Blog| September Goals

This has honestly been the worst month in a long long time. Between being sick for two weeks, having a tooth pulled and being in a ton of pain, and then Leon going missing I just couldn’t get anything done or focus on anything. Nothing mattered while Leon was gone and so everything got put on hold.

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We’re slowly getting back into the rhythm of things and I’m hoping to try and give myself a fresh start but it may take a while. Crossing my fingers.


August Goals

Personal:

  • Restrict non-essential spending to $100 for the whole month- Nope
  • Pay attention to what I eat and allow myself only some treats- Definitely not. Hardly even ate while Leon was gone
  • Go to sleep by 11-1130- Between sleeping too much when I was sick to not sleeping at all while looking for Leon, nope.
  • Take the dogs on a walk once a week or take them somewhere- Hahahahaha, they’re never leaving the house again.
  • Take care of your dishes every day- Our house and the new car became Search Party HQ so it’s a mess. That’s a nope

Work:

  • Paint TWO things not for an event- Didn’t even get to do one
  • Finish Wonder Woman Read Through- Nope
  • Update Etsy shop and list items on Society6- Nope Nope
  • Try to nail down a location for the 24 hour lock in- Not even sure this is gonna happen now
  • Update resume and portfolio- Noooooope

Projects:

  • Art Coffee Night
  • Garage Sale- Had to be pushed back because I was too sick to do it

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Like I said, nothing got done. There’s a few orders from Etsy I have to get done, but August was a trash month and I’m glad it’s over.

I’m still not 100% but I’m getting there. The house is getting cleaned and the dogs are home and I’m still taking medicine. Let’s try to do better this month!


September Goals

Personal:

  • Get back into eating healthy and not surviving off coffee
  • Budget budget budget
  • Go see a doctor
  • Get at least a couple of the kittens adopted
  • Give yourself a break to rest

Work:

  • Figure out deadlines and work on one a week
  • Get back on schedule with blogging & #52selflies & 365 Project
  • Sketch anything and plan out Inktober
  • Start setting date for Ladies Night

Projects:

  • Halloween Instagram
  • Garage Sale

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October is also the beginning of our 5 month busy season so I want to get refreshed because all the crazy starts. On the plus side, Halloween decor season has started! Downside, I feel so behind on everything that I need to not overwhelm myself with work.

But this is a start.

What are your September goals?

I’m linking up with Nicole from Writes Like a Girl blog so be sure to check out her goals and everyone else that has linked up!

-Sam <3

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#FindLeon and What to Do When You’re Puppy Goes Missing

It’s been quiet on here for a reason.

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Saturday, August 26th at 8am our dogs got loose. I noticed within 10-15 minutes of it happening and raced into the backyard, calling for Rony as I did so. They dug a hole in the corner of the yard and pried off a couple of boards off the fence, escaping into the alley. Almond is a runner and has escaped a few times, giving us heart attacks as we chase her down and she plays keep away, but this was Leon’s first time being gone. He follows Almond wherever she goes and would have followed her out that hole.

Almond was found crossing one of the major, busy streets by Marisa and was brought home safe. We didn’t find Leon.

For 6 days/144 hours, he was missing.

We hardly slept at all. We ate whenever we had a chance to pause, scarfing down chips or snack bars, or whatever people would bring us and go back out. We’ve searched almost non-stop, from 7am in the morning to 1am at night. My bones and muscles ached from walking, my fingertips were raw and peeling from posting flyers, and any ground I had made on getting over being sick was shot to the wind and I felt awful. I couldn’t breathe from congestion and my eyes were swelling shut and I kept having migraines. We couldn’t stop though.

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Saturday was not only going to be my first Pride after coming out but it was also National Dog Day. It felt like being stabbed every time I saw people post pictures of their dogs while I had no clue where Leon was. Was he safe, hurt, taken, hiding, scared? We’ve checked the shelter every day and nothing. They have a binder of deceased dogs and it was nauseating to flip through, hoping we didn’t see him every day.

