Friday, February 5, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week 2016 #5

The end of a nerve wracking week is finally here.  

I want to thank everyone for your support with my mammogram call back story and for sharing some of your own experiences.  It can be a very isolating experience being frozen in anxiety and a whirl of negative thoughts.   People who you think will support you in the way you need may not.  Even when I used my all clear as a reminder to get checked yearly on my personal social media, all I really got were a few "likes." Three people did leave comments which I greatly appreciated but I won't lie, it made me sad.  No one messaged me privately including people who had been through the same situation and biopsies or even cancer themselves to acknowledge that even if it turned out okay, it's still scary to go through.  Maybe I'm overly sensitive, I've been there for people in the same situation but there you have it.  If you find yourself going through the same thing, pick a girlfriend you know you will understand your concerns and who will listen to you.

But enough about all of that, lets get to...


The 8 Daily Habits of Wildly-Happy Couples   (Good things to remember!)

6 Things That Happen When You Don't Drink Enough Water  (Haven't had that problem this week...pee machine!)

How to Know If You Actually Got a Good Workout  (Yep, getting in some good ones lately)

The 10 Best Stretches For Better Flexibility  (Don't skip stretching!)

Why "Living in the Moment" Is Bad Advice  (This is some deep shiznit)

9 of the Craziest Behind-the-Scenes Secrets From Chain Restaurants  (Oh my Lord, this is why I don't eat out much)

Speedy Recovery: 10 Ways to Ease Sore Muscles  (Sooo doing this today)

15 Trader Joe's Grocery Staples For Busy People  (Yo Joe!)

Watching These River Otters Sliding Around In the Snow Is Pure Joy  (I. HEART. OTTERS!)

9 Things Your Fingernails Reveal About Your Health  (Good to know)

This Man's Beautiful Memorial Museum to His Late Wife Is the Definition of True Love  (Oh you sweet, sweet nugget)

The Paraglider Who Got to Float Among the Northern Lights is the Luckiest Person  (This is so beautiful, I just sat there and bawled.  How beautiful is the world we live in?)

We've got some cleaning to get done.  I've got an afternoon tea planned with a girlfriend the middle of next week and I don't want to be stressed out with a bunch of cleaning in addition to shopping for and making everything.  We're both trying to be good so I'm going to make some healthy nibbles.  I don't want to throw off my efforts mid week so it'll be fun to challenge myself.

What are you guys doing this weekend?

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sas(sy) squash


I don't know why but I've always been intimidated by spaghetti squash.  Since I've moved into the world of zucchini hybrid spaghetti dinners in the summer time, I figured I'd grab a good spaghetti squash when I saw one at the store.  How different could they be?

Way different!

As in, more awesome.

Please excuse the bad pics, these winter hours of no daylight are not conducive to very pretty pics when your kitchen is a cave!

I did a little research on the quickest way to prepare them and you can nuke microwave them at 6 minutes per pound.  Since I had about a 1 1/2 pound one, I poked a paring knife through the skin three times and put it on for 9 minutes.  Then I cut off the stem area and split it in half.

As you can see the seeds still needed to be removed but some of the spaghetti stringing had already begun during cooking.



I removed the seeds and got to shredding with a fork.


It shredded so easily and had a great sweetish smell from the steam but no overabundance of water like you get with zucchini.

This is what it would look like if you wanted to go for it in a big way on a salad plate.


You can see you wouldn't be lacking for bulk and it's only about 60 calories for that whole heap undressed compared to 200 calories for 2 ounces of pasta.

Because it's pretty much a blank slate on the flavor scale, I roasted a head of garlic and added black pepper and italian seasoning to soak in the fridge while I waited for the Mr to come home for dinner.

When it was dinner time, I added 2 ounces of whole wheat spaghetti to half of the spaghetti squash so I could compare it to the zucchini version.


As you can see, you can barely tell the difference between the two especially once you add the sauce.


That night I was making a chicken parm type dish so I split the pot and topped with some chicken breast and shredded gruyere.


