Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Totally Honest Tueday #5: My Dairy Dilemma

 Today, I want to blog about something that has been a real problem for me lately...lactose. I realize this may be crossing over into tmi territory, but I'm seriously stuck and need some advice. So here it goes...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, last year I was diagnosed with a lactose intolerance.I was puzzled when the doctor told me this because I have consumed (devoured, enjoyed, LOVED) dairy products my whole life and never really had a problem with them.
 
*As a kid, I could NOT go to bed at night without a glass of milk. I was convinced I would have nightmares unless there was milk in my tummy. I have really strong memories of my mom and dad bringing me milk in bed. It's almost an emotional connection; like my comfort food. Me and milk, we're bffs.*

So the doctor explains to me there is apparently a difference between being lactose intolerant (like a lactose allergy) and having an intolerance for lactose. I don't break out in hives/a rash or get an upset stomach right away. It's more like a gradual ,downward spiral into gastrointestinal hell...I'll spare the details.

At this point, I assume most of you reading are like "Girl, just don't eat dairy. Problem solved. Idk why you are even writing this..."  but you see, I have a problem, an addiction if you will, and it's called milk/cheese/butter.

I've tried to stay away. Goodness knows for a couple of months, I hardly had a bit of dairy. I got lactose free milk (yuck), switched to margerine (double yuck) and even got tofu cream cheese (so beyond yuck, it's scary). I was not happy but I solidered on. But I soon realized, whenever I ate out, I lost a lot of control over how my food was made. Things would show up on my plate covered in cheese or butter or cream, even if it wasn't on the menu. That was aggrivating but I was determined to make it work.

BUT DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY THINGS HAVE DAIRY PRODUCTS IN THEM?

I'll tell you. A whole freaking lot. I would eat something, glance at the label when I was halfway done and then BAM!  the dreaded "this product contains milk"

I became hopeless and gave up.

So 5 months later, here I am. I have dairy on a daily basis, even though I somewhat try not to (as in I don't ask for cheese on my sandwich anymore). But I still have butter, cheese, and a glass of milk everyday. And my tummy is upset everyday. It's not fun, but I don't know what else to do. Milk makes my soul happy, even if the rest of me rebels.

Well, blog readers, this is where  I need advice. Is anyone else going through this? Have you found an easy(er) way to navigate all this lactose nonsense? Like I said, this may seem trivial, but I've got to figure something out. Due to all the tummy troubles, I seriously look pregnant and it's so not cute. Help...

Nicole

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Red Carpet round-up, Oscar style

I. LOVE. THE. OSCARS! I love the glamour of it all....the dresses, the show, the red carpet, the gold statue....o, it just makes me swoon. And, as a bonus, I also happen to really love movies. I remember as a kid watching the Oscars and only caring about the animation award, but now, I always try to see the nominated movies.

Let me say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, The Help was the absolute best movie I saw last year (but perhaps I am a bit biased). I laughed and cried all at the same time. Those women, black and white, good and bad, are characters that feel so close to my world. Even though I grew up in Mississippi 30 years apart from this story, it still felt so relatable and pertinent. Mississippi is still a work in progress. Even though this movie brings out an ugliness in my beloved home, it also celebrates the hearts of so many of its people. I really cannot say enough about this film.

So...you can guess I was pretty bummed out about how those last two awards turned out. As much as I love Meryl Streep (who won Best Actress), we all know Viola Davis was robbed. And though I didn't think The Help would win Best Picture, I held out a sliver of hope. Ah well...que sera, sera.

Now, lets begin with the dresses that I L.O.V.E.D!


Natalie Portman looked sophisticated  in red polka dots, something most people could not pull off. I quite like her serious bling-tastic necklace as well.


Guliana Ransic isn't even a movie star, but she stole the show in my opinion. It is so vintage and classic. Plus, she has been through a lot this year; I am glad she took this opportunity to shine!


Again, Emma Stone is so perfect. I have the hugest girl crush on her. She can do no wrong.


Penelope Cruz looks like a Spanish Grace Kelley. From the dress to her hair and jewelry...it just makes me happy.


Octavia Spencer looked super classy, as well. I really liked her hair, which was done by the hair stylist who worked on The Help with her!

One thing I also loved is that Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Concords is now an OSCAR WINNER! Those guys are hilarious. Seriously. Go watch this or this video, they will make your day!



Now for the ladies that kind of missed the mark a little...yikes...


