Saturday, January 26, 2019

These sayings should be outlawed My Accutane Journey

People have good intentions.  They really do, but sometimes people say things without thinking that can really make matters worse.  I am no angel.  I've said things in my life that I've put my foot in my mouth but these sayings have been said to me through my lifetime that caused me to simmer over a delayed response that I never got to say.

"She's in a better place." At my grandmother's funeral.  Yes she's in a good place but the better place was here with me.

"Just have fun with it." When trying to get pregnant for almost a year.

"You need a hobby." Sure, I'll get right on that.

"I woke up with this huge zit on my chin!" Says the woman with perfect skin, perfect hair and perfect teeth.  I sat there with my jaw on the floor staring at her with one of my worst breakouts trying extremely hard to keep my mouth shut.

"Maybe it's allergies."  Yeah, I'll stop eating everything except lettuce and water.

"Are you okay?  You look like you don't feel well."  No, I'm fine. I just didn't put on any makeup today. That phrase many years ago confirmed that I look horrible without makeup, and sadly it was the last time I ever left the house without makeup on.

"It'll get worse before it gets better."  This should never be said to anyone no matter the situation.  It's downright cruel and deserves a throat punch.

We are our own worst critic.

Everybody has a battle to fight and to me, my battle with acne is my worst battle right now. Just like that movie, "She's All That".  It's amazing how confident someone can feel on the inside when they're feeling confident on the outside.  My Accutane journey is going to "She's All That" me and I can't be any more excited!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

My Accutane Journey

I was fortunate growing up not knowing the feeling of wanting to lock myself in the bathroom when I was a teenager when a breakout threatened to ruin my day.  I rarely had a bad breakout and thank goodness I'm a girl that allows me to wear makeup and cover up any flaw that I wanted to hide.

Until now...

I'm 42 years old and I've been battling acne for years.  I blame my children for screwing up my hormones, among other items on my list that I blame my kids for: droopy boobs, bigger-than-acceptable butt and a stomach with train tracks that I'll never be able to wear a two-piece bathing suit for the rest of my life.  My battle with hormones has been endless with mood swings so high and so low, that sometimes even I don't want to be around myself.

I have tried just about every product on the market for my acne.  EVERYTHING makes me break out.  That is no exaggeration. I started making a list of ingredients that were potential enemies of my skin and although avoiding certain ones seemed to make my skin look better, I would end up breaking out again a couple days later.  After eliminating ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide, any and all kinds of exfoliants, any of the acids such as salicylic acid, parabens, mineral oil, and fragrance, any kind of positive results proved null and void.  It didn't matter what I used.  I even started making a list of foods that I suspected of breakouts:


Then I moved on to cosmetics.  Cheap makeup made my skin worse (shocker!) all the way to the $30+ foundations and concealers.  I even tried the expensive overnight serums.  Again, nothing worked.

My lowest day was when I thought a spray tan would even out my skin tone and hide some of my acne.  For the first time in my life, I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom and never come out.  I was stupid enough to get that spray tan on a workday and had to go to work looking like a got a bad spray tan on top of horrific acne.

I am too old for this crap. 

This process has taken me years to get to this point and reaching my lowest day finally made me realize I needed help.  I visited my doctor who had given me hormonal birth control pills and a low-dose antibiotic.  Yup, you guessed it... that didn't work either.  The antibiotics interfered with the birth control pills so once I stopped taking those, which gave me the world's worse heartburn anyway, I started noticing some improvement after three months of birth control.

But I was STILL breaking out. 

I went to a dermatologist and after prescribing me more antibiotics (and more heartburn agony) did she recommend me taking Accutane.

Because I am a woman of childbearing age, I've had to jump over obstacles and basically sign my life away because the side effects of accutane are incredible if I should get pregnant.  I must take every precaution to not get pregnant (already there!) and I am required to be on two forms of birth control (done and done!) and I must have blood work done each month before I can get my next refill.

