Sunday, October 14, 2018

Let's Hear it for the Boy #DV2018

I've sat here for hours debating this post and all of the feelings it may hurt. However, it needs to be written by someone...So, here we go...

Violence is violence. Regardless of the perpetrator.  Every year I write about the emotional toll domestic violence takes on women and children.  This year, lets switch our focus.

In light of the #metoo movement, I have a few thoughts of my own.  Albeit, controversial thoughts, still my thoughts though. So, just get off of your political, ranting high horse for two seconds.

Women are beginning to bask in the glory of victimhood.  It's a sad time for us.  We want equality yet, play the weaker versions of ourselves and disregard the feelings of men in a less than ideal situation.  We are all people with real feelings and real pain. Everyone of us, men and women, should be treated as such.  Fuck #metoo !!  How about #ustoo?

While the rate of domestic violence is substantially lower for men, it still exists.  Why should it be in any way dismissed over numbers? 15% of men are abused by their significant others.  That's not any sort of a laughing matter. It's not a joke.  It's real life and real pain and should not be laughed away over gender.  These are just the numbers reported by men.  Fewer men report abuse because of embarrassment.  We make them feel weak and ashamed.  It needs to stop.  I have had 3 boys lives entrusted in me.  There is no way I will allow them to be victims of this #metoo culture.  They will know that they have a mother/step-mother that will be there and listen.  Women are not the only victims in this world.  Plenty of lies have turned our boys into victims.  Plenty of entitled women have turned our boys into victims.

Don't get me wrong,  if my boys commit a violent act,  I will be the first to ruin their lives.  However, no one will be able to take my boys lives and hurt them in anyway.   We need to start supporting our men and boys.  Let them know we have their backs.  Violence is a two way street against humanity.  Not something we should be divided on.  It's something we should look out for....for one another.  It's time to unite as humans and end this disgusting display of so called "humanity".  Fuck men's and women's rights!!

Start supporting HUMAN RIGHTS!

Domestic Violence is a human's rights issue and if you can't see that, YOU are the problem.

Say what you will about this post, but until you've witnessed what I have,  you don't get an opinion.  Remind me again, how many male shelters are there?  Where is their safe space? #StopTheViolence

Monday, January 9, 2017

Smells Like Hell

Some things never leave you when a life-changing event occurs. Psychologists say that the sense of smell and memory are intertwined.  Smelling certain odors can unlock memories long forgotten from past events in one's life. Remembering events can also bring back odors as a vivid reminder.

Six years ago today, a very tragic event occurred that rocked my family to its very core. Most of you know of it and many have read these blogs in the past.  The day my aunt and her boyfriend were murdered by her ex-husband. The day lives were changed forever for 3 different sets of families.

I can smell that day. I lived in a very old house that we were trying to rehabilitate. The air in the house on January 8, 2011, was crisp because it was winter and a snow/ice storm was set to move in, in a couple of days.  I fell asleep shivering under a pile of blankets after having a few laughs at some silly memes on Facebook. The next morning I heard my phone ringing very early. It was a Sunday. I wasn't getting up that early on a Sunday. I didn't look at the caller ID, I just silenced it. A minute later it was ringing again. It was 7:22 am Sunday, January 9, 2011. I was freezing. I didn't want to get up and have a phone conversation. This time I looked at the caller ID and I saw it was my mom. So, I begrudgingly answered. When I had woken up to answer, I breathed in the crisp cold air and smelled the permanent musty smell that an old house sometimes has. I hated that smell. Nothing but sobs and screaming on the other end. "He did it!  That SOB finally did it!! He killed her."

*phone drops
*life changes forever

I needed plane tickets. I needed to get out of Texas and home to Illinois. I needed coffee. I can still smell the burning of my espresso machine when I forgot it was on because I had gone into shock and started rocking in my little white rocking chair. I can smell the remnants of the fire I had burning the night before. The smells snapped me back to reality and I made frantic calls to get plane tickets home. I found myself in the shower later, sobbing. I'm not even sure how I got there. I can still smell the Garnier Shampoo. It was in a purple bottle. the soap was pouring over my face as the water pounded against my head, each drop of water helping me become more and more numb. The smell of the oil of Olay soap I had used to scrub my skin raw still lingers in my nostrils.

