The Truth About Marriage

My husband recently had the opportunity to sing on stage with Latin American heart throb Enrique Iglesias. If you know my husband, you know that this was a dream come true and nothing else will ever be as a great as that moment.  Yes, I have accepted that….

While on stage Josh not only got to sing in SPANISH with his favorite singer, but he also got to take shots of tequila and literally just hang out on stage. Enrique asked Josh where he was from and the typical “get to know you” questions. At one point he asked, “who are you here with?” Josh said he was with me and his brother. Enrique said “How long have you been married? How is it going?” to which my husband replied “It’s the best thing I have ever done. I love my wife!”

AWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!

Yep. That’s my husband. In front of a crowd of thousands of screaming women, and his man crush, he said the cutest thing in the whole wide world and all the girls around me cried. In that moment, I felt truly blessed. I honestly couldn’t be happier.

As cute as this was, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you the truth about marriage. The truth is happiness like this just doesn’t happen.  It is impossible to be completely and 100% happy and in love with your spouse all the time.

It takes WORK.

When Josh and I got married, I thought the wedding day euphoria would carry on through the rest of our marriage. Everyone told me that marriage would be work, but I thought ” yeah maybe for you but you don’t know me and Josh.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Marriage is not only work, but it’s hard work. I mean think about it.  Can you ace a paper that you don’t even write? Can you summit a mountain and enjoy a breathtaking view without the climb? I’m sure some of you smarty pants’ are thinking “yeah I can have someone do it for me.” but where is the satisfaction in that? And let me tell ya folks, you can’t have someone handle your marriage for you. Before my grandfather died, he gave me the best marriage advice I have ever had. He said “marriage is 100%/100% not 50/50. You both have to give it your all in order to be happy.” That being said, my grandparents were married for over 50 years, and when my grandfather died my grandmother wasn’t far behind.  Their love story is one I have always cherished, but it didn’t just happen. They worked hard. They compromised and they fought, but they loved hard.

Over the past 4 years, Josh and I have had some very challenging times. We have had times that have tested our patience and resilience. But we worked through them together.  I learned quickly that comparing your marriage to someone else’s is a recipe for disaster. It creates resentment. Focus on what’s good for the both of you.

A lot of people ask me how Josh and I can be so happy. I mean we married very young so many just assume that we live with regret every day of our lives. This is not true.  I never once have regretted my decision to marry Josh when I was 21. It is the best decision I have ever made.  My answer to the people that ask “How are you both so happy?” there is no answer. There are many things I could list that gives advice on what you can do to be happy in your marriage, but it’s different for everyone. What’s important is that you are your spouse’s best friend. That you forgive often, compromise, and love each other through the hard times. The truth about marriage is that there is no way to have a perfect marriage, but through the ups and the downs marriage is 100% worth the wild ride.

 

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Dover Favorites

I am so in love with my little New Hampshire town. When I think of New England, I think of Dover New Hampshire.  It’s on the seacoast but is also an hour drive from the White Mountains.  It’s literally the best of both worlds for Josh who loves the mountain, and me that is a mermaid at heart. We have loved every second of living here and plan on staying for a very long time.

Josh and I love exploring.  We spend so much time exploring other types of places and sometimes I think that we forget that we have amazing finds right in our backyard.  I have compiled a few of my personal favorites if you are ever on the seacoast of New Hampshire. Specifically Dover.

 

Coffee and Breakfast 

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Flight Coffee Company is a very recent find of ours.  We have been searching for a nice breakfast place and we finally found it a couple of weeks ago! Flight coffee roasts their own beans in house and brew their coffee to PERFECTION. Seriously. They also make their bagels in house. The ambiance is really cozy. They have tin on the ceiling and mismatched furniture giving it a hipster vibe. Don’t let that scare you though, people of all ages are packed in here on Saturday or Sunday mornings and it is well worth the wait. If you want something quick and easy, but also filling, I recommend the Rosemary and Sea Salt Bagel with a maple latte. Also, sit on the couch and pull out one of their donated games from the shelf. You’ll feel like a cast member on Friends.

Baked Goods….and more coffee….

