Friday, September 30, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week #39

Happy Friday, you sexy mamas (and papas if there's any dudes.)  

In case you weren't aware, today is the last day of September.  Tomorrow's October and I couldn't be happier!  WOOT!!  HOOT!!  SHOOT!! GROOT!!! TOOOT!!  LOOT!!  COOT!!  (Sorry, I just typed all of that so that the Mr had to enthusiastically read it out loud.)

There are a goodly amount of links so let's get right to...

These Are the Healthiest Breads You Can Buy  (Mmm, carbs)

9 American Foods That Have Been Banned In Other Countries  (Yikes)

Can Walking Be Enough to Reduce Obesity?  (Yes and no)

Get Your Roll On – What, Why, And How You Should Foam Roll  (I've been rolling before and after workouts the past few days and it seems to make me feel a little better)

Lee's Weight-Loss-Slash-Love Story Is More Tear-Jerking Than The Notebook  (Big sobby tears)

Why We Screw Things Up When Life Is Good  (Well, this hit home)

This Is Exactly What Happens to Your Body When You Don't Take a Rest Day  (I guess we should all take rest days a little more serious)

The Trailer For Embrace, an Upcoming Body-Positive Documentary, Will Bring You to Tears  (Yep, totally bawled like an @ss)

Peanut Butter Can Help Diagnose Early Stages of Alzheimer's  (We knew this but for anyone else who didn't know they could use this technique)

Photo of a Grandpa Doing His Wife's Hair Goes Viral For All the Right Reasons  (OMG, THIS is how it's supposed to go, people!  A thousand hugs to this man for doing what his wife needs!)

The 12 Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Vermont  (I <3 Vermont)

'The Final Countdown' Played on 64 Floppy Drives Would Make Gob Bluth Proud  (I don't know what Gob Bluth is but it's pretty cool...courtesy of the Mr)

What to Request for Your Next Hotel Stay if You Love Jeff Goldblum  (Um, *I* love Jeff Goldblum!!  I would've taken the "what can we do to make your stay better" to mean it was I wrong??  But for future reference, buy your frames at the dollar store ahead of time because I can only imagine what they charged.)

We caught up on the DVR last night after our workout.  I swear the resistance band  (affiliate link) workouts are so much harder than I ever gave them credit for.  I don't think we have anything specific planned for the weekend.  I kinda feel like stopping by the store some friends own because it looked like they got in some Fall stuff.  It's big grocery weekend and I saw that Trader Joe's got their buttload of pumpkin stuff in via the Fearless Flyer including their Pumpkin Body Butter which sells out QUICK so pick some up if you've got one in the area.  I can vouch for the Pumpkin Macarons too.  Oh!  And they have Spice Cider too!  It's friggin' AMAZING...I always stock up in November before they get tempted to yank it because it lasts like 2 years unopened.  Now I want to go grocery shopping.

What are y'all into this weekend?

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

"I just squeed myself"

Those were the words I uttered last night as I perused Target's website to take a gander at Beekman 1802's new farmhouse collection.  They have a lot of adorable pieces but you guys know from my last current crushes that I've got my eye out for dishes for some reason.

I saw these and about keeled...
I have always kind of loved a toile look and that's what this reminded me of.  How cute is this serving bowl?

I also love this serving tray long time...

I thought how pretty this would be with some fresh picked apples on them having a fruit platter instead of a bowl.  I am hoping they have these currently in store because we have to go to Target Saturday and I want to see if they're as gorgeous in person as they are on the website.  If you want to take a gander at their farmhouse collection for the kitchen, click here.  (Not an affiliate link)

What has made you squee lately?

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Movie Night(s)

We took advantage of a sweet gift I got for my birthday in the form of a video store gift card.  Since the summer movie season has kind of sucked rocks, I had to wait until the end of the month to use it.

These are the flicks we've watched over the past few days...

Mothers and Daughters (affiliate link) (Susan Sarandon, Selma Blair, Sharon Stone, Courteney Cox, Christina Ricci)  I thought I saw the trailer for this one but as we got into it, it didn't look familiar to me.  I'm gonna admit, it was slow at times and kind of depressing but it did pick up.  If you have a complicated relationship with your mom, it might hit too close to home.  It also has dementia involved which left me in a quivering heap so's not necessarily the feel good movie of the year but it will make you think.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising- (affiliate link)  (Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, ChloĆ« Grace Moretz)  The sequel to the original Neighbors movie kept us both laughing quite a bit throughout.  The Mr is not a fan of movies where people get screwed in real life situations but a reversal of roles left him able to get into it, thankfully.  I needed a stupid comedy after the previous movie and yep, this was it!  Expect tons of pot, dildos and cursing.

Central Intelligence (Unrated) (affiliate link) (Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart)  Old high school classmates meet back up for the 20 year reunion and chaos, lies and some serious shite goes down!  It was a cute buddy movie though I suspect Dwayne would be irritated I called it cute.  Some fun cameos in it too. If you're up for a fun, action packed ride, you'll probably like it.  Actually, the ending is hilarious and the built in gag reel in the credits alone is worth the rent.  If you like them together, stay tuned for Jumanji.

Rented/seen any movies lately?

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Scenes from the weekend

Friday evening we had to make a trip to the apple orchard because we saw the apples I like to use for baking were ready and no time Saturday for it.  They were the size of softballs!

