of the Adidas soccer slides my girls wear after soccer games and ballet class. But those are not the sports recovery shoes that I am referring to in this post.

Recently, I was gifted a pair of Telic Après Ski sports recovery boots. When I saw them, I thought they were super cute and what could it hurt to try them out. We’d just spent 7 days walking 20000 steps daily around Walt Disney World. My feet were sore and in desperate need of some relief.

Telic Après Ski recovery boots

Since breaking my leg, most of my day’s end with a limp my legs are sore each night. But when I wear my Telic Après Ski recovery boots to work (I told you they were cute), I’m not limping at the end of the day. If that was not enough, I noticed they keep disappearing. My teens are swiping them to wear themselves. So, I got my oldest a pair and she loves them. She has dancer’s feet and they’ve taken a beating. She says these are one of the few shoes that don’t aggravate her plantar fasciitis and tendonitis.

READ ALSO: How I Broke My Leg in the Middle of My Sister’s Wedding

Let me tell you about the Après Ski recovery boot. It’s not just for after you ski, as the name would imply. It’s for after any sport. It’s great for everyday wear.

Telic Après Ski recovery bootsTelic is known for its award-winning comfort. The Après Ski recovery boot is also:

  • Insulated & Water Resistant
  • Traction Control Out-sole
  • Pillow-Soft Comfort
  • Lightweight Stability
  • Athlete Approved
  • Dr. Recommended

100% all true and I can attest to it because I’ve worn them a lot since I got them, in the mornings after working out during drop off and for my entire workdays and they truly impressed me. Actually, they blew my mind. I don’t know that I really believed anything could really work, especially with my foot and leg issues from the break but these did.

READ ALSO: Never Ask a Disabled Person if They’ll Return to Normal

You can enjoy Telic’s award-winning comfort year-round. They are designed to be worn by athletes to help relax and rejuvenate after training and competition, this recovery series incorporates Telic’s Novlaon Footstrike Technology and offers a soft supportive comfortable fit and feel for year-round Telic comfort.

What does that mean for you?

It means that this really cute pair of boots are comfortable and really do help you recover. To be honest, the fact that my leg hasn’t hurt after work since I’ve started wearing this is enough to convince me to wear these shoes every day of the year but in addition to that, I got so many compliments on the look of the shoe. If I had my way, I’d gift a pair to every teacher in my school because they are absolutely that cute and comfortable.

If you’re an athlete looking for a fantastic recovery shoe or someone who spends long hours on their feet and needs extreme comfort without sacrificing fashion, I would strongly suggest giving Telic’s Apres Ski recovery boots a try for yourself.  FYI, it also comes in a recovery shoe if boots are not your jam. Those are next on my list. Plus they got the seal of approval from my teen which never happens.

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Lea Clark, American Girl, Girl of the Year 2016, Giveaway,sadness

It’s been a difficult past 7 days. The kind of epic bad days those tear jerker country songs are made of. Last Thursday, my youngest daughter’s pet Guinea Pig got pneumonia, I took him to the vet, got him meds and we held him all day long nursing him back to health and then he just died. I was mad. I wanted a refund. I did all the things I was supposed to do and yet, still, I had to break my kids’ hearts.

We had to tell the girls when they came home from school and they both had massive breakdowns, one of which was outside on the front porch, screaming and wailing. Of course, this in turn broke our parent hearts and we all sat sobbing for most of Friday evening.

Lea Clark, American Girl, Girl of the Year 2016, Giveaway

Saturday, we had a funeral for said Guinea Pig. Sunday, I was awoken at 10:30 by my daughter who insisted we go to 11 a.m. mass. Did I mention that I hadn’t slept since Wednesday night when the guinea pig first presented with the sniffles? So to mass I went, after spending all of 5 minutes getting ready. Did I mention I am on the board at our school, which is at our church? Oh yeah, did I mention I know everyone there and I looked CRAZY.

Monday, my husband gave me the news about the death of David Bowie. Then on the way to finally get my stitches out from my second surgery to this never ending broken leg saga, just when not walking like a pirate was in my line of sight, my car decided that it doesn’t like the cold. In fact, it hates the bitter cold we are experiencing so badly that a censor automatically turns traction control off which in turn reduces the engine power basically leaving you stranded in traffic moving at the pace of a slow turtle. We’ve had snow days, delays and elearning ( shoot.me.now) and it’s only Wednesday.

