The Great Closet Clean Out.

“But, when I am XXX lbs, this will fit and look SO cute…”

Such is my thought nearly every time I entered my closet. Clothes hanging up, clothes piled up, clothes in bags auspiciously marked with goal weights that I think I will be when they will fit. Talk about surrounding myself with unattainable goals and blatant failures. It was a combination of attempting to motivate myself, and self punishment. Some clothes… well, they used to fit. They fit for that couple month period when I was at my lowest weight. But most of them had no excuse. Most of them I bought without trying them on. I saw them on the hanger – imagined in my mind how they’d look and I brought them home.

The problem is that when I try them on in my mind I try them on someone else. Because even my mind doesn’t want to see these adorable clothes being wasted on my plumpy lumpy body.
I decided recently to get realistic about it. To be just brutal in my sorting through of these clothes. I had to start fresh. Anything that does not fit me RIGHT NOW. TODAY. Had to go.  No hanging it back up with a “in 10lbs though…..” caveat.

(Approximately 1/3 of what I am selling!)

I went nuts in there. I have sold (am still selling) over 110 items. I gave 3 full garbage bags away to friends. I donated 5 garbage bags to charity. I threw 3 garbage bags away.

(I’ve never seen so many empty hangers in my life!)

What a glorious purging.

But what I’d like to actually discuss is this….

Stop projecting your dreams and goals onto physical items.

I opened a bag marked “170” and I took out clothes I feel like I’ve never seen before. Keep in mind – I’ve NEVER been 170lbs. I’ve never been near 170lbs. How the hell would even know what would fit me at that weight?  And if it did, when would that even be? Would these clothes even be in style then!? What if it’s never?
If I got to 170lbs, and these clothes still didn’t fit – did I fail?!

Why was I putting so much into a bag of fabric and buttons?? I was letting all of these meaningless items decide how motivated I was, how committed I was, and how much a failure I have been. But that is not for my closet to decide! Don’t you judge me, adorable pencil skirt from 2009!

Getting rid of this stuff was really cathartic. Truly slate-clearing. I was making room in my closet, but I was making room inside of myself for new goals and dreams—ones that didn’t rely on fitting into something to be validated.

Don’t keep things around for “someday”. All you are doing is reminding yourself that THIS day is not as good as that mythical someday will be.
So, there you have it. Clearing out my closet not only has made my everyday vastly easier, it has also lifted a heavy burden that I didn’t really know that I had. I am free and open to new versions of the future, new goals and ambitions… and the joy of buying new things when new things are warranted. I’m pretty sure if I do ever hit 170lbs, I’d much rather buy shiny new things anyway!!


(pretty sure this was where I was headed)




Farm Sanctuary Visit

Hi! This past weekend I visited Maple Farm Sanctuary in Mendon, Massachusetts.
A Farm Sanctuary is a place where abused, neglected, or saved-from-slaughter farm animals can live out their days safely. A few examples would be Cassie, the dairy cow who was being retired from dairy (meaning, sent to slaughter), she launched her 1,200lb body over a 6ft high fence to escape the slaughterhouse. Because she drew some attention for her stunt, she was spared and found a home at the sanctuary. (read her whole story HERE it’s very touching!)

Some young roosters were dumped at their doorstep in a box.

A sheep was being brutally tortured in someone’s backyard. She was saved by the police and brought to the sanctuary.

These are beautiful animals with wonderful personalities all their own. I was excited to tour such a loving place that takes in these creatures and lets them just LIVE. Un-abused.  Maple Farm Sanctuary runs entirely on donations and volunteers. Talk about running on passion alone!

Vegan, Animal Activist, or not – I encourage you to visit a local Farm Sanctuary near you! Its really fun to see animals doing their thing… being cute, demanding belly rubs, and living happily.

Here’s a few photos! I didn’t get to take many good clear shots, it was really raining and I didn’t want to sog up my camera!

Over 100 acres for cattle to roam freely!

Cassie, was SO beautiful. She gave me a good lick on the hand!

