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Find Great Deals with Ann Coupons

Written by marybabysteps on May 16, 2015

I love to shop online. I've learned a number of tricks over the years when it comes to saving money. One of the biggest is to use coupon or promo code sites beofre checking out when making an online purchase. Always. I always do a quick web search for coupons, promo codes or discounts before I complete my order. Nearly every time, I'll find some bit of savings, even if it's only 10%. I'm pretty familiar with what's out there when it comes to finding a deal. However, I just learned about a coupon site called Ann Coupons, and I must say that I'm impressed. 

The first thing I noticed about the site is the ease of navigation. You can search for specific vendors easily in a number of ways. Click on a category at the top of the page to browse stores or type a specific name in the search box if you know the kind of coupon you're looking for. For example, a search for Red Lobster will get you some of the best Red Lobster coupons online. I was honestly surprised at the variety of coupons available through just that search alone. 

Ann Coupons even has a feature that lets you find gift cards. Visit the blog to browse some of the highest value deals available right now. I think this is an especially good way to find unique gift ideas if you're feeling stumped and don't know what to get that person who has everything. You're buying a gift, you might as well save some money while you're at it! 

I will definitely be using Ann Coupons for my future online shopping excursions. My advice is to never checkout without doing a quick search for a discount or coupon. Ann Coupons seems to be a great place to start that search! 

* This has been a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

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My Le-Vel Thrive Experience - Weeks 5 and 6

Written by marybabysteps on May 15, 2015

Somehow I managed to neglect an update for weeks 5 and 6. I posted a photo on Facebook, but nothing here on the blog. Since that time has come and gone, I will simply post the side by side photo here. My next post will be an in-depth review of my entire 8-week Thrive Experience, with photos. For now, take a look at my photos from week 6.

At this stage, I'd lost about seven pounds, I believe. The biggest difference you can see is in my face, I think. For the first time, I actually chose to purchase a product based on the benefits it offered BESIDES weight loss. When I decided to purchase my first month's supply of Thrive, I had reached a point of desperation. I truly was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I knew from my experience on my trial pack that this product made a difference in how I felt, so I decided to take the chance and invest in my health. I have absolutely no regrets. 

If you think the time is now for you to invest in yourself and begin to sleep better, feel less pain and have more energy, visit my site and check out the Thrive products. An investment of $150 may seem like a lot; however, you will be surprised at how much better you feel and all of the things you no longer need. I can almost guarantee you won't need to buy energy drinks, coffee, soda or high-sugar snacks to perk you up in the middle of the day. Your Thrive experience is only $5 a day. How much are you spending on all of that other stuff? 

So do yourself a favor and visit my Le-Vel Thrive website to learn more about the product line. You'll find descriptions, ingredient lists and more. You can also visit the Le-Vel Facebook fan page to read hundreds of other testimonials and see how people are benefitting from Thrive.

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My Le-Vel Thrive Experience - Weeks 3 and 4

Written by marybabysteps on April 12, 2015

I'm a bit behind on my Thrive updates. But for good reason. I've been busy doing paid client work and spending time with our new dog, Mimi. Here she is hanging out with Brady and the cats. Isn't she pretty? 

I'm hopeful she will help me to be more active. She has a bad leg, but she still loves to go for short walks. So that's a start toward getting me out and moving. Honestly, before Thrive, I'm not sure I would have agreed to taking her in when my friends were in need. I'm pretty sure the idea of taking care of one more living creature would have been too much for me. With the energy and renewed outlook I have since taking Thrive, I didn't think twice about volunteering and was actually excited about the prospect. 

Anyway, let me give you a quick update on my progress. It will be short and sweet, mostly just photos so you can see the difference. I've been feeling prettty much the same as I did in my first and second updates

Week 3 Update 

Here's a side by side before and after of my face. The first is me with makeup, which covers the circles I usually have under my eyes. The second is me at week 3 of my Thrive Experience wearing no makeup. I think these photos really sum up how I'm feeling. My eyes are brighter. My skin no longer looks pasty and pale. My face is thinner. Being able to see these physical changes makes me even more excited about continuing my Thrive Experience. 