Shailene Woodley....she is so young! Why would she wear such a matronly dress? I do not understand...it's not even a pretty matronly dress.


A lot of people really liked this...like it was JessicaChastain#bestdressed was trending on Twitter, but I have to disagree. It reminds me of a really expensive rug or a curtain.


As much as it pains me to do this, I feel I must. Viola Davis really missed the mark here with that color. It's just really, really, really green and it has a strange sheen to it that does not help that awful color. Kudos to her, though, for going au naturel in the hair department. I think that looks fierce.


I am glad Meryl Streep won an Oscar, because she came dressed as one.

So, anyone else have any favorite hits or misses??? Think I am totally wrong/right???

Nicole

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Last 13 Things link-up

Today I am linking up with Jenna over at The Life of the Wife for her "The Last 13 Things" link-up! I love doing things like this because it's a fun way of sharing bits about me with everyone and it helps all us blog girls connect! Join in, I promise it'll be fun!


The Last 13 Things


THE LAST THING I...

ATE:
A couple of these bad boys Caleb got me for Valentine's Day


BOUGHT:
 A whole bunch of groceries and gas at Kroger this afternoon

READ: 
The Great Gatsby after Sadie had her way with it. 

LAUGHED AT: 
I don't really remember...probably something Sadie did.

COOKED:
I want to think that I am an amazing cook, but this is what dinner looks like at my house most nights. 
 

BAKED:
HAHAHA...that's funny. I don't bake ever. I put some frozen biscuits in the oven the other day...does that count?

CRAFTED:
I don't really craft either, however, today I helped Caleb make a bulletin board for his classroom! 


DROOLED OVER: 
This little guy. I don't even know why I torture myself by looking at puppies. I really don't even want another puppy right now; I just want to snuggle him for a few hours and hand him back over to his owners. 

COVETED: 
A baby. I know that's a strange thing to covet, but I know quite a few handfuls of friends/acquaintances who have announced their pregnancies/had babies these past few weeks. I know I am not in the right place in my life for a baby right now, but somewhere deep deep inside me, I don't really care. I want one NOW.

WORE: 
No work today, so I got to wear a t-shit and jeans. YAY! 
 My Toms Caleb got me for my birthday!
And a t-shirt from my boss's bar

THOUGHT:
The last major thoughts I have had today were this morning during my American Lit midterm. As Olivia said, it was "beastly" lol

CRAVED:
MILK! OMG, we have been out of milk for a couple of days and when I got home from the store today, I seriously drank 2 big glasses of milk! (we buy whole milk, too, so I was full pretty much all day from that!) And btw, I was diagnosed with a lactose intolerance when I was 21, so drinking milk is pretty much begging for an unhappy tummy later. But you just can't undo 21 years of dairy goodness...yes, yes, I am a masochist.

WAS THANKFUL FOR:
My education. I was fortunate enough to go to one of the best public high schools in Mississippi, and I took all of those opportunities for granted. Seeing schools and students here in the Delta makes me so grateful for all of the things I was given.


Well, that's all for this link up!

Nicole

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Totally Honest Tuesday #4

To be totally honest...Caleb and I ate in the school cafeteria for the first time ever last night. We're both seniors.

TBTH...I am watching the Teen Mom 2 finale right now. It's so much drama and completely ridiculous, but it's cathartic. These girls though; someone needs to teach them how to make good choices.

TBTH...we took Sadie to the park this weekend and she found every.single.mudpuddle. in the entire park.

Before the mud:

TBTH...Sadie is my child. I love her more than I ever thought I could love. When she sleeps, I just stare at her and I am overwhelmed by how lucky I am to have her. She brings a special joy to my life that is irreplaceable. Like I said, she is my baby.

TBTH...I picked up The Great Gatsby (my favorite book EVER)last night on a whim. I have so much reading/studying to do for school, but I needed something comfortable and familiar to destress with. However, I haven't read the book in a couple of years. It is amazing how a couple of years of growing and maturing can make you read a book in a whole new way. I used to be Gatsby and now I'm Nick. 180 degree turn. It's a fun and neat experience.

TBTH...I haven't talked to my family in forever. I have been so busy and overwhelmed and they have been neglected. I really owe them an email because I do miss them.

TBTH...Saturday night and Sunday are the only quality time I get with my husband and I spend the week counting down the days/hours/minutes until I get off work Saturday and get him to myself for 24 hours.