That first day, we walked 6 miles looking for him. Sunday we walked 10-11 miles and then Monday 3 miles. All together, we walked 32 miles looking for Leon. We visited every shelter and pet store and groomers, giving flyers. Asked people on the street. Checked every tip, no matter how crazy. I’ve made hundreds of lost pet posts online and taken out ads and have done everything. He had his tags and collar on when he went missing and was micro-chipped, but no one had found him or called or brought him in to a vet or shelter.

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On top of it, we also adopted 3 kittens that are about 4-5 weeks old. Mae Mae took a while, but she’s adopted them and is feeding them and watching over them. We think they belong to one of our strays that passed away last week. Our neighbor heard them crying in her backyard. They’re cute and distracting and kept me busy, which was good because I was so near falling apart.

We have literally posted over a thousand flyers. That’s not hyperbole either. We literally have printed and posted around 1300 flyers. We’ve put them everywhere. Every time we found a blank area, we put them all over. We asked businesses, put them in high populated areas, shopping centers, the university.

This is what hell feels like. Being in pain, exhausted, but not being able to stop or else the hopelessness crushes you because your loved one is out there and you don’t know if they’re hurt or scared or being taken care of by a good family.

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We got so many tips that ended up being different dogs or dead ends. Our most promising ones were a girl that said she saw him with a kid and a mom less than 10 blocks from us, in the direction he was seen running. She said she tried to see him and the mom cussed her out, saying she doesn’t care where he came from and that he was theirs now. The location wasn’t far from our house and we staked it out for 2 days, but when we finally saw the dog it wasn’t ours.

An older man called and thought he saw Leon by the park by his house. I raced over at lunch and he ran to the park to show me, but it was also the wrong dog. Two different ladies in our neighborhood said they saw him with a dog gang. We woke up early at 6am, and scouted the streets looking for them. We found them in 15 minutes. It was 3 Chihuahua looking dogs and a white/brown pit. They were sweet and ran up to the car and gave kisses. Not much of a gang, but also not Leon.

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At the same time, we had a lady say she thought she saw him by his house and was trying to track him down. I was texting her when I got a call at about 630. A guy said he may have Leon ten blocks from our house. I described Leon’s tail and figure and he said he was almost sure it was him. We turned around and drove there, looking for a corner house and a guy with a dog sitting on the porch.

When we found the house, we burst into tears because it was finally Leon. I ran out the car before it was even fully stopped and ran to him. He jumped and wagged his tail and licked my face while I sobbed my heart out. This whole week it hadn’t sunken in that he was gone, like at any time I’d wake up and he’d be home. I couldn’t see how we could do so much for everyone else. Events, charities, promo-ing, dog sitting, fostering, helping other people find their animals. While searching we helped like 3 people and took in the kittens. We needed luck on our side and I refused to let go that our dog was gone forever, but it was starting to feel so hopeless.

Having him in my arms was heaven. The guy had been walking his dog near the high school and had grabbed one of our flyers. He saw Leon and managed to grab him and called us, waiting on the porch until we showed up. Him and his partner had lost their dog a year ago and knew how it felt and were so happy to find him for us, they didn’t want the reward. We’re going to donate it to the Humane Society and aid or Hurricane Harvey.

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Leon was skinnier, but uninjured and happy and still had his collar on even. We have no clue what he had been doing for almost a week and had patrolled that area so many times that we don’t know how we didn’t find him.

I sat in the trunk area with him while Rony talked to the guys and just cried and hugged him and called everyone. Almond was excited when we got home and Leon drank all the water and ate 4 cups of food. They ran around and played and it was like he hadn’t left.

It took all morning to call and let everyone know and just relax and know he was okay. It still feels surreal but he’s home and I can’t thank enough people for helping us search for him. We literally painted the town in his flyers and we have him back.

It’s been an exhausting process but it paid off.

