Travel, Uncategorized

Jekyll Island

My family and I literally passed through Jekyll Island (coastal Georgia) this weekend because my husband had a speaking engagement. We were there for one night and half a day but we enjoyed our brief stay. We stayed at Hampton Inn and had a very comfortable stay (dog included) in our pool view room. That morning, the kids and I went to the beach for a couple of hours. The beach was so beautiful and clean. Pets are welcome and it is a very family oriented place. There was a nice shopping area and lots of biking trails and a water park.  The hotel also came with a free shuttle service that will take you anywhere on the island so if you want to drink and relax you don’t have to worry about driving. We will definitely be going back for an extended stay when we have more time. 

-LR 

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Health & Wellness, Uncategorized, Weight Loss

VSG Weight Loss Surgery Update

Hi everyone! I know it has been awhile but I have been busy working on everything I need to do to get my approval for weight loss surgery. Earlier this month, I went to the Bariatric Seminar (the second one I’ve been to) and received information about the surgery and the steps I needed to achieve to get an approval from my insurance company, which is Tricare Prime. A week later, I went and had my first consultation with the surgeon. A lot of the tests I needed for my insurance company were completed a few weeks prior so I brought that information along with me (EKG, endoscopy results, chest x-rays, and recent lab results). The only things I needed in order to submit a request for approval from my insurance company was an Upper GI test, Psychological Evaluation, and a Nutrition Consultation. I had my upper GI done a couple of weeks ago and my psych eval, which I passed, a couple of days ago. I am currently waiting on an appointment with the nutritionist and the soonest appointment she has is a month away. I am aggravated that it is so far away because it is the last thing I need to complete for a surgery date (pending approval) but what can I say? They are a busy office; however, I will be calling and checking for cancellations on a regular basis. If you want to get real time updates on my journey, follow my Youtube channel atย https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdttDd0lzzrYcsDETn-Eocw and my VSG weight loss instagram @lmichelle_less_to_love

-LR

Makeup, Product Reviews, Uncategorized

The Zulu Palette by Juvia’s Place

I recently purchased the Limited Edition Zulu Eyeshadow Palette by Juvia’s Place as well as the Magic Palette but I’ve only gotten around to trying the Zulu Palette so far. Between working on my Master’s Degree, being wife and mommy, and preparing for weight loss surgery, I don’t have much time for makeup these days, but I did pull out the Zulu palette for my birthday a couple of days ago and I absolutely LOVE it. The colors are highly pigmented and there wasn’t much fall out at all. My only complaint is that the dark pink color stained my eyelids. It took quite a bit of coconut oil to get it completely off, but other than that, it’s a great palette and I consider it a must have!

-LR

Health & Wellness, Uncategorized, Weight Loss

Why I’m Considering VSG

Some of you have been following my blog for over a year and have watched me lose 25lbs and 36 inches only to see me gain 30lbs over the course of 6 months. I am considering bariatric surgery…Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) in particular. The reason why I am considering VSG is mainly because of the past couple of months, I have been experiencing some health issues and that is a huge no-no for me because I have two small kids I have to be here for. Let me back up. First and foremost I have dieted and made lifestyle changes, lost weight, then found it and it brought new friends. To add to that, I am an emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m celebrating, when I’m depressed, when I want to have a good time, etc. That has been something that has been difficult to break since childhood so I know that VSG can help with that. VSG is not an easy way out because I have to go through surgery as well as recovery as well as lifestyle changes, and thankfully with my stomach being half the size I can only eat so much, which will help with the emotional eating and overeating. I did not want to do the gastric bypass because I am not comfortable with having to take supplements for the rest of my life because my body no longer gets nutrients from my food or the other longterm side effects of it….but back to the health problems.

Over the past couple of months, I have had some crazy things going on with my body. Mind you I still get in my veggies and attend zumba as well as walk weekly. The arising health issues have been a wake up call because of family history. There is diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and female cancers (Uterus & Breast) on BOTH sides of my family. Thank God I don’t have any of those issues now but with a BMI of 48 who knows what will come. I want to be healthy and available for my children. My strongest prayer to God after keeping my family safe is for me to at least (praying for many more years though but at least) live long enough to raise my children. On top of that I am tired of squeezing into spanx almost everyday, I’m tired of my knees hurting when I walk up the stairs. I’m tired of not being happy with what I see when I look in the mirror. I’m tired of losing weight only to gain back even more weight, and I’m tired of limited shopping. Someone took a picture of me on my bad side (you know we all have our good side big or small) and I saw how big I’ve gotten and I was devastated. When you take your own photos you can disguise it how you like and be in denial but when you see what someone else sees it’s like ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ซ!