The Mr picked the perfect apple...and it was one of the smaller ones.

Needless to say, there will be lots of apple baking recipes being made over the next week or two!

Saturday we visited with friends.  We were going to bring our respective foods back to the house to eat since we rarely all crave the same thing.  I told her what we were getting and they said it sounded good so we decided to meet at the restaurant for lunch.

Unfortunately, as is typical, they sat a huge party of like 15 people right next to us so we spent the whole time screaming and saying "huh!?"  "What!?"  I should've gone with my instinct to move to another quieter section of the restaurant but the male half of the couple would've imploded with embarrassment at the thought so I just smiled and nodded a lot in between.  We came back to the house and hung out on the back lanai since it was actually nice enough to do so weather wise.  We came inside for dessert and some chit chat before they had to head off for the night.

The Mr went up around 10:15pm to play his game after watching me nod off on the couch and I stayed downstairs.  I got a nice warm blankie and cuddled up in the A/C and conked out until 11pm or so.  I so rarely do that anymore, it was kind of nice!

I got a good night's sleep on top of that except for the few times the Mr's snoring infiltrated my dreams and I woke up to him steamrolling me.  On your own side, sir!  When we finally got up, I took a shower and went down to make brunch.

Apple pie pancakes, 2 eggs and bacon.  The apples I got have a high acidity level but are a good balance of sweet and tart so it was perfect for this.

We did a lot of work related stuff and before you knew it, the day was pretty much dwindled.  I wanted to go shopping a little so we swung by Kohl's and I saw this and silently bawled.

They are slowly getting Christmas set up so be aware.  If you want Fall stuff, you'd better hop to it!  We stopped by Home Goods as well and saw some cute stuff but nothing I needed to have.  Then it was time for a grocery refuel on the produce front and some chicken parm for dinner since it's been a while on the pasta front.

I need to plan out the meals for the week and I'll be adding cardio back in full time this week to see how I do.  Since my legs were so angry last week it can't be something hard but I think a WATP or something of that ilk could do me good and then hopefully I'll get the all clear to add something a little more the following week!

What did you guys do this weekend?  Do you go apple picking?

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Friday, September 23, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week #38

Happy Friday all!  I hope the week went quick for you!

Well, after checking in with the chiro yesterday, I got the no go on Plan J since I was so sore this week.  I would've gotten the all clear if my week was like the week before.  Balls.  So no squats, he was vague on lunges but I'm not down for those and said to just work walking back in and don't over train my core because I could set myself back.  So yeah, no massage this week, compression during activity, ice after workouts and self massage on the legs.  I will roll the upper thighs because it does help me feel better so pffft.

But enough of my small setbacks and let's get to...

13 Tips for Women Over 40 to Manage Their Weight  (Still have to work on a few and when did this apply to me!?)

How Should I Treat My Sore, Tight Hip Flexors?  (Right up my alley right now)

How One Personal Trainer Is Proving Photos Can Be Deceiving  (It truly is all about the angles)

Do You Know the Difference Between Being Selfish and Practicing Self-Care?  (It's true...put the mask over your own face before securing the masks of others.)

The Best Way to Roast Every Fall Vegetable  (Time to roast da roots y'all!)

8 Things You're Probably Cleaning Wrong in the Kitchen  (Well excuuuuse me!)

10 Things That Don’t Make Sense To Super Sensitive People  (1000x yes!)

Sorry, Your Fitness Tracker Is Probably Useless  (Interesting findings)

In Case Any of You Still Don't Think It's a Big Deal  (Watch this...seriously)

10 Haunted American Cities To Visit This Fall  (Scarrrry!)

17 of the Prettiest Covered Bridges in America to Visit This Fall  (Wow, like a good handful are in VT.  I'll have to research these more!)

22 holiday movies Hallmark is prepping for Christmas  (Tis the (almost) season.  HA!)

Celebrities Read REALLY Mean Tweets On ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’  (OMG, these make me cringe but still good to see some can laugh at themselves and you can see the ones that can't...Kiefer.)

Angela Lansbury Surprises Audience, Sings "Beauty and the Beast" at Screening  (I totally bawled watching this...she's still got it!)

We've got some friends coming over tomorrow for lunch so that should be fun.  When I sat down to think about it, I realize we haven't seen them since Christmas!  We used to see them monthly like 10 years ago.  We'll have to make it a little more frequent than like once or twice a year.  I don't like losing touch with people where face to face contact is concerned so it'll be nice to actually SEE each other instead of a few surface social media messages.  Reconnect people...face to face!

What are you into this weekend?

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

My Fight Song

via Pinterest

Yesterday was an exhausting day.  I was doing a lot of work for holiday videos the past two days and my days have been go, go, go.  When workout time rolled around both days, I felt a bit broken.  Tuesday I felt broken from Monday's strength and core work and then the rushing around for work.  My lower back and sides were just shot so WATP was really hard and I had to modify a few things.

Then yesterday I was sore from WATP and the running around, then you chuck more running around on that and working out was the last thing I wanted to do and the one thing I knew I needed to do not from a body but a mind stand point.  I was mentally exhausted and needed the boost that only exercise can give me when my body isn't cooperating.