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So, if you are missing your dog, all I can do is write down some tips that we learned. No one can say we weren’t dedicated to finding him and he’s probably the most famous lost pup in town now but it got results:

Tips for Finding your Puppy

  1. Immediately search the entirety of your neighborhood as fast as you can after they go missing
  2. Find all the Lost and Found Facebook pages/group and post to them all daily
  3. Post on Pawboost
  4. Post on your neighborhood app (NextDoor is the one we have)
  5. Check the shelters every day, don’t just call. If you do it an hour or so before they close, most of their trucks should be in from picking up animals.
  6. After a few days, email or check the shelters of nearby towns. Dogs can travel a lot at night
  7. Put some of your dirty clothes or their toys outside so if they’re lost, they may try to find their way home. Don’t put food because you’ll just attract other dogs.
  8. Post flyers on all major intersections, busy areas, and stores that will let you
  9. Give flyers to every vets office and groomers/boarders that you can
  10. Put flyers on your car and put a big sign in your yard so that if someone finds them, they know where to return them
  11. Check with neighbors, anyone outside, or joggers in your area.
  12. Follow all tips, no matter how far they are from your home.
  13. As soon as you can, see if you can get your friends to do a search party
  14. If your dog has a microchip, register it as Lost and make sure to tell your vets office
  15. If someone has seen him in your neighborhood, try to walk from your house to the tip spot and see where they could have gone from there
  16. If you can afford it, do a Facebook and Instagram ad.
  17. Post on Craigslist
  18. Ask your mail carrier when you see them, police officers, or city services if you come across them. They drive around constantly!
  19. It’s weird, but don’t be afraid to ask homeless people and give them flyers. A lot of times they’re very happy to help (especially if there is a reward)
  20. Don’t give up hope.

And when you get them home, make sure your fence is secure! Nail any loose boards, pour concrete along the bottom, or if you can’t then chicken wire it down so they cant dig to get under it! You can bend it along the base and stake it down!

I can only hope this helps someone else looking for their baby. Our animals are our children and it felt like my heart had died while he was gone. We couldn’t go on with our lives until he was home and I’m so glad he is. I’m never letting him go.

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-Sam <3

 

365 Project| 36-47

Since I’ve been sick, I haven’t been up to uploading all my daily photos so here’s pretty much 2 weeks of photos in one post!


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36: We did photos early in the day with my sister and then ended up completely wiped out.

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37: I spent most of the day passed out and finally got hit with the full force of being sick.

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38: I went to work and then got sent home with a fever.

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39: I’ve been staring at the ceiling in our bedroom too much. I haven’t been able to stay awake long enough to do anything.

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40: Had to cancel my dentist appointment and reschedule. Finally went to work and then came home and passed out.

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41: Slowly getting my energy back. Cleaned up the house a tiny bit and watched Rony sketch for a bit. My to do list is piling up but haven’t been able to bring myself to do anything.

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42: It’s been raining all week and the pumpkins are growing like crazy. This poor little vine started encroaching into an anthill and we watched for like 20 minutes as they chewed through it and dragged the tiny piece around, trying to figure out where to put it.

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43: The Perseid Meteors were happening so we had an astrology party. Unfortunately the clouds moved in and we couldn’t see anything, so we came back to the house and did Tarot readings and hung out.

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44: I was feeling okay enough that we got to take Leon to Puppy Day at the pool and taught him to swim. He was timid but liked all the other puppies and it was a good experience. All of us passed out for the rest of the day.

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45: I left work early and got my tooth pulled. Marisa took me and dropped me off and I was out of it for the rest of the day. My face was swollen because they had a hard time getting to tooth out so my jaw and gums was bruised. Still kind of sick.

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46: Mae Mae, our friendly stray cat, has been hanging out a lot more. She’s pregnant and we’ve been talking about fostering her and her kittens. We put all the animals away and I let her walk around and hang out during the storm. She needs to go to the vet first before meeting any of the animals so after the rain, she went back outside (which she was fine with. She’d been meowing to go back outside).

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47: Rony’s mom gave us this tiny vine and it’s been growing like crazy, almost 2 inches a day. I got sent home sick because my eye swelled shut. All the medications I was taking dried them out and I ended up scratching one with the guck happening. At least my plants are doing well.