I’m choosing this for me first and my children second. They deserve a healthy, active mother. I want to be an example for my daughter because I NEVER want her to deal with obesity. I’ve prayed about it and I have peace with my decision.ย I am starting an Instagram page to document this journey as well as a VLOG on YouTube so those who are considering this process can share in this journey with me. I’m still coming up with a name but as soon as it’s up and going I will update you guys. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdttDd0lzzrYcsDETn-Eocwย Is my current YouTube channel and it may change so I will Update you accordingly. I am prepared for the negativity and even more prepared for the positivity and good vibes. Like I always say I go through nothing for myself but only to help someone else. Agape and God’s speed.

-LR

Uncategorized

My Mirena Birth Control Story

In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, I’ve decided to share my Mirena IUD experience. I’ve had the mirena IUD twice. The first time, I had it for a few month. There was a little discomfort when it first went in and I had some cramping but nothing major. The only problem I had with it was it felt like it was pulling when I did heavy exercise. My husband deployed a few months after I got it so I decided to have it removed because I had reservations about it because of things I read and I didn’t need birth control for 9 months. Removal was easy and was over in 2 seconds. I took ibuprofen before removal so there was no pain except for the initial tug, which was over in a second.

When my husband returned from deployment, I decided to give mirena another try. At first it was fine. My periods were nothing more than a day or two of spotting and I forgot it was there. I had occasional cramps but nothing too serious. After having mirena for a few months, I went into a deep chronic depression and even had suicidal ideations. At the time, I just thought I was going through a really rough patch in life even though things weren’t that bad. Months went on and I was treated with antidepressants and anxiety medication as well as talk therapy. The suicidial thoughts were no longer there but I was still very sad. Not only was I sad but I just thought I was going crazy. I was anxious, paranoid, and more.

Shortly after the depression came, I started having unbearable pelvic cramps. I mean they almost felt like contractions. After dealing with the cramps for awhile and having the mirena checked to make sure it hadn’t moved(it had not moved), I decided the have the mirena removed. As the days went by after the removal, I started feeling better day by day. I could not believe how much better I felt. It’s like my body was singing “Oh Happy Day” because I had rid it of the little foreign normal invader. After the complete turn around I made after having mirena removed, I think it is safe to say that mirena worsened or heightened my depression and anxiety. 

I am currently detoxing my body of those horrible hormones and praying the old fashion period tracking method can keep the babies away until we can figure out another nonhormonal method that works for us. I am not a doctor nor am I giving medical advice. I’m just sharing my experience and I think that if you are having depression while on mirena, you should consider mirena as a contributor. There are many stories out there like mine and I’m sharing mine for Awareness. 

-LR


I am wearing green eyeshadow for Mental Health Awareness, especially depression. 

Family, Kids, Travel, Uncategorized

Carolina Beach

My family and I had a great time at Carolina Beach. We were looking for somewhere where we could park our car and just relax on the beach without having to drive anywhere. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Carolina Beach Oceanfront Hotel, where we had an ocean view room. They had a nice pool on the boardwalk and breakfast was included.  There was a Tiki Bar conveniently located at the pool as well. There was a carnival right outside of the hotel and lots of restaurants and shops. We had a great dinner at Havana’s Fresh Island Seafood. They had the best Sangria I’ve ever had and the food was great and they gave you lots of it. Their service was great as well. While we were walking back to our hotel after dinner, we noticed this long never ending line coming from a boardwalk donut shop. I don’t remember the exact name of the restaurant but those donuts had to be good because that line was sooo long. Although we missed out on the donuts, we did enjoy ice cream from a local ice cream and fudge shop right outside of our hotel. My toddlers (2 & 3) enjoyed the beach. They played in the water and built sand castles. The beach wasn’t crowded so they had plenty of room to play. We had fun at Carolina Beach and we will be returning again soon, so if you’re in the area, keep them in mind! You’ll have a great time! 

-LR

Inspiration, Uncategorized

If You Live By Thier Praises You’ll Die By Their Criticisms

So much has happened to help me realize that people’s opinions of you are none of your business and in reality irrelevant. I mean the same people who called Jesus “Hosana Hosana” were the exact same ones yelling “CRUCIFY HIM”! Think about it. 

The most valuable lesson I have learned during this season of my life is that I am not what I have gone through. Yes I’ve dealt with depression (and I really believe my choice of birth control had A LOT to do with that or at least amplified it) and I had a suicidal ideation but that is not who I am and will not accept that label. That is just an experience I had in life. The same with anything any of us go through. Don’t let anyone label you and definitely do not label yourself because what you believe is what you become or who you are (Proverbs 27:3). 

I have had 2 instances of “church hurt” in my life and the last one was pretty recent and it has turned me and my spouse away from church. We still go but we aren’t as active as we once were and to be honest, I don’t like the term “church” hurt because the “church”, God’s bride, did not hurt us, it was the leaders and people inside of the church. It was being used up to the last drop but not being appreciated, but again from that season it was a lesson of don’t live by people’s praises because you’ll die from their criticisms. People will disappoint you because they are just people. Imperfect beings living in an imperfect world and most likely they have their own interest at heart and in the forefront of their minds and that’s ok because so do I, and as soon as we learn to not take offense to everything so easily as instructed in the word of God and to quickly forgive, let go, and move forward the better off we will be. 

