Friday, November 17, 2017

Something for Nothing

Something I do well?  I spend money.  I don't even need an occasion.  If I see something I want, I buy it. 

Last night, Jade was telling me about ebates -- a website that gives you cash back for shopping through their site.  Then she mentions that Amazon is on ebates with a 6% cash return!  Are you kidding me?!  I drop thousands on Amazon every year!  I'm trying not to grind my teeth over the cash back opportunities I have missed. 

Anyway, I signed up for ebates.  You shop at places you already love, but now you get cash in your pocket.  Macy's: 3%.  Ebates hotels: 7%.  They have over 2,000 online stores, broken down by category and name.  Just click and shop.

Christmas is coming!

They gave me a referral code, which is linked below, and I wanted to share it.  Sign up and you'll get $10 (once you're in, you can refer people to sign up and get even more cash).  Pretty sweet, huh. 

Happy shopping!

Lori's ebates referral code!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Watercolors Shampoo and Conditioner

I learned quickly when I first went red five or six years ago that red washes out of your hair FAST.  For a long time I rocked a "black cherry" wine red.  I used Tressa Watercolors shampoo to help keep the red in a little longer.  Sure, it looked like I murdered someone in my shower, but the red didn't fade as quickly (and it washes down so it never stained my shower or hands).  I tried to go blonde again and it just never worked with my pale skin tone, so I went back to red almost two years ago.  I started having my stylist add more and more purple -- first because I like purple and second because I had hoped it wouldn't fade as quickly as red.  While it does still fade a bit, I went looking for Tressa Watercolors again to see if they had something to help.  They do have a violet shampoo (which is technically to help keep blonde hair bright), but I find it helps keep my purple hair from fading as quickly too.  They also have a clear conditioner.  It is all sulfate-free, which is better for our hair anyway!

Tressa Watercolors violet shampoo:

Tressa Watercolors red shampoo:

Tressa clear conditioner:

Purple and a snapchat filter :)


Monday, November 13, 2017

Remember that backless, strapless sticky bra?

A few months ago, I saw a Facebook video of a girl with large breasts using the backless, strapless sticky bra.  I saw the infamous Nelly the Uncensored Reviewer's video as well.  So I bought one and did my own review (the video got quite a few views...I guess people love boobs!).  Check it out below.  I am wearing it under the bathing suit in this photo. 

If you want to try it out, the Amazon link is below the video. 


Thursday, November 9, 2017

That bathing suit I wore...

I get requests all the time for information on the bandage bathing suit I wore for the Las Vegas photoshoot with LockBox Studios and the Twirl for a Cause performance in September.  I figured the best way to link it was to write about it here!

It is a $17 bathing suit on Amazon.  No joke.  I believe it goes up to XL (I am a size 16 and I felt like it was comfortable, so an 18 should easily be able to wear it).  I am a little over 5'10" and weigh 225 pounds.   I am also linking a video of me performing in it so you can see how well it stayed in place (forgive me...I can't walk in shoes so this isn't my best performance). 

Happy shopping!


Monday, November 6, 2017

Everything Happens For A Reason

I've noticed as I spend more time becoming aware of the synchronicities in my life -- how things are connected, coincidences, and how a single moment in time can lead me down a new path -- it seems everything does happen for a reason.  I've seen some pretty nasty fights go down on Facebook over this statement.  No, it doesn't mean that if bad things happen, it's because you're a bad person, or even if good things happen, you're a good person.  Bad shit happens to everyone, and horrible people do sometimes win.  No, you didn't do anything to "deserve" losing your loved one long before their time should have been up.  And no, that guy isn't so awesome that he "deserved" to win the lottery and become a millionaire.  For me, it's more about seeing the connection between my attitude and what it brings into my life. 

Let's take this morning, for instance.  I woke up to a nail in my tire.  Luckily, I was leaving for work early and it was drivable.  I took it to a tire shop where they were able to give me two new tires in about 30 minutes.  Did I want to spend the $500 on new tires?  Not really, especially considering my recently-changed financial situation.  But was I able to pay for them without seriously causing pain to my wallet?  Yes, I was, and I was grateful for that.  I got to work about 45 minutes late.  I found out our card readers weren't working properly, and no one was actually able to get into the building until about 15 minutes after my normal start time.  That means, I technically didn't lose that much work time this morning.  Obviously, this isn't a life-changing incident, but of all the days to have to get to work late, sounds like this was the one. 

Last month, my roommate of two and a half years gave notice, saying he would be moving back to Italy.  An acquaintance asked if I would consider letting him move in instead of placing an ad for a new roommate.  I said yes.  The roommate tried to take back his notice, and I told him I had a replacement so he would have to leave.  With about a week to go before the end of the month, the replacement backed out, leaving me with very little time to find a new replacement, and the current roommate had already found a place to stay until he moved.  I panicked for a minute, then I decided I would be fine.  I took a hard look at my budget and decided I could make it work without a roommate.  I had placed an ad on Craigslist, but decided I wouldn't worry if I didn't get any good potentials.  Then I spent a few days alone in my roommate-free house, and I remembered how much I disliked living with strangers.  I decided I would not be replacing my roommate.  For probably the first time in the entire seven and a half years I've lived in this place, I actually enjoy coming home (before this roommate, I had a really terrible college student for a year; and before that, I lived there with my ex-boyfriend -- before that, I hadn't lived with a roommate since my early 20's).  Even though the replacement flaking at the last minute stressed me out, had he not said he wanted to move in, I may have caved when the roommate asked to cancel his notice, and I would still be sitting here (either with the current roommate or with the replacement), not really enjoying the space in which I spend a good portion of my life.  Everything happens for a reason.