I saved 180 calories by using the spaghetti squash than if I'd had two portions of whole wheat spaghetti.  Now I know many people will use all spaghetti squash but we're not down with the complete removal of pasta so this is a great compromise.

I'll definitely be making it again!

Do you eat spaghetti squash?  What are some of your favorite ways to use it?

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What it's like when you go back for the recall mammogram

If you haven't read the precursor to this, go here and read that first.

The weekend before the follow up was okay.  We went to a new restaurant and went to an antique store that had an old photo booth in it.  I decided we should cram ourselves in there and take some pictures since that used to be our thing when we were dating.  When the pictures spit out five minutes later and I looked at this strip of smiling and goofy faces, I wondered if it would be the last normal picture of us.  If this is the strip we'd look back on and say "that was before we knew."

The night before the mammogram, the Mr and I played a hearty game of Boggle and finished up around 10:30pm and he insisted we get to bed early (for us) so we could get a good night's sleep.  I was having trouble getting to sleep since it was earlier than normal for me.  Around 12:30am, the phone rang.  Well unless you're in college, you know no good comes from middle of the night calls.  It was a friggin' robo call!!  The Mr was livid.  I just tried to keep calm and get some rest.  We put the phone on do not disturb and got 20-30 minutes here and there throughout the night.  It was not restful.  The alarm went off and I hopped in the shower, ate breakfast and we got on our way.  I spent the 30 minute drive singing some of my favorite songs like Uptown Funk because who can be scared or nervous belting that out?  Then we pulled into the parking lot about 10 minutes early and sat there listening to the radio.  The Mr asked how I felt and I said I wanted to barf.  I kept that feeling at bay for the long haul but now it was right in front of me.  When I walked out of that building I would either be relieved and life could resume as normal or my life would be forever changed and a new level of terror would set in.

Me being me, I baked and brought cookies.  What can I say, it calms me.  They pretty much took me straight back and I didn't properly get to say goodbye to the Mr.  They directed me to the 2nd waiting room where all of the ladies waiting to get their boobs smashed sit with their robes on and reading magazines to distract themselves.  I came out and there was one other woman in there.  It was probably about 10-15 minutes, I'm not sure because they don't have clocks back there.  What is this, a casino?

When the tech came out, she was obviously sick and shouldn't have been at work that day.  The last thing I needed was to catch her creeping crud.  I told her to squash that thing flat as a pancake, I could take it.  She obliged and the first scan went fine.  I glanced at the screen and saw my original 3D mammogram on the screen and could see the parts they were looking at...no tumors from what I could see but it looked like a few tiny dense areas or possible calcifications.  Then the new image of what she just scanned popped up beside it and it looked significantly less white to me and almost like the rest of the tissue.  I was relieved.  "They just needed to squish harder" I thought.  Then came the second scan and when it was over, the machine released but she didn't tell me to move.  She kept looking at it and I said "should I move or stay here?" and she said "stay there for a second."

"Great, she saw something.  What is she seeing?  Why isn't she clearing me to walk away?"  Thirty seconds passed which is 10 minutes in anxiety seconds and she finally gave me the okay to step away.  My confidence was shaken.  She led me to a two seat waiting area where I would be told if I needed to be re-scanned or if they were going to take me in for an ultrasound.  It was right next to a glass door and it was cold.  A few minutes later, a woman came out from the staff door with my box of cookies and asked if I made them.  I said yes and as she read the thank you note I attached, she asked me what made me do such a nice thing.  I told her I had nurses in the family and I knew it could be a thankless job and I just wanted them to know I appreciated all they do.  She was so tickled and gave me a big hug and said she was going to share with everyone.  I felt good and was glad I did it.

As time passed and I sat there surrounded by rag mags, muzak versions of "Your Song" and "I Believe I Can Fly" and mounting fear, I started fearing the worst.  Twenty five minutes passed and my shaken confidence was dipping to a new low.  How long does it take to look at a scan when the guy is right there?  I can't imagine recall patients being forced to wait a second longer than they have to but here I was and I was falling apart inside.

When another recall patient, who was clearly annoyed at having to be there given the way she was speaking to the technician, was seated beside me in the shoebox waiting area, immediately hopped on her phone.

