Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I never thought I'd..

Erica Jacquline

  • Feel comfortable with my height. Being 6'0"-6'1" can be rough for a chick at times.
  • Still live in Pensacola, FL.. two years after getting engaged and agreeing to move to Anchorage, AK where Rob is from. 
  • Have 15 tattoos and still want more.  Especially a half sleeve.
  • Lose over 230lbs and still want to lose more.. COME ON LAST 45!
  • Find a job in the same Profession that I grew up around and never wanted to be involved in and then grow to adore it and absolutely LOVE where I am at.
  • Consider people that I've met through blogging some of my true friends and welcome them into my life and my home.
  • Would have lost some of my short term memory "skills".
  • Suffer from PTSD.
  • Be a nonsmoker.. for 10 months now and counting.
  • Love a dog so much that he's like a human to me.. one that I can't live without.

  • Be a bereaved parent.
  • Like brussels sprouts.
  • Cook food/meals that people actually enjoy and want to eat on numerous occasions.
  • I would be 33. I don't feel this old.. hell, I still feel like a teenager sometimes. I'm goofy and silly, spontaneous and loud.  In fact, Rob will ask me how old I think I am because I'm acting crazy or something. It's all in our heads right?

What are some things that you never thought you'd do? You can catch my gal pal Pinky's list, where I got the idea for this list, here.

Have a great day, y'all!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekend Shenanigans


Even though my birthday was on the 17th, my good friends invited me out on their boat to celebrate. I absolutely love boating on the River! The people are awesome, it's beautiful, and it's acceptable to act crazy and start drinking at 10am. 
 So we woke up early Saturday morning, packed up the cooler with yummy sandwiches, chips, and beer.. grabbed our favorite koozies and headed out to Blackwater.

At first, there was a thick fog and it was overcast but as soon as we got everything on the boat and took off, there was barely a cloud in the sky and the fog had lifted. Woo-Hoo!
Usually we would stop at a certain spot but the tide was so high that the "islands or beaches" were totally covered in water, but we found one or two.   

The first place we stopped, there was some awesome driftwood that I wish we could have taken home. It was so smooth and had such a unique shape. Also, there was a headstone that I had seen before but never took too much time to look at. Apparently someone must have buried their pet.. which is very odd to me seeing how the tide rises but it was very cool to look at. 

Rob also let me take pictures without putting up too much of a fight!


At one point, we noticed some odd clouds. Come to find out, there had been a fire and the clouds that we were seeing were from that fire.  I had never seen anything like that before so that was interesting.  We also passed by a HUGE, old bridge that was actually open.  Apparently, it doesn't get opened much and we just happened to catch it on a good day. This bridge is in the Downtown Milton, FL area by River Walk.


After noticing that we were pretty burnt, our River hosts met up with their neighbors who graciously invited us back to their beautiful home for dinner and drinks. Word got out that I'm a pretty good cook so she asked if I had any stuffed shrimp recipes. I ended up throwing together some real crab meat stuffed shrimp that were delicious and we whipped up a few other yummy goodies and picked at them along with some tasty drinks. I had my first White Russian in years-- yummy! It was such a fun day but I got way too much sun, even with SPF!

Sunday was totally a FUNDAY.. and very relaxing!
My coworker and her family came over for some swimming and grub. Andrea has three gorgeous daughters, Kayla-7, Ciara-5, and Hailey-2 and a stepson David that is 18. The girls were so cute playing in the pool and there were some crazy splashes and waves with David and his father tried to see who could make the biggest cannonball. 
We cooked some yummy ribs, chicken wings, and a TON of hotdogs! 


Poor Hailey was POOPED!!


I hope that your weekend was just as awesome as mine was! 
We did learn one very important lessed-- Never put alcohol & vinegar (homemade swimmer's ear) in your ears if you have tubes.. it hurts bad.
Have a great week!









Thursday, April 24, 2014

Keeping your legs together isn't really THAT hard!


