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Sep 15, 2017

Mental Health: What I've Learned in Nine Months

In my personal life, this year could easily be defined as the Year of Positive Mental Health.

I am in a constant state of learning, growing, stumbling and falling, but overall, I believe I am stepping out of the fog a better, more in-tune-with-myself person.

And no, I didn't spend the past nine months meditating on a cliff, chatting with grasshoppers and taking a sabbatical.  This is real life. I still have to put in the work, each and every day.

So I spent a lot of time focusing inward, on how life affects me and how I react to it.

During the extremely desperate, foggy days after my miscarriage, I met with a therapist.
And of all the stuff we would chat about, one phrase stood out to me:

"Your focus should be the family you chose."

And as soon as I started putting that idea to work, everything sort of...settled out.
Not without heart-ache and tears and sacrifices and failures, of course.

But my priorities shifted.

The grief from my miscarriage has moved away from my every waking thought. Every now and then it would bubble to the surface as a milestone approached. Things like the would-be baby shower and my due date were very significant.

At the beginning of my grief, I would be angry. So angry that this happened. So angry that life was unfair. I launched that venom onto Mark. He was the helpless victim watching his wife crumble and cry hysterically. I was completely inconsolable because I had no idea how to make it better.

I learned to sit with my grief instead of combating it. The healing would never come if I fought it with rage. Our marriage would suffer because of it.

I would speak in very simple sentences when I started to get flustered.

"I'm sad."
"I feel the anger rising again."
"I need some time to let this happen."

I would give myself a time-out, sit on the ledge of the tub and just cry as hard as I needed to into a hand towel.

The grief would stay with me for a while, and then it would leave. And when it left I felt lighter and could function again in the normal world.

Anxiety crept in when facing troubles in my immediate family. My natural instinct is to fix it. To act as the therapist. To make things better. To be the glue that holds my family together.

But guess what. My marriage suffered. The family I chose would be put on the back-burner.  I would take on that therapist role with my family, only to leave completely exhausted and beyond frustrated, and I would spew more anger and venom onto Mark.

Again, not cool.

So I cut ties.

I backed away from birthdays and holidays.
I declined pleas for help.
I said no to requests to fix us.

As much as that hurt, I knew in my heart I had to hold my ground.

For myself. For my mental health. For my marriage.

The last thing I ever wanted to do was shun my family.

But our gatherings were filled with nothing but gloom and doom.

Mark and I carried the conversations and kept gatherings up-beat. But it was exhausting acting as the dog and pony show. When you watch people just stare blankly at you, and you wonder if they are even listening in the first place, it takes a toll on your self-worth and your patience.

My relationship with my family was simply to dump their filled-to-the-brim problems onto me.
I tried to carry it, but it got too heavy.

Coming from an extremely emotional family, I always thought it was odd that we would get together at birthdays and cry over the sappy cards. The sappier and the more dramatic, the better.

I started to dread my own birthday, knowing I had to spend a portion of it crying with my family.
I just want things to be more light-hearted and that too much to ask?

It hurt my heart to constantly have what Mark and I refer to as death bed conversations, with my father.

You know, the dramatic, end-of-life statements that haunt you in your sleep?

"You are my whole world."
"This is all I have. I will die soon, you know. You need to help fix this."
"Please, PLEASE help us."

It's too much for a daughter, a woman with her own life, her own family, to handle.
Life is not that dramatic day in and day out, but I can only assume that is the kind of stuff you start to imagine when you don't really do anything with your brain and your hands each day. You sort of become a hypochondriac, always imagining the worse. I'm not sure how to function with that type of daily anxiety.

So, yes, my relationship is strained with my family. And I may have blocked a few numbers at times.
But the anxiety and frustrations I had towards them would start the second a text message or phone call came in, and I needed to focus on a smoother, less hectic life now, and moving forward.

So I stopped it. Dead in its tracks.

I will check in every so often, but don't let the conversation stray too far from the basics. I have to keep reminding myself I am not a therapist and I am not in charge of other people's happiness.

Perhaps at some point we will chip away at this wall we built, but for now, my focus is my marriage and my own mental state.

So what about our social life?
That too was adjusted.

Mark and I used to be the ones to host constant, large groups of people at our house. We threw the loud parties and drank a million beers, and came up with the best party music, and entertained everyone and their mom, literally.

And that's definitely still fun here and there.

But I guess at some point along the way, I found myself loving more one-on-one time with people. I am more empathetic to other families lives and want to know more than our drunken conversations could have ever revealed. Everyone knows about my life because I write about it on in the internet. But I know very little about others. I am working to change that.

Summer was nothing short of magical. Life was dictated by the weather. We said no to events if there was a better use of our time. And said yes more often to different things that piqued our interest.

I slowed down a lot.

With my workouts, and my intensity to keep up with every little thing, day in and day out.
I let go of the reigns in a lot of aspects of my life. I don't have to be in charge of EVERYTHING (even if I CAN do it better) :)
I stopped jumping to my phone the second it rang.
I sat and watched the wildlife around my home more.
I stepped back from social media a lot.

Life is still moving forward.
We have made plans and taken some leaps I didn't anticipate taking in recent months.
I faced some fears head on and am still breathing on the other side.

Regarding the family I chose; our little two person + two animal family.
I am learning to find peace in both potential outcomes with its growth.

For so many years I thought growing our family was an ends to means with my happiness. I wanted the baby so my parents could have a grandchild. I wanted the baby to be happy. To be fulfilled. To feel complete. To be my whole world.

If I didn't have a baby my life would be without meaning, without true happiness.

And then I realized that is exactly the kind of dramatic death bed chatter that came from my poor mental health with my family.

A child is a blessing, no doubt. If we ever do conceive and have our own earth-side baby to raise, that will be a miracle I will never take for granted.

I would still love for that dream to become a reality. But, I now know that if it never happens, Mark and I will still have each other. This little family that we chose to be our own is what will always make me the happiest. Anything additional is just the cherry on an already awesome cake.

I'm hopeful that we can close the next few months in 2017 on a happier, healthier, content note, with our feet planted firmly on the ground, side by side.

It feels good to be back to blogging. More to come, folks. XO

Sep 8, 2017

Making The Family I Chose My Priority

Happy September, folks.