Last night we did a circuit workout.  It was pretty much upper body as usual with a few moves for abs and core in there.  When we do a circuit, we play this cardio playlist that I know is 45 minutes long so it's familiar.  About 2/3 of the way through is the time I tend to clock watch the most and I don't really want to give up but I'm just always kind of over it.  The Mr will have just gotten his second wind from his fight song...Viva La Vida.  It's always nice to see him get the boost he needs from that and depending on my mental state, I know mine is coming up soon.  It's a song called Helena Beat  (affiliate link) from Foster the People.

Here are the lyrics:

Sometimes life it takes you by the hair
Pulls you down
Before you know it, it's gone and you're dead again
I've been in places and I won't pretend
Yeah I'd make it out just to fall on my head

Wake up strange and take the walk downstairs
Hit the pawn up on the corner and pay for my rent
You know that I could not believe my own truth
Just show them what I choose, got nothing to lose

Yeah yeah and it's O.K.
I tie my hands up to a chair so I don't fall that way
Yeah yeah and I'm alright
I took a sip of something poison but I'll hold on tight

You know those days when you want to just choose
To not get out of bed, you're lost in your head again
You play the game but you kind of cut
'Cause you're coming down hard and your joints are all stuck

I've tried to say that it's not the only way
I never knew if I could face myself to change
You were pacing, I was insecure
Slip and fall, I'm dodging calls, hug the prison I've been living in

Yeah yeah and it's O.K.
I tie my hands up to a chair so I don't fall that way
Yeah yeah and I'm alright
I took a sip of something poison but I'll hold on tight

Yeah yeah and it's O.K.
I tie my hands up to a chair so I don't fall that way
Yeah yeah and I'm alright
I took a sip of something poison
Took a sip of something poison, poison

If you want to see the video so you can hear the song, click here.

That song has gotten me through so many different mindsets since it came out, sometimes it'll pump me up like it did last night or it'll leave me in such a puddle of tears I have to turn away from the Mr so he doesn't see.  There have been times I've called myself every name in the book, almost fallen for fads or jump starts or felt like I would never heal so get used to your life as a gimp.  All of those the "sip of something poison" meaning my poison thinking.  Those are the times I cry uncontrollably and I'm doing everything in me to tie my hands up to a chair so I don't fall that way.  I try to talk some sense into myself and "hold on tight."  The lyrics just pierce so deep sometimes.

Then there are times like last night as I was determined to strengthen my body and just get well and it fuels me in a way that I can't even convey.  As that chorus kicked in, I got down and did my modified push ups and knocked them the eff out like I meant it.  Then I did some cat cows and busted out another set just to show my shoulders who was boss.

I might be paying for it today but I need to get strong and flexible.  I might go through another week of soreness as I transition into a stronger version of myself but I'll massage the legs, stretch and do whatever I need to.  I'll talk to my chiro today about my theory on strengthening those areas that have had to take a break the past 4-6 weeks so I can get a final okay on that plan.  Finally, as long as I have my fight song that will either keep my brain from falling for poison thinking or to motivate me to keep pushing, it's okay.  I'm okay.

What is your fight song?

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Don't fear the butternut squash

Wait, wait...where are you going!?  I know you've seen those phallic shaped b@stards in the store and after you were tempted to make lewd gestures (oh wait, that was just you were) you thought "too much trouble!"  Trust me, I thought the same thing!  But then I learned a time and potentially finger saving trick to taming this beast!

You know those corn cob holders?  Poke it a few times on each side and microwave it for 5-6 minutes.  When you take it out, it's soft enough to easily cut in half.  (Trying to cut those things in half without it is like asking to hack off a finger.

Scoop out the seeds and flip it over and just peel the skin off.  It's thin and soft at this point so it's able to easily be removed.

Cut the squash lengthwise into strips.

Then cut it the opposite direction to make like sized cubes.

Put them in a roasting pan with about a tbsp of olive oil and pie spice to taste and give 'em a toss.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Enjoy a delicious taste of Fall with half the effort.  Because it's already half cooked, you can prep it a day or two ahead and finish it off when you're ready for it.


Do you like butternut squash?

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

On to plan J

Last week, I felt pretty dang good where my legs were concerned.  It was the first time I was able to lower my pain number at the chiro and I know he was happy about that.  So happy in fact that he said we could switch from ultrasound back to laser.  He said he thought we got as far as we could with the ultrasound and now it was time to reshape the tissue with the laser.  I told him we were road tripping and would be walking for many hours and he had no concerns with that.  I told him I wanted to start gradually adding cardio back in because we were close to a vacation soon and I needed to be prepared for that.  Again, no concerns and agreed with that plan as he said I'm always good about listening to my body.  He said to have the massage therapist work my lower back and we were finding it was playing more of a part lately in symptoms.

Two hours later, I was getting a massage from the LMT and told her his instructions.  She did do a really good job on my lower back and getting into my hips.  She also got the front of my legs which I didn't even know hurt but damn did that hurt when she dug in.  She finished up with a release of my psoas (pronounced so-as) muscles that are basically deep in the hip and trust me when I tell you, you KNOW when it's being touched.

