Category Archives: Friends

Family, Love Updates, Grown Up Coloring and Hand Knitting

Last week had some bright moments and some not so bright moments. I talked about the rough part here last week, and I’m happy to say that we talked today. I didn’t know that I was going to see him, but I’m glad I did. I was able to share my thoughts and feelings (and French press) with him, and I was filled with a sense of relief when I saw him. He was relieved and happy to see me tooI don’t know what the future holds, but I’m happier today than I’ve been in the last week.

The fun parts of last week came as a result of my sister and nieces. They visited Mom’s house, so I spent most of my time there.

Baby Niece

oldest niece

We did some cool stuff in my neighborhood too. My friend, who is a veterinarian at Audubon, brought us behind the scenes and let my nieces feed the giant turtle. We watched them feed the stars as well, and we ran around in the fountains after that.

New Orleans Aquarium

They headed back home Friday evening, so I returned home and caught up on things that I didn’t do during the week. I went to church, spent time with friends, and did some meal planning.

I went to an Outcry concert last week too, which featured some of my favorite Christian artists including Kari Jobe, David Crowder, Hillsong and more. My friends and I sat in a suite, which is my favorite way to enjoy any event (except Pearl Jam because I need to be in the front row for that.)

I also decided to join the grown up coloring book craze. I colored with my nieces last week, but I picked up an adult book at Michael’s too. It’s fun and relaxing, and i finished my first page today.

Is anyone else here doing this to destress or relax?

Is anyone else here doing this to destress or relax?

Sunday afternoon I decided to try something new, so I signed up for a hand knitting class at Michaels. It was an inexpensive way to spend the afternoon, and I left with a finished infinity scarf. I already know how to knit, but I did this without needles. Actually, I used my wrists and hands as if they were needles, which was an interesting and easy concept.

hand knitting Michaels

It looks like a loose braid.

Last week I said that I was going to focus on all of the positives in my life, and I did that. I’m thankful that there are so many reasons to enjoy life, and I’m looking forward to the month of August. It’s typically the hottest month in New Orleans, so I’ll be okay with it when it’s over. I’m also ready to start school again even though I enjoyed the summer break.

I’m not sure what the future holds. I have some things to figure out, but I feel hopeful. I’m pretty sure I’ll sleep a lot better tonight too.


Fat Photos

I’m heavier than most women I know, but I don’t shy away from the camera. If we’re connected through social media you know that I take selfies by myself and with friends. I share full body shots, and I’ve been known to rock photos in my swimsuit too. (See my Instagram account.)

Yesterday my long time friend, Tammy, posted about our favorite author’s article in Good Housekeeping. Jennifer Weiner and I have never met (life goal,) but the woman understands the inner workings of my mind. She’s been writing books that make me laugh, cry, dream and hope for years, and she opened up about avoiding the camera in first year of her daughter’s life.

I have beautiful friends who avoid the camera because they don’t like how they look, and I know women who will take 20 photos of themselves before they find one that they don’t despise. (I’ve been guilty of that countless times as well.) It’s hard to be happy with oursevles when we’re engulfed in a culture that says we shouldn’t be.

I’m obese…blah, bah, blah…I know. It’s hard to forget, as I have to live in my own skin everyday, but I refuse to allow my size to have bearing on whether or not I choose to live my life or take a photograph.

I went back to school at 30 years old to pursue a career about which I am passionate. I moved across the country and thrived in the biggest, most intimidating cities in America, I sang a solo in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and I took on an entire industry in the hopes of making a positive impact for myself and others. I don’t back down from things that scare me, and I will not back down from capturing memories with loved ones.

I think it’s important to recognize our own value. I’ve learned that the hard way, and that learning process never stops. I put effort into how I look, what I wear, etc. I take pictures from flattering angles, and I pose with my big, cheesy grin.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t care about how we represent ourselves; I’m saying that I don’t want to live as a slave to this unrealistic ideal that we measure ourselves and our happiness against.

I love myself whether you think I should or not, and I’m going to continue to make memories and photograph them when I feel like it because I love looking back at the little moments that make life so special.

Do you shy away from photos because of your weight?

Hurting People Hurt People, Or Why Blogging Probably Isn’t The Answer

I feel so much better than I have for the last month or so. After realizing that the contents of my work was bothering me, I was able to address it. I addressed everything else that bothered me as well, and I realized that people really are (mostly) good. 

Some of the feelings I faced were tough to navigate through because I’m insecure, but after some self-reflection and straightforward talk from someone close to me, I realized that I’m pretty lucky. It’s easy to count the times when someone has been mean to my face, but it happens countless times here on my blog. 