So the title of this Blog post more than likely got your attention.. Let me explain.
As you know, this past Sunday was Easter-- I hope that you enjoyed the Holiday!

We really haven't been doing anything for Easter for years.  Now that my Grandmother has passed away, there's really no traditions left to be had or enjoy. My coworker Andrea invited me to join her and the family at church for breakfast, Sunday School, and Church Service. I think it was the kids she aimed to sucker me in with.. 
I was excited but I didn't have anything to wear.. I just simply don't own dresses and I had not worn a dress since Jan 2005 (at Miller's Funeral). Being that it was my Birthday, Andrea said she wanted to buy me a dress and she would take care of everything.
I wasn't quite sure that I wanted to let someone blindly buy me a dress-- it seemed ludicrous. But what's absolutely crazy is that she picked out a cute little ensemble that I actually loved and was happy to wear.

Drum roll please....
The photo is edited because their was a FLOCK of old ladies behind me.. but onto more of my little story or shenanigans!!

I have a point here!
For years, I've gotten away with not having to wear a dress or a skirt-- it's really amazing and I don't know how I've been able to manage it.  I guess I can mainly thank the jobs I've had because they didn't require anything too fancy, thank goodness. But all this time, I've coined a phrase when telling people why I don't wear dresses and usually it gets a laugh.  Well I think it's funny..
"I don't wear dresses because I can't keep my legs together."

So.. I'll have you know that I managed to keep my legs together throughout Church and even wore the dress the entire day. We ended up going over to my Sister's house for dinner and hanging out with the family-- it wasn't as hard as I thought Folks!
Lesson learned!



Life As Always

Friday, April 18, 2014

Birthday Week Five



Most people wouldn't want their "Birthday Week" to be over, but I'm glad to say farewell.
I'm not upset that I'm older, that I didn't go out bar hopping.. get smashed and wake up with a hangover to remember for years to come, or get showered with gifts-- 
I've come to realize or learn that birthdays are about hearing from people that mean something to you or spending time with those that make your heart smile. 
This week has been hard actually.  I've struggled emotionally.. but with those struggles I've also been able to remind myself how strong I actually can be and what a lighthearted, easy going, devoted, and dutiful person I truly am!

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

So I present to you, my Friday Five...
  1. My Office Manager/Partner in Crime loves me! She totally surprised me with purple flowers (my favorite color), an awesome Tervis Sippy Cup, and cute card.  But that's not even the half of it!!!  She invited me to go to Easter Sunday Church with her and I didn't have anything to wear... so she blindly went out and got me a dress. This is pretty crazy since I NEVER wear dresses and can't really tell you the last time I wore one other than playing around in an Old Navy dressing room.  This chick-- she found one that actually looks good on me and that I will wear (pics to come). 
  2. My business cards are ready! Not only do I have the opportunity to hand them out at many occasions but I send out hand written thank you cards to our clients post event- when was the last time you got something like that from a company that you just spend $400-$1000 with? Can't remember, huh?  Yeah, well I take the time to do that. Anyway, I'm stoked that my card is done. It's actually double sided-- one side has our DJ info and the other has the Photo Booth info.  I'm only showing the DJ info because, well.. I'm lazy. But it's exciting to me! (yes I'm aware there is a white area)
  3. Last night we rented two movies.. Homefront and Gravity. Homefront is about a former DEA agent moves his family to a quiet town, where he soon tangles with a local meth druglord. It has Jason StathamJames Franco, and Winona Ryder in it.  I liked it for an action thriller. I'm really looking forward to Gravity! Everyone has been saying what a good movie it is so I don't mind that I'll be paying Redbox for a second day, lol! 
  4. If you've been here before then chances are you know that I'm not really into sweets, that's Rob's department.. but occasionally I will partake in something yummy. So what's better than warm, homemade chocolate chip cookies with purple icing? Not much.. except not having to make them yourself and clean up the mess! My Boss gave me some birthday cookies that were out of this world yesterday. I had two of them and gave up the rest to Rob and my Mom.. I think they could have both eaten a dozen each but they were just so delicious and rich. Hashtag OMGcookies!
  5. Most people wouldn't list death on their Five for Friday list but I'm going to mention it.. because death can remind us that our time isn't promised to us. That we need to value the time that we have here on Earth and with those that we love. This week we lost a dear family friend at the young age of 29. Only married for a year, she died of a rare cervical cancer after chemo failed her. And yesterday I lost a young friend due to a seizure while he was driving. Today, my Aunt is having part of a lung removed due to lung cancer.. whether I can prepare to lose someone or someone slips away unexpectedly-- I want to know that I treasured them. This week I have thought a lot about the people that I care about, who is important to me, and who I am important to. So Live Strong and Love Stronger ;)