Those smells. I hate them. They bring back every little detail and every pang of anxiety. The worst of all of those smells came from the following day. There were people getting bumped off of the 5:50 am flight because of the previously mentioned storm that had made its way in that morning. They let me on because of my situation. A man on the flight didn't appreciate the fact that a woman and her two small children received two of his friend's seats. He was yelling that they should bump me because they were going on a business trip and I was going on vacation in his mind. During his tirade, a group of passengers that heard my story threatened to toss him off the plane themselves if he didn't sit down and shut up. They told him why I was able to get those seats. Warm tears streamed down my cold face as the argument between the other passengers broke out. It scared my oldest. He started crying and spilled orange juice all over my black Wool coat and cream and beige scarf. The smell wouldn't leave the whole day. I could smell it for the full 12 hours I was stuck on layovers and connecting flights. The smell still reminds me of that morning. When he spilled it, I just went into hysterical laughter, as if I was mad.

That's what my hell smells like.

Domestic violence was something that wasn't really spoken of much. Plenty of movies were made about it but still, people wouldn't speak of their secret hell. Her murder, her boyfriend's murder, her killer's suicide, all of that inspired the creation of  "My Pleasant Nightmare."  I want people to know. I want people to understand. I want people to not feel alone. Most importantly, I want to remind people to stop blaming the victim.

Why is it that we blame victims?  Why do we ask "why did they stay so long?" "Why didn't they leave?" Please, please, please stop asking those questions. Can we start asking "why did their abuser commit such a horrid crime against another human being?" "Why didn't the abuser seek help?"  "Why do they feel the need to control and cause pain?"

My Aunt left her abuser. It did take her a long time. It's tricky work to get away from a crazy person. It takes time and planning and courage. Staying and putting up with abuse, living it, breathing it, feeling the physical and mental pain takes strength. Stop demeaning the abused. They are brave. The real coward is the abuser. They are so scared of losing control over a "loved one" that they keep them around using fear tactics. The abused tend not to leave for so long because they know that the abuser may just be crazy enough to follow through on their threats. That was the case with my aunt. She left and he kept his promise to kill her and ended up taking more lives in the process, her boyfriend's and his own. Now there are 3 sets of parents with one less child, and there are 2 sets of children with no father and one set of children with no mother. There are brothers who lost a sister, sisters who lost a sister, brothers with no brother, and sisters with no brother.  Aunts and uncles who lost a niece and nephews, nieces and nephews with no aunt or uncle. Grandchildren who lost grandparents. Cousins missing a cousin. The trickle effect is life changing.  The man who did this to the three of them set events into motion that changed so many lives forever. The ramifications are endless.

However, this leaves the door open for Hope. It has helped bring awareness. It brings enlightenment to communities. The town I'm from now openly speaks of domestic violence. They do walks for awareness that end at our amphitheater where many brave people who survived domestic violence get a chance to share their stories and give hope to victims currently struggling with this life.  Her story gave hope. I repeat it so often because I have received messages from some that have told me they left their relationship and made lives for themselves after reading the things I've written. I don't care if it helps just one person each time. As long as someone can turn that chapter of their book into a happy ending and can start the next chapter with a new and hopeful beginning.

Monday, June 8, 2015

ItWorks Wrap Giveaway!!

Have you ever heard of It Works!?  I am going to assume you have if you have access to the internet or a television.  It's the newest hottest thing in weight loss.  I know, I know.  There are "new, hot weight loss products" coming out each week, so why try this one?
I've used these products on multiple occasions. I've used these products on multiple occasions. My most recent sponsor, Andrea  hooked me up with a wrap prior to my trip to watch history in the making at Church Hill Downs for the 2015 Kentucky Derby! (anyone catch that triple crown win this last week???  squeeeee)  She helped me wrap my way into the perfect dress!  That's right, I went from a size 6 to a size 4 within a weeks time! She is my new It Works! Distributor.

When I finally received my wrap from her, I ripped it open like a kid at Christmas!!  

I read all of the instructions and followed them exactly.  I did not want any tainted results!  

So, I chose the area I wanted to apply the wrap.  Washed and dried my skin and then

 I cut along the line.