When I got up, I felt about the same as usual but as the day progressed, I got more sore.  I knew this was to be expected because he said any time he adjusts my hips that I'll be sore following.  That night we did Walk Away the Pounds because again, I was adding cardio back into the mix.  It was nothing crazy and if I started to feel like it was too much, I went back to walking or modified because I didn't want to push it.  The next day it was pretty bad.  I was really sore but the Mr said he was sore from WATP too.  I did strength that night so my legs could get a rest since I was going to be walking the next day.  Well, walking those fairgrounds always makes me sore anyway but I was a wreck before I even got there and that area of the psoas was just aching.  I did a little research online and saw that this area is very delicate and even trained people can do serious damage if there is something going on internally like a fybroid, flared appendix, etc and some people have even reported a ruptured colon.  Uh, no thanks.  I trust my LMT but I want no part of that and given how crappy I felt afterward, I wouldn't want that even if there wasn't risk with it.

I wanted to see if there was a less invasive way to do that if it's critical to balancing out the hips and I did find some decent techniques but I found other info that was helpful.  I saw how things like a pelvic tilt could come into play and the chiro has mentioned a few times I had rotation of the pelvis that should even out as he continues with the next few sessions.  What this one particular trainer was saying made something click for me.  As he was talking about an anterior pelvic tilt (which I don't know if that's what I have but I'm going to ask), he was talking about what muscles are pulling and tightening to contribute to that condition...all of the ones that are tight on me.

Because I've been forced to not do squats or any ankle/knee repetitive weight bearing exercises to heal my legs, it also means there's been no consistent maintenance of my stabilization muscles.  Then me taking the two week cardio break which I absolutely needed to give that final push in healing the deep tissue in my legs. I think contributed to this new issue.  Sunday was probably the worst because I needed the Mr to massage my legs for me to even get up and around.  It's one of those layered contributing factor deals and I'm feeling slightly better with each passing day but I'm coming up with a new plan because circumstances have changed.  I'm steadily moving down the alphabet.

Plan A- Continue with regular cardio but laser.
Plan B- Regular cardio but modify and laser.
Plan C- Cut back on regular cardio to mild cardio and laser.
Plan D- No more lunges/squats and laser.  Not working.
Plan E- Start ultrasound in lieu of laser on low frequency.
Plan F- Double ultrasound since I could tolerate it well.  Bad week.
Plan G- Jack it to 5 sir.
Plan H- Took myself off of cardio, 5 on ultrasound.
Plan I-  No more cardio, strength only. Legs healed enough to switch back to laser.  Massage seemed to make things worse as well as walking trip.
Plan J- Working on getting out tightness, self massage and beginning to strengthen stabilization muscles and will consult if that line of thinking is correct.

So yeah, I'm on plan J at this point.  Now that the leg tissue is almost healed, even though I still have the occasional yanks near my heels and can't do a full lunge, I need to shift my focus to the stabilizing muscles.  I've started doing some squats...nothing deep or exaggerated but I need to strengthen my quads.  Last night, I did clamshell leg raises which help stabilize the lower back along with abs and backbows which engage all of my problem muscles.  I know planks are the ultimate exercise to help but I need to be careful because it requires fully extended legs and I'm not sure my left leg is there yet.  I'll need to test it when things aren't so tight.

I am going to talk to the chiro about my theory and ask if because I feel so crappy after deep tissue massages are they actually helping or setting me back.  I think they are helpful to many and I LOVE my LMT but I just feel so bad for so long that I at least want another opinion.  I think a regular massage would be beneficial after a vacation just to unbunge but my muscles might be wusses on the digging front.  :-|  Right now, I'm just grateful the ultrasound seems to have worked to break up my "steel like" legs when I came in two months ago and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to heal myself the rest of the way.

Have you ever had to change your recovery plan mid-stream?

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Antiquing, they brought our crack back and well wishes

Happy Monday all!

We had quite an exhausting Saturday.  We determined that the weather looked acceptable for us to go to an antique show out of town.  Thankfully the rain stayed away and it was just windy.  But we did enjoy some ideas on how to deck the Fall halls as well as the Christmas ones...

When I woke up that morning, I was already feeling sore from the crap the LMT did on my massage and I knew walking for 3-4 hours on asphalt and uneven fields was going to wreak havoc on my legs and boy howdy, did it.  My hips were totally screwed because she dug into my psoas muscles to attempt to release them in addition to lower back and glutes and I just felt totally off kilter.  Every step was bad and my hips pointed and laughed at the ibuprofen as it attempted to relieve any pain.  I think I'm going to have to lay off those digging massages, I just feel WAY too crappy afterward.

On the way back, we knew we'd better just hit Trader Joe's and Target and get it over with so we only had one grocery to hit Sunday.  Well, in Target, I stopped in my tracks when we saw these.

Bless me Father, I'm about to sin!  We thought they said they were never making them again and they are our all time favorite Oreos ever so yeah...totally grabbed two packages because if there is equal disgust for them this year, they may yank 'em for good.

Sunday I woke up pretty much realizing I was screwed.  SUPER tight legs but on the upside the hips felt better.  Yay?  I got in a hot shower and then tried to massage as best I could.  Wasn't good enough and the Mr had to squeeze the Charmin for me for a little bit so I could get up without going into a charlie horse whilst making brunch.

Spinach omelette, a little sweet potatoes with pumpkin pie spice, nitrate free bacon and multigrain bread with Kerrygold butter.  This was our first time trying Kerrygold and it's pretty darn good.  A TJ's cashier has a British hubby who told her that butter was far superior and she said he was right.  But she said only for toast or whatever because you can't taste the difference in baked goods.  Good because mama ain't payin' twice the price for half the product!

