Best Vanilla Buttercream

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Happy Holidays!!

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May your holidays be as wonderful as mine, surrounded by family and friends!!  My little elf even dressed up for the occasion.  Merry Christmas everyone!!
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A little secret...

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I considered not writing this post-  mainly because people I interact with daily read this, and this happens to be a very personal topic.  Well, if this isn't the place for personal topics and helping each other, I don't know what is.

I have a stomach disease called Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and while it is not something I talk about a lot because people have certain embarrassing ideas associated with the disease (explosive diarrhea anyone??), I am painfully aware of what I eat.

The symptoms of this disease are varied.  Basically, doctors tell you you have IBS when they have ruled out everything else, but there is still something clearly wrong with you.  My main symptom is abdominal pain so terrible I can't even stand up straight.  The very first episode I had was so severe, I passed out in a hallway.  I also tend to struggle to keep weight on when I have bad episodes.  Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night with terrible pain feeling so hot that I am certain I will faint.  When do these happen?  When I am stressed, don't eat often, eat the wrong foods, don't get enough sleep...the list goes on....

I have looked online, but there aren't a lot of web sites people with IBS can use to get some help, so I though I might put some of the things I have learned on here to maybe help someone else out.

My symptoms seem to be under control, and this is what I do:

1.  Peppermint oil:  I take a pill every morning.  Every.  Morning.  You can purchase this anywhere, but trust me, it is much cheaper on Amazon.  when you take these, make sure to take them on an empty stomach or you will be burping peppermint all day.  Peppermint oil seems to relax your stomach in a way that is more efficient than peppermint tea.

 
 
2.  St. John's Wort:  Some doctors will prescribe a mild antidepressant for people with really severe IBS.  In Europe, doctors prescribe St. John's wort instead of Prozac as a medication for mild depression.  Although I do not take these for depression, I do feel a little more upbeat, although that could have a lot to do with the fact that I am no longer crippled with pain and fatigue.


3.  Peppermint Tea:  It is very important to make sure to get the version of this tea that has no caffeine.

Stash Herbal Tea Blends, 20 Count (Pack of 6)

4.  FODMAP Diet:  This is probably the most important thing on this list.  A low FODMAP diet can be a great tool to help you determine which types of foods make you ill.  If anyone would like to know, in more detail, what is involved in a FODMAP diet, please let me know and I will write a more detailed post on it.  I am lucky to be able to eat milk and yogurt to my heart's content, but anything else off this list is basically a no-no.  Most of all, I miss garbanzo beans and lentils....and broccoli...and garlic and onion. 

Source

5.  Drink a lot of water.  Eliminate every carbonated drink or any drink with caffeine.  Trust me on this.  That stuff isn't even good for you anyway....
Source

6.  Cod Liver Oil:  When I have frequent episodes, I tend to become zombie-tired and pick up any virus in the vecinity.  Since I started taking these, I have not had a single cold.  I went from having colds/flu symptoms about ten months out a year to a whole year of not catching anything.  My sister and brother-in-law caught an especially nasty and persistent strep throat, and, for the first time, I stayed completely disease free!!

Source
7.  Keep a food diary.  This is extremely important.  Until you can identify with certainty which foods make you sick, you absolutely have to write down everything you eat.  This is how I discovered that onions were my Achilles heel as well as hot dogs.  Oh hot dogs.  How I miss you....


I am sure I have left some things out, but will continue to update the list as I learn new coping mechanisms.  I am traveling back to my parent's house tomorrow, which means that I will have to make sure to cook my own separate food to avoid getting sick.  

I also have to let you know something that is a little bit sad.  I can't eat a lot of the pastries I post on here.  I may have a teeny tiny slice, but my body can't handle a lot of it.  If I want a double decker brownie supreme, I will make it, eat a t-spoonful or two and then give it to the a family member or friend.  I just can't make myself give up some of these things permanently, so I bake them for people I know will appreciate them. 
 
 I hope at least one person out there finds this post a little helpful.  For those of you out there feeling guilty about eating that hot dog or slice of cake, please savor it.  Enjoy every last piece.  You will never know how good some things are until you can't have them anymore.
Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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OOTD 121412

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I am trying out several dresses for possible Christmas outfits.  By the way ladies (and gentlemen), I am meeting by boyfriend's family for the first time this Christmas.  Gulp.  I am excited and nervous.  

Now the most important question:  what do I wear.  My preferred outfits for visits to South Texas are t-shirts and jeans since I will more than likely be found at the ranch or doing yard work (my mother likes to trade labor for lodging), but that may be too casual.  Now, if I dress up too much, I might come off as an uptight lady.  Maybe I am over thinking this, but he matters enough to me for me to want to get this right.  This would be easier if my pinterest wardrobe were my actual wardrobe.
  Sigh.




 Dress:  Forever 21
Shoes:  Guess

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OOTD 121312

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 Dress:  Forever 21
Boots:  Gifted


I wore this exact outfit to Central Market a couple of weeks ago, and a sweet woman asked me where I had gotten my boots because she liked them so much.  Excited, I quickly told my boyfriend when he came back from grinding some coffee for me.  He asked, "Those boots, really?!" How rude.  He's lucky he is such a sweetheart.  The man brings me coffee in bed to wake me up on weekends for Heaven's sake.  I was still tempted to walk around Central Market just so I could find a table to flip over, but all the tables were normal-sized, and I would have had to ask him for help to flip one over.