Smelled it.  Okay, that wasn't part of the directions but I have a weird habit of smelling new things.

Removed the product

It looked different than I expected.

Unfolded it.
Okay, I wasn't smart enough to figure out how to unfold it immediately

I did figure it out though!!  haha

Then I smoothed out the applicator over the skin ensuring it had good skin was very cold on my bare belly.  haha

After it was in place, I read that I could either use plastic wrap, elastic bandages, or form fitting clothes.  
I was unprepared and had no plastic wrap, I also do not wear form fitting clothes.  (well I may start now)  So, I went with an ace bandage because I am a frequent injury specialist (that should totally be my job title).

The I set my timer for 45 minutes!!

The package said that it worked continually for 72 hours.  I really didn't think that it would.  I had doubts about this product.  I couldn't imagine it working so well.  It had a cool burning feel when I put it on though and I could feel it working while wearing it.  

The instructions also say to drink plenty of water.  They recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces.  So, if you are 130 lbs, you would drink 65 oz of water.  I would personally recommend drinking a little more than that if you can. 

So, back to the main question.
"Does this product tighten, tone and firm?"

I'm giving it a big thumbs up!!!  

I love my results and would like to try it again.  


Ready for my result pics?

I am very pleased!!  The package says that the results last as long as you eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.  It's been about a month and the new pants I purchased to fit over my smaller waste still seem to fit.  I even signed up as a loyal customer so that I always have wraps on hand!  (plus it's way cheaper than buying one at a time)

This company offers a wide variety of products.  I hope you will check them all out on Andrea's website.  Just click HERE to learn more or go shopping.  If you have any questions about the product you can contact Cori via her Facebook page Stay Home With Andrea.  She is wonderful to work with and ready to answer any questions you have.  Whether it be about the product OR even joining her team and selling the product (which offers great incentives and bonus programs)

You want one now, dontcha???  
Well, you're in luck!  Andrea and I have teamed up to give one lucky person a free wrap.  With bonus SAMPLES of other products!!

Fire up your metabolism with this naturally based, thermogenic weight loss formula! Powered by the antioxidant superfood acai berry and the metabolism-boosting properties of Capsimax® (red hot pepper blend), Ultimate ThermoFit helps to:
  • Thermogenic weight loss formula
  • Antioxidant benefits of acai berry
  • Promotes increased calorie burning
  • Helps boost metabolic rate
  • Reduces appetite
  • Provides energy

Have a sweet tooth? A carb craving? It's okay to indulge every once in a while when you have Advanced Formula Fat Fighter with Carb Inhibitors!
Simply take Fat Fighter up to an hour after eating, and it will absorb some of the fat and carbohydrates from your food so that your body doesn't. Powered by NeOpuntia™ (a naturally based ingredient made from the "prickly pear" cactus) and the It Works! proprietary blend, Advanced Formula Fat Fighter delivers dynamic, clinically tested results for both men and women.
  • Blocks some of the fat & carbs from meals
  • Helps balance healthy blood glucose level and reduce cravings
  • Designed to be taken up to an hour after meals
  • Cactus-based formula
  • Does not contain shellfish
Directions: Adults take 2 tablets during or up to 60 minutes after each large meal.

Greens on the Go (orange or berry)

Alkalize, energize, and detoxify wherever you go with Greens on the Go™. This convenient, single serving packet of Greens is now powered by an even better pH-balancing blend, supercharged with an acidity-fighting combination of magnesium and potassium for even more alkalizing properties. The addition of a cutting-edge probiotic helps you maintain that healthy balance by keeping your digestive system regular and toxins flowing out.
With multiple servings of fruits and vegetables and a blend of 38 herbs and nutrient-rich superfoods, Greens provides naturally occurring, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and enzymes to give your already well-balanced diet a nutritional boost.
Just mix, shake, and take your Greens on the Go!   
  • Detoxify, alkalize, and promote pH balance within the body
  • Acidity-fighting magnesium and potassium blend
  • Cutting-edge probiotic support for digestive health
  • 38 herbs and nutrient-rich superfoods
  • Multiple servings of fruits and vegetables in every packet
  • Free radical-fighting antioxidants
  • Tangy orange flavor

Made with natural ingredients

Please keep in mind, the last three things are samples only.  No full size.  The wrap is the big prize (and my favorite)

 All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!!