Thursday, April 17, 2014

33 years..


So today is my 33rd birthday and I didn't wake up feeling any older.. hell, most of the time I still think I'm "free, white, and 21" as my Mother always says. Where did the time slip away to? The time when I couldn't wait to turn 16 so that I could drive and then 18 so that I could legally go to clubs, and 21.. long are the days that I count down to birthdays or really any events at all. With that being said, there are quite a few lessons.. many of them hard ones, that I've learned in my 33 years and I'd love to share just a few with you today!



My Father is always right! He pretty much knows everything (and everyone).

Life without a dog isn't much fun and puppy breath is the best!

Happiness doesn't come with a price tag.

Online dating isn't for everyone.

Be grateful even for the simplest of things.

Being open minded will take you further in life than being close minded!

It's okay to cry and be open about the way you feel.  If it scares other people or turns them off, that's okay too. Be proud of who you are and own your true self.

Every failure in life comes with a lesson to be learned. Give yourself grace, learn from your failure and move forward.

People never grow out of being mean, you just have to learn to deal with it.

It's okay to be weird or loud.. there are others out there just like you.

Never take a single moment for granted.  You never know when it will be your last.

Don't pluck your nose hairs (Thanks Mom-- and no, I haven't done this).

Friendships can be seasonal.. if you let them. Pick and choose who you let in your life wisely.


My hope for my 33rd year is that I can be happy and healthy!  More time with family, making memories that last many more years. And that all the lessons I happen to learn from here on out be good & positive ones!


Life As Always

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One whole year! And other confessions..


What are we celebrating? Well.. a handful of things actually!
Number one, my Birthday is tomorrow- April 17th. Yes, I accept gifts btw! 
Secondly, It's Hump Day and we can confess anything and everything our little hearts desire, thanks to Kathy and her awesome weekly link up.
And, you'll have to read on as I will make a confession and mention my third and final reason to celebrate. 

Now onto my Confessions..
Latch by Disclosure on Grooveshark
but first, a song to listen to while you read.. one of my new faves!

I confess that I may brag about how wonderful my roasted white sweet potatoes with onions and summer squash are, only to ruin them by using way too much Olive Oil and starting World War who-only-knows-what-number in our house which totally wasn't my fault because Rob was obviously on his period. As much as I wanted to think they were able to be saved.. I tried them the next day and they were saturated.

I confess that most of the time, I still see myself as that person that weighed over 430lbs and I can't believe that it's been 12 years this month that I started my weight loss journey. Who would have thought that I would still have image issues and still be having weight loss struggles? Sometimes I wish that I could just be the person that I have always imagined that I would be and then I have to tell myself that person is just an image of what others have put in my head.. magazines, skinny friends, etc-- people that probably** aren't healthy and possibly not happy!  I want to be healthy and happy. I want it all man, lol!


I confess that I'm obsessed with candles.  I went over to my friend Mikey's house the other day and as I was in the bathroom, I saw that he had a very particular candle sitting in his window. I had a fit to have it but he wouldn't let me.  He said he would make one for me but I know that I would never be able to have it in my home. So, I'm really thinking of starting a side business but I know nothing about business and all the time and energy it would take.  Having a one track mind is crazy.. especially when an idea is created all because you just want a damned candle!