This is all because my dermatologist said this is the only thing that is going to get rid of my acne. 

It has nothing to do with the products I'm using, the food I eat or the air I breathe. It's just the way I am.  Lucky me.

I am going to blog about my journey with accutane because acne has been such a huge part of my life, I hope I can help someone else out there who also struggles with acne.  This is one of the questions I will ask God someday... why? why? why?  Life is unfair and cruel on this earth, why do we have to deal with ickyness on our FACE (and mosquitos)???

I am not going to post pictures yet. I have my worst day picture but because it has taken such a huge chunk of my self confidence away, I'm not ready to share that photo yet.  To me, it is that bad.

We are our own worst critic.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. I am looking forward to be rid of acne permanently, gain confidence back and maybe even stabilize my dreadful hormones.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Victor Part 2

I can't thank friends and family enough for your condolences about our beloved Victor.  Many of you had sent prayers and good wishes and we've felt them all. In case you missed it, you can read Victor’s Story here. I'm generally a positive person, but it has taken everything in me not to be mad at God for taking Victor away from us so soon.  I've been pretty quiet around the house and in doing so, I've imagined Victor in his usual spots and I still see his shadow greeting me at the door when I come home.  But since I'm a verbal thinker, friends have allowed me to come to a conclusion about this sad chapter in our family:

The days before we left for our trip, Victor was a happy, playing, eating, drinking and pooping kind of dog.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Whenever he saw the suitcases come out, you would see the most depressed dog!  Usually, he would mope around and give us sad puppy eyes whenever he got the chance but usually after a couple days of us being gone, he would perk up.

This time was different...

Victor was such an intelligent dog, that I believe he knew he was sick but didn't want us to know.  I think that since he knew we were going to be gone for a while, he was going to let himself be sick after we left to spare us the agony of watching him die.  I am so thankful for our neighbor who took such good care of him for us while we were gone.  We have the most tremendous amount of guilt for putting them through this agony with Victor, but we are so thankful that since they loved Victor so much, they were there for him through the end for us.  Victor didn't want us to see his pain but he loved our neighbor and trusted them enough to let himself go in their care.

Maybe this is just another one of my bullshit theories but it beats being mad at God for taking Victor away from us.  I imagine him running around with Koda Bear and her puppies and it makes me smile.  Staying busy is the key to not losing my mind during the day but not seeing him laying in his bed at night still chokes me up.

I tell my girls that time heals all wounds...

Victor was truly that perfect dog I always wanted.  He rarely barked, he wasn't overly active but was always eager to take advantage of a walk, he didn't shed a lot and that dog could hold his pee for more than 12 hours!

Victor had the most softest fur.  He was beautiful and people would stop and ask to buy him from us.  Teaching him tricks was a breeze.  And did I mention his soft fur?

Time heals all wounds...

Monday, July 23, 2018

Victor's Story

I don't blog anymore.  I do cherish all my posts and I have more material to write about that could last me for years, but until I'm ready to blog again, this story is worth writing about.  We once had the "perfect dog".  You can read about Koda Bear's Story here...

...Until Victor came into our lives.

After Koda died, it didn't take long for Victor to find us.  He was 7 months old when he was ready for a new home.  He was bred to be a drug sniffing police dog but since he didn't have the ball drive, he ended up in our home.  People giggled when we told them that because he really didn't have any ball drive.  Victor was the most laid back and easy going dog of all, and we liked that!

I don't know what I did to make Victor imprint on me so hard.  He would follow me around everywhere I went, wait for me outside the bathroom door and when I went around the corner, he was peeking around to make sure I didn't disappear.  He was protective of all of us and showed his love all the time.  I've been told that when I left the house, Victor would mope around and wait by the door and not even treats would get him away from the door until I got home.

Victor was the softest dog to pet.  He knew it too.  He expected everyone to pet him. Everyone loved Victor, even none-dog people.  There was just something about him that everyone loved.

