Top Ten Food

My top ten food list:

  1. Chicken, fixed any way. My favorite is grilled.
  2. Chinese. No explanation required. I love it all, from lo mein noodles to moo goo gai pan.
  3. Red velvet cake. My absolute favorite but you can’t go wrong with plain chocolate.
  4. Thin crust chicken pizza with alfredo sauce, mushrooms, black olives, tomatoes and green peppers.
  5. Eggs, scrambled or hard-boiled. They are so versatile.
  6. Tacos, chicken or beef, hard or soft. Give me all of them!
  7. Birthday cake pancakes from iHop, one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
  8. Vegetables, of any kind. I don’t eat them solely because of my diet, I truly love the taste of them. My favorites are broccoli, asparagus and zucchini.
  9. Mom’s biscuits & gravy.
  10. Iced coffee, my way.

Personality

Today’s blog challenge is to name 3 personality traits that I am proud of. Honestly, I feel I have a HUGE personality so it may be hard to pinpoint the top 3. 🙂

I am caring, almost too much. The well-being of others is essential to me. I care about others being comfortable, or happy and when they are sad, I find ways to uplift or encourage. In my opinion, my happiness doesn’t depend solely on me, it’s also based on my interactions in relationships and people around me. I never forget what I’ve been through and remind myself of that when trying to help others. My heart is filled with compassion.

I am sociable. Picture this, preschool report card…Samantha is an intelligent child but she talks a lot. Fast forward to present day and I’m the same way, still. I love people, I really do. I enjoy making others smile and engaging in small conversation about their day, their pets or their problems. I love getting to know others and making someone comfortable in an awkward situation. I make friends very easily and feel I can talk to anyone freely and candidly.

I am strong. Stronger than what most realize. I may have a giving, caring heart but I know my boundaries by never forgetting what I’ve been through. I may shed a tear or two but they will be quickly replaced with a smile. Instead of focusing on the negative around me, I look for positives in every step. Although, I make mistakes and falter at times, I will never be kept down. I have scars but they do not prevent me from living and loving and they never will.

 

Shhh…

Guilty pleasures…I could write a book about this. Instead, I’ll choose one and share it with you all. I love to shop at thrift stores & vendor malls. I love to rummage through others junk!

To some, this may have zero appeal but to me, it’s like going through Grandma’s attic. I get excited and can’t wait to see what treasures I may find. By treasures I mean something that I will value personally, regardless if it’s worth a nickel. I love old things.

Rotary phones. Lace doilies. Vinyl records. Vintage typewriters. Wooden toys. Old magazines and books. Glass lamps. Posters. Cameras. Timepieces. Wooden tennis rackets. I could go on and on. I imagine a story behind each item and let my mind soar. 🙂

The Cow & Cornbread

My earliest childhood memory isn’t of an iPhone or playing games on Facebook, it involves a cow and some cornbread.

Growing up in the hills of Kentucky, I was dirty more than I was clean. I’d roll down mountains and yards or roll my pant legs up to wade in the creek, stepping on rocks or catching crawdads. Many evenings were spent with my Grandfather, milking cows, feeding pigs or collecting eggs. Times were much simpler back then.

My cousins always came to visit on Sundays, making it the best day of the week! Granny would fix a huge dinner of soup beans, fried potatoes, corn and whatever else she could mix up, always served with a big cast iron skillet full of cornbread. If you’ve never had cornbread or cornbread out of cast iron, you truly don’t know what you are missing. Granny’s was always the best, although she was known for burning it a tad bit. Extra brown, she would say!

One particular Sunday, after dinner, my cousins and I decided we were going to head to the corncrib to play school. The corncrib had stacks of dried corn on the cob that was used to feed the chicken and pigs pushed to the back. In the front, we had moved an old filing cabinet and that is where we kept our “school” papers and pencils. We loved to play teacher and students, we would make up fake tests and grade each other.

I had decided to take a piece of cornbread with me that day in my pocket, it was hard work playing and I might want a snack for later. 🙂 We were in the corncrib for about 30 minutes when we heard a commotion outside. One of the cows had gotten loose and was trying to get in the corncrib with us!

We panicked and went into survivor mode. Even though the crib had several steps leading up to the door and was over 2 feet off the ground, we were convinced the cow was going to attack us. Finding some old rope, we quickly tied it to the inside of the old wooden door and held on for dear life. The cow’s wet nose was pressing through the cracks and we screamed for help.