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Harvey’s Bakery is one of those places that can easily be missed if you blink too fast.  Trust me when I say, IT IS SO WORTH THE VISIT! I can’t tell you how many times I have walked down town and passed this shop thinking ” Hmm I would like to try it.” I finally did and I LOVED it! They have been around for 84 years so you know it has to be good. Their baked goods are made in house which makes it feel like you are eating at grandma’s.  They also serve New England Coffee and if you truly know me…you know how happy that makes me.  Be prepared to wait if you go in the morning but believe me when I say it’s worth it.

Shopping

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Ok so one of my favorite things in the whole world is antique shopping. I’ve been doing it since I was in my mother’s womb. Honestly, it’s a sport to the women in my family and it’s sacred. I have had a hard time finding a really good antique shop in New Hampshire but then one day I happened upon this. I could only see what was in the window and I thought it was a cute hipster boutique. When I walked inside I saw two stories of antiques, home decor, and fun knick- knacks. It was a dream come true! If you are looking for an antique go here. If you’re looking for rustic but chic home decor, go here. If you’re looking for a unique gift, go here.  You will find whatever you need here! No wonder they call it “Just The Thing.”

Last But Not Least….Liquid Courage

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Do you prefer Wine or Beer? Or a little of both? Have no fear… you can choose between both! Garrison City Beer Works and Dover Wine Company are literally right across the street from each other.

Garrison City Beer Works is a hipster type place with different cable games and Nintendo to play. Their beer is also pretty damn good.

Dover Wine Company is another little place that could easily be missed. (Unless you’re me and see the word “wine.”) They have a wide variety of imported wines for a decent price. You’ll feel very fancy walking in and browsing though all the bottles. On Friday evenings and Saturday mornings…they have wine tastings!!! They also have a “Crystal Club.” If you sign up for it, you get random discounts and coupons. It’s pretty fantastic.

I could go on and on about our little town. It has captured our hearts and we never EVER want to leave. What are your local favorites?

5 Ways to Support Your Friend Struggling With Infertility 

One of the many hard things about struggling with infertility is feeling lonely. It’s already hard to deal with the fact that having a baby will be difficult or even impossible, but when you put loneliness on top of it all, it’s downright maddening.

It is not a surprise that those struggling with infertility also suffer from depression. How do you make someone understand just exactly what you are going through? You can’t. Not unless that someone has also experienced it.

I was asked “What can I do to help you feel supported during this time?” I teared up when my dear friend asked me this question. Honestly, just the act of asking meant the world to me. It made me feel validated and not alone. This had me thinking  long and hard about what I needed to feel supported during this trial. I asked some of my fellow “cysters” for their opinions as well and this is what we came up with.

 

  1. Don’t Give Advice  

We know you mean well. Really we do. We understand that you want to help because you feel helpless when a friend drops the infertility bomb on you. Don’t. Don’t try to help or give advice. We are given so much information and advice from our doctors and specialists on a regular basis. We are also given unwanted advice ALWAYS from family and friends. If you really really want to help, offer a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear. The thing we all hate hearing the most is

“It will happen” <— Or it won’t. You’re not a doctor or God.

“My friend did x and y happened. It will happen for you!” <– Seriously. No. NO.

” Maybe if you did this…this would happen.” <— Stop.

 

2. Ask How We Are Doing

We understand that you may feel awkward asking. We understand that you don’t know how to ask. Just ask. Some examples could be:

“How are you feeling today?”

“How are treatments going?”

“Is there anything I can do to make you feel supported?”

“Would you like to talk about how you’re feeling?”

These are perfect questions to ask your friend or family member without coming off as awkward or offensive. DON’T ask:

“Are you pregnant yet?”

” Do you think you’re not pregnant because…”

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. We are carrying so much burden on our shoulders, it hurts when we feel like we are carrying it alone. One of the best feelings in the world is when a friend asks “how are your treatments going?” Knowing that a friend or family member is concerned about the physical and mental pain you are going through is better than any gift. (other than the gift of pregnancy.)

 

3. Be Respectful of Our Grieving 

For those that are struggling with infertility, infant loss, miscarriage, etc…please understand that it is hard when someone announces a pregnancy. Please understand that it’s physically painful to go to a baby shower and pretend everything is ok. I know what you’re thinking “wow that sounds selfish.” Guess what? It’s not called being selfish, it’s called grief.  We are grieving the loss of what we had, don’t have, or will never have. I repeat It’s not selfish, it’s grief. Yes, there are those that take their grief and turn it into anger and let it effect their lives for the worst. But remember to be respectful.  Please don’t announce your pregnancy to us in a public place where we are put on the spot to look happy. Please don’t be offended if we opt out of the baby shower. It’s not you. It’s us and we don’t want to upset you with our sadness. We will most likely send you a gift in the mail or give you one in private.  And please..don’t take it personally. Again, it’s not you. 