Last weekend, my friend came over to give me some decorating advice.  She thought I should move my bed to a different wall.  Last night, I decided to do that.  That bed has been in the same place for seven years.  Apparently someone spilled something behind one of the night stands.  The wall and carpet were destroyed.  The paint was peeling, there was some mold, and the sheetrock had eroded away.  Everything was dry, though, and I haven't spent much time on that side of the bed since my ex moved out about four years ago, so I have to assume this happened a long time ago and I've just been breathing in those mold spores for years.  I spent last night scraping mold, bleaching, drying, and spackling the hole in the wall.  So, had we not discussed redecorating, my bed would still be sitting in the same spot, and I would have no clue that there was a portal to another dimension in my wall.

Almost three years ago, a former co-worker sent me a job ad.  I wasn't job hunting, so I immediately forwarded it to another friend who was potentially looking for work.  She called me and said that another friend we had in common (someone I went to high school with, had worked with in a law firm, and had lost touch with), was the one leaving the position (for another position in the organization) and was waiting for my resume.  I said I wasn't looking for work but wanted her to apply for the position.  She encouraged me to reconsider.  So I threw my hat in the ring.  That led to me being hired for the best job I've had in my entire life.  Over two and a half years after starting this position, I still enjoy coming to work.  I love the people.  I find the work interesting.  Even though I wasn't job hunting, this job fell into my lap for a reason.  It got me out of stressful litigation work (which I had done for 20 years, and didn't realize you didn't have to work a job where it was a nightly occurrence to wake up with a start thinking you forgot to do something), and into a job where I feel like I am actually making a difference and helping people. 

My last story will be a little bit more of an interesting path my life has followed.  The person I dated most recently lives a couple of hours away from me.  But for how we met, there probably would never have been a reason for our paths to cross.  We met "randomly" last May.  He was the pilot on one of the activities on the adventure pass Jade bought for us.  I knew Jade from the pole dance world.  We met about seven years ago on a pole dance website, and I introduced her to Twirly Girls.  We were at a Twirly Girls event a couple of years ago and we started talking more often and bonded.  I had gone through a break up with my ex and was navigating the ridiculous world of online dating apps.  I essentially hadn't been single in over a decade and she became my dating guru.  The reason I found Twirly Girls was because an old high school friend had received an email about the studio opening in Pleasanton and a group of five or six of us made an appointment to take a class in December 2009.  Everyone but Rita flaked.  Rita and I have now been Twirly Girls for almost eight years.  The reason I reconnected with that old high school friend was because she was having weight loss surgery and someone suggested me as a good resource for information, so she found me on Facebook and asked if we could meet to discuss my experience.  (On a side note, she was also indirectly the reason I ended up meeting the ex I spent six years with.)  So, quite literally, had I not been fat, had gastric bypass surgery, and ultimately found Twirly Girls and Jade, it's possible I would not have ever met the person I dated the last year and a half.  I know that will be a stretch for some of you, but I still think it is an interesting quick look at how things happen in our lives, which shape who we are, and send us in new directions.  Everything happens for a reason. 

The best thing I can do is choose to see the things that happen, and the people I meet, as lessons that help me grow and become a better person.  I can very easily get bogged down in negativity and "why me" syndrome.  Instead, I find it easier to deal with difficult times by finding the lesson, staying positive and not letting myself spiral into depression.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Operation Upside Down: Month 4

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I did it.  I went upside down.  By myself.  Before we get there, check out my month three update HERE.  And now...rejoice...Even if it's a pretty sloppy attempt, that looks like upside down to me!


So I had another light month.  I went to San Luis Obispo and Disneyland last month and had a work event, so I missed a couple of classes, but I am still progressing.  Check out some other highlights from October below.

October 5:

October 9:

October 12:

October 30:

I'm pretty pleased with my progress.  I will have to take a lyra break in November as I have an appointment on Mondays all month after work.  But I will try to step up my yoga and pilates reformer at home to keep myself from losing any strength.  I also need to drag my lazy butt up to start doing squats again in the mornings.  I have no booty! 

See you next month! 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Unicorn's Journey Toward Enlightenment

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a R E A L L Y long blog about the Rebel & Muse yoga retreat I attended (you can read that HERE).  I feel like my posts in general lately have been following a new path.  I wanted to talk about my journey and how I ended up where I am today.

I feel like I didn't wake up until I was probably 38 years old -- about three years ago.  I hadn't taken great care of my body, mind or spirit for most of my life, and it was time to start making myself a priority. 

