Getting Fit and Fab

As a 5’1 foodie, I’ve always struggled with my weight. At my thinnest I weighed 105 lbs and I was 200 lbs at my heaviest.

In a perfect world, I could eat the things that I love like fried chicken, french fries or hash-browns, bone marrow, chicken skin (hmmmmm), or Chinese buffets. Alas, the world is not a perfect place and everything I put into my body manages to stick straight to my hips, or thighs, or arms, or pretty much anywhere. I know that I have terrible diet habits and like all of the wrong foods but you only live once so why should I have to give up the very things that make life worth living??

Trying to grocery shop while counting calories becomes an even more stressful activity. Anything cheap is nutritiously void and easy to locate, however, fruit and veggie prices are sky-high and only take up one small section of the store.

It doesn’t help that every time I talk to a friend about working out or eating healthy, they tell me about some new fad diet that they are on this week. One is on the Paleo, another Keto, someone else I know is consuming zero carbs. It’s so confusing trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t!

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In the past I’ve done juice diets which become cumbersome and exhausting with the cleansing of thousands of juicer components.  Why are there so many pieces?? If I had known about that, I would never have bought such an expensive contraption. Honestly, I haven’t been able to look at a cucumber the same way since.

I tried the Adkins Diet. I liked it and it worked but I guess it comes down to the fact that I like bread more. Life’s too short, right?

I tried Weight Watchers and really enjoyed it. I lost 40 lbs from my heaviest weight by keeping track of my intake and attending meetings once a week. The classroom environment and sticker/key chain reward system were great and made me feel like I was in control again. For the first time in my life, I could see a food product and have a decent idea of how it was going to affect my body. I fastidiously checked labels for carbs, fats, and fiber like it was going out of style. I was that person who had to tell you why you’d better not toss that certain food down your gullet. Better yet, I could eat fast food, drink beer, and still lose weight! Sounds great right??  On the bad side, its expensive (back then my insurance was paying for it), and easy to fall out of when you no longer have time for the weekly meetings.

Which brings me to where I am now. According to the BMI, or Body Mass Index, I’m considered obese. Now, I may be slightly overweight but in no way do I consider myself obese. I consider myself healthy and would like to be just a little bit healthier (fitting back into that old swimsuit would be a nice plus too!). This year I’ve been trying to workout more and try, when possible, to eat a little better. I’m hoping that I can retrain myself back down to my ideal weight without the structure of some diet or class.

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In May of this year I signed up for a local gym and trainer once a week. Where I was once going to the gym and running on the treadmill or elliptical almost every day for 30-60 mins, my exercise plan has dwindled down to once a week bike rides and the usual trainer meeting.  Well today I’ve decided to quit being lazy, take my insecurities in hand, and make a new change.

When I moved to my new place, one of the perks was that it was so close to my gym. This means I could go multiple times in a day if I want…or not. Finally moved in and decently settled, I went to bed early last night and set my alarm for 6:30 this morning. For the first time EVER, I am a morning gym worker-outer! Go Me!!

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After a 30 minute elliptical run this morning, I felt accomplished and ready to take on the day! I even had enough time to make myself a healthy breakfast and lunch. No more fast food lunches! I was even a few minutes early for work!

I know it’s early (after only one day) but I feel like I’m on my way to a new habit and healthier lifestyle. Doing it in the morning, I won’t feel so bad when I don’t feel like sweating after a long day. Also, with working out and adjusting what I’m eating, I think I may even be able to treat myself to those favorite foods I always feel so guilty consuming!

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Wish me luck!!

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Ipsy Subscription September

This month I signed up for a new box called Ipsy. It’s only $10 a month and each month comes with/in a cute makeup bag! Here’s some information about this subscription service from the site:

“Michelle Phan has inspired countless women around the world through her beauty video tutorials on YouTube. Every day, the question Michelle gets asked the most is: “What are the right products for me?”