Can you see the difference? I think it's amazing. At three weeks, I was still feeling great. Energized, with very little joint pain. I also noticed that my respiratory allergy symptoms were improved. I'm allergic to wheat and milk, both of which make me stuffy with a runny nose. It's been much better since Thrive. Also, I've gotten only one headache since starting this journey., and it wasn't as bad as my usual ones That's pretty darn good for me. 

Week 4 Update

At the beginning of week 4, I noticed I was a bit more tired and had some bad cravings. To be upfront, I haven't really changed my diet thus far, though I have seemed to eat less, feeling full sooner. I've defrinitely been drinking more water this entire experience. I know that has been a really positive thing for my body overall. But back to my tiredness and cravings. Pretty sure that was just hormonal, related to PMS and the start of my period. That's to be expected, and i didn't stress over it much. My weight loss seemed to be at a stand still. However, I also think this is related to my menstrual cycle. Here are before and after photos at four weeks. 

Again, I can mainly see the difference in my face. Oh yeah, and my favorite bra fits comfortably again. Yay! But why is it that you tend to lose weight in your boobs first? i'd kind of like to keep those. Dammit. 

Well, there you have it. Weeks 3 and 4 updates. I am still feeling fantastic, looking better and losing weight gradually. Visit my Le-Vel Thrive website to learn more or please feel free to contact me. I'd love to help you start Thriving, too. If you're like me, you may be thinking it's worth a shot. I knew that nothing was going to change if I didn't do something, and I'm so very glad I did. 

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Online Dating Reality #3 - People are Disgusting

Written by marybabysteps on March 29, 2015

In today's online dating reality post I'll be addressing the subject that all of my Facebook friends are already well aware of, and that's the fact that people are disgusting. I share regularly on social media the raunchy approaches and messages I receive from men on dating sites. I do this beause, prior to entering the online dating scene two years ago, I honestly had no idea just how gross people could be. Maybe I'm naive. However, friends continue to be surprised by my postings, so I'm not the only one. If you're just as blissfully unaware of the depths of disgusting that you are likely to encounter in online dating, let me help to prepare you for the inevitable.

First Words Out of Their Mouths

Yep, they will be raunchy before ever exchanging a word with you. Just the other day, I received this gem - "well then can you deep throat?" That's exactly how he wrote it. No capitalization or punctuation beyond a question mark. Yes, I'm a writer. I'm offended by this, as well as by the fact that he assumed I was going to suck his dick. Who introduces themselves this way? This doesn't usually happen in real life. As with most internet trolls, the online dating dumbasses like to hide behind their computer screens in an attempt to be as offensive or shocking as possible. The thing I can't understand is the motive. We're all using these sites to achieve something. Even if that something is sex, approaching someone by asking her if she deep throats doesn't seem like the best way to get it. What do you think? 

Sorry. Trying to figure out the motives of online dumbasses is a blog post in itself. This post is just to give you a heads up that they exist and to let you know that they will likely approach you. No one was nice enough to warn me. Just to give you a clue of some of the kinds of obnoxious messages you may receive, here are some of my favorites that come to mind, sorry to those of you who've heard them before:

  • You into BDSM, Goddess? 
  • U swallow?
  • Hi honey how are you baby?
  • Let's play Mary ;)
  • I wish you would have my baby... blue eyes red hair... yeah. Lol
  • Would you make love in a bed of Circus Peanuts? (after reading that my weakness is for this awful candy)
  • Heyyyy sexy how r u

These aren't even the worst, just some of the more memorable or most recent. I wish I had kept a file of the horrible messages I've gotten since day one. 

