Ah Summer '16...

Shirt: Ivy & Leo, Shorts and Flip flops: Old Navy, Purse: Target, Cross: Jared

YO YO YO!!!!!
Long time, no blog. It’s been so long in fact that the other day I mentioned that I wrote a blog and felt like a damn liar.
SO much has happened in the months since I last checked in so I’ll start in chronological order.
I had surgery in May. Actually the day after my last post, on May 5th. More specifically, I got a breast reduction. YUP. True story. 
I had wanted one for over 20 years. Ever since I got boobs. Because when I got them… I GOT them! When I went in for surgery I was an “E”. I mean…. I bought DDD bras because I could not bring myself to actually buy an “E” bra, but that’s exactly what I was. <<Pretty sure spilling out of one size means you should actually size up.>> Most of the people in my life had NO idea I was that "large and in charge" because I NEVER left the house without a minimizer bra on (yes, those are real things and they SUCK) and if I was working out I would wear 2-3 sports bras at one time. I always joked that I stored half of my boobs under my armpits. I never really “lead” with them if you know what I am saying. I didn’t wear push-up bras or enhancing bras. Shiiit, I never even really wore a normal bra for fear that I would look like Dolly Parton. I hated them. Always had. 
Maybe you don’t care about my breast reduction, but maybe you do. Maybe you too have always wanted one or know someone who does. Maybe your back hurts, your posture suffers, you don’t feel “sexy”, they are in the way, you hate having to wear a bra that feels more like a mid-century torture device.  
So… here are a few things you should know.
#1. It is WAAAAAAAAAY more intense than getting breast implants (or so my doctor told me). 
I was in surgery for over 5 hours!!
#2. Recovery is NO joke. 
You can barely do anything but exist for a while because you are so sore.
#3. Make sure you get a pain medication you can tolerate. 
I took ONE dose of my narcotics right after surgery and that was it. For a month  I took ibuprofen and extra-strength Tylonol. I can’t handle narcotics (I get dizzy, nauseous, feel faint) but I bet they would have been tremendously helpful with pain management had I been able too.
#4. Strengthen your core. 
Workout before surgery and get strong. Had it not been for my regular Pilates practice I would have been even more miserable than I was. You can’t put any pressure on your elbows or hands to get into or out of bed. Your upper body is basically useless so your core is going to do all of the work for a while.
#5. Let people help you. There were days that started okay for me then I would be FLAT on my back in insane amounts of pain after a few hours. You need to let people help you. << A big thank you to everyone who helped me and checked in on me. Especially Amanda D., Elizabeth H. and my Manfriend. >>
#6. Make sure you REALLY want it. 
It’s painful, expensive AF (if insurance won’t cover it), takes a lot of time to recover, takes you out of your normal life, impacts your  everyday life for a while, there are stitches, blood, scabs, scars and still… 3 months post-op it’s not comfortable for me to lie on my side or on my stomach to sleep. I had to learn to sleep on my back which was MIIIIIISERABLE.
Those are some points to consider. 
Would I do it all over again? Hell yes. My breasts aren’t “small” afterwards but they  fit me. They don’t plummet to my waist anymore when I take my bra off. I can see my torso for the first time in my life. I can sit and stand up straight w/o feeling like I’m drawing unwanted attention to chest. I can work out with more ease and my bras don’t have to have 4 clasps on them with straps the width of a child's forearm. Yes, ma'am. I would daaaayyyum sure do it all over again.
June was INNNNNNNNcredible. 
We traveled to Vegas (I was still REALLY sore, only 4 weeks out from surgery), I visited home to see my family in NY, we went on an all-expenses-paid trip to the most beautiful place I have ever been in my whole, entire life, Banff Springs in Calgary Canada (I earned that trip for us through my side-gig with Rodan + Fields) AND ………wait for it………. while I was in NY with my family…. I got engaged!!!! 
<<If we know each other in real life, are connected on social media, or if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you have heard me refer to my “Manfriend”. >> We have been together for over 6 years. I was completely shocked by the proposal. He had it all planned to do in Charlotte, then like an ASSHOLE I booked myself a plane ticket to New York for that exact same weekend. I didn’t ask him to come (I didn’t assume a baby shower, maternity photos and skincare – which is what I was going for -  would be a rip-roaring good time for him). Little did I know that he had planned the proposal, had my friend invite me to a girl’s night out for that Saturday night (so I would save the date and not plan over it), rested easy when he saw that I put “GNO”  on my calendar then FREAKED out when I erased it two weeks later and wrote instead… “flying to NY”. He had to re-work his entire plan. He ended up flying to NY a day after me, hiding out at my uncle's house, getting my local family together last-minute and doing it in front of everyone. I was completely shocked. IT.WAS.AWESOME. I was in tears, sobbing like a child. 
We have been through a lot in 6 years, as individuals and as a couple and although in the last few years I realized that I didn’t “need” marriage, that happiness was more than enough…. I am overjoyed and so incredibly thankful. I am here to tell you...  no matter what has happened to you, no matter how your life has derailed from your original plans, no matter how sad or broken you feel, if you focus on creating and (re)building the best version of yourself you will, eventually, be happy. Once you are happy and fulfilled… the minute you don’t “need” something or someone. The moment you give up the idea that you can “control” it all… something magical will happen. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, an opportunity, whatever it is. That sounds corny, I know, but I truly believe it and know it to be true.
#3. JULY: 
Work, work, work, work, work (…. I hope you said that to the tune of the Rihanna song cause that’s how I meant it). 
Whoa. July was BACK TO REALITY. I worked my fool a$$ off in July. No more days off from my corporate job, I went back to teaching Pilates (after 8 weeks off after surgery), my Rodan + Fields business had its biggest month yet, I had 3 photography sessions with families and spen tcountless hours editing AND I finally sold and closed on my townhome. July was a blur and although I was feeling insanely happy from vacations and an engagement and I was SUPER happy to be back teaching Pilates I’m not going to lie… there was a bit of a hangover from all of it. June was blissful. I was so FKing happy that it scared the life out of me. In July fear overtook my head. I felt almost like the bottom was going to fall out. Like…. "wait... other people get this much happiness, but not me". My mind got the best of me and I started to get down and really anxious in July. I started focusing on my fears instead of my countless blessings. I say that not to be a buzz-kill but to keep it real. I think it’s important to mention.
With social media it’s easy to think that everyone else is SUPER happy; especially in the summer. There are cookouts, and vacations, lake days, beach trips, new houses, kids  out for the summer, your teacher friends posting about how they don’t have to work, people celebrating and sharing pictures of parties, engagement announcements, weddings, pregnancies, births, kids going to college, etc. It’s all awesome, but WHOA can it trap you?!?!  You start to compare your real, everyday life with everyone else's highlight reel. It can make you feel like crap. 
There is no such thing as perfect and the person who seems to “have it all” has usually come out of some MAJOR SHIT, works REALLY hard, has failed a million times, gets scared, nervous, anxious and discouraged just like everyone else. We all have “seasons” in our lives. Some are incredible. Blissful. Some are terrifying. Others are full of change and upheaval. Once in a while they are calm and peaceful. Many times they are stressful, depressing, disappointing and nerve-wracking. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but I thought maybe you (like me) could use reminding. Count your own blessings instead of everyone else’s. You have no idea the path they have traveled or what it took for them to get where they are. Congratulate people when they are high and love them when they are low, but don't compare.  Comparison is the thief of joy, man. 
The thief of joy. 

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