I'm happy to be back to writing on a consistent basis.
I felt an overwhelming urge to step back a lot from social media, from my computer, from my phone, and from all the nonsense that comes with likes and follows and subscriptions and junk.

Sometimes it's good for the soul to cut ties for one reason or another, and boy have I had more than enough reasons this year.

We wrapped up the summer last weekend with husband's birthday complete with a little Labor Day fiesta, and I couldn't be more content with the transition.

You see, I have been on quite the journey over the last 8-ish months.

Nothing anyone else could really see, for that matter.
We haven't traveled.
No, I'm not pregnant.

It's more in how I feel.
How I am positioning myself with and for others.
How I am as a person.
A growth spurt...if you will.

Let's back-track a bit.

I have always felt that I handled difficult situations with ease. Grace under pressure.
I have always been the rock for many, many people in my life.

And because logistics and planning and care and fixing things came so naturally to me, for whatever reason, it only seemed logical that I spread the wealth, especially since my family was literally begging me for help.

I now see my thought process was silly, but justifiable....I don't have any kids of my own to dole out the love and care and therapy and know-it-all and life lessons I guess I should just do it for everyone else.

A lot of people, specifically, most of my immediate family members, stepped all over the love and support I offered.

My family took advantage of me.
And it made me bitter.

Because of this, I started developing anxiety whenever my phone would ring.
That anxiety spread to family gatherings, and family events, and anything that involved them.
I would sit and be furious, re-hashing events that were long gone.
I was furious that this was happening.
I was furious that I continued to let it happen.
That I was being used.

Because the only time my phone would ring was when someone needed something from me.

And you want to know what ended up happening?

I had a break down.

I became extremely ill for over a month with vision and neurological issues that most doctors couldn't figure out. Countless trips to the doctor, an MRI, and many pills later, and the conclusion was a sinus infection of epic proportions mixed with an overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety.

In a nutshell, it was debilitating. Although I looked relatively fine from the outside, inside I was scared shitless, wondering if this crazy-feeling was going to be my new normal. I had panic attacks while driving and in the middle of the night, my vision doubled if I looked too far into the distance, I couldn't focus on busy patterns and it generally felt like I was high all the time.

I just kept saying yes as people pushed their way into our lives, begging us to sort their shit out for them. And because I guess we felt like we had our head's on straight, we obliged.

But we were never met with equality.
I'm not one to need some sort of trophy for doing normal work. Far from it.
I just wanted to be treated as an equal part of the family.
I wanted people to work with me and love me and talk with me like we were on the same team.

I wanted the people I was helping to say something crazy like, "How are YOU doing? What's new? Hey! You wanna get together?" Without some ulterior motive meant to scheme me in some way. To manipulate me. To unload their bullshit. To make me feel awful.

I didn't get what I wanted.
I took the hit for this, have learned a great deal, and am moving forward.

That's what makes a noble person.
To try and make it better than before.
To learn from your mistakes and all that shit.

Mark and I have always wanted the best for everyone.
And that is God's honest truth.
We want everyone to enjoy life as best as they possibly can, and if that means sacrificing, or working harder, or changing things up to get there, then guess what? We fully support that.
Do all that good shit and report back.
We are happy to hear about and embrace the good you are doing in your own life.

So we always helped out when we could, because, like I said, some stuff just comes easier to us.
Everyone shines at something.

But it got to the point that I clearly remember repeating, "I have given you every possible option imaginable to dig your self out of this. You have all the tools. All the resources. All you have to is apply them as needed and follow-through. It's ultimately up to you."

I washed my hands of the effort and walked away.
I learned over the last eight months that none of that really matters, anyways.
Family is only family if they are there for you. Equally.

They sucked my giving well dry.
And it's now up to me to fill it with goodness again and dole it out sparingly.

The family I chose is more important than the family I came from.
If family is hurting you, it's okay to step back and re-evaluate your involvement with them.

Will it always be like this?
I'd like to say no, but that part isn't up to me.

What is up to me is how I react to shitty situations, how I choose to live my life, and what I allow in it. And through trial and error, it's getting easier.

Easier for me to say no and not feel guilty.
Easier for me to focus on my life and my prospects and my husband and our home.
Easier for me to understand that I am not a bad person for saying no.

Life is simple and beautiful and complex and mundane and chaotic all at the same time.
And it's going to fucking pass me right by if I don't pump the breaks and realize all this time spent running in circles has gotten me nowhere.

So that's the journey I have been on.
To place the right things at the top of my life list, and let the rest fade away.

Welcome Back. I'm happy to be here. XO

Sep 1, 2017

I'm Back, and I have a Lot to Say


Good to see everyone back here in my little corner of the internet.
I, like most people people in the Midwest, went a little crazy trying to soak up our (brief ) summer.
The leaves are already starting to change, and a little piece of my dies inside knowing I have to start wearing more layers and seeing less sunlight.

Don't get me wrong, I like fall. I love Halloween and the fact that it's not the dead of winter just yet.

But I LOVE summer. I love everything that comes with the heat, the low maintenance hair and make-up, the easy summer clothes, time by and in bodies of water, music and margaritas.

I was busy with life and because everyone was in a similar situation, was low on inspiration to write.

But I also had a lot of other stuff going on as well.

See....this year has been different for me.
I boldly remember declaring I was morphing into a different person after our miscarriage.
I could feel it in my bones. Something had shifted.
Life....the good and the bad, basically stayed the same.
But my mind and my perception on how to live life had changed.

I have thought long and hard about what I want to write about on this blog, and I realized I was sort of skimming over a large chunk of my life.

Because it wasn't pretty.

I have decided to start sharing more, diving into the some of the uglier parts, to sort of level the playing field, and bring awareness to other issues that normal people tend to face.

I suppose this post is more of a disclaimer. That what I'll be sharing from time to time, should not be judged or looked down upon. You, my readers, are no better than me, and I most definitely am not better than anyone else. I will be talking very frankly, as I do in real life, about things that affected me in recent years, both good and bad.

Everyone is going through something in their life.
Sometimes life is grand, and sometimes it takes the wind right out of your sail.
This is my story, and I'm happy to let everyone in.

Welcome back. I'm happy you're here. XO

Aug 21, 2017


Although there is a minor celestial event occurring this afternoon :) , the REAL news is that today is my birthday!