***Update: Thursday, my daughters’ school was locked down due to a crazed man and a hostage situation in the neighborhood addition behind the school! Bonus, the school didn’t even inform the parents until pick up. I’m assuming it was to avoid mama bears like myself from scaling the building to get to their locked down children. This is no joke a terrible week.

The car can’t be seen until Friday. Oh and the dog also has to be seen Friday by the vet because apparently the stress and bitter cold have also made her start losing her hair on her flanks. Great alopecia one more thing to worry about. On a week when we have a thousand places to be, the snow, ice and bitter cold does not want us to do any of it.

Any ways, now that you know how horrible my last 7 days have been I will tell you that I need a little joy in my life. They say be the change you want to see in the world so I am turning this frown upside down, pulling on my big girl panties and faking it until I make it and all that. I’m holding fast to the little victories, like I had my first shower in 4 months standing on my own 2 feet without using the bench for the elderly that I have been dependent upon since September.

To start the happy train rolling, I am giving away one 2016 Girl of the Year doll, Lea Clark!

I refuse to let this chaos keep me down so I spread a little happiness by giving a Lea Clark doll to my daughters and through the generosity of American Girl; I am also giving one away to a lucky reader.

I love that American Girl’s 2016 Girl of the Year, Lea Clark, dives into adventure and helps girls see life through a new lens and is in collaboration with the world wildlife fund to help protect animals and their habitats. Grace was perfect for my eldest daughter because she is a little chef and loves all things Parisian but Lea is my youngest all the way. She even looks like my little girl.There is so much to identify with and my little girl adores Lea. I think yours will too.

Lea Clark a talented photographer with a love for animals, discovers a wide world of possibilities when she embarks on a faraway adventure to Brazil.   Available for only one year, Lea’s collection includes a beautiful 18-inch Lea doll featuring long wavy hair and warm hazel eyes, plus several tropical-inspired outfits, accessories, and toys that reflect her Brazilian travels—including Lea’s Rainforest House with over 30 pieces! Coming this summer, an all-new, action-adventure film will debut on DVD from Universal Studios Home Entertainment .

Written by award-winning author Lisa Yee, the 2016 Girl of the Year books—Lea Dives In, Lea Leads the Way, and Lea and Camila—introduce girls to a curious ten-year-old girl with an adventurous spirit. On a family trip to Brazil to visit her older brother, Zac, who is studying the Amazon rainforest, Lea is excited to capture everything she sees with her camera. Soon Lea   makes some incredible discoveries, but she also faces unexpected challenges, including a fear of the ocean, tension with Zac, and finding a baby sloth that has been gravely injured. With the help of her family, her new Brazilian friend, Camila, and her late grandmother’s guiding inspiration, Lea finds the inner strength and confidence to live her new adventures to the fullest.

Giving Back with Lea Clark

To show girls that, together, they can make a difference in helping protect animals and their habitats, American Girl has created Wild at Art, a year-long fund-raising campaign in support of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Starting January 1, American Girl is encouraging girls to use their artistic abilities to host an art sale and donate the proceeds to WWF. To launch the campaign, American Girl has made a $50,000 donation to WWF and also invites customers to contribute at American Girl retail stores and americangirl.com. Parents can visit americangirl.com/wildatart to learn more and register for Wild at Art, plus get animal-themed craft ideas, and be entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win one of 17 Lea prize packages.

In addition, from January 1 through December 31, 2016, for every purchase of one of the three plush animals in Lea’s collection—the margay, sea turtle, or sloth—American Girl will donate $1 (up to a maximum of $100,000) to WWF.

Just leave a comment below telling me who your favorite American Girl doll is and why. One lucky reader will randomly be selected to win a Lea Clark doll.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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heart attack, symptoms of a heart attack, heart health women

Ever been afraid that maybe you were having a heart attack? Seriously. I’m not trying to be funny but I’m overweight and out of shape. A heart attack is a real possibility. I’m a fat woman. I have a BMI of 33 and I recently spent 4 months sitting on my butt. Honestly, you can look healthy and still have a heart attack. They don’t call it the silent killer in women for nothing.

