Update

Wow, I’ve been MIA from my blog lately. I can’t believe the last time I posted was towards the beginning of June, and it’s already July. Time seems to be going so fast, yet so slow at the same time.

Anyway, I just wanted to write an update. Nothing exciting has happened in my life, but I want to post about something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. For the past 2 months or so, I’ve been juggling the idea of trying an antidepressant medication after my nutritionist, therapist, and doctor all agreed it would be a good idea.

I have taken medication before for a few years, when I was much younger, because I had OCD fairly bad. Through the years, the OCD has persisted, but I’ve also developed social anxiety, anxiety around food, anxiety about driving, and anxiety around life in general. This anxiety has interfered with my life in many ways, and in a sense, left me paralyzed. Everytime I do try to face my fears, I become so anxious that I just detach. I feel so out of it, and I cannot seem to bring myself back down to the present moment. In fact, I rarely feel in the present moment. My mind is constantly filled with a million different thoughts, and that makes it hard to think clearly. And as much as I think I should be able to control this, I just cannot seem to do it

Today was my first day taking the antidepressant. I’m not going to lie, coming to this decision was very tough for me. I am one of those people who avoids taking medication at all costs (I take an ibuprofen maybe 5 times a year). I have many fears about this…what if I have terrible side effects? What if I feel emotionally numb (this is something I currently struggle with anyway)? What if this changes my personality? I feel like I have failed.  I hate feeling like I am taking a medication to “control” my thoughts. But the truth is, my anxiety is controlling me now. It has been controlling me for the past several years.

So after thinking it over a lot, I realize that I need to at least give this a try. Trusting others is something that is very hard for me to do, but I’m trying to trust my doctor and nutritionist’s recommendations. I know that a medication, even if it works, is not going to cure me. There is still going to be plenty of hard work involved. But maybe this will at least be something to help keep me afloat so that I can begin swimming towards shore. I’m trying to be at peace with my decision, and have faith that no matter what happens, I will be able to handle it.

Well, that’s my update. Not too exciting, I know. I hope to get back to blogging more, because I really do feel like it’s a good outlet for me. I hope you are all having a good week and I will update again soon.

Three Recipes

Happy Tuesday, everyone! In my last post, I mentioned that my mom and I cooked a lot while she was here, and I promised to share some of the recipes we made. So that’s what I’m going to do in this post! We didn’t create any of the recipes ourselves, so I’ll just include the links in case you want to try making any of them. I have to say that all three of them turned out absolutely delicious!

Curtis Stone’s Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients
Pesto:
1 ½ cups (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Linguine:
12 cherry tomatoes on the vine
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
9 ounces fresh linguine (from the dairy case)
2 garlic cloves, minced
20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Parmesan shavings (for garnish)

Method
• To make the pesto: Grind the basil, pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese with a mortar and pestle
until a smooth paste forms.
• (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a food processor instead.)
• Slowly add the olive oil, grinding until a smooth sauce forms.
• Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste.
• Then cover and set it aside.
• Preheat the oven to 450°F.
• Place the vine of tomatoes in an ovenproof skillet.
• Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
• Roast the tomatoes in the oven for 8 minutes, or until heated through.
• Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the linguine and cook,
stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking for about 2 minutes, or until al dente.
• While the linguine cooks, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over
medium heat.
• Add the garlic and shrimp and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are just cooked through
and the garlic is tender.
• Stir the pesto into the shrimp mixture.
• Drain the linguine, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
• Toss the linguine in a large bowl with the shrimp- pesto mixture, adding enough of the reserved cooking
liquid to moisten the sauce so that it coats the pasta evenly.
• Using a two-pronged carving fork, swirl some pasta around the fork.
• Slide it off the fork letting it mound in the center of a plate.
• Repeat.
• Arrange the shrimp and roasted tomatoes around the pasta.
• Garnish with the cheese and serve.

Chicken Marsala

This is really good served with rice and a vegetable (I did steamed broccoli with it).

This is really good served with rice and a vegetable (I did steamed broccoli with it).

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-marsala/ (We used chicken tenders instead of buying the breasts and pounding them flat)

Chicken Stir-Fry

Chicken Stir-fry and rice

I actually didn’t make this one with my mom, but I made it for dinner last night. My dad and sisters loved it! I thought the sauce was really good, but I diluted the soy sauce a bit so it wasn’t too salty.  The thing I love most about this recipe is that it’s super versatile. You could easily use shrimp or tofu to make it vegetarian or vegan.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-stir-fry-3/

That’s all I have for today! Hope everyone is having a good week!

A Fun Visit

I know I’ve been kind of M.I.A. from my blog lately, but I have a good reason! My mom came into town about two weeks ago for my sister’s birthday and graduation, so I wanted to spend as much time with her as I could while she was home. We took her back to the airport Sunday night and it was sad, but my sisters and I had a great time visiting with her while she was here!

