Deconstructed Egg Roll

Welcome to another recipe on this beautiful Sunday!

You Pressers/Grammers are really going to love this one I think. You can interchange it for flavor differentiation and it’s clean and healthy but tastes sooo good! You will feel like you’re cheating on your healthy eating (Chinese takeout anyone?) but you won’t be (who needs it)!

First let me say, I got most of my ingredients from Aldi, so it was delicious and inexpensive. I don’t like the word ‘cheap’ because ‘cheap’ to me means of lesser quality. Aldi’s produce is so not ‘cheap’, but it is inexpensive! Try it, I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Moving on: I used Ground Hot Italian Sausage in my recipe, but you could use ground pork, ground turkey, ground beef, even ground chicken. I think the hot Italian sausage added a ton of extra flavor without me having to season it.


This recipe is super simple. You cut up your onion and throw that in a skillet with hot olive oil and allow it to cook before adding your sausage.


Italian Sausage

Deconstructed Egg Roll

Once you have added your sausage, salt, pepper and Sriracha, allow the sausage to cook all the way through before adding your coleslaw.


Deconstructed Egg Roll

Once you add your coleslaw, begin to slowly mix all of the ingredients in the pan in order to get those flavors transferred throughout the coleslaw mix. For the next few minutes, keep an eye on it and continue to mix. Take it off when the coleslaw is your desired texture, I liked mine a bit crunchy.

Deconstructed Egg Roll

Cole Slaw and Italian Sausage Deconstructed Egg Roll

I haven’t tried it, but I feel this would go nicely over some rice. Another idea would be to either but egg roll wrappers and make a full on egg roll, or serve a baked egg roll wrapper on the side. I enjoyed it as it is though! The full recipe is below:



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or garlic powder to taste)
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 lb ground pork/turkey/ or Italian sausage
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha or more to taste
  • 14 oz bag coleslaw
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add the garlic and onion. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add the ground sausage, sea salt, black pepper and Sriracha. Sauté until the sausage is cooked through.
  4. Add the coleslaw mix and soy sauce. Sauté until the coleslaw is tender (I liked my to stay a bit crunchy)
  5. Feel free to serve with a side of rice if you’re feeling some carbs.

Homemade Pop Tarts: Brown Sugar Flavor

Hey Guys!
Welcome to another blog post and the start of my #samplesunday from my Instagram page @faithengenellis101. If you came from Instagram, you know that each Sunday will show a new recipe idea and instructions on how to make that recipe. Here is our first:

Brown Sugar Pop Tart

This is the finished product of my Homemade Brown Sugar Pop Tart. This little beauty was SUPPOSED to be a healthy alternative to my husband’s on-the-go breakfast, but it turned into a unhealthy addiction for the wife (me). I used puff pastry instead of pie crust, but you could do either. The puff pastry makes it more of a Toaster Strudel rather than a Pop Tart, but the flaky layers were simply addicting. Check out the recipe below, and read further to see my photos as I went!