It was at that point, my cousin remembered I had the cornbread in my pocket. She yelled at me to throw it to the cow so it would get away from the door. I paused for a moment, this wasn’t just your average piece of bread, then decided to sacrifice my treat so we could escape. I found a small crack on the side of the door and tossed the bread as far as I could. The cow turned and found the bread. We were relieved.

We flung open the door, grabbed our school papers and ran to Granny’s house, looking back for the crazy cow. Needless to say, I never left Sunday dinner without a piece of cornbread in my pocket, never knowing if it was going to be eaten by me or a cow.

My3P’s

Today’s challenge is the meaning of my business name. Technically this isn’t a business but I’m going to give you how My3P’s came about.

I’ve been on my weight loss journey since January and many people wanted to know my secrets. No big secrets…just healthier eating & exercise. Really not what they wanted to hear but it’s the truth. Weight loss surgery and diet pills were not an option for me so I did it the way that worked for me.

I really wanted to give others, going through the weight loss headache, encouraging and uplifting words. However, I wasn’t sure about how to do it. My friend began talking about a blog and ways I could reach out to people with my positivity. He and I came up with the blog idea and it skyrocketed from there. I signed up and the hardest part was coming up with a name.

We brainstormed one Sunday afternoon, tossed a few things back and forth and we came up with My3Ps.com. The first “P” being Prayers. Can anyone have too many prayers or pray too much? I don’t think it’s possible. Not only do I pray for myself but I pray most hard for my friends, family and even people I don’t know. I pray for the country, the president, practically everyone! I never pray for specifics, only ask that his will be done. No matter how you pray, it should become a staple in your life.

The second “P” stands for Patience. Patience is not a strong point for me. I’m sure you all have heard me say that but I’m honest enough to admit it. I admit that I usually like that instant gratification but with weight loss, it does NOT happen like that. It’s a very slow process. The past 7 months have taught me to slow down, smell the roses and appreciate what’s in front of me. It’s all in God’s timing, not mine.

Positivity is the third and final “P”. Honestly to me, this may be the most important one. Being positive not only makes you feel better but it also helps others too, even if you aren’t aware of it. Kinda like think positive and positive things will happen. Don’t allow negativity to prevent your dreams from coming true. We all have problems and issues, no one is perfect but having a positive attitude can change your entire outlook. Look for something positive in each day, you may have to look harder at times but I promise it’s going to be worth it.

Fun Twentysomething

  1. I was born in 1976. That year marked the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. My birth certificate even has a bicentennial mark on.
  2. I love to read. My favorite authors are Stephen King, James Patterson & Danielle Steel.
  3. If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to Dubai. Such opulence!
  4. I grew up in a very small town called Flat Lick. I love the view of the Kentucky mountains from my Grandma’s front porch swing and spent many summers on it with a Reader’s Digest.
  5. I love bubble baths and take them as often as I can, with loads of bubbles. It’s my favorite way to relax.
  6. My favorite movie is Dirty Dancing and I’ve watched it over 100 times.
  7. I have a horrible fear of snakes. Just the thought of them causes nightmares.
  8. My most prized possession is my Grandmother’s souvenir spoon collection that’s hanging in my dining room. I bought her a souvenir spoon when I went to the Bahamas and it took off from there! Anytime someone went out-of-town, they picked a new spoon for her. Her spoons range from Alaska to Florida with many in between.
  9. I love music and listen to it constantly, at home, work and in my car. My tastes range from rock to hip hop, hold the country though unless it’s some old Garth Brooks or Reba.
  10. My favorite subject in school was math except Geometry. I struggled with shapes!
  11. One thing I always forget to pack on trips is my underwear or toothpaste. Not sure how it happens but 9 out of ten times, those are the items I’m rushing out to buy.
  12. Fall is my favorite season, hands down! I love seeing the leaves change colors, those cool, crisp mornings and anything pumpkin flavored!
  13. Patience is not a virtue of mine. I’m working on being better at it but I usually seek instant gratification and it always comes back to bite me in the butt!!
  14. Everything happens for a reason and that is my life motto. I always remind myself that our timing may not be God’s timing and to allow him to work out his plan, patiently.
  15. My favorite holiday is Christmas, not because of the gifts but I love the happiness it brings out in people. I love the lights and always wish for snow.
  16. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an attorney.
  17. The best thing that has happened to me this year has been meeting a really wonderful guy who has turned out to be one of my best friends. He’s always encouraging and supportive, which means a lot to me. I thank God for him everyday.
  18. I love balloons and would pick them any day over flowers!
  19. One of my favorite healthy meals would be a baked chicken with Mrs. Dash & steamed veggies (broccoli, carrots and cauliflower) along with some Halo Top ice cream. Yum!
  20. If I could look back and tell my teenage self one thing, it would be learn not to sweat the small things. Be gentle on yourself, enjoy each day!