Ball Game

My mom took my sisters and me to a baseball game on my sister’s birthday. The weather was really nice! It was a bit hot and humid at the game, but there was a nice breeze, so it felt really good. Oh, and excuse all the interesting people in this photo. Does anyone else ever think about how often you appear in the background of other people’s photos? It’s kind of weird, if you think about it. Or maybe I’m just weird 😉

Birthday Cake

We also celebrated Allie’s birhtday! Isn’t this little cake so cute? It was an ice cream cake, too! You better believe we squeezed 18 candles onto this cake, and Allie blew them out all in one try!

Bebe

We also had fun laughing at my Nana’s cat, Precious. She’s a Himalayan cat and is 16 years old!  I had to include this picture because I think the look on her face is so funny. She doesn’t look too happy to have her picture taken, though.

While my mom was home, we also ate lots of delicious food, of course. My mom even showed me how to make a few new dishes (Chicken Marsala and a shrimp pasta dish). They were both really tasty, so I plan on sharing the recipes in another post.

Shrimp pesto pasta recipe from Curtis Stone. My mom has a crush on him, which is kind of funny.

Shrimp pesto pasta recipe from Curtis Stone. My mom has a crush on him, which is kind of funny.

Subway on the way to the ball game. I hadn't had Subway in awhile and this was really good, so I thought I'd take a picture.

Subway on the way to the ball game. I hadn’t had Subway in awhile and this was really good, so I thought I’d take a picture.

Lunch out at First Watch. I seriously love that place! This lunch was perfect and so summery!

Lunch out at First Watch. I seriously love that place! This lunch was perfect and so summery!

My mom and sisters and I also went shopping, watched movies, and just talked and laughed. We always have a good time together, even when we aren’t really doing anything exciting. Though we may fight and have our little arguements sometimes, I am so incredibly blessed to have these three ladies in my life.

That’s all I have for now, but I hope to be posting again soon. I hope you all have a wonderful week 🙂

 

All Grown Up

Today is my little sister’s birthday. Allie turns 18 today, and tomorrow she will graduate from high school.

I can hardly believe my baby sister is all grown up. It seems like just yesterday we were playing Barbies in the basement and making tents out of blankets and chairs in the living room. I know people often say this, but geez, time really does fly!

Although this day is bittersweet, I could not be more proud of the young woman my little sister has become. Allie is remarkable, and I look up to her in so many ways (and not just because she’s three inches taller than me, which by the way, I am super jealous of) 🙂  Allie is sweet, loving, and incredibly smart. She is talented in so many ways, yet is so humble. Her smile lights up a room and her loud laugh is seriously contagious. I cannot count the number of times Allie has cheered me up just by her being around.

I cannot wait to see where the future takes my baby sister. I know she has many great things ahead of her and am so excited to continue to watch her grow up and succeed. Allie, I know I don’t say this enough, but I am so glad you are my little sister. Thank you for always being there for me, and most importantly, for being YOU.

DSC01377

Happy birthday, Allie! I am so incredibly proud of you, and love you very much!!! XOXOXO

Lazy Weekend

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been in a funk, and unfortunately, it still hasn’t gone away. I am feeling a little more rested after a weekend of lounging around and relaxing, though. It’s difficult for me to just “be lazy” because I often feel guilty for not doing something more productive. I am beginning to realize that lazy days are actually a GOOD thing once in awhile. It’s good to just chill out and do things that make you happy, and that’s just what I did this weekend. Here’s a little recap of my uneventful weekend:

1. I spent a lot of time outside, just relaxing and looking at the beautiful blue sky…

Ceiling

2. I read outside. Currently, I am reading “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly suggest you do. It’s a murder mystery type book, and I can’t seem to put it down!

Reading outside

3. I made an EPIC 108 point word on Words With Friends. Needless to say, my sister wanted to give up on the entire game after that one.

Epic Words With Friends

4. I worked in the garden with my sister. We transplanted some vegetable plants into the ground. This is the first year that my sisters and I are managing the garden on our own, so I really hope we don’t kill all the plants…

Tomato plant

5. And last but not least, I made a peanut butter pie to bring over to my Nana’s. Actually, this was last weekend, for Mother’s Day, but I had to include it. Peanut butter pie is so good, especially when enjoyed in the company of your sweet grandmother.

Peanut butter pie

Well, that’s it. Certainly not the most exciting weekend, but it was nice nonetheless. I hope you all have a nice week ahead!

What did you do this weekend? What’s your favorite way to spend a lazy day?