4. Don’t Complain About Motherhood/Pregnancy to Us

I know that parenting is hard. Really I do. I’ve seen the struggle on my friend’s faces or the tiny taste of struggle I had working as a nanny. I get it. But also please understand that there are women out there that would give anything to be up all night with a screaming baby. As weird and sick as that sounds.  Know that someone would give anything to be in your place holding a crying baby in their arms.  They would give anything to stand in silence as their child throws a tantrum. Honestly, they would.  Some of us don’t know if we will ever have the opportunity to hear a child cry out to us in the middle of the night, or hate us for keeping them in line. Most of all, some of us don’t know if we will ever have the feeling of tiny arms wrapped around our necks, or hear the words ” I love you momma.” Some of us will never have the morning sickness or the feel the tiny kicks in our belly. Understand that most of us are sick from our fertility treatments that end in negative pregnancy tests. Understand that some of us give ourselves daily shots of hormones to make our bodies do something it should do on it’s on. Don’t complain to us about how hard it is or how much you hate it because some of us may never get the opportunity to experience it.

5. Remember We Are Still The Same

We are still the friend or family member you have always had, we have just had unfortunate circumstances.  We will still have good days. We will still be bubbly and fun and laugh. Please remember that the good days will be more often than the bad. But remember that we need you on the bad days too. Infertility has changed us, yes, but we are still the same person you came to know and love before infertility. Infertility does not define us. Please do not walk on eggshells around us or avoid us. Treat us normally. Continue to invite us to our regular activities. If we decline, it’s not you. It may be a treatment week and we may be too tired, sick, or sad. But keep asking, keep loving, and keep being there. Your support will mean the world to us.

 

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What The Hell is PCOS?!

Most of you are dying to know.  It’s not something that is talked about like it should be so I understand that a lot of people that I talk to about my infertility don’t know what PCOS stands for. “Kat, I don’t mean to sound ignorant but what is PCOS?” This question makes me smile honestly. I don’t think it’s ignorant at all to not know. I think it’s societies fault that woman have not been properly educated. I get it, infertility is scary. Terrifying. But it needs to be discussed so that women like me don’t feel alone. So what is pcos?

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It is a hormone disorder causing enlarged ovaries will small cysts on the edges. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that affects one in 10 women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance. PCOS is also a common and treatable cause of infertility. Painful right? RIGHT. So what are the symptoms of PCOS?

Symptoms of PCOS:

abnormal menstruation,
absence of menstruation
heavy menstruation
irregular menstruation
short and light menstruation or spotting
obesity
overweight or weight gain
acne or oily skin
infertility,
depression
inappropriate male features
loss of scalp hair, or unwanted hair
What Causes PCOS? 
Unfortunately, the exact cause of PCOS is not known but there are several factors that doctors feel contribute to PCOS in women.
High testosterone levels:  This is why it is common for women with PCOS to have “male-traits” like unwanted hair, hair loss, and acne.
High insulin levels: Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, especially those who are overweight or obese, have unhealthy eating habits, do not get enough physical activity, and have a family history of diabetes.
How is PCOS Treated? 

There is no cure for PCOS, but you can manage the symptoms. You and your doctor will work on a treatment plan based on your symptoms, your plans for children, and your risk for long-term health problems. Many women will need a combination of treatments, including:

  • Weightloss – diet and exercise
  • Birth Control
  • Fertility Treatments

How does PCOS Affect My Fertility?

PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in women. In fact, 1 in 10 women suffer from PCOS.  The hormone imbalance can cause a lack of ovulation which will keep the woman from being able to get pregnant. No egg no baby. It also means that the chance of miscarriage is higher in woman with this disease than it is for someone that is “normal.”

I could go into multiple posts on what PCOS is and how it’s different for everyone, but I think you would all get tired of reading. What’s important is that women become educated on not only this disease, but all of the issues that threaten a woman’s fertility. Yes, it’s scary and most people don’t want to talk about it, but your silence is doing more harm than good. Talk about it, and most importantly listen to your friends and family that want to talk. Be there for them.

