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Making a Life

Making a Life

So much of what I thought I wanted has changed so drastically in the past few months. I had a very wise friend not to long ago tell me honestly I didn’t need to hate money or dealing with the financial aspects of my business because I could do so much with it if I would just allow myself to. She was right and it has changed my perspective so much.

I used to want to make more money with both my soap business and with my Beachbody business so I could do more, have more, be more, but, now I realize I want to be financially independent so I am free to GIVE more, more time, more money, more hope.

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I want more than to worry about making a living, or even having to budget down to every last penny with the absolute fear of a big car repair bill, or medical emergency could wipe out everything. I want when my 8yo says he wants to go to Uganda to help kids be able to say “ok let’s do it and plan that trip and go”. I’m feeling called more and more to give, to help, to LIVE, to love.

I’m more concerned these days about making a life. With my husband mere months from eligibility of military retirement I feel more and more stress about how I have failed to live as frugal of a life as I should have so we would be in a better position for him to retire. I feel like because I didn’t get my thyroid taken care of earlier so I could be a product of the product I have failed. I feel like my fear of working out after we discovered it was my thyroid for fear that I would still be obese and none of it would matter anyway I have failed. Most of all I fear like I have failed my kids with my poor money management skills and not having an adequate savings, or not being able to “say sure let’s do” it more often or sometimes even at all.

It changes now. I understand it now. I want to make my life, not just a living now. Here is how I’m starting to give more, but, I need YOUR help. This year I will be launching 2 new soaps. The first HOPE and every time you buy a bar of Hope I will set aside another bar to send to Restore International for them to send to their Orphanages. Heck if you are feeling very generous you can even send your bar too it will be an option during checkout. Additionally $1 of each sale is going into “Rory’s Africa Fund” to help make his dream a reality. The second DREAM and dream will work similarly except the extra bar will be going in donation to my local food pantry and homeless shelters. I envision the extra $1 going into a fund where we can just do random acts of kindness for people, I love seeing how just paying for the coffee or meal of the car behind you can snowball into something so much bigger.

I had thought to end it there. I thought those two would be enough but while I was typing that all out I thought of a third way to give. The third  LOVE and with that YOU can tell me where you want your extra bar to go. I’ll split the $1 into the two above funds.

If you are local to me in Port Angeles, WA I’m sure you have noticed the fingerless gloves, hats, and other knit items made by me and let you know that the sales of these items has also been going into Rory’s Africa Fund. Non locals if you see me posting such items on social media and you want them please speak up and we can make arrangements.

In the meantime so I can clear out stock and space for these as well as the new soaps I’ve got up my sleeves for you I’ll be offering all of my INSTOCK items in my shop at 25% off using code NOURISH expires January 30, 2015 so I have time to get all the new goodies listed for you for February 1! Valid in my SHOP  and on ETSY.

Once again I THANK you for your continued support.

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Still not there yet but I’m proud of the journey thus far.

Still not there yet but I’m proud of the journey thus far.

I set out on a very proud day in June 2012 to lose a breathtaking, anxiety inducing 125 lbs by my following birthday in May 2013. I’ve seen the before/after pictures of people losing over 200 lbs in a year or losing 100 lbs in 6 months I KNEW in every part of my soul it CAN be done. It was possible. I was so fired up so excited. So scared because thats a HUGE journey. Then in my gusto because my body and my mind were not operating on the same plan I threw my back out during my very first program not even 30 days in. I cried. I tried. I failed. I got back up I finished to the best of my ability. I didn’t try to control what I ate just tried to become more conscious. I eat clean it wasn’t my worry. I am morbidly obese every thing you find out there says less calories in = more weight lost. Food doesn’t control me I wanted big results without even trying my calorie intake when I would track would be right around 1000 calories a day. With a deficit like that the pounds should fly off at least in the beginning.

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They didn’t.