Get Ready for the Photos

Sometimes you'll actually start conversing with someone because they've approached you in a respectful manner and seem interesting. Don't be shocked, though, when he sends you the infamous unsolicited dick pic. Yes, that is a thing. It does happen. Sometimes they will ask if you want a picture. Other times, you'll just be surprised by having it pop up on your phone. Men are proud of their junk, I guess. But most of the women I've spoken to have no interest in seeing an up-close, unedited photo of a man's cock before meeting him or being at a point where she'd actually consider being intimate with him. I mean, there you are exchanging "getting to know you" texts, and up pops an unflattering photo of his dick. Again, I don't know what they're thinking when they do stuff like this. 

I think I'll start sending them this video: 

It'll Be Okay

All right, please say I haven't completely scared you away from the prospect of internet dating. That was never my intent. I just believe that it's best to have information upfront before taking on something new, rather than to be completely taken by surprise. I'd want someone to tell me. Did anyone? Nope. Thanks a lot, single friends! 

Online dating can be filled with some disgusting people. Sometimes you receive a nice surpise in your inbox in the form of a thoughtful, interesting introduction. If you take a look through my past posts about online dating, you'll see that I have met some very wonderful men and had some great experiences. My biggest advice would be to try to have a sense of humor, don't engage the dumbasses and remain hopeful. It can be difficult. Believe me, I know. Some days, you want to scream. There may be times you decide to take a break from it all. I've done that, too. Follow your gut and be open to experiences. Also know that sometimes people are just disgusting.

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My Thrive Experience Week 2

Written by marybabysteps on March 23, 2015

It's been a little over two weeks since the beginning of my Thrive Experience. I'm still feeling fantastic. This update will be a bit shorter than my first because I haven't noticed a lot that's new. I've still got energy, and I'm calmer. Just more optimistic and relaxed, overall. I'm sure the improved sleep I've experienced has contributed to my better mood. And having the energy to get through my day absolutely makes me feel more optimistic. Before I always felt like I was behind on everything, and it seemed there was so little chance I'd get things done that it hardly seemed worth trying. It led to an ugly cycle of depression. 

Before Thrive

When I asked my friend for a sample of Thrive, I truly was at the point of desperation. I was constantly tired, with absolutely no focus. I was sleeping in shifts throughout the day and night. Three or four hour naps. No matter how I tried to get back on a regular sleep schedule, nothing worked. Being constantly fatigued made it impossible to think straight. I was becoming more and more pessimistic about things improving. 

And my physical health was suffering. I had put on so much weight over the past year and a half or so. My appetite was out of control, and I'm sure it was a combination of inactivity and emotional eating. Just going to the grocery store felt like attempting an hour-long advanced cardio class. It had become absolutely ridiculous. I was sleeping through my life, falling further behind on my goals. I knew it was time to do something, anything. 

Since Thrive

Thrive is not a miracle worker, but it's darn close. No, I'm not constantly energetic. And I'm not knocking everything off my list each and every day. But since I started my Thrive Experience, it all seems so much more possible. My sleep is the biggest improvement. I immediatley began sleeping regularly, each night, for eight hours at least. I wake up without an alarm, and I am able to get out of bed without creaky, sore knees and joints. I sit on the couch with my legs crossed and my computer on my lap for long periods throughout the day. I'm able to get up without pain and go down the stairs with ease. 

I'm still absent minded and a bit foggy. As someone with adult ADD, that's kind of to be expected. Like I said, Thrive is not a miracle worker. However, my mind is much clearer. I can complete short articles and blog posts without switching over to Facebook, email, dating sites and back again. As you can imagine, my productivity has improved. I feel so much more accomplished and like the goals I have set for myself are really possible. 

I went for a walk the other day, and I baked banana bread this weekend. These are two things that never would have happened before Thrive. Two very easy daily tasks that were completley beyond my reach. It's been a long time since I've enjoyed some of the most simple things life has to offer. I'm so much more positive now that I'm feeling better. I'm more patient with my kids and even more fun and outgoing when I go on dates. Not to mention my sex life has improved. Remember how difficult just going grocery shopping used to be for me? Imagine actual physical activity. It was exhausiting! Fun, but exhausting. Having energy for things makes life so much more fun! 

