I had no idea...

Fair warning - this post will be personal, and probably not at all funny.

This week is national eating disorders awareness week. Each year, a theme is selected to bring awareness and start conversations about disordered eating. This year, the theme is "I had no idea."

When I was in my pre-teens, I remember hearing about anorexic behaviors. The next day I tried to make it through a day without eating. Around three in the afternoon, my will broke and I ate. I felt ashamed. When I heard about bulimia, I tried as hard as I could to make myself throw up and cried my eyes out when I couldn't do it. How could I fail?

To me, being thin meant being happy and being loved. Nothing else in the whole world mattered - it meant that you would have friends, attention and affection. It meant being desired and worthy of love. Sometimes I wish that I could go back and warn my younger self - let myself know of all the horrible baggage that comes with an eating disorder. Going back isn't possible - I know that. But I hope in sharing some of the darker parts of these disorders, maybe someone else can be helped.

Here's my list of things that I had no idea about:

I had no idea that eating disorders are more deadly than any other mental illness.

I had no idea that once I was successful at making myself vomit that I wouldn't be able to just stop when I got to my "ideal size."

I had no idea that getting thin would do nothing for my self confidence. On the contrary, the thinner I got,  the more obsessed I became about getting even smaller.

I had no idea the toll my choices would take on my friends, family and loved ones.

I had no idea that there is nothing more humiliating in this world than cleaning up your own vomit.

I had no idea that I would alienate people. That I would spend my days in my room with the door locked throwing up into a bowl I hid under my bed. That I would cry as I ate and hate myself as I purged yet again.

I had no idea that I would live in a fog for months at a time. Processing anything that required mental attention would be extremely challenging. Emotions would be nearly uncontrollable.

I had no idea that depression goes hand in hand with ED. It is a downward spiral that is extremely challenging to get out of. The behavior brings on depression. Depression begs more disordered behaviors, and so it continues on and on and on.

I had no idea that I would end up in a costly rehab program, putting my life on hold while I fought like hell to get better.

I had no idea that I would relapse the day I got out of that program, or that it would take me several more attempts to let myself enter recovery.

I had no idea that this disease would stay with me for the rest of my life. I didn't know that I would struggle to win the battle from the moment I woke up until I laid my head down to sleep.

I had no idea that my choices would lead those closest to me to try to follow me.

I had no idea that I would have awful sore throats, gastroparesis, and other medical issues that would cost thousands of dollars to test and treat.

I had no idea of the long term price that I would pay socially, physically, mentally, or spiritually.

If this list sounds dramatic to you, good. It absolutely should be. Eating disorders are the deadliest mental health disorder by far for women and men. This is not a fad, phase or lifestyle choice. It is not something that is easily overcome and it is certainly not a "rich white girl problem." Rehab showed me that this disease doesn't discriminate against race, age, sexual orientation, gender or any other characteristic. It lulls its victims slowly down a dark, dirty path that some don't ever come back from.

If you or someone you love is struggling with ANY form of disordered eating (anorexia, orthorexia, bulimia, binge eating, compulsive overexercising, or ED-NOS) have a conversation.There are excellent informative resources available here and here. Be kind. Have fewer conversations about people's bodies and more about their souls. Stop reinforcing the idea that being overweight is the worst thing a person can be. Let food nourish your body. Love yourself, love each other.

Help is available. Reach out. Have courage. Ask.

Texts from Triazolam...

Sometimes, we have to do things that are unpleasant. For me, one of those things is going to the dentist. Since working at Boeing, I have FINALLY gotten access to dental insurance. The combination of weak enamel (excuse, I know) and 3 years of bulimia have finally pushed me to see a dentist again.

I know everyone is a little uncomfortable with the dentist, but I really am terrified. Like, I shake. And cry. When I was a kid, I lied to my mom about brushing my teeth. I would say I did it, or even rub toothpaste on my tongue, but I wouldn't ever actually BRUSH. If I could go back, I'd smack my five-year-old self right across the nose.

As you may imagine, I had a lot of cavities as a kid. If I remember correctly, at one particular appointment after an announcement of 6 new cavities, my dentist told me my teeth were going to fall out of my head if I didn't get it together. I think I was ten. (Dr. Meiers, I still have nightmares about you and your damn drills. Jerk).

At some point in my teens (I know, I know, too late) my parents got me a Sonicare and I got it together. No more new cavities. But there's a problem. When you have 15* fillings in your mouth, particularly silver fillings, they have a tendency to break. And get stuff stuck in them. And to warp and break your teeth. So I can't say I was terribly surprised when my dentist told me at my appointment two weeks ago that all of my amalgams would have to come out because no matter how much I was brushing, I couldn't get underneath them, and my teeth were having problems (read: decaying) underneath the fillings. We decided to split it up into 5 or 6 different appointments, and he gave me a prescription for sedatives to help me get through it.

