Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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It’s October. The month of spooky celebration and crisp fall days. It’s also a month dedicated to awareness. Breast cancer awareness. Awareness that breast cancer is still here and it’s still a bastard. As a cancer survivor (thyroid) I understand the importance of spreading information about cancer. With awareness comes funding, earlier detection, and better care. On a whole we’ve made a pretty good dent in ensuring breast cancer is kept in everyone’s mind but we still have long ways to go. It is still taking lives. It is still the number one cancer among women.
It’s been a little over seven years since my Aunt lost her battle with recurrent breast cancer. She had a smile that lit up a room. Her laugh was instantly contagious. Her dedication to her children and family was legendary. When she lost her battle, a light left this world that will never be able to be replaced. Not only did we lose a friend, wife, daughter, sister, and aunt we also lost a mother. She left behind two children who have grown up without their mother. They understand how very real this cancer still is in so many people’s lives.
A few months before I was diagnosed with cancer another Aunt, received her breast cancer diagnosis. She’s currently in remission and kicking life’s ass. She is a breast cancer survivor. Unfortunately surviving is not the end of it.  It The aftermath of breast cancer remains for a very long time. Chronic pain. Fatigue. Medication that makes you ill. Just because they say your cancer is gone, doesn’t mean that the journey is over. Many cancer survivors will deal with long-term impacts to their health and quality of life. You won’t always know that many of them are still suffering because their gratitude for surviving keeps them from allowing it to consume them. My Aunt J is one of those people. She has her bad days, but there is a fire in here that refuses to let it define her.
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So today, in honor of both my beautiful Aunts I wanted to share a few breast cancer statistics to help us remember what it is we are fighting for.
-One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Gather sixteen women in a room and two of them will receive a diagnosis. 
-Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. It’s estimated that of the 252, 710 women will be diagnosed this year, 40,500  of them will not win their fight. 
– There are over 3.3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States alone. 
– Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women worldwide in countries at all levels of modernization 
The good news is that deaths are declining for breast cancer. Since advocacy started deaths due to breast cancer have declined at a rate of 2.4% per year. Life expectancy with early detection is at 91% for five years out. The key is taking care of you. If you are over 40 go get your boobs checked!
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If you are under 40 do a self-check once a month. If you have a significant other, have them help. This needs to be a group effort!
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If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, talk to your doctor and see how early they want you to start being tested. For many people, if you have a family history of breast cancer it is recommended to start getting mammograms before you’re 40.
If you don’t have access to healthcare and need to get checked visit one of the links below for resources on where you can get examined for free.
I’m sick of cancer. I’m tired of losing people to it. I’m tired of fighting it myself. It’s a disease that has impacted almost every person I’ve ever met. Let’s find a cure for breast cancer and every other type of cancer that has made itself an unwelcome guest in our lives. I want to be able to tell cancer to fuck off once and for all. The sooner the better. In the meantime stay vigilante and love each other.
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Useless Facts From Me to You Pt. 1

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My head is full of endless random facts. I cant’ remember where I put my keys, but I do know that statistically, heart attacks are more likely to occur on a Monday. No one in my house wants to play Trivial Pursuit with me anymore. Everyone quit playing Trivia Crack with me online. I’m a fact freak and the world hates me for it. When the zombie apocalypse comes all those haters will be knocking at my door though. My random knowledge might just save you. I have proof. I once took a test put out by survivalist experts and scored 100%. Knowledge is power!!! I will survive. Without my keys, but I’ll still keep on!

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Today I thought I would share three seemingly useless facts that have been clanging around in my brain. You shall now know these things for no reason. BUT….What if they actually help one day? This could be the one thing that helps you win Jeopardy, or allows you to survive at the end of the world.
Hippos Sweat Red And Are Deadly AF
The other day my husband was making a joke about the jungle boat ride at Disneyland. He thought it was hilarious that they made such a big deal about the hippo attacking the boat. It’s a hippo. Who would be afraid that tubby little adorable mammal? Everyone should be terrified of hippos. They’re the deadliest land mammal in Africa. Yup, cute little rolly polly hippos are responsible for at least 2,500 deaths every year. Have you seen the video of what they can do to watermelons? Those grumpy water loving giants will not think twice about using that powerful chomp on humans. Disneyland knew what it was doing making hippos the arch nemesis of their jungle cruise. Walt Disney knew what was up.