This brings me to my next point.  My mother always told me to take from fashion what was most flattering for me.  Just because something is in style or expensive does not mean it will work for your body type.  I believe this applies to people as well.  Sometimes someone may look great on paper and have a terrible effect on your self-confidence and happiness.

This is the season for giving and as the year closes, I always like to do a mental inventory of the way I treated and was treated by the people that matter to me.  I can't say that I am a saint, but I do try to be better, apologize first, be angry less even though I may not always be successful. 

I used to have a best friend that I loved very much, so much that when this person abandoned me in a fit of rage at a dessert restaurant one evening because he had not wanted to go there in the first place, I quickly forgave him even though I had to walk home at night with another friend.  He never apologized of course.  He also never apologized for telling me I was not good enough to date certain people, making me constantly feel ugly, and giving me a speech about how when I moved away from our city he was going to stop trying to maintain our friendship because it was not worth it. 

The final straw came when he came to visit me along with another friend.  He had asked me to proof read his thesis paper for him, but when he arrived, he had not even begun to write it.  I basically wrote the ten page paper for him in two days, and when he finally came out of the apartment to do some of the activities my other best friend and I had meticulously planned for weeks, he kept complaining about how boring everything was and how terrible it was to be sober for the first time in almost a year.  Great.  Perfect.

I stopped trying as hard to keep in contact with him after this.  I realized I was beating a dead horse with a stick.  For my birthday, my other best friend wrangled him into calling me.  I was in the bathroom when he called so I missed the phone call, and upon calling him back, was basically broken up with.  On my birthday.  By my best friend.  

My only regret is having wasted time being diminished by someone that clearly was not a right fit for me.  I am not attracted by the club/bar scene mainly because I don't drink.  On Monday I do go to a bar...to play board games.  Really nerdy ones where you defeat demons with potions or build houses by selling sheep...and I have a blast.  THERE.  I SAID IT.

I wish I could say I wish him the best, but honestly, I am indifferent.  I can say for a brief moment of time, I had the naive mentality that everyone has something beautiful inside of them that you can learn and grow from as a person, if you take the time to look for it, but I am starting to believe that this may not always be the case.  Some people will be mean to you, no matter how kind you are to them.  This is not to say that I have shut my heart down from the world but I definitely evaluate more, trust blindly a little less.

In this season, shower those that you love with gifts and kindness.  It is those that stay loyally at your side even at your ugliest and lowest that are the real gifts and gosh darn it I am going to bake up a storm to show them how much I love them.  Thank God for elastic waist bands! 
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OOTD 121212

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Okay, so I am obsessed with the beautiful little lady below.   Frankly, I would make this blog all about doggie pictures if I could.  It takes a great deal of restraint for me not to go around showing people pictures of the most beautiful dogs in the world (mine, not yours obviously), but mostly I just let the hair covering my clothes speak for itself.

When people see my little cow/pony, Maya, they typically run for the hills and rightfully so.  You should never simply walk up to a strange dog, especially mine.  She is a giant love bug when properly introduced and can frequently be found trying to subtly get onto people's laps.  Unfortunately, there is nothing subtle about an 80+ pound dog trying to remain invisible by avoiding eye contact.


This little lady literally does cartwheels in the air every time a cold front hits, which is not really a side a lot of people get to see of the "regal, serious Akita".  Our favorite game involves me jumping at her.  Let me explain.  I hop towards her, making sure to slap my bare feet on the floor so she can hear it.  She "jumps" back by slamming her little paws on the floor, and then I run until she comes and tags me, vice versa.  In the picture below, she is trying to get me to play with her by slamming her front paws on the floor.  I love that goofy face.


Ducky was standing guard at the door while his ladies played.  Men.
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Lentils

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On weeks when I have tons of tests, papers, and, well, basically responsibilities that I can't put off, I always make food in bulk that I then freeze in single servings in small mason jars to be eaten in a pinch.

One of my favorite soups to prepare in advance for cheap (hey, I am a college student after all) is lentil soup.  It is easy, healthy, delicious, and basically fool proof.  For this version, I added egg, but you could add bacon, beef, or chicken.  It is such a versatile soup that it pairs well with anything, including a grilled cheese sandwich.






Lentils
Ingredients:
1 bag lentils, thoroughly wash and drained           
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 egg
Salt
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
Chopped green onion
Chicken Bouillon


Directions:
1. In a large pot, add the lentils with enough water to cover liberally.  Remember that as the lentils cook, they will expand, so you will need to add enough water to compensate or keep a watchful eye on them.
2. In a separate pan, fry the clove of garlic, onion, and tomato in the tablespoon of olive oil.  If you are new to frying, first heat up the oil, then add the garlic and onion.  Once the onion is semi-transparent, add the tomatoes.  Remove from heat once the tomatoes start to turn mushy or look integrated in the mixture.
3. Add the vegetable mixture to the lentils once the lentils are soft to taste.  This should take anywhere between 30-60 minutes.
4. Add the chicken bouillon and salt to taste.
5. Serve the lentil soup with a fried egg and chopped green onion garnish or freeze for a later time.



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