It's sort of a big deal.

Today I am 34.

Man! Another year down the tubes and another year towards the grave, amiright?

I am totally, totally kidding. Promise.
I have never been one to shy away from sharing my age.
Never been one to not celebrate something special.
I love birthdays and growing older and, hopefully, wiser in the process.

This one did not disappoint, either.
We celebrated by taking our boat down the shore of Lake Michigan to a Bruno Mars concert.
I don't think it gets much cooler than that, really.

33 sure was one for the books.
It was by far the hardest year of my life.
I lost so much.
I said goodbye to two loves of my life; my oldest bulldog and my little baby boy.

But as I healed, I gained a sense of self I hadn't fully realized until I was broken down so far, that I was able to rebuild myself into something better.

We fully ventured into the world of infertility and IVF.
I temporarily became a mom and got to experience a little sliver of pregnancy...something I had longed for, for so many years.

Mark and I had our marriage tested through depression, anxiety, grief, and just about everything else under the sun.
But we are SO happy now.
So much stronger together.
We weathered that damn storm and lived to tell about it.
And we are still crazy about each other (even if we drive each other crazy, daily.)

I treated myself to a grown up vehicle, after shuttling around in a TransAm for the majority of my post-college life.

And most importantly, I learned a lot about myself.
I grew as a woman, as a wife, and as my own person in this world.

I cut out a lot of bullshit.
I streamlined my life and my thoughts.
I put more effort into things that are worth it.
I slowed down a lot to savor all the good that comes with each day, even the boring ones.
I said goodbye to a lot of anxieties.
I stopped multi-tasking (I was never any good at that, anyways, no matter what my resume says)
I stopped striving for the perfect set of gym abs, and instead, put more focus to my spiritual side.
I became more in tune with how I react to the world, and how it makes me feel.

I have been working on myself, each and every day.
Some days are far harder than others, but each day is a gift, and I really truly get that now.

I'm happy to be happy and healthy.
I'm happy to have my wonderful husband by my side.
I'm happy to have a goofy bulldog and a sassy cat to fill up our home.
I'm happy to have a good paycheck and a beautiful home and a capable body to handle and maintain all that we have worked so hard to achieve over the years.

I am so very lucky, indeed.
Cheers to 34 and to many, many more beautiful days!

Jul 21, 2017

Our Due Date

I know I said I would be taking a summer break. And I likely still am for the most part, but I wanted to be sure and document today.

Today would be our due date for our little baby boy.
And the whirlwind of emotions in the past couple of weeks has been one for the books.

Every milestone that pops up along the way of my should-have-been pregnancy wreaks havoc on my emotions and mental state. And it's never the day of....more like the week or so leading up to the date.

Overall, I am happy.
I am content.
I smile and laugh and joke and make plans, and, for the most part, am back to my old self.

My recovery from a miscarriage has been monumental, since I was never really able to release all this love I have for this person I will never meet..

I cry at night sometimes.
I replay the minutes of my miscarriage sometimes.
I talk to the little grave site in our back yard a lot.
I misplace my anger because of my grieving sometimes.

It's okay to not be okay, sometimes.

But even still, life moves on.
We move forward and we re-shape our lives, and weave this loss into the fabric of our being. We are growing to accept what happened, learn what we can, and move forward with kind hearts. We will not let this failure harden our edges.

The pain hurts far less these days when I reminisce, than it did six months ago.
The sting is less sharp.
The tears are fewer.

Mark and I will be together today, in celebration of our little man.

We never gave him a first name.
Mark insisted his middle name be Speed, so that's what it would have been.

We know he is playing with Crash up in Heaven.
And at some point, many many years down the road, we will all be reunited as one big happy family.

We love you, Speed. XO

Jun 30, 2017

Summer Vacation

Hey there!
Yes, I still write words outside of my fun little home and lifestyle posts.

She Has Good Genes will be taking a blog break for the duration of summer.

I am low on inspiration to keep up with posting on a consistent basis right now.
I am pretty sure this happens a lot in blog-land, and it most certainly happens to me on a yearly basis.

Obviously last summer we were waist-deep in IVF, helping our cat recover, and keep up with daily life. It was chaotic and overwhelming and difficult to breathe at times. And I always wished we were further along with time.

But this year is much different.

Life is good for me right now.
It's funny, after you have been through a period of grieving, I think you start to focus on all the small, wonderful little details that each day has to offer...instead of rushing to the next big event.

Like how content I am to watch the rain, and smell the warm, wet asphalt, while rocking on the porch-swing.

Or how excited Burn gets when he knows we're going for another golf cart ride to the river.

And how quickly my sunflowers are growing. They are all sprouting up rapidly and most of them are still thriving.

Or how closely I can walk towards the mama deer in our back yard as she lunches on flowers.

Or how grateful I am to be able to get up as the sun rises and go for a morning run before work.

How well of a team Mark and I are. Giving each other grace as we navigate this year has been so incredibly fulfilling....from grief recovery, to the letting the dishes pile up, to our next boating adventure, to our sour moments, to holding hands through an antique store, to fixing a leaky pipe, to folding the other person's laundry, to trying to out-do each other off the diving board, to dance parties in the driveway. Every moment has been treasured.

Saying yes to road-trips to visit with relatives, and welcoming new babies to the family. There really is nothing like smelling the top of a baby's head as she sleeps in the crook of your arm.

Staying up late and watching the bats circle overhead.

Cannonball contests in the pool.

Fireworks on Lake Michigan after a jet-setting jaunt on the boat.

Taking the extra (dozen) vacation days.

Being less involved with TV shows and social media and slowing. down.

And the list can likely go on and on.

There will be plenty of fun, pretty, hilarious, and inspiring stuff in the meantime on Instagram.
I am happy to have you follow along as we relish in these fleeting summer months!

Life is 80 Summers, my dear!
Live it up!! XOXO

Jun 28, 2017

My Supplement Routine For Better Egg Quality

In my quest to max out whatever eggs I have left in the ole' baby-making reserve, I started reading It Starts With the Egg.

I was blessed with old, poorer quality eggs, which added another hurdle to our pre-existing genetic issues. We went into 2016 without any knowledge of this, so to say it was an uphill battle trying to correct what I could, was an understatement.