With infinite beauty product combinations in the marketplace, choosing the best items for your needs can be a challenge! That was why Michelle created ipsy. Michelle and her team of stylists have selected products they love, for you to try.

Each month, subscribers will receive a beautiful Glam Bag with deluxe samples and full-sized beauty products. Members can watch and play along with the stylists with the same products that they are using. ”

Sounds promising, right? Here’s what I received this month:

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When the mailperson walked in with this shiny pink envelope, I got so excited! I love shiny things!

1368843_10151919159307146_1530938995_nThis month’s glam bag is adorable and I love the pattern!

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The Life Palette is a sample pallet from the Em Cosmetics line themed around “Career Life”.  It’s a pretty small sample so I’m not sure if I’ll try but the colors are pretty. 1368708_10151919159182146_1798372524_nIt’s So Big Volumizing Mascara from Elizabeth Mott

I love getting mascara in boxes. They are all so different and it’s really nice to get to experiment with a nice brand.

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John Frieda makes hair products that really work with my flat, fine hair. I’ll be putting these to use ASAP!

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NYX Eyeshadow in Sparkle White

I’m not a huge pencil user since I prefer liquid liner but it’s nice to have a backup and I do swear by black. I’m not sure if I’m sold on this color eyeshadow yet as it looks a little shiny green in the light but I have used this brand before and it’s usually very pretty on. I really hope this turns out more gold than green!

So that’s it for my Ipsy Glam Bag. So far, I definitely wasn’t as impressed as with Birchbox but I do love the little bag included. I wonder how many little makeup bags I actually need though. I’ll probably try this once more and if the quality doesn’t improve for me, I’ll cancel.

www.ipsy.com

BONUS!

These weren’t from Ipsy but I wanted to share anyway as they came in the mail the same day!

1368710_10151919159057146_919795501_nFound these on Sale from The Classy Touch Boutique for about $16 a piece and just had to order! Cute, right??

www.facebook.com/TheClassyTouchBoutique

Please make sure to leave some thoughts and comments for me 🙂

September Birchbox

This month happens to be Birchbox’s anniversary and so is themed around heritage.. Here’s what the insert card has to say:

“The best part about beauty? It’s not the glitter or the gloss, or even those antioxidants from far-off lands. It’s the stories. Every brand we work with, from the just-hatched to the iconic, has its own fascinating history. Just look at Ruffian, a New York-based fashion label started by two designers with a flair for Victorian drama. Their first nail lacquer collection – which all our subscribers will get to try this month – was inspired by the runways but voted on by you. File that away for party conversation when someone compliments your mani.

This also happens to be our anniversary month, and we can’t let it pass without thanking the people who have helped create our story: our members. All we had was an idea – we needed you to add the magic.”

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This month 100 subscribers could receive a $100 voucher in their box to spend in the online shop. Unfortunately, I didn’t get this in mine as I have a good idea of what I would have spent it on!

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Beauty Protector Protect & Condition/Shampoo – Full-size $21.95 each

Seems like I’ve been receiving quite a few shampoos and conditioners lately. I like these sample more when they come in bottles as the soft tear packages are hard to keep and use in an organized manner. I haven’t tried yet, but since I recently moved out, all necessary products like shampoo are greatly appreciated!

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Dr. Jart+ Premium BB Cream SPF 45+ – Full-size $39

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips – Full-size $14.50

I’ve gotten this BB cream in a box before and as a lover of all BB creams, whenever I run out of my larger tubes, I immediate reach for these so it’s always nice to have some backup in stock. As for the Nipple Balm, I’ve very excited to use this product. It’s description states that it was originally made for nursing moms which to me means that it’s got to be safe and very hydrating. It also says that you can use this on lips, cuticles, and elbows as needed. I’ll toss this in my purse and I’m sure it will come in hand when I’m out and about, especially with fall right around the corner.

Last but not least, this is the product that I’m most excited about using.

