Crafty Kenlie

I’ve been quiet here over the last few weeks, but I’ve been blogging in other places. I wrote a post about Old Navy on the PlusInc blog, and I wrote an article about my love for Richard Simmons on DietsinReview.com. Last week the Today Show talked about Richard, and a friend sent me this photo from the segment. I had never seen it, but I remember that day. It made me smile, and I want to wish Richard every happiness. I’m praying for his healing too.

Richard Simmons Today Show and Kenlie

The month started with a bit of stress, but most of it has subsided. Now I’m in holiday mode, and I cannot wait to finish decorating for Christmas. I’ve been baking cookies, which is something that I do at this time of year. (I’ll share some photos soon.)

I’ve also been making wreaths. I sold a few last week, which is great because it means that I get to make more wreaths. I’ve been knitting too, which is also good because it keeps my hands busy.

Crafting has always been a pretty big part of my life, but lately I’ve been reminded of how much I love it! Cookie art aside, crafting keeps me from mindlessly snacking, which is a double-win.

Christmas Deco Mesh Wreath

red and silver deco mesh wreath

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Thanksgiving is almost here. The end of the semester will be here before I know it, and that means that I have to manage my time well so that I’m not stressing over exams and papers two weeks from now.

Happy (almost) holidays!

Changing My Mindset

Right now my head hurts, and I feel a little achy. I’m not officially sick, but I feel like whining. I’m tired even though I shouldn’t be. I’m stressed even though I know that stress typically passes. I’m just don’t feel great. I don’t feel like myself. Instead I feel like crawling under the blankets in my bed and watching Christmas movies until it’s an acceptable time to sleep. (Okay, the Christmas part sounds like me, but  the watching TV in bed is definitely not normal in my world.)

I’m not at home because I had class today, which was followed by a tutoring session and church. (Once a month we have a service on Wednesday evenings,) and now I’m planning to meet someone for coffee. It has been a busy afternoon and evening, and I’m looking forward to sleeping.

I’ve been thinking about what I could do to improve my health between now and the end of the year. I feel like the sugar thing is under control now more than it has been in a long time, and someone who knows me made a statement earlier today that resonated with me. We were talking about adding more goals that would help me get a better grip on my health, and I’ve been thinking about his response a lot this evening.

He said, “You were really great at it when it was a priority.”

We all know that it’s true. There was a time in which I felt like I had it figured out, and now it’s embarrassing to admit that I didn’t have whatever was necessary to keep it up. I think about my failures a lot, and for a long time, I’ve used them as an excuse to refrain from trying.

The last six weeks or so have been better. I’m eating less sugary crap, but I’m not exercising much. I did a 10k with a friend one day last week, and I walked a few times in the month before that. It’s just not enough. It’s a decent start, but I want that feeling that I used to have when I knew I’d workout everyday.

I want the endorphin rush, and I want to feel the consistency that I felt exercise even when I wasn’t eating as well as I should. I’m seeing the numbers decrease just a little, and I know that if I add some exercise back into my daily routine, I’ll see those little sacrifices add up to a lot of success.

My mindset needs to change. I’ve been lazy in fitness most of this year, but that’s something that I can change right now. I don’t even have to leave home to sweat it out. I have several awesome workout DVD’s, several flights of stairs and a gym at the top of my building. What else do I need? Motivation? Inspiration? Willingness?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, but I think I need to spend time doing it (and figuring the rest out later if I still think it matters.)

I need to change my mindset. I’m careful not to “fake it ’til I make it” because that attitude has gotten me into trouble in the past, but in this case, I’m pretty sure that it’s okay.

My weight and health hasn’t been a priority in a long time, but I’ve (successfully) trying to shift that lately. I will remind myself that I’m not going to miss anything important by heading out an hour later than normal. Actually, I’ll be using that time to do something important – to better myself. Few things are more important than our health, and it’s time to adjust my priorities.

It’s not Monday or the first day of the month. This day carries no particular significance, but it’s the day that I can decide to do something good for myself. It’s a day that I get to live without pain or illness. It’s a day in which I get to breathe and enjoy my life, and I’m going to respect that gift by doing something good with it.

 

 

 

Screw You, Cancer…

This is Aunt Debbie’s granddaughter, Izzy. She’s only 4 year old, and she had surgery a couple of weeks ago. Now she’s back in New Orleans facing 18 months of treatments starting today, followed by another surgery.

