october: breast cancer awareness month

October 16, 2014

I'm not really sure where i want to go with this post, but as i sit here & watch Beyond Candid with Giuliana Rancic the Breast Cancer Special, i can't help but want to share my story. if you follow me on #instagram, you may have seen my post regarding my experience. if not, here it is.

it was november 2010. i was 22 years old, planning a surprise vacation for my then boyfriend's birthday/christmas. i was so excited for it. it would be our first real vacation together. i saved up for it & couldn't wait.

after recently paying off my ridiculous debt, i was working at a local gym. i loved it. i had worked at 3 gyms in my town, and besides bar tending, it was my favorite place to work. this gym had tanning beds, and at the time, i was addicted. typical jersey girl. 

one night when i was closing up, i jumped in the tanning bed before i left. for some reason, i decided to do a self exam. i had never done one before, or even thought about doing one. i was too young. why would i? 

wait. what is that? i found a marble sized mass in my right breast. it felt like marble too. pretty dense. again, i was 22. why would this be here? i really didn't think too much of it. i figured i would go to my GYNO, and be done with it. so the story continues ..

at first, my GYNO said "i don't feel anything. don't worry about it." not possible. i found it again, and put her finger on it. There. it's right there. her eyes popped. OH.

she sent me to get sonograms. which came back suspicious and referred me to a specialist. this shattered my mom. i remember her texting me while she was at work, really upset. why are they sending you to a specialist? you are too young. i don't understand.

i wasn't super worried at this point. I'm not sure if its a blessing or a curse, but it takes a lot to make me worried/upset. i knew this was serious, but i also knew that if i fell apart, it would create a domino effect. so that wasn't possible.

it was time for the vacation. i needed it more than ever at this point. i was probably such a bitch to my boyfriend looking back. i had a feeling that if things went south with the results, they would go south with my relationship too. i think i was more concerned about that honestly. i knew that when we got back home, something, if not everything, was going to change.

he was an early bird & i loved to sleep. but one morning, he woke me up at like 6am - just before the sun came up. i remember being so tired and just wanting to go back to bed. but i thought, when i go home, something is going to change. enjoy life.

we went up to the top deck (we were on a cruise) and watched the sunrise. it was so beautiful. it was symbolic. it was a new day & i was getting to see it. i was ready for whatever was ahead.

back to reality.

i went for a needle biopsy. they pulled up the mass on like a ultrasound type of image, i am not sure if thats what it actually was. but it was pretty cool. i was able to see the marble sized mass. it was pure white. the technician was trying to get the needle into the mass, but it was so dense that nothing could penetrate it. of course. just my luck.

the specialist then decided that its best that we go in & remove it, since there wasn't much else we could do. i agreed of course.

it was the day before my boyfriend's birthday, how dramatic. he stayed over the night before, planning to go with me to the hospital, then go to work. the morning came. i was nervous. i drove with my mom & remember being really sad. i stayed quiet. but i was petrified at this point. 

we got to the hospital, i remember the waiting room so vividly. they called me back. i got dressed in my gown & waited for my mom & boyfriend to come back to see me before they wheeled me back. i kissed everyone. here we go.

to my surprise, i woke up to my boyfriend. he had told me he was leaving for work, but he stayed. i remember being super happy about that. the doctor came in to see me, telling me everything looked good but we obviously had to run tests to be sure.

about a week later, i went back for my post op visit. i needed to get my stitches out. the results weren't ready yet. fabulous.

the next visit was good. the news was great. everything came back benign. i was healthy again. i had to go back a few more times just for the dr to keep an eye on my healing process. he told me that scar tissue could form and begin to feel similar to a mass again. so he wanted to make sure that IF that occurred, we could figure it out ASAP.

it was now early spring, and by this time, my boyfriend and i had broken up. he knew i had my last & final appointment to be officially cleared. he kept in touch with me that day, making sure i informed him of my status. i was cleared. it felt like the longest roller coaster in history that i was finally stepping off of. i couldn't believe it.

everything had changed. i was 22 years old.
i can't help but urge everyone to do self exams. you're not suppose to get mammograms until you are 40, i think, but that doesn't mean you can't be proactive. you never know. early detection gives you a 98% chance of a positive outcome. don't waste time. 

what's in my diaper bag?