I find so much encouragement here, but there’s also a lot of negativity from the trolls who are still obsessed with hating me. There only seems to be a  couple of them, but they are loud and obsessive. It’s insane and a little disturbing that people who don’t know me are willing to waste so much energy obsessively hating me. It’s weird, but it makes me feel so sorry for them. I mean, how much does your life have to suck to be obsessed with spewing judgement and blind hatred on someone else’s? 

When I look around at my life, I see so much validation and fulfillment that didn’t always exist for me. I feel content in who I am and what I’m doing even though I still want to make changes. I think there will always be room for growth and progress, and I don’t think I’ll be a failure unless I give in to the feelings of self-doubt that I experienced last week. 

We all have bad days, and I had several in a row. When I think about the things that other people go through my issues seem pretty insignificant. My issues matter, in as much as I need to face them, but today my heart goes out to the people who are truly suffering – the people I read about at work and the people who are so consumed by hurt and anger that they target me and others like me. 

I love to write, and I love to share my feelings. It helps me grow, but I’m processing and progressing a lot right now outside of the blog. It’s hard to imagine not checking in here regularly, but it’s also not something that sounds appealing right now. 

I won’t make any hard and fast decisions, except to do what’s best for me regardless of what others think about it. 

The Slippery Slope of Temptation 

We all know that sometimes doing the right thing is hard; sometimes it just sucks. I’ve been struggling with desires that aren’t exactly in line with what God wants for me (and by ‘not exactly in line’ I mean absolutely not in line with His will.)

I used to be really closed off. I know that’s hard to believe because I’ve been spilling my guts here for years, but it’s true. I like attention, and I don’t have to work hard to get it these days. That can be a good thing, but it isn’t always. 

I’d love to say that I don’t know what draws people to desire a friendship/relationship with me when I meet them, but I know exactly what it is. I have a pretty positive outlook. I have some cool characteristics to offer. I’m friendly, sincere, and I extend a lot of grace because it’s been extended to me. I listen more than I talk, which is a relatively new characteristic for me. (I’m still striving to improve that one.) In short, I’m kind of cool, blah,blah, blah…and I love people. 

A few months ago I met someone that I had seen nearly everyday for months prior. He’s tall and handsome, and I often felt the desire to pray for him even though I didn’t know him. Earlier this year a mutual friend introduced us, and a friendship was born. There hasn’t been a single day that we’ve crossed paths without him hugging me, having a seat, and exchanging stories about our day, our past, our favorite grocery store, etc. 

He’s adorable and easy to talk to, and lately I’ve found myself struggling to keep boundaries in place in my mind even though he’s married. We have absolutely not done anything inappropriate outside of my agreement with his acknowledgment that we need to be careful with each other. We’re always in public, and we’re typically surrounded by other people that I know who come in to chat. I’ve just noticed that I think about him even when he’s not there. (I’m thinking about him now, and he’s not here.) 

I’m acknowledging this here for a couple of reasons: 1. It’s the truth, and I face the truth now even when I don’t like it, and 2. Loving Jesus doesn’t mean that life suddenly becomes perfect. Yes, He paid the price for my sins, and He extended His grace because without it, I’d be damned to hell. I’m so thankful for that, but I still struggle with doing the right thing. Right now I’m struggling more than I’d like to admit, but I’m facing it anyway. 

Religion likes to make us believe that once we become believers that we’ll no longer have problems. Religion urges us to act as though we no longer face temptation. God didn’t promise that life would be filled with sunshine and rainbows. Actually, Paul said just the opposite. In some ways, at least in this moment for me, it’s harder to fight the desire to sin. I didn’t feel tempted nearly as often when Satan wasn’t bothered by me; now he preys on my weaknesses, so I have to be on guard constantly. 

I have no plans to act on any of the thoughts that have played in my mind over the last week or so, nor will I be throwing him on the floor to do ungoldly things at any point…ever. I just won’t. I value myself more than that, and I value my relationship with God a lot more than that. There are lines that I simply won’t cross, but it would be naive of me to think that I’m immune to falling on my face if I try to deal with this without inviting God into the situation. (God knows I’ve done it a million times in different circumstances.) 

The thing is…Jesus was very clear when He said that anyone who even looks at another person lustfully has already committed adultry in his heart. (Matthew 5:28) Ouch!

God takes repentance very seriously, yet I seem to be struggling with turning away from my sinful thoughts (which include a desire for more attention from him among other things.) Confessing these feelings won’t change anything unless I stop giving them space in my mind, yet I’m having trouble wanting to do that too. 

