October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month & I’m sick of the NFL and their scandals

I’ve been debating writing this post since the Ray Rice scandal (quite literally) exploded on the front pages of every social media page and news source in the US.

I’ve seen the memes. I’ve seen the video. I’ve seen the apology videos (both of them, a term I use loosely). I’ve seen the “jokes” about taking the stairs instead of elevators and others that are equally asinine. Don’t get me wrong, I have to use humor at work so I don’t lose my goddamn mind or get burnt out by the time I’m 30 years old.

However, as someone who has gone through domestic violence and come out on the other side, there is nothing even remotely funny about victims and their stories of survival.

There is nothing funny about the fact that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. It’s 2014. Why do we still need to discuss this? Why does the term “domestic violence” even exist? Domestic violence isn’t always physical. It is verbal. It’s control. It’s calling someone a slut, ugly, fat, worthless, and instilling in their mind that NO ONE will ever love them the way their abuser does. What the victim doesn’t realize at the time, however, is that no one will ever love them like that, and that’s a damn good thing.

There is nothing funny about the fact that 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men are stalked in their lifetime. Remember when you wanted your parents to get off your back? Imagine your exboyfriend calling and texting you so much that you have to turn your phone off, since it’s useless to try to contact anyone else. You can’t get through. Imagine your exboyfriend just appearing at the restaurant you’re at. My ex showed up at a dinner after 12 hours of drinking and chased me around town in his BMW. He also once showed up at a party I was at and locked me in a bedroom when I wouldn’t talk to him. He held me down until I fought back enough to get away from him. It was terrifying.

There is nothing funny about the fact that 1/3 of female homicides (femicide) are killed by an intimate partner. Personally, I am positive that my ex would have killed me if I would’ve “stuck it out.” I stuck with him for 3 hellish years, something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

It breaks my heart to watch that Ray Rice video and to watch the “apology” videos that have come in the aftermath. Rice’s now wife has been with him since they were teens; do you think that’s the first time he’s laid hands on her? The violence always escalates. Always. And the “honeymoon” phase gets shorter every time. I have been her. You are convinced it’s as good as it gets; that you deserve to be treated that way. When you love someone for that long, you forget how to have a normal, loving, healthy, AMAZING relationship. This is your new “normal.”

If you watch the apology videos, not once does Rice apologize to his wife, but she certainly apologizes enough to him. And let me tell you from experience, reporting domestic violence against a man who has prestige in the community is so difficult. My ex was a cop. I didn’t report the stalking, abusive behavior because I knew he’d lose his job, and nothing would be holding him back from making my life a complete, living, hell. It was easier to take it, to be unable to move on with someone else, to sneak around and meet him because I thought it wouldn’t get worse.

What got me out? My ex cheated on me and got someone else pregnant. I thank God for that woman every day, because without her, I don’t know what my breaking point would’ve been. For someone you know (or yourself) that is experiencing domestic violence, I don’t know what his or her breaking point is either. I do know that the worst thing you can do is turn away. If one of my friends would have sat me down and explained that they were concerned, that this isn’t right, I’m not sure if it would’ve changed things. I do know it would have helped me somewhat. Abusers make their victims feel alone, isolated; like they have no one to help them. Do not inadvertently help the abuser isolate the victim.

And if you are reading this and are being subjected to domestic violence, here this; I love you. We are forever tied. You are beautiful, smart, funny, charismatic, and worthy of safe love. Love that you don’t have to fear. Love that you know won’t break into your home and terrify you. There is help.

And please, I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me. I am thankful for this experience so that I may help others in this process. I just want the world to know that domestic violence has a face, and one of them is mine.

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Ipsy Bag September 2014

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I loved the little bag the make up came in this month. I love studs and would put them on everything at risk of being tacky. I was very excited for the bag, and here’s a list of what’s in it:

– Alterna Haircare CC Cream ($25 full sized)- This is a pretty cool concept; a “CC” cream for your hair. They’re literally everywhere for your complexion so why not try it for hair? This smell of this is really strong, so I’m waiting to use this. I want to make sure I can wash it out if it gives me a headache.

-Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush by Crown Brush – I can’t find the price of this brush online. However, it’s really nice and soft. I’m excited to put it to use.

-Hot Singles Eye Shadow by NYX in Addiction ($4.50 full sized)- I love NYX. I have said it a million times, and I’ll say it again! Their products are high quality for a cheap price. I liked this color, except that it’s a little darker than what I normally wear. It will be nice to try during the winter months.

-Natural Waterproof Eye Pencil by Pacifica in Gun Metal ($11 full sized)- I really like the color of this eye pencil. It goes on smooth and is long lasting. I just wish there was a little less glitter in the color, and it seems to spread over time. It is a pretty color.

-Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in Basic Instinct by Cailyn ($19 full sized)- This is a full sized product, so it definitely paid for itself. However, the color is not at all flattering on me. It’s also rather sticky. I will not be using this product in my beauty regime.

How was your Ipsy experience this month?

Couponing 101

I’ve been trying to decide if I should write this post for a while, but after one of my wonderful readers commented last night, I decide to go for it. I’ve touched on this subject before, but this post will detail how to get involved in couponing, instead of being completely overwhelmed by it. I know a lot of people don’t know where to start, where to get coupons, and are turned off by shows like “Extreme Couponing.” DON’T BE! It’s easy. Once you get started, it’s a total addiction

Where can I get coupons?
Coupons are easy to get ahold of, especially in this day and age. You can find coupons online (coupons.com is a big website, but companies like P&G, Johnson and Johnson, and Kelloggs have their own if you sign up ), in the Sunday paper (There’s no need to subscribe; just go buy one Sunday morning, but check that the inserts are in there.), from friends (there are websites dedicated to hooking people up with other couponers to trade), specific retail stores wesbsite’s (Target), Facebook (just “like” the company for offers, including free samples), and from the company itself. I have written to companies and told them how much I would love to try their product, but I can’t afford it full price. Many will send you coupons to use, with long expiration dates.

If you have a smartphone/tablet and a wireless printer, you can download the coupons.com application to print coupons from those devices. The best part is that you can print 2 coupons per device. If you have a tablet, a smart phone, and a computer, this means you can print 6 coupons for the same product. Most websites, including target.com, will only let you print 2 coupons per device. If you really need a certain product and there’s a great coupon (think baby food, shampoo, etc.), having more than one computer comes in handy; or phone a friend!

How do I combine coupons?
As you all know, I love Target. Their coupon combinations are unmatched. You can use 1 manufacturer coupon and 1 Target coupon (it will have the red bulls-eye on it, and you can find them on target.com under the clearance tab) together for better savings. For instance, if you have an item that is $3 and you have a manufacturer coupon worth $1 and a Target coupon worth a $1, you can combine the two. The product will be a $1. Make sure you check the store’s coupon policy as well to see how many of the same like coupons you can use in one transaction. At Target, you can only use 4 like coupons in the same transaction, aka 4 of the same Target coupon and 4 of the same manufacturer coupon.

How can I figure out deals?
There are blogs dedicated to finding deals and doing the dirty work so you don’t have to. Totallytarget.com is my Bible in this case. Otherwise, you can match up your coupons with local inserts (Redners, Rite Aid, etc.). Don’t be afraid to put together matches with your Target insert, either. You may have coupons that will give you decent deals on products that you use all the time. Remember, you don’t have to get every single thing for free; you just want to save yourself some money.

Other things to know about:
Target has a program called “Cartwheels.” You can add percentages off certain items to a list and either print it or scan it from your smartphone. This adds an additional percentage off your purchase after coupons. I love to use it for fruits and vegetables. You can also get mobile coupons sent to your smartphone for extra savings. You can sign up for that on their website as well.