Victor loved the snow, he loved being bathed and loved to swim. He was just a happy dog no matter what we were doing.

Victor could smell an egg and a piece of cheese a mile away and he would come running!

...And he had the strangest way of stretching.  Doggie yoga.

We believe that by the time Victor was born and when Koda Bear died, her soul found Victor about the time he was ready to leave his mother. A few months later, Victor joined our family.  Victor had every personality trait Koda had and more.  We saw Koda in Victor all the time.  We truly were the real story of A Dog's Purpose.

But God had other plans for Victor...

We were on vacation when our neighbor called and said Victor was acting very sick.  She took him into the vet to find out that he had pancreatitis and an infection that was affecting his liver.  The disease hit him so hard and so fast, that there wasn't anything anyone could've done.  He was in so much pain that the vet said she couldn't wait for us to get home that night from our vacation.  We were only part way home when God took Victor to heaven.

For the first time ever, I didn't want to come home from a vacation knowing he wouldn't be there to greet us at the door. The 8-hour drive could've taken 18 hours and I wouldn't have cared. It was the hardest homecoming we ever had.

We were blessed to have Victor for six years.  He truly was the "perfect dog".

March 15, 2012 - July 22, 2018

Friday, January 27, 2017

Protein Power Overnight Oatmeal

This is a fantastic breakfast you can make before you go to bed and it's ready when you wake up.  It's made to eat cold but I'm not a big fan of cold oatmeal so I pop it in the microwave for 45 seconds to take the chill off.  It's not too bad cold, though!  This recipe was adapted from MyFitnessPal blog. I was able to save almost 100 calories and cut down on the fat.  It's also loaded with potassium, calcium and iron.  What helped save calories and fat? I used Premium Chocolate Peanut Butter (PB2).  It's powdered peanut butter that you add a little water to and you've got yourself some peanut butter with a lot less fat.  It's terrific in smoothies too!

What you need:

2 TB Premium Chocolate Peanut Butter (PB2)
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup Kefir Lifeway yogurt, plain (or any flavor you have)
1/3 cup Cashew Milk
1/3 cup apple slices, chopped (smaller the better)
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 tsp. (or more!) apple pie spice and/or cinnamon

What to do:

Combine all ingredients in a small mason jar and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.  Grab a spoon when you're on the run!

Calories: 378, Fat: 14g, Carbs: 50g, Protein: 14g, Sugar: 17g.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

No-Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bites

These little power balls are amazing!  I adapted this recipe from Skinny Ms.  Her recipe is 203 calories per energy ball but I was able to get the calories down to 178 calories per ball and 11 grams of fat to 9 grams of fat.  With 5 grams of protein and 19 grams of carbs, you'll never know what hit ya!  Maybe it was just in my head but not only could I not eat just one, but if I ate a couple in the late evening, I couldn't get to sleep right away.  And of course, they are gluten free!

No-Bake Energy Bites

1/2 cup dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
2 cup oats
1/4 cup oat flour
1 medium banana, smashed
1 tsp vanilla (or more.  I always add more!)
Pinch of salt
3 TB chia seeds
1/3 cup honey
1 TB cocoa powder
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

What to do:

In a large bowl, combine oats, oat flour, chia seeds, salt, cocoa powder and coconut.

In another bowl, combine the smashed banana, peanut/almond butter, honey, vanilla and chocolate chips.

Combine both bowls together.

Using your hands, make small balls and place them in a parchment-line container.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Makes roughly 20-23 energy bites.  Freezes well.  Enjoy!

Per energy bite:
178 calories, 9 g fat, 19 g carbs, 6 g protein

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Summer Recap 2016

My dad used to say, "The easiest thing in the world to do is to turn off your alarm clock and go back to sleep."  He's right.  But one of the hardest things in the world to do is to take time out for yourself. My new saying since this Summer has been:

"My life has been like going off the rails of the crazy train."

