Silencing that Inner Critic (swimsuit season!)

Guys, this is going to be a very real blog from my heart (and swimsuit drawer!).

My inner body critic has been really loud lately.  My weight tends to fluctuate up and down a few pounds and it fluctuated back up again.  I am also leaving for a vacation in just two days.

I was really hoping to be able to confidently rock a cute new swimsuit.

I kind of put it off til the last minute and checked out the selection at target yesterday.

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Where’s the covers the cheeky option?!

It was disheartening to say the least.¬† First off; 80% of the swimsuits seemed to be designed for teen girls.¬† The other 20% is for grandmas.¬† Where’s the middle road, people??¬† Like I’m not 19 but I’m not¬†that¬†old?!¬†¬†I don’t know about your neighborhood target but mine has really horrid dressing rooms.¬† Like bad (horror movie) florescent lighting and a mirror that somehow makes flaws you didn’t even know about “pop”.¬† I tried on two swimming suits before leaving empty handed and feeling pretty crappy about myself.

I’ve been stressing about it all week.¬† This morning I just decided, “screw it.¬† I am going to silence that inner critic and love my body where it’s at.”¬† I pulled out some of my old swimsuits that are¬†unapologetically “mom suits”.¬† ¬†Cute enough but modest.¬† I’ll be able to enjoy myself without worrying so much about how I look.

Because really, you¬†absolutely¬†should not let your inner critic push you around and rob you of your self worth.¬† You are¬†so much more than your body or your looks.¬†¬†Your body is just your shell.¬† Your legs were designed to get you from point a to point b, not to look flawless in a ridiculous “extra cheeky” swim suit.¬† Your body is a gift and the vehicle through which you get to live and partake and experience life.¬† Don’t lose sight of the amazing blessing that your healthy body is.

And if you’ve been feeling bad about your dietary choices you need to give yourself a gentle reality check.¬† I like to stop and take a moment to be grateful to God that I have all these food choices available to me.¬† That I don’t have to go hungry, or heaven forbid- watch my children go hungry.¬† I am¬†blessed.¬† I am worthy of a healthy self worth, independent of my size….and so are you.


One Year Later- RESULTS!

My photos from a year ago popped up on my phone this morning.  I saw a pic of where I was at then and I had to of course compare it to now, 6 or so months into a ketogenic lifestyle.

The second picture was this morning.¬† Of course I had to make a dorky face.¬† Might as well if you’re taking bathroom selfies, and flexing no less.¬† I think I look leaner and more defined.¬† I’m probably only a couple pounds lighter.¬† I started lifting heavier and increased my lean muscle mass while cutting a bit of body fat.

In the “before” pic I was very fit, working out very hard but not getting the results I wanted.¬† I remember thinking I should be getting more out of the work I was putting in.¬† I wanted to be leaner but, as much as I knew about health and fitness, I wasn’t sure how to go about it.¬† I knew just cutting calories wasn’t a great plan because cutting calories is a sure fire way¬†to slow your metabolism¬†which is like shooting yourself in the foot.

I have to admit this all pure vanity stuff.¬† Of course I want to be healthy but when it’s five pounds plus or minus it’s pretty much aesthetics.¬† I’ve had three babies but I really wanted great abs.¬†¬†20180608_1309022006147604.jpg

Goal: accomplished.

I don’t do crunches or count calories.¬† I just keep my carbs low, eat plenty of healthy fat and protein, and lift challenging weights.¬† When I do cardio I keep it very short with HIIT style workouts.

My belly button looks wonky and I have plenty of stretch marks, but they’re badges of honor.¬† I just want to be the best version of me and honor what my body has accomplished.


Simple Perfumery

I finally did it.

I created an instagram account.¬† I know, like 6 years late to the party.¬† For a blogger I am a bit (LOT!) of a technophobe.¬† But I really like photography so I figured I might as well get on with it.¬† Feel free to follow me and watch me try to figure it out ūüėȬ†sierraroseschwartz

This morning I am whipping up some easy, DIY perfume.


I love smelling good but I am very allergic to perfumes and colognes.¬† I’ve tried and I end up with a headache.¬† I won’t go into it too much but virtually all the scents you buy commercially are¬†toxic and bad for your health.¬† Thankfully it is super easy, much cheaper and healthier to make your own!

When I first started a couple years ago I read up on it and tried to do it “right” with heart notes, base notes, balance, etc.¬† But I realized for me, it isn’t really necessary.¬† I just do scents or combo of scents, that I really love.¬† For winter I was doing a heavier scent with frankincense, myrrh, cedarwood and vanilla.¬† For summer I am making a lighter scent using “Blues Buster” oil blend from Plant Therapy.¬† It’s a fruity, floral blend with tangerine, grapefruit and geranium bourbon.¬† It smells ah-mazing!¬† Light, fresh, heady and intense all at the same time.