I’ve seen the commercials citing that 1 out of 3 women will have a heart attack our symptoms are different than men. In fact, I know a friend who had a heart attack and didn’t even realize it until afterwards. I also have a great Aunt who spent the day with us touring the Biltmore Estate and had a heart attack. None of us knew until she told her doctor and he checked her, a week later. Ladies, that scares the ish out of me. I don’t want to die of a heart attack. I want to live to be 103. That’s my expiration date. It’s non-negotiable.

Anyways, last Friday morning; I woke up at 5 a.m. with a ridiculous pain in my actual stomach (not my intestines) and it would not go away. It woke me from my sleep and the little voice in my head, recited the commercial about the mom who thought she had indigestion but instead ended up dead because she was actually having a heart attack and TUMS ain’t got nothing on that.

I got up and took some Mylanta (because I always have it on hand since the first and only stomach ache I’ve ever had). It didn’t work. Then I took some TUMS. They didn’t work. Then I took a Xanax because I’m under a shiton of stress and maybe I was having a panic attack. Nothing. I waited half an hour. Still horrific pain. Now it was from my stomach to my right side of my rib cage.

Were these the symptoms of a heart attack?

You always hear of women thinking they had heartburn and it was something else; something more. I took my blood pressure with my portable Bluetooth QardioArm blood pressure monitor and checked it right there in the app on my phone and saved it to show the hospital. As moms, we are so focused on everyone else, we neglect ourselves. Don’t do that. It could mean the difference between life and death.

SHIT! I’m having a heart attack, so I took an aspirin because blood clots and strokes. At 6:30 a.m. when everyone else woke up, I texted my husband that I needed to go to the hospital. He assured me that it was heartburn from the Mexican food at Bella’s birthday dinner from the previous night.

Firstly, I’ve only had heartburn once in my life and this wasn’t it. Secondly, it felt like acid and a severe, prolonged heart cramp. I just knew I was dying but I kept it cool for my kids. We dropped them at school where I gave them extra long goodbye hugs and kisses, without divulging anything to them, and then we proceeded on to the Emergency room. I hate the emergency room.

Long story short, after 5 hours in the Emergency room, an EKG, an ultrasound (twice in one week, lucky me!), several blood tests and worrying myself into an absolute tizzy. We found out that no, I did not in fact have a heart attack but the doctor was glad that I had come in rather than ignore my symptoms. We found out that I have gallstones, 2 of them (they go perfectly with the 3 fibroids they found last Wednesday) and upon further questioning they found out that from the prolonged ibuprofen usage for the swelling in my broken leg, I have actually made the lining of my stomach sensitive.

The sensitive stomach and high cholesterol, high fat, highly greasy Mexican food did not enjoy one another’s company. My stomach became irritated which in effect affected my gallbladder (with it’s two stones). I had a gallbladder attack. It was not pleasant and I don’t recommend it.

They intravenously administered an antacid for my stomach, some Zofran so I wouldn’t throw up and a dose of happy, I mean morphine, for the pain. They gave me strict instructions to take Zantac, especially if I planned on continuing on with the ibuprofen regimen (which I have not) and to stay away from high cholesterol meals. I quit Ibuprofen cold turkey and have been reading labels because 103-years-old, people. My expiration date is 2075, not 2016.

The moral of the story is that when you think you might have something seriously wrong with you; trust your gut (pun intended). Maybe I wasn’t having an actual heart attack (but I could have been) but I did have something wrong with me and it needed medical attention STAT. I’m not sure that would have happened if I suffered through it at home or went to a walk-in clinic. I needed tests, not a Band-Aid.

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Bring on Disney World because mama needs a vacation. Do yourself a favor and know the symptoms of a heart attack in women.

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Have you ever thought maybe you were experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or something serious and second-guessed yourself?

 

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Jimmy dean, wholesome breakfast, on the go

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Jimmy Dean through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Jimmy Dean Delights, all opinions are my own.