The man is often at a place that I frequent, and that won’t likely change in the immediate future. I like him. I want to be his friend. I want him to experience the love and grace that I’ve experienced since getting to know Jesus. I just need to get out of the way so that can happen. 

Proverbs 19:23 says that the fear of the Lord leads to life, and He who has it will abide in satisfaction. In Monte’s sermon yesterday, which was timely, he said that living satisfied is a choice. Jesus is all I need, and I know that if I focus on Him, he’ll work this out just as He has in every other situation. 

My goal is to focus on who He is, to worship Him, and to fill my mind with gratitude for that and all He’s doing. He’ll just have to take care of the rest, and He will because, you know, He’s God and everything. 

Embracing My Selfie, Or Why I Take Lots of Pictures of Myself

I’ve been taking selfies since before they had a name. I avoided the camera for years, but at some point on my journey through life, it became common for me to snap photos of myself.


Last week I got to spend time with a long time blog friend, Cathy, who was in New Orleans visiting for a conference. When she told me about her upcoming trip, we knew we’d meet up, and we did. We met at Cafe Dumonde, where I resisted beignets. (Yay for me!) We also walked around Jackson Square, which is the prettiest part of the French Quarter in my opinion.

This woman has been my friend since at least 2010. The moment I saw her, it was like seeing someone that I hadn't seen in ages!

This woman has been my friend since at least 2010. The moment I saw her, it was like seeing someone that I hadn’t seen in ages!

As we walked down Royal St, we stopped at CVS to pick up a few things, and I found a selfie stick! I obviously bought it on the spot, and it’s the best $10 I’ve spent in a while. I haven’t used it to take any selfies because doing that would be ridiculous, but I’ve been in some hilarious group photos that wouldn’t have been possible without my Mono Pod de Narcissism.

I’m surrounded by an uplifting group of friends, many of whom take selfies, with exception of a few because they’re too narcissistic, and I understand that. I really do, and even though I kind of agree, I look at it from a different perspective.

There was a time when I hated myself so much that i avoided mirrors at all costs. I looked at myself long enough to style my hair and apply makeup, but I was mortified when I caught my reflection in store windows. I hated the way I looked in photos. I still took them, but I didn’t post them online because of my shame. For years the only photo that I had one Facebook was a picture of my hair blowing in the wind while driving with the top down. I didn’t want to be seen by others, nor did I want to take a look at myself either.

Sometimes I take full body photos to send to Ariel, so she can say yes to the outfit or no.

Sometimes I take full body photos to send to Ariel, so she can say yes to the outfit or no.

Now, years later, I’m still not skinny, but I love myself. I’m not pleased with myself for still having so much weight to lose, but I love myself. I haven’t accomplished every goal that I set yet, but I love myself. (You get the idea, right?)

Full body Selfie Lane Bryant

I also think that it’s okay to wear horizontal stripes even though I always hear that I shouldn’t. Whatever, folks. I’m doing it.

Sometimes when I take a selfie, I’m reminded of how much work I have to do. It’s also hard to accept the fact that I could have done so much more over the last few years. Those thoughts are important to face because it has helped me make better decisions over the last few months – decisions that bring me closer to my goal.

Gym Selfie

I was frustrated seeing myself in the giant gym mirrors when I took this around the holidays because I should be smaller now, then I remembered that I was in the gym doing something good for myself. I like capturing those moments.

Some days I post selfies because I want to hear that I’m cute, pretty, etc., and when that happens I admit it with proper hashtags. #PAYATTENTIONTOME

See? I have some pretty uplifting friends who encourage me when I need it.

See? I have some pretty uplifting friends who encourage me when I need it.

And some days (many lately) I take selfies because I feel pretty. I’ve been using a few products on my face since Christmas, and the result is that my makeup is still mostly in tact even after singing (sweating guts out) on Sunday morning. (Thank you, Smashsbox Photo Finish!)

Kenlie Naps

I took this selfie last week right before I took a long afternoon nap on my sofa. Sundays start early for me, so sometimes I nap.

Some people find success, at least temporarily, by tearing themselves down. I feel successful when I see myself and love the person that I see.

I have a lot to accomplish, and I’m happy to say that I’ve lost week for the last five weeks in a row. It may not sound like much, but I’m experiencing more consistency in my food choices than I have in a long time. I haven’t had a doughnut since September, and I haven’t indulged in any desserts in over two weeks.

I’m feeling good about my tiny steps in the right direction, and the selfies will continue to be a small representation of that. They might also lead to encouragement from people who care on days that I need that too.

Kenlie Car

How do you feel about selfies? Are they good? Bad? Do you care either way?