I confess that I started my blog exactly a year ago this month! Yup, sure did! And with that being said, I didn't do anything special.. no photo shoot holding a cupcake, no special giveaway, no post dedicated to how much I've grown with my writing (I have a little because every post isn't a link up!). All I will really say is that I have made some really awesome friends-- and YES, I will say true friends.  Some of the connections are lifelong friendships that are so important to me. Even though I may have a week or two when there may be a handful of drafts just sitting around and I can't wrap my head around any real thoughts that make sense, blogging is very important to me and it always will be.

So happy birthday to me and to my blog!
Thank you for following or stopping by-- I appreciate each and every one of you!
XOXO


The Hump Day Blog Hop

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Honking your horn can be illegal!



First, let me say.. I do not have road rage! I've never wanted to harm anyone by driving them off the road, confronting them for doing something UTTERLY stupid, or "pull them over for a Citizen's Arrest" for endangering the life of someone in their car-- ESPECIALLY a child (most of you know I'm a hardcore child advocate here.. although I will call the Cops on someone if they don't have their YOUNG child in a carseat while driving #sorrynotsorry). I've grown up with Parents who have always told me, "One of these days you are going to piss off the wrong person while driving and they are going to pull a gun on you".. etc.  Well-- pull a gun on me and you had better shoot to kill MOFO!  

Anyway.. for those of you who are strangers around here, I live Downtown. There are uber lights and ridiculous cross roads. Yesterday, as I was making my way from my Condo Complex, I got stopped at a red light. Once my light turned green, I waited for a few seconds and as always, I didn't just put the metal to the pedal and speed away onward to my destination-- I sat there, in no hurry, as did the car next to me. That's when FOUR.. YES F-O-U-R cars on the opposite side of the road RAN THEIR RED LIGHT. 

I won't lie.. I like to honk my horn. I'm no stranger to giving a little "toot toot" but if you pull out in front of me, run a red light (when your dumb ass knows you shouldn't have and could endanger the life of someone), or just blatantly do something stupid.. I will lay on the horn like I'm auditioning for the lead in a band. SO I DID JUST THAT! As all FOUR cars ran that red light, I held my hand to the horn. The last car that passed decided that she was going to flip me off.. oh dear-- Sweetie Pie, you are running a red light and you have time to flip someone off? Well I second that.  I flipped her back off as well.  Flipping the bird is really nothing special to me.. Whoop-d-do! 

So after all four asshats did their illegal turning and I was able to drive forward through my "had-been-green-light".. what do I see?  Flashing blue lights!  Yup!  I was being pulled over! Seriously? Great!  So I had to quickly hide all the drugs-- I kid, I kid.  Honestly, I can't tell you the last time that I was pulled over.. in fact, it's been soon enough but long enough that I've been waiting until a certain date this year without a ticket so that my insurance goes down.  I don't speed anymore.  I don't break laws. I drive a damned Dodge Caravan Sport with an "In Loving Memory" sticker of an Infant on it-- seriously!!!!



I pull over to the safest spot, two blocks up (we are on the main road downtown), and the older Officer hops out and as he's approaching my door he asks me why I think he's pulled me over.  Normally, there's a couple different levels with/of me-- Super sweet, Sweet and funny, and Dick/Asshole/You're wasting my time Peasant. I resisted the urge to be a punk and when he asked his question I didn't answer back, "to ruin my day". I told him that I had no idea. Basically, the Cop told me that it's illegal to honk your horn longer than (this sounds silly but I want to get my point across) a "beep beep". SAY WHHHHAAAT???
What I did could be considered Road Rage-- and then flipping someone off was just totally unneccassary. I remained cool and told the Cop, "Sir, I hate to act like a preschooler but the person in the car did it first."  He stated he must not have seen it but he was behind me the whole time and beeping my horn for that long was unwarranted.  I told him that the cars blatantly ran the light and I was practicing "free speech".  HAHAHAHA yeah!