Terms and conditions apply.  See Rafflecopter terms and conditions section for details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 13, 2014

To Whom it May Concern:

My sweet Adeline.  This is dedicated to you...My fierce, strong-willed, beautiful, LARGER-THAN-LIFE, overly dramatic, adventurous, amusing, determined, yet oh so delicate Angel.  I hope you read this someday and understand the importance it has, not just to in your life, but in the lives of many other young girls like you.  You are deserving of the world placed in your hands on a silver platter......You and every other young lady.  You are important, you should be heard.  You have a say in your life.  You ARE NOT a possession.  You are loved.  You are wonderful, fantastically, amazingly, YOU!  Embrace it, my sweet girl.  Embrace every ounce of life you can take in.  Live it to the fullest, and without regret.  Live it on your terms. Love with no limits. Be you.  Be Love.  Be happy.  Just BE!    You will do great things.  There is no doubt in my mind.

To whom  it may concern:

You don't deserve what has happened to you.  That light you forgot to turn off was an accident.  The towels that weren't hung evenly on the rack can be fixed later.  The crumbs on the floor aren't going anywhere.  They can wait.  Being home 5 minutes later than usual from work happens.  You can't control that.  The wrinkled sheets that you left in the dryer when your baby started fussing, or the phone rang, can be ironed later.  Leaving to visit your parents before picking up the house is not a sin.  Heating up leftovers instead of making a 5-course meal, after working a 10 hour day, happens.  Initiating conversations with others, in hopes of making a new friend, is completely normal.  Accidentally hanging a gray t-shirt in with a white one is OKAY. You don't deserve what has happened to you.  Everyone makes mistakes.

Getting beat up over little mishaps is not okay!  You are a human being, you have feelings, emotions, your body understands pain, mentally and physically.  You should not be getting kicked around, slapped around, or belittled.  This is not okay.

 It is also not setting a good example for the future women of America.  Including my daughter.  My sweet  Adeline,  I don't believe that any other parents think it's okay that their sweet little girl is being hurt either.  Or do they even know?  How long have you been hiding the abuse, and explaining away the bruises, black eyes, cuts, scrapes, and fountain of tears?  How long have you been living in this situation and suffering in silence?  How many times has a weapon been pulled, a knife held to your throat, a gun held to your head? Can you even admit it to yourself?  This is a serious question.  Can you admit it?

To whom it may concern,

If you don't want to have sex, you don't have too.  Married or not.  Making you feel guilty over it, or claiming you must be cheating on them if you don't have sex with them right this very second is emotional blackmail.  They know you will give in to this blackmail just for the sake of peace in the home.  Sex for the sake of not being beaten, or to avoid emotional abuse is NOT love, it is a crime!  It is nothing less than rape.  Married or not.  Don't forget, you are a person, a human, deserving of the right to a choice.  You are not a possession.  Yes, you heard me right.

To whom it may concern,

I have lived this life.  I am here admitting it.  I  did get away.  I did not suffer the unbearable amount of violence that so many have before me and that so many continue to suffer through.  Mine started with a fractured arm.  He was a drunk.  I came home from work at 2 am from my job waiting tables at Buffalo Wild Wings.  He was drunk, grabbed my arm, and flung me across the room.  He asked me how many men hit on me that night while working the bar side of the restaurant.  When I told him to relax, no one was hitting on me, he went on to grab me by my throat, push me down the hall, bust the screen out of our 2nd story apt building, and try to push me through.  I was able to free myself, get to the ER, and have my arm looked at.  Their first question was "How did you hurt your arm?"  My answer is what sent my life into a downward spiral.  I lied.  I answered by saying "I fell down the stairs" From then on, it was excuse after excuse.  I was so scared, and embarrassed, to tell the truth, that when I was given a black eye (while holding my 2-year-old) and was knocked unconscious, people would ask what happened, and I would laugh and say "You'd be amazed at the strength of a 2-year-old's right hook"  Yes,  I blamed the black eye on my 2-year-old, and shoved it off as an accident during a rough housing episode.  I've been chased with knives and held down on the floor with a knee in the chest, and two hands around my neck while my 2-year-old son slept peacefully down the hall, never knowing that his mother was being strangled.  Guess what though?  I got brave.  I was bigger than him at the time.  I had put on a lot of weight because of the depression.  I felt I could take him.  I wiggled an arm free, and do you know what I did????   I fought back!!!  I punched him right in the face.  Blood spewed everywhere.  I took control.  I saved myself!  Guess what happened next though?  You're going to love this.  He called the cops on me.  ON ME!!!!  Reported that I was going crazy and beating him.  This is what an abuser does.  I don't have to tell you that though.  You too are living this life too.