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It’s a wonder to me that people are surprised to find out hippos are evil. They sweat red. Yes. That’s true. Their sweat is the actual color of blood. While scientist say that this bizarre trait is actually a built-in function that serves as sunscreen for them, we know they’re wrong. Anything that seeps blood from its pores is clearly a harbinger of doom and should be feared. Hippos leave no doubt that this a fact you can count on.
Pirates Didn’t Wear Earrings to Be Pretty
We all know pirates as swashbuckling adventurers who pillaged and plundered wrecking havoc on the sea. Every single person reading this has probably dressed up as a pirate for at least one Halloween. What completed that look? A hook hand, an eye patch, and a gold hoop earring. These seafaring folk didn’t accessorize with the dangly hoops simply because they were in love with all things in the pirate couture line. They actually had a few different purposes.
Hoop earring were used to a mark of the pirate’s voyage. A rite of passage of sorts. Earrings were given to newly minted pirates for things like their first equator crossing. Happy Equator crossing Jim! You get a hoop of your own!  For me? You shouldn’t have guys!
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Some pirates also believed that wearing the hoop would make their eyesight better. Those pirates were dumb and probably died because they didn’t see the flag of the British army coming for them.
Most of all though, the earrings were practical. Some of the fellas that worked the cannons would dangle wax from their hoops to help plug their ears during an epic battle at sea. Safety first, even if you’re a pirate. If they didn’t survive the battle, the price one of their hoops could fetch was enough to pay for the best pirate funereal in town. Rum for everyone in honor of Jim!
All Tea Is Made From the Same Plant
Have you ever hung out with someone who was like, I only drink oolong tea because the quality of the plant is exceptional? You should call that person right now and ruin their day. All teas whether they are black, oolong, green, white, or pu-erh actually come from one plant. The humble Camellia sinensis plant is responsible for all the teas in the world.
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The variation in the teas happens during processing. Oxidization determines how strong your tea is. It’s controlled in several different ways during the growing and processing stages of tea making. White and green teas are plucked earlier in the growing process than say a black tea. Different levels of heat and steaming are also applied to carefully control the level of oxidization. Whatever your tea preference, its the same damn leaf. Except chamomile tea because that’s not tea, its chamomile, boom a bonus fact.
I’m not sure how any of these facts might help you survive in the future, but at the very least you can wow your friends and family with the amazing things that you now know and they don’t.
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Don’t Wear That Hair

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Y’all know I love my cats. I sneak my love for them into my blogs as often as possible. What am I supposed to do? They’re little balls of fluffy joy that I love unconditionally. They can be jerks for 90% of the day, but in those few moments when they let me love them, it’s like the heavens open up and angels sing. You’d think with my deep affinity for my four-legged babies, I’d want to be as close to them as possible at all times. I too thought there was no line I would not cross. I was wrong.
 
As always Facebook loves to shove ads in my face. It’s annoying but sometimes I come across some real gems, and sometimes I gag. Today was a gagging kind of day. A company is selling watches made with your pets’ fur. All you need to do is collect 2-4 oz of your pet hair and send it into them for a furtastic nightmare you can call your own all for the low price of $199. To take that nightmare even deeper I just want you to know that these watches are on backorder. So many people have ordered these watches that there is a waitlist. Can someone explain what is going on in the world right now?
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As a pet owner, I can attest that 50% of my day is spent trying to remove pet hair from everything I own. I don’t need to pay anyone two hundred bucks to crust it to a watch for me. It’s already there. I can find cat hair somewhere on my body at any given moment of the day. No special accessories needed.
 
I’d also like to point out that I have watched these little furry savages I adore, do some pretty disgusting things. One of my boys loves to play in the cat box. I have no idea why it’s his idea of a good time, but he rolls around in that shit field and flings it everywhere. Normally you don’t have to bathe cats but his little poo rolling self is an exception to the rule. Clearly, I’d not want to wear his poop smeared coat around my wrist.
Above all things, it has a very Silence of the Lamb feeling to me. The thought of collecting my pets fur and having someone fashion it into a piece of jewelry seems so serial killeresque to me. I can just imagine some crazed fashionista somewhere forcing her beloved pet to have its fur conditioned daily in preparation of the fur harvest. No thank you! I’d much rather not channel my inner Buffalo Bill or slightly less terrifying, but still super murderous Cruella de Ville.
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You’re probably thinking to yourself, hello? Wool? Leather? I know! It’s animal fur and skin. I don’t own any of that either. I will admit it doesn’t leave me with the same skin-crawling sensation wearing pet fur does. My brain knows its the same concept. The rest of me cannot come to terms with it.
 