I switched programs. From power 90 to Les Mills Pump which is still my all time favorite program thus far. The music makes me happy. The upbeat banter makes me happy and who doesn’t feel absolutely strong doing bicep curls and clean and presses. Still the scale wasn’t moving. I was starting to see changes but I wanted people stopping me saying “WOW what are you doing and can I do it with you?” Holiday rush for Lana Bella happened. Working out was on the side line.  Must keep knitting. Must pack orders. Must sleep. I’m human it happens and its not like it was actually working right?

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After the new year I started back with Les Mills Pump was doing pretty well but you know that darn CCTI dinner was coming up and well damn I didn’t want to be the FAT person there again. I was so uncomfortable in myself in 2012 I wanted to get there and see the wives I hadn’t seen either and have them notice the progress I was making. I stopped doing Les Mills Pump and on April 1 I started doing Ultimate Reset with a Whole30 inspired food plan. You see Reset while great for most people was IMO pretty heavily grain and soy based and I don’t eat soy at all ever because of my mom’s estrogen positive breast cancer and testing positive for the gene. So I adapted I detoxed. The scale FINALLY budged but over all I FELT good, on the inside I felt that THIS would be my turning point. Surely this kicked my metabolism into high gear.

Day 1 Dinner

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I finished Ultimate Reset and earned a FREE t shirt.

From Reset I joined my friend Amy in doing a Les Mills Pump/Insanity challenge with her. Oh boy INSANITY, the program really lives up to its name. There were days I cried, I shed so many tears on that program both in struggling and in pride, in accomplishment, in I don’t even know what. I realized in talking with Amy that maybe I wasn’t eating enough I started tracking every single calorie going in I struggled to eat more. I was putting coconut oil in everything to get more calories in. I was eating spoonfuls of peanut butter to get up to even 1200 calories. Then 1500 calories.  It was slow progress my body was rejecting the food, I was feeling sick. Stomach upset. I kept pushing play. I look back and some of my favorite pictures of myself stemmed from those 90 days!

IMG_3330The Insanity fit test is no joke of a workout. I thought like I was going to throw up. I was on the floor more than I ever thought possible. I wanted so many times to just hit pause. to quit. I didn’t. Amy was watching. An entire accountability group was watching. I was NOT going to be the fat girl who gave up. Just one more. It won’t ACTUALLY kill me will it. I don’t know if I CAN do this but I WILL.

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10 days in by sheer will.

IMG_3574 Even pushing play on my birthday. Making progress. Excited to start work on my mermaid tattoo.

IMG_3607Finding out I have even more followers that I won’t ever let down.

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Starting to see muscles developing is one of the coolest things in the world.

IMG_3785I was beginning to shine. My light was sparking up with my progress.

IMG_3933We worked out together as a couple and I was able to keep up. I was able to show Steve that I was getting stronger.

IMG_4109Even when my dad came to visit up we snuck upstairs together for a quick workout, TOGETHER.

IMG_4159I DID IT!!! 90 days of Les Mills Pump and Insanity!

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Even I could see the changes if I compared images.

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and my favorite pair of pants didn’t fit anymore.

Aidan was finishing up a huge project for his leadership class we became friends with Richard Neal & we blessed with information from so many top coaches in the business.  We ordered the new program T25 that was just coming out. What working out only 25 minutes a day ANYONE could do this.

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We had a blast “fighting” over this program and who was going to do it first.

IMG_4352For someone who hates working out. Yes there  I said it me pushing play and going to work out is my biggest struggle.  I was enjoying this program.

IMG_4373Brenna came to visit with Elise. I can honestly say I do not regret for one moment not working out and falling off the train so I could hold that precious baby girl.

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Look at us. I ‘m so grateful for all the work I put in before her visit for the glow I had in myself.

However. I do regret not starting back up after their visit. Though I did get sick. Really sick. Food was not my friend. Food who I should be able to trust to nourish my body was fighting against me. I spent WEEKS trying to eat. Trying to not have stomach spasms every time I did eat.  Anxiety was taking over. Ulcers were taking over. Stress was winning.