On a side note, I'd like to send best wishes and a speedy recovery to one of my fitness idols, Ilaria Montagnani.

Photo Credit : Michael Brian Photography from Powerstrike Facebook Page
Ilaria revealed on her FB page that she has breast cancer and is going in today to have surgery and take time off for recovery.  I don't think cancer realizes who it chose because um...she teaches sword classes and is a martial artist so yeah, she's an actual fighter.  Some of you may remember, I was lucky enough to interview Ilaria and you can read that here.  We certainly wish her a speedy recovery and are hoping that she is among the many stories of people who were able to beat this horrible disease.  If you'd like to stop by Powerstrike's page and send your well wishes, click the link under her picture.

What did you guys get into this weekend?

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Friday, September 16, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week #37

Woo hoo, it's the weekend!  Shake whatcher mama gave ya!!

I got nothing witty to say so let's just jump right into...

Here's the Reason I Don't Tell People That I Lost 70 Pounds  (I totally get what she's talking about)

10 Things to Tell Yourself When You Don't Want to Work Out  (I always say "if after 10 minutes you REALLY don't want to do anymore, you don't have to"...I always finish)

What Happened When I Stopped Working Out For 6 Weeks  (Interesting)

Possible air pollution link to Alzheimer's  (Great...)

I Work Out Because I’m Scared of Ending Up Like My Mother  (This had me in tears...I can empathize for other reasons)

How to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs Without Picking Them to Death  (I just run mine under water as I peel them and they come out pretty good)

How Acting Like an Old Person Actually Makes You Happier  ("Get off my damn lawn!"  Oh wait, they probably didn't mean acting like that)

5 Plus-Size Models Just Walked in Christian Siriano’s Fashion Show  (Gorgeous!  Thank you Christian!!)

The 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Whenever You’re Feeling Jealous  (Good way to keep yourself in check)

There’s no better way to savor the spooky season than by experiencing Historic Hudson Valley’s Halloween events in Sleepy Hollow Country  (If you are within a 10 hour drive of here...DO IT!  We love it there so much, I'd move there in a heartbeat and I definitely want to spend my afterlife in that cemetery.  Most beautiful place ever!)

60 Spooky and Creative Halloween Craft Projects  (#1 is my favorite!  So cool!)

This Video of a Dog Groomer Dancing With a Pooch is a Must-See for Animal Lovers  (We all dance like this with animals when Love Shack comes on, don't we?)

We're supposed to go to an antique show out of town tomorrow but it's looking like rain.  We'll still likely go but will have to watch things closely.  Sigh.  The Mr wants pizza with his football that we record when we get back that night.

What are you into this weekend?

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Am I getting it back?

Yesterday, the Mr was going through the mail as he usually does.  It's almost always junk mail but he'll yell out the names of the catalogs we got and I'll give the yay or nay as to whether or not I want them.

"Woman Within?"

"NO!"  (You buy one thing from them as a gift and you get catalogs every other day...ANNOYING!)

"Pottery Barn?"

"Give it!"

I knew that meant more Fall goodness was coming my way and I was right...

They had all of the fun ghouly things you could use to creep out the trick or treaters (if you get them) with a hint of Fall goodness so the second Halloween is over you can take down the bones and be good to go.

Then it happened.  I flipped the page and saw this...

Yes, I know people are groaning but it gave me butterflies.  Good ones.  Not the ones I've had over the past few years when I think about the holidays and then remember what that means where Christmas Day is concerned and all of the stuff that has come with it over the past three years.

Instead, I immediately thought of how I have 85% of my blog posts for that month ready to roll and how I have the new channel to share my favorite recipes with you guys without worrying about having to do all of that here.  Most importantly, we'll have a Christmas day that will be filled with peace.  (Knocking on EVERY available piece of wood around me.)  For the first time in a while, I felt like maybe, just maybe, I am getting my Christmas spirit back.

That somehow the broken pieces of shattered traditions and memories can be glued back together as we look forward to this Christmas of focusing on the true meaning of the day and reclaiming it from the grips of dementia.  I truly feel in my heart my grandma would want that for me knowing how much I loved the holiday and how so much of that is because of what she created on that day.  Maybe it's something someone tells themselves to justify their decision but I feel no guilt over it...not in the slightest.  Seeing this hint of Christmas on the pages of a magazine got me excited again and that was all I ever wanted to regain and that was because I gave myself permission to reclaim something lost in an ever changing landscape of my family.

There may be hope for me yet!  To paraphrase Pink, I may not be broken but bent and can learn to love (Christmas) again.

Have you ever had to make a decision where you had to choose peace for your soul over what was expected of you?

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Good girlfriends are truly the best

Yesterday was a great day.

I have a friend who has a crazy hectic schedule and any time I am able to get any amount of time with her, I'm so grateful.  I bought her a little gift and told her if her schedule didn't allow time to get together, I totally understood.  Thankfully she had a day off and we were able to have lunch together.

I made a nice, big chef salad for us...

Fruits, veggies and lots of protein for my strength workout later.

She's about 12 years younger than I am and we like to go deep on the conversation fronts.  I can't tell you how refreshing that is because so many people don't want to do that anymore.  We, as a society, barely communicate face to face anymore much less sit down for 5 hours having heart to hearts with people who are important to us.  She wanted my advice on a life issue she's going through right now and the Mr and I both told her the same thing without ever consulting with each other.  It is of course different from what immediate family want from her but in the end, she would be happier with our advice.  She's a people pleaser and that's fine but not for this situation.  I could tell she needed someone who would back up her gut instinct and we made it clear she should trust it.