Look, I won’t judge you if you decide to get one. Ok. Who are we kidding? If you show up to my house with a fur watch I’m so going to judge you. If you must indulge in wearing the fur of your pets, please refrain from doing so anywhere within my vicinity. I won’t be held responsible for what I say or do. I may also vomit on you if forced into long-term contact with it. For everyone’s sake, wear it at home. In private. Where no one else will ever see it.
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Legging Wars

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To be honest, I didn’t buy into the legging fad very quickly. As a plus size girl, there’s a certain stigma attached to wearing leggings. Fat shamers love to point at big girls in leggings and spread their hate. While I’m not one to usually give a flying pig’s pickle about what people think, I did let this impact me. I wasn’t comfortable wearing them unless my shirt came down to mid-thigh. While I will preen over the fact that I have a phenomenal ass, my thighs need some help. I also greatly disliked the vagina frame shorter shirts could create when paired with the leggings. I felt on display. Paranoid I’d pop a camel toe at the barest of movement. So, I abstained. Leggings were not for me.

My leggings ban, however, was short-lived. One day as I window shopped online, I stumbled across a pair of amazing shark covered leggings on Modcloth.com. I love sharks. I have a shark tattoo, I watch shark week, I have shark inspired bucket list items. My shark obsession is real. Even though they were the dreaded all exposing leggings I couldn’t help myself. I needed my legs to be covered in all the sharks! I ordered them without thought. When they arrived, they were amazing. Not only did they bring me joy, but every time I wore them I received compliments. People could not help admire my shark bedecked legs because they were so awesome! Being a girl who loves to wear anything that is a tacky color fest of fun, I was hooked. Everywhere I turned there were leggings in amazing designs and colors. My world hand expanded and I needed to have them all.

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Lularoe seemed to be the epitome of any legging aficionado’s obsession. Unfortunately, their largest size didn’t accommodate my bootylicious self. I was saved! At least that was one leggings pit I couldn’t fall into.

At least that was the case, until three weeks ago. Scrolling through my Facebook timeline I spotted a friend of mine wearing Ms. Piggy leggings. Ms. Piggy is pretty much my spirit animal so I needed a pair and STAT.  I messaged my friend. “Where? I need them so bad? Help me?” She came back with the dreaded word:: Lularoe.

Bummer. No sweet Piggy leggings for me. But wait she sent more just as I had lost hope… “They just came out with Tall and Curvy 2, I have a feeling those will fit you. You should try” O-M-G. O-M-G the fabled Lularoe was now in my grasp. The other size had just barely been too small. These would surely be just right! I began to Google search like it was my job, trying to find a pair of Ms. Piggy TC2 leggings from Lularoe. (Now as a disclaimer, I have heard that there were some issues with the company a while back but it was a quality thing so I can live with that for the sake of being adorable.)

My search led me to find an overwhelming number of Facebook groups for Lularoe sales people. Great! I would have so many leggings to choose from with all these groups. I started joining them all like a crazy woman, hoping to snag a pair of these leggings. I was in for a very rude awakening.  One can not just buy a pair of leggings from these groups. No, you see buying a pair of leggings is now the Hunger Games of clothing shopping.

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These evil representatives go live on Facebook at random times to sell their items. You have to be ready at a moment notice if the notification pops up that they’re live. At that moment you drop everything you’re doing in life and jump into the fray. You hover over your keyboard waiting for the show to start. One by one they parade out the leggings in a method clearly designed to test your stamina. There’s no order to the event. You never know what size or print is going to come next. You just have to wait and see if the one you want flashes across the screen. If you’re lucky enough to have that shining moment where your leggings appear, you better move faster than you’ve ever moved in your entire life. You can’t just buy them. You have to be the first person to type sold in order to “win” them.

For three weeks I sat watching a parade of leggings march across my screen. Every time they would say TC2 my glazed over eyes would spark back to full focus. Scanning desperately for the pair I wanted. Every once in a while, a pair I needed would pop into view. These ones. These are amazing. These shall be mine.