I took what I learned from 2016 to leverage any future cycles as best I could.

I did extensive research along with my doctor's recommendations and used these supplements on a daily basis.

Obviously nothing is guaranteed, but I feel as though I am better prepared and more knowledgeable, in general, to year's past. So I thought I would share my extensive research and supplement list with you.

(disclaimer: if undergoing infertility treatments, please clear all of this with your Dr. FIRST. The amount that works for me may not be suitable for your body.)

The best part of my obsession with research is I have done all the hard work for you.

My goal is help inform those struggling to conceive as much as possible so I linked all the supplements I use.

All are available through Amazon and if you have Prime, you'll get them in two days!
I basically live my life through Amazon Prime. 
Who doesn't love skipping the store (and those dreaded lines) and instead, have a happy box of goodies show up to their front door?

Super B Complex // Vit D // DHEA // Prenatal // CoQ 10 // Myo Inositol // Red Raspberry Leaf Tea // Vit C

Super B Complex
For antioxidant support and energy, I take one pill per day. I swear this vitamin helps perk me up each morning and keeps me healthy! I buy two containers per year and take one each day even when I'm not cycling.

Vitamin D
My nurse said I was a tad Vitamin D deficient (damn Midwestern winters!) so I was put on 4,000mg per day. I found these at Trader Joe's originally, but always forgot to buy more when I was shopping. Enter Amazon for convenience! I take one tiny pill in the morning and one when I get home.

My doctor recommended 75mg per day to improve egg quality and I swear by it. It upped my antral follicle count from 8 to 24 over a four month span in 2016! I take two pills in the morning (25mg each) and one in the evening. Give it 3-4 months for best results.

Duh. I find this one most cost effective. I would always laugh when the nurse reminded me I should be taking yea! I have been taking a prenatal for six freakin' years, thank you very much ;)

Ubiquinol CoQ10
Highly absorptive. The pills aren't the smallest but I like this brand because of it's high ratings. I take 600 mg per day and my husband takes 400mg per day. That's two pills in the am and one in the pm for me. This container goes quick so sometimes I buy 3-4 at a time!

I buy this in powder form and mix it in my raspberry leaf tea. My nurse recommended 4,000mg per day for egg quality. That's just over a tsp of powder per day. It's tasteless and mixes really well. The large container I buy easily lasts for multiple cycles. Give it 3-4 months for best results.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
I drink 8oz every morning with my handful of pills. It's what I mix my myo-inositol with. A little agave nectar and I find the taste very appealing. It's supposed to help with menstrual support because these cramps are no joke. The link gives you a package of 6 boxes, and trust me, you will go through them all within 4 months at 8oz per day.

Vitamin C
To health and happiness, right? This horse pill keeps me from getting sick. My husband pops them when he's feeling run down and they help immensely. Just one a day in the am and the container lasts almost an entire year!

One final note, I found out while doing taxes that if prescribed (or recommended) by your doctor, supplements can be written off as a medical expense (and you know these get pricey, fellow IVFers!).

Keep those receipts and be sure to get written approval or recommendations!

So best of luck! Happy supplementing and Happy Eggs!! :)
Thank you so much for reading and supporting this blog. XO

Jun 23, 2017


Swan Float // Adult Sippy Cups // Unicorn Float // Squirt Guns // Beer Pong // Red Solo Cups // Tiki Torches //
Outdoor Lights // Sunscreen // Citronella Bucket // Flamingo Float // Kiddie Pool //  Glow Sticks // Pineapple Float

HELLO PARTY PEOPLE! Summer is in full swing and I cannot be more excited!

If there is one thing Mark and I do's pool parties.
No, not those Pinterest-perfect pool parties where everything matches and the men are bored....I'm talking about the ones your friends actually want to go to!  
Here are some essentials you'll need for a rockin' good time!

Pool Floats. They are, hands down, the hit of any pool party. Adults love sipping a beer in them and kids love fighting with each other on them. My favorites this season are the swan, the unicorn, the flamingo and the pineapple, obviously.

Tip: I nearly died trying to blow these damn things up with my mouth. 
Save yourself the trouble and get a quick fill air-pump. Problem solved!

Plastic drinkware is a MUST around a pool. These margarita glasses are safe AND they save your beverage after you've had one too many. They are literally adult sippy cups. You're welcome.

Speaking of adult beverages...inflatable beer pong is likely one of the best inventions ever. Sure you could use it as a pool float, but where's the fun in that? Don't forget your red solo cups!

While you're getting sloshed in the shallow end, throw some squirt guns at the kids and tell them to spray each other, NOT the inside of your house. (not that I know from experience)

Hopefully someone is less sober than you and can remind you to apply sunscreen
Cancer is no joke, son.

I have a few uses for kiddie pools
1. The an extra large dog bowl, duh. 
2. For beverages. I'll fill up a kiddie pool with ice and throw the beer and sunscreen in it. 
I guess kids could use them too.... :)

When the sun starts to set, the mosquito's are in full force. I like to throw a bunch of tiki torches around the pool (sexy), and put out a bunch of citronella buckets on the tables. 
You will need tiki torch fuel, and this one helps deter those pesky mosquitoes as well.

These commercial-grade outdoor lights stand the test of time. We have had them installed in our back yard for four years and not one bulb has burned out yet. Do it.

At night, string a glow stick to everyone's bathing suit so no one gets lost. 
It's not like you're seeing straight. 
I think they look pretty swell in the deep end of your pool, too.

What else would you add to the party?
Thanks for reading! XO

Jun 21, 2017

Embrace What Makes You Happy

"It's fine being weird, you should try it sometime."
I think I heard that line a thousand times while TV was advertising the new season of Detour. 

Anyways, today I have compiled a list of things that make me weirdly happy.
Complete with gifs...obviously.

The stuff that makes me happy isn't hitting up the latest it spot, or dropping a ton of money on something temporary, it's the moments (ok yes, and a few smaller purchases) in this list...and probably a million more tiny things that I can't think of right now.


Zoning out while driving to/from work: I'm not talking about when you start going down the rabbit-hole of your thoughts, only to arrive at your destination and kind of spook yourself because you don't quite remember how you got there (not that I haven't done that at some point)...I'm more talking about enjoying the drive.