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Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Fox Hunt – Full-size $10

When I first set eyes on this color, i was a little hesitant. It looks like a burnt orange and I’ve never been someone who orange looks great on. I was willing to give this a change since it looked like a good fall color and I am an Auburn fan (WDE!) and I absolutely ADORE this color on!! The polish goes on super smooth and shiny as well. I didn’t even have to use a clear coat! I really hope they include more colors in upcoming boxes.

Feel free to share what you received in your box too!

 

Putting a Bow on Friday the 13

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It’s Friday the 13th so what do we do to celebrate? Why, get a new tattoo of course!

Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery had a special running just for this special occasion. For the low price of only $13, you could choose any of the pre-selected designs to commemorate this dreaded date! Not one to turn down a good deal, I anxiously awaited escaping my office, jumping in line and adding a new art piece to my body.

I arrived at the shop around 6:30 pm. Luckily for me, my roommate had gone early and put our names on the waiting list already because the place was PACKED. Around 30 people were milling about and looking at designs. The staff seemed stressed and unhappy. I mean, I’d be a little ornery too if I was hot, overworked, and dealing with picky people for only $13 a piece. Granted they did bring it on themselves by creating this event but a bit more organization would have gone a long way!

We waited 3 1/2 hours before it was our turn which would not have been terrible if it had not been super hot in the building. That aside, once I was taken to the back to get started, I was like a silly school girl getting her very first tattoo. My awkward nervousness forced me to repeatedly assure him that this was not an ink virgin. I had decided on a little bow between my shoulders.”Make it bright pink and very preppy please!”, I said. Overall, I think he did a great job but I may go back and get someone to add a little more color.

Here’s me looking very excited about it.

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I also didn’t realize that I would not be able to see this very well and I’m still figuring out how to take care of it from feel alone.

Would you get a tattoo for $13?

Sometimes it’s more about the story than the ending. 

http://blacklotustattoogallery.com/

Shameless Brotherly Promotion!!

Not only do I love food but I also have a little brother who loves food as well!

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I’m not sure why he likes this picture but whatevs!

My brother, Jack, lives out in West Hollywood, CA and has recently started a locally based food blog. Although the site is relatively new, it’s worth checking out and I’m excited about seeing new upcoming reviews! From fast food favorites to fish flavored amuse-bouche, his descriptions leave you the feeling that you could have been there and tasted every morsel yourself.

Go ahead, check it out and let me know your thoughts!

http://www.lafoodspot.blogspot.com

The Uninvited Guest

About a week ago I noticed the tale-tell signs of an unwanted house guest.

When I opened the cabinet underneath our bathroom sink, I noticed the leavings of a creature small in stature and devious of character. I was able to judge his qualities by his utter disregard to our hygiene evidenced by leavings of a fecal kind and the way our toilet paper stash had been torn asunder. And so began my mission to evict this foul, destructive creature as quickly and peacefully as possible.

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I did not see him but I assume he looked like this…but meaner

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered one of these devilish rodents. I became acquainted with the common house mouse about six or seven years ago while living with one of my exes. We noticed that our animals, an orange tabby and a border terrier, were living in terror of something unseen in our kitchen. After further investigation, we discovered a tiny, brown, harmless-looking creature hiding behind our refrigerator. Not having dealt with a situation like this before, we did a little research and started gathering supplies to help hasten its demise. Full of fantastic sources, the internet instructed us pick up old-school snapping mouse traps, set them with peanuts covered in peanut butter (they REALLY like legumes, I guess),  and wait for the trap to be sprung. From our terrified post in the living room mere minutes after setting it up, we were able to hear the loud *SNAP* of the death device. Unfortunately, we learned that day that those traps don’t always kill their prey and so after a bit of a struggle between ex and mouse that ended in the creature being smashed by a shovel, I learned I definitely did not wish to ever again have to deal with something of this nature.

Now, it may sound a bit sexist but one of the perks of having a male roommate is that he gets to do the dirty work while I cook, clean, and generally keep the house in a viable state.  This leaves things like the garbage and “mouse” work to be done by him. I like to think it’s a fair deal. This time around, we (as in male roommate) decided to use the slightly more humane of the critter killing contraptions, the sticky trap.