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I finally got to meet Amy Mecsko at the Miami Super Saturday event. Every single time I wanted to quit I didn’t because of her. So many times she reminded me to BLOOM where planted. That I could and was doing this. I don’t know if I have ever, could ever thank her enough for how much I have learned about myself up to now. THANK YOU AMY!!!!

IMG_4715Steve, Aidan and I also got to meet the CEO of BeachBody Carl Daikeler. Aidan got up and shared his story in front of over 300 people.

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After talking with Amy at Super Saturday, I had mentioned how much I missed weights and how I might just give Body Beast a try. There were tons f women starting it at the same time I’d have heaps of online support. Plus I saw the changes in Steve. He had lost so much and looked better than he ever had in our entire marriage.

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I started Day 1 of Body Beast smart I went very light on the weights not knowing what to expect knowing it had been close to 2 months since I had worked out at all. I could do this. The banter from Sagi while for most guys was probably ok and amusing to them even. From my stand point I didn’t care for it I even mentioned it to someone who said they didn’t like it either so they just muted the tv and put on music. Ok  I could do that.  LEG DAY. I was stupid. A complete idiot. I put the same weight on my bar that I had ended Les Mills Pump with 2 months earlier thinking my muscles and my body would be ok with it. I did so much damage It took 2 2 hour massages and nearly 10 days before I could really walk again. My back was spasming uncontrollable, which made my stomach join in for the fun, my legs I don’t even want to go back there to that point of pain to remember it was bad. I cried tears of pain. Such a dumb move really.

I quit. again.

But in that time something else happened. While I was at such a low. Rock bottom. Back against the wall. Rory started. It was lighting a fire with a rock and a twig just little sparks. Just asking questions, struggling against myself. What my brain was saying against what my heart was longing for. Books upon books were bought I didn’t want to tell him wrong. I didn’t want my beliefs and struggles to get in the way. I didn’t want my anger to cloud things. He was asking about God. He asked to go to church. I said no. He didn’t give up he kept asking. We kept reading. He kept believing. I kept listening to Him to Rory he was guiding me not so gently either. I had audible credits. I ordered a book. It had me on my knees in tears, sobbing, longing, breathing, agreeing. I texted Amy, Ann, Gigi. I had to share. I went and found Rory, I said I was ready. I would bring him to church on Sunday if he still wanted to go. He did. We went. He loved it. I can’t even explain the light I saw in my boy that day. He was quiet. still. absorbing. He told me Jesus had the same hair as him. I cried. I still cry. I cry now just remembering him it wasn’t in a way I can even describe it was factual, it was in a way an old soul remembers things that have happened before have come before, there may not be many things I can trust in but in Rory’s unwavering faith I believe.

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He is who guides me. I can see him. touch him. follow him. we kept going to church. Each and every single time he says things does things that I can’t ignore. On our second visit he asked if he could shake the priest’s hand when we were done. I agreed. He asked the priest if they could pray together. then he blessed the priest. he is friends and prayer buddies with a nun. he memorized the entire rosary, the apostle’s creed, in 3 days. the sound in church doesn’t bother my super sound sensitive kid anymore. he sings. he prays. oh he prays. he has a prayer list. he builds mine craft rosary worlds. he prays for people he doesn’t even know because he says to say a hail mary for them is like giving them a hug because the world needs more hugs, because some people don’t have enough love and he has plenty. he is changing all of us.

IMG_5129he wanted a visual, I bought him one.

IMG_5132Hanukkah Happened. Rory delights in the customs of old.

IMG_5200We even lit  candles with friends and a virtual Steve giving our blessings.

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Advent happened. Rory said we didn’t need presents because we get presents all the time but other people didn’t have much and we should help them. We chose 3 names off the church advent tree. all the kids got involved.  It was the first time in a long time i celebrated Advent for he season it is Rory reveled in delight every day as we would read stories and sharing what he thought Jesus would do today. He fell in love with Pope Francis.