I’ve been working hard this year to get my family and myself in good health. I’ve started working out (as someone still recovering from a broken leg, that in itself has been no small feat) and watching what I eat and being mindful of the portion sizes that I am consuming. I’m changing my life, one day at a time. It’s not been easy, as anyone who has ever tried to lose weight and get in shape after the age of 30 can attest to. Progress has been slow but steady.

The hardest part has been relearning what to eat and being mindful of labels. Suddenly, my philosophy of eat whatever I want and work it off later isn’t working like it used to. Now, I realize that things like cholesterol, fat, sugar and protein all factor in to how healthy my food is and in turn, I am. It’s no longer simply about a number on a scale. It’s about feeling beautiful, comfortable and strong in my own body. That’s what I want.

I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes, altering old ones and trying to find an exercise that I actually enjoy doing because I’ve realized that if it’s too much trouble or too hard, I simply don’t have time to fit it into my hectic schedule. I have kids, a husband, a job and a million and one other things to do every single day. You know how it goes.

My hardest transitions so far have been to stop eating late at night and remembering to eat breakfast. Being an insomniac means that I’m up later than most people and that means I get hungry and eat later. Suddenly, that whole “fourth meal” concept makes sense to me. It’s completely counterproductive to getting in my best shape.

The other bad habit I had to break was not eating breakfast. I used to just sip on coffee until I remembered to eat lunch, which meant eating something last minute or on the go and is almost never good for me. I learned the hard way that juicing makes me fidgety. I’m sure it’s great for some people but fresh fruit juice simply makes me manic. Smoothies are fantastic and I’ve gotten them down to a 3-minute breakfast but sometimes you need something more.

Jimmy dean, wholesome breakfast, on the go

Sometimes I crave carbs and a big breakfast but I don’t want all the calories and I don’t have all that extra time. Then I discovered Jimmy Dean Delights Turkey Sausage, Egg White & Cheese croissant. It’s a wholesome breakfast with real ingredients that satisfies my craving and gives me the energy to power through my morning routine. It’s only 290 calories and tastes amazing.

They taste so good that now my only breakfast dilemma is keeping enough in the house. My girls love them and many a morning I’ve gone to the freezer only to find that none were left. I’m okay with it though because I feel better knowing that they are eating a healthy breakfast instead of something sugary.

Jimmy Dean Delights are made with real ingredients like whole eggs, lean meat and real vegetables that provide my family with a delicious, wholesome breakfast option that I can feel good about us eating. It’s an excellent source of protein and it makes it possible for my family to enjoy that decadent Sunday brunch type of breakfast any day of the week in just two minutes. The best part is if we are running late, as we often are, we can eat these Jimmy Dean Delights on the go.

Jimmy dean, wholesome breakfast, on the go

I asked my girls, 11 and 8 years old, to describe the Jimmy Dean Delights Turkey Sausage, Egg White & Cheese Croissant and here’s what they had to say: “ Tasty,” “Delicious,” and my personal favorite, “It’s like sunshine in my mouth, mommy!” Now, that’s something I can feel good about.

Check out the Morning Swap videos and watch as a busy working mom learns where the real ingredients like those in Jimmy Dean Delights come from!

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Vikings, Season 4, Travis Fimmel, History Channel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

If you are looking for an enthralling, exciting show to completely immerse yourself Vikings on History channel is back tonight at 10 p.m. EST. Never heard of it? Well, let me tell you about it. I stumbled across this addiction while I was laid up with my broken leg. Thank goodness for streaming TV and Netflix DVDs.

This is the premise:

Viking, Ragnar Lothbrok, is a young farmer and family man who is frustrated by the policies of Earl Haraldson, his local chieftain who sends his Viking raiders east to the Baltic states and Russia, whose residents are as poor as the Norsemen. Ragnar wants to head west, across the ocean, to discover new civilizations. With assistance from his friend Floki, Ragnar builds a faster, sleeker fleet of boats to help him make it to the Western world. Through the years Ragnar, who claims to be a direct descendant of the god Odin, continues to struggle with Earl until the two face each other in a final battle for supremacy. Following that, Ragnar goes on a search for new lands to conquer.