-Sam <3

Blog| Curveball

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It’s been a bit quiet here. For those that don’t know, I’ve been sick for a bit over 2 weeks which has completely blown apart any plans I had for this month. At first I had a toothache which turned into a severe infections which wiped out my immune system and ended up with me sick. I was on a cocktail of medication to help with the infection, fever, severe congestion, and then I ended up scratching my eye because the medications dried me out. So my eye swelled.

The tooth was pulled and it’s been a long, hard week of trying to recover. My mouth hurts. I still can’t breathe through my nose. I just want to sleep all the time.

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To top it all off, we took in a little stray kitty we named Mae Mae. She’s been super friendly and we’ve been feeding her outside, but today we take her to the vet and start trying to introduce her to the other cats. She’s pregnant and so we’re going to foster her and her kitties and try to re-home them all. I’ve never had a pregnant cat or dealt with something like this so it’s all new, but I’m excited to help her with her little kitties. She’s a complete sweetheart.

I’m also redoing my office and clearing a bunch of junk out of it. I feel like I go through periods where I just feel claustrophobic and I just want to throw everything away. So I’m tossing my desks and looking into just getting one long desk or building one. I have some plants in there now and I condensed everything to my art shelves. It’s looking nice but still has a bunch of work.

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Being sick, I haven’t been able to do much. I’m still doing my 365 Project, I just need to upload all my pictures and post them. I need to work on a bunch of paintings with deadlines soon. My goals for the month are shot to hell. Maybe this week I’ll try to do a catch up post.

Next month is going to be busy. I’m headed to Dallas for my sister’s gender reveal party, Staple in Austin the following weekend, Hub City Comic Con, and then we’re taking a weekend trip to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Almost every weekend is busy.

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And then Halloween season is fast approaching along with Inktober. I need to catch my breath before it all starts and I need to avoid overwhelming myself again like last year.

We’re staying busy and these will all be great experiences. I’m getting better. I just need to get organized, get focused, and get back into my rhythm.

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So look out for new posts, but give me a bit of time to get back into things. I’m gonna try and do some more art posts, I have a style post in the works, I’ll do one about Mae Mae, and Pride Fest is this weekend.

All the pictures in this post were taken by my sister when she was down to visit us. Tabby had a lot of fun playing with all the cats and we managed to wrangle the dogs to take an updated family photo.

Be sure to check out her work at Amanda Raylee Photography and follow her on Facebook.

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Until next time

-Sam <3

Blog| The Comparison Game

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If you’re not aware, I’ve been sick for the past few days which would explain the lack of a blog yesterday. Our house is full of sick people and animals at the moment between Demo getting his arm amputated, Almond not feeling good, and me getting knocked out by a severe cold.

How do I spend my sick days?

Mostly by scrolling through Instagram and watching YouTube videos. Like most artists, I follow a ton of other artists as well. My YouTube is filled with speed paint videos, studio vlogs, and all sorts. On Facebook I see video features and articles about other local artists and projects and all of their art.

And then I started to feel bad about myself. I am surrounded by artists so it’s hard not to compare myself to them a bit. I see their amazing works and galleries and projects and my mind goes, “Why can’t I have any of that?”

Comparison is a double edged sword. Most artists do it in some way. They look up to other artists and take the styles and techniques they love and try to emulate them in some way. It can be healthy to do this. A lot of artists learn through emulation and there’s nothing wrong with that (as long as you’re not passing it of as your own and selling it.) We do it all the time, taking qualities we like and inheriting them.

Advice from Facebook:
“You do you. Every artist, regardless of medium, find fault in their own work, so having the balls to put it out there to the world is huge. You are not anyone else, and no one else is you. Be you, do you.”– Emily H

“I would say everyone’s art journey is different. Don’t compare your work or how you approach being artist to other artists. Your story will be unique to you. In addition to that, don’t look down on other artists if they don’t follow what you consider the proper way to go about being an artist.” -Kendra M

The problem gets to be when you do it too much. When it no longer is about growing yourself, but looking at your growth and diminishing it because it’s not as good as someone else’s. Comparison tends to lead to jealousy and envy. It’s a struggle not to do this. Humans are competitive and that permeates the art world, especially with the surge of social media. It’s a battle for followers and likes and shares.