First things first I gathered all my ingredients, preheated my oven, and laid them out so I could easily grab what I needed. I had flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, milk, 1 egg, my puff pastry (or pie crust), and colorful sprinkles (just for fun!). From there I moved on to unrolling my pastry and flattening it out with the rolling pin a bit. My pastry set out for about 40 minutes before I began this, which I believe is also advised on the box. As I rolled the pastry it was still chilled and the flour that was already on it worked great to prevent sticking.
Next, I began cutting one sheet to lay out on the cookie sheet. I cut rectangles at the size I remembered Pop Tarts being, however I was off. My Pop Tarts were about twice the size!20170610_082241
 Once you have them laid out, you can continue by mixing up your egg wash (just egg and milk) and brushing the tops of the pastry dough on the cookie sheet. From there, mix your filling (brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour) and begin putting your filling on the dough on the pans. 20170610_082950
 Just remember to leave about 1/4″ all the way around the edges, this is where your crimps will be to seal the pockets.
Once you have topped the dough with filling, continue with your second sheet of puff pastry or pie crust. Roll it out, and cut out rectangles to match whatever you have on the pan. After that, brush the tops of the newly cut out rectangles with the egg wash. We will then place those rectangles, egg wash side down, over top of the filling and pop tarts on
the pan.
 Once the pop tarts are assembled, take a fork and dip it in a bit of flour, then press the fork around the edges of the pastry to crimp and seal the pockets. If your fork starts to stick to the dough, dip it in a bit more flour.
Our last step before baking is to poke some holes in order for the air to escape. Just poke enough (with a toothpick) across and down. I probably went overboard but they turned out perfectly in the end.  After that, you are going to bake and wait while the aroma of brown sugar and cinnamon fills the air and makes your mouth water!
Once the timer goes off ( I flipped mine about half way through and then flipped them back again at the end so the holes were facing up) take them out and let them cool. As you can see, mine were a nice brown all around! 20170610_085304
 Once they have cooled, we can make the icing and cover these babies! For the icing you need powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, milk, and I added just a tad more brown sugar. You’ll mix all of that together and pour it over each pop tart with a spoon. As they set, the icing will solidify more like that on an actual Pop Tart.
 A delicious, flaky, finished product with a fresh brown sugar and cinnamon interior!
I hope you guys try this. I haven’t done so yet, but next time I plan to use my favorite jam as the filling. There are so many options with these! As promised, the full recipe is below. Are you going to do brown sugar or another type of filling?


2 Sheets of Pie Crust or Puff Pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry)
Milk (any kind)
Brown Sugar (dark or light)
1 Egg
Vanilla Extract
Powdered Sugar (confectioners sugar)


1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour (I used all purpose)


3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk (more if needed to make thinner)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar (opt)

Egg Wash:

1 egg
2 teaspoons milk


1.) Check you pastry or pie crust and see if instructions recommend to set out before handling.
2.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
3.) Roll out your pastry/crust if you so desire and cut into rectangles of similar size. Place half of the rectangles on top of a lightly greased cookie sheet.
4.) In a very small bow, beat your 1 egg and 2 teaspoons of milk. Then, using a pastry brush or BBQ brush, brush some of the egg wash onto the rectangles that are on the cookie sheet.
5.) In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Spoon this mixture onto the dough on the cookie sheet, leaving about 1/4″ around the edges.
6.) Take the remained of the dough (the pieces that aren’t on the sheet) and brush with your egg wash. Place these rectangles, egg wash side down, over top of the brown sugar mixture, and crimp the edges all the way around to seal the dough together. *If your fork starts sticking to the dough, dip it in flour*
7.) Once you have crimped the perimeter, take a tooth pick and pokes holes in the tops of each pastry, about 9 should do it.
8.) Place the pastries in the preheated over for 20-25 minutes. I flipped mine about halfway through because I noticed the bottoms were browning.
9.) Once the pastries are done, take them out and set them to cool.
10.) When your pastries are completely cool, mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and brown sugar, and cinnamon and cover the tops of the pastries with the icing. Then, sprinkle as many sprinkles as you want! Enjoy!!

Ways I Stay Fit at My Desk Job

Leading a healthy lifestyle is just that, a LIFESTYLE. As a personal trainer I am expected to lead by example. How can I tell you to do something and why, but not practice what I preach? Well, keep your trust in me fellow students, as I try very hard to lead by example. Mind you, I fall short often and I will admit that. But I try very hard to continue improving and moving forward. So much so that I truly hate my office job and how it keeps me tied at my desk. Lucky for you guys, your trainer is innovative and has a few tips and tricks to use when you yourself feel lethargic, unfit, or even lazy at the office. Read on for a few things I do during office hours to torch some extra calories, wake up my muscles, and get those extra steps in!


Namaste in the Office Late.

Office yoga guys…it IS a thing. A pretty big and helpful thing in fact. A few minutes of stretching things out can get your blood flowing and really wake you up. Let’s face it, staring at a computer all day is not very exciting and by the third cup of coffee you still feel like last night’s sleep was uneventful. Do yourself a favor, stretch and do some office yoga at least 5 minutes of every hour. This can be done while in your chair or you can stand and do it. Take some deep breaths in and out, and you will feel more rejuvenated. There are tons of examples if you just Google office yoga.