My perfume is as simple as combing this oil blend with vodka.  Vodka because it is almost odorless and gives the scent staying power.  Because it is also a natural disinfectant you can use this natural perfume as deodorant.  I even spray it onto my hair as a natural, wonderful-smelling hair spray.

I bought my perfume atomizer bottle on amazon for around $12.  It came with a tiny funnel to make filling easier.  First I add my vodka (everclear would work too) and then about 20 drops of essential oil.  You can do more or less for a stronger aroma.

You are “supposed” to allow the the scent to rest for a few weeks before using, but what fun is that???¬† I use mine right away!¬† ūüėõ

Age in Reverse

Yesterday I came across this photo of my husband, his mother, and I from 2011.¬† This was 7 years ago.¬† I would have been 24 or 25.¬† Still a youngin’ by any reckoning.¬† I was taken aback though, because I seriously look younger now, at 31.¬†oldcicic

Yes, I know, my husband is really tall.  It leads to awkward hugs and a constant battle over the driver seat settings in our cars!

At the time I was dealing with severe chronic fatigue.¬† It was starting to dawn on me that I had celiacs disease.¬† But it took a long time to give up wheat.¬† It took time to grieve the fact of all that I had to give up.¬† I loved pizza and pasta and sandwiches…and just eating like a “normal” person.¬† Plus, at the time, the gluten free options were limited and pretty gross.

I knew my potential future though.¬† I come from a very large Irish Catholic family and virtually all of my dad’s 10 sisters had MAJOR auto-immune health problems.¬† Lupus, celiacs, hashimotos, R.A. just to name a few.¬† I didn’t want to live sick and die young.

I gradually made changes as I learned.  I went from eating a standard american diet to a more natural anti-inflammatory diet.  I cut back on sugar (I was a major sugar junkie!) till I eventually cut it out together.  I also have to avoid preservatives, MSG, carageenan, nitrates and soy lecithin.  If I eat any of these triggers I will feel like absolute death.  My body is just hyper-sensitive to inflammation.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself because I have to eat a very limited diet, I choose to see it as a gift.¬† It forces me to be accountable and eat well.¬† I mostly embarked on my health journey in order to feel better.¬† I’ll be honest, I’m not there 100%.¬† I still have days were I feel exhausted.¬† I still slip up and eat food I shouldn’t.¬† But I’ve come so far.¬† My health issues started me on a path not only towards healing, but towards optimized health.¬† The journey has been tough at times, but I’ve learned so much along the way.¬† For that I am grateful.

Not to toot my own horn (ok, maybe a little!) but I think I look younger now then I did then.  When you take care of yourself, it shows.  Especially as you get older. 20180510_0909142132568400.jpg

Make smart choices to feel better today.¬† Make those smart choices into your habits and routine.¬† Those smart choices will have a cumulative effect, one of them being a more youthful appearance, and who doesn’t want that?!

Red Unveiling

So guys, I promise this is going to be the LAST post in my week-long hair saga.

Even after multiple toners my hair was still just not a shade of blonde you would find in nature.  I was surprised how much it affected my self-esteem.  However you feel about beauty standards, we feel so much better when we like the way we look.

If only for your own confidence, do things that make you feel good about yourself so that you can move about your life with the confidence that you should!

So after a bit of debating, I went and bought a hair dye kit.¬† There was no salvaging the blonde.¬† I decided to cover it up with a dramatic red.¬† I’ve gone red before and I really like it.¬† I did it myself (after a glass of wine!) for under $10 and in under 30 minutes.¬† Yay for DIY.¬†20180309_104808.jpg

I think it looks better, but¬†more importantly;¬†it makes me feel better.¬† I’ve got my confidence back.¬†¬†620c3b22ab2fa50849727b03eeaaf53a92cae398ea83e789e09258055d7d02a6

I think it’ll be a¬†long¬†time before I dye it again.¬† I’ll be doing lots of deep conditioning to rehab the damage from so much processing. *sigh* lesson learned, ya’ll.

Meanwhile, on the keto-front, I am doing really well.  I stopped tracking my food and macros a few weeks ago.  I felt like I had the hang of it, plus, tracking everything you eat is really annoying!  I step on the scale to check in every few days and so far I have maintained my fighting weight.

I feel really good mentally.¬† I am sleeping better than ever and I still feel calm and focused 95% of the time.¬† My only concern continues to be the dreaded “keto breath”.¬† My husband said it’s gotten a lot better but I talk to so many people at work and I don’t want to have bad breath!¬† I am currently experimenting with chlorophyll.¬† It works amazing well to eliminate bad breath and even body odor.¬† Plus there are plenty of health amazing benefits¬†to using it.¬† I’m definitely going to give it a shot and get feedback from my long suffering husband and report back! ūüėČ

Cheesecake Plus Positive Thinking

I love, love listening to podcasts.¬† I do so many menial chores around the house every day that are made so much more¬†enriching¬†with a good podcast.¬† When I vaccuum, I put on my hot pink beats and totally zone out.¬† One of my favorites is Dave Asprey’s bulletproof podcast.¬† The guy is a mad genius.¬† I love it.¬† One thing he really emphasizes on the show, and it’s 100% backed by research findings, is the sheer power of positive thinking.