That’s when comparison can become mostly a negative. It’s a fixation of “Why am I not selling pieces? Why can’t I get my own gallery? Why don’t people want to feature my work anywhere?” Artists put so much of themselves into their work that it gets personal when they see another artist they think had an easier time get more of a spotlight; it can lead to resentment and jealousy.

Advice from Facebook: 

“It’s normal to compare your efforts to the works of someone whose talents you admire. The trick is to compare without criticism.” -Billie A

” The world is full of different tastes so even though you might like and admire someone’s art, you shouldn’t push yourself to be too much like someone else because plenty of people will like YOUR stuff.” -Ana H 

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms. ~ Zen Shin” -Lisa M

We’re all not immune to it. I’ve been doing art seriously for 10+ years now. I’ve done small galleries and group shows and now help run one. I am not immune to it at all. I watch these videos of artists being able to work full time in their art studios and create all day while I have an office job and barely get the time and energy to work on my own pieces. You look at everything and wonder what you’re doing wrong.

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Here’s something not a lot of people know.

A year or so ago, my depression was on and off and I seriously considered giving up pursing art as a career and resigned myself to boring office jobs. I hadn’t sold anything after putting hours into my paintings and watched as my friends sold piece after piece and got commissions and invited to do cool events and workshops and everything while I was struggling. I thought there was no point. Everyone said they liked my work but it wasn’t showing.

I had spent years in the art community and had gotten no where and was tired of being passed up. I wasn’t in galleries, no one knew who I was. It was pointless.

Advice from Facebook: 

“Stop that shit!” -Todd G

” Let your light shine.” –Greg F

I love art. I need art to keep myself sane and balanced but comparing myself to everyone else had put me in this dark pit that I couldn’t get out of and I wanted to quit. I was so tired of fighting and climbing uphill. It took Rony to talk me out of it and keep going. Things got better. I stopped focusing so much on everyone else. I took the time and focused on what I wanted to do.

I do both original fine art and fan art, but not solely either or. It puts me in this weird category where since I don’t do constant fan art I don’t get the recognition for that but because I do fan art, I don’t get the recognition for my fine art. I’m in limbo. It was one of the reasons why I’ve been trying to make the Lubbock Artist Collective galleries so diverse. I want to allow room for both fan art and fine art you can be good at both.

The artists I follow online are in the same category as myself, but it’s hard locally. Lubbock is small and the art community is tight. Even surrounded by artists, I feel like an outsider.

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There are times where I still get bouts of jealousy and self-deprecation. It’s hard not to, but I’m working on it. Now when I see others succeed, I have to remind myself it doesn’t affect my own journey and I should be excited for them. I look at my Instagram feed and the Youtube videos and use these glimpses into other artists worlds to inspire me rather than put me down. I use it as motivation.

Seattle will have more opportunities. I’m growing my own opportunities here for now.

It’s not easy and it’s never going to be easy. Paintings don’t sell and pile up, you email galleries constantly looking for a place that will accept your art. Opportunities go by while you see your friends get more and more. It happens. But you have to keep going. The hard work pays off eventually.

Advice from Facebook: 

“I know art is cathartic for a lot, including me, but remember it’s fun and that it’s okay to just make stuff that isn’t great sometimes, so long as you enjoy it.” -David P

“We’re our biggest critics. Focus on your work and what you want to do. Don’t compare to others, because they’re on their own journey and see things through different eyes than you. We’re all human and have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves and think the next person is better. More often than not, that person you think is better, is probably thinking the same thing about someone else.” – Natasia M

So remember, no two people are alike. Each person grows differently. Some fast, some slow. It’s okay to look up to other people, but don’t diminish your own growth and put yourself down. Comparison can be good in small doses to motivate and inspire but you are one of a kind and can’t be anyone else. You’ll get there. Just keep going.