Nicole

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Delta State Love

Let me begin with a some back story. During my senior year of high school, I looked seriously at going to 3 colleges. Ole Miss (where I ended up freshman year), University of Memphis and Delta State University. I toured all three and as I finished up senior year, Delta State was about the last place on Earth I imagined myself. Fast forward a year...I was starting my sophomore year and I was miserable at Ole Miss. Caleb and I decided we needed a change of scenery. After many late nights considering the future, we decided that since we both wanted to be teachers, Delta State was the logical choice. (For those of you not familiar with Mississippi, a degree in education from Delta State holds a LOT of weight.)

In the 2 years we have been at Delta State, I have fallen in love with a place that I initially hated. Delta State has provided me the college experience I wanted to have plus so much more. As the title of my blog hints to, Caleb and I love the Delta. This university, this town, this region...they have all stolen my heart. Home is now the Delta.

So here is a little love for the university I hold so dear. These are part a new ad campaign featuring real Delta State students and our infamous mascot, the Fighting Okra. They are so funny, cheeky and representative of this wonderful place in the middle of nowhere. Hope you get some laughs.






Nicole

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I made a button!

If you will take a look to your right, you will see a new edition here on my blog. I made a button! Yes, I MADE a button! I am so proud of myself right now. I used this super easy tutorial from The Paper Mama. I was seriously considering paying someone to make one for me, but this step by step process made it so easy!

Now I need some decent pictures (*cough* new camera *cough*)

So if any of you readers want to take my button, PLEASE do! And let me know about it so we can swap! 

Nicole

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Totally Honest Tuesday, Valentine's Day Edition

Today is Valentine's Day (for those of you who live under a rock) which means I checked out more cards, chocolate and balloons at work today to last me a LIFETIME! But in all seriousness, it was nice to see so many guys stepping up to show their wives/girlfriends/baby mammas how special they are. Girls love presents, no matter what shape or form. :)

Here's a few pictures from my Valentine's Day with some honesty mixed in.


 TBTH...my husband was going to make dinner for me but I totally took over decided to help him. He picked out this recipe because it's French and I am a huge francophile. It turned out very, very good.


This is the necklace I got our very first Valentine's Day together (the heart) and my Skoosh pearl necklace I got this year. 
TBTH....I really hate the heart pendant. I only wear it once or twice a year to make Caleb feel good. 

TBTH...I have really been eyeing a Skoosh necklace for some time without mentioning it to my husband. I think this just goes to show how well Caleb knows me. :) 


Caleb and his fifth graders made this for me today! How cute, right? 
 TBTH...Even though teaching takes up all his time, it makes me so happy to see Caleb doing something he loves and it wonderful at. Even though I have never seen him teach, I know he is amazing and all of his students are lucky to have him (and so am I).


TBTH...my husband looks like a crazy person. (he is not)
TBTH...I am trying really hard to talk him into a new camera so my pictures don't completely suck! 


After Caleb went to bed...
TBTH...I might have polished off one of these by myself. Hey....it's a holiday, right?

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Nicole

Monday, February 13, 2012

Life Update

This weekend was such a busy/fun blur. I got to go to Hattiesburg for a teaching conference and the Caleb met me down there for a fun-filled birthday weekend.

Here's my recap.


 Me being all official and grown up.


My outfit for Caleb's birthday celebration. I didn't get a picture of us together. Bad wife!

We went out to eat at The Keg and Barrel in Hattiesburg. They have a TON of beer...like a whole wall of taps. They also have some pretty tasty food. I got the "Hangover Cure #1" and it was fab. (I cannot speak to its hangover curing abilities, however.)


While in Hattiesburg, we went by Lowe's to find a shelf for the living room. Instead of buying a premade (and more expensive) shelf, Caleb decided he would just buy some material and make his own. I was quite skeptical at how it would turn out, but I'm pretty pleased. And it cost us 1/3 of the price. :)


And as much as I enjoyed my little vaca, I LOVE coming home to these little faces. They are my heart. 


Finally, when I got home from work today, I had this little happy waiting for me in my mail box. Have you heard about Birchbox? It's happiness in a box. Every month, they send you a pretty pink box with 5 custom picked beauty samples. So fun! I got 2 moisturizers, Viva La Juicy sample, some eyeliner and a chocolate bar. Can't wait to try it all out. :)

Nicole

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Our Love Story

Today I am linking up with Becky at From Mrs. to Mama to tell my love story. O love, doesn't it just make you smile?