"Tick tick...tick tick tick."  Bloop.

"Tick tick tick...tick tick tick tick...tick tick tick..."  Blooooooop.

Five minutes of this along with her phone ringing and replaying the pissy attitude I heard from her to people who were there to help her and I was ready to belt her out the window.  I wanted to say "YOU are the reason I had to bake cookies!  Women like you who come in here with your attitude like they enjoy calling you back and throwing a wrench into your day!"  I refrain.  Thankfully, it was about that time, a woman came around the corner and asked my name and I told her and she told me to come with her.  This was it.  The next thing to come out of her mouth was going to potentially change my life or allow me to exhale for the first time in 9 days.

"You won't need to be scanned again and no ultrasound is needed today.  The radiologist looked and your results are negative, there was nothing suspicious found."



Insert bursting into tears, slobber down the lips ugly cry of relief with profuse apologies for my reaction.  She smiled and hugged me tight and said it was okay and perfectly normal to feel that relief.  She said my breasts are going through all kinds of things from a hormonal standpoint and those changes are normal but it's always best to be safe when there is a change from the baseline mammogram. and I wouldn't need to come back for a year.

I got dressed and headed out to the waiting room where a nervous Mr stood to greet me and put my coat on for me.  I said goodbye to the receptionists who were thanking me for the cookies and we walked out and he said "so?"

I smiled and said "everything's good!"  He breathed a sigh of relief and I told him all about it when we got to the car.  I've never been so relieved in my life and I will make a note to the technician for every future mammogram that my right boob is apparently a troublemaker and will need an extra squish because I don't want to be going through that every year.

The Mr's take:

"That day’s good news is so relieving and so happy but I’d remiss if I didn’t mention that I still think about the other possible outcomes. I feel deeply sorry for anyone out there who didn’t get good news and I pray that they find happier times ahead as well. To Anele I just want to say that it, well, goes without saying that you truly are my world and I do not know what I’d be without you. We’re best friends and there’s just no words to convey how much you mean to me. So I’m thankful that you’re good to go on this one. But even more thankful that you do the right things now to get healthy and keep up on things like mammograms, etc. Keep that up!"

90% of recall mammograms are perfectly fine and not cancer.  But I am more than aware that someone has to the be 10% and to that 10%,  my hats off to the survivors and my heart goes out to the ones lost.  I was safe this time but may not always come out that way and treating your body with that respect by getting your yearly mammograms is so very important.  Remember if you have one bad experience with a mammography that is not how everyone does it.  Search for a women's health center that specializes in mammograms and keep going until you find a place that knows what they're doing.

For most, the mammograms don't even hurt, they're just a little uncomfortable because the technician is whippin' yer biscuits.  Yes, it is scary to think that they could find something but wouldn't it be better to find it early than to put it off and lose the battle because you were worried about 4 minutes of awkward?  I have a friend whose mom died of breast cancer, she watched her fight it and flat out refused to get mammograms because she was scared.  Well, she ended up with it 10 years later but it was through self exam and had been there a while.  She went through a lot and I wonder if her fight could've been easier if she'd just gone yearly.

If you are currently awaiting your first follow up and need some good information, these sites helped me during my waiting period:

If You’re Called Back After a Mammogram  (via Cancer.org)

The Dreaded Mammogram Call Back (via OncoLink)

Called Back After A Mammogram? Doctors Are Trying To Make It Less Scary  (via npr.org)


When was your last mammogram?  Have you ever had a call back mammogram?
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What it's like when they call you back

http://www.cancer.gov/

This is a long one folks, grab some coffee or tea and settle in

I am one of those few people who loved their gynecologist.  I mean really...I friggin' cried when she left.  One thing she was adamant about was she wanted me to get a baseline mammogram when I was 37.  She said she thought it was imperative to have something to compare it to when I turned 40 and began getting them yearly.