To you, the person this concerns,

You can leave.  You can find a support system elsewhere if you don't have anyone to help you.  There are multiple shelters with safeguards in place.  Places like this fabulous organization called  They will help you locate a shelter with just a few clicks of your mouse.  They even have a "leave site button to provide a quick escape if your abuser walks in. It takes you to a weather website as soon as you click it and it's all free.  There are people who desperately want to help.  There are resources available.  YOU CAN DO THIS.

To whom it may concern,

Leaving is scary.  My Aunt left.  She got her divorce and thought she was going to move on and be happy, and she was until she took her last breath.  Her ex-husband stalked her, got into her house, and shot her in the back of the head with a sawed-off shotgun while she was asleep, peacefully, next to a new man.  One who loved her, and cared for her.  One that made her smile every day,  She knew she was going to die when she left.  She said it over and over.  She took every precaution, but it just wasn't enough.  She's gone.  She's left, 3 children.  Her ex killed the new man in her life as well, then the abuser turned the gun on himself.

This event tore us up.  This tragedy ripped our family to shreds.  The shine in the eyes of my family faded a little that day.  The happy go lucky days of family gatherings and laughter have lessened.  The laughter from the days before her passing is just an echo in my memories.  There isn't a day that any of us don't think about her.  These events stick with a family.  The pain fades but doesn't leave.  The happiness returns, but it's tarnished.   The only glimmering eyes I see, are those of my babies.  My youngest most innocent baby helps keep the light flickering.  The innocence in her heart helps make life simple again.  Sometimes life feels normal and unchanged.  I  have the innocents, the children,  my children, my cousin's children, all the children to thank for that.  The small pure souls of happy children bring my family back to life when they're around. Their unconditional love, their giggles, their smiles, their kind hearts.  They make things OKAY.  Even if it's just for a short time, it's better than no time.

To whom it may concern:
This was not meant to scare you away from leaving a bad situation.  This story, this very real story, was meant to prevent our future young ladies from getting into this kind of relationship.  The cycle needs to be broken, and it starts with us.  With moms raising good young men, and aware young women.

To whom it may concern,

I can't tell you what to do.  I can't tell you that you're stupid for staying. I get it.  I can tell you that there are far more survivors than deaths.  I can tell you that it's really hard to break free of a cycle that is ingrained in you.  I can tell you that I do understand, and I don't judge you.  I can tell you that you aren't stupid, but you should find help.  I can tell you that I don't want you to end up dead.  I can tell you that abusers do not change.  Don't believe them.  Their pleas for a second chance are nothing more than an emotional attack on your already fragile soul.  It's just more manipulation to keep you under their keep them in control.  I can tell you that they do mean business when it comes to NEEDING that control over you.  I can tell you that YOU, the person this concerns, DESERVES HAPPINESS.  Yes, you!

Domestic Violence Awareness Advocate
Mother of a beautiful daughter, and two sweet boys.

 My family and I doing a walk for Domestic Violence Awareness.

You can watch the walk video here.  They interviewed my grandma, and a woman who survived be shot in the back of the head. A woman's strength is truly amazing!! 

How can you tell if your daughter may be in a potentially abusive situation?  Assess her situation using these guidelines that I borrowed from West Island Women's Shelter

How can I tell if a man I’m seeing will become abusive? Early Warning Signs:

He speaks disrespectfully about his former partners
A certain amount of anger and resentment toward an ex-partner is normal but beware of the man who is very focused on his bitterness or who tells you about it inappropriately early on in your dating. Be especially cautious of the man who talks about women from his past in degrading or condescending ways or who characterizes himself as a victim of abuse by women. Be alert if he says that his previous wife or girlfriend falsely accused him of being abusive-try to get her side of the story. Be cautious of a man who says that you are nothing like the other women he has been involved with, that you are the first partner to treat him well, or that earlier women in his life have not understood him.