Hour Lunch/Walk?

I get it, we can’t really go to the gym on hour lunch hour. I work in a very professional office setting, I cannot get sweaty and come back to the office! But, I can bring a pair of Nikes with me and change into them on my lunch hour. We have a river trail behind our office building that is 9 miles long and has beauty, benches and picnic tables. If nothing else, I can take the walk down to one of the tables to eat my lunch. Sometimes, when I am finished eating, I will walk a little bit and then come sit back down and read. I am getting in extra steps that I would not have gotten if I had chosen to eat at the office or in my car.


Every Hour On the Hour.

You work on a computer, so create a reminder on your desktop to remind you to move! I went into the Task Schedular in windows and created a pop up that comes up every hour on the hour and says ‘Move!’ Now you are probably thinking, do you really need a reminder? Well, yes. Sometimes I get so involved in my work hours could pass before I get up again. I have to acknowledge this alert, at which point I, at the very least, stand and move around my office for 2-3 minutes. Do you know that if you walk around for 3 minutes every hour you will have nearly 30 minutes of activity from 8-5? HELLLOO!! That’s good! That’s before my actual workout routine and not including the other walking I do during the day or on my lunch. Move people, just move!


I’ll Take the Stairs.

Which brings me to the obvious choice, take the stairs. Now we don’t have a lot of stairs to encounter, but whenever I do encounter them or the elevator, I opt for the stairs. It gives you steps and it works your legs! No body ever wrote songs about big fingers from pushing buttons all day! They will not hurt you I swear. No one will push you down them. Just please, take them.

That’s just a few things I do for myself to add some activity to my daily routine and get some blood flowing at the office. What about you? Is there anything special you do? Will you incorporate any of these into your daily routine??

Thank you Pressers!

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @faithengenellis101!

6 Reasons Why You Should Have a Dog


I always told myself that if I ever found myself interested in someone and they claimed that they did not like dogs or wasn’t a “dog person”, I would automatically assume they had to be a serial killer or psychotic in some fashion because truly, who doesn’t like dogs? To not be a “cat person” is one thing, but dogs are a whole other creature. They have very distinct and individual personalities whereas cats are, for the most part, similar: grouchy and independent. There’s nothing wrong with that really, but why would someone NOT love a dog??? Okay, if you’re one of those people, those villains, keep reading to find out 6 reasons why you should have a dog.

  1. They Make You Happy. It has actually been proven that dogs make people happy. Take it from me, when I come home from a long day at the office I want to get in my work out and be done with this day. But when I walk through the door and see my furbaby rolling over for me to scratch her belly, I can’t stand it! I walk over to give her some of my time because she looks so happy for me to be home, it makes me happy too!
  2. They Know When You Are Upset. My dog knows every time I am upset. Whether I am crying or not but especially when I am crying. And she knows how to ease the pain a little too. I cannot count the number of times I have been crying on the floor and she comes to lay beside me and rest her head on my lap. I just hang on tight to that baby and cry my heart out, and she doesn’t even flinch.
  3. Their Love is Unconditional. No matter what I do this dog loves me. She doesn’t judge me, she’s loyal to me, when she gets in trouble and has to be whooped she bounces back and continues her love when mommy apologizes and gives her a hug. It doesn’t matter to her who I am, what I look like, what I’ve done or will do, she is 100% mine and 100% in love with me. The only she needs and wants in return is my love. I can handle that!
  4. Talking to Your Dog is Totally Acceptable. I know when I was single and living by myself I would talk to everything. Myself, objects, and my dog. Now when you’re on a date and you admit to talking to the first two, you may not see that guy again. But if you admit that you talk to your dog, chances are your date will admit he does this too! Let’s be honest, my dog is listening. She isn’t doing the head tilt because she has water in her ears people.
  5. They’re Like Kids Only WAY Better. I personally never want children. But for those of you who do, maybe start with a dog. They act very similar to children. They do have their advantages though that children do not. Such as, for our larger canines, staying home for 8 hours a day without paying a sitter or daycare is very doable. I hate it, I hate leaving my baby at home for 8 hours by herself but I do know she is okay. She’s mindful of drinking while we’re gone and she has no sort of separation anxiety which is great! She still requires a lot of time, love, and other things such as children might.
  6. They Can Identify Worthy People. Dogs have this sense about them where they can tell if someone is a good or bad person. I can tell by vibes my dog puts off such as her tone of bark and if she will come near them or is very hesitant. Her goal is not only to love me, but also protect me. And as long as you pay attention, your dog will be clear about whether or not she trusts someone. If your dog doesn’t trust a person, you may want to take that into deep consideration.