The assistant told me since I have such bad anxiety to just take both of them at once an hour before the appointment. Andy dropped me off, I still freaked out, and then I came home and slept until 4:30 the next morning. That was 12 solid hours of sleep.

Something interesting happened between when I took those pills and when I woke up this morning. Andy told me that I yelled at him for walking ahead of me and "not taking care of me" (sorry, darling). I looked at my phone and found all of these texts that I sent out. I have no recollection of these:

Tia and Kristy are two of my best friends. We go to happy hour every month. This was my attempt to communicate that I wouldn't be able to make it:

"Less Drivey?" I think I meant I couldn't drive...

Kristy is looking for a new job. I showed her BESS, the Boeing job search engine. This was my drugged description of it (not inaccurate):

This was a text to my Mom. Absolutely no idea where I was going with this:


Four more appointments to go...we'll see how I do with those.

The Making of a Legend: Steak Cake.

In August, Andy and I moved into a condo. We were so excited because it has TWO bedrooms and TWO bathrooms. Also a dining room. Also a fireplace. Also granite. Andy wasn't wild about the idea at first, but after some whiny demands gentle coaxing, we put down the deposit and started moving in. It was perfect, blissful, and we were so excited about all of the space! (imagine Julie Andrews circa Sound of Music in the mountains, arms outstretched)

Fast forward two weeks. Two weeks people. Andy's brother, who I adore completely, needed a temporary place to stay. Of course we said yes and he moved right on in, because we're good people and I wouldn't have written about it if we'd been douches and said no. It's been a great two months of family dinners, playing cards, and the occasional family squabble. We never really fought, though, because this is a blog and we don't talk about things that aren't, like, soooo totes perfect. Good hell. I just gagged after typing totes. 

After I got a new job at Boeing (go team) and scheduled a surgery to have my tonsils out (Tonsil stones, that's why), and it was just time for Matt to move back to the Tri Cities with his parents, who are the coolest. I wanted to do something to make Matt happy and let him know how much we love him. Then it hit me - 
A few months ago, on an early Saturday morning, Matt and I came up with this wild idea to make a steak cake. It was mostly a joke - you know, one of those things you talk about in far too much detail that you're never actually going to do. It had to be done. I was going to make a steak cake.

Here are pictures. 

 Step 1: Whip freshly boiled potatoes with butter, garlic, fontina cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Get them good and whipped. Kind of like frosting, because this is a cake (duh). 

Cut a large-ish steak in half. Pan fry that half. Make it perfect - like Gordon-Ramsay-is-over-your-shoulder perfect. Let is rest (that's for you, Dad).

Put some of the mashed potato mixture in between the two steaks and use skewers to secure the two pieces together. Don't mind the blood/juices. They're good for you.

Encase the Entire thing in potatoes. Make sure not to use them all, because 1) you're not a pig and 2) you need to save some for decorating. 

Put the rest of the potatoes into a piping bag and pipe the steak so it looks like a cake. Put some cheese in the middle. Don't scrimp on the cheese because let's face it, you're eating a steak cake and there's no way you're on a diet. 

Gently broil the steak cake in the oven. If you don't have an oven, are you homeless? Kidding. A blow torch will work. 

Take some pictures, then have someone edit them. Editing makes everything look yummy.

Then, you stuff your face. 

Lastly, make a happy face like this.

Matt, it was so fun to have you living with us for the past few months. It's only been a day and I miss you already!! Thank you for fixing Lorana and helping me with my table! Come back and see us soon, love ya! ~Britt

Greetings From Las Vegas

This week, my very best friend and I have reunited in Las Vegas to see Garth Brooks in concert. (Don't you dare judge me - he is a legend.) 

It's been extremely hot - like Britt almost passing out on the sidewalk from heat exhaustion hot.

They have bronze butts here.

Gordon Ramsay's BurGR
Not hypey, just really good food!

Sorry for the boobs.

Chicken burger with chipotle aoli. Yum.

Truffle fries. Double yum.

Buffet at the Wynn. We ate here because I may or may not have lain (laid? lied?) down on the sidewalk right outside the door. White lipped and nauseous, Es Bee dragged me here. For the record, it was delicious and my stomach almost exploded. 

Tonight is the night that we see Garth!! For years we have been saying that when we graduated and got real jobs, we'd come see him - its finally happening!

As much fun as I'm having down here, I really can't wait to see Andy. Yes, I am that big of a sap.


Here's what I've been up to lately:

My cousin got married!!
They are insanely happy
and absolutely adorable.
Loreana got a flat tire.
 I saw Ron Pope in concert
Whilst at the wedding, I had a photo shoot with my cousin Aylexie. 
There was a bathtub.
 I got into it. 
Doesn't that picture make you feel uncomfortable???