1. How long have you and your significant other been together?
Caleb and I have been together for 3 years and 9 months...throughout our entire college experience. 
2. How did you meet? {What's your "love" story?}
O,  how we met. The real story is not safe to blog about...only a handful of people know this story (excluding my parents who may or may not be reading this), and it was not my finest hour...so I would like to keep the first bit a secret, k? After this initial...um.."incident", Caleb was supposed to take me to my senior prom because my boyfriend at the time wasn't allowed to go and we were friends who both needed dates. WELL. Long story short, Caleb DID NOT take me to my prom, a fact that I have not let him live down. And prom turned out to be one of the worst experiences of my life thus far. 
After prom, I broke up with my boyfriend. A few weeks went by  and my best friend had a party. Caleb and I had been casually texting, so I mentioned that I was alone and bored at the party. Caleb must have FLEW across town because before I knew it, he showed up (with a bottle of Jack Daniels in hand...super classy, right?). We hung out that night and decided to go on our first official and proper date the next day. We went to Outback Steakhouse and I had the worst salad of my life, but it didn't matter because I was kind of obsessed with the boy sitting across from me. 

Outback happened on a Sunday night. We went out Monday night, Tuesday for lunch, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday....you get where I am going. We became glued at the hip from that point forward. It just so happened that we had decided to go to the same college in the fall and by the time we made it there, I was in love and knew I was going to marry him.

3. If married, how long have you been married?
We have been married for almost 4 months. FYI, Being married isn't all that different from living together. I thought after we were married, something would be "different" but it's not....which isn't bad because our relationship was (is) rock solid.
4. If you are married, where did you get married at? Big or small wedding?  
 We got married on October 15 in Southaven, Mississippi (our home town) in the church I grew up in and that Caleb is now a part of. Our wedding was medium sized, I think. We had somewhere near 130 people attend.
5. Do you have any nick-names that you call one another? Do share!
Sorry to disappoint, but we call each other by name most of the time. Sometimes we will use "baby" or "love" (as in "Love, could you fold my clothes, please?") Caleb has somewhat recently started calling me Cole and I sorta really love it. 
6. Name 3 things you love most about your honey.
1. His beliefs/convictions/ideals. 
2. His personality/sense of humor
3. His kind heart 
 
7. Tell us how he proposed? 
I pressured Caleb to propose. I am a very controlling person. He proposed in our living room at 10 at night on a Wednesday. I think he was trying to catch me off guard and he totally did. I was wearing pjs, no makeup and my hair was a hot mess. But I wouldn't have it any other way. 
8. Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for v-day, or strawberries, champagne, and rose petals?
Um. Is "none of the above" an option? I am pretty sure I got a bear one year for Vday and I usually get flowers. But I wouldn't say Caleb is a "flowers and teddy bear" kind of guy. 
9. Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or pop a movie in and relax on the couch?
O, I am all about some dinner on the beach. But...most often, I turn into a movie on the couch type girl. 
10. Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your significant one day.  
My personal dream in life is to go to Paris for a summer. This has been my dream since I was 16 or so, long before I started dating Caleb. But, now that he is in my life, I could never go to Paris without him. I want him to share that dream with me because I don't want to accomplish my life's dream without him beside me. 
 
11. Tell us what you plan on doing on this Valentine's Day.
I wish we had plans, but it's a Tuesday night. We both have to work and go to school. Maybe we'll have some alone time that night??? (If I am lucky)
12. Are you asking for anything this Valentine's day?
No. I can't really ask for anything because Chirstmas, my birthday, Caleb's birthday and Valentine's day all occur within a month and a half of each other. By the time Valentine's Day roles around, I pretty much have everything I want. 
13. Give us one piece of advice of keeping a relationship strong and full of love.
My best advice is to always be able to speak what is on your mind and be able to listen to what your partner has to say. I am really proud of our communication skills. 
14.  Show us a picture of what love means to you.

 This was taken in July 2008, after we had been dating for 3 months. We were such babies, but I really realized how much I loved him on this vacation. 

Well, that's part of our love story. Maybe one day I will take the time to write it all out...but we're still so young and our love story is still happening. How about you? Do you have a romantic or real love story to share? 

Nicole

All professional photos were taken by Susan Prater at designs by prater 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Totally Honest Tuesday

It's that day of the week! Time to blow off some steam and let loose!

To be totally honest...my license is expired. Ooops...

TBTH...I bought Caleb a bathrobe for his birthday. He really seemed to like it. We are the youngest OLD MARRIED COUPLE ever.