This mini horse tried to eat my sneaker!

Chance the pot-bellied pig!

Jonathan the 500lb pig! He was so massive, and so massively adorable!

Lots o llamas!

I have never touched anything so soft as this chicken! Like a clucking cloud!

The petting line starts here!

We met so many more animals than this, and there were still some that we didn’t get to meet. I definitely plan to go back another time on a sunny day!

Recent Eats

Of all the variations of the Vegan diet, I like the Starch Solution the most. I’m pretty sure I’ve done posts on it before… but the gist is – your body literally runs and thrives on carbs. Everyone knows that by now, I think! The Starch Solution is based off of the extensive research of the China Study – in which it is proven that societies that live off mainly starches (for example – “all the rice in China”!) are living longer, healthier, and less obese lives. If you’re interested at all in it, I highly recommend reading the China Study, or the Starch Solution books.  I have actually read them myself, but I seriously hate reading, so if you do too, you can get a remarkable amount of the same information by watching any talks by Dr. McDougall on YouTube.

Ok, the point of this post is not to educate you on the science of the Starch Solution, but just to show you a selection of meals I’ve been eating lately.

To fit into the rules of the starch solution, you basically just want your meals to be high-carb, low fat. Little to no processed foods (I have occasional breads/crackers, myself). The bulk of your intake should be starches, any and all veggies—especially greens, and some fruit.

Anyway, people ask me often about what I eat, and if you don’t follow me on Instagram, you may never know! :)
So here’s some examples – Not pictured are lots of salads. I like salads, and I feel that its important to get your greens in, but they are boring and I rarely snap photos of them before shoving them into my gobbler.

Pani Puri. This is an Indian appetizer that I’ve always been obsessed with when I go to Indian restaurants. I recently found the shells for sale in an Indian grocery store, so I make the filling and the sauce at home and just go to town on them! I’ll have about 20 as a meal. The filling is similar to samosa filling if you know what that is.  It’s mashed potatoes with chick peas, peas, cilantro, and assorted masala spices. The shells do have a small amount of oil, but it doesn’t break the bank for me.

With the abundance of leftover filling, I made some samosa burritos. This is just a tortilla, stuffed with the potato mixture, and I dipped it into the tamarind/mint sauce. So filling!

These are another exotic find I ran into at an Asian market. They are called Rice Cakes. They are just SUPER thick rice noodles, made of literally just rice & water.  Imagine a very chewy gnocchi, that’s how they taste.  I heat these until soft and then toss with kimchi and devour!

Fruit is still very important! Eat all the vibrant colors!

A tasty breakfast.  This is some fat-free seeds & grains bread, topped with Engine 2 hummus (Engine 2 is a brand you want to know if eating Starch Solution!), tomatoes, and sprouts.  Side o banana.

Potato topped potatoes!

This is some thinly sliced red bliss potatoes, baked to a crisp and then topped with potatoes I had mashed with mixed veggies.

One of my favorite meals!  Rice noodles topped with tofu, and assorted raw veggies. I will toss this with a low-fat peanut sauce (made with PB2!) or some rice wine vinegar.

Quinoa tossed with sauteed onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and lemon herb seasoning. Side of celery for crunch!

Potatoes and gravy!! Who isn’t jealous of that!? I mash some mixed veggies into the taters for some brightness. The gravy is from a mix by the brand HAIN. It is fat free and vegan. If you ever see it – GET IT. Even if you’re not vegan or eating low-fat, you’ll like it.

Kale chips! Self explanatory :-)

Summer rolls. These are rice paper wrappers filled with rice noodles, assorted raw veggies, and pineapple chunks. Sometimes I do tofu as well.

An epic breakfast sandwich!  That same bread, with slices of tomato, tofu, and a patty of Gimme Lean sausage. Mmm I wish I had one right now!

Stuffed grape leaves, and a side of quinoa with onions and kalamata olives.  When I do add some fat in, its usually olives or avocado. I end up eating more fat when I go out to eat, because thats just how restaurants roll. So I try to keep it really low when I cook for myself. Hoping it all evens out!