Basically-- people aren't allowed to honk their horn for more than a "beep beep" because it's Road Rage or some crap and you can get a ticket.  Also, you/we/me should be scared of the person you are honking at-- they could be carrying a gun and you never know when they are having a bad day and you could trigger them. 

So I was let go with a warning.. AND had I been given a ticket, I WOULD have won in court and it would have been thrown out because the ticket was/is/would have been absurd.  I honestly can't believe that I got pulled over for something like this.  AND, not to mention that I was FULLY aware that there was an SUV Cop behind me.. if I thought that I was going to get pulled over for something stupid like this, I wouldn't have bothered and wasted this Cop's time.. I would have much rather him spent those couple minutes solving REAL CRIME.. ya know, like the crime where a friend of mine was murdered and it's still unsolved, people have gone missing, etc etc ETC. 

Next time you honk your horn-- think about it. It may just be in Florida that the Cops are bored but it may also be in your local town too!?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PTSD, Opinions, & My thoughts..



We have all heard of the term "PTSD".. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur after you have gone through an extreme emotional trauma. A lot of times, this is commonly known as a disorder that occurs after men and women come back from war, right? Not so much! For me, I was diagnosed after the birth and death of my son. Days after his funeral, I sobbed nonstop, my body shook uncontrollably, and things began to spiral out of control to say the least so I was admitted back to the hospital and that's when the diagnosis came. Even heavily medicated, the PTSD took over my entire being. Years later and numbers of therapists, it's still there but I've found ways to deal with it.. but it's a very touchy subject to me. 


It seems that "some people" tend to think that PTSD is just a phony diagnosis for those that either can't handle something because they aren't strong enough or for someone that is affected by an event because they care too deeply or have a big heart and aren't brave enough to deal with their emotions. These people are often those that think Doctors are only out to make money and just want to shove pills down people's throats so that they benefit.. that every single disease is just some fancy name for a cold or some other simple ailment.  Generally, these people are also the ones who have never suffered anything worse than stubbing their toe and probably never lost a loved one but are very, very quick to share their opinions on their useless knowledge. 

When listening to a radio show the other day, I overheard someone speaking about how PTSD is all in someone's head and how Doctors just fill people's brain with nonsense. I wanted to speak out and tell them that they should keep their opinion to themselves. Yes, some people are mentally equipped to handle bad situations than others but some just aren't structured that way. For instance, when I dreamed of being a Mother all my life and then held my cold, dead child in my arms.. seeing my life and his flash ever so quickly before my eyes while time stood silently still, my life changed forever and a part of me did too.  I was haunted by that. I had to undergo treatment such as EMDR to help me be able to speak about the first moments in the hospital when I was told that my child did not have a heartbeat, etc. "EMDR is a psychotherapy that emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology and alleviates the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. It's used for people who have experienced severe trauma that remains unresolved. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process these distressing memories, reducing their lingering effects and allowing clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms."





Along with EMDR, the first year I was on many medications. Once that first year was over, it wasn't that I was incredibly better, but I noticed that with all of the medications I was on, I wasn't able to grieve the way I needed to. Everyone is different. Like I said, things have gotten better but I will always be a victim to this-- not matter what anyone's beliefs are.  If someone can experience something horrific and process it mentally without suffering day in and day out, more power to them but I am just not made that way. Big heart, small heart, brave or not. 


I would really hope that before people get involved in serious conversations about things such a PTSD, they would consider the phrase "don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes".. whether those be the shoes of someone who has been on the front lines of battle, protecting our freedom, someone who has been a victim of assault, or someone who has suffered one of the worst losses someone can ever endure. There are a lot of touchy subjects out there-- lets think before we speak.. especially if we don't want to seem like callous, uneducated and heartless douchebags! 