"You WILL get them yearly!" she smiled and I agreed because I respected her plan for my health enough to follow her lead.  When she retired from her practice with no real notice, I was devastated and we even cried on each other's shoulder.  My tears stained her doctors coat and her tears stained my ill fitting paper towel that doubled as my gown.  Her plan for my breast health was manual exam by her (or now my new doc) and then 6 months later to do my mammogram so that every 6 months, someone was whippin' biscuits or flattening cookies in my breastage area.    I was down with that plan and made my appointment for January 18th.  I went back to the women's mammogram center I went to the first time because I really liked them and figured it would be better for continuity.

I got through it fine but on the last scan of my right side, I held my breath at the wrong time and was sure I exhaled when I was supposed to be holding it because that time she forgot to tell me to hold it.  The first time I had one done, the tech immediately retook the right side because she said she saw something and wanted to redo it.  We did and there was no issue.  I expected it to go the same and figured if the tech didn't say anything about the exhale issue then it must've been clear enough not to matter.

Two days later, the Mr was teleworking and the phone rang.  I never look at caller ID anymore because I know that it's likely a robo call.  He looked and said "its the mammogram place."  My heart dropped.  I knew that if all was well, they would be emailing me the results.  I said "that's not good" and answered the phone.  We exchanged pleasantries and she said there was something on the scan and they wanted to bring me back in to get a clearer picture.  I said okay and immediately started silently crying.  She said the radiologist wanted to redo the 3D mammogram with a harder compression (because 25 lbs of pressure on the gauge wasn't enough) and they had an ultrasound scheduled if needed immediately after.  She told me it was on February 4th at 10:15am and I repeated the information out loud and I could see the Mr trying to keep it together to be strong for me but was concerned thinking it was for a biopsy.  As I listened to her, my sniffling could be heard and she said "I want you to know that they have not listed anything ominous or of concern.  She simply wants to be absolutely sure of a denser area that is different from your previous mammogram before she signs off on a clean bill of health."  I eeked out an "mmm hmm" and she said "I make these calls everyday and there is no notation of any concern, I'm telling you the truth."  I don't know if she was saying it to comfort me but it did in the way she said it.  I asked to be put on a cancellation list if that was possible and she said she would but they rarely have cancellations.  That's fine but Ms. Anxiety would like this over with please.  The only good thing was that she said I would get results that day so I wouldn't have to wait again.

When I got off the phone, the Mr hugged me and I told him what she said and he said he was relieved and that sounded like they just needed a clearer picture.  I told him my concerns about the exhale and how I could kick myself for not bringing it up when it happened so she could retake it.  Now I had to wait for 15 days and let my mind run wild.  The Mr said he would obviously go with me and was glad he was home when I got the call so he could be there for me.  I weeped for a few minutes and then I emailed two friends I knew had gone through this as well.  They were both comforting and one gave me very detailed info about her experience and said the fact they were pushing me off for two weeks was actually a really good sign because if it was something of concern, they would likely want me in asap and usually leave a few time slots open per day for those.  I did feel better once talking to them about what they went through.  Then of course I hopped on the internet and looked up mammogram call back and this page eased my mind as well.  The problem is...easing your mind with facts doesn't stop that horrible hamster wheel of thoughts, fear, doubt and regret from spinning in your head.

(The feelings below are things I actually thought and felt during the waiting period.  It may not be the way you would react in the same situation so please try not to judge the flood of consciousness I experienced when potentially faced with a life changing illness.)

"Okay so the odds are in my favor and it's probably nothing.  Don't stress, it's not good for you and there's nothing to worry about until there's something to worry about."  Then I thought of all the women who were told those same stats and didn't get good news.  "But then they probably had something a little different on their screen and the technician wouldn't lie to me would she?  Maybe she would to calm me down so I don't stress out for two weeks.  Remember that they would likely call you in earlier if something were truly wrong  but what if they're so booked up that was the soonest they could get me in.  But they have three centers so they would send me to another location if they needed something asap."