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I was certain this type of trap was not going to work. I mean, I could totally get out of a sticky trap if I wanted to, right??

Two were baited with smoked Gouda and placed about the house in hopes to capture this home-wrecker before any more damage could be done to our toilet paper or, God forbid, our kitchen dry goods. One day later, lo and behold, a little mouse was sure enough stuck to the trap! Fantastic news right? Yes and no. Once you’ve managed to capture said creature, you have to find some way of disposing of him. This is made more difficult due to the fact that he is still alive and uninjured.

From the safety of my bed, I shouted helpful instructions to my roommate. Things like “Don’t let it bite you or you might get rabies! Don’t worry though, you’d live but you might lose some mental capacity!” and “You’ve got to kill it or it will return and haunt us!”. He was not impressed and swiftly requested that I no longer offer verbal assistance so I instead I quietly waited for him to return and inform me of its annihilation.

What I am going to tell you next is gruesome so if the harming of black plague carrying rodents is likely to offend, please stop reading now. I do not condone the harming of defenseless animals in any way. This merely a record on one clueless girls mouse eviction and I reserve the right to protect my own and home. 

 

A sweaty, visibly shaken roomie finally pops his head into my bedroom doorway fifteen minutes later ready to inform me of our guests’ termination. Terrified by my talk of rabies, he had thrown the mouse, trap and all, into a grocer bag and then another trash bag and quickly took him outside. Knowing that he had to kill the creature but unwilling to be a physical witness to the death, he placed the bags beneath his rear vehicle tire and, in what I like to think was a swift act of mercy, ran him over. He then grabbed the bags, drove a mile down the road and discarded somewhere NOT right next to our home as he’d originally suggested be done.

Don’t you feel sad for our little expired house mouse. He had a good run but his time had run out and I’m sure he’s passed over to little mouse heaven.

As for me, it feels like a weight has been lifted. I’m absolutely ecstatic that our home is mouse free again and bound and determined it shall stay that way from here on out.

Trust me, there are few things more disgusting than creature poo.

Shudder. 

Labor Day Escape to Atlanta Part 2

Slightly bruised and broken from the night before’s shenanigans and amply rested from spending the entire day in bed, we decided grab some greasy grub to cure the lasting effects of our hangovers. Looking for a place that could be classified as cheap, served beer, and tasted fantastic, we settled on The Vortex. Now, I’ve heard a ton about this place before entering and was expecting a bit more of a biker style bar.  Signs, bikes, and other miscellaneous  paraphernalia hung from the rafters but not a biker was seen. The cigarette smoke and relaxed environment drew us in but we stayed for the delicious burgers.

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Our waiter, a thin bearded man t-shirt and jeans, told me that I had to order a burger since it was my first time here. He went over the menu and informed us of what he considered the very best burgers that The Vortex had to offer and left us to decide while we quenched our thirsts on draft brews.

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I ordered the Four Horseman, described on the menu as a blackened patty topped with horseradish sauce, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, and jack cheese. The horseradish was zesty and creamy and really made this burger stand out. The shoestring fries that came with were awesome too and I can’t wait to try the rest of the burgers on the menu!

We also discovered that Dragon Con was happening in Atlanta during that weekend. Wishing we had purchased tickets to attend and don fun costumes, we had to settle on driving around the most congested hotels in the area that were hosting the event. Below is a picture of our run in with Katniss Everdeen and Effie Trinket!

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The next day, needing to be decently fed before my 1.5 hour ride home, we stopped at Savage Pizza in Little Five Points. I absolutely ADORE the way this little shop was decorated top to bottom with comic book heroes, villains, and other iconic images.

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Even the bathroom walls were covered in comic book pages!

The pizza was pretty darn good too.

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Across the street from here is a little Co-Op called Sevananda Natural Foods where I hear that they have amazing soup. Still stuffed from the pizza, I didn’t get to try the soup but I did find out that these places are jam-packed with strange things.