I can get really, really worked up about driving and traffic and all the other idiots on the road.
I can't stand people who allow too much of a gap with the car in front of them because they are texting and distracted. 
(WHY do most of them seem to be driving Toyota Corolla's? Is this a requirement when buying one?)
I can't stand slow drivers, or drivers that ride my ass when I'm already speeding.
And when I get worked up, I will likely flip out on Mark when I get home...just because I'm mad at some stupid fleeting incident.

So....I try to just zone out. I focus on the stuff around me, but not really. I take advantage of an open highway as the opportunity arises, but just sort stuck in traffic. friends...details. Zooming around one car isn't going to get me to the finish line any faster when everyone and their mom is leaving for work at the same time.

If it's summer time...the windows will be wide swirling around my head...classic rock blaring on the radio....just cruising.

Reading Research: There was a period of time, when I was commuting via train, that I could easily get lost in a non-fiction book. But most of the time, I like reading research.

I cool.

But I do. I like learning everything I can about whatever it is I'm going through in life...whether it's infertility, or pregnancy, or product information, or whatever other thing has been deemed super important in my life at the time.

I like research. I was one of those read the back of the shampoo bottle people while peeing, before cell phones were a thing, and I guess the need to learn a little something here and there is fun for me.

Listening to Gangster Rap: Oh Hi. Yes, I am probably the whitest white girl ever who knows all the lyrics to nearly every rap song that came out in the 90's.
Don't care.
Because I am basically TuPac's side bitch when I'm feeling sassy.
Mark is always thrilled with this.

Cleaning an entire room at lightning speed: Sometimes the need for me to clean something is so urgent, I would rather be late from work than step on crumbs one more morning.

Again...throw on some gangster rap and this white chick knows how to get down with her mop and broom.

Pulling my glasses down my nose when speaking to people:

I used to have a lady-boss that wore glasses. Whenever she would speak to someone she would pull her glasses down a bit and look over them, and it always made her look super bitchy.

And I loved it.

Without realizing it, I started doing the same thing.
The real reason is my eyesight for distance viewing is different than my glasses Rx, but let's just pretend I'm just putting off an air about me, m'kay?

Buying the good wine: I was a cheap date. There, I said it.
I used to be perfectly happy with whatever was on the bottom shelf at Trader Joe's.
And then I went through a year of fertility treatments and had to curb my alcohol intake.
And then I was lucky enough to sample some really good wine at a friend's house...and my thinking changed.

Now, I'm not about to drop $50+ on a bottle of wine for a Tuesday, but I have definitely allowed pricier options into my life. And I don't regret it one bit.

Hell, knowing it's more expensive has even curbed my consumption in general.
I savor it a bit more.

It's a win-win for my hang-over and my wallet

Living within our means:

Total dork here. Are you seeing a trend?
I get super giddy on payday....not to hit up the bar...but to pay bills for the month and drop money into savings. HOLLA 'ATCHA, SON.

Having debt gives me more anxiety and stress than I know how to handle.
We buy the big things when we can, and wait for the smaller stuff a lot of times.
I love not giving into my every whim...because there is always the bigger, better goal ahead.

Planning and budgeting towards the good stuff is my spice of life.

*it's worth noting that the cost of IVF and when and how they require payment is outside the immediate realm of living within our means. They are making a TON of money off our need to have a baby. 

Organizing my closet by Season and Color: Enough said.

Sincerely complimenting a woman:  Not like in Mean Girls

I mean like a REAL compliment. How another woman acts, how she carries herself, what an awesome job she did, what she's wearing...WHATEVER.

You may or may not have noticed that we women kind of, sort of have to work a lot harder for EVERYTHING we do (side eye times a million) when I see a lady rocking what she's got...I fucking tell her.

We have to lift each other up, yada yada ya. Girl Power, bitches. :)

I forgot how much I love to spend a little bit of time creating something beautiful. Painting has always been fun for me and I've dabbled a bit more in it from time to time. It keeps me sane and level-headed during so many times of uncertainty.

Thinking I'm using a word correctly: Mark likes to point out that I use words in places they shouldn't be used. What he doesn't know, is that a lot of times I know I'm doing it and slyly grin when I can see his blood boiling. (and also I like to think I'm always right.)

ie..."I know! All that drama! It was like a chain connection or something!"

Do something for myself: This typically equals one of three things: Spending time in a hot epsom salt bath or pool (pending the season) with a glass of wine, hitting the gym at an odd hour (in lieu of my 5am normal routine), or sitting on my ass to watch a show only I want to watch, instead of what WE want to watch (and by we, I mean Mark.)

Apparently binge-watching Fixer Upper isn't something my husband is into.

Hugging my dog:
When all else fails...I do this.
Like a really big, super squeeze-y hug that makes him squirm a bit.

He gets to lick my face and I get to snuggle a huge land manatee.

What are your go-to quirky happy times?

Thanks for reading!! XO

Jun 16, 2017

Gifts for the Infertility Warrior in Your Life

So your super awesome friend confided in you that she is having difficulty conceiving.

She finally feels confident enough to share her struggle because she is looking for support, but you quickly realize you have no idea what she's talking about.

She spurts out words like IVF, transfer, embryos, genetic testing, hormones, needles, baseline, low antral follicle, male factory infertility, etc, and you are left staring wide-eyed trying to make sense of it all.

It's okay, totally don't have to get it.

We infertiles are going through Hell and back trying to make a baby with science.
We have A LOT of hormones surging through our bodies, and worries about results, and pain from procedures for many, many days.
And through it all we are hoping to God that it's all worth it in the end.

And you...because you want to help, but don't really know how?
Fear not, for I have rounded up the best the very best gift ideas designed specifically for the gal in the wait.

Water Bottle // Believe Bracelet // Stress Fix Roller // Lucky Socks // Daily Affirmation Cards
Stress Fix Salts // Pineapple T-Shirt // Book - It Starts With the Egg // Book - Art of Waiting
A water bottle seems sort of....basic, right? I mean, who needs another water bottle. But I can assure you, after going through three retrievals, and two transfers, we require a lot of water before, during, and after the procedure. Gift her a cute one that isn't made of plastic. Her ovaries will thank you.