ThredUp- My Personal Review

Welcome Guys!


It’s such a beautiful day here in North Carolina 🙂 After 3 or 4 days of non-stop rain (April Showers?) we are finally experiencing a nice, warm, sun shining day. For me this means a nice walk this afternoon post-workout. I need every bit I can since we are 2 WEEKS OUT FROM OUR WEDDING!!!

I have been meaning to review this company for some time now, but I am finally really doing it! Unfortunately my male readers, this is mainly for the ladies. Not that I don’t know men who love shopping, but ThredUp really only caters to woman and kids. For now at least.

ThredUp is an online thrift clothing store with a motto “Secondhand Clothes. Firsthand Fun”, which I believe all too well. I cannot tell you the countless clothes I have bought from them but it’s more than 1 of my closets full. I have 3 closets if that tells you anything. However, it’s rare that I spend more than $50 within a single order because their prices are amazing! They aren’t TJ Maxx or Marshalls prices but WAY better. Sort your findings by price: low- high and you will see what I mean.

The coolest thing, in my opinion, is that ThredUp has so many designer brands, I know one shirt I bought there (I can’t remember the brand now) was originally almost $200 retail and I bought it for $6! I have a GORGEOUS DKNY camel brown jacket I bought from them, it still had the tags on it, and it wasn’t even $10. If anything is wrong with any of the clothes, which can be the case, they will state it. There is also a “Basement” section which is clothes and accessories missing tags, labels, that contain flaws or signs of wear at an even larger discount!

I strongly urge you take a look at their stuff. As long as an item doesn’t say ‘final sale’, you can always return it for your money back or store credit. Now, do yourself a favor and  click this link. If you sign up here you received $10 to use towards your first order! $10 off here can actually be worth quite a bit.


Happy Shopping 😉

10 Struggles of Full Time Working-College Students

Maybe our parents never went to college, but today, many of us think of college as a given, not a question. Adolescents are rarely asked, “Will you be going to college?” They are typically confronted with, “Which college do you want to get into?” or “Do you know what you will be majoring in?” While there are some less common situations, like my own, where you may now go to college directly after high school, here I am: a full time college student and a full time employee. College students have to face enough challenges as it is, but you haven’t really struggled (I mean really struggled) until you have experienced working full time and furthering your education full time. The thing is, while I didn’t get to attend after high school, I knew I wanted to but I was also supporting myself. Four years ago I was offered a promising opportunity with a great company, a position I was not at all qualified for. I did not want to lose that position to return to school, and how would I pay my rent? Finally, two years ago I started online college classes through my local community college and have been able to get my degree and keep my job. This came with a price, however, and unfortunately I missed out on a lot and put myself under a large amount of pressure. Continue reading to see what my top 10 struggles have been while being a full time working-college student.