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I found hope. I found changes under the surface happening emotionally. I retreat into myself. I’m still processing. still absorbing. I’m in a chrysalis state. I don’t know where I’m being led, I am content in just believing, in hoping in following, in not having to bear the burdens alone in my own hands. I’m tired to my  bones from carrying those burdens alone.

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I celebrate little moments. Celebrate Jack turning 10. Celebrate life.

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And because I’m just that crazy and a friend showed some love by sending the the Fast Metabolism Diet book with a very from the heart letter attached I decided it was ONLY 28 days and totally worth a try. SO much food. So many delicious things though. Who knew I’d love tuna and apples together! The first week I didn’t workout. couldn’t. I was eating so much food I thought I was going to explode. The 2nd week I added in 1 day each of the workouts to go with the diet. It felt good. Week 3 the plague hit our house. Week 4 I’ve honestly been falling off track. I’m not eating as much. Skipping meals again.  Ignoring those signs of hunger that were so new in the past few weeks. I need to get my head back in the game. Stop seeing food as the enemy. Find a common ground where I’m not obsessing, not forcing, I don’t know where it is. I know at this point its going to take a massive brain reset. I’m going to have to stop reading. Stop with the me against food. I’m having stomach spasms again. Stressing again. When eating in general causes stress, I don’t know. I NEED to lose this fat. I need to be able to go hiking with my kids.

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I need to back up stain order. Celebrate. We had an amazing Christmas just the kids and I and a couple friends who stopped by and I really need to thank Ashley & Diana for sharing their time with us to help us feel festive while Steve was underway (deployed) for the holidays! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

IMG_7036In their Christmas jammies.

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So I battle internally with accepting slow progress and desiring more. Wanting to just be below 200 lbs. Not knowing how to get there. terrified that I’ve damaged my body to the point that its going to take 10 years. Every single day crying when I input my food into my fitness pal and it telling me that if every day was like today in 6 weeks my body would be 20 lbs lighter knowing its been saying that for a YEAR. a YEAR over a Year. struggling to lose 3 lbs a MONTH. I’m morbidly obese I should be losing much more. I see the pictures. Struggle with the why not me. Wondering what the hell I’m doing wrong. Rory hugs me, prays for me, tells me there is a reason for it and I will find it. It is a seven year old boy who gets me through almost every single day who cheers me on when I think I can’t eat another bite of food. Who makes deals with me if I finish I can go knit, go hide.

IMG_5390I have goals. Dreams. BIG SCARY HAIRY DREAMS. Dreams that take my breath away. And even more scary some of those dreams are contingent upon me losing this damn fat. Not being 200+ lbs anymore. Being uncomfortable. Being weird. Being Public. Sharing all those really scary things I only think to myself. Sharing my struggles. Sharing my tears. Sharing my heart.

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So I read. Surrender. I pray. I cry more. I pray more. I feel layers and layers falling aside. I believe. I trust. I hope. I put those dreams to paper. I struggle. I pray for guidance. I plan.

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Image from http://www.olympicpeninsula.org/destinations/port-angeles

We are moving from Miami to Port Angeles this summer. I have dreams. Desires. Goals. I reflect. I share.  I don’t know how I am going to achieve my dreams. Only that I will.

What are your dreams? Will you join me? If you want more information please just fill out the contact form below! I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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Through his eyes.

Through his eyes.

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So often when I see pictures of myself I don’t see the moment of why I took that picture. I don’t enjoy it. I only see how far I still have to go on my weightloss journey. I let all those limiting beliefs creep in.

Today I stepped so far out of my comfort zone I let a 4 year old little boy pick out my outfit. I admit I was pretty scared when he opened my closet and asked that I wear something from there. You see there are clothes that don’t quite fit me they are a little snug and then there is a pair of jeans my mini goal jeans that REALLY don’t fit, though they hang there where I can’t miss them even if I’m just grabbing some yarn.