"Why did I spend my whole life obese?  I wasted so much time, what if I don't have much time left?  I don't want to die.  I don't want to leave the Mr.  Why are you thinking that way?  Now you're going to jinx yourself, you idiot!  I should start writing down his favorite recipes in case he's a widower and he can still eat my favorite dishes.  Stop thinking like that!! You're making a mountain out of a molehill!  Funny...we're talking about your saggy, floppy molehills.  I don't want him to remarry for two years.  That's not fair to put a timeline on it, how selfish are you?  Shocker...selfish in life, selfish in...STOP THINKING LIKE THAT!  You are seriously blowing this out of proportion.  You realize if he remarries the wife will probably make him get rid of any life you shared together."

I tried to stop the hamster wheel and I'd be fine for a while and then I'd catch a glimpse of the Mr and start tearing up.

Then I blurted out loud "don't put me in a box and forget about me.  Your new wife might not want any trace of me around but don't put me in the attic and forget what we had."  He hugged me and said he would never do that and whether the new wife liked it or not, I would still be a part of his life because he knows I would do the same for him.  He said he would be here for me and whatever I face, we face together.  I told him to ignore my occasional outbursts that might occur over the next two weeks.

It wasn't long until my next one right before our workout and I started bawling and said I wish I were stronger because I feel so emotionally weak when faced with any kind of health scare or challenge.  We talked and he calmed me down and we got down to business.

I tried to spend the following days not stressing about it and while I kept myself occupied, it would creep in and I'd feel overwhelmed and try to distract myself before I had a chance to well up again.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't and when it didn't...the thoughts got dark.

"I need to get our vacation planned.  So much to map out...well, actually I can't do that yet because that vacation might end up getting cancelled and you could be going through chemo for your 20th anniversary."

"I should get those couple crafts done for Christmas you wanted done so you're not stressed about it as the time creeps up.  Well, I guess I should wait because depending on what they tell me who knows what I'll be going through then or if I'll even be here anymore.  Stop it!!  Stop going to the worst case scenario!"

"He's touching it.  The one that they need to scan again.  What is he thinking?  Is he thinking she could have cancer, I need to pretend everything is normal.  Is he trying to get some good action with it before it's gone?  Is he thinking about it?  Probably not, he's a dude.  He just sees boobs.  But what if he doesn't.  Stop thinking about this...you are missing out on a physical and emotional connection with your husband because you're scared shitless.  This talk is not sexy, girlfriend.  I just called myself girlfriend...how 90's of me."

As the days ticked by, I did a good job of keeping my thoughts on the back burner.  Then I got a phone call on a Friday.  A cancellation popped up and the woman wanted to offer it to me since I asked to be put on a cancellation list.  It would be on Monday instead of Thursday.  At this point, any time I could take off the excruciating wait was fine with me.  I took the appointment.  When I hung up, my heart was in my chest and when the Mr got home, I gave him a teary hug.  He said he was glad it was sooner because then we'd know and could move on.

The only thing I couldn't stop from thinking was one thing..."I want my grandma."

What it's like when they call your wife back...his side...

"I was teleworking the day we got the call. The phone rang and I saw that the caller ID said the name of the mammogram clinic and, without really having time to consider it, told Anele who it was and that she should probably answer it. She did but the look on her face made me realize that a call back was not exactly what she was hoping for. I was trying to listen in and discern as much as I could while she was on the call but of course at that exact same time I had a co-worker ask me some questions via our work chat system. It was so hard to focus on either thing happening that I barely even recall what I said or if I even answered their question successfully. When she got off the phone and told me that they were calling to have her come back in for another look, a feeling of dread came over me. I dreaded having to watch the woman who is my entire world have to struggle through something like that. I dreaded all the terrible things that come with any form of cancer and believe me I’ve seen it first-hand too many times already! We did feel that the fact that they didn’t need her to come back right away was a good thing. But then that also means it prolongs the waiting, and we all know waiting is the toughest part. I have a habit of trying to bury bad news and keeping things like that deep down until I know exactly what the outcome is or exactly what I’m dealing with. I don’t do well with waiting around for answers. Deep down it was in there swirling around with all the other stresses that happen in a typical week but of course last week was a week where my work was being audited which made things about as bad as they could possibly be for me from a stress standpoint."

Come back tomorrow for what it's like when I went through the recall mammogram.