Few Words, Just Pictures

I’ve been in a funk lately, and I’m not sure how to get out of it. I’ve been feeling anxious, restless, and just unable to think clearly. It seems like the only time I can gather my thoughts and feel some sense of calm is when I’m outside in the woods. I took my phone along with me last week and decided to take some snapshots of my favorite place to be lately:

Spring Woods

Spring TreesPondPurple flowersKittyTree branches

Hopefully, I’ll be back soon with a more substantial post. But for now, I hope you all have a nice weekend.

Thoughts on a Rainy Sunday

The fact that it is rainy out today has nothing to do with this post. Really, I just couldn’t think of a title for all the rambling I’m about to do.

I haven’t posted in awhile even though I’ve been wanting to. The truth is, I’ve been struggling. The past few weeks, it seems like I am “stuck” in the same place, and I can’t move forward. I haven’t been moving backwards, I just can’t seem to push myself to keep going with recovery. I’ve been wondering why it is I am stuck all of a sudden, when I was doing so well before. Then it hit me; I am scared.

I’m realizing that I am not really afraid of gaining weight or being a certain weight. I am not really afraid of food or calories.  What I am really afraid of is change. I am essentially afraid of life. Over the past six years or so, I’ve used the eating disorder as a way to cope. It’s been my security blanket, and I’ve hid behind it so that I didn’t have to deal with life. Now that I’m in the process of leaving it behind, it’s really frightening.

There are many things I want in life. I want to make friends, have hobbies, graduate college, have a career, get married, have babies and be a mom…the list goes on and on. Just this morning in church, there was a young couple sitting in front of us with the cutest little baby boy. Ten years from now, I want to be married to a wonderful guy and having kids and being a mom. I want that so badly. I know that if I remain in the place I’m at right now, though, that probably won’t be possible for me. Many of the things I want in life won’t be possible for me if I am still sick.

When I think about why it is I want to get better, my answer, in a nutshell, is possibilities. I want to recover so that I can have a chance at having all the things that I really want, the things that will make me truly happy. The sad truth is that life with an eating disorder does not afford many possibilties. It is incredibly limiting. If I choose to remain sick, I know what my life will entail; self-hatred, misery, lonliness, isolation, sadness. I don’t want my life to be that way. As terrifying as recovery seems right now, I feel like I don’t have much to lose.

 

Failure Is Not Fatal

This past week has been rough in terms of recovery. My head has been filled with thoughts that I know are irrational and unhelpful, yet I cannot seem to shake them off. I haven’t been giving my 100% to recovery. I feel as if I am stuck, and am afraid to move forward. But as scared as I am to keep pushing forward, I am more afraid to stay this way forever.

Tomorrow is the start of a brand new week. Yes, the past week may not have been the best, but that doesn’t mean I have to continue this way. I can pick myself up and get back on the horse. I can try harder this week. I will try harder this week. I will meet my meal plan, take care of myself, and do my best to let go of any negative thoughts. I don’t have to be perfect, but I do need to try my best.

I am going to make tomorrow a better day. I cannot – no, I won’t – give up now. I am way too stubborn to give up this easily.

success-is-not-final-failure-is-not-fatal_-it-is-the-courage-to-continue-that-counts1

 

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you for all of the get -well wishes for my grandfather! Luckily, his issue wasn’t a heart problem like the doctors originally thought. It turned out to be his gallbladder (which he unfortunately had to have removed). He is at home now and recovering from his surgery, and is thankfully doing a lot better! He’s had a really rough year health-wise, so hopefully he continues to get stronger and healthier every day.

I was planning to write a post about some struggles and thoughts I’ve been having lately, but decided to save that for another day. Monday is too early in the week to cover such deep topics, don’t you think? Plus, I remembered that this beautiful girl nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award about a month ago (thanks, Liz!). I’m a sucker for these types of surveys and think they’re a lot of fun, plus I need a distraction from my anxiety. Hopefully this isn’t too boring to read, and helps you get to know me a little better!

versatileblogger11

The rules:

#1 – Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their site.

#2 – Copy and paste the award to your blog.

#3 – Share 7 random facts about yourself.

#4 – Nominate 5 bloggers and include links to their sites as well.

#5 – Let the other bloggers know that you have nominated them.

Fact #1: I cannot leave the house without my hand sanitizer.

Ok, while this is probably partly due to my OCD, I am a self-confessed germaphobe. I always carry a little bottle of hand sanitizer around with me in my purse. Even when I was little, I always had some in my backpack or desk at school.  In fact, I once cried in kindergarten when I realized that I had forgotten my hand sanitizer at home. Thankfully, I don’t do that anymore (haha), but I still do like to have some with me. You just never know when you’re going to run into a germy situation!

hand sanitizerSpeaking of germy situations…

Fact #2: I once fell into a muddy creek in front of my entire class.