He didn’t pick anything crazy, he picked the beautiful dress I bought myself in April and never got a chance to wear. It was a little big in some places but I made it work. He handed me mascara and told me I look beautiful when I wear makeup so I pulled out my eyeshadow brushes & added a little lipgloss too. I wore my yellow sandals instead of my vibrams and he wore a button down shirt, some cargo shorts & his favorite old worn cowboy boots handed down from someone that his brothers have worn too. He grabbed his wallet full of hard earned coins from helping around the house and told me about the fun we would have on our date just the two of us.

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When your the youngest of six you don’t always get alone time as much as you would like, especially when for the past few years your daddy has been gone more than he is home.

My intent when we left the house was to go to the fabric store to buy more muslin because I ran out & needed more for wrapping soap. While we were there however I thought I should probably buy the bits of fabric I needed to make Elise & Owen their Christmas Stockings, and then there were a couple other fabrics calling my name. Finn asked for some monster fabric so I could make him a “real” wallet and not just the snack pouch he has been using. He was so good recommending fabrics helping me decide even when the line at the cutting table was long. He looked at our number ticket and compared it to the one on the display and told me it wasn’t our turn yet they didn’t match and asked what the words were for the number (92) so he could listen as well. There were people all around us getting annoyed but not Finn he was for this once taking it in stride listening carefully helping me decide of we needed lots or just a little of our various fabrics. 20131018-003255.jpg

We got Aidan the crotchet hook he needed as well and I didn’t even buy any yarn I’ll have you know. In the long checkout line he was great again so happy because he knew that at the end he could get a candy of his choosing anything he wanted with his own money he was so pleased. He picked sour skittles I didn’t even rain on his joy for that little bag of corn syrup & artificial color and flavor filled poison because I chose that moment to see the gift I was being given in the joy & pride on his face knowing he could pay for it with money he earned.

Driving home he told me I was pretty good and nice at the store so he would like to take me for a burger for lunch for a date. I took a deep breath wanting to say no that we were over our budget & we could eat at home but at that moment how could I say sorry mommy needs a newer truck next year instead of spending this time with you. In the long run the $27 we spent on lunch (and his dinner & later a snack for him & Rory) is much better than whatever else it would have gone towards.

He asked for the pepper place which he started actually calling chili’s while we were there. We shared my salad I enjoyed my first burger since August probably a bit too much. He told me jokes, shared dreams, told me he loved me and I looked beautiful today. He said we should take pictures on our date. We did. 20131018-003804.jpg20131018-003748.jpg

That’s when it happened. For the first time in a long time I didn’t see myself as the fat person. The person with a long journey. The person who not long ago had given up on herself. I saw myself through his eyes. I saw someone who loved. Someone happy. Someone smiling. Someone who was loved. Someone beautiful because a 4 year old boy told me it was true.

You are beautiful too. Don’t give up. I haven’t. But I do know there are many hard days ahead. I’m finding. No I’m forging my path I have little boys who deserve to see me care, to see me happy. To see the light. Please join me we can do it together because I know I can’t do it alone and you shouldn’t have to either.20131018-003826.jpg

What is going on?

What is going on?

I had this great thought out post I had planned to share with you today, however I was finishing up so many other things I had been procrastinating and I just never got the chance to crunch the numbers for it. Maybe Friday I bet you are on the edge of your seats waiting right? Anyway I know how much you miss me so I thought I’d share a few pictures from the past month!

Elise

The Most Amazing thing that has happened in the last 30 days is I became a Grandmother! Elise Jessie was born on June 19.

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I knit a monster. Knitting does make me happy these days.

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Rory gave himself a haircut!

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Finn found a new favorite shirt. It gets washed a lot.

monsterDid I mention the knitting?

So what have you been doing this hot wet summer?