One thing I should note before moving on is that there was a short period of a few days where I felt very hungry and quite tired. After doing some reserch I think that may have been simply my body getting rid of toxins and briidging some of the nutritional gaps that were present. I've heard other Thrivers mention the same issues, as well as friends who have tried other nutritional supplements. That time has passed, and I'm no longer feeling sluggish periods in my days.

Weight Loss

Here's one of the biggest benefits - the weight loss. I was so excited that I already spilled the beans on Facebook. In two weeks, I've lost five pounds! That's without changing much about my diet or adding any exercise regime. I have started drinking a lot more water, and for the most part, my appetite has decreased. Here's the proof. Check out the scale! 

And here are side by side photos of me at the beginning of my Thrive Experience and two weeks in. I can tell a slight difference in my appearance. Can you? If you were to see me in real life, you'd probably be able to tell that the bags under my eyes are less visible, and my skin and eyes are brighter. Those are some changes I've definitely noticed. 

It's recommended that you try Thrive for at least eight weeks in order to feel the maximum effects. Some people notice a dramatic difference on day one. Some don't. I suspect it has to do with your beginning level of nutrition and fitness. I, personally, had nowhere to go but up. If you'd like to read other testimonials besides mine, head on over to the Le-Vel Facebook page to take a look. They have tons of stories of how Thrive is improving people's lives. 

If you're curious about what Thrive is, take al look at this post I wrote about the products I take. You can also visit my website to learn more or sign up as a free customer. 

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More About Le-Vel Thrive Products

Written by marybabysteps on March 19, 2015

I wrote recently about the new nutritional line I am taking and how I have signed up to be a Brand Promoter for the company. I wanted to write a little more about the products and the goals I have for my experience before I take the time to write my next update letting you know how I'm feeling on the product. The company is called Le-Vel, and the product line is Thrive.  You may have seen myself and others posting about Le-Vel Thrive on Facebook and other places online or talking about it in your real life circles. The reason people are talking about it is simply because it is a product that does what it claims to do, and it's made a difference in the lives of many people who take it, including mine. 

The DFT Difference

There are three basic products to the line. I'd like to start with the Thrive Premium Lifestyle DFT patch, even though it's the last in the Thrive 3-step process. DFT stands for Derma Fusion Technology, indicating that it is placed on the skin and that the ingredients are absorbed into the system through the skin. This is a delivery system that is a first of its kind. The DFT system offers time-released delivery of a unique formula that boosts metabolism, aids in weight loss, improves mental clarity and aids in appetite control. 

I am using the Thrive Plus - DFT Ultra, which is a larger patch that delivers a higher concentration of the formula. It's meant for people like me who have 50 or more pounds to lose. It's also good for highly active folks and athletes. I'm quite happy with the results of this product. The DFT patch contains ingredients such as green coffee bean extract, garcinia cambrogia, CoQ10, white willow bark, green tea extract and other proprietary blends. I lvoe the energy it gives me! 

Premium Lifestyle Capsule

The Thrive Premium Lifestyle Capsules are the first part of the 3-step process. The capsule comes in a women's formula and a men's. I belive that the men's formula simply contains a higher level of ingredients. Contained in the capsules is a natural formula of vitamins, minerals, plant extracts, antioxidants, enzymes, probiotics and amino acids. The ingredients are basically a blend of vitamins, along with folic acid, chromium, vanadium and selenium. 

Premium Lifestyle Mix

The Premium Lifestyle Mix is the shake. It can be purhcased in individual packets or by the canister. This mix was designed to complement the capsules. It contains a blend of vitamins and minerals, as well. The ingredients are formulated for both men and women and are a nutrient-rich formula that is meant to support lean muscles and aid in weight management. 