One of my minors in university was in history, so period pieces, especially anything based on history (even loosely) fascinate me. Believe me even if the mere mention of the word “history” bores you to tears, Vikings will pleasantly surprise you. In fact, you will fast become a Vikings junkie. I was not expecting to love this show as much as I did.

Think along the lines of Game of Thrones but with a lot more action, violence and sex appeal. Travis Fimmel, Clive Standen and Katheryn Winnick are superb in their respective roles as Ragnar Lothbrok, Lagertha, Ragnar’s wife/ex-wife and Rolo, Ragnar’s brother.

This ensemble cast has definitely brought the sexy back to Vikings. Who knew?

Vikings, history channel, season 4, Travis FImmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

The thing is Fimmel’s character, Ragnar Lothbrok, is a man of quiet strength. He is full of ideas and he is a born leader, not with words but with action. He commands respect and love from his people because he is willing to die for them and without words, he asks the same of them. To be a brutal murderer in one moment and a man of thought and faith in another, who places family above all else makes a character we would normally love to hate instead one who we root for and want to succeed.He’s the kind of leader that men and women alike will follow anywhere and I love being able to watch that story unfold on the screen.

The first three seasons were filled with lots of drama with everything from political mutiny, family love triangles, betrayal, sex, murder and loss but at the core, it’s about a man with dreams of a better life for his children, his wife and himself. It’s about doing whatever it takes to earn the life you want and I love the historical facts peppered throughout. There is so much more to this show than just a dry recount of history. It not only brings it to life, it makes you wish you could have been a part of it.

Vikings, history channel, season 4, Travis FImmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen

Vikings creates a real connection with these characters in history, so much so that you will find the murderous acts committed by Ragnar and the gang not only necessary but almost endearing because it is all in the name of a greater good. The History Channel has done an excellent job of bringing history to life in a way that’s relatable to a younger audience.

Vikings returns for a gripping fourth season. Season 3 culminated with the extraordinary battle in Paris, where Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) seized victory from the jaws of defeat-but still returns to Kattegat dangerously ill. Thoughts of his death galvanize the forces who seek to succeed him as king, including his wife Queen Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) and his oldest son, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig). Meanwhile, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) continues power struggle with her calculating, former second in command, Kalf (Ben Robson); Rollo (Clive Standen) betrays his Vikings heritage by remaining in Frankia and Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) is seized for his brutal actions to the Christian priest Athelstan.

Joining the stellar cast this season is Peter Franzen as King Harold Finehair, a complex character who seeks to be King of Norway and a potential threat to Ragnar; Jasper Paakkonen as Halfdan The Black, King Harold’s violent younger brother; and Dianne Doan as Yidu a completely different character within the world of the Vikings who fascinates Ragnar.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting season fours return since I finished streaming the first three seasons over a month ago. I can’t believe it took me 3 years to even hear about this series. That’s why I wrote this piece, I want everyone to get to enjoy it and ladies, just an FYI, Vikings have never been so sexy. Thanks Travis Fimmel!

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Will you be watching Vikings tonight ?

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This month is closing in on me like a Mac truck racing towards my bumper, suffocating me in the process.It started with turkey and family, and now its all a blurred haze of running to and fro, shopping, the Nutcracker is any day now, schools wrapping up, I was just informed that I am to help cook ( must be homemade..wtf?Even my kids don’t get homemade at this time of the year) for the teacher’s breakfast next month and then I got the surprise of a summons for jury duty.I almost fell to the ground in a crumpled pool of tears and assumed the fetal position.How the hell am I to fit jury duty into an already packed schedule with no family here to help? What the fuck am I, the bionic woman? Then there is Christmas. Is it just me or is anyone else feel like they are playing an intense game of chicken with Christmas?

In past years ( back when shopping was still fun for me), I’d try and have all my shopping done before the dreaded Black Friday.I thought I was so cool, all aloof and above these crazed housewives trying to save $2 on some ridiculously priced toy du jour. Oh yeah, I was a real asshole. Then I had kids and I thought, what the hell, I’ll do the Black Friday thing.I’ll play the game. The Big Guy and I went and had coffee while my MIL stayed with the baby ( she was like 8 months old).Hell, she was still sleeping by the time we had returned.There was no urgency. None at all. We were going to buy her what we wanted, no matter what it cost because she was THAT fucking special ( she takes after her Mommy).We’d even go out that afternoon, with her in tow, to buy stuff ( usually for ourselves) on the good discounts.It was a blast.