In 2004, I weighed almost 350 pounds and had gastric bypass to lose weight.  Although I got down to 180 pounds, I ended up with a lot of health issues related to mal-absorption.  I also never learned how to deal with my un-diagnosed eating disorder, and losing my ability to self-medicate with food pushed me into a very bad place.  I started taking anti-depressants, started gaining weight, and felt like I was essentially un-doing the surgery.  I started the yo-yo weight loss/gain again.  Up to 220 pounds.  Down to 200.  Back up.  Back down.  The pendulum was really starting to swing.

In 2014, I started working with Ellen on my health issues (my first blog about it can be found HERE).  Working with Ellen has been life changing because she understood my issues (even if she has been frustrated by my snail's pace).  I do have disordered eating issues.  I can't just cut every "bad" food out of my life at once.  It would trigger a binge that would have me gaining weight at a ridiculous rate.  She has been extremely patient and has helped me significantly cut the amount of sugar I ingest, and convinced me to go gluten-free earlier this year to help with my psoriasis (you can read that HERE).  I have gone from 263 pounds (in 2013) to 226 pounds today (I haven't been this weight since 2009).  Although the goal was never to lose weight (it was always about bettering my health), the weight just came off as I made healthier choices.  I also stopped guilting and shaming myself when I made "bad" choices, or for how my body looked (and tried to stop assigning "good" or "bad" descriptions to food in general).  Honestly, that is probably equally as responsible for helping me lose weight as eating better foods.  I never "dieted" or restricted calories.  I never felt hungry.  I just existed, ate higher quality food, and increased my "good fat" intake.  I also take the supplements that Ellen suggested.  I have never felt better.  Step one.

Step two.  I had a bit of a spiritual awakening in probably 2015.  I grew up in a religious household and am not a fan of organized religion.  I have always been open to spirituality, but didn't embrace it until more recently -- as I figured out how to separate spirituality from man-made religion.  I choose to believe that we are all connected in the Universe.  And I believe we get back what we put out into the Universe.  If I am stressing and angry and negative, I feel like I get more negativity back.  But if I use positive thinking, mindfulness, meditation, journaling, yoga, being aware of (and dealing with) my feelings as they happen (instead of stuffing them), I am better able to handle more difficult times.  Jade has been a huge help in this department.  She has helped me keep my shit together (or held my hand as I lost my shit for a period of time) on more occasions than I can count.  I will forever be grateful for her friendship and her love (and her patience, because, honestly, I would have punched me in the face a long time ago). 

Is that a unicorn horn in your pants or are you just happy to see me?!
I make a huge effort every day to wake up and list the things for which I am grateful.  My family.  My friends.  My health.  A fun job.  A place to live.  Food on the table.  Adventures.  All the basics, but really I spend the most time appreciating the blessings in my life -- the awesome people.  I also end each evening this way.  I journal as well.  Sometimes I talk about good things.  Sometimes I talk about frustrations.  I actually have two journals going now.  One is my general go-to journal.  The other is my 108 Day Rituals for Transformation.  I love this journal because it has a theme for the day.  You read it, meditate on it, write an affirmation for the day (which I enter into my calendar on my phone with reminders a few times that day), then you have two journaling sections: one for the morning and the other for the evening (encouraging you to show gratitude for what you learned that day).  I am about half way through and I feel like it truly helps me start (and end) each day right. 

In relationships, I have been a serial monogamist.  I spent six years with someone in my late teens to early 20's.  I spent four and a half years with someone in my late 20's to early 30's.  I then spent six years of my 30's with my third long term boyfriend.  Never once was marriage even a consideration with any of these men.  Each of them was (obviously) the wrong person and there were red flags early on that I ignored.  I could spend time being upset that I "wasted" time with them, but I find it easier to see the lessons I learned and applied to my next relationship.  I have certainly grown with each one.  I can  honestly say that I woke up and the almost year and a half that I spent in my last "relationship" was the happiest and most rewarding, even if he still wasn't "the one."  It actually probably taught me the most of any of my previous relationships -- not just about what I don't want in a relationship, but what I do want.  And that's because I truly allowed myself to feel.  I spent a lot of years stuffing my feelings with food or shopping or other addictions.  I could allow myself to feel anger, but that was about it.  I feel like recognizing what I need out of a relationship, and what I have to offer as a partner, setting boundaries and speaking up about my expectations was step three in my transformation. 

One of my recent journal prompts talked about accepting that we are all perfect.  Ugh.  I have spent so much time telling myself we aren't perfect and that's ok!  No one is perfect.  Life isn't perfect.  But what if that's how it's all supposed to go, which does make it perfect.  Perfectly imperfect if that will help me accept it. 

I'm really in a good place right now.  The pieces of the puzzle are snapping together and, although my puzzle is still being solved, the clues are more clear and I'm finding my pieces faster.  I want to thank everyone who has been part of my journey.  I truly understand now that life IS a journey.  I know it seems so cliche, but it's so true.  I can only move forward from here, there is no reason to move backwards, and I am extremely excited about what the future holds for me.  And you.  We are all in this together. 

Some photos throughout my life (the making of a Unicorn):

1977 - forever a nudist

Approx. 1986

Approx. 1994

Approx. 2003