**I am sharing every scary thought I had while going through this process, not to scare anyone who may be waiting to have theirs, but to illustrate that despite knowing the odds are in your favor, fear goes against all logic.  People can tell you not to worry but it won't stop many of us, especially first timers, from worrying and going to the worse case scenario.  Fear of the unknown is powerful and know if you're going through this, that all of those horrible thoughts are normal... and they suck.**

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Uh...it's February!?

Another month in the books...


How did that happen??

It was a nice weekend.  The Mr and I tried a new restaurant and it was pretty good.  It's in a crowded district with meter parking and as we were rounding the corner, someone pulled out and it still had 1 1/2 hours on the meter!  WOOT!  Then we walked the city a bit and ended up at our favorite patisserie and grabbed dessert.  We walked a little more and the Mr happened upon this blast from his past at an antique store...


He was quite giddy.

We were out most of the day and were pretty pooped when we got home.

Sunday was a pretty lazy day.  It was leg day so I wasn't going to do as much walking as the day before.  70 minutes of exercise...mostly leg stuff then a HIIT workout.  Those bastards are trying to kill us!  We had to grab some fruit and cottage cheese for the week.  I planned out all of the meals for the week, I know what workouts are on tap and this is the week I try to bump water back up to 3 water bottles per week.

For those who missed it on Facebook, I tried the yogurt in a smoothie and actually liked it.



So I will be doing those every other day since I notice an improvement.  We'll leave it at that.

What did you do this weekend?

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Friday, January 29, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week 2016 #4

It has been a LONG week but much longer for the Mr. due to his audit.  We've had some seriously late workout and dinner times this week and neither of us are a fan.  But thankfully that clusterfudge is over with and we can focus on other things like...



15 Things in Your Kitchen to Get Rid of Right Now  (Literally upon finishing this article, I went into the kitchen and purged 5 cookbooks, a stack of "just in case" cups, wine glasses we never use and a garlic press.)

The 10 Most Toxic Items At Dollar Stores  (Yikes)

The Best Stretches to Avoid "Text Neck" and Neck Pain  (Get in the habit of doing these.  I've been doing some neck stretches this week and have staved off that craned, stiff neck from being at the computer all day)

The Real Reason You Get Sick After A Stressful Period Has Ended  (Knowledge is half the battle)

This Is the Fastest Way to Lose Weight Safely (Great info if you're just starting your journey or need a refresher course)

Could There be Bed Bugs in my Rental Car?  (Great, now the Mr will have to check roaches AND bed bugs on our Hawaii rentals)

This Insane Fact About Store-Bought Eggs Is Going Viral  (How to decode that code on the carton)

Watch Out For Sore Muscles: Here Are 5 Signs It Could Actually Be an Injury  (This has some really great information!)

Why Do Some People Sweat Way More Than Others?  (We can vouch for the Clinical Dry.  Just watch back hair when using the roller.  I hear it rips like a beetch!)

9 Surprising Things Your Eyes Can Reveal About Your Health  (So crazy the things your eye doctor can tell just by the exam!)

25 Ways to Cut 250 Calories  (I'm sorry but if I'm splurging on a burger, 1) it ain't gonna be at a fast food place and 2) if I'm thinking of "balance", it's gonna be balancing a burger with some damn fries, not a burger and a clementine.  Sorry, as you were)

The Best Foods to Eat When You're Constipated  (Duly noted)

When She Couldn't Attend the Wedding, This Groom Surprised His Grandma In the Hospital  (Oh my heart!  These pics are adorable)

9 Dos and Don'ts of Funeral Etiquette  (I swear on all that is holy if you attempt to Instagram or use social media at my funeral, I would come back from the dead, beat the hell out of you, Instagram THAT and hop back in the casket.)