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 If you aren’t sure what this is, they are reusable sea sponge tampons. Just think about it and no thank you!

I ended my trip to ATL with a quick stop into Urban Outfitters since they were having as sale, 30% off all items already on sale. Bought an amazing red bag and a ring for someone special but I can’t manage to get this great piece of art out of my head.

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You know you really should have bought something when it’s still all you can think about days later.  Classy isn’t it?? I mean, glitter AND it’s teal? It would have looked fantastic in my new house. Le Sigh. Maybe next time!!

Labor Day Escape to Atlanta Part 1

Sometimes, when things get hard, the best thing you can do is run away from it all. Well not really but sometimes it’s fun to do anyway!

I decided that a getaway was just what I needed and with it being a holiday weekend,I had more than enough time to head up to Atlanta for some barhopping and best friend fun.

First stop on the list was the Clermont Lounge. Before the trip, I had done a little research on this bar by checking out the website and watching a video featuring the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown.

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http://clermontlounge.net

Located underneath what looks to be an old abandoned building, the Clermont is a seedy little strip club filled with young and old alike. Drinks were cheap and cash was the only currency accepted. Ladies from ages 28 to 67 danced around the circular bar and plied their trade using fire, glow sticks, and strange bodily movements. Signs hung from every wall warning against picture taking so unfortunately I was unable to get any of the inside. My favorite part of the experience was getting to speak to one of the girls who’d worked there for 20 years. At 67 years old and clothed in an Alice in Wonderland costume, she was spry and funny as well as unashamed of the toll that age had taken on her body. I told her that this had to be the greatest strip joint I’d ever had the pleasure to be in and that I loved how imperfect yet at ease all of the ladies looked on stage. Then someone paid her to give a lap dance to a very uncomfortable young girl and our conversation was over. I have decided that I’d like to be taken back here for my birthday in April.

Next we meet up with some other friends at Sister Louisa’s CHURCH of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium.

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Every inch of this dive bar is decorated in iconic, religious or satiric imagery. Visually assaulted by the strange decor, we grabbed our cheap PBR’s and made our way outside to the beer garden-esque wooden tables.  The place was crowded with hipsters and thirsty youths. I’m sure there was more to this establishment, I just wasn’t able to located how to get to the rest of the building!

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One of the doors read, “Every time you exit here, Jesus kills a kitten”. 

Next we drove to this funky and eclectic place in East Atlanta Village called Argosy. The place was huge and comfortable inside with dark wood, caged lights, and tons of seating options. I grabbed a seat at the bar and attempted to order a Bud Light. Apparently, they have a special where if you buy two draft brews, you receive a free pizza. I didn’t get one of my own but was lucky enough to try a piece and that pizza is absolutely AMAZING! Since I’ve gotten back to town, I’ve done a little research on this place and it looks like they have an awesome menu. I’ll definitely be going back there at some point in the future to try everything else but until then, check out their Facebook:  www.facebook.com/TheArgosyEAV

We ended the night at gay bar called Mary’s. Since it was kind of late, it wasn’t extremely busy and was mostly memorable because I twisted my ankle in my darling wedges and gained a skinned knee. Then upstairs near the extra restrooms, a saloon style door swung back and hit me directly above my eye.

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http://www.marysatlanta.com/

So I decided to take my limping, swollen, slightly intoxicated butt home and get some rest.

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Or order Chinese food. Whatever. 

Home SWEET Budgets

Guess who is now an official key carrying, grocery buying, broke and stuck at home house renter?? That’s right, it’s me!

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In the past, I’ve lived with multiple significant others and a few friends but never actually been responsible for my own place. Well not anymore! This girl is moving up in the world and as of today, my roommate and I have signed the papers and obtained the door opening devices to our very own home! It’s adorable in yellow and white, gleaming hardwood floors, and decent sized yard. There’s even a wonderful little sun room!