So in this season of life, I’m carrying all of the learned lesson with an open mind, open heart, and despite of what it looks like, what it seems like, opinions, etc I am going to push on and walk on my truth, my calling, and love without failure because love never fails. 

Thought: I make it a point to give at least one stranger a compliment once a day because you never know how it may lift someone’s spirit and make their day ๐Ÿ™‚.

-LR

Food, Product Reviews, Travel, Uncategorized

True Food Kitchen

This past weekend, my family and I stayed in Fairfax, VA. My husband had an event to attend and we couldn’t find a sitter so the kids and I decided to come along for the ride and relax in the hotel room while daddy was at his event and make a mini family vacay out of the weekend. My husband took me to True Food Kitchen the next morning for brunch. He had visited True Food with his friends a few weekends prior and af first I was skeptical because when I walked in, all I smelled was the aroma of fresh green juice, and being a plus size country girl from the south, all I wanted was some bacon and biscuits. 

True Food focuses on all natural whole food ingredients and everything is made from scratch. My kids enjoyed their pizza and fresh pressed juices and my husband and I enjoyed our dishes as well. I had 2 organic eggs with sweet potato hash and chicken sausage. It was so good that I was craving it this morning when I woke up. I also enjoyed my pomegranate mimosa and coffee. I definitely look forward to visiting this restaurant again and replicating some of their dishes at home. If you are near True Foods Kitchen, you should be open and give it a try. They won’t disappoint. 

-LR

Inspiration, Uncategorized

Serenity

The Serenity Prayer is a prayer that asks for God to grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. At some point in my life, I decided to accept the thoughts in my head because they could not and would not change. The thoughts of worthlessness, low self-esteem, not being good enough, damaged goods, and I could go on. No matter how much I said my “I AM’s” or was told how adored I was by my husband and children, those thoughts could not go away. Then there were times I would be really really sad and uninterested in my normal activities and routine. I would just sit in my house in the dark with my pajamas on all day and snack. Sometimes, I just wanted to stay in bed all day and just eat, and then there were times when I don’t want to eat at all. There were also times when I just wanted to sit and stare in space or times when I didn’t want to be bothered with anyone at all. That includes my immediate family.

I can remember feeling this way since my senior year in high school but I always snapped out of it after a few weeks and didn’t think much of it until a couple of months ago. A couple of months ago, I separated myself from my family by barricading myself in a room, and attempted to hurt myself with glass from a broken mirror. I call it a suicidal gesture instead of attempt because after I broke the mirror and had the glass in my hand, I thought about my children and how they needed their mother and that thought alone made me hesitate. During my hesitation, my husband broke into the room I was barricaded in, took the glass out of my hand, and took me to get help. Initially I was upset, but now I am so glad that he saved my life. He saved my life by getting me help.

Talk therapy (counseling) and medicine that helps with hormonal imbalance (as needed) has been great for me. Just talking about it alone has been very helpful. Just knowing that I am not crazy and that there was something wrong gave me hope. I have been diagnosed with depression as well as anxiety. I’ve known I’ve had anxiety for years but actual chronic depression was news to me. Depression is often described as being really sad but that’s not the case. Yes you are sad but you’re empty, not interested in normal activities, low energy, hopeless, feeling broken, and more. Most people, especially in the African-American community, think that mental disorders don’t exist and you need to just pray and have more faith, but I have prayed constantly and my faith is there along with these good doctors and professionals that God has put here on his green Earth. There is no shame in getting help, there is no shame in expressing that you need help, and there is no shame in sharing your story like I am choosing to do today. I pray that my story can help someone who is going through something similar. God has granted me serenity and courage to change, beat this thing, and put it behind me once and for all. Look for my husband to share his experience with supporting a spouse dealing with depression in his corner soon because depression can take a toll on a marriage if it is not understood. The disease is the enemy and not the spouse. Until next time God bless.

-LR

What’s to come: More MAKEUP reviews!

Makeup, Product Reviews, Uncategorized

Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation

Dear Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation, where have you been all my life? I have tried foundation after foundation after foundation and I have finally found my perfect match! Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation is my perfect fit! This formula is light weight and has guaranteed full coverage. There isn’t even a need to color correct. That’s just how full the coverage is. It also comes in a variety of shades. Most foundations, I have to buy two and mix them together to get my perfect shade but Kat Von D had just the shade I needed. My grade on this foundation is A+. This foundation can be found for $35 from the Kat Von D website or Sephora. Here I am below wearing only Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation (Shade 74 Deep), lipstick, brow wiz, and mascara!

P.S. Excuse the stroller in the back! I am a full-time wife and mom, part-time blogger, and full-time MUE!

-LR