The couple years later, we had 2 kids. Money was getting a little tighter and so we decided this Black Friday had a little more importance to our lives.We had a plan, a reconnaissance mission, if you will.The objective;split up, recover the coveted items, rendezvous and pay. Simple, right?Newspapers were bought, items circled, routes plotted. We were ready.Hurrah! Then it happened…Toys R Us!If you’ve never experienced TRUS on Black Friday( or as I like to call it the fifth dimension of hell) you have no idea of which I speak. Imagine if you will hundreds of weary eyed,exhausted, broken spirit, broken mind, broken body, broken pocket book mommies and daddies waiting in the rain for a couple of hours with our same mission and a little more determined. These were the marines of parents, they were not backing down and they looked CRAZY! I’m not ashamed to admit it, I was a little afraid. The doors opened and these people, grown adults with children of their own, broke free like bats out of hell into Toys R US. There were carts being rammed, people pushed up against door jams, dolls ripped from Grandmother’s hands, in some cases, Grandmothers being beaten with said doll.It was my worst nightmare. The Big Guy and I said the hell with it, there is NOTHING in this joint worth risking our lives for..not even a damn Zune for $40. We backed our certainly out of our depth asses right the hell out of Toys R US,lucky to escape with all of our extremities and life. Beep, Beep, beep….new parents coming through. I’m sure I saw others, more seasoned parents, smirking at us and our defeat as they slightly released the death grip on their Baby Alive Dolls.

After that experience, last year we skipped it all together. We refused to even acknowledge the day existed. It was far too traumatic.The plan this year was to go out on BLACK Friday and get all my shopping done. This year, I have been a Mommy for 5 years. This year, money is tight.The year has been hard with all the traveling, tears and Daddy being away.This year, I wasn’t taking any bullshit.This year, I wasn’t taking any prisoners and if someone thought they were ripping anything out of my hands…they were risking their life and sadly mistaken.I had become my own worst nightmare. Then, after all the psychological psyching out and physical conditioning…my baby sitter crapped out on me!WHAT?


So, here I am. I’ve missed out on Black Friday, Cyber Monday holds no real enticement for me, and the month is packed full of responsibilities and appointments.Wonder if my girls would go for just getting a shit load of love under the tree..THAT I can provide.They get that every day.Too bad I can’t wrap up hugs, kisses, cuddles, sleepy smiles, children’s laughter, long lingering hugs,quiet moments, and priceless little voices lifted up in song. That’s all I want for Christmas..and maybe some alone time with my Big Guy. For now, back to my game of chicken between me and Christmas.Who’s going to swerve first..not me!Christmas, you will be my bitch!Well, if you call being my bitch, me shopping online until the wee hours of the night.But what about this jury duty business? Well, I’m not above crying and they would be real tears! What’s your worst Christmas shopping experience?

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good girls, unicorns, raising daughters, women, sex

Dear Preston Waters,

I read your piece about good girls today being as illusive as the unicorn; non-existent. I hope you are wrong. I am a unicorn who is currently raising two unicorns (as you call them). I am teaching them to have respect for themselves and do what makes them happy in life. Life is too short to live by other people’s rules; especially when the rules are not clear and ever changing. Good girls are not extinct, maybe you are just too pompous and stupid to see them because you are so busy going for the easy piece of ass and then disregarding the girl who showed you charity.

I agree that we live in a world where more women are sexually asserting themselves. We live in a world of selfies and social media gone wild. People taking nude photos of themselves and uploading them to the internet or sexting them and having them end up in the wrong hands has become common place. The world has become so small that sometimes we forget that we are not alone with our computer, camera or phone. We forget that the Internet is vast and permanent. Forever. Talk about never being able to outgrow the sins of your youth.

good girls, unicorns, raising daughters, women, sex

Women have not lost all morals and respect for themselves, you are just more aware of their indiscretions thanks to social media. Men and women have been making mistakes since the beginning of time. We still have dignity, only now we also have the Internet and our every mistake can live on in infamy. What’s so wrong with a woman enjoying sex, anyways?