Although I can barely contain my excitement, this is a HUGE step for me. I’m used to buying the things I want or dancing and drinking the night away as I please. For the first time in my whole life (yes, I understand that at 28 I am a little late!) I’ve got my very own… budgeting concerns. For someone with hardly any bills, besides the gym and bad shopping habits, this already seems like the hardest thing I’ve ever been faced with. Instead of focusing on how I’ll make it monetarily , I’m concentrating on the small things that need to happen to make this feel like home.  For example, I’ve been planning and decorating the walls. Who knew how much a painting or a new coffee table could bring together a room!! I’ve also learned that a full fridge can be very exciting as well. Yesterday I did some shopping and stocked my fridge with edible delights from the dollar store and Big Lots. Can you believe that they actually carry eggs??

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Let this picture in no way represent my cooking skills. I actually consider myself a great cook, it’s the grocery shopping that kills me. No longer do I have to convenience of a fully stocked kitchen and pantry!

So I am a little poorer than I have been in a long time. No biggie, I also now have the freedom and space to do as I please! If I get the urge to slide around the house in my socks, so be it! If I don’t feel up to washing the dishes, they’ll just have to wait until tomorrow! The power is mine!!

For a while I know that I’ll be learning new things that I might not be comfortable with yet. I know that my new space may be smaller and less together than I’m used to.  I also know that I can do this. I can rent a house, pay my bills, and perhaps soon, be a thrifty, successful, supermarket connoisseur! Until then I’ll just have to take all of my newly gained knowledge and experience and make the best of this exciting time in my life.

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An Open Letter to Those Once Loved

When I met you, I knew almost immediately that there was something amazing about you. Something different. I saw more than most did when I fell for your humility, your sense of humor, and the way you always reassured me that I was more beautiful than even I, a self-professed narcissist, saw. For a while,  you let me need you and I got to feel needed in return. We built a life together. A life filled with dinners and inside jokes, of stories and wonderful memories, and at night when we laid down to sleep, we reminded each other how much we cared and held each other for what we thought was just a piece of forever.

We thought that there was nothing that could tear us apart. You and I against the world.

At some point things got hard, as they tend to do, and for a while we managed to work it out. There were fights and tears but usually that was followed by forgiveness and a better understanding of one another’s needs. I’m sorry that I instigated fights and said cruel things. Looking back, I think this was because it was never enough for me. I was selfish and wanted to be everything to you . I’m afraid I’ll always be the person who wants too much. All of those nights you wanted to go home at midnight but I insisted on “one more drink” took a toll on you. I knew that you didn’t want to stay out. I knew but I still fought for those extra minutes. I know I kept us too busy. I realize that I did this now because I finally felt like I had someone to share those adventures and events with. I’m sorry for that too but now memories are all I have and I’m glad I pushed you for that extra time. I also feel bad about picking at your silly habits. I’d once found the way you chewed your food, bit your nails, or were particular about your toiletries endearing but, after a time, they had begun to grate on my nerves.  I see now the times that I blamed you and took stress out on you for things that weren’t your fault. You couldn’t help that I struggled to feel good about myself or that I hated my job but you stuck around even when I was having a full-blown tantrum. Thank you for that  too because not many would have.

I can think back now and see the times you tried your best to fix us before we ended. The compromises you asked for that I was unable to give. You didn’t see it but I was always compromising in my own way. You couldn’t tell but I was giving you everything that I had. I spent hours thinking of cute things to buy you or adventures we could have together. I never thought there was an expiration date on us until it was too late.

I’ll always remember the way you looked at me, like there was no one else in the entire world and I alone kept it spinning for you. Your constant kisses weren’t necessary but always appreciated. I’m glad that I was privileged to be a part of your life, even if I wish I could have kept you longer. Without you, I wouldn’t be there person I am today. Sometimes when I think about losing you, I feel empty because each of you took a piece of me when you left. A piece of my heart that I’ll never get back. But in the end, I’m glad that you left with something. I hope that it makes you a better person and that one day you’ll love someone like you loved me but that this time, it won’t have to end.

Thank you.

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