Bee in Grammy's Garden

In Gratitude

What to say, you guys? I have spent the last 12 years sharing my life on this blog, and there has rarely been a moment where I kept to myself…but the last few months have been extremely difficult for me and my family, and the need for privacy outweighed my love of sharing and connecting with others. In late June, my dad started feeling quite sick, finding it hard to breath and feeling worn down after minor activity. This was extremely rare for my dad, who is an extremely active person, and still plays basketball daily and runs 5K’s even though he’s 78-years-old!

Bee in Grammy's Garden

A few weeks ago we finally got a diagnosis, and while knowing is a bit scary, it’s good to have a plan going forward. He was accepted into a clinical trial that has given us new hope! He started treatment, and so far he is feeling fairly good.

I know I haven’t been here on the blog much the past few months, and trust me, it’s felt so strange. But the truth is, I’ve been so mentally and emotionally depleted, I just didn’t have anything left in myself to give. I am so fortunate to have a job where I can work from home or on the road, and take breaks when I need to. I’m so grateful for the abundance of work I had earlier in the year that has been able to offset this unexpected break. My husband has been amazingly supportive during this hard time, making sure I knew that my work could come last, as my family and my dad’s care needed to come first.

As I enter into fall, my favorite season, I’m looking back at this past summer and happily waving goodbye. I’m looking forward to writing again, creating beautiful photographs, embarking on new adventures and hopefully paying forward some of the love I’ve been lucky enough to receive the past few months. So many people stepped up and helped me when I was in need, I hope that I can do the same for others.

Recovery : Three Years

1,096 Days Later

Today is a pretty basic Saturday around here. We have a few sports games for the kids, I have a photography session tonight and maybe we’ll even have a family movie night. I’ll make meals, wash clothes, maybe lay in our hammock while the kids and the dog run around the backyard. I won’t save the world today. Today won’t be one for the history books. Today is just a normal, simple day.

But also, not. Because today is never, ever a basic day for me. Three years ago today I made one of the biggest decisions of my life, one that has caused ripples of change throughout my own life and many others. Three years ago today I was reborn.

In the recovery community, we call the anniversary of our last drink our “birthday.” We sometimes even eat cake and blow out some candles. In so many ways, it really IS a birthday, because the person I am today didn’t exist three years ago. The Megan from three years ago was a vastly different person. She was more timid, more afraid. She was always looking over her shoulder, worried that underneath all the sarcasm and humor that someone would figure out who she really was. And if they found out, her life would be over.

Recovery : Three Years

Today I am rarely afraid of being “found out.” I live my life out in the open in a way I never did before. A year ago today I spoke for the first time publicly about my recovery here on this blog, and that was a huge milestone in my life. Even though I’d been in recovery for two years, I never really felt free of the immense shame until I started talking about it. Funny, huh? Fear and shame hold us hostage, when in the end, we held the power to defeat them all along. By sharing my story multiple times over the past year I have been healed. I am no longer ashamed of who I am. I’m damn proud of it!

In the last year so many of you have reached out to me to tell me your own stories. From people struggling with addiction or mental illness, to those of you who are afraid for someone you love who is dealing with his or her demons, to those of you also in recovery giving me virtual and physical hi-fives….every time I open a message from one of you my heart grows three sizes. I’m like the Grinch of recovery. I used to think that everyone in the world was out to get me, but the last year has taught me that connection is the solution. By reaching out, you have helped me immensely. Thank you.

Recovery : Three Years

If you are new on this journey, and you’ve found this post because you don’t know who to talk to, hold tight. It gets easier. Find your tribe, your people who get you. I was so fortunate to find my people on this path. My support system of women and men just like me, from all walks of life, who have held me up, cheered me on, sent me “hell yeah!” texts when I reached a milestone and listened to me cry when I was afraid it was never going to get better. I reached out to them earlier this week because I wanted to make something fun to celebrate today, and they didn’t let me down. We talked about remembering the terror of refusing a drink at a party or gathering and wondering if everyone knew our dirty little secrets. We laughed (yes, laughed…eventually you will laugh again!) about how much changes as you grow in your recovery, and shared different responses for that guy at the party who just WON’T LET IT GO and keeps offering you a cocktail! I loved them so much, I put together this little video to help you out if you’re newly sober and wondering what the heck you say to the dreaded question, “Hey, do you want a drink?”