This was hands down the most embarassing thing that ever happened to me. My ninth grade biology class went down to the creek by my school to collect water samples or something. I decided that it would be a good idea to use a tree branch that was situated over the creek to get to the other side (the creek was not wide or deep at all…it was more like a little stream). Anyway, I slipped off the log, and well, you can figure out the rest. I literally had mud ALL over me, and the worst part was that the entire class saw me fall in. Luckily, my mom was kind enough to bring me a change of clothes, and I had to go wash up in the nurse’s office. You better believe I was wishing for my hand sanitizer then!

Fact #3: I always toast my bread.

I honestly don’t like the doughy texture of untoasted bread, so I always toast it first!

Fact #4: I can do a split.

I’m not super flexible or anything, but I can do a full split on my right side. I’ve been able to do this since my dancing days, but I practice almost every day to make sure I don’t lose it. I’ve also been practicing my left-side and center splits, so hopefully I’ll be able to do those one day as well.

Fact #5: I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

Well, I do have some idea, but I’m not entirely sure. I am majoring in psychology because I find it so fascinating and feel like there is so much to learn. I plan to go to graduate school, but I’m not sure what I want to go for. I’ve thought of being a guidance counselor, teacher, therapist, or even going into research. It really bothers me that I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life, but I am hoping that I will figure it out!
When I grow up

Fact #6: I do not like to drive.

I actually have a fear of it. I am usually okay with driving somewhere if I’ve driven there many times before (like to school), but otherwise, I get really anxious. I actually didn’t get my license until a week before I turned twenty. I didn’t even want to get it then, but my mom kind of forced me into it, haha.

Fact #7: I absolutely love being in the woods.

I’ve decided that I want my house to be in a wooded area.  While it would be nice to have a house near the beach or something, I would defintiely prefer to have a house in the woods. I just love taking long, peaceful walks alone in the woods. It gives me time to clear my head.

Woods and sun

There you have it! Seven facts about me. Hopefully you didn’t find that too boring. I’m supposed to nominate other bloggers to do the survey, but this has been around for awhile and I’m not sure who all has done it and who hasn’t. So if you see this and you want to do the survey, I am nominating you!

Now tell me a little about you…What is your dream job? What’s one thing you can never leave the house without?

Happy Easter

I just want to start off this post by giving a huge “thank you” too all those who took the time to comment on my last few posts. I have been struggling, but reading your sweet comments and advice seriously warms my heart. Recovery is a long and hard process, but it feels nice to know that I have all of you to turn to for support and advice, and I could not be more thankful for that.

I also want to wish those who celebrate a happy Easter! My family doesn’t have too many plans for today. We were supposed to have dinner at my grandparents’ house, but unfortunately, my grandpa is in the hospital. He was having severe pain in his chest and we thought something might be wrong with his heart, but the doctors said it was gallstones. Thankfully, those are a lot less serious than a heart problem (though I’m sure still very painful). So I think my grandma is coming up to our house for church and then an early dinner (grilled salmon), and then we are all going to the hospital to visit my grandpa.

Besides having Easter dinner, my family has a few other Easter traditions. My sisters and I always color Easter eggs, even now that we are older. We never do anything fancy, but it’s still fun. We also used to have Easter egg hunts when we were little, though we usually used plastic eggs and the “Easter Bunny” would put little prizes inside.

Eggs

My grandma also makes her Italian Easter bread every year. She hasn’t been in the best health the past year, and hasn’t felt like cooking much, so this year I tried making it myself for the first time. I must say, it came out pretty good! Here’s the recipe if you want to try making it:

Italian Easter Bread

Ingredients

– 3 eggs

-1 cup sugar

-1/4 cup Crisco (shortening)

-1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

-1 small bottle of anise extract

-1 cup milk

-4 cups flour

-3 Tablespoons baking powder

-2 egg yolks

-colored sprinkles

Directions

1. Beat the three eggs in a bowl. Add 1 cup of sugar and combine well. Add Crisco and butter to the egg mixture and beat well. Add the anise extract and milk.

2. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Work the liquid into the flour until well mixed.

3. Place dough on a floured cookie sheet and work well. I found that the dough was super sticky, so I needed to add quite a bit of flour to make it more workable.

4. Divide the dough into 2 parts (or 4 if you want to make 2 separate rings). Roll out each section of dough into a long rope. Braid and twist the ropes together on the floured cookie sheet to create a ring.

Easter bread before baking 1

5. Beat the 2 egg yolks together and spread all over the tops/sides of the bread with a pastry brush. Sprinkle the colored candies on top.

6. Bake about 30-40 min at 350, or until lightly browned (keep an eye on it because it tends to dry out if overcooked).

Easter bread

There you have it! I actually baked this yesterday, and it was a lot of fun playing around with the dough 🙂 I find baking so therapeutic (even the cleaning up part after isn’t too bad). I hope you all have a lovely and blessed Easter, if you celebrate. If not, have a great Sunday!

Does your family have any Easter traditions? Have you ever had Easter bread?