I got a picture with him!!!
 I made friends with a beauty buyer at a store...
he gave me a ton of awesome organic stuff!
 I've been dating a lot.
 (See my other post for how I feel about this)
mostly I find that it always ends up adding unnecessary anxiety to my life.
Someone told me I look like her. Best compliment of my life.
 I miss my brother
All in all I'm doing well. Lovin life in th PNW!

give yourself a break.

Something's been bothering me lately. So, in true Brittany fashion, I'm going to take an unnecessarily long amount of time and preach talk about it. 

Lately I've noticed a lot of my lady friends have been facebooking, pinning and blogging about how much they hate their bodies. I don't see my guy friends doing this, but that's probably because they're a) not on pinterest, or b) arrogant bastards really self confident. (I'm sorry, strikethrough and I are having a moment) 1


Here's my point.
When I see posts that look like this:

or this:

or this:2

or sound like this:

"I'm sick of being fat. I hate myself"

or, my personal favorite, this:

"I just really don't want to get fat"

It breaks my heart.3

To hear my beautiful, talented, thoughtful, caring, amazing friends put themselves down is really hard. To know that they feel marginalized by their weight or trapped in their own bodies is even harder. When I see posts like these, I just want to reach through the computer screen and give that girl a hug.4

Alright. It's time to get real. Most of you reading this are probably thinking, "Britt, I've seen you post stuff like that a hundred times" Many of you are also aware of the fact that I went to rehab for six weeks to get help with an eating disorder that I have struggled with for a very, very long time.5

It is because of those experiences that I'm taking the time to write this post.

I've seen where the path of endless dieting and grasping for self-control leads. As a matter of fact, I know that path all too well. It doesn't lead to happiness, and it certainly wont solve all any of your problems.

What will help you feel better about yourself? I've made a quick list.

1. Get a crappy notebook or even a piece of paper. Write down one thing that you love about yourself every day.
2. Do something nice for someone else. Nothing will make you feel as good, as fast as helping another human being.
3. Develop a better relationship with whatever God you believe in.
4. Start noticing and complimenting things about other people that aren't rooted in physical appearance
5. Find exercise that you love and do it because it feels good
6. Love yourself.

That last one is the one that takes the longest.
 If you can master it, the benefits will pay out for the rest of your life.

I guess that's my message.
Love yourself.
Love your fellow men.
Love your life.

The rest really will fall into place. 

1 Also footnotes.
2 The person who wrote this has OBVIOUSLY never had bacon. or pie. or cake.
3 Before you freak out, I am admitting that I've re-pinned or said all of these things.
4 Does that sound creepy? I think it's creepy.
5 Alright, fine. Most of you didn't know that. See how I snuck that in there?


Earlier this week, I posted a picture of some Samoas I had made on facebook. A few people messaged me asking for the recipe, so I thought I'd put up some (terrible) photos and do a tutorial of sorts.

When I was looking for Samoa recipes, I noticed that a lot of bloggers make it WAY too complicated. I didn't want to cut out dainty circles, I didn't want to dip each individual bar in chocolate (read: huge mess), and I didn't want to have coconut-caramel goop on top of my cookie. In short, I was going to have to make up my own recipe. 

I used a basic shortbread recipe that I found over at Baking Bites.

3/4 C Butter
1/2 C Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Salt
2 C Flour

Cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Sprinkle in salt and then slowly add in the 2 C of flour. Note that you may need more or less flour depending on where you live. Mix it all together until it looks like this:

(you'll have to pretend that I'm a better photographer)

Press the dough into a dark 9x13 pan.  Pop into a preheated 350 degree oven for about 17 minutes.

While the bars are in the oven, it's time to toast some coconut. Use about three cups of shredded, sweetened, real coconut. (no imitation crap) Put a heavy-bottomed frying pan on the stove over medium heat and drop in the coconut. I took two huge wooden spoons to move the coconut around to avoid burning. It takes about as long to toast the coconut as it does to bake the cookies. The coconut will slowly change color, but you want it to all be browned. This is one of those times where you want to keep stirring. Remove the pan from the heat and keep stirring until your timer goes off for the bars. 

Pull the pan out when the edges are just browned and the dough is set. Then, when the bars are still piping hot, dump some chocolate chips on top until they melt. (yes, I know I should have measured them, but I didn't)

Let the chocolate chips sit there for a few minutes while they melt. Then, take a spoon and smooth out the chocolate.

Keep smoothing until it looks like this:

(did I mention that I'm not a photographer?)

Next, you have two choices. 1. Buy or make your own batch of caramel sauce, or 2. If you know my mother, harass her for her caramel sauce recipe. Pick your version and dump about 1 1/2 cups on top...or however much it takes to cover the chocolate. Quickly add your freshly toasted coconut and place in the fridge.

After about an hour (15-minutes if you're hungry) take the pan out of the fridge and cut into bars. Put a cup and a half of chocolate chips in a sandwich bag and pop them into the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until they're melted. Cut off the corner and pipe the chocolate onto your freshly cut bars.

Put them back into the fridge until the chocolate and caramel are set and then enjoy!