My most typical foods, however, are not pictured here. Like I said, my staples are pretty boring and not picture worthy! But I’ll tell you that my most common meals are –
• oats w/berries & cinnamon. I’ll add maple syrup for sweetness. • salad w/any veggies I have on hand, and a low-fat dressing or hummus
• rice. Sometimes just plain (I love rice!), or I’ll top with soy sauce, salsa, beans, steamed veggies, duck sauce, kimchi.
• potatoes. Same thing, just plain (seasoned with herbs & spices) or covered in roasted veggies, a dressing, gravy, etc.

Ok, whew, I’m hungry now!


For most people, the way you eat is a reflection of how you want to live your life in general.

Do you scream out YOLO!! and eat anything and everything you want? I mean, you could die any day… should you eat what makes you happy in the moment with little regard to health?

Or do you want to Live Long & Prosper; eating for health, fitness, and longevity; in hopes of living to an old age?

How can we possibly decide?? I want a little bit of both!  It’s similar to my weight loss conundrum. Do I drop focus on the other things in my life to dedicate everything I have to losing weight and getting as fit as possible, in a sense – sacrifice a year or more of my life to achieve a body I want to live in for the rest of it?
Or, do I go the YOLO route, and just embrace being heavier and not care if it kills me earlier, because I’ll have enjoyed the time I had… as I am?

Do you see what I’m saying? This seems like an impossible decision. And though I agree that a balanced compromise is the ideal stance—for someone who is all-or-nothing like myself, that’s a near impossible task.

It is true that we only live once. It’s also true that we have a good chance of living a long, healthful life if we strive for it.  The problem is – what if we choose wrong? But maybe either option contains it’s own chance for regrets in those final moments.

Personally, I vacillate between these two principles. At times I am rigid and focused, prepared to sacrifice so much for my health and appearance. Other times, I feel content in my life and simply want to experience all the foods in whatever quantity pleases me!  The problem with going between the two is that it amplifies each one. When I am strict, I am extra extra strict because I have at times been less so.  When I am eating whatever I want, I eat MORE than I want, because of those times I was extra strict! It is such a psychological (and physiological!) trap.

I tend to feel happier on a more strict regimen, over all.  There are definitely some feelings of self-punishment, and exclusion from society. But not much, really. I do thrive on structure, so it allows me to feel more in control and safe. I stopped dieting so strictly because I simply wasn’t losing weight. So it seemed to be a bootyless treasure hunt. I see now, though, that maybe feeling like I was trying was a prize in itself. There is no pride in not getting anywhere because you’re not trying. Not getting anywhere whilst trying may be futile, but at least there’s a sense of pride in doing your best and not giving up.

So… hmm… having written it all out it seems I’ve answered my question about which I prefer.

Live Long & Prosper – it is! I’ll keep a little YOLOing for vacations and holidays. ;-)

 Anybody have a stance on this? Are you more YOLO, or more LL&P with your diet or fitness routine?

Survey Update : Nearly May!

Making: Cards! CKC Manchester (scrapbooking convention) was last weekend and Melissa and I had an awesome time as always!  We take classes and shop our wallets off. All the new items and ideas really make me flood with inspiration. So I’m anxious to get in my craft room and make more stuff!

Cooking: I’ve been a little too into peanut sauce lately. I never ever liked peanut sauce, but since I discovered that I do LOVE my own homemade peanut sauce… it’s dangerous. So… summer rolls with peanut sauce, tofu with peanut sauce, rice noodles with veggies and…. peanut sauce. It’s so bad, and I’m definitely cutting the cord on that, cause ain’t nobody need THAT much fat. (its so GOOD THOUGH)

(I take this vibrant bowl of noodles and greens… and smother the crap out of it with peanut sauce)

Drinking: I’ve had two Green Tea Frappuccinos w/coconut milk from Starbuck’s recently, and they are SO good. Again, not the healthiest, so I don’t want to  make them a thing. But on a hot day (if we ever have a hot day), one would really hit the spot!