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What advice would you give someone? Have you struggled with comparing yourself?

-Sam <3

365 Project| 29-35

It’s been a busy week so let’s check out how I did. So far going strong.


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29: Between dog sitting, vet trips, cleaning, and Ladies Night, Saturday was chaotic. Afterwards we all got together to play games, eat pizza, celebrate making it through my Vegan challenge, and just hang out.

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30: We like to feed the dogs in their kennels since they’ll steal each others food and get mad and sometimes they throw fits and pout when we do it. Leon loves to tear apart his beds and fill his kennel with stuffing and Almond will toss everything out of hers.

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31: Our little cactus grew another head. We’re gonna use these neat skull cups we found and turn them into plants to give them more room.

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32: I went to the dentist to deal with a toothache and came out with two more prescriptions, one for an infection and the other being pain meds. The amount of medication I have to take a day is ridiculous.

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33: We finally got a new car and that meant saying goodbye to our baby red one. I’ve had it pretty much the entirety of mine and Rony’s relationship. The first thing he ever got me was this sticker from the farmer’s market back in his home town. We’re gonna try and get a replacement for the new car because I can’t say goodbye to that yet.

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34: The shop is picking up which means I’ve been getting orders together and trying to get them shipped out. There was a time when I would get 30 in a week and was drowning in orders to go out in the mail. Things are steadier and I’m okay with that.

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35: Friday was Demo’s big day. After 2 years we were finally getting his arm amputated. We got him packed up and corralled him into the crate and then dropped him off at the vet. His surgery went really good but they went ahead and kept him there overnight just to check on him. We officially have a 3 legged cat and hopefully he’ll be much better.


-Sam <3

Blog| I went Vegan for a Week

My sister and I like to give each other challenges to do. One, it’s a way for us to bond and do fun things and two, we like to brag when the other starts losing.

I challenged her to do the 365 Project and she challenged me to do a week of being vegan.

Guess what I’m doing now?

Goal: Eat vegan from July 24th to Ladies Night on July 29th and see what the effects are on my body and if I won’t die of hunger.


Day 1:

I was not prepared. At all. We got back from Ruidoso Sunday evening and I went straight to a dinner party then passed out. In the morning, I was tired and exhausted and went to grab something for breakfast only to find nothing I could eat.

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I drink my coffee with cream and sugar so I couldn’t have it and had to drink sweet tea instead. I was starving. Went home for lunch. Finally found some rice and a bag of steam-able veggies to eat. It was the saddest little meal I’ve had. After desperately searching the house some more, I realized the garden veggie Pringles chips we just bought were vegan.

I think I downed half the can.

After work I went to the grocery store and got some fruit, salad stuff, fake vegan meat, chips and salsa, and almond milk so I could eat cereal. I forgot pasta sauce since the sauce we had already was four cheese, to my dismay.

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I ate a salad for dinner, snacked on chips and salsa, ate a cup of Special K cereal with almond milk, and drank V8 fruit blend. I had a headache, was tired, cranky, and couldn’t seem to feel full. Day 1 was awful.


Day 2:

I was exhausted! Seriously, I slept through my alarm then had to run and throw on clothes and eat some more Special K for breakfast. My stomach felt like a black void and I had the worst headache. It’s the kind that feels like your head is split open and makes you nauseous.

For lunch I went crazy because I was starving. Tomato soup, slices of bread, chips and salsa, and the veggie Pringle chips. I gorged myself because I was so hungry and just wanted everything in sight to get into my stomach.

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After work, I was still starving. I snacked on baby tomatoes and homemade pickles. Ate another cup of cereal. I was also exhausted and the headaches were persisting. I spent a good amount of time just laying on the couch with my phone, trying not to take a whole bottle of pain medicine.

For dinner, I wanted to try something beyond rice and veggies. I had bought some meatless vegan chicken strips and googled how to make your own teriyaki sauce. With some modifications (because I didn’t have everything and I was too lazy to go to the store), I made the sauce with some steamed stir-fry veggies and added the chicken. All of it went on top of some white rice and boom, dinner.