  1. Time. This may be one of the largest struggles. While college is time consuming as it, I mean the hours needed to study and comprehend everything you just listened to for the past two hours, there just are not enough in a day! But imagine that time needed times two for full time employees! Lucky for me, right now my job is slow. It’s never been a job where I had to carry a full workload, therefore I have quite a bit of downtime to study and get ahead. But if it was more fast-paced, I think I would be failing many, if not all, of my classes.
  2. Retaining Information. Some people have very photographic memories and others need to work at that more. Me? I need to work at it. I have always been good in school but it requires me to study often. My retention rate, however, has always seriously lacked. I have to read and re-read, but not too much or I zone out. Well, since starting college two years ago and working full time, it has been worse. There is school and work and life, and it’s very difficult to retain this paragraph I just read about how one hormone increases and another decreases at this time of every month!
  3. Focusing. Retaining also brings me to focusing. When I get off work or it’s the weekend, I have to yank myself up from the couch and binging on Netflix in order to study. When you have very little free time it is difficult to use that wisely. I can sit and stare at pages all day but my mind wanders to wishing I were doing something else.
  4. Experience. Oh, the college experience. Yes I hate I missed out on that! You see the life on television about how many friendships are built here and how much you learn about life in general. But when you work full time and you are a full time student, chances are you are taking all or mostly online courses. I take everything online. This means I will never have that whole “college experience” and truthfully, I wish I did. I don’t have the ability to sit in a classroom and feel nervous because I am wondering who will like me and who will become my new best friend. I don’t get to sit in my chair and anxiously stare at the clock as I listen to the professor drone on with today’s lesson. I don’t get to write notes to the girl behind me or raise my hand with a question. These are things you don’t think about until you realize you aren’t experiencing them like other people.
  5. Online Classes. Again, all of my classes are online. This requires a bit more work on my part and a better understanding. A lot of things I have to figure out on my own. Sure, we can contact our professors through email, but a lot of it we just have to put in the extra effort.
  6. Communication. We can contact all of professors through email and forums. This is fine but it is not the same as raising your hand, asking a question, and getting an explanation and possibly a demonstration as you might in a classroom setting. It can also take quite a bit longer depending on your professor’s availability and response time.
  7. Stress. Oh my gosh, the stress. A job is stressful. College is stressful. Two times the stress, great. If I am stressed from my day at work, the very last thing I want to do is sit down and open a college textbook, but, such is life. Vice versa, if I have a test I need to study for, I want to study instead of “waste” my time at the office. As an adult I am able to handle my stress pretty well, but I have moments where I completely break down because I so badly need a break from life! I have had times where I am studying and I just start bawling my eyes out because I feel the information is too hard and I am so exhausted from working and coming home to study and I never have time for myself. I know I chose this and it was the right choice, but we all have a breaking point and I have hit mine numerous times.
  8. Involvement. Similar to the college experience, you do not really have the involvement factor either. I do not go to events on campus and I have no affiliation with groups, clubs, or other students. I would like to but I do not have the time. Maybe some in my position would but I work half an hour away in one direction and literally my school’s campus is half an hour away in the opposite direction! I can’t spare that kind of time. My sister is involved with so many things at her college, including a sorority, one thing I always swear I would have never done even if I had gone to school on campus. Truthfully, I probably would have at least tried to get in. My resume might look bare because I don’t have extracurricular activities on there and I really can’t even go to internships, at least not right now. I am hoping that overall my future employers will notice that I was working a full time job and still pursing my education and will be impressed enough by that.
  9. Finances/Aid. I am throwing this in here because I feel that my current job is very good money. That said, college is expensive, even at my local community college. I get very little financial aid and pay out of pocket for the rest (loans are not my friends and I am proud to say I have abstained completely). I do feel sometimes that if I did not work, or at least made less money, financial aid would cover more but then, who would cover my bills? What about my car payment? How would I pay for my wedding? It’s a lose-lose situation.
  10. Graduation. Graduation is coming very soon! I will not be walking across the stage though and this saddens me a bit. While I could take the day off from work, I have thought about this and felt that if I were graduation with people and friends whom I knew, it would be different. Since I have not actually been able to build friendships and relationships during college, I don’t feel the same excitement about graduation therefore, it will be any other day, just mail me my diploma.

The main point I am focusing on is that I will be graduating with a degree and that is a big accomplishment. Some may argue that I should feel even more proud of myself because I was able to do this while working full time and I even maintained really good grades. I am just happy to finish another chapter of my life and build off it. No matter what, focus on improving yourself and know that one day this will pay off! I may have had what an average college student has, but I make good grades and I have my own accomplishments. I was one of 13 students (out of roughly 14,000-15,000) recognized this year in the Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities, a huge honor which can qualify me for scholarships and a letter of recommendation. It will be a great addition to my resume, one that, I hope, my future employer will be impressed by.