(THIS just opened up near my house. Talk about dangerous.)

Wanting: To get my hair re-dyed. I do have an appt, but its still like 2 weeks away! So now my hair is just in that ashy sad faded phase.

Looking: Pretty decent! I organized my makeup table last weekend, and when I do that (much like my crafty stuff) it makes me feel very inspired to play with it all! I watch makeup tutorials and all that, and still have close to zero skills.  But its fun to try!

Playing: Can’t Deny My Love (and the other 2 new singles) from Brandon Flowers. ON  LOOP. Especially in my kitchen. While I shake my booty uncontrollably.

Wishing: For true Spring weather to arrive. It’s nearly May, and its still freezing cold and cloudy!

Enjoying: My Gwynnie Bee subscription! It’s been really fun trying new pieces and I’ve even bought a couple!

This is one of my fave tops I got from Gwynnie Bee. I’m wearing it today!

Waiting: To close on a house! We’re buying a house for Joel’s parents, and we had the inspection yesterday and all is progressing perfectly! Just a few weeks now and we should be done, closed, and ready for them to arrive!

Liking: That Game of Thrones is back on. It’s not my all time favorite show, but since Justified just ended (forever, BOO), and Vikings just concluded the season… its really nice to have something else that Joel & I both watch together.

Wondering: why I didn’t make a smoothie for breakfast this morning. I really wanted one, and I had the ingredients and the time. Yet, I didn’t!  What a mistake!

Loving: That Zevon is all healed up!!!!!!! I am so soooooo grateful to have my little buddy back to healthy and happy. The miracle of medical science! Amazing.

Hoping: I think of some more blog posts for y’all! I miss this.

Marveling: I’m gonna say Zevon again for this one! It honestly blows my mind how much a body can go through and still come back to good.

Needing: To get more strict about my diet. My schedule was just crazy the past 2 weeks and I let my diet get sloppy a bit. It’s Ok… but I’m over it and ready to crack down a little.

Smelling: My own coffee breath. Cinnamon Hazelnut Iced! Yummy in the tummy, a little stank in the mouth.

Wearing: Ha! That same shirt in the picture above! But purple jeans with, and my usual Hoka sneaks.

Following: Still pretty hooked on YouTube. Haven’t made any recent discoveries worth mentioning, but I tell you, it’s a trap! :-)

Noticing: So many split ends in my hair. Its like, once you see one, you can’t stop seeing them!

Giggling: Over sending a short video to Adam of me lipsynching to Bootylicious in the car this morning. It had to be done.

Knowing: That I have to poop. But I don’t feel like getting up right now. #livingontheedge

Thinking: About how I really do have to poop. Damnit, poop. YOU CAN WAIT.

Feeling: So much sympathy and fear for the people in Nepal. What a beautiful place, rich in history… just in crumbles. So many tragic deaths.  Mother nature is so incredibly cruel sometimes.

Ok, thats it for now!  It felt good to think about whats going on RIGHT now!

What are you wearing, thinking, or giggling over today?

It’s Official! EDS diagnosis

I have known (assumed) for 3 years now that I have a genetic disease called Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome. But a few weeks ago I went into the Brigham & Women’s Adult Genetics Center in Boston to meet with some Genetic Specialists to get my official diagnosis.  The appointment was easy, and mostly painless. They took a long verbal and written account of my personal and family medical history followed by a physical exam. I still have an echocardiogram looming, as problems with the heart valves are very prevalent with EDS. I’ll be having that, along with a bone density test done in the next few weeks.

The doctors were very kind and delicate in telling me that I do indeed have EDS. I imagine for people going in blind, being told you have a debilitating hereditary disease with no cure or treatment is devastating.

Luckily, I already knew. And the thing with EDS is – you’re born with it. You’ve lived with the pain and its very apparent that it will be there your whole life.  There was no surprise.  Still… having it be official does feel different somehow. Though I was 99% sure I had it, moving that number to an absolute 100% does change things slightly.  I feel like I am being forced to actually acknowledge that nothing can make it better. And also forced to realize that I can’t ignore it. I do need to protect my body more than I have been.