Here’s to finding the funny again. Here’s to bright eyes and clear hearts. Here’s to no more fuzzy, wine tongue at 3 a.m. Here’s to being who you really are, without numbing and running away.

And here’s to many, many more basic Saturdays.

Beautycounter Vs My Routine

Cleaning Up My Makeup Routine

In the past few years, as I’ve been cleaning up the rest of my life, I’ve become more and more interested in the chemicals myself and my family are using in our homes and on our bodies every day. As a mom and general human being trying to leave this planet better than I found it, I was horrified to find out how much toxic crap is in EVERYTHING we use on a daily basis. From home cleaners to hairspray, the more I learned the more I wanted to do something about it. But there is one problem…I’m not an A+ mom! Sure, I have the best intentions to feed my kids organic kale, but then they throw a fit and it’s late and we end up ordering pizza instead. Sometimes you have to pick your battles!

So any time a brand comes along that offers me the ability to get the toxic chemicals out of our routine, but is also EASY to use and implement, I’m all for it! I was so excited when a friend started working with the incredible company, Beautycounter, and offered me the opportunity to test out their products for a few days. I was super impressed with the quality of everything Beautycounter offers, and their mission is pretty incredible. Did you know there are over 10,000 ingredients used in personal care products…but only 10% of these have actually been tested to ensure they are safe for human health?! And many of these ingredients have been linked to health problems such as cancer or reproductive health. That’s insane. Beautycounter was started by a mom who was sick of the risks she and her family were taking by not knowing what was in the products they used on their bodies. Their mission is to get safe products in to the hands of EVERYONE.

The issue that I’ve often found when using more natural products, especially makeup, is that it doesn’t work as well as my regular products. So I decided to put the Beautycounter line to the test! Many of you know I’ve been asked to come on a few morning shows in the Kansas City area lately, and that is probably the time when I wear the most makeup. My daily routine is pretty tame, but when I’m on camera I pull out the big guns! So I decided to do my last appearance wearing only Beautycounter products…and it went great! The makeup not only looked awesome when I applied it, it didn’t melt under the big studio lights!

I put together this little comparison of the products I generally use when I’m being filmed versus the Beautycounter products. The numbers are from the Environmental Working Group, which ranks products based on what chemicals are used in them and how safe they are. Anything from 1-3 is considered very good, 4-6 is medium and 7-10 is highly hazardous. My regular products are on the left and Beautycounter is on the right…check out how they ranked.

Beautycounter Vs My Routine

Yikes, right? Pretty scary stuff. After I experienced how well the Beautycounter products worked, I immediately started replacing my makeup stash. It’s definitely an investment, but as long as I’m only replacing an item or two at a time, I can make it work. I’m so grateful a company like Beautycounter exists and is making it easier for moms like me (ahem, B+ moms) to better our health!

Beauty Counter + Oils

If you’re interested in learning more about Beautycounter and Young Living Essential Oils (which I’ve talked about on the blog here) and you’re in Kansas City, I will be co-hosting an open house event with my sister next Wednesday, April 20th! From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and then again from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., you can come sample all the wonderful skincare, cosmetics, body, kid and baby products by Beautycounter and the awesome oils and health products by Young Living Essential Oils. I will also be providing iTovi scans, which will provide you with an analysis of your body chemistry and tell you what you need more of to live at your healthiest! If you’d like to join us, please send me an RSVP at for location details and more information. Hope to see you there!

Happier + Healthier

A few years ago I started thinking about getting my health into check. I was in my late 20s, and I felt awful. I was exhausted all the time, I had a gym membership, but I rarely exercised, I had colds and sinus issues from October to March, and most of all, I was deeply unhappy. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at the time, but my unhappiness was probably the biggest problem of all, and the root of that unhappiness was a deep seeded shame and, honestly, a hatred of myself.

The first step to addressing all of my health issues, both mentally and physically was quitting drinking. While I didn’t know it at the moment, that one choice would ripple down and affect everything in my life. And over the past few years, I’ve made small baby steps toward a life that is so much more fulfilling and joyful than I could have imagined.

(If you’re interested in learning more about my recovery, please click here for my story. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone.)

Getting Healthy

Now, while quitting drinking was a huge leap on my road to wellness, I’ve found so many other things that have changed my life in such positive ways. I relate all of my health wins back to recovery, because without that, I never would’ve had the urge to get well in the first place! But while I have talked at length about what quitting drinking did for my health, I haven’t talked very much about what came after.