Forgiveness Isn’t Always Easy, But It’s Always Right

I’m generally pretty open about my feelings, but there are times in which I know I shouldn’t bother sharing them because they’ll fall on deaf ears.

Recently a friend made me angry and hurt my feelings pretty severely. While that friend probably didn’t do it on purpose, they have a tough time accepting responsibility for their own actions. That person blames everyone else for everything that’s wrong, and they don’t view life from the same scope as I do.

If I offend someone I want to know so I have a chance to fix it. I don’t like knowing that someone feels hurt or angry due to something I’ve done whether I think I’m right or not. I care about people, and sometimes I’m forced to recognize that they don’t care back. It’s part of life, and I’ve been on both sides of that situation.

Right now I’m too angry/aggravated to talk about it with that person, but I know it’s what I’m supposed to do. I also know that it probably won’t be well-received (because, again, it’s always someone else’s fault,) which makes me think that I shouldn’t bother.

I’ve been a selfish jerk before, and I’ve received more grace than I could ever deserve. I forgive the person who made me feel like crap, and I know that I need to make some changes in my friendship with them. I know that you can only do so much to care for a person before you realize that it won’t change anything.

Sometimes people suck. The fact is that God forgave each of us for every horrible thing we did and will do, and forgiving the person who hurt me is nothing in comparison to that.

Forgiveness isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary to live a peaceful life. I’m not sure when or if I’ll be able to convey my thoughts to the person who upset me, but I do know that I need to forgive and move on.

I’m working on it…




End of the Year Reflection

Each year, as it comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the last twelve months, and this year is no different. I was wasting time on Facebook last week when I decided to join everyone else in a Facebook contrived review of my year, and according to Facebook I was completely lame. If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably familiar with the little slideshow of photos that the site puts together for you. Mine showed a salad, a few silly photos with friends and nothing at all that I would consider noteworthy. The truth is that some of the coolest moments of 2014 didn’t make it to Facebook.

Even though Facebook might disagree, I did some cool things this year. I met my newest niece (actually I met her last Christmas, and I saw her again in April when I visited Colorado.)  I celebrated Hannah’s 5th birthday with my family in CO, and I can’t wait to head that way again soon. It’s been way too long for Auntie!

I spoke at an airline conference in Washington, D.C., and I met with executives from several major airlines in order to promote positive change within corporations that have the power to turn the tide.


I accidentally reconnected with an old friend for a day in front of the White House. I was able to hug her, apologize to her for the things that I did wrong and enjoy an afternoon of sightseeing with her. It was completely random, and I am thankful that it happened that way.

Kenlie White House

I took on a more active role as a worship leader at NOLA Church, and my voice and skills have grown. My relationship with Jesus has grown too. I also hosted a pretty cool small group in which I made a new and awesome friend.

Kenlie NOLA Church

I was given the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and perfected it.

I watched countless Christmas movies with Mom throughout the year.

I helped a few kids gain confidence in their abilities to succeed in school.

I went to Fitbloggin for the fourth year in a row in Savannah, GA and connected with friends who didn’t allow me to feel out of place (even though I did for the first time.)

Mission Meltdown Epic Selfie

I dined at the newest, hottest restaurants in New Orleans with friends and private jet pilots. (They didn’t offer to fly me anywhere though. Ha.)

I bought a new car.

I became a Starbucks gold card member.

I saw George Strait and Reba perform live with Clint before he moved to Chicago.

I visited Oklahoma and spent several days with Dad while it was about 3 degrees outside.

I went to my first New York Mets game at Citi Field. (I’m still a Yankees fan, but this was a pretty stellar way to spend my birthday.)

New York Mets

I got closer to finishing my degree at Tulane.

I survived heartbreak and salvaged a relationship that meant a lot to me.

I cultivated relationships with friends and made some new ones as well.

Kenlie and Friends

I went out on some dates with interesting guys, though I didn’t meet the Future Mr. Kenlie. Ha I did get to watch my close friends say “I do,” which was pretty amazing. I’ve never been happier to see anyone marry.

French Quarter Wedding
Overall I guess my year was relatively routine and low key. It definitely had some ups and downs, but I can’t tell you how cool it is to feel like I have roots somewhere. I doubt I’ll stay in New Orleans forever, but I’m happy here now.

I’m thankful that I’ve lived in the same place for a couple of years, and I’m looking forward to living in the same place for even longer. I like my location, my neighbors, my view and my surroundings.

After a few tumultuous and/or eventful years, it’s okay to look back on 2012 as quiet and satisfying. Maybe I’ll do something more exciting in 2015, or maybe I’ll just kick back and enjoy my quiet, friends and family filled life.