What most people consider to be one of the serious struggles of EDS is that it is an “invisible illness”. Unless you’re really limping that day, no one can look at you and know there is something wrong with you. It’s hard to be suffering silently. However, for the most part, I think I prefer it. I’m not sure I want everyone to know that things are hard for me. I prefer to be a mostly positive force in the lives of those around me. The hard part, personally, is not feeling helpful. I can’t really help friends move anymore. I can’t lift heavy packages into the house or pile a ton of groceries on my arm. I can’t shop for a long time, or walk a few blocks in the city with my friends.  I have to be a burden on other people,  which is the last thing I’d ever want!

If you clicked on the link to the EDS foundation above, then you likely read about what it is, and the common symptoms. If you didn’t, the basic gist is that EDS is a connective tissue disorder. Connective tissues being the glue that literally holds your body together – I’m missing that glue! Due to this, my joints are chronically loose and hypermobile. What that means for me specifically is that on a daily basis my joints are subluxating and dislocating. Hips, shoulders, elbows, jaw, knees, toes, fingers, ribs – everything – are constantly coming out of their sockets or just wobbling around in there! Sometimes its very painful, sometimes they just feel loose and I can wiggle them back into place.

Because of the joint problems, this causes severe arthritis, as well as chronic muscle spasms and tears. I have over 60 small tears in my rotator cuff and shoulder muscles! Swiss cheesey! There are a myriad other symptoms like my very poor and degenerating eye sight, dental problems, skin and healing issues, possible heart problems, and all kinds of other things. That connective tissue business? Yeah, it’s EVERYWHERE in the body!

As for the future – its just more of the same.  Treatment for EDS is simply just managing the pain.  There are no medications that can help with the connective tissues. There will be joint replacement surgeries, for sure, in the future. But I’m going to hold out as long as possible for those. There are splints for some joints that help (I have a few finger ones, they look like rings, so thats cute!), and canes and wheelchairs are always an option.

I’m making this post because a few people were very curious about the condition after I received my diagnosis, and in person, my answers are very minimal. Not because I am uncomfortable talking about it… just that I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable about it.

Anyway, if you’d like to learn more, on an easier & more personal level, here’s some really great videos from other people with EDS.

Bunny Hopkins EDS FAQ :

Rei Haycraft :

Kraigisonfire :

Cheyenne Love :

Kristin Means : 


Well. Awesome.

I just clicked PUBLISH on a SUPER long post. And it got lost.

Thanks WordPress, you dick!

I love you all, but I’m not typing it up again.  But I’d like to say HI!  I’m still here, and I’m feeling motivated lately. Ready for Spring, and ready to start actively trying to lose weight again.

Still formulating a plan.

Wow. Losing a whole post just sucks! Sorry!

Stop being “True to Yourself”

Being true to yourself is a lovely cliché to be used in times of decision-making,  or consoling after the decision-making. But I find the concept to be very flawed.
When someone changes things about how they live their life, treat people, or treat themselves – others tend to resist. They think those people are conforming, they’ve lost themselves, and are no longer “being true to themselves”  That resistance, however, certainly comes from a place of fear. It’s scary to watch people change from what you knew them as. What if they become different than the person you loved? What if they love you differently?  I believe the same thing happens to yourself. Maybe you want to change, but that same fear creeps in. What if I lose the persona I’m so comfortable in? What if my friends don’t support me?

Your true, authentic self is a thing you create. Sure, you’re born with all kinds of traits and tendencies. But as you grow, mature, meet people, have experiences, meet the internet… you’re going to change every single day.  You’ll like music you didn’t know before. Use new words you just learned. Form a concept of who you want to be, and show people the parts you want them to see. There’s no beautiful, perfect, essential being within you that if you dig deep enough you can feel and let it guide you. I don’t think that is what staying true to yourself is… but rather, that it should be new, and ever-changing.