Used all together, the 3-step process combines to give you the Thrive Experience. Results, obviously, will vary and are based on which gaps may exist in your particular nutritional needs. Typically, users experience improved cognitive performance, support of digestive and immune systems, lean muscle and joint support, pain management support, aid in weight management and more. 

Here is the easy 3-step process involved in the Thrive Experience, and it's recommended to give the products eight weeks to fully notice the ultimate difference. However, most people, including myself, notice improvement in various areas much sooner. Sometimes even the first day! 

This video gives you an overview of the products. Please visit my Le-Vel Thrive site if you'd like to learn more. If you'd like to try a sample of the products, I can have a two-day sample sent out to you for $10,  a four-day sample for $20, etc.  

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, and please visit my site to learn more! By the way, signing up as a Brand Promoter is free and offers upgrade packages not available to customers. There's no pressure to sell and no quotas. Many people sign up simply because they're so happy with the results. I'm one of those people. Most of you know I'm no salesperson. I would, however, love to earn enough money to purchase my own Thrive products as well as share the experience with others I think would benefit from it. Let me know if you have questions!

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25 Things I Betcha Didn't Know About Me

Written by marybabysteps on March 15, 2015

My friend, Tracy, recently challenged the members of her Mastermind group to share 25 things about themselves in a blog post. I've never written one of these posts in six years of blogging, so it's probably about time I do. I tend to be pretty forthcoming here on the blog, as well as on Facebook and in my real life. I feel like there's not a lot I haven't shared about myself. But I'll give it a try. Here I go. 

  1. Most of you know that I've been online dating for awhile now. I guess I've always been a little boy crazy. I can remember chasing a male classmate around the room trying to steal a kiss all the way back in Kindergarten. 
  2. I have a terrible sweet tooth and am addicted to candy. One of my favorite kinds is Circus Peanuts. I'm not sure many adults would admit to that. 
  3. I'm allergic to wheat and milk. Because the biggest symptom I experience is a stuffy nose, I tend to eat whatever I please. 
  4. This leads to the revelation that I have absolutely no willpower. Especially when it comes to food. It's very hard for me to cut out things that are bad for me. However, for my health, I intend to try. 
  5. I'm an only child. I always assumed that my child would be, as well. As a mother of three, I was obviously mistaken. 
  6. I'm not the most confident driver and don't enjoy driving in unfamiliar places. However, when I get a car again, I vow to drive absolutely everywhere! 
  7. I belong to a secret group of about 10 members on Facebook. I consider them to be amongst my closest friends and biggest source of support, though I've only met two of them in real life. 
  8. I've worked in two facilities for male juvenile offenders. I learned quite a bit from those young men. 
  9. One of my favorite jobs was working as an Activities Assistant in a nursing home. So much fun! 
  10. I was truly honored to have received the Oustanding Academic Adviser of the Year award for two consecutive years from the students at the community college where I worked before having my third child and deciding to work from home as a freelance writer. 
  11. I was in a sorority in college. It was a shocker to me, too. I'm not exaclty a joiner. And, truthfully, I never did fit in that well, but I made a few really great friends and learned a lot about myself and others. 
  12. You all know I'm a true blue liberal in my politics, right? Did you know I come from a family of staunch conservatives? 
  13. I truly loved the very first two men I met through dating sites after my divorce. Though I've made a good friend or two, there hasn't been that kind of strong emotional connection since. Beginner's luck? 
  14. I lived in an all female residence hall in college and actually enjoyed it quite a bit, despite wanting to go co-ed in the beginning. 
  15. My family moved across the state my senior year of high school. It didn't ruin my life, despite my teenage protests otherwise. I actually made a lot of friends and ended up having a support system when many of us started as freshmen at the university in our town. 
  16. I have never had a broken bone. Knock on wood.
  17. I've been to a swingers club. Though I witnessed many, many things, I did not swing. I promised my Facebook friends I'd write about it. I will. Honest.
  18. I hated being pregnant. Hated it, yet did it three times. 
  19. Despite the fact that I have two cats that I take pictures of and talk about all the time, I secretly am a dog person. Shhh... don't tell the cats. 
  20. I've never been content with being average. However, success came easier to me when I was younger. That's been hard for me to deal with over the past several years. Guess I'll just have to work harder. 
  21. I'm oblivious when it comes to pop culture. Unless it happened in the early '80's to mid '90's, I'm clueless. During the time that I've been raising kids, I've really only absorbed what they've liked. Financial and time constraints have kept me from paying attention to much else. 
  22. I despise winter. I majored in Spanish in college with the intent of moving some place warm with a high Spanish speaking population. As we know, life doesn't always work out as planned. I'm still here in Pennsylvania. 
  23. I don't make friends easily in real life. I tend not to "fit in." I have had the same best friend in my life for over 20 years, and I consider myself quite fortunate for that. 
  24. I'm highly sensitive, in every way. I used to cry over anything and everything in elementary school. Though I've gained control of my emotions over the years, I'm still easily affected by things. 
  25. I've never traveled beyond the borders of North America. I plan to change that one day.