I love to write but it has been put on the way back burner for a long time because everything and everyone else has been more important.  I'm not asking for a pity party.  I've had free time here and there and I really can't complain.  What I do complain about is that I'm using that free time all wrong. Iphone... games... TV.... need I say more?

Lately, I've noticed views on my blog through Facebook and it has inspired me to get back to writing again.

Thank you to whoever is visiting me!

In the past, I'd write on a regular basis but it seemed that no one was ever reading my posts.  No comments, no views and it got lonely and discouraging as a writer. To me, it seemed that most people who were writing blogs had hundreds of followers and tons of comments.  And me?  7 followers, whom 5 I didn't even know and no comments on any of my posts.   I had to bring myself back to the real reason why I started a blog in the first place.

For me.

In my latest post, Reading My Past I wrote about all 30 years' worth of my journals that I found.  Back then, I wrote because I liked to.  I didn't write to catch fame.  I wrote so I would remember the crazy stuff I did as a kid, the places I went and the friends I had.  That was satisfying enough to write just for me.  So when I started All About Jillzy, it was easy to get caught up in the eagerness of "fame" and get as many followers as I could.  But I guess God had a different plan for my writing.  He kept it grounded for me.

So those handful of views I've gotten lately, Thank You!  You've inspired me to get back to the keyboard and get back to work!

So, with the promise of my Summer Recap, here you go!

We moved!  Our landlord decided to sell our condo and off we went to new adventures.  It wasn't a big move, but big enough where my daughters had to change school districts.  It has been an adjustment, needless to say, but my girls have adjusted to their new schools and I've adjusted pretty well to a bigger house, a basement and an attached garage!  With that being said, our Summer wasn't that super fun, although my girls had way more fun than I did.  They got to go on a couple small trips, swim with friends and sleep in and hang out.  Me?  I cleaned out and organized my house and I must say it feels good to have gotten rid of so much stuff!!!

At times, we all get down on the fact that we had to move.  We were so happy where we were. I miss meeting my friends at the bus stop every morning, the fact that my girls were old enough to run out the door and play with friends pretty much any time they wanted and I didn't have to worry about them.  They could ride their bikes and there was always someone to play with.  Our neighborhood was truly "It takes a village to raise a child" kind of environment.  I knew one of my neighbor friends would be around if I didn't get back in time for the school bus in the afternoon, or knowing that they would be okay if they had to be home alone for a while.

I tell my girls that God has a plan for us.  We may not know what that plan is (or why we had to move) but in God's way and in His own time, we'll know what that plan is for us... and it will be Good.  We just have to be patient.  

In the meantime, I'm enjoying a bigger house, a really nice neighborhood, friendly neighbors, really good schools for my girls, loving my part-time job and enjoying all my grandchildren. God is good!  In a couple of weeks, we start painting!!!  I'm looking forward to looking at color in my house rather plain white walls!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Reading My Past

I recently came across a couple of large keepsake boxes that I've kept for years.  Unfortunately, the hard rain of this past summer had gotten to the boxes and made almost everything inside moldy and musty smelling.  It was heartbreaking to see some of my childhood items, accomplishments and memories ruined, but oddly enough it didn't seem to bother me as much as I thought when I first saw the dampened boxes.  Lately, I've been going through corners of my house and getting rid of stuff that I either haven't used or have forgotten about.  I'm getting tired of pushing things around that I really don't need and frankly, I'm starting to feel claustrophobic in my house.  These two large boxes were no exception that I had to go through them and decide what to keep or...  


I hate that word.  PUUUUURGE!

The fact remains that I can't take this stuff with me, I haven't enjoyed any of the contents for years and my kids aren't going to care about most of it anyway.  So I had to make a decision.

What am I going to do with all this stuff???

I found my high school and college diplomas, photos of people I haven't seen since I was a kid, books I didn't even know I had, prom and homecoming corsages, plaques, and awards... 