Among the many things we talked about, I told her how it is important to have girlfriends of different ages in her life.  I have always had friends older than me and been more comfortable talking to them because I know they have life experience.  I told her those women will help prepare you for life after marriage and help you see the things that are truly important vs. the things you do to please others who rarely end up being pleased anyway.  It's important to have girlfriends younger than you are as well because they can help remind you to have fun, throw caution to the wind sometimes in your regimented life or to look at things in new ways.  Obviously having friends your own age is good too but I made it clear that you may also outgrow each other and that's okay.  We talked about people who drop out of your life for no reason and sometimes you never get answers as to why.  It's so often about what others are going through and has nothing to do with you.  That doesn't make it any easier to take though.

We laughed.  We cried.  We ate.  We hugged.  It was a good day.

What are three things you love most about the girlfriend you can tell anything to?

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cruelty Free Makeup Review

You guys remember I talked about how I took the plunge into all natural make up a few months ago.  I decided to put it all to the test on our tropical vacation and throughout this humid, gross summer since I deem those about the harshest conditions I can muster.

Here's a reminder of the list of products in the picture and my personal experience with each of them.

Mineral Fusion Lip Gloss Lovely (affiliate link) I absolutely love this.  It is very close to the color of Bonne  Bell lip gloss I used and isn't too goopy.  Totally a technical term.

Mineral Fusion Eye Shadow Trio, Sultry (affiliate link) This is my go to for evening looks for a smoky eye or if I'm wearing something monochromatic which will happen more in the Fall.  The white goes on smooth and doesn't have that weird sheen some light shadows can have or that overly matte white 60's look that almost looks like white out.  (Do people still use white out??)

Mineral Fusion Eye Shadow Trio, Rose Gold-   (affiliate link) This is my go to when I want a natural "I'm trying to look like I'm not wearing a lot of makeup" aka- "I woke up this way...not."  Very subtle pinks and the brown is perfect for lining the eye and stays put basically all day.

Gabriel Organics ZuZu Luxe Eyeliner -Slate-  Gotta admit, this one is a fail for me.  It smudges like crazy.  Maybe it's me, I don't know but yeah, probably throwing this one out as even in the least humid conditions, it still smudges within 30 minutes.

Gabriel Organics Zuzu Luxe Eyeshadow -Platinum (affiliate link)  A very nice mix of pale pink and vanilla color that makes a great base to build off of or highlight under the brow area.

Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water Resistant Long Lash Mineral Mascara - Abyss-   (affiliate link) I was having serious mascara issues before and this is great.  It defines without clumping and stays put all day after a good crimp with a lash curler.  It does flake but only when you're taking it off.  I've never had a single flake around my eyes until I started taking it off so no biggie there.

Pacifica Sugared Fig Color Quench Lip Tint-   (affiliate link) Not a fan.  On my hand, the tester looked perfect, on my lips it looks like crap.  So it's not quite the grab and go lip tint I was hoping for.  It makes my lips look weird and honestly, it kind of smells like pee to me.  LOL  I don't know if it's the avocado oil or what but I wouldn't get this again.  For now, I'll blend it with something else to tint the color to my liking.

Pacifica Enlighten Eye Brightening Shadow Palette-   (affiliate link) This one was a new color palette for me so I was a little scared but it's perfect for spring and summer.  You just have to play around a little with the colors to get the combo you like best.  Glad I branched out with this one.

Pacifica Mystical Supernatural Eye Shadow Palette (not pictured-link will show colors  (affiliate link) )- by far my favorite eye shadow!  I love the colors and the dark purple is awesome as an eyeliner with the liner brush from the Eco Tools set.  I will always buy this, forever and ever amen.

Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Powder-   (affiliate link) Love this stuff!  Loved the product so much it made me buy 2 buzz boxes from them!   Great coverage, doesn't set cakey and is my new powder for evah!

benecos Eyebrow-Designer: Brown (affiliate link) Best brow pencil/brush ever.  I will never buy a different brand or shade and I've tried several companies on this front.

Eco Tools Six Piece Starter Set-   (affiliate link) Excellent!  This is not only the perfect starter set but is great for travel since it's small.  I use almost all of the brushes every day.  The eyeliner brush is now what I use for liner of the darkest color from all of the above shadows and I don't use liner pencils anymore.  (Bye bye pencil shavings!)  Highly recommended!

All in all, I'd say the few misses I had were to be expected.  You can't replace everything and expect it all to go perfectly.   But I will definitely turn to these products in the future and am happy to have finally gone truly all natural with my makeup.  I don't need all of those grody chemicals bunging stuff up through my skin.

So even if you don't have the money to start completely from scratch, consider replacing one item at a time when your cosmetics expire.  (Yes, they expire and no I know you're not going to replace them when you should because I don't either but maybe splurge twice a year and replace that shadow and brown pencil or mascara and lip color.  Better yet, wish list a few things for the spouse or kids when the holidays roll around.  Many health food stores, including Whole Foods, have these set up for you to test before hand so do that and pick your faves!