Remember, if you are struggling with infertility, you are not broken. You are not worthless. You are a warrior.

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To learn more:
 https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/polycystic-ovary-syndrome

Summer Makeup Favorites

This Summer I made it my personal mission to try as many popular makeup products as possible. I spent hours watching YouTube tutorials and browsing through the aisles of Sephora and Ulta. My wallet may have taken a hit but I had so much fun, and I loved the rewards. *literally I have rewards for both stores now.* I put together a list of my all time favorite finds that I tried this Summer. Starting with skincare….

 

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Proactiv Plus: ULTA $110

Ok, so I know this is pricey BUT hear me out. One of the symptoms of PCOS is acne. I have had it since I was in high school and it hasn’t gone away in adult hood. I have tried everything under the sun. LITERALLY. EVERYTHING. I even took Acutane in college and it made me sooooo sick. This is the BEST product I have ever used on my face. I heard mixed reviews about the original formula, but the new formula isn’t so harsh on the skin and you can see a huge difference within a few days. Use this system twice a day for best results. Oh, and the Green Tea  Moisturizer sample they give you is THEBOMB.COM

MAKEUP

Ok so now on to the super fun part…

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Smashbox Photo Finish Primer and Primer Water: Ulta & Sephora

Photo Finish Primer: $36

Primer Water: $32

Any makeup junkie knows that priming your face is KEY when it comes to having a flawless look. What I loved so much about the Smashbox primer is that it goes on so easily and you don’t feel greasy once you’ve put it on. It’s also very lightweight. You can use them separately or together. I like to use the primer and then spritz a little primer water over it to set the face. Let it sit for about 2 minutes and then begin your makeup process.

 

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Copper Dreams Brush Set: Morphe  $39

When I started watching makeup tutorials, I noticed that all of the popular Youtubers were raving about Morphe brushes. I usually buy cheap drug store brand but for the sake of blogging I decided to try a “high end” brand of brushes. OH MY YES GO AND GET THEM! Morphe brushes are SO WORTH IT. They feel so amazing and make your makeup look flawless. I can’t wait for my next set.

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Tarte Shape Tape Concealer: Ulta $25

Dermablend Leg and Body Cover: Sephora and Ulta $31-37

Hoola Matte Bronzer: Sephora and Ulta $29

Ok so disclaimer…I use a lot of full coverage products on my face because pcos. My acne prone skin needs to be covered, especially during my monthly fertility treatments. Talk about break out central! The shape tape concealer is also full coverage which I haven’t found in a lot of concealers. It goes on effortlessly and has a wide applicator for maximum coverage. A little goes a long way with both the concealer and foundation! Use a beauty blender for the best results.

The Hoola Bronzer….wow…just WOW. It is hands down the best bronzer I have ever used and I will never go back. I am used to bronzers having several different shades so I was hesitant when I had two shades to pick from. Believe me when I say you will NOT regret getting this bronzer. It looks beautiful on every skin tone and gives you a “sun kissed” glow.

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette: Ulta and Sephora $42

I am IN LOVE with eye shadow palettes. For real, it’s a serious problem. I realized that I have too many eyeshadows…if that’s even a thing.  I’m a sucker for pinks and nudes. They go with everything and look soft and professional for my job, but also flirty and sassy for a date night. This particular palette is pigmented and goes on beautifully.  Pinterest has several makeup looks to try. I highly recommend this palette!

 

I had SO MUCH FUN this summer trying out makeup. I have many many more items that I could’ve reviewed but I would’ve had to write a novel. Seriously. If you want to save money on buying makeup, I recommend getting the rewards cards at Ulta or Sephora. Unlike a lot of rewards cards, they are NOT credit cards. The more points your rack up, the more free stuff you get. Talk to your nearest beauty maker and enjoy!

 

 

Balancing a Career and a Full Time Education

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A year ago, I never would have thought I would be starting grad school. I swore up and down that once I graduated with my undergrad, I was finished forever. However, life has a funny way of putting you back on the course you are destined for.

Completing my Bachelors Degree was….a journey. It took a long time for me to be successful at it. My first year of college didn’t really even count. I was your typical college freshman full of big dreams and skipping class. I was on academic probation for two semesters and I thrived off Taco Bell ordered with laundry quarters. Needless to say, I was having the time of my life. I made my best friends, that I still keep in contact with, and I met the love of my life.