...But most importantly, the box on top wasn't ruined (just really musty smelling) and it contained all my journals. I have been writing journals since I was 8 years old.  
What a blast I had reading through all those journals and the different phases of my life.  I read about memories I had forgotten about, friends I used to hang out with and the things we did, and thoughts about anything and everything.  30 years of my life written down, how my handwriting had changed, ticket stubs and receipts I've kept, even brochures of camps and activities I did.  

Remember that word that I hate?  Purge.  That's exactly what I did to most of my journals.  I threw them all away.  Why?  Because not only will my kids not care about friends and boyfriends I used to have (because there's a reason why I'm not friends with or dating them anymore) but I don't want them to know the first time I smoked a cigarette, the first time I got trashed at a party or sneaked out of a friend's house when I slept over and the potty mouth I once had.  I was appalled at myself and so thankful that I no longer know that girl I once was.  Sure, it would've been nice for my daughters to read some of those journals someday.  They could've learned a little about me and maybe even relate to me when they become a teenager someday.  My girls will learn more about me reading my blog and my current journals that I did keep.  I kept the journal when Jeff and I were planning our wedding and what we went through those couple of years.  They'll learn about what it was like when I was pregnant with them and the first years of their life as their mom.  Those are the journals they'll be more interested in reading and those are the ones I've kept.

Although it was nice reading those old journals, it actually felt good to throw them out.  Those bad memories are gone forever and the good ones that were worth keeping are still in my heart.  I can't take it with me when I go someday and it's refreshing to simplify my life with a little (ok a lot) less clutter.  My only regret throwing away all my journals: I didn't take a picture of how many notebooks I wrote over the years. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Blueberry Banana Protein Power Muffins with Walnuts (Gluten Free)

I don't always want to drink my breakfast with smoothies so I found this recipe from Barbara Bolotte at and adapted it to make it gluten free.  You'd be surprised how good these muffins are! They are high in protein, packed with antioxidants, rich in potassium and heart healthy. I swapped out Stevia that the original recipe called for and replaced it with regular sugar, which in turn made the muffins not as sweet and they didn't trigger my sweet tooth.  If you'd like to increase the sweetness to a half-cup of sugar, that would be up to you or use Stevia.

What you need:

1/4 c. sugar
2 egg whites
1 c. applesauce (yup, I used regular applesauce.  If you'd like to use unsweetened applesauce, they won't be as sweet unless you use Stevia)
3 bananas
1/3 c. almond milk
1 1/2 c. gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 scoop protein powder (I use Jay Robb egg white protein powder)
1 c. walnuts
1 c. blueberries
Vanilla extract

What to do:

In one bowl, add sugar, egg whites and applesauce until smooth and frothy with a hand mixer.  Add bananas and mix well. Add milk and mix well.

In another bowl, add all dry ingredients and mix well.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Mix well.  Fold in blueberries, walnuts and vanilla extract.

Line 20 muffin cups with cupcake liners.  Spray each with non-stick cooking spray.  Add batter almost to the top of the muffin cup.
350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Can you believe each of these muffins are only 125 calories?!?  3 grams of fat, 21 carbs and 5 grams of protein, 9 grams of sugar and they're loaded with vitamins C!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Turkey Lettuce Wraps - Recipe

Here's another tasty and so easy recipe!  My family loves these lettuce wraps and it only takes about 10-15 minutes to make!

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

1 head of iceberg lettuce, sliced into large pieces
1 pound ground turkey
2 TB sesame oil
2 green onions
2 TB ground ginger 
1 can water chestnuts, roughly chopped
2 TB gluten free soy sauce
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Chopped mint leaves and/or chopped peanuts (optional)

Brown turkey in a large skillet, drain.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until heated through.  Top with mint leaves or chopped peanuts, if desired.  

Place about 1/4 cup of mixture into a large lettuce leaf, wrap and enjoy!

Use warm corn tortillas instead of the lettuce leaves or use the turkey mixture as a salad topping.  Substitute ground turkey for ground beef.