© 2017 Faith Engen

5 of the Best Places to Visit in Greensboro, North Carolina & Why

Hello Pressers,

Today I thought I might share with you, some of my favorite spots in Greensboro, North Carolina and why they are so great 🙂 . If you live in the area, feel free to share your favorite spots, if not, please visit 🙂 . We love to welcome newcomers!

  1. First on our list is Edward McKay’s Used Books & More. By more, I mean WAY more.  Edward McKay’s actually has three download (1)locations: Raleigh, Winston-Salem, and Greensboro. Years ago, I couldn’t have been much more than 13, they had a tiny store, not far from this one, by the railroad tracks. They then moved to this building which has a very large downstairs area as well as some space upstairs. I am not an avid reader, that’s more in my sister’s genes, but I like a good book every now and again. Edward’s offers thousands of books, many which I like to read with my fiancee when we go there to look around. We like the “sexual” section, I can’t remember the real name of it, but it has books to enhance your sex life. It enhances our sense of humor life 😀 . They also have video games, CDs, board games, consoles, laptops, text books, DVDs, and other items as well, and for GREAT, GREAT prices!
  2. Next up, Maxiede124eb924ce2fe48ccf16a5d2e4f39e B’s. If you visit Greensboro and think to try this place, make sure you’re good on time. Nine times out of ten, there is a line out the door. The girls are fast at getting people in an out though! They have so many delicious treats from cakes and pies, to cookies and pupcakes!  My dog has approved on multiple occasions. These freshly made cakes are my favorite and I think I have tried about half of the flavors(they have a ton!). Prepare yourself, when you request a slice of cake it will feed at least two people, possibly three. However, my fiancee and I typically get our own slice, eat what we want, save the rest, and later switch :). Two flavors, for two nights, and one price. Their decor is nice to. We have eaten in once or twice and it’s nice to sit in the comfy, plush seats and enjoy the gas logs by the entrance. Everyone has always been very friendly and they are quick to recommend a flavor if you just can’t quite make up your mind!
  3. Now that you have had your cake, whatls about a nice cup o’joe? Stop in at Geeksboro on Battleground Avenue, kick back and see what’s playing on the projector and sip on a nice, soul-warming cup of coffee! If you want a little more interaction, they have a ton of board games to pick from, free play!, and even video games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers. Check out their Facebook page too because they are constantly having some type of event from a their annual Harry Potter Ball to Comic Con events. If you’re not really feeling coffee and cake, hop on over to Hops next door and bring it back to Geeksboro to eat, play, and order a beer.
  4. Oh pretty days.Wedding_Gazebo_fs It’s warming up outside now and I can’t wait to take more walks at the Greensboro Arboretum. We like to find a grassy spot for a picnic and sun bathing, take walks, or play with our pup in this flawless atmosphere. It’s always quiet, except for the occasional baseball game in the field. In the center of the arboretum there are hedges that, when you find the hidden spot at the top and look down, are in the shape of two butterflies. Yes, I said hidden spot. Go there and find it yourself. As you walk the winding trails you will discover flowers, fountains, bridges and hideaways. Sometimes there will be yoga classes, feel free to hop in! Also, check out the over sized wind chimes and make them sing<3 . Side Note: Our engagement photos were shot here.
  5. Last, but certainly not least, we have ourCrafted-14 beloved Crafted the Art of Street Food. Crafted is a company of three locations, two Crafted the Art of Tacos, but only one Crafted the Art of Street Food. This place is located downtown and has a very eclectic atmosphere about it. From mismatched dishes, to serving popcorn as an appetizer(because who needs chips and salsa or bread, right?). The people are friendly and the food is delicious! The chef has traveled the world and taken foods from other cultures with his own spin on them, and he’s serving them all up here in one single place in our city! P.S. If you visit, be sure to try the street corn! Side Note: Both Crafted the Art of Tacos AND the Art of Street Food are catering our wedding reception. We pulled from both menus, that’s how good they are!