There you have it- 25 things about me. I actually did it. I tried to come up with stuff y'all didn't already know and hope I was successful at that. Have you written a 25 Things blog post? Link it in the comments or even just tell me one thing I don't know about you!

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My Le-Vel Thrive Experience - The Beginning

Written by marybabysteps on March 8, 2015

It's been nearly two years since my separation and divorce. It's been a stressful time, to say the least. I've learned a great deal and have come a long way in that time. However, if I'm being honest, the stress has taken its toll on me. On my mind and my body. Constant stress and worry can really do a number on a person. It tears away at your self-esteem, making you doubt your abilities and unable to see a time that will ever be better. It sends you looking for comfort in whatever manner is accessible. In my case, the most available, seemingly harmless comfort was food. I've gained a lot of weight.

A Vicious Cycle

It's a new year, and though I haven't formally written about it, I've decided my word for this year is "reinvention." In order to make the changes I'd like to see in my income, my career and my personal life, I've decided I need to first start with my phyical self. I am constantly tired. Constantly. Tired is probably not even a strong enough word. Exhausted. I'm constantly exhausted. My sleep is insane. Often, I sleep in cycles of three to five hours at a time. I can't get through the day without a nap. My thinking is scattered and foggy. I'm so forgetful. The truth is, I do exhibit traits of ADD and used to take Adderall for that, and it helped a lot. However, the constant exhaustion has made my ability to concentrate worse than it has ever been. All of this has led to bouts of depression and anxiety, despite the Prozac I take daily. It's a vicious cycle that makes moving forward nearly impossible.

An Investment in Myself

So when I began to see testimonials for and people talking about Le-Vel Thrive and what it's done for them, I decided to investigate. A friend of mine is a brand promoter for the company, and she sent me a sample. In the course of four days, I noticed changes in my sleep and energy that could not be denied, so I took the plunge and purchased a month's supply. Most of you know, this is not something that is in my budget. At this point, I absolutely have to do something, and I decided the investment in myself is worth it. I have also signed up as a promoter for Le-Vel Thrive, and it is my hope that, if the product proves to be useful for me, others will decide to give it a try for themselves. I'm not a salesperson, by nature. I won't pressure anyone to buy from me. 

For those who know my situation, you have to know that I believe in the product and felt real results in order to have invested in it. I will document my results over the next month here on the blog. I'm truly hopeful to see big changes over that time. I've already seen some very noticeable differences in just the first few days on Thrive. Here are the major and subtle improvements I've observed thus far. 