Children's Hospital New Orleans

Our hearts are broken because her journey will be rough, but I’m thankful that God is strong in our weakness. I’m also thankful that He is the Great Physician.

If you pray, please pray for complete healing of this little girl and for comfort and God’s provision for her family.

Dating in The Big Easy is Hard

I’m a plus-size woman who likes to enjoy my life, and I like the idea of meeting someone who wants the same thing. I’m friendly and outgoing. Most of my friends would tell you that I’m confident in almost every circumstance, and in most cases, it’s true.

I am well-groomed, educated, independent and good at a myriad of things. I have talents and hobbies and ambitions (some that that I mention here and many that I don’t.) I have a lot of awesome characteristics, but my weight is the first thing anyone ever sees. Most of time time it defines me before people have a chance to get to know me, and I have mixed feelings about that.

I don’t mind that I’m not desired by everyone. I like attention, sure, but I feel validated and content without the constant need for attention that used to be important to me. I don’t need to be the girl who gets picked up by strangers who want to do her at the bar (or at the auto parts store,) but I’d like to be the woman whose characteristics are attractive and desirable to one man who has his own myriad of attractive characteristics.

It hasn’t been easy to date in New Orleans. (Okay, it doesn’t help that I was hung up on someone for nearly a year,) but recently I decided that I’d let myself try again. I went on a couple of dates while I was out of town,and I clicked with someone here. I was pleasantly surprised by it, and that’s probably all I’ll say about it for quite some time.

Dating in this plus-size body makes it more complicated than it would be if I were thin, but I’m okay with that if it means that I can weed out the majority to get the needle in the haystack.

People often assume that I must feel insecure, especially on dates, but the truth is that I feel pretty good about myself most of the time until society reminds me that I shouldn’t. I don’t remember who said it, but someone made an excellent point recently when they said not to worry about society’s standards because society sucks. I agree, and my hope is that there are guys out there somewhere who agree too.

 

I’m Plus Size, But I’m Not Desperate To Get Laid

Me: Hello?

Him: Hey. What are you up to?

Me: Having coffee with a friend. You?

Him: Oh. You’re not home?

Me: No. Why?

Him: I thought I’d come over.

Me: What? Why?

Him: You know.

Me: I don’t even know you. You think I’d invite you to my place?

Him: Well, I just assumed…

Me: Ohhhhh. You saw me and assumed that I’d be desperate to get laid? It’s making sense now.

Him: Well, when you say it like that…

Me: If you think I’d let you into my home, then there aren’t enough skills in your brain to get into my pants tonight or ever.

Him: Click (Call ended)

It’s not surprising that my suspicions were right about the guy. When he asked why I was surprised, he was asking because he assumed that no one ever asked me out. (Follow me around for a week or two…Actually, don’t. Gross.)

I’m a pretty good judge of character, and I was right about that creep. He thought that I’d be an easy target. The poor guy didn’t realize who he was talking to. I have faults, but I also have an abundance of self-esteem and high standards.

I wasn’t interested in that guy, but there are other possibilities in the works so we’ll see what happens the coming weeks.

As a result of yesterday’s post, I also received a message from a certain guy in DC who never fails to remind me how beautiful he thinks I am. (Hey, guy in DC, thank you…xoxo)

Sometimes guys are jerks. I wish that dating could be easier, but the fact is that I don’t mind waiting for what I want. And it’s definitely not the creep I met at AutoZone.

The Guy Who Asked Me Out at AutoZone

Earlier this week I had to stop at AutoZone I needed a new brake light, and when I was leaving, another shopper who helped the guy replacing my light asked if I was single.

He caught me off guard with his question, but he explained that he was surprised that there wasn’t a man around to install it for me (apart from the sweet guy at AutoZone who offered to do it for me.)

The guy, who was around 40 years old, asked if he could have my phone number, and after chatting for a few minutes I gave it to him. I figured it couldn’t hurt anything since I’ve been in a dating kind of mood lately, then he called me.

He asked about my life. He wanted to know why I didn’t have a boyfriend, and I didn’t know how to answer that. I mean, the answer seems obvious to me. I have some pretty high standards for anyone who enters my life, and I’m plus-size, which seems to deter a lot of potential significant others.

I went out with a guy couple of times recently who reminded me how to have fun and accept things for what they are, and I’m trying to do just that. My fellow shopper wanted to know why I seemed so surprised that he had asked for my number in the parking lot. He wondered if it was something that rarely happened, in general, and I explained that it was just random and unexpected in the parking lot.