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Surprisingly, it was very delicious. The chicken didn’t taste just like chicken, but close enough and the texture was kinda similar. But the sauce was good and I even ate the vegetables I usually hate.

I passed out early for bed and dreamed of cakes and cream cheese and everything I couldn’t eat.


Day 3:

I was less tired in the morning but did wake up starving again. I realized the food I was eating just wasn’t lasting that long. I made the effort to get up, fix my hair, eat a big bowl of cereal, and take some fruit to work. Since I’ve had to forgo coffee and I forgot to make more sweet tea, I drank water at work.

The headaches were still ongoing but I looked it up and it’s apparently my body detoxing from dairy and meat. I chewed some gummy vitamins for good measure and drank more water.

I started to dislike Almond milk less, though I wouldn’t drink it straight. It was a weird tan color I just couldn’t get passed. In cereal it wasn’t bad, I’ll give it that.

Lunch was tomato soup again since we ate all the leftovers and I didn’t feel like salad. After lunch I was fading fast. I could not. stop. yawning. I drank even more water and finished off my Pringles to keep myself awake.

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Marisa was supposed to make a vegan dinner, but ended up losing her debit card (RIP debit card) so I settled for a spinach and tomato salad with Italian dressing. I’m starting to notice that certain flavors are starting to be overpowering. Certain things are too sweet, the Italian dressing was overpowering and too much. It’s strange.


Day 4:

Today was the first day that I didn’t get awful headaches and didn’t feel like I needed a nap every other hour. I ran out of cereal but found out the “butter” we had was actually vegetable oil spread and I could eat it. So I made toast with jam.

I’m drinking more water and more fruit. A lot of bananas and peaches from the store, snacking on tomatoes. Vegetables I hated and would pick out of my food I’m just shoving into my mouth because I’m hungry and don’t wanna hassle myself with picking them out.

Lunch was a dull affair of leftover tomato soup with bread and veggies. Most of my lunch break was spent cleaning up the dogs’ kennels since Almond had an accident due to an upset tummy.

I snacked on salsa and chips, finished my tomatoes, cried over my forbidden donuts and Lunchables.

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For dinner I decided to cook again. There was some gnocchi in the cabinets and we had another bag of meatless chicken. I cooked them up, threw some steam-able veggies into the microwave and then mixed it all together and made vegetable and chicken gnocchi with plain pasta sauce. It was pretty good and very filling! I actually liked it a lot and say of all the vegan stuff I bought, I liked the meatless chicken the most.


Day 5:

No headaches! It was a miracle! I ate toast again for breakfast and had some tea and found I was less tired for once. My sleep schedule was still all crazy and I ended up staying up too late coloring my coloring book, but I wasn’t dead on my feet so that was good.

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I ate leftover gnocchi for lunch and decided to cook meatless ground beef tacos for dinner. Honestly, it didn’t taste that much different from regular meat. I seasoned it like normal and topped it with tomatoes and spinach instead of lettuce and put a little salsa on it. Rony and I both ate them all and agreed that the meatless beef was pretty A+. 10/10 would buy again. I think next time I’ll try and incorporate it into other dishes and see how it holds up.


Day 6:

Saturday was the last day of the challenge. I had to get all the way through Ladies Night and then I could stuff myself with pizza and donuts and anything I wanted.

We were crazy busy so I ate cereal for breakfast in between running around. Around 2, it finally settled down enough that we decided to go out and eat. I wanted to try and see how easy or hard it is to order vegan food at a restaurant so we went to one of our favorite Thai restaurants. All I could think was that I was pretty sure most of the noodles are made with egg and I’d have to suck it up and get a fully vegetable plate and this was going to suck.

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I got lucky. My favorite dish, Lard Na, was made with rice noodles and they had a tofu option so it was all vegan. I’ve never had tofu but Rony recently got won over by it so I figured I would try it to.