TBTH...I am really getting excited over this blogging business. There are so many great bloggers out there..and now I am a part of this community.  :)

TBTH...I got all of the papers together last week that I need to legally change my name. But I didn't go do it...and I don't really want to. I think I will  be Nicole Calvert for a bit longer.

TBTH...the world feels a bit overwhelming right now.

TBTH...a particular co-worker of mine is testing my limits of patience and understanding. A girl can only take so much. I kind of have fantasies where I punch her or just completely go OFF on her. Not healthy, but if it gets me though the day...

TBTH...I am really hoping I can talk my husband into either a) a new camera b)an iphone or c)a new coach bag, none of which I actually NEED.

TBTH...I am slowly learning that I am not perfect and that's ok.

Nicole

Monday, February 6, 2012

Confessions of a former skinny girl

**DISCLAIMER: I know I am not "fat". I know millions of people seriously struggle with their weight, health, and well being. I am fortunate enough not to be in that situation. However, I believe that everyone, no matter what your size, can aspire to be in a healthier place.**

You may now continue to read.

My entire life, I was skinny. I never played sports and I never went on a diet. I was never particularly active or healthy, but I was blessed to be skinny.  In high school, I wore a size 2 (a little loosely, I might add) and my go to shirt size was XS. I flaunted my tiny waist in Victoria's Secret bathing suits. I wore tiny little shorts. Tight fitting tops were no problem. My senior prom dress is a size XXS.  I remember driving in a friends jeep and he told me that I was his skinniest friend. When I bought my wedding dress (in  mid-2010) it was a size two and way too big.  O, how life was good.

Exhibit A: My Junior Prom

Exhibit B: Freshman year of college

Now before you hate me and stop reading....let me tell you how things have changed.

After the hey-day of my skinniness, my junior year of college started. At that time, I began working full time, going to school full time, planning a wedding AND I turned 21.

Skinny Nicole GONE.

I ate when I could fit it in my busy schedule. And I ate what was handy. Chips, cookies, life saving caffinated soda....these became my go-to items. And since I was stressed (from my wedding, mostly), I only wanted to eat more comfort food.  AND I turned 21. Hello, beer, wine, and other empty liquid calories that make me so happy.

Like I said. Skinny Nicole went bye-bye. Remember my size two wedding dress...? Yea...it had to be let out TWICE!

So here I am. Two years from when I was my thinnest and now I am the heaviest I have ever been. And it doesn't feel good. I actually welcomed the first 10 pounds I gained. It made me finally feel like a woman, as opposed to a girl. But 10 turned to 15 and then 25 and then....you get where I am going.

All of that brings me to now. I weigh 30 more pounds than it says I do on my drivers license that I got when I turned 18. And I do not like it. I don't feel like myself. I don't feel  healthy. I don't feel good. (And I kind of look 3 months pregnant).

Therefore, I have decided enough is enough. I am going to start (slowly) changing my lifestyle. Beginning with getting active and working out! I just ordered this DVD because I heard great things from friends. I think I can handle making time for 30 minutes a day and I get to work out in my living room. I have high hopes for this plan.

I am also trying NOT to have my afterwork beer/class of wine, but this has been hard to give up. (I may or may not be drinking a Shock Top Raspberry right now). Baby steps, right?

 And finally, and probably most difficultly, I need to start watching what/how I eat. This is going to be the hardest part, I KNOW. I have always eaten what I want, when I want. BUT...my body can't handle McDonalds at midnight like it used to. Not looking forward to this AT ALL...I really like food. I really like junk food. Perhaps if I get to working out, I can still have my lovely fattening, sugary, fried goodness? Doubtful. But, this step will come later. When I am more prepared.

So this is the new journey I am on. I'll keep the world posted to my successes and inevitable failures.

Nicole

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Encouragement

I have not been feeling it this week. I just kind of felt a little down. School felt overwhelming. My house needed to be cleaned. Caleb was so busy. It's the first of the month at work (the most busy time for a pharmacy). It's just yucky.

However, today in my American Lit class, my professor asked me to read aloud a sentence in French, because I am totally SUPER awesome at French. (He didn't say that, but it's how it made me feel.) And then he gave me a compliment on a blurb I had written. It felt SO. FREAKING. GOOD!!!! I could have cried. (I still might...I'm an emotional person). I am not meaning to gloat or blow the tiny compliment out of proportion, but sometimes a little encouragement goes to my head a long way.

Nicole