Now I find myself wondering if he assumed that I was surprised because no one asks me out…ever. Obviously, it happens. It’s definitely not something that typically happens so quickly. Guys usually spend some time talking to me before they decide that they want to go out with me.

Now I’m asking myself pointless questions that will unlikely be answered. Did he genuinely find me attractive? Did the guy in the parking lot think that I’d be an easy target because I’m plus-size? Perhaps the answer is yes to both questions, but his inquiries about my reaction make me think that perhaps he thought I was an easy target.

It doesn’t matter because I’m not particularly interested in going out with him. I was much more smitten by the guy that I went out with a couple of times last week.

I know that I’m overthinking the stranger’s reasons, but isn’t that why my blog exists? ;)

 

Slow Cooker Disaster and The End of Caramel Macchiatos

My days are usually pretty busy from start to finish, and Tuesday was no exception. I left home to get some work done at “my office,” which is more accurately described as Starbucks, and I didn’t get back home until almost 10 pm.

When I left I thought I’d be back by around 6 pm, but I had an unexpected conference call that lasted more than an hour and a half among other things. I completely forgot that I had chicken cooking in my Crockpot. Oops!

I planned to make honey chicken with pecans, which was a new recipe, but what I made instead was a disgusting, burnt mess. Thankfully, slow cookers don’t catch on fire (at least right away.)

CrockPot Disaster

I cleaned up the mess and washed away the smell of my fix-it-and-forget-it failure, and I was thankful that I ate dinner before coming home.

And in keeping with feeling thankful, I wore my new Kork-Ease boots yesterday, and I have to say that I love winning beautiful, comfortable boots! Who doesn’t?

Kork-Ease Boots

I finally used my reward drink to order caramel macchiato from Starbucks after almost 40 days of no sugary drinks, and I was disgusted by it.

I knew that I could live without the caramel macchiato because i did it for over a month without much hassle, but I didn’t expect to be completely disgusted by it like I was. I gave the ‘free’ drink away after one sip and reverted back to my unsweetened, caffeine-free passion tea. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but I am thrilled that I’ve broken my macchiato habit.

Starbucks Macchiato Passion Tea

I have no plans to try it with doughnuts anytime soon because they’ve been a trigger food for a long time. Right now they’re not even appealing so I’m just going to roll with that.

Tuesday was a day of failures, but it followed a day of freedom from sugary crap that I craved almost to the point of mild obsession over the summer. I’m calling the day a win and looking forward to Wednesday.

I’m meeting with a friend who’s visiting from the Northeast before taking an exam in my favorite class. Now it’s time to get some sleep before my alarm goes off.

Until later, friends…

 

Weekend Wrap-Up

I love weekends, but this one was one of my favorites lately. Friday evening I had dinner and drinks at a place that has been on my list of places to try with stellar company, then I woke up Saturday morning and learned that I won a pair of Kork-Ease boots via instagram from Feet First, a local shoe boutique.

Kork Ease Boots

I went in that morning and picked out a pair boots with my friend, Michelle, and she bought a great pair of shoes. After that we spent time at the Riverwalk Outlets in my neighborhood. We ate lunch and spent time looking around at various shops, then I met up with another friend who spent the afternoon on my rooftop with me.

It’s been a while since I took advantage of the rooftop, but the weather in New Orleans is beautiful right now. My neighbors and I were joined by my friend, Alonzo, that evening too.

Sunday morning I didn’t attend church. It’s weird to sleep in on a Sunday, but it felt good today. My long time blog friend, Lynn, came into New Orleans, and it was awesome to finally meet her!

Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans

We had lunch at one of my favorite spots in my neighborhood, Domenica. I was sad to learn that they had removed my favorite pizza from the menu until I tried the pumpkin pizza. (I know, it sounds odd, but it was amazing!) The pizza, which was loaded with roasted pumpkin and bacon.

Domenica Happy Hour Pizza

When Lynn and her husband headed to the game, I came home and did a little baking and visiting with my neighbors. We watched the Saints win, which was awesome and long overdue and painted my nails for the second time of the day.

OPI Lacquer

“Miami Beet” and “Ski Teal We Drop” by OPI

Lynn brought me two sets of holiday Jamberry wraps, and I can’t wait to wear the Halloween wraps later this week. Has anyone else that I know use Jamberry?