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there was this princess named Samantha, she was beautiful and fair and people worshipped at her feet…Hold up, this is real life. Who has time for make-believe?

I’ve challenged myself to a 31 day blog challenge because I want my readers to know more about me and realize that we are all somewhat similar. If you know me personally, you may know most of what I’m going to write but read along anyways and act surprised. 🙂

My name is Samantha Michelle and I was born in a small town in southeastern Kentucky named Barbourville to two adoring parents, Gary & Carol. I have one younger brother and he has 3 daughters, my beautiful nieces. Growing up, I loved to talk and make friends (I actually still do), I enjoyed school and loved to read. After graduation, I moved to Richmond where I attended EKU.

Fast forward past college, I married and divorced by the age 28. A few relationships later, I became pregnant and had a stillborn son TayShaun Demarkus Brown in 2011. That was a very low point in my life and without God’s grace and guiding hand, I would have never made it through that period. In 2013, my sweet Father left this earth unexpectedly and once again, my heart was shattered.

A couple of years later, the most loving soul I know left this earth, my Grandmother. It was really at that point, I realized how truly alone I felt. I began to lean on God more and through all the loss and heartache, began to learn more about myself and just how strong I could be. I had a warm bed at night, food on the table and some amazing friends and family who loved me dearly.

My biggest fault is I care about people too much and it gives them the opportunity to take advantage of my kindness. Some days, I wish I could change but I could never be a cold-hearted person, no matter what curve ball life throws at me. When I love, I love big…there is no in between with me. I love to cook, travel, shop, watch movies and cuddle. I love spontaneous road trips, workouts at the gym and I hate surprises.

I have a deep passion for animals and volunteer at the Laurel County Animal Shelter at least once a week. Anyone that can harm a defenseless animal isn’t much of a person, in my opinion!! I have two rescue cats who keep me entertained and covered in fur.

I began this blog to share my life & weight loss journey with others. It’s quickly became something I really enjoy doing and I hope you all enjoy reading it! Check back tomorrow for day 2!

 

What Love Means to Me

Love. Big sigh.

If you have a fairytale relationship/marriage then you will completely disagree with some things I’m going to say but for most of us, the road to love has been rocky and covered with hot coals.

More often than not, I’ve chosen the wrong man to love. It’s never been intentional but I am a firm believer in following your heart even while my brain is screaming Danger, Danger!  I’ve always sought that love story that we all yearn for as little girls, the love story my grandparents had. The simple, unconditional kind of love. Does it exist anymore?

It goes like this…you meet someone single & attractive. They seem to be sane. In the beginning, everyone is on their best behavior. You both do all the right things, say the right things, act the right way then things begin to change and the crazy comes out! Maybe not the crazy but most of you know what I mean, they stop doing the little things that, although small, are important, they stop being who they pretended to be at first or they just move on to someone else while still dating you.

If some parts of love wasn’t stressful enough, social media makes it ten times worse. If you are a cheater, it’s a hotbed of available women/men who have very little respect for your commitment status. If you seek attention such as flirting or compliments, it doesn’t take long to find it on the world wide web. Don’t get me wrong, I have met some wonderful people through Facebook or IG and it’s great for keeping up with friends and family members but it’s also great for keeping some messenger secrets.

I’ll admit, I’ve been cheated on more times than I can count. Every time it hurt until the point, I became numb and gave up the fight. If someone is going to do it, they will find a way regardless of how you feel. Once upon a time, I thought it was me and maybe that I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough but then I realized it wasn’t that at all.  There can be many reasons why someone cheats but the leading factor, I believe, is someone’s insecurities. With some exceptions, I feel men and women cheat for different reasons..for men, it’s usually purely physical and for women, it’s definitely more emotional.

Love shouldn’t hurt you mentally, physically or financially. Love heals. Love didn’t reject you or leave you wondering, someone who doesn’t know how to love did all those things. It can’t be forced or fabricated, it’s better to be single then to be with the wrong person as I’ve experienced. You cannot make someone love you. You cannot force others to be faithful or respectful, that has to come from within.

