27 March 2015

Through the Lens: Outside the Cemetry Gates

In honor of my upcoming trip to New Orleans, I figured I'd share some photos from the last time I went, back in 2011. "A dreaded sunny day So let's go where we're happy And I'll meet you at the cemetery gates." - The Smiths
24 March 2015

A Symbol for the Death of My Twenties

When I first found out about Mordaunte's coffin shaped gemstones, I knew I had to have one for myself. Especially since in  December, my thirtieth birthday was upon me. I was celebrating the "death of my twenties" and I thought that a coffin-shaped ring would be perfect. I was ecstatic and spent most of my time determining which gemstone to get. With such a wide variety of colours to choose from it was a little difficult. I went back and forth between a dark blue spinel, garnet, and a dark green spinel. I was even intrigued by the champagne topaz.
I decided on the garnet, since it has always been my favourite gemstone. I emailed Joni, the lady behind Mordaunte, and was informed that the 5 carat garnets were sadly on back order until the end of January. To say I was only a little bummed would be a lie. Being the amazing woman that she is, she told me she would contact her gemologist to see if there was any way a rush order could be done. I couldn't believe how sweet Joni was, even after all of my many (and slightly frantic) emails to her. She remained pleasant and always made me feel as though she was going above and beyond for me. Which would soon be proven...
A quoted arrival date of January 15th surprisingly turned into me receiving my gorgeous, garnet coffin shaped ring a week after my birthday. I've been wearing that ring ever since and I am still in love with it. The craftsmanship is perfect and I know that I will cherish this ring for years to come.
Just in case you were wondering if this post is sponsored, it isn't I am just in love with my ring, and so thankful to Joni, that I felt as though I needed to share this story here on my blog. If you're looking for a unique and perfectly gothic ring, not to mention great customer service, I suggest you head over to Mordaunte's. It's nicknamed Morbid Tiffany's for a reason.
20 March 2015

Note to self, wear more lipstick.

18 March 2015

I Was a Teenage Goth Kid

It's time for me to be honest... I was a teenage goth kid. Shocker, right? For full effect, please note the sarcasm. I guess I still am, minus the teenage part -obviously. I mean I may not always dress like one, but inside it's there. I don't know exactly when my love for all things dark, morbid and strange started, but I do remember listening to Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and Stabbing Westward on the radio when I was in fifth grade. By sixth grade, I was exposed to Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Deftones and Type O Negative, and I haven't looked back since. My transformation happened in such an insidious way that I didn't really notice until I was getting called "little witch girl" in my Catholic middle school and "freak" by random people in malls.

By the time high school rolled around I was knee deep in Bauhuas, Christian Death, Sisters of Mercy, My Dying Bride, Skinny Puppy, Velvet Acid Christ and Ministry (just to name a few - trust me, I could go on for hours). Not to mention more black metal and death metal bands than you could shake a stick at. My world revolved around all things goth, industrial and metal and I LOVED it. I had the all black wardrobe, the piercings, black lipstick, fishnets and a plethora of Emily the Strange shirts. I had a library of Anne Rice's vampire novels, an endless supply of Johnny the Homicidal Manic comics and over watched VHS tapes of Lost Highway and Natural Born Killers. Not to mention NIN's Closure video that received constant play inside the overly poster-ed walls of my bedroom.

This was ninth grade. If faux flower decor isn't goth, I don't know what is. Thanks for the rad decorations in our home, Mom.

I haven't been a teenager in over twelve years (really how the hell am I 30?!), but I still can't seem to shake my inner goth kid. Yes, my music genres have broadened, especially compared to when I was younger, but I am still deeply in love with all of those bands and everything else, in regards to that subculture, that saturated my youth. And I'd be lying if I told you that my wardrobe didn't still consist of mostly black. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever grow up and move away from that, but I don't think it will be happening any time soon.

P.S. I may or may not have dabbled in some raver fashion and music for a short time, but trust me I had a good reason. PLUR, Kik jeans, candy bracelets and glowsticks forever, right? Hah. No.
12 March 2015

What I Learned from Whole30

the "most excellent" homemade, Whole30 approved chicken salad

I didn't start Whole30 to loose weight, I started it as a guideline to get back to basics and to cut out the small amount of processed foods that were still in my life. Yes, in the beginning it was a little harder than I had expected. For a few weeks, I battled the sugar demon and not because I sought out sugar prior to this diet. I just didn't realize how much food I once thought was good for me contained so much sugar. Honestly, I am still baffled by the fact that a lot of companies feel the need to add sugar to foods that don't need it. I mean they're adding sugar to bacon! Really? Bacon? Either way, I made it through my first Whole30 and I feel great. The only food I really craved during those thirty days were milk and my beloved Ezekiel bread.