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Slowing Down and Smallering for a New ME!

Slowing Down and Smallering for a New ME!

I have to honestly say the past 3 years business wise, personal wise & family wise have been such a whirlwind. From in 2010 my business grew to SIX TIMES what it had been in 2009 and 2009 had already DOUBLED 2008. I was in awe. I was and have been struggling to keep up ever since. I have felt constantly behind always wanting to do more, make more, be more, create more new products trying to fill everyone’s needs. The person’s needs I was ignoring most of the time were my own. In the past 3 years I have gained an additional 50 lbs on my already overweight 5′ 1″ body . I can’t even begin to tell you how many times in the past few years at shows someone would come to my booth and tell me they had been following my blog or heard from a friend about my products but just didn’t expect me to be so fat. I’ve mostly laughed it off saying things like “yeah 3 term pregnancies in 5 years will do that to you” or “I have no me time with 3 kids I’m homeschooling and an infant/toddler” when what I really wanted was to cry. Every single time I thought about a missed sale or connection because I was fat. It was time for a change. In the 20+ shows I did from 2009-2011 this is the ONLY picture I have of me with my booth, and the only reason is I was being photographed with the winners of the scavenger hunt for my herbal tea.

Image from http://fentonstreetmarket.com from 2010

What does this mean for Lana Bella? Well I recently started project me aka Jenni loses 100+ lbs by my birthday next year. To accomplish this for my self-esteem, for my health (please lets not discuss how there are plenty of bigger people in better health than some skinny people because I know for ME being 100+ lbs overweight is not healthy for my mind. body or spirit), for my spirit, for my family, I’ll be pulling back a little. I’ll be saying No a little more. I’ll let things run out of stock once in a while. It’s honestly a lot of work keeping 50+ soaps in stock never mind the other products. I’ll be keeping more accurate inventory. So when you order a 3, 4, or 6 pack of soap and you want x of something please don’t be angry if you get an email back and I say I’m sorry I only have b left would you like a substitution? I’ll be setting aside only two days a month for making what I get done will have to be enough. I will add a third day in and get prepped better for holiday. I will warn you though there will only be 45 bars total of the holiday soaps I won’t be making more that gives you from Nov 1 (I’ll have them ready a little earlier this year) until they sell out to get them. If you know now that you want 12 of something for teachers gift or stockings please contact me soon so I can get in into my schedule.  Also know that because of the multiple shops and the single inventory I am human so there may be time when an order comes in that I haven’t adjusted inventory elsewhere I’m sorry in advance, and hey you might luck out and get an upgrade in size because of it :).

I find it a bit ironic that when I started my business back in 2004 I had found an article on another diaper makers website about smallering. It made so much sense then and I tried to follow the ideals. Then in 2010 doing shows was a total new whirlwind for me. I am ever grateful for all those shows financially they really helped us to do so much with our family, that never would have happened otherwise. For now to move forward though I need to slow down. Somehow I have a 3.5 year old and nearly two teenagers, life is moving too fast and I don’t want to miss any more of their childhoods.

You might find me blogging more though there will be a lot of transformations happening. I’ve also started a second blog. I was on the fence about this for a very long time. I only wanted the responsibilities of maintaining one blog, however I wasn’t sure how much I was ready to share about my weight loss journey. In the past week its funny it has 9 days I’ve decided I’m pretty comfortable with sharing it all but I’ll spare you that journey and instead refer you to the other blog so you can follow my weightless transformation over there. If you have been struggling with it yourself please contact me I’d love to discuss with no obligations what I am doing and how excited I am. I’ve hated clothes shopping for a really long time however I’m really excited about buying exercise clothing go figure! I’m really excited about the changes and I hope we can all still work together.

This also means I am more than ever open to wholesale. I’d honestly rather spend those 2 making days a month making a really big order and put it to bed and have that much less responsibility.

Thank you for all of your support over the years and I hope in the future! Lets bring it!

 

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