When I got mine, I bought through Vitacost since they were running 15% off and it looks like they're doing that again right now.  First I used  (affiliate link) and got another 5% back by clicking Vitacost through them.  With holiday shopping season coming up, if you haven't signed up for Ebates, now could be a good time to do so.  (No they do NOT sell your info to third parties!)  I got $60 a month ago since my car rentals from vacation finally came through and my new kicks all had good cash back too.  WOOT!  If I'm going to buy anyway, I might as well get a percentage of my moolah back!

Do you use natural make up?  What brands are your faves?  If not, do you think you'd ever switch from your old favorites?

*This post contains affiliate links which help keep the blog lights up and running.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Sweaty, exhausting situation and a-ha

How on EARTH is it Monday again already!?

I went through the weekend in a zombie like fashion so let me search the recesses of my brain to recount it all.  I went to a shower Saturday and it was hotter than Hades outside.  It's that kind of hot that when you are out there for 3.5 seconds, you end up smelling like "outside" (a mix of sweat, staleness and self loathing) so all of the work you put into showering and perfume basically goes down the drain.  I get into the restaurant and am relieved to feel the welcome bliss of A/C.  At least I'll be able to spend the next few hours in comfort!  As I go up the stairs to the party rooms, I realize all of that refreshing A/C is quickly dissipating into an uncomfortable cloud of humid muck.  That's right...the A/C is out upstairs...let the games begin.

Literally...I won two of them.  :-)

Everyone was uncomfortable, fanning themselves, their clothes were sticking to them and it was just gross.  My friend was the gift assistant, writing everything down for thank you note purposes.  She almost went down a few times but honestly, most of us felt that way.  I know I did since I was up and down the whole time moving opened gifts to along the railing and wrangling paper.  You just have to try not to focus on it or you will throw yourself over said railing.  No effort was made to get fans for us or anything.  The best they could do was keep refilling waters so I at least got my water intake for the day though I think it all went to keeping body functions going over cleansing.  The second the last present was opened, everyone got up and made a mad dash to say their goodbyes and get the hell outta there.  Of course that's the time the heavens opened up into torrential downpours for the 1/4 mile hike to the car.  Aces.  Where were you FOUR HOURS ago!?  (Are showers supposed to be that long!?  I thought it was like 2 out- done.  I was mistaken.)

Afterward, my friend and I hung out and grabbed dinner and dessert.  We got back to my house late, exchanged birthday gifts and then could only visit for about 30 minutes before having to drive her to the boon docks to her family's home.  By the time we got back home, it was almost 11pm and with only getting about 3 hours sleep the night before...I was super exhausted and barely able to keep my eyes open.  The Mr kindly started up the heating pad whilst I was removing the stank of the day with my make up remover wipes, we talked for a little bit and I passed out.

Sunday I woke up still pretty friggin' tired but unable to sleep as the Mr was snoring both on inhale and exhale so might as well get up.  I enjoyed the silence of a Sunday morning where no one was stirring for about 30 minutes and as usual, the song of the neighbor stomping down the stairs and the gleeful spazzing of her a-hole dog broke that bliss.  The Mr slept until 10am and I made brunch...

Can you tell I am trying to will Fall to kick in?  Pumpkin pancakes FTW.

It was time to refill the produce for the week and we got in a strength workout.

I had a potential a-ha moment with the chiro Thursday.  No, Morten Harket didn't walk in but we pinpointed that my lower back might be playing more of a role in this leg thing than we suspected.  (Well, I always felt that way but as I heal, the places of migrating tightness all point upward.)  So when I said I was going to have the LMT massage my lower back, he volunteered to work it a bit before then.  He did some unexpected back voodoo on me (aka- whipped me around on his magic table and adjusted me...ahhh!) and it actually relieved the back pain a bit and gave me an extra day of the legs feeling better.  Saturday is usually my worst day after an ultrasound but I was actually able to be almost pain free for the day and wear cute boots with low heels.  Sunday, well, the normal soreness set in but I'll take it!  So I think those two weeks of backing off of cardio completely did help and it didn't hurt my progress because I lost 3 lbs in that time.

I think today is supposed to be a nice day weather and wind wise so we might go for a paddle tonight for some cardio.  If my legs feel okay Wednesday, then I will try a WATP to see how they fare since I'll be seeing the doc and LMT both on Thursday to undo any kinks I might drum up.  I'm not coming back into cardio full force but we've got a vacation coming up next month and I need to at least get my legs conditioned to walk again.  No trails or anything but yeah, I've got to get back on the cardio horse.

But if I learned one very important lesson, it's that when your body needs that down time, if you give it the rest it needs and adjust your calories accordingly, you can still lose weight if you're smart about it.

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, September 9, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week #36

Finally Friday!  Whoop!

I have to say, I'm so thankful for the support and kind messages, emails and people who subscribed at the channel.  I baked two more recipes this week that we have to get to editing.  (The chiro's eyes lit up when he saw I had a plate for him again.)  I was all too glad to show y'all how to make one of our newer favorites, the cookie butter oatmeal cookies yesterday.  Oh!  I did forget to mention there's an Instagram account too, if anyone is interested.

But enough about my baking bonanza, let's get to...

Sneaky, Sneaky: 46 Common Names For Sugar  (Pretty sneaky, sis!  Please tell me someone got that reference)

This Mom's Candid Before-and-After Photo Proves Skinny Doesn't Mean Healthy  (Preach it sistah!)