In summary, I urge you to visit Greensboro and try these places for yourself. Greensboro has quite a few gems, you just have to explore to find them 😉 .



My Relationship with Food & Fitness: A Personal Trainer’s Journey

Growing Up

I was always a bit chubbier than other girls my age. I wasn’t obese but I was on the higher side of the chart that was always in the doctor’s office. You know the one where it listed the height at the top and you followed what you weighed on the left side and between those two measurements you were told where you were underweight, healthy, or overweight? I was always within the healthy weight but on the higher-end, borderline overweight for my height. I looked at this chart every single time I went to the doctor, always wondering if I would be heavier than every one else. It’s not that I ate so much but my diet wasn’t right and exercise wasn’t common. I wasn’t involved in any sports and I just ate whatever my parents bought and made. As I grew up, however, and developed into a preteen and then a teenager, I felt more and more self conscious of my body. My dad even started to call me names and make fun of me. Names like “thunder thighs” and “bodacious”. But no one taught me what I could do to change this. Sports weren’t an option, my parents were never willing to get us involved in that. It’d take too much of their time to drive us back and forth to games and practice.

I Became Unhealthy

by focusing so much on how I looked and how uncomfortable I felt. My sister has always been skinny, no matter what she just had that gene I guess. But as I grew, my self consciousness grew. I began obsessing over what I was eating. I felt like every time I ate a salad it subtracted weight from my body. I thought about food all the time and even went days at a time without eating very much of anything to the point where I would pass out in the shower. I remember one time in particular I was taking a shower and the next thing I remember is waking up on the floor, I had completely blacked out.

I obsessed over working out. Every night when my parents finally went to bed, I would lay on the floor in my room and do hundreds of crunches. I would so many I zoned out and couldn’t even feel anything.

Anytime I ate something I would hate myself and feel ashamed that I allowed food into my body. I began binging and vomiting, developing a high possibility of bulimia. Though I knew the dangers and saw the signs, I still hated my body enough to continue for a while.

While These Feelings

and behaviors continued for a couple of years, I eventually realized my potential and realized my need and ability to change. I began accepting my body a little bit more with the desire to improve it. However, even today it is a struggle.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a real disorder that begins in adolescents and young adults. It consists of obsessing over your appearance, constantly looking in mirrors, changing clothes multiple times a day, and can be accompanied by eating disorders, excessive exercise, and anxiety. Every since I was an adolescent I have done these things and unfortunately, continue with most.

I still think about food and how I look most hours of the day. I aim to live a healthy lifestyle and inspire others, but I am not perfect in doing so. I have a hard time not beating myself up when I eat one bad thing. I also still have moments where I binge and hate myself afterwards. I obsess about my appearance and if one thing is wrong it can, without exaggeration, ruin my whole day and even drive me into depression. I have had moments where I have felt like I looked so bad I wouldn’t even leave the house. I would sit in a corner and cry for hours.

Self Acceptance and Love

are easily tossed around. Actually doing both of those is very tough. I have to mentally acknowledge these every day and strive to push negative thoughts away. My goal in life is to live the best way I can, improve on these issues and offer a new perspective to other people who have suffered the same. Society makes people like me suffer a lot more because we place so much emphasis on appearances and body size and type.

I am in a much better place today but everyday is a struggle. I want to help other people realize their potential and their self-worth. Each of us should be able to feel beautiful in the skin we are in and the way we are. I love each and every one of you and you ARE beautiful and amazing!

© 2017 Faith Engen

Married for the Second Time at Twenty-Five

Marrying Young.

I’ve always heard people say “Don’t marry young. As you grow up you change and go separate ways.” I believe this now, although I don’t remember thinking it when I married after turning 18. I had a rough family life and when it went from bad to worse I clung onto this guy and probably imagined loving him more than I really did. We didn’t have a large wedding and my parents did not attend, but we had his family and our friends. We married in a park and honeymooned at the beach. It wasn’t what I had planned for a wedding, but it was all we could really afford. It was only a few months after I graduated high school after all!