Growing up I was taught the importance of hard work. As soon as I could, I started working a full time job.  Even through school my job was my top priority. I never let school get in the way of work, and attending a big university caused problems. I was expected to go to class all day every day and work when I could. That didn’t work for me. So how did I attend college, work full time, and be successful at it? I put together a few tips on how to be have a full time job, full time career, and be successful.

Try The “Non -Traditional” Route

One of the best things I could’ve done for myself was switch to a non-traditional institution. When Josh and I made the move to NH, I left my traditional University to attend an institution that was primarily online. I was able to complete almost my entire degree online. The few classes that I did take on campus were offered at night, once a week. This gave me the opportunity to live my life and weave school into my schedule. I used to tell people that my life didn’t revolve around school anymore, school was just a part of it.

Set Aside Homework Days

I have found that setting aside certain days to do school work cuts down anxiety and stress. One of the biggest mistakes I made my freshman year was putting off work until the last minute. Trust me, it would make your life a hell of a lot easier if you worked on school on certain days and played the rest of the week.  Also, pulling all nighters for that last minute project is never fun. NEVER FUN.

Read When You Can

Something I did, and currently do in grad school, is take my readings with me. I take my textbook, assigned articles, etc with me to work.  When I’m on lunch or taking a break I take some time to read my assignments. If it’s slow at work, I make a little time to read. This cuts down on the amount I’m reading at home, and gives me more time to work on assignments or papers.

Make Self-Care a Priority

THE BEST THING you can do for yourself while going to school and working is self-care. I promise you that if you forget to take care of yourself, you will not be able to balance such a busy lifestyle. Make time to go on a walk, take a bath, watch a movie. Yes, you do have time, and yes it’s worth it. I made it a weekly goal to take a bubble bath and watch netflix. Once a week, I looked forward to spending an hour watching my favorite show or reading my favorite book in the bath. Add some essential oils, light some candles, and you’re set.

Take Breaks When Needed

Not only should you remember to take breaks while studying, but remember that you can always take a break from school if needed. I learned that knowing when to “tap out” will take off the pressure of having to “finish now.” Take your time. Your education shouldn’t be a race. It took me 6 years to finish my Bachelors Degree but I did it. I did it on my terms, in my own way, and I loved every second of it.

 

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Finding Myself Through Yoga

The first time I stepped into a yoga studio was my freshman year of college. I went because I was on one of my weight loss kicks, and I was ready to kick fat in the ass.
Unfortunately, I HATED my first yoga experience.
My roommate took me to a class at Gold’s gym. I was already insecure about going. Would people notice how fat I was? Would people laugh at my lack of flexibility? These were the question that ran through my mind the entire class. The class was packed with cross-fitters, weightlifters, and one pregnant mom.  I felt like a red dot on a white canvas. I felt like everyone was looking at me. I left the class in tears and vowed to never go back.
Fast forward to 2014. I was on yet another weight loss kick. I had heard of hot yoga and thought I would give it a try. Maybe it would be better than my first experience.  A friend found a small studio in Auburn and dragged me to my first class. My first class was ok. It wasn’t life changing, but it made me want to come back. There was something about this class that was different. One, it was more private. Just me and my friend. The instructor actually took the time to help us with our form and make us feel comfortable. I kept going back for more.
A year later, I was so obsessed with yoga that I decided to become a yoga teacher.  I thought my training would be 8 months of fun.

I was so wrong.

Although those 8 months were so fun, and I’m still close to all the girls in my class, it was a life changing experience. I felt like I was finding yoga for the first time. I learned that it was a spiritual practice, not just a physical. My heart slowly started to open.  I was meeting myself for the first time.
With each breath connected with movement, I felt like my soul was finally connecting with my body. Halfway through my teacher training, I laid in my savasana silently sobbing. I realized that for the first time in my life…I loved myself.
It didn’t matter that I was the biggest girl in the room, that I was not a vegan, that I THRIVED on caffeine, or that I was a broken girl just looking to find friends and community. Yoga gave me the opportunity to find myself and meet her for the first time.  It was the most beautiful feeling in the world. My hope is that all of you will find yourself. Even if it’s not through yoga, find your passion and ride it. Meet yourself, you will love what you see. 🙂

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