Love yourself first and foremost and believe that you deserve to be happy and loved by an amazing person. You deserve someone who would bag the moon and stars for you. Be patient and give yourself time to heal after a relationship. Going from person to person is not healthy, take a break. Focus on you so that you don’t hurt the next person by bringing negative energy into their life.

Lastly, when you meet that person who is different, who is constantly on your mind, take your time. Don’t rush things, be patient. Love is friendship set on fire. Learn to wait. Don’t lie. Be respectful. Communication is key. Don’t settle. Their time is just as precious as yours. Don’t take advantage of someone’s love, it’s not fair to either of you. No matter how many times I’ve been hurt by someone I loved, I will never give up on it. Love is so special and I can’t wait to share it with someone who feels the same way I do.

My Weight Loss Journey

Disclaimer: This blog is based solely upon how I lost weight. This method may not work for others but with determination and hard work, YOU can achieve anything! I am, by no means, putting down anyone who chooses different methods such as diet pills or surgery. That’s their option, it simply was not a choice for me.

My name is Samantha and I am addicted to food. There I said it, I have a problem. I love food. I love how it tastes. When I’m sad, I want to eat. When I’m happy, I want to eat. When I’m upset or stressed, food is my comfort. Can anyone relate to this? We all, at times, have a dependency on something…whether it’s cigarettes, drugs, speeding or in my case, food. I didn’t become overweight from eating carrots (although, last week a carrot almost caused my death…a Twinkie would have never did that).

I’ve been chubby since birth. Comments in my baby book state the fact, “She’s a beautiful baby but a big one”. For years, my parents believed I had a medical condition and dragged me from doctor to doctor. I remember each one stating that it was simply baby fat and would be gone by the time I was age 5. But guess what? That never happened, I continued to get larger. Luckily for me my family was always supportive regardless of my weight but elementary and high school students were a different story.

Kids can be cruel. Simple as that. They are brutally honest and hurtful. Many times, I didn’t have any friends to play with at recess or I wasn’t invited to a sleepover because I was fat. All this did was fuel my desire for more food. I remember sneaking in the fridge at night when my parents were asleep to eat. In high school, when you think the teasing or bullying should be at a minimum, it worsened. Days I would come home after being teased constantly and turn to my one comfort…food.

I tell you all this for background purposes only. I’ve dealt with the demons from my past. One thing I discovered was self-love, loving myself no matter what size. Society makes it difficult at times, magazines show unnaturally skinny women with perfect breasts and flawless skin. What we must realize is that’s not real life…real life has circles under your eyes, real life has days when your jeans will not zip or hair days where a hat is a must!

January 3rd, 2017 was a turning point for me. I weighed 289lbs. That’s the day I decided to start my life over, to become a better me. I had spent the last part of 2016, heartbroken and wallowing in food.  I had gained 20lbs over a four-month period which caused my blood pressure to once again, get out of control and for the first time, I actually felt disgusted when I looked in the mirror. It was time for a change and it had to start with me.

Junk food was given away or tossed. I realize this is something most people can’t do but I’m giving you insight on how I did it. If it wasn’t healthy, it was NOT coming into my home. I bought a food journal and downloaded My Fitness Pal and began tracking everything that crossed my lips. I made a list of goals and water became my best friend. I researched different foods, constantly trying new things to spark my taste buds.

I began following inspirational people on Instagram, people who had lost weight naturally and their methods. I enjoyed their stories and transformation pictures, I knew one day that would be me. All these pages had a common theme, eat healthy and exercise daily. Something I need to mention is that I’m lazy, I will be the first to admit it or I should say, I WAS lazy. I knew I should incorporate exercise into my new healthier lifestyle but I couldn’t make myself.

By April, I had lost 30lbs. Woohoo! I have to admit, there are many times I fell off the wagon and fell back into some horrible eating. It’s easy to slip back into bad habits. Time can be an enemy and you must prepare for whatever comes your way. I keep protein bars or unsalted almonds in my purse or car. Whenever hunger strikes, I’m not tempted to grab some nuggets from the drive thru.

Also, hydration is key. A lot of times, our body is thirsty and we mistake it for hunger. Everyday, I consume over a gallon of water. Water is essential to good health. I’m always amazed by people who rarely drink it. How do you live?! One of my favorites to make at home is infused water. I’ll use cucumber, lemon, mint, strawberries, oranges or whatever I chose to make my water a little more flavorful. I am not a fan of the drink mix packet, simply because they cause me to have cravings because of the artificial sweeteners.