I thought about that today as I had to go in to work with hair that still makes me sad ūüė¶¬† The ladies I saw at the¬†second¬†salon were able to help, but still…my hair is canary YELLOW.¬† It’s not cute.¬† I tried lots of tricks at home to tone it down.¬† De nada.¬† I even slept with my hair soaked in coconut oil and cocoa powder.¬† All it did was make my hair crunchy.¬† I washed it out and voila!¬† Bright yellow.

I pulled it back and decided that I was just going to have to rock it with confidence.¬† There was nothing to be done and I’m not about to call out of work on account of embarrassing hair.

So I did, and I survived.¬† I decided I’m just going to scrap the whole thing and dye my hair an auburn color to cover up this horrific misdeed.¬† Especially after being told, multiple times, that it didn’t look¬†that¬†bad.¬† Not exactly a look I want!

I did comfort myself with a¬†delicious¬†piece of keto cheesecake for breakfast and that made it all ok for about five minutes! This was so good, guys.¬† This cheesecake, in itself, is worth converting to keto…if you haven’t already! ūüėȬ†20180307_081333.jpg

I found the original recipe at¬†fat for weight loss.¬† Not only was it delicious, but a small (ok, generous, I had another “sliver” after this piece!) kept me full for hours.

The only things I changed was the crust and the cook time.¬† I don’t have shredded coconut so I added much more almond flour.¬† Like 1 1/2 cups.¬† He recommended a cook time of 45 minutes but at that point it was more hot, oozing custard than cake.¬† It needed another 15 minutes at a higher temp. of 345 degrees F.

I’ve never made cheesecake before and I had the impression that it would be hard, but this was really pretty simple.¬† The hardest part is waiting for it to cool before digging in!


A Very Bad Hair Day

Sorry guys, this post is going to be incredibly self-indulgent and possibly even whiney….

Let me set it up for you: I haven’t been to a hair salon in an entire year.¬† Partly because it’s been a tough year for us, with my 9 year old and his extended illness.¬† The other part being that I am a terrible control freak and sitting in the chair of a stranger and putting my hair into their hands gives me more than a little anxiety.

My hair had been growing out and taking on it’s usual “bronde” color. It was looking pretty healthy but really needed a trim.¬† A comment from a loved one about me looking better as a blonde tipped me over into deciding I was going to go blonde again, along with cutting off a couple inches.

My Natural “Bronde”

Problem is, I don’t know where to go, because I never go!¬† So I looked at some reviews online and made an appt. to get in to a local salon that had good reviews.

What followed was a complete disaster.¬† The lady was obviously used to doing foils, not all over color like I wanted.¬† She did a horrendous job and after washing out the color…the “reveal” was¬†bright¬†orangish-yellow hair.¬† It was truly horrifyingly hideous.¬† Like the worst dye job you can imagine.¬† Like I could have done better with a $4 box kit in my bathroom,¬†in the dark.¬†20180305_143252-1.jpg

I’m not a drama queen (ok, I usually keep it in check) but my eyes welled up with tears.¬† I was¬†devastated.¬†¬†I walked over to the front desk with still almost sopping wet (bright orange!) hair.¬† She looked apologetic but took no responsibility, just offered to blow dry it (like that would help!)¬† As I was loudly proclaiming that it looked terrible and on the verge of an emotional breakdown she told me she wouldn’t charge me as patrons nervously looked on.¬† I grabbed my stuff and ran out, sobbing.

I booked it over to another salon (through a blizzard, at that) with a hat on and eyes puffy from crying.

The new salon ladies (yep, they all pretty much converged to try to fix the disaster) ran copious amounts of two different toners through my hair to tone down the hideous orange.¬† It wasn’t just that.¬† The original stylist had put way more dye on my roots so that they were a day-glow yellow and my ends were¬†much¬†darker.¬† Like a reverse ombre from hell.¬†¬†The end result was still no where near what I wanted but a million times better.¬† I also ordered a blue mask to get it back to an even more natural color and blue shampoo and conditioner.

End result, still a bit orangish but much better thankfully!

Moral of the story…don’t dye or do anything drastic on an impulse.¬† At the end of the day, it’s just hair, but still….¬† Do your research and if you find a good stylist, make her your best friend!¬† And God bless all you good hair colorists and stylists; like the ladies who worked hard to salvage my hair, you are worth your weight in gold!

Sometimes life hands us the proverbial lemons (or sickly-lemon colored hair!).  Go ahead and cry and throw a pity party.  But then pick yourself up, wipe away the tears, and get on to fixing it!