When I quit drinking, I lost 25 pounds in three months. Now, mind you, I would guess that 80% of that was water weight and pure bloat, because I certainly wasn’t eating any better! In fact, after I quit drinking, I promptly replaced alcohol with a strong addiction to gummy bears! My body craved sugar like never before, and in early recovery, I didn’t care what I had to do, as long as I didn’t drink. But after a year, I felt like it was time to get myself back. After all, I hadn’t saved my own life, just to waste it away on gummy bears and bad reality television! (Though I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Kardashian’s, whose crazy lives truly got me through those early days…)

For me, facing my issues with alcohol forced me to look at my body in a new way. As I became less toxic, my body could do more and more. I liked that feeling! I finally saw my body for the miracle it was, instead of seeing everything it wasn’t. I felt like superwoman, and became obsessed with finding new, easy-to-understand ways to make my body function at it’s best. Now, let’s be real…I’m still me. I still love cheesecake and think yoga pants are best suited for hours on the couch watching a Doctor Who marathon, but I knew there had to be small, simple ways for even ME to live a little bit healthier.

  1. Cut Out Soda/Drink Tons of Water – You guys, have I told you how much I love La Croix? Because I love it, so, so much. It’s a little unsettling when you notice how many empty La Croix boxes I have in my recycling bin, but it’s way better than empty wine boxes, so I’ll take it! La Croix is a sparkling water and it has almost completely replaced my soda habit. I’ll still have a Coke every once in a while, but for the most part, it’s water all the way.
  2. Get Rid of (Most) Sugar – This is a HARD one for me, you guys. Luckily, I’m not a perfect person, so perfection is not my goal. So yes, I still have cake and chocolate and ice cream. Just not every day anymore. And I’ve been working to replace most of my household foods with items that have less sugar. Peanut butter is a great example! We eat tons of pb&j in my house, but most peanut butters are LOADED with sugar. So we swapped it out for a natural brand, where the only ingredients are peanuts and a bit of sea salt. We did the same with our jelly and bread. We still rock our pb&j’s, just with a little less of the sugar.
  3. Making Our Meals – I am an awful cook. AWFUL. The worst. But one of the big changes in our house has been implementing a meal plan and sticking to it. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m cooking four course meals every night, but I am finding it way easier to stick to healthy options when I know ahead of time what we will be eating. I’m also slowly growing my skills in the kitchen so that one day I won’t burn all the toast. Fingers crossed! 
  4. Vitamins, Supplements and Essential Oils – I truly believe that a huge part of why we haven’t been as sick this year is because as a family we have taken a proactive approach to our health. Trent has been taking vitamins and supplements for years, but only this year did I start adding them to my daily routine. You should definitely talk to your doctor before starting any sort of supplement plan (which I did) to figure out what your body needs and what’s right for you. In addition, we started using essential oils to replace some of our needs around the home. We use Young Living essentials oils to make everything from kitchen cleaner to headache remedies, and I love how they have replaced many of the toxic chemicals in our home. Sleep has always been a huge issue for our family, and initially we started using essential oils to help with that, but I keep finding new applications along the way, and I’m so grateful to have them as a tool on my journey.
  5. Sleep and Exercise – Like I mentioned above, sleep is a big deal in our home. We have two night owls and two light sleepers, and the mix can be exhausting. In the last year I’ve done a lot of research on sleep, and we’ve tried quite a few methods, some of which have helped, and others which have failed MISERABLY! We are still working on this issue, but I’ve found that a good mix of exercise and movement during the day really helps my sleep patterns at night. In fact, I feel better in general when I exercise…who would’ve thought? Apparently yoga pants can actually be used WHEN PARTICIPATING IN YOGA?!! Crazy. I’ve also added running and strength training to my days, and the combination not only makes me physically stronger, but the activity releases endorphins, which help with depression, anxiety and stress.

While this blog hasn’t regularly covered health topics in the past…it’s a lifestyle blog. So that means if there is something happening in my life, I’m gonna write about it! I’ve put off writing about health topics for a while, because I didn’t feel qualified, but this blog is about sharing my life, and right now health and wellness are some of the most important things I have going. I’m so excited to have you come along on this journey! I hope to post more regularly about wellness-related issues, and maybe even team up with some incredible people who have helped me along the way to provide you all with easy how-to’s, DIY’s and health hacks. Let me know if you all have any ideas or anything you’d like to learn more about!

Hooray for healthier bodies and happier minds!

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