The Budget Babe is a great blog to follow to notifications for companies that are offering free samples of their products. I’ve gotten everything from lotions to K-Cups through her website.

Above all else, have fun with this. I truly enjoy couponing and providing for my family. We’ve been able to stock up on a lot of necessities through coupons, and for that, I am very thankful.

Warning: Personal Post ahead.

I am a firm believer in doing the best you can to let things go. Of course, this is after you scream, cry, analyze every little detail, drink margaritas, and wallow just a little bit. But whatever. It’s a process, people.

This time last year I had met and was dating the person I truly thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was in love, but the type where you kind of forget you were a person before this guy entered your life. It was, sadly, the first relationship I had in my adult life that was relatively healthy. Before, I had dealt with a total domestic violence relationship (where he probably would’ve seriously ended up hurting me if I didn’t walk away) and one where I tried to fix someone from their plethora of fucked-up-ness. I threw myself into this one. I worked long hours just so I could get off early on Friday and go see him. I never saw my friends. I didn’t spend time outside and tan (I know; what the fuck). I spent money on him when he didn’t seem to have any. I didn’t spend time with my family. This is after we were together every day for the academy, mind you. And looking back, it was terrible.

Interestingly enough, when we graduated and went to our offices, things changed very, very rapidly. He decided to be married to the job (word of advice for anyone considering a career in law enforcement: don’t go down that road/don’t date a fellow employee). He became mean spirited; I was no longer beautiful or the best thing that ever happened to him, and I was this awful person because I come from a wonderful family who is very supportive of me, both financially and emotionally. We fought every time we turned around. And I’m talking screaming matches (me) and shutting down and slamming doors (him).

However, I didn’t recognize this until after we broke up. When we did, I was so incredibly devastated. I cried all the time. I couldn’t eat (the Lord blessed me with having no appetite when upset, but being hyperglycemic. Double edge sword), but I drank plenty of wine. Luckily my best friend was there for me, even though I had totally deserted her. I couldn’t have gotten through it without her, many of my other friends, and my family. And luckily, it got better. Even after he blocked me on Facebook (immediately), sent me a check for $10.99 after googling the market value price of a bottle of wine I wanted back (by the way, that bounced, so I get a certified check for $30.99), took forever to give me all my stuff back, and was a dickhead to my family.

I was surrounded by people that loved me. I had time to reflect on things that I did wrong and could’ve done better. I live 45 minutes from the beach and got some late season sun in. I cried. I got angry. I let myself go through the motions and emotions. To me, a bad break up is like a death. You have to mourn the loss.

And, gradually, I realized that I had to forgive him. There was still a huge weight on my chest about it. Being angry with him was doing nothing but making me bitter. So, part of my New Year’s resolution was to let it go. And I did.

Fast forward to July 5, 2014. I was walking back to my friend’s house last night after dinner to put my sunglasses away before we went out for a little while. My phone went off, and when I checked it, there was a MD number I didn’t recognize. And then I did. 10 months after one of the worst break ups of my life, I had what I wanted. An apology text message. He wanted me to know he was sorry he had hurt me and for the way he treated me. And he was sorry that he had broken up with me the way he did (a phone call after I was with him all weekend. YEAH.).

I didn’t answer right away. I had a million questions, but wasn’t sure I wanted him to know that. I had to mull it over. So then, today, I answered and told him that I appreciated the gesture, but I had forgiven him months ago. I wasn’t holding on to any negative energy. And I wished him good luck.

That was one of the most satisfying moments of my life. For someone who did me so dirty to realize that they did not have any hold over me. That my life is wonderful regardless. I must be growing up. And it feels damn good to know that it may take a while, but karma comes around. And you get what you deserve.

Hey by the way, do you think he could see the “fuck you” in the fine print? 🙂

July 2014 Love with Food Box

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This month’s theme for the Love with Food Box is “Take me Out to the Ball Game.” These may be my favorite box so far. If you’re not familiar with this box, for $10 a month, you get multiple goodies to try, and every box results in a meal being bought for a hungry child.