Mr. Waters you are complaining because men have finally gotten everything they ever wanted, women who are willing and able to have consensual sex with you on her terms. No more begging, no more bullying her into it; nope, now women realize that they can choose to embrace their own sexual appetites without being a whore. Still, your misogyny won’t let you accept your gift. We’ve finally broken free of the shackles of patriarchal approval. We finally care more about what we think about ourselves than what you think of us.

good girls, unicorns, raising daughters, women, sex

The story has not changed. Men have always liked the chase more than the actual prize. Women figured this out a long time ago. This is why I was a virgin until I was in college. You’ve always wanted the good girl who plays hard to get but is a complete freak in private. But you don’t want to believe that she has ever been with anyone else, ever. So, we’ve let you believe what you wanted.

“Then you have drugs, uppers being predominant, and many women are addicted to prescription pills to help their “anxiety.” In short, women have become easy, but they have also become broken — and eventually become undesirable because no one stays hot forever. Sure, we men are to blame for this as well, but that is because we are idiots.” Well, you got one thing right.

Mr. Waters, I don’t think that you would know a unicorn if it bit you in the ass. All women are born unicorns. If they are broken, it is life, full of it’s double standards,painful situations and callous men who treat women like whores that have broken them.

good girls, unicorns, raising daughters, women, sex

The problem Mr. Waters is not with the unicorns, it is with assholes like you who put women into categories; whores and virgins. We are more than what resides between our legs. Maybe you need to become a unicorn yourself if you want to attract a unicorn because unicorns don’t want to marry assholes; we prefer unicorns too.

Sincerely,

A Unicorn

good girls, unicorns, raising daughters, women, sex

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breast health, violet iodine, menstrual breast discomfort

With everything going on with my leg lately, I’ve neglected a lot of other things, even other parts of my body. Apparently, when your body is traumatized in such a horrendous way, all of your brain focuses on the injured party. But as I start to heal, I begin to feel all the feels that I have been suppressing.

For instance, I’ve barely felt any pain in my severely sprained right ankle because all my attention has been directed at my broken and dislocated left leg. Now that I am healing, I am suddenly feeling the aches and pains of all the sprains and pulls that I incurred in the rest of my body in the fall. I am even feeling my monthly migraines, cramps and breast sensitivity.

Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Menstrual-related breast discomfort caused by hormonal changes that occurs during a woman’s menstrual cycle can lead to the buildup of breast tissue, resulting in breast lumps, tenderness, swelling, heaviness and aches. It’s awful and if you already have dense breasts, it’s that much worse.

I know I’m not alone because approximately 37.5 million women (an estimated 50 percent of all women during childbearing years) experience this, yet most of us don’t even know that there is anything that we can do about this situation. We just accept it and push through.

But what if it wasn’t something we had to suffer through? What if we could alleviate that discomfort? I mean being a woman shouldn’t feel like a punishment once a month. Being a woman is a beautiful thing.

Well, recently, I found out there is an option for relief from menstrual breast discomfort. There is a product called Violet iodine. It’s a once-daily, non-hormone supplement that is taken orally and made specifically for women to promote breast health and alleviate menstrual-related breast discomfort. It’s the first non-prescription molecular iodine supplement specifically designed to address this discomfort.

Violet iodine addresses the underlying cause of the symptoms rather than temporarily masking the discomfort. Most women begin to experience symptom relief after taking Violet iodine for 60 days, although some women may experience relief sooner.

Its completely drug-free, composed of two forms of iodine, that – when introduced into the acidic environment of the stomach – combine to form molecular iodine. Molecular iodine binds with other molecules in the body and targets the breast tissue via the bloodstream. It has been shown to restore the natural, healthy balance of breast cells and relieve monthly breast discomfort.

breast health, violet iodine, menstrual breast discomfort

Violet iodine is available over the counter at CVS, The Vitamin Shoppe and at Drugstore.com and right now you can try Violet for 30% off at participating retailers. For more information about Violet Iodine you can check them out on Twitter and Facebook.

Do you experience monthly breast discomfort? What do you do to help ease the pain?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Violet Iodine but all opinions are my own. 

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