The Best Video I've Seen All Week  (Seriously, they are our dork twins.  The Mr and I have done this but not on as awesome of a scale.  New goal for the Hawaii trip)

I don't normally get into "causes" but this one is worthwhile to all of us.  The FDA wants your comments on how the term "natural" should be defined.  This means if you see the word "natural" on a food item, what do you think it should mean?  Do you think it should be organic?  Not contain GMO's?  Not contain artificial or synthetic ingredients?  This is your chance to let your voice be heard.  I'm seeing far too many products labeled as natural these days and a flip of the package reveals some scary very unnatural ingredients.  To make a quick comment to the FDA on the subject, click here and let your very important voice be heard.  You can be anonymous should you not want your name attached.  Upon completion, make sure you select "individual consumer" as the category.  Power to the people, yo!

What are you doing this weekend?

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Things I'm Lovin' This Week

It has been a week of small indulgences and things that make me weirdly but insanely happy or satisfied.  I finally got to using some of my Christmas gifts and small steps toward organization. When I say small steps, I'm talking gnome sized but gotta start somewhere!

Let's get to it!

Under Shelf Basket



I cannot even convey the amount of happy this makes me.  I saw these at a store and wondered if they would work on our wire shelving units in the basement that had some vertical space that wasn't being utilized.  It fit perfectly!  We went back and got three more of them!  Now I have a place to put my paper loaf pans, Christmas treat boxes and treat bags all in one spot instead of chucked on a shelf hoping they don't fall between the cracks or get damaged by other stuff getting put on top of them.  Seriously, it was like someone gave me $100 and if they did, I'd go out and buy more and see where I could put them.  Oooh...the closet!  Be right back...

Thera-Band Portable Roller Massager


Since we've started the brutal Fitness Blender workouts, the legs have been taking a beating.  Our collection of rollers grew by one this Christmas when my mom got this off my wish list.  I use this one to roll that super tender area on either side of my shin bone.  The regular stick is too hard for it, the uber foam roller is too awkward but this is just right.  Hard enough but a bit of a soft bounce back to not dig in and bruise things up.  This model is a travel model since the handles are spring loaded and can retract for easier packing.

Andalou Naturals 1000 roses Cleansing Foam



Another Christmas gift and I'm so happy with it!  You've heard me rave about Andalou Naturals before and this is no exception.  It's such a great, gentle cleaner with a light rose scent.  It leaves my skin super soft and never dry.  It's become a nice, relaxing ritual before bed.  It's a bonus it's vegan and cruelty free!

Fairlife Milk


We've been splurging a bit on this milk the past few weeks.  We need to get more protein in naturally where we can and this milk has 5g more protein than our usual milk and less sugar.  I don't notice any major change in taste (some people say they can tell there's less sugar, I can't) but there is a trade off. I'm paying almost $1 more for about 12 oz less.  We try to get it on sale when we can but the other down side is they don't carry it at every grocery store, even ones the website lists as a carrier.  So I'll have to try to catch this on sale as much as possible.  (Our Target's regular price is $3.77 but it was on sale there at one point for $3.07 which is about what we paid for our old milk)  So while there are a few trade offs, I love the extra protein, no lactose and more calcium over our old brand.

Organic Lavender Body Butter Cream


This stuff is amazing.  Every time I'm on Maui, I grab a jar or two and then when I run out...I cry.  Then order more online.  Yes, there are other lavender creams and I've tried them all but there is nothing like this.  The consistency is perfect but more important, the scent is amazing but not overpowering and so therapeutic.  If I'm not tired when I go to bed, I rub some on my arms and the smell lulls me to sleep and I swear I sleep better when I wear it.  If they shipped it by the pool full, I'd be all in.  Just back up a cement truck full and fill the office.  I'll install a pump on the door.


Victorinox Cutlery 6-Piece Steak Knife Set


I had my old steak knives since we got married.  We don't use them every day so replacing them wasn't a big priority.  But after getting a chef's knife from Victorinox, I was all over it!  I immediately ordered their paring knife and left the steak knives up to the family wish list.  My grandma got these and we put them to use this week.  Holy CRAP BALLS!  I made pork chops and while my chops are tender, they're still one of the tougher cuts of meat.  Not for these babies!  Like a hot knife through buttah baby...but-tah  I tell you!!!!  I want to cut all the meats.  I even used them for chicken parm the other night and I swear I barely needed the fork to steady the chicken.  Highly, highly recommended!

What are you lovin' this week?

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