No! They would never be mine! Every damn time I’d be too late. Some freak of nature who could clearly type at the speed of light would beat me. Again and again and again. At this point, I no longer even wanted the damn leggings. I just wanted to be the winner! I’d sat poised at the keyboard, adrenaline pumping into my system. My anxiety through the roof as I tried desperately to acquire the impossible. I would win if killed me.

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Finally, I gave up. I couldn’t handle the stress. I’d resolved myself to just let it go. They were just leggings. Why was I putting myself through this just to get something that was overpriced and wouldn’t even keep me warm? I have a book to put out in a few months, I was wasting way too much time on legging feeds, when clearly I should be writing. Good. I’m glad that’s done.

But…..then they announced the Disney Villains collection…….. are you kidding me!!!!!!  Maleficent! Ursula! Cruella! All the evil queens you love to hate. Bastards!!! How could I quit when the best had just come! Screw Piggy leggings I actually needed these ones. I dove back into the fray, more determined than ever before to get me some damn leggings.

 

I won!!!! Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!! I got Maleficent leggings. They fit amazing. They’re as soft as a baby butt. I love them so much. I don’t want to play leggings roulette anymore but I don’t know if I can stop. Someone help me! Maybe we need a Lularoe intervention club. We can help each other end this madness. Until then, if you see in TC2 Ursula up for grabs somewhere hook a sister up. Also still looking for that Ms. Piggy soo….

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Stir Until Petrified Chapters 1-5 Check Out My Upcoming Debut Novel

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The first five chapters of my debut novel Stir Until Petrified are available on my website for you to devour.

This debut novel from author Theda Vallee introduces readers to the world of Violetta “Etta” Massoni, a Strega (Italian for witch) living in the sleepy seaside town of Palermo Bay. Healing from tragedy, Etta wants nothing to do with the magic she was born with, instead choosing to spend her life working in the family bakery. Supported by her overbearing family, Etta tries to get through one day at a time. Everything was going along as boring and dull as it could until a string of attacks leaves fifteen people trapped in their dreams. A secretive task force is sent to investigate, with Etta as their number one suspect. Swept up into the chaos against her will, Etta is forced to leap feet-first into the magical world she wanted nothing to do with. Etta won’t have to go it alone, though. Her family has never been able to mind their own business, and they are all coming along for the ride. Join Etta, her sister Nerina, cousin Gia, Auntie Sophie, and Nona, in a world of magic, myth, sass, and Sunday spaghetti!

This is a rollicking paranormal/romance/comedy/adventure not to be missed. Book 1 in this 5 book series is coming your way January 2018.

 Click here to read the first five chapters now!

 

Halloween Costume Don’ts

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One of my favorite holiday’s is Halloween. Transforming myself into a fantasy creation for the evening is my idea of a freaking great time! I’ve been Medusa, a fortune teller, a mermaid, and a host of other creations over my lifetime. Last year I was Alice Insane In Wonderland which is one of my favorite costumes to date! While I believe that Halloween is the time of year to let your creativity run wild, I’m also a bit of a costume elitist. You can add your own twist and flare to the most basic idea and make it next level, however, there are costumes tropes that no matter how much you try they are just ewww.

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Look at me I’m corn. Look at me I’m ketchup. Wow. I’m so excited to see you dressed up as a remote control. Man oh man am I impressed by your superb wit. Haha! I’m laughing on the inside.
 There are only a few occasions when dressing up as an object from your house is witty. For example, if your friend went as Dobby from Harry Potter and you went as a sock. Cute concept. Go ahead and be that sock! Now if you just show up as a sock with no other plan, that’s just lame. It makes no sense and highlights how little you actually tried.

 

While picking random household items as a costume is lame, it can cross over into the “now you’re just being a complete ass” territory. This year poop emoji and tampon costumes are prime examples of crossing that line. No one wants a piece of shit at their party. It’s an emoji for one, which is already cringe, but it’s also what comes out of your body as waste. It’s not funny and it belongs in the 3rd grade. And a tampon costume? Really? Look at me I’m that thing that women shove up their crotches to catch blood once a month. Isn’t that the best bro? Nope. Not even close to the realm of hilarious. Sorry dude bro try again next year.

Dicks Everywhere

I have three brothers, a husband, and two sons. Until today, I felt pretty confident in saying that men were not as obsessed with their penis’ as people would have you believe.  I’m obviously wrong. There is clearly a high demand for anything that will show off the fact that you were born with something dangling between your legs.