Now it’s time to start a new week, and I’m ready for it. A friend from New York is coming in for a few days, and I’m going to get to spend some time with her Wednesday morning. I’m kind of hoping that there’s more fun coming up in the next few days too.

Now it’s time to get the week started, which means that I’m back to limiting the amount of sugar that I consume. I’m definitely going to hone my goals this week and add some new things to the mix. More on that later.

Until then…

 

 

 

One Month Later

It’s been a few days since I looked at my blog because I’ve been busy with things that are more important, but now it’s time for an update. My aunt, Debbie, came into town last week because her youngest granddaughter, who’s only four years old, has a tumor on her brain. it didn’t look good when she arrived, but after a six hour surgery we’ve learned that she does not have cancer. We’re so relieved, and it feels good to know that she’ll be able to go home without having radiation or anything else that could harm someone as little as she is. She’s laughing and playing now, and it will be years before she understands the severity of what she was facing going into that hospital. Kids are so resilient, and we’re all so thankful that she’s going to be okay.

It has been one month since I have consumed a sugary drink from Starbucks, and the same goes for doughnuts. If you don’t struggle with food, then you may not be capable of understanding how empowered I feel as a result.  That’s okay. You don’t need to. I feel awesome because I’m no longer a slave to caramel macchiatos and fresh glazed doughnuts even though I’m still a regular at Starbucks.

Starbucks New Orleans LA

Shannon and Ariel love coffee as much as I do, and they have helped me stay accountable.

Last week I decided that since I was feeling so good about not eating those sugary things, that I’d add all other sugary things as well. I decided to try one day without consuming sugary snacks, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I decided to try it again the following day, and I was successful in that too. Starting now, for the next month, I’m limiting sweets to Saturdays, but I was mindful of what I ate over the weekend as well because I was reminded of how incredible I feel when I’m in control.

I have a long way to go, but I’ve made more progress in the last month than I have in years. A month ago I was completely fed up and disgusted with myself, and today I feel like there’s hope for me. I’m taking it one day at a time, and I’m happier with myself than I’ve been in a long time as a result.

What’s your trigger?  Do you prefer sweet or savory foods? Do you have any tips for staying in control of your cravings?

 

 

 

Sneaky Addictions

If you asked me if I struggle with addiction, my quick answer would be no. I’m not addicted to alcohol, and I’ve never even contemplated using drugs (with exception of that one time that I considered smoking something at a Pearl Jam show at Bonnaroo.)

Drugs and alcohol don’t do it for me. I enjoy a glass of champagne from time to time, and I’m not opposed to drinking a beer or two at a game or out with friends. It’s just not my thing, but ‘my thing’ definitely exists.

I don’t have caffeine daily, but I have it most days. When I spend a few days away from Starbucks, I get a fairly strong urge to go. It’s safe to say that my new found love for Passion Tango Tea (unsweetened) isn’t going to lead to waking up in an alley somewhere, but I do recognize that I could easily become addicted to Starbucks and those cute little gold stars if I’m not already.

Starbucks Passion Tango Tea

A few days ago I spent about an hour without access to my cell phone, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. At one point, I needed to call Dad, and I couldn’t. I also missed calls from Mom, who seemed a little worried that she couldn’t reach me (because I’m usually so accessible.) I couldn’t post a photo of something cool that I saw on Instagram, nor could I waste time wondering why Facebook wasn’t showing me anything new. I couldn’t text my friends to tell them how crazy it feels to be without my cell phone for an hour. The number of times that I reached for my phone, which wasn’t there, was ridiculous.

I’m addicted to food too, which is a tricky thing. We all need it to survive, but I often crave more of it than I should. I’m learning learning to accept that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying food. I like it. I like the things that we associate with it too – being with friends, celebrations, comfort, etc. I just want to continue trying to control my intake because whether we’re talking about Apple products or coffee or most other things that interest me, moderation is the key to living a healthy life.

Sugar seems to be the basis of my food addiction. I’m not a doctor, but I know my body pretty well. I also know that sugar is hidden in a lot of things, and I’m striving to avoid those things. My avoidance comes from a desire to be healthier and fitter than I am now, and right now that seems more important than eating dessert or using pecan creamer in my coffee.

Right now it feels like I’m headed in the right direction, and I find myself thinking about what else I can do to make progress. I like this phase a lot more than the phase that I was in prior to it. I can honestly say that I’m trying, and I hope to see some results that will motivate me to continue down a healthier path to self-control.

Do you have any addictions that may not seem like a big deal? Do you call it something else?