This is the worst part: We were only married for 8 months before we separated and I filed for divorce. When he lost his job he began stealing money from me, and it was the final straw when I found emails of him asking a 15 year old girl for sexual favors. After calling the girl’s parents and explaining what I had found between my 23 year old husband and the girl, I packed my things and never spoke to him again. I hired a lawyer out of Raleigh who did everything for me and within a year our divorce was finalized.

Moving on.

I was on my own for the first time. I moved into a nice apartment with a futon, a couple of tables, linens, and my laptop. It was a nice apartment and although I had very little, I was happy, I felt free, and I was ready to start over and begin building my life back up.

I pretty quickly found a new love interest that turned into a 2 year hell and roller coaster of emotions. I was looking for loyalty and long-term and he was more interested in fun and many….many…girls. The connection we shared was unique, I was crazy in love with him. I don’t think he ever felt quite as strongly as I did but he did care and I truly believe he had a good heart, he just wasn’t meant for me.

When we parted ways for good I was angry, hurt, and bitter. I wasn’t interested in anything serious and couldn’t get that connection we had had with anyone else. I played around with other people to make myself feel better, but deep down I knew I was self-destructing and lonely. I ached to have that playfulness and easiness with someone else. I wanted to feel accepted and loved and have a friendship with someone that grew into a romantic love.

I had quite a few guys interested but I just played with them and/or turned down their advances. I just wasn’t really feeling anything. One day there was this guy who kept trying to talk to me through Facebook. I remember work was slow at the pharmacy and I was just humoring myself by taking the time to message him back. It felt silly talking to a stranger but I had nothing better to do at that point!

The guys persistence grew and before I knew it we were actually hanging out. He lived in the apartments across the street from mine and although we’d hang I kept my distance. If he wanted to come over or he wanted me to come there it took a lot of coercing. I just felt aggravated, I didn’t see a point in being around people and felt better alone. It was just easier.

As we spent more time together he kept insisting I would wind up with him and I continued to insist I never could.

Marrying Again.

Here we are, more than 3 years later. That guy from Facebook has been my best friend and biggest supporter. We had a very rocky start and I would have never thought we would get here. My past caused me to be callous and he had some extra work to do to break that part of me up. But this man hung in there, and I would have been a fool to say ‘no’.

Our first year together we moved in together and were still learning a lot about one another. We constantly fought and our communication was awful. We are both stubborn, we both want to always be right, and we both tend to shut down during a confrontation. We have learned how to improve in all of these areas and we have become a very strong and loving couple.

I never found a relationship like I had after my first marriage. I am so thankful for that! No lies, no infidelity. I have a relationship where he wants me and I want him. I have a best friend who I also love and share a romantic relationship with. I have someone who knows me and knows what I like and understands my dreams, who is also still learning about me and is excited about a future with me.

You can imagine my fears and concerns. I would hate to have another failed marriage. There are somethings that require a divorce, however, I am willing to work through most situations. As long as there is still love on both sides, I feel that, with time, most situations can be resolved. I am taking a giant leap of faith here, to be marrying again. People have asked me if I am nervous and I don’t feel it. I’m excited, sure. But in my eyes, we are what we are, and the only thing we are lacking is a piece of paper. In my heart, he is already my husband. He is my supporter, protector, and provider. I am his cheerleader, his other half, and his rock.

We are due to marry in May. Our ceremony will be a simple courthouse production with family and friends and our photographer. Then we fly out to Punta Cana for our honeymoon of bliss, adventure, and relaxation. After that we will come back and have a party with all of our family and friends at a local park. To me, this is perfection. I cannot wait for that day because it begins the next chapter of our lives together.

Don’t Fear.

Don’t ever be afraid to take chances. We make mistakes in life, but you learn from them and you move on. You only have this one life. Sure, sometimes I feel that people judge me for marrying so young, but I was alone without guidance and I made a choice based on what I thought I wanted and what I thought I felt. I have learned from my past and hope that I can be a better me in my future. Life is about learning and growing as a person and you cant do that if you never make mistakes.

© 2017 Faith Engen