I began to meal prep and did constant research on healthier recipes that I could make ahead. I bought containers and prepared snacks and meals for four days at a time. Hard boiled egg whites, cheese sticks, sliced cucumbers, celery, carrots, 100 calorie packs of almonds were some of my favorite snacks. I baked chicken or made turkey meatballs with loads of veggies for lunch and dinner, all seasoned with no sodium Mrs. Dash.

It was at that point, the weight loss stalled. I mixed up my diet, added carbs, took them away. I tried intermittent fasting, protein shakes for breakfast and lunch and cut back my calories so much that I was weak from hunger. Realistically, those things worked for a little while but it’s impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle using those methods. I realized what I needed to do was exercise, no way around it.

I joined a local rec center and haven’t looked back since. I still have my bad days where I eat chips and pizza and cupcakes but they are few and far in between. The good days are plentiful. The days where I eat loads of fresh veggies, lean protein and exercise till I can’t walk. I can leave work in the worst mood, hit the gym for an hour and feel like a million bucks. Exercise help me shed the last 30lbs of my first goal and yesterday morning, on my 41st birthday, I weighed in at 228lbs the smallest I have been since elementary school.

If you struggle like I have and still do and want to change, then realize it all starts with YOU. You have to want it badly enough to do something about it. Take charge of your life and don’t allow anyone or anything to stop you. I loved my body when I weighed my heaviest at 360lbs (1999-2003) but my quality of life is so much better now. I have tons of energy and do things I only wished I could do in the past.

My next goal is 200lbs which I hope to reach by Christmas. That’s plenty of time but my focus will be more on exercise and toning vs. losing weight. It also helped me to reward myself every so often. When I lost 20lbs, I bought a new outfit. When I lost 50lbs, I bought a new ring and charm. By rewarding yourself, it may give extra incentive to work harder. Take pictures when you start and at intervals throughout, that’s something I did not do and I’m kicking myself now. I did made the layout above with pictures from 2013 and last Sunday to show how important it is to document your journey. I can have a bad day and the old pictures remind me how far I’ve come.

What I want to say to you all is this…you have it in you to be successful at whatever you chose. If you want to get your college degree at 50, go back to school! If you want a new job, don’t give up till you get it! Whatever you want, go for it…if life knocks you down, get back up and try it again. Remember, nothing is perfect and that’s what makes life so special. You started for a reason, find a way to make it happen.

Don’t give up. Eat your veggies. Exercise daily. Learn to love water. Simply be happy.

 

 

 

 

Celebrate You!

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of celebrating yourself and who you are! However, I may be an even bigger fan of celebrating birthdays. From balloons to cakes to streamers, I love it all. 🙂

Years ago, a dear friend of mine broke it down like this. Your birthday is your personal holiday. It’s the day you were brought into this world, the day you saw your family, the day of many firsts so party it up! Every day is a gift but this day is extra special just like you.

When I was younger, I always enjoyed birthday parties…who doesn’t? However, I noticed as I got older, the parties got a lot smaller or stopped all together. Who made that rule? No matter what age, a birthday should still be made to feel special whether in private or public.

For some people, their age is an issue and I completely understand. As we get older, our body reminds us with new creaks and aches. It’s all part of this wonderful thing we call life, embrace it. Embrace every wrinkle and laugh line you have, you are blessed to have the opportunity to grow older.

I’m lucky enough to share my birthday month, July, with many special people. My Grandmother Louise, my Papaw Mitchell, my Great Aunt Cookie, my Aunt Elaine, my Great Uncle Ralph (we shared the same day, he always joked I was his present), my sweet friends Carla & Theresa and a special little boy, Jason to name a few! Happy Birthday July babies!

Friday, I kicked off the beginning of my birthday week with some friends/coworkers. I am so thankful to have them in my life to keep me sane! We had a great time eating and celebrating. At the end, there may have been a small, teeny cake fight in the restaurant but we were polite enough to clean up our mess!

As an adult, there aren’t rules that say you must stop having fun! I think many people forget that, life can be so mundane at times. Always remember, it’s okay to celebrate you. Don’t wait on others to make you feel loved, love yourself. Find the beautiful in your life. Be silly. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. Be the best person you can be and never stop celebrating you…every day.