October 11, 2014

i have been wanting to do this post for a while, but i think i finally got the hang of "i don't need everything" .. even though when i do take something out of my diaper bag, i normally will need it that day for something. typical. but here is a run down of the essentials that i carry with me.

my diaper bag:

i fell in love with this bag the second i saw it. i loved that it didn't look like a diaper bag, plus an oversized bag is my favorite thing! timi & leslie "charlie" in chestnut. i don't recommend this bag if you are on the shorter side. this bag is HUGE. it will swallow a super petite person.

it also comes with tons of goodies! i don't use all of them, but the ones i can't live without are the add on straps for hooking it onto strollers or carts/turning it into a cross body bag, the padded changing pad & the clutch - which is PERFECT for all your "mommy" stuff - license, credit cards & coupons!

check out all TIMI & LESLIE items --> HERE

what's inside?

always need an extra change of clothes!

the cutest socks of course!

diaper cream, just in case! i have been loving this cream. its super thick!

these don't even need a reason! these blankets are delicious in every sense of the word!

i have a hanging anti-bacterial gel hanging outside of my bag so i always remember to use it!

perfect for those extra stinky diapers! these are like a portable diaper genie. i LOVE them!

obviously some diapers!

my favorite wipes!

the best formula dispenser! i always fill this (4 divided spaces) & bring extra bottles just in case i am out longer than anticipated.

the rest of the items are pretty much my necessities - lip balm, hand lotion & of course my phone!

hope you guys enjoyed this post! as a mom, its great to see what others use on their day to day journey with their little ones!


recipe | turkey pumpkin chili

October 1, 2014

when john comes home every friday, i have something delicious waiting for him. it's normally something that will last us the whole weekend, and sometimes into the following week for me. this last weekend is was turkey pumpkin chili, in honor of fall. i pretty much threw a bunch of shit in a crock-pot and was super surprised when it turned out well.

with a baby, i don't have time to stand over a stove and cook. i am all about the crock pot. throw it in, leave it for the day & then boom.

i was never a fan of chili, but had it a few years ago when someone had made it. they put it over mashed potatoes, so that's what i did! it's super hearty & perfect for a cold night.

again, i did not follow any recipe. i actually googled a few of the "top" chili recipes & picked apart the ingredients that we would enjoy. this made a huge amount, so you don't really need to use the family size of turkey, but here is what i came up with.

what you'll need:

- 1 family size of ground turkey
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 can of corn (drained)
- 1 can beans (whatever kind you like, i used kidney. drain & rinse them)
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- handful of diced onions (john hates onion so i didn't use much)
- spices (you can buy a packet of chili powder, or just make your own)

what you'll do:

1. cook the ground turkey in a pan until completely brown. you'll have a pretty decent amount of liquid so drain it as much as you can. i hate soupy chili, i like it thick.

2. put meat in crock pot, along with everything else. seriously. just throw it all into the crock pot.

3. cook on HIGH for 6 hours, or LOW for 8 hours

4. stir occasionally if you want to


i served this over homemade mashed potatoes. so it went mashed potatoes, chili on top, then shredded cheese & sour cream on top. with a side of cornbread & multigrain corn chips to eat the chili more like a "dip". so, freaking, delicious.


mila | 5 month milestones

where has the time gone?! i have been slacking so much on here - i apologize, but i am putting family first the last few weeks & keeping things in order on the home front. i have been spending my time with amazing friends who have turned into family, and of course those fabulous people in my bloodline who i am so lucky to have in my life.

i thought i would share some of the things miss mila has achieved over the last few weeks. i am so proud of her & i can't believe i am lucky enough to be her mommy! such a first time mom over here, but i can't help but gloat about her. she is the greatest gift, as all mommies can agree on!

// crib sleeping
i was super worried about this because of all the horror stories you hear, but she has been doing amazing. the first new nights i went in to check on her (she sleeps in her own room, and i use the video monitor) a few times & john would say "she is okay.." but as a mama, you know you have to go poke them to make sure. she also goes down with no struggle. we do not use a pacifier or anything, she lays down for a few minutes, then rolls over & passes out. she still is sleeping 11+ hours a night [8pmish - 7amish]. we are still working on napping in the crib though, she's not the biggest fan.

// food
we have been doing 1 food per week, since john has some food allergies & mila has a milk sensitivity, we wanted to take our time & make sure she didn't have any issues. we do organic whole grain brown rice, which she loves. and now we have introduced avocado - which she really enjoys! we are just doing 1 meal at day, around lunch. to give her time to digest.

// rolling over
she has mastered the back to belly, but still needs some help going belly to back. i will put her on her play mat, start to clean up her room, and i turn around and she is flipped over. she loves rolling, but hates being on her belly for a long amount of time.

// sitting up
she does this pretty well if you ask me. we recently bought the boppy chair since we started solids, and she loves it. it gives her a totally new view on her surroundings. she can sit up with little assistance now, but sometimes she will face dive if you don't catch her in time!

// language
she totally knows her name which i think is hilarious. she will turn & look at your if you call to her. she smiles constantly, but mainly at familiar faces. it takes a lot for her to smile at someone she doesn't recognize, but she is getting there. so knows when i tell her that its time to eat, take a bath or when its time for sleep. i think she mainly recognizes the things in front of her for these times, like her bottles, tub or dark room - she is such a smart little cookie!

// belly laughs
she has officially mastered the belly laugh! this was a struggle for a little because she would do it very rarely, but now it's a daily occurrence. she always laughs at john when he does silly things, or when he is walking behind us when we walk down the steps. she thinks its hilarious! certain sounds i make she laughs at, but of course daddy is her favorite, and i can't argue with that!

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