-Pineapple, Raspberry, and Mago Fruit Snacks by YamEarth Organics- One of my coworkers asked me whose child I stole that from. These were good, but stuck to my teeth like their life depended on it. I may stick with the processed junk.
-Gum Balls by Tree Huggers Gum- Non-GMO gum? Hey, I’ll try anything that’s healthy.
-Cheddar Baked Fries by Snikiddy- These seemed so yummy and crunchy! I’m looking forward to keeping these in my lunchbox.
-Snap Back Cookies by The Cookie Department- Oh. My. God. Religious Experience. I ended up getting the “Detox” cookie, which is made of ginger and cayenne, among other things. It’s supposed to help with hangovers (ha!). I plan to buy a mix of these. Yum.
-Chicago Mix by GM Cretors- This was a mix of caramel and cheese popcorn, which I was surprised to really enjoy. It was salty and sweet, the perfect snack.
-Montgomery Cherries by Stoneridge Orchards- These dried cherries were sweet, tangy, chewy, and soft. I really enjoyed finding them in my box.
-Good for You Granola, Almond Butter, and Jelly Sandwich by Jolly Oak- As stated previously, I love finding packets of loose granola to take to work with my yogurt. This mix is no different.
-Chocolate Cookies by Dulcetto- This 100-calorie snack is a perfect chocolate fix. These cookies are little and creamy.

This is definitely my favorite box so far. Have I convinced you to give it a try? Click here: http://lovewithfood.com/invite?m=r&ref=ADJ

Ipsy Bag June 2014

It’s that time again! I received my Ipsy bag in the mail yesterday, and this month’s theme is “Pretty in Paradise.” If you subscribed to Ipsy, they will send you 4-5 full or trial sized samples of products for you to try. It’s only $10 a month. I have yet to be disappointed in a bag!

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1. Lash Out Mascara by Be a Bombshell in Intense Black ($15)- This product paid for the bag itself, which I always love. I didn’t notice a big difference in the size and length of my lashes, but it went on well and was lightweight. Quite a few people online stated it smelled like pickles, but I didn’t notice that when I put it on. I’ll try this a few more times before I give it a verdict.

2. Dream Waves Beach Spray by Marc Anthony ($8.79 full sized)- I tried this last night after my shower, and I am OBSESSED. This product smells wonderful and gave a ton of texture to my hair. My hair is wavy and there’s a whole lot of it, so it sometimes doesn’t take to products that well. This product didn’t weigh my hair down or make it greasy. What’s even better? You can buy it at Walgreens!

3. Butter Gloss by NYX in Creme Brûlée ($5.00)- I love NYX because it doesn’t cost a fortune, but the products work well. These gloss went on very smooth and wasn’t overly sticky. It also stays put. After I tried it, I went outside, and the sweat didn’t make it run. I am very pleased with this product.

4. Universal Eyebrow Pencil by OFRA ($13)- Confession: I do not own an eyebrow pencil. I do not know how to use an eyebrow pencil. I had to look it up on Pinterest! I regularly have pretty thick eyebrows, but there are some places that could use some fill. I used this and my eyebrows did look much more “together.” However, I’m not used to how it looks, so I was kind of shocked! I plan on contacting one of my beauty guru friends to see if she can help me master this. Overall, I am excited to have my first eyebrow pencil!

5. for Her by Realtree ($24.99 or $19.99 for Ipsy subscribers, full sized)- I don’t like fragrances. I am very particular with the kind of scents I wear, because a lot of them give me a headache. I like perfume that almost smells like cologne (Adidas Sport for Women is my go to) or not overly florally. This was too overpowering for me. The smell isn’t bad and the packaging was cute, but it’s bound to give me a headache quick!

 

Another month, another Ipsy bag. I’m rarely disappointed, and this is no different!