When my thirty days came to an end, on March 4,  I was extremely picky as to what I wanted to reintroduce back into my diet. Keeping in mind the author's suggestions I only introduced foods that I was still craving. Obviously, dairy and Ezekiel breads were at the top of my list. What I found out was that I am fine with milk in moderation. However, cheese and I do not get along at all (and honestly I don't miss it as much as I though I would) and gluten is 100% fine with me. I also reintroduced soybean oil and found that it gives me an upset stomach.

I ended up losing a total of 10 pounds! That's pretty impressive since I wasn't starving at all during those thirty days. The biggest thing that I learned from this "whole" experience is that my previous nagging suspicions of sugar being a culprit for a lot of my troubles (both physically and mentally) were indeed correct. Sugar and I do not mix. Not only does sugar leave me feeling bloated/puffy but it makes me extremely sick to my stomach. For experimentation purposes, after I finished my reintroduction, I tried half a glazed donut and half a cupcake (on separate days - and several days apart) and I found myself emotionally agitated and buzzed in the worst way possible. It was also rather bland and way to sweet, if that makes any sense.

Foods I'm Keeping In Moderation
1% milk and half & half
sprouted grains
homemade whole wheat breads
nut butters (without added sugar)
gluten, in the form of whole wheat bread

Foods I'm Keeping In Extreme Moderation
raw honey
turbinado sugar
sprouted soy but only in Ezekiel bread

Foods I'm Staying Away From
processed sugar of all kinds
a majority of processed foods (I will still eat KIND granola bars every once in a while)
corn and corn oils
soy (except what is in Ezkeil bread)
soybean oils
any and all white bread
cheese (unless I have an uncontrollable craving)

I plan to continue eating whole foods and making the majority of our meals at home. I love the protein+veggie+healthy fat dynamic of Whole30 and are going to stick with it. As far as eating out, I've been to Chipotle a few times since finishing Whole30 and thankfully I haven't noticed any adverse effects from the rice bran oil that they use. Outside of Chipotle, I don't foresee eating at any chain restaurants ever again. I didn't really dine at these places that much before, but now, after knowing all the unnecessary ingredients that is added to otherwise healthy food, I will definitely be sticking with family-owned restaurants and focusing on the ingredients that are being used.

If you would like to read about what Whole30 is head over here.

Have you tried Whole30? If so, what are some of the things you learned from the experience....
05 March 2015

The Emotional Protection of One Self

Light shining through stained glass windows in Ely Cathedral. Ely, U.K.
I think it's safe to say that we’ve all known the type of person who wants to drag everyone else into their own personal hell. We’ve all experienced those whose actions may or may not make sense, but we forgive and forget. Deep inside we hope that they will soon see the fault in their ways. So we try to move on, thinking that our presence alone will make that person feel loved, understood, and not abandoned. Even though we forgive, they still repeat their actions, and each time a little piece of ourselves is burned as an effigy to what loosing ourselves in an attempt to save someone else feels like.

I’ve dealt with this dynamic enough times in my life that I have learned to eventually walk away because I’ve lost myself before and I refuse to let it happen again. So, when someone repeatedly makes me feel like shit for no reason other than their insecurities, I have learned to shut down my emotions in regards to the other person. It may sound cold or cruel, but the part of me that cares shuts off in an attempt to preserve my sanity. I have never done well with self-pity that is extended to others, or those who try to bring everyone in their world down with them. It's a selfish and destructive act that makes my skin crawl.

I have always been, and will continue to be, the girl who easily forgives, but that doesn’t mean that I will always stay steadfast in that person’s life. Especially when I am being made to feel like shit through no fault of my own. Forgiveness does not mean I will continue to go through hell because someone refuses to become aware of and augment their toxic behavior. For me, there will come a point in time where repetition of actions, even if they are followed by apologies, will become more than what I will choose to be apart of.

To me, self-preservation equates to upholding a sense of sanity in one's life, as well as the act of self-respect. Even though that was something I didn’t give myself when I was younger, I’ll be damned if I don’t allow myself that luxury now…

Have you ever experienced anything like this in your life? How did you handle it?
01 March 2015

Join me, won't you?

I've finally added google connect to this blog. I'm not sure why I waited so long, but it's there now.

If you'd like to follow my blog, click the "Join this site" button on the right, or if you'd like, you can also subscribe via email.

I'll make it a point to follow you as well!