Sleep and Energy

The biggest and most impactful change I've noticed is the difference in my sleep. I've been able to sleep (mostly) straight through the night. Even when I woke through the night briefly, I was able to fall right back to sleep. During my four-day sample period a while back, I noticed that I woke up around 7:00 each day without an alarm. This time around, it's been a bit different. I've woken up after that time, but I've also woken before 7:00. Whatever the case, the bottom line is that I got up without an alarm and without feeling incredibly groggy. That's right. Once I got out of bed, I noticed that my head felt immediately more clear than usual. Ordinarily, my kids know better than to talk to mommy before she's had at least one, preferably two, cups of coffee. With Thrive, I actually feel coherent enough to have a conversation prior to coffee. That's a big deal. I'm not making any claims that I'm hyper-focused and full of energy. That hasn't happened yet. However, I am feeling a difference, and even that small difference means a lot to me. I've even been able to get through days without naps. A day without a nap is unheard of for me. I did nap yesterday, and I actually attribute that to PMS, which has always increased my fatigue.

Mood and Emotions

Speaking of PMS, I am a redhead who is naturally prone to emotional ups and downs. PMS really does a number on me, ordinarily. I'm easily agitated, exhausted and cranky. Guess what? I didn't really even realize that I was about to get my period until the app on my computer reminded me. I haven't been short-tempered, even with the kids home due to snow days. Their normal interruptions of my work would send me into a frenzy during PMS past. This week, it's been a minor annoyance. I have noticed that I'm a bit more weepy than usual, but I'll take that over annoyed and agitated any day. I feel overall more able to face life's ups and downs. It's a nice change that I hope will continue.

Physical Function

Finally, something very significant I've observed since taking my Thrive over the past few days is that my knees, lower back and hips aren't as sore as usual. It didn't hit me right away when I got out of bed that first day that I wasn't feeling the pain. In fact, I still walked slowly and hobbled to the bathroom the way I usually do until my limbs and joints warm up. Except when I reached my destination, I realized that there was no need to hunch over or walk gingerly. My joints didn't hurt. Even when I went downstairs to get Brady an outfit from the laundry, I didn't feel the pain and creaking in my knees that is usually there! With warmer termperatures coming, I'm actually looking forward to getting out and walking a bit, which is a good thing since I don't currently have a car. 

These changes and observances I'm telling you about aren't miraculous. I'm not suddenly in perfect physical, mental and emotional form. But the difference is significant. It's real, and I feel it. Like my blog's title, I am excited that these changes will only increase and lead to taking the Everyday Baby Steps I need to move toward my goals. 

I will continue to keep you updated on my progress and feedback on how I'm feeling using the Thrive protocol each week for the next month. While the ultimate goal isn't to lose weight, it is a much hoped for outcome, as I think it will lead to a happier and healthier me. So I will post updates on my weight each week, as well. If you'd like to learn more about Thrive, please check out my website. There's an informational video on the page and a lot more in-depth information on each product throughout the site. Feel free to ask questions, though I'm just learning about it all myself. I will write more posts about the products I'm taking and what they are designed to do, in addition to my weekly updates. 

Thanks to everyone who has supported me on this journey. I am excited about the possibilities it offers!

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2014 Dating Recap: The Year of Second Chances

Written by marybabysteps on February 16, 2015

Well, I told some of my social media friends that I would be writing a summary of my 2014 dating experiences and what I learned from them. After all, I wrote one for 2013 that was pretty fantastic, if I do say so, myself. I had some incredibly meaningful relationships and some experiences that truly impacted my life straight out of the dating gate in 2013. I fully expected 2014 to be the year of only bigger and better things. Damn, I was cocky. 

In looking back over 2014, what's stood out to me is that it seemed to be my year of giving second (third, fourth, etc.) chances. Some turned out, thus far, to be a good thing. Others didn't work out so well. Here's a recap.