He is disrespectful towards you
Disrespect is the soil in which abuse grows. If a man puts you down or sneers at your opinions, if he is rude to you in front of others, if he is cutting or sarcastic, he is communicating a lack of respect.

He does favors that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable
These can be signs of a man who is attempting to create a sense of indebtedness.

He is possessive and jealous
Jealous behavior is one of the surest signs that abuse is down the road. Possessiveness masquerades as love. Jealous feelings are not the same as behaviors. A man with insecurities may naturally feel anxious about your associations with other men, especially ex-partners, and might want some reassurance. But if he indicates that he expects you to give up your freedom to accommodate his jealousy, control is creeping up. Possessiveness shows that he doesn’t love you as an independent human being but rather as a guarded treasure. After a while, you will feel suffocated by his constant vigilance.

He is self-centered            
Watch out for a man that does most of the talking, listens poorly when you speak, chronically switches the topic of conversation back to himself. Self-Centeredness is a personality characteristic that is highly resistant to change, as it has deep roots in profound entitlement or to severe emotional injuries (in non-abusers) or both (in narcissistic abusers)      

Nothing is ever his fault
He blames something or someone for anything that goes wrong. As time goes by, his target of blame increasingly becomes you. He may make promises he can’t keep, coming up with a stream of excuses for disappointing you or behaving irresponsibly, and perhaps taking serious economic advantage of you in the process.

He gets too serious too quickly about the relationship
Watch out if he jumps too soon into planning your future together without taking enough time to get to know you and grow close because it can mean he’s trying to wrap you up tightly into a package that he can own. If he won’t respect your wishes to slow things down, there is probably trouble ahead.

He abuses drugs or alcohol
Although substances do not cause partner abuse, they often go hand in hand.

He pressures you for sex
Not respecting your wishes or feelings regarding sex speaks of exploitativeness, which in turn goes with abuse. It also is a sign of seeing women as sex objects rather than human beings. If he says you need to have sex with him to prove that you truly love and care for him, this is a sure sign of abusiveness.

He intimidates you when he is angry
Intimidation, even if it appears unintentional, is a sure sign that emotional abuse is on the way or has already begun-and is a warning flag that physical violence may eventually follow.
Intimidation includes:
  • Getting too close to you when he is angry, putting a finger in your face, poking you, pushing you, blocking your way or restraining you.
  • He tells you that he is “just trying to make you listen.”
  • He raises a fist, towers over you, shouts at you, or behaves in any way that makes you flinch or feel afraid.
  • He makes vaguely threatening comments, such as, “you don’t want to see me mad” or “you don’t know who you’re messing with.”
  • He drives recklessly or speeds up when he is angry.
  • He punches walls or kicks doors.
  • He throws things around, even if they don’t hit you.

He has double standards
Beware of a man who has a different set of rules for his behavior than for yours.

He has negative attitudes toward women
Stereotyped beliefs about women’s sex roles also contribute to the risk of abuse. His conviction that women should take care of the home, or that a man’s career is more important than woman’s, can become a serious problem, because he may punish you when you start refusing to live in his box.  Women sometimes find it challenging to meet men who don’t have restrictive beliefs about women’s roles, particularly within certain cultural or national groups, but the effort to meet such men is an important one. 

He treats you differently around other people
Adult abusers tend to put on a show of treating their partners like gold when everyone is watching, reserving most of their abuse for times when no one else will see. In teenage abusers, the opposite is often true. He may be rude and cold with her in front of other people to impress his friends with how “in control” and “cool” he is but be somewhat nicer when they are alone together.

He appears to be attracted to vulnerability
Some abusive men are attracted to women much younger and/or at different developmental and maturity levels than them, or they may be attracted to women that have had a recent traumatic experience. He is attracted to the power imbalance in this type of relationship.

Copyrighted by My Pleasant Nightmare

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