Here’s to a bright 2015 for all of us…


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…




Sugary Things

I’ve been pretty stressed out today, and while it hasn’t completely passed, I know that I’ll get through it.  I’m not turning to food to comfort me, which feels like a win. I’m sticking to my no doughnuts/macchiatos plan, but there’s still so much that I need to change. When I think of everything that I need to be doing differently, I get overwhelmed. I’m still not ready to look at the big picture, but I’m ready to add another layer to my checklist.

Saying NO to those sweet things is great, but I need to be sure that I’m not replacing them with other sweet things. I’m still at Starbucks regularly, but I’m “indulging” in unsweetened passion tea. It has no calories, and it’s pretty to look at while I work. I can have free refills too (thanks to my gold card status) so it’s a win. I don’t miss the macchiatos most of the time.

I haven’t missed the doughnuts either (probably because I reached the point of total disgust a few weeks ago,) but I have to be careful with other sweet things. Sugar is my weakness. I know that I need to make some adjustments in the way that I consume sugary junk.  I know some people who quit sugar cold turkey, but I’m not that strong. I can’t even think about how hard it would be to enjoy life without sugar at any time. I’m sure some of you are strong enough to do that. I’m not.

I met someone recently who only eats dessert on the weekend. That seems like good plan.   Refraining from sweets during the week (desserts, random offerings of chocolate covered gummy bears, etc.) would greatly impact that way that I consume sugar. I know someone else who eats well all week and allows himself to eat whatever he wants to eat on Saturdays.

I’m not ready to say that I will not eat anything sweet ever again, but I might be willing to refrain from it on the weekdays. If I can manage to do that without going crazy on the weekend, then I’ll consider that a win.

If I want sugary things during the week, I’ll have fruit. I love honey crisp apples.  I keep them stocked in the fall.  I realize that they contain sugar, but let’s be honest. I don’t have hundreds of pounds to lose because of all of the fruit I eat.

I did some walking with girlfriends over the weekend, and I was reminded how awesome and easy it is to enjoy my surroundings.


I live in a beautiful neighborhood that people come to see from all over the world. I just need to start taking advantage of that more than I have been lately. I have access to a gym with a nice view as well. I’m not sure why I allowed myself to forget all of the awesome tools and experiences that are right under my nose.

Canal St. New Orleans

I’m committed to making some positive changes in the coming weeks and months, and it feels good to be making positive progress now.  I’ll face the numbers on the scale later, but for now, I think that if I limit sweet treats even more and exercise more regularly, I’ll be doing enough to see a positive shift.  I’ve already felt one of in my attitude, and that feels a lot better than what I was feeling until a few weeks ago.

Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding sweets and/or replacing them with healthier alternatives?




Opinions Please: Let Them Eat Cake, Or Lose Weight…?

What should I do?  I meet up with a dozen friends every Tuesday evening, and I always bring dessert.  It’s expected.  I mean, no one forces me to bring it, but I know it is appreciated and highly anticipated.  Let’s face it.  I make good desserts.

It’s no secret that I bake, and it brings me a lot of pleasure to see people enjoying things that I create.  Most of the people I see on Tuesday nights do not struggle with weight so eating a piece of cheesecake like the one I brought Tuesday isn’t a big deal to them like it is to me.

kenlie Italian cheesecake

I enjoy watching recipes come to life, but it’s hard to watch people enjoy what I make without enjoying it with them.  Making cheesecake was better than the cupcake trend because there was no tasting it prior to serving it, but I can’t eat (even a tiny piece of) this every week.  One a year? Maybe.

Food surrounds us, and we base a lot of activities around it.  It happened in New York, and it happens in New Orleans too (and everywhere else I go.)  I love food, and I love people so going out to dinner, eating at a friend’s place before we play games or lunch with friends just feels right to me.

I know folks who have lost incredible amounts of weight by not having a social life, but I am not prepared to sacrifice all of the things that matter to me.  Being a skinny hermit won’t make me happier than I would be losing weight slowly and consistently while enjoying my life too.

Maybe I’m just not willing to do what it takes to lose weight.  It’s hard knowing that at one point I could do both.  I went out, but I also lost weight.  I controlled my portions, and I ate one or two unhealthy meals a week instead of several a week.

It’s easier for me to avoid sweet snacks completely, but how should I deal with that fact that they’re expecting me to bring sweet treats? I don’t want to disappoint my friends or make them feel like I care about myself more than them, but I do know that I had to be pretty selfish to be successful before.  Is that that answer?

What would you do in my situation?  Would you stop bringing sweets?  Offer to bring an alternative?