A mantra band is all the rage these days. Why not give her something she ACTUALLY wants to wear. A dainty rose-gold bracelet with a simple phrase....Believe. Sometimes we think that Journey song was written for us. ;)

My mom gifted me two items from Aveda, this stress oil roller and these lavender soaking salts. And they are literally the best things in my life. I keep that roller in my purse and use it at least twice a day, if not more. The smell really does calm your ass down when you're waiting for the next phone call from the nurse.

Lucky socks. There are tons out there. I took the plunge and purchased the "Retrieval Day" socks and could not have been happier. Those operating rooms are fairly cold and these babies keep those tootsies warm. Warm feet = happy embryos!

Sometimes we need a little extra pep talk. This deck of daily affirmations is the perfect desk accessory for the frazzled infertile. Super cute design and thoughtful words.

There are a ton of infertility-related t-shirts out there, but I just LOVE this t-shirt because it's allowing me to represent my infertility-warrior self without attracting too much attention.
Get what I'm saying?

Finally, books. We read. A lot. And a lot of times it's about stuff that is really relevant in our our egg quality or surviving the two-week wait. I love the feel of a real book in my hands and own both It Starts With The Egg and The Art of Waiting. They were very informative and appealing during different parts of my journey and a welcome distraction as the minutes slowly ticked away.

Happy Gifting! XO

Jun 14, 2017

To the Asshat That Questioned How I Bought My Car

I belong to a very small gym in my home town.
My schedule has always been roughly the same, and because of this, I typically see the same small crowd of people in the same small gym.

I don't talk to anyone because I hate most people.
I have never been one of those people that goes to the gym for social hour.
I am there to do what I have always done; try to keep this ass in check so I can keep up with my other love; sipping cocktails.

Par for the course, there is....that the gym.
You know the one...who feels like he JUST. HAS. to chat with everyone?
He makes small talk with most of the men, and for some reason....tries to with me.

It's worth mentioning that he doesn't bother talking to ANY of the other girls that show up at the same time.....just me.

Now, I'm not trying to act snooty, but I'm 100% sure he wouldn't even glance my way if his wife was around. Based on what I have noticed, he's a dad, mid-to-upper 40's, lives in the same town as me, he's probably a coach from one of his kid's sports teams, and seems like he would talk about grilling and mowing lawns a lot.

I have nothing against the guy.
I just don't feel like interacting with people, especially when I'm huffing and puffing on the treadmill.
I wouldn't even talk much to my own husband while at the you just know this guy is way lower on the totem pole.

My (second) all-time favorite interaction with him was when he...just happened to notice....that I didn't make it to the gym for a few months over the winter.

You know, because I was on exercise restriction due to pregnancy, and then grieving my miscarriage.

So...OF COURSE....on my first day back at the gym, he makes sure to run up and grab his jacket at the same time I'm walking through the door.


I stare back at him, only able to mutter.....a vacation?!

No, not exactly....and I continue to put my stuff away and ignore him.


oooohhhhh buddy.....if you only knew.

I have decided this lovely conversation is over and turn to start my workout.

Now, normally if someone blows you off like that, you would take the hint that maybe they don't want to talk to you.

But NOPE...not this guy.

I have done my best to not make eye contact...because I just know eye contact leads to a quick smile (on his end), which leads to some dumb fucking conversation about, well, nothing, and does nothing but waste my time.

I mean...for the record, this guy has never even bothered to ask my name, or any other initial formalities like you would when you meet someone new.

He always just starts talking like we were in the middle of a conversation already.
I find it odd.

So, a few months ago, I purchased a newer car to drive around in.
Mark and I people.
And have a soft-spot for the Italian variety.
It's our thing.
You'll never see us running around in a Honda Civic.
We like unique looking cars with a bit of an edge.
And speed, for that matter.
Mostly speed.

We make a great team, because I'm cheap as Hell, and Mark does the research to find the best car for the best deal. It's a win-win for both of us.

So, this "new" car is ten years old, but was kept in pristine condition.
I loved the color combo and the mileage, and Mark loves the engine and the mechanics.

And it's now my daily driver.
Which I also happen to drive to the gym in.
Which Asshat has noticed, as is apparent in the next string of events.

So one random Wednesday morning, a couple weeks ago, I'm dying a slow death on the stair-machine, when good ole' Mr. Shitbag literally jumps into my line of sight and just starts talking.

His presence immediately annoys me.

My music is blaring, so I pause the stairs and pull the earbud out of my ear.

uhhhh....excuse me, what were you saying?

He squints his eyes and repeats himself slowly.

...How did YOU manage to buy THAT CAR?!

I actually think lasers darted out of my eyes at that point.
What the fuck did this ass bag just say?

As I, in no-way, have a poker face, I get all pissy and reply...

What the fuck does THAT mean?
I immediately throw my hand up

told him to

then turned around and continued my work-out.

I didn't want to make a scene.
But my heart was racing at that point.
All I'm thinking is....

What....because I'm YOUNGER than him?

What does he REALLY mean by that statement?
And WHY did he feel it was necessary to say it in the FIRST PLACE?

Is it so hard to believe that a WOMAN might be capable of working, buying, and DRIVING a "man's car"?

Is it so hard to believe that I ACTUALLY might be a GOOD driver and can handle it?
Is it so hard to believe that A MAN didn't GIFT me this car?
That I'm not just borrowing it?
That I'm not showing off?

That maybe, juuuust maybe, I deserve to drive whatever the fuck I want, just like everyone else is?

The way he approached this "conversation" was so ass-backwards, I couldn't wrap my head around it.

Why not start off with, "is that your car out there?" or "I like your car."
ANYTHING that doesn't sound back-handed and undermining.

But no....that's not what happened.
So here I am , confronted with yet another envious douche-bag, that feels it's appropriate to spout his two-cents and give me a piece of his mind.

So to the ass-hat that questioned how I acquired my car?

I bought it. Because I liked it.

And that's all I have to say about that.

May 31, 2017

If I could do it all over...

I think if most people go through any experience more than once, by the time the second or third opportunity arrives, they are basically a pro at the situation.

This goes for most things in life; buying a home, having a baby, negotiating a salary, picking a good boy/girlfriend, applying eyeliner, knowing just how many drinks to suck down before you reach black-out city...and the list goes on.