During the whole week, I was surprised by how less picky I was getting. Usually I pick out cabbage and any weird vegetables I don’t like. Sometimes I was too hungry to care and shoved everything into my mouth, everything tasting like pure gold in my mouth from starvation. I was less anxious about the tofu at that point. And it was actually not bad. The gravy had soaked in and it didn’t really taste like anything and the texture reminded me of a less chewy version of tripe in menudo which I love. I was pleasantly surprised.

Rony got tofu as well but it was fried. I tried his and it tasted like weird egg but I’d eat it. It wasn’t bad. I ate my whole plate and felt full and happy. I was proud. It was my last vegan meal and I had expected the worst, but the whole week was better than I thought.

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Ladies Night came and I survived. I did ALMOST ate a cookie on accident though. Tabby had picked all the M&M’s off hers and I didn’t want it to go to waste and had put it in my mouth right as I realized it wasn’t vegan. So I spit it out and almost cried. I would have been so mad if I ruined my whole week in the last hour.

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We all went to my house and ordered pizza and played games and drank to celebrate Ladies Night and me ending my veganism. The taste of cheese pizza had never tasted so good. I ate chips and bread sticks and dip and hung out with my friends. I even drank the cold brew coffee that had been sitting in the fridge.

We laughed and listened to music and stayed up until almost 3am. It was a good end.


Final thoughts:

I will tell you, I threw a fit when my sister gave me the challenge. I couldn’t survive without dairy. It was gonna be awful. I was gonna die. This was too much work. Even Rony was like “hell no” and didn’t want to do it.

But I genuinely surprised. Yes, the first few days were hard as I figured out what I could or could not eat, figured out my intake, and suffered through dairy detox. I was miserable and tired and grumpy and just wanted to shove donuts into my face. After I got groceries, tried to cook and got things I could eat then it actually wasn’t bad.

I noticed I started to crave dairy and cheese less, I ate less sugar and caffeine, and cooked a lot more. I started looking at labels and taking vitamins and eating less processed food. The few times I seriously craved foods was in places like the mall and when everyone but me had junk food.

Were there downsides? Yes. I’m going to be honest. I had gas all damn week. It was crazy. Everything gave me gas and I hated it. I was also hungry all the time, ranging from “maybe I should snack” to “holy shit I’m going to eat paper if I do not get food.” I would have to eat very filling lunches to last me from breakfast until after work when I would eat fruit or something small to relieve the hunger pains before dinner.

I was tired, fast food was almost completely out of the question, and the groceries were slightly more expensive for less items. Lubbock is a small town and does not have that many vegan/vegetarian options and I hated spending so much on groceries.

But at the end of the week, I was super proud and it’s made me think a lot about my diet currently. I gave up red meat, but all of the meatless options were just as good as actual meat. So now I think I may be giving up poultry eventually and just eat fish. When we go to Seattle, we’ll be able to get fresh, local fish and that way I don’t have to feel guilty about the meat/poultry industry.

It’s weird to be making all these dietary changes but I have to admit that I did feel good at the end. I didn’t change weight, but my body felt healthier and I had to consume so much food that was plant based that I wouldn’t really have to worry about overeating. If I had worked out this week, I’m sure I would have saw some changes.

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So how have things changed almost a week later?

Monday I drank two sips of coffee and felt like my heart was going to explode from caffeine. I hate some chips and a cookie and felt sick all day. Cheese is almost unappetizing to me and I can’t go back to regular dairy milk. So far turkey meat doesn’t make me queasy but I essentially can’t go back to a regular diet without feeling nauseous and worse than I did at the beginning of the vegan challenge.

I won’t keep being a vegan, but unless I want to feel like crap for a whole week, I can’t go back to eating how I did. So I’ve cut out coffee and soda and a lot of sweets and dairy. If I do eat junk food, I can only eat a tiny bit or else I feel awful.

But I’m kinda okay with it. Yes, I would like to go back to eating whatever I wanted but in the end, I understand that it’s my body telling me it does not like it. So I’ll be like a weird lenient vegetarian.

In a month or so, I’ll let you know how it goes :)

-Sam <3