That Scientist

You know the one. I oftened referred to him as "Cute Scientist" on Facebook. After seven months, though, he simply became known as "Fucker." He was neuroscientist #2 out of three, for those keeping count. I met him in January. It seemed like a great start to the year. He was a little different than most men I'd dated. Quiet, and a bit awkward even, I do believe I gave him the most chances of all, when it comes right down to it. I saw him for seven months. We all know how that ended. In case you don't, you can read about how he was married and I had no clue. I won't rehash that here. However, what I will mention in this post is that I know I gave that one far too many chances. He was emotionally unavailable and showed me time and again he didn't value my time. Yet I continuously gave him a pass. At the time, I excused his behavior as simply being quirks of his uber intelligence. Looking back, I now realize that I simply valued the comfort and consistency of having him in my life. He was routine. I saw him reguarly. We stuck to a pretty regular rotation of dates. Some may see it as boring. For me, it was comfort. When it comes down to it, though, that comfort wasn't worth sacrificing my dignity. 

The Scientist That Came Back

The first man I dated after my separation was neuroscientist #1. It was a whirlwind of intense emotion. I loved that man fiercely. Then he went away. He had his reasons, but it hurt like hell. He was gone from my life for nearly a year. Then one day, out of the blue, I received an email from him. I didn't hesitate to let him back in my life. I have such an attachment to this person. I don't make genuine connections easily. So when I do, I tend to hold on for dear life. I welcomed him back without question. He's a complicated person, and it took some time for me to reconcile the nature of our relationship. So far, I have no regrets at giving this one a second chance and am content to have my friend back. Chalk one up for second chances. 

The Local Man With an Air of Mystery

We dated before. It didn't work out. So why would I give it another shot? Well, if I'm being completely honest, I'd have to admit that it's because of the sexual chemistry we had, as well as his many talents. Also, while looking at things honestly, I realized that the main reason things didn't work with us the first time was due to a serious lack of communication. So when I saw him visiting my OkCupid profile multiple times, I sent him a message telling him that he could at least say hello if he intended to keep stopping by. That got the conversation rolling. 

We set up a date and actually talked about some of the underlying reasons we didn't see eye to eye in our previous go round. Armed with our newfound information and understanding, we ended up having a fantastic time together. We've enjoyed each other's company on a different level from our last attempt and seem to be moving forward in a positive way. We're going slowlly and building trust in each other, which was much-needed. I'm looking forward to seeing where our newfound openness and understanding take us. 

The One Whose Ego Is Bigger Than His Heart

There's another man I ended things with due to a disagreement. In fact the disagreement was actually more of a fight, and it was rather hurtful. I may have mentioned him in another blog post, referring to his tactics of disagreement as a "mindfuck." So don't ask me why I decided to reach out to him when I saw our match rating on OkCupid had gone up to a 99%. I though that maybe we could be friends, since we seemed to be so compatible in a lot of ways. 

Our initial reunion was amicable. It was actually a comfort to have him back in my life. He sent me a friend request on Facebook and was there to "like" my posts and encourage me. It was nice. Until I posted something he disagreed with. It got quite ugly. I held my ground and explained my reasoning. He dug his feet in and continued to push his position. As it turned out, friends who had initially agreed with him actually ended up pointing out the flaws in his argument, as well as his style of making that argument. One woman even told him he was being a bully. Long story short, he ended up telling me we could no longer be friends and blocking me. But, truthfully, it was a relief to have had that argument occur publicly. It was validation that our earlier argument was not my fault and that I hadn't imagined his bullying tactics. Despite the fact that I belive the guy genuinely does have a big heart, his ego and need to be right are much bigger. Chalk this one up to a learning experience that second chances don't always work out. 

So it seems the recurring theme of my romantic life in 2014 was "second chances." These are merely a few examples. There actually are one or two more instinces where second chances were given, either by me or by someone else, in my dating life. But these are the main ones. Navigating the decision of whether to let someone back in your life or to stick to your guns can be difficult. No one wants to allow themselves to be used or treated badly. And I do always advocate for following your instincts. If you think someone is bad for you, you're probably right. However, for the most part, I am inclined to give someone a second chance. Thankfully, important people in my life have afforded me a chance or two, or even three, over the years.

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Written by marybabysteps on November 18, 2014

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