I find comfort in the been there, done that mentality.

In the trenches of our first year of IVF, I did my due diligence in terms of researching, questioning, and generally hashing out the details of every poke and prod, every sentence, every result, every everything.

I have no regrets in terms of what I could have known vs. what I should have known with science and technology.

But, as we head into our second year of treatment, and hopefully, a second, successful pregnancy to an earth-side baby, there are a few things that stood out from round one that I will absolutely be eliminating from the insanity.

If I could do it all over again, I would bring my head above water more often. 

Life literally passed us by last year. Sure, we tried our best to have fun, party, celebrate, see friends, and do normal things....but we were so involved in the details of each cycle that I regret not taking time to breathe. Ever.

There were so many times where I remember wishing away days, weeks, and months.
Hell, I even wished away summer at one point!

Every cycle was barely met with good news...and I clung to those next phone calls and next monitoring appointments like they were do or die.

Life outside of IVF was frivolous at that point, and I think we suffered because of it.

I now know that yes, IVF can be rather time consuming if you let your entire brain take over....but the few minutes spent in a monitoring appointment, or administering shots, or taking a phone call, are just that....minutes...of a very long day that I can choose to turn into a positive and stay focused on my health, my work, our friends and our marriage.

Sure, it's easy to get wrapped up in anticipation waiting for the results, but I am going to try my hardest to let go, and let God handle it.

I have enough on my plate and come Hell or high-water, Infertility will not define me as a person.

If I could do it all over again, I would refrain from learning the gender. 

When the nurse called with our PGD results, I took that phone call by myself.
She asked if I wanted to know the gender, and because we really, really wanted a girl...I said yes.

After I got off the phone with the nurse, I called Mark, and while telling him the news, I could sense he wasn't thrilled that I made that decision by myself.

I got this huge pit in my stomach. I made a mistake.

I kept brushing it off because...IT WAS GOOD NEWS!!

But still, that phone call, sitting in the air-conditioned car in the heat of summer, is a moment I'll never forget. I should have said no. We should have just gone with the best embryo and moved forward.

What we learned from last year, when the girl didn't take, but the boy did....was that the love we had for the little boy growing inside me was monumental.

It no longer matters what we have, as long as the little person stays put for an entire pregnancy and is born free of abnormalities and I get to spend an eternity earth-side....we're good.

If I could do it all over again, I would refrain from announcing at work.

My work-situation may be a bit different than others.
My career is in Human Resources, and I just happen to be one of a couple girls in an office filled to the brim with men.

So, there is one role I play where I have to use discretion, and another role I play where I'm basically one of the guys.  It's rather fitting, in a way.

But neither of those roles is a good match to announce a pregnancy at 6 weeks, have it fail at 10, and then be hounded with innocent questions through what would have been my second trimester.

How am I feeling?

Am I getting excited?

You don't look pregnant.

Men, I mean...they are basically aloof. So when they were finally face to face with me, in a situation I never meant to have, the question would always come up randomly if they remembered it.
And then the ever-awkward conversation would ensue.

Oh, right...I miscarried at Christmas.

I'm sorry to hear that. 
*enter random mumbling about something similar, yet totally not*
And then there was always some ass-bag who would wrap-up the conversation with...

Are you going to start trying again right away?

*face palm*

At this point, do I start spilling the details about my personal life to a stranger?
The answer is no.

So I just smiled and wrapped up the conversation as quickly as possible, using phrases you really want to have this conversation with your HR Manager?

And...this isn't exactly appropriate for work, don'cha think?

So anyways....the moral of the story is....I will never be announcing a pregnancy at work ever again.

Even when I'm clearly showing, I'm going to just keep denying it and telling everyone I got fat.

Because if someone is going to have fun with the situation.....

What have you done in your life that you want a do-over with?
Thanks for reading! XO

May 26, 2017

DIY - Stenciled Canvas Art

When I moved into my new office, I realized I was constantly staring at a blank wall.
I am always slow to make decisions when it comes to accessories, so the wall stayed blank for almost a year.

I am NOT a fan of generic artwork, but the idea finally came to me one day to re-use some existing canvases I had previous purchased from Hobby Lobby.

But what should I paint?

Around the same time I was making these decisions, the company I bought my bedroom stencil from saw my work and decided to feature me on their blog. As a thank you, they offered me a stencil of my choice, and the pieces to my canvas art fell into place.

Here is what I painted and how I did it.

- (2) 24x36 Blank Canvases ($14 ea)
- Acrylic Paint: White, Yellow, Fuschia, and Charcoal (Or get a basic starter set on the cheap)
- Large Flat Paint Brush (or buy a different sized set)
- Plastic drop cloth (to cover surface you are painting on)
- Spare cup of water
- Paper plate or similar surface to mix paints
- Mandala Stencil (similar HERE)
- Small Roller Brush - (I used the one from this stencil set)

First, I ripped off the old "art" that was glued to the front of my Hobby Lobby canvases.
Of course, one came off in a snap, and the other I sat cursing for about an hour. This is why it would just be easier to start fresh with some news ones.

Then, once they were blank, I prepped them with a light sanding to remove any glue residue.

It's not perfect. I get it. But that really wasn't the look I was going for in general, so I think it works.

Next up is the background paint.
I was going for a rough, sort of rustic-looking sunset.
I basically just squirted the acrylic paint on in sections, thinned it out with water (a lot of water) and blended from light to dark. Don't do the reverse or you'll end up with a muddy mess.

While the background paint dried, I had a snack and opened up my mandala stencil.
This beauty comes as a "half"...not the whole circular stencil.
So you tape and paint one side, then rotate it 180 degrees and tape and paint the other half.
Turns out, having only the half works out really well when applying it to two different canvases.

I just happened to have some old enamel, high-gloss wall paint lying around, but you can purchase a similar paint here. I used a small roller from the stencil kit, taped the stencil down with some painters tape, and got to work.

Stenciling when the stencil is not spray-glued to the surface is going to make the project an imperfect process. Own your errors and you'll be a lot happier with the results.
If this was a very smooth surface, I easily would have opted to spray it into place with temporary glue.
But I'm also extremely impatient, so I accepted the fact that the paint bled a little and the lines weren't completely crisp. It's all good.