I found pages of costumes that in some shape or form highlighted the fact that a dude has a dick. Why? What is it that drives whoever is buying these to think that people want to see a reference to their junk? Many of these costumes request sexual acts like blow me or rub me. So walking around with a fake sausage dick telling people to touch it is a good idea to you? People don’t like unsolicited dick pics, that should tell you that no one wants to see your junk real or otherwise unless they specifically ask for it. I feel in some strange way these dudes think they’re doing ladies a favor by showcasing their most valuable asset. I’m not into magic lamp cock so I think I’ll pass but your gaggle of friends who also won’t be getting a date tonight will think it’s hilarious.

All The Things Sexy
Finally, we come to the ladies and the quest to make everything sexy. I’m not the first to point this out, and I assume I won’t be the last.  It’s an epidemic that the world has been witness to for years. With so much awareness around this, you’d think people would finally stop. Yet somehow it just keeps escalating. By no means am I saying that ladies shouldn’t be sexy, I’m just saying we have to stop somewhere. There comes a point when it’s no longer sexy and has ventured into strange places that we can’t unsee now.
The world doesn’t need a sexy goldfish, polar bear, Hamburgler or Beetlejuice. I understand that the standard sexy costumes were getting old. We needed to branch out in new ways to show our sultry side. I’m fairly confident that a goldfish is not the avenue we needed to explore. It’s a fish. Stop. It’s weird. Come on ladies! We can do better.
So, when you go to dress for Halloween this year try to stick to my simple rules. Don’t dress up like something in your house, no one wants to see your dick whatever form it takes, and Beetlejuice is not sexy no matter how hard you try to make it happen. Happy costume hunting!! Don’t disappoint me!
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I’ll Take A Dozen Jelly Filled Babies

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It’s October and time for all things spooky! What could be spookier than real life!! This week I want to explore a phenomenon that you may have experienced. It’s real, it’s scientifically proven, and it sounds like the stuff of horror movies. Baby eating!
Have you ever just wanted to munch on a babies chubby little legs like a chicken wing? Have you ever grabbed the Frank’s Red Hot and sauced that little leg up for a nibble? If you answered yes to the first question, the good news is you’re totally normal. If you answered yes to the second question, what the hell is wrong with you? You can’t dump hot sauce on a baby. It burns! Use BBQ sauce. Just kidding! (Please don’t douse babies in any kind of sauce). However, there is a scientific reason we want to munch on dem babies.
Reactions such as wanting to squeeze, pinch, nibble or in general aggressively love something is called “cute aggression” in the world of science. It’s literally your brain’s inability to handle all the cute. The bodies actual equivalent of “I can’t even”.  You just want to smoosh that bundle of joy rather than bear its adorableness for one more moment.
I know most of you mothers have had that moment when you were holding your baby, and you became overwhelmed with that all-consuming love for the first time. Many of us sat staring down at that tiny little face and sobbed uncontrollably because it was just too much. Our hurts exploded with feelings we have never had before. In theory, the urge to bite is the emotional stabilizer that we need in those moments. By responding the opposite way that your brain expects, with say a little nibble, you tip the balance back to normal and can once again handle all that cute.
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Another theory behind the baby noshing urge is that it is a form of bonding. In monkey societies, scientist’s have witnessed monkey’s biting as a way of showing trust. I’m going to nix that theory right now. Anything that has to do with monkeys is absolute poppycock in my book. You can research that one on your own if you’re so inclined but I will not allow the precious act of baby eating to be compared to anything monkey’s do. (See my previous blog on monkeys)
Now a theory I can understand is that the tasting of babies is in part due to a mother needing to get as close to their new offspring as possible. Recent studies have shown that a woman’s brain lights up like a Christmas tree when exposed to baby scented candles.The area of the brain responsible for addiction just loves the fragrant smell of fresh from the womb humans. This drives you to want to envelope yourself in the essence of baby as close as humanly possible. Chowing on the soft baby skin lets you feed this need.
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For those of you without the human need to nibble, never fear! The brain responds the same to impossibly adorable animals. You know you’ve spotted a puppy or kitten at some point in time and wanted to sniff it and then fold its fluffy wonder into your mouth.

The good news is wanting to consume babies and fluffy flooffy little balls of animal joy is completely normal. The bad news is if you’re anything like me the urge is addictive. You can’t stop once you take the first bite. This probably explains why I have three cats and the need for a daily intervention to keep me from collecting more. I just want to eat them all.

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