Don’t be true to yourself, be true to the self you want to be.

I honestly wish that everyone felt comfortable shedding their (unhealthy) personas that they’ve created. The Party Animals – doing it because they think that people think its cool and fun. The Bad Boy/Girl. The Bitch. The Apathetic. The Homophobic/Racist/Sexist. Just because it is who you have been does not mean it is who you have to be.

Over my lifetime of being a chunker, I’ve always heard the theory about how people have a hard time losing weight because they feel comfortable and safe in their bigger bodies. It is what they know, and the unknown is too scary to face. And I always thought “Oh pshaw!” (my grandpa would say that!). “I want to be skinny SO BAD, there is no way I’m subconsciously happier like this!” You know what, though? The fear of the unknown is very real. And being a healthy weight is very unknown to me, whether I can tap into that emotion or not, I am sure it’s there… making things just a little more difficult to change.

Even changing to a vegan diet. A big part of my persona had been a true Food Lover. Exotic meats, offal, and strange things – Shannon likes those!  If a restaurant had foie gras on top of bone marrow – Shannon would love it! It was indeed a part of what people saw me as. And that had to change. Friends still take much delight in talking to me all about the meats they are eating for dinner. If I had “stayed true to myself” – I’d have kept eating meat. Instead, I took a different path, changing that truth about myself.

Truths are not constant and infallible.  And self truths are what YOU want them to be. Don’t continue to base your “true self” on who you have been historically. Base it on the current way that you think is the happiest, healthiest, most kind way of being.

You can change, and you should change.


PS… this post is not a vegan message. I just included that because it was pertains to me personally. The “change” I am alluding to is anything that you don’t like about yourself, or things that are holding you back.

2015 : More & Less

I’m not really making New Year’s Resolutions… but I was thinking about what 2015 will need more and less of… in order to make it an even better year than 2014. (and 2014 was a good year!)

• Frozen
• Weighing myself
• Worrying
• Tonsilitis
• Shoulder & knee pain
• Taylor Swift
• Dog health issues
• Giving advice. If you just wanted to rant, but I try to fix all your problems – tell me to stuff it.

• Fun
• Fashion
• Make-up free days
• Cardio
• YouTube• Starch Solution/Vegan recipes
• Nature
• Effort in the household (good lord I hate laundry)
• Game nights
• Family time
• New Peter Gabriel music

Anybody still here? Lemme know something your 2015 needs more or less of!


Some things have always irked me. And I realize that these things make me seem like maybe I am a very elderly robot impersonating a humanoid, but I feel like some things have lost their actual meaning and are now misinterpreted.

For instance –

1.  You’re fat. 
Naw, actually – you HAVE fat. One cannot actually be fat.  You have an excess of body fat. You are overweight. You are heavy, but you aren’t fat.


2. Shh! Don’t say DIET, say lifestyle change.  
Ok, I am all about the sentiment of this, 100%.  But the negativity over the word “diet” has always irked me.
A diet is just what someone or something consumes. It does not, 100% of the time indicate a fad.  A pet iguana has a diet of crickets.  Zombies exist on a diet of brains and other assorted organ meats.


Guess what? You’ll still have a diet during that long term lifestyle change.

3. I’m gonna loose so much weight!
Ok, so this is a typo and not a word meaning difference… but forgive me. It’s so egregious yet wide-spread, it just had to be in this list. *shudder*


You probably done loose so much weight that your pants got lose and fell off.


4. Labels.
Plant-based, fruitarian, vegan diet, nutritarian, starch-based…

It doesn’t matter what you call it, and it shouldn’t matter what other people would call it. You don’t eat animal products. I think that is good enough.  People are so into their private sectors of diet labeling these days, and just love to argue what is best and what does or doesn’t even exist “as a thing”. Its a thing if it’s YOUR thing.  So just do your thing and call it whatever you want.


Ok, I think that is it.  Not too many!  Do you have any that bug you even though they shouldn’t?