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Brunch Ring ~ Monday Meals Mashup

source

If you have never tried a Crescent Breakfast Ring before.. Go out and get the stuff to make one now! Hell, they don't even have to be for breakfast-- these things are SO easy to make and so delish!! I first saw my friend post a photo of one she made on IG and knew I had to try it.  When I made my first, I didn't take any pictures because I wasn't sure how it would turn out and I was in a hurry.. hence the reason for my jacking Pillsbury's delicious looking photos here. But seriously, I will be sharing more photos and subsequent photos at a later date.  Please feel free to share some of your recipes if you have tried others!
And hook up with my girl Ashley on Mondays!


Life on the Parsons Farm



Ingredients

    • slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
    • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
    • eggs, slightly beaten
    • Salt and pepper, if desired
    • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
    • cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (4 oz)
    • Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired
    • cup Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa, if desired

Steps



  • 1Heat oven to 375°F. Line large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat about 4 minutes or until cooked but not crisp, turning once. (It will continue to cook in oven.) Set bacon aside; drain all except 2 teaspoons bacon drippings from skillet.
  • 2
  • In medium bowl, beat 1/3 cup of the milk, the eggs, salt and pepper with fork or whisk until well mixed. Stir in bell pepper. Pour egg mixture into skillet. As mixture heats, portions of eggs will begin to set. Gently push cooked portions with metal spatula to outside edge of skillet. Avoid stirring constantly. As more egg sets, push it to the edge and place it on top of the already set egg mixture. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist.
  • 3Unroll dough; separate into 8 triangles. On parchment-lined cookie sheet, arrange triangles with shortest sides toward center, overlapping in star shape and leaving 4-inch round circle open in center (see diagram). Crescent dough points may hang over edge of cookie sheet. Press overlapping dough to flatten.
  • 4Place bacon on each of the triangles. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cheese onto widest part of dough. Spoon eggs over cheese. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the cheese. Pull points of triangles over eggs and cheese, and tuck under dough to form ring (filling will be visible). Carefully brush dough with remaining 1 tablespoon milk; sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup cheese.
  • 5Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 2 minutes. With broad spatula, carefully loosen ring from cookie sheet; slide onto serving platter. Garnish with cilantro and salsa.

Sunday Funday: Fish Fry, Photo Booths, & Poker


Other than crap-for-weather, this past Sunday was pretty darn fun after having to threaten Rob for is life to get out of the bed! Andrea, my partner in crime at work, had just gotten back from a week long trip to Uchee Creek in Ft. Mitchell, AL and brought back a ton of fish she and her family had caught.. because I love fresh caught fish and I'm a pain in the ass, I begged her to invite us over for a fish fry and she graciously did just that.


On their trip, they had caught a ton of catfish, and I want to say Black Stripe.. but I'm not sure. We ended up having Catfish Filet and nuggets. Little did I know that Andrea's husband was going to make homemade hush puppies, french fries, and boil up some shrimp with potatoes and corn. It was a feast! 



Andrea had an Event the night before so because she still had a Photo Booth with her, she decided it would be fun to bring it in, set it up, and design a special graphic just for our little get together. I love a Photo Booth and could play in one for hours. I almost had to hold a gun to Rob's head in order to get him to have his picture taken. What is it with these men that are photogenic some days and others look like they are a deer in headlights that are about to be hit by a SECOND train?? 



Andrea has three precious little girls-- Hailey, Sierra, & Kayla (not pictured)


Me & Andrea

Originally, we had planned to go down to Blackwater River but the weather was horrible so instead, we decided to play some Texas Holdem. I hadn't played since about 2006 so I was a little rusty but once I warmed up, I kicked a little ass. It ended up with just being myself and Andrea's 18 year old stepson in the end-- I finally got bored (with a pile of chips) and handed my goodies off to Rob and let him finish the game off. 
I would love to have Sunday Fundays and look forward to pretty weather!!