It fit with the whole old-world rustic theme I was going for anyways. :)

Once complete, I grabbed some velcro hanging strips and used the level in the stencil kit to mount my project to my office wall. I opted not to hammer nails into the wall because I figured my boss would flip out. These velcro strips also help for re-positioning if you happen to hang it a bit crooked to begin with.

So there you have it!
A beautiful, custom piece that is super easy to create!

Hope you find some inspiration in my work and create your own beauties!
Happy Memorial Day Weekend! XO

May 24, 2017

How I Quit Running Errands : Part 2 - Hello Fresh

Happy Hump Day folks!
Welcome to Part 2 of the how I eliminated all the things that don't bring you joy goals of 2017.

I decided to stop running errands. Yup.....I just stopped doing all of it.

All that precious weekend-time wasted doing things like meal-planning, grocery shopping, toiletry shopping, checking labels, cutting coupons, looking for deals, driving all over Hell and back, loading up the loot, schlepping all the bags up the porch stairs, unpacking the loot, and dropping into a pile of exhausted confusion.

I eliminated. All of it.

If you missed Part 1 where I explained how I buy all my toiletries and non-refrigerated grocery items from Target now, read up here!

For weekly dinners, we typically volley between actually wanting to cook or throwing in an oven pizza. With this inconsistency, I took a chance on Hello Fresh.

We have been customers for a couple months now, and it's been great. A breathe of fresh air, really.

I have seen other meal delivery services like Blue Apron, but for some reason, Hello Fresh caught my eye. I have also been fielding some questions from interested people, so I thought I would round up my answers on this post.

A: Sort of. I am not a chef in any way, but I do know how to chop up veggies and sautee things. I would say if you have ever made more than mac n' cheese, you're good. Plus, they give you step by step instructions with cooking times. It's basically full-proof.

A: The basics. A pot, a pan, an oven, a fridge. :) Olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper have been the only things I have had to use out of my own stock. And how much you use is completely up to your own taste.

A: You maybe SOL, then. But, I will say, a lot of the meals we look at it sound...weird. But then we make it, end up loving it, and can't believe we never thought of the flavor combo's before!

A: No more than 30 minutes. A lot of the steps are made in tandem, so everything is finished at the same time. In our home, I'll wrap up the second half of dinner, while Mark feeds the pets. Then we can eat while everything is still hot!

A: Tell them! Hello Fresh is CONSTANTLY looking for feedback to improve their efforts. I write a review for nearly ALL the meals.

So with those out of the way, let's talk about the details!


There are three options:
Classic (meat and seafood meals)
Vegetarian (plant-based protein meals)
Family (budget-conscious meals for larger groups and tiny tummies)

You choose your plan and how many mouths you feed.
We chose the Classic meal plan, for three nights per week, for a family of 2.
Each week we are given seven meal options that typically include meat and fish/seafood options.

Of the seven meals, there is typically one breakfast meal and one pricier meal upgrade (for about $10). I have upgraded twice and have yet to be disappointed.

I chose Saturday delivery so we can enjoy the three meals during the following work-week.

You are not required to be home to accept the delivery!
They are packed in ice packs, very professionally (similar to how my IVF meds arrive!).

I love this delivery option because it takes the mental stress out of trying to figure out something new all the time. A lot of times when I was making meals at home, I would eliminate some of the extras because, well, who always has a container of sesame seeds on hand?

Plus, you can always skip a week if you're out of town, or just burned out of making food.

We typically make these meals Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays.
We open a box, turn on some Tom Petty, pour a glass of wine, and within 30 minutes, dinner is ready.

Three meals for two people is $60.
So, $10 per person, per meal.
Not too shabby.

1. Sometimes they throw in "extras" like some chocolates. For Cinco de Mayo they gifted us a whole bottle of Tabasco!
2. All the recipes are available to download if you ever want to recreate a dish again!

If you want to try it out, sign up HERE and get $40 off your first order!
That's over 60% off the regular price! (Referral code does not expire!)
We did the same thing, splurged on a premium box with our first order, and ended up only paying $30 for 3 meals!!

With the elimination of three week-night meals, all I have left to shop for the remaining grocery items. Stay tuned for my thoughts on our weekly Peapod grocery delivery next week!

Thanks for reading!! XO

May 19, 2017

All Things Pineapple

Fertility Warriors - you damn well know that the pineapple is our beacon of hope.

Pineapples are a symbol of fertility and hospitality.

Our hope and our strength. For joy and fun and laughter and family.

So sprinkle that shit all over your life! Look at all these goodies I found!

Necklace // Cover-Up // Ice-Cube Tray // Sunglasses // iPhone Case // Candle
Face Cleanser // Pool Float // Swaddle Set // Swim Trunks // Tote Bag // Wine Glasses // Hat

This pineapple pool float is being delivered to my house as we speak. I try to add a different float every summer. I can't think of anything more relaxing than floating around on a summer day in these cute pineapple sunnies.

I like to keep a candle burning in the bathroom when we have company over...something citrus and fruity always fits the bill in the summertime. This candle is perfect.

When we're out boating, a cover-up is key to easily transition from the water to outdoor dining. Pair it with this delicate necklace and some flip-flops and you're good to go.

Get your family in on the pineapple action as well with these adorable swim trunks for men and this pineapple swaddle set!

My wavy hair can be a tad unruly in the summertime, but this super cute trucker hat would cure that problem!

I don't know about you gals, but I am constantly on the search for skin care products that are free from nasty chemicals. I have used Alba products for a while and love them. This pineapple enzyme face wash smells awesome and is fertility-friendly as well!

I don't think it's possible to have too many tote bags. So many possibilities and cute designs! I am in LOVE with these gold sequin pineapples. Canvas is quick-drying as well, which is perfect for a beach day! Cover your iPhone in this cute case and you're the perfect kind of matchy-matchy.
I love a good stripe.

My favorite thing to do after work on a hot day, is grab an ice-cold glass of chard and sit by the pool. These pineapple wine glasses are perfect for me because they are stemless (I'm a bit of a klutz). 
And yes, I have been known to plop a few ice cubes in my wine, call it white trash if you will, but ice cubes are even cuter when they are pineapple shaped.
Or maybe you can use these for jello shots?
The possibilities are endless!! :)

That's a wrap! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! XO