25 Exercises You Should Be Doing If You Want a Stronger, Firmer Butt  (Have your spouse/S.O. bounce a quarter off of your new toned arse!)

12-Pose Yoga Sequence to Relieve Your Bloated Belly  (These should just be called the squat and release because I guarantee you, I'd fart doing every one of these...maybe that's the point.)

7 Weird Things That Happen to Your Feet As You Get Older  (Yay?)

We’re Lacking Intimacy, and What We Can Do To Fix It  (THIS!!  I always want to go deeper with people but no one ever seems to want to do more than be surface.)

8 Gardening Mistakes You Make Every Fall  (Divide the perennials eh?  This explains my side flower bed...or lack thereof)

Vandals Caught on Video Toppling Ancient Rock Formation  (Video starts on landing then you too can be as seething angry as I am that we have asshats in this world who would do this.  I seriously want to punch these dipwads.  Do you go into someone else's house and push over their Christmas tree or carve your names into their walls!?)

This Fall Foliage Map Predicts When Leaves Will Change Color  (Sweet!)

101 Totally Rad Halloween Costumes Inspired by the '80s  (There are some super cute ones in here!)

Would You Try Brunch-Flavored Candy Corn?  (I must admit I'm intrigued but NEVER get rid of my Caramel Candy Corn.  I get it once per year and there will be hell to pay if it's replaced by "brunch.")

Why This Couple Waited 9 Years To Open A Wedding Gift  (Such a sweet story!  And look at the aunt's adorable chicken scratch!)

This weekend, I will get to spend time with my best friend who is in from out of town.  She flew in on her birthday and I decided to surprise her as she came out of the gate area.  I held up birthday signs with sparkly ribbon and waved them around when I saw her and she made a mad dash to me and cried.  The Mr and I said when we came home from our trip this time that it sucks that you can't have people wait for you at the gate anymore like back in the day.  But even with the TSA restrictions, you can still be there as they come through the secure area and I highly recommend it.

What does it take to make someone's day but a homemade sign and a $3-5 parking fee.  Even hours later she messaged me and said she was still beaming from the surprise.  Worth it!  I had to crack up because her ride said "you're a real friend because you actually paid to park and go inside!"  So if you know someone coming back from a trip, go inside.  Surprise them!  Give them a hug!  It will be a great way to start off their visit or welcome them home at a time when people are typically sad their down time is up.

What are you guys up to this weekend?

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

What's the buzz about?

You guys...I have to tell you about one of my favorite new things.  You know I've been trying new to me all natural makeup.  I'm sure that everyone has heard of those subscription box programs and I've heard of them too but you almost always have to sign up for a 3 month commitment.  I got Honeybee Gardens pressed powder to try and I really liked it.  When I saw that they had a similar box program, or Buzz Box, as they call them but there was no subscription necessary just buy the box if you want it for $24, I was in!  Well, I asked the Mr to get it for me for my birthday so I got the August Buzz Box and wanted to share it with you guys in case you're interested!

(via Honeybee Gardens)
Here's what I got in my Buzz Box...

Alcohol Free Hairspray, blotting papers, lip gloss* (in color Innocence), pressed mineral powder foundation* (in color Super Natural) and compact, loose eye shadow (in Wanderlust), a callous remover foot file and a coupon for 50% off an order.  (Does not apply to Buzz Boxes)

On the back of the coupon, it lists all of the things you got in the box and their retail value.  So for the price of the first two items, it's like getting the rest ($34.95 worth of products) for free!  Yes please!

The asterisks (*) indicate what I got to choose prior to ordering, the other things are picked for you.

*- I already love their mineral powder and was happy to get more because I'm about 2/3 through my current one.  I was also happy to get the compact because the powder comes in a nice little plastic case that is fine for traveling but it's just nice to have something to protect it a little more.

*- The lip gloss is not only really pretty but it actually smells good.  There's almost this melon like smell to it.  Once it's gone, I will definitely be getting more!

I used the blotting papers too when I was running late and trying to speed along the setting of my SPF foundation that has a tendency to shine.  They worked beautifully.

I used the hairspray and I was amazed at how well it held on a day with occasional breezes and when I brushed it out later, there was no tugging or pulling so I will definitely buy it when it runs out.  I have been looking for a good alcohol free hairspray and this one is high on the list.

I can't wait to sand down the bottom of my feet with the callous remover because my current foot file just went into the trash since it was past its prime.

I haven't used the eye shadow yet but the size is perfect for travel and the color is just right for Fall!

I loved everything so much that I asked the Mr to order the September buzz box for me for one of my Christmas gifts this year!  It's so fun to not know what is coming and have some new make up that isn't full of gross hormone altering or cancer causing ingredients!

If you're interested in ordering the September Buzz Box, click here (not an affiliate link) and order soon because they tend to sell out quickly!  Here's the description for this month's buzz box:

September's Buzz Box is full of wonderful goodies to get you ready for autumn.  It contains TWO full-sized color cosmetic items (you pick shades!), ONE cosmetic tool, ONE lip product (you pick flavor), THREE NEW luxury bath spa items and TWO Buzz Box Exclusive body care products PLUS our ever popular coupon code just for our Buzz Box recipients!  The Retail Value on this packed box is: $52.94 (true value of product only)

Do you do subscription boxes?  What are your favorites?  Do you think you'll give this one a try since it's commitment free?

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