Friday, April 29, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week 2016 #17

The last Friday of April, y'all!

So much to do and not enough time to do it, so let's just get right to...

The 8 Activities That Have the Most Benefits for Your Brain  (Count me in!)

Common Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them  (For my runner friends)

A Bodyweight Workout You Can Do Anywhere  (Love this!)

Turns Out These Bathroom Hand Dryers Detonate a Blast of Germs  (OMG, so gross!  Never using one of those again)

How to Turn Off Your Weight Gain Hormones  (Yes please)

What It's Like To Become Your Mother's Caregiver  (Sigh)

Common over-the-counter drugs can hurt your brain  ( this)

Keurig’s New K-Cup Coffee Is Recyclable, but Hardly Green  (Really, 10 years and this is the best you could do?)

12 Unexpected Ways to Fit Cardio Into Your Routine  (Good stuff to incorporate)

How Insulin and Cortisol Affect Your Body Composition  (Interesting information)

LIVESTRONG Success Story: David Mugovero  (Giving the guys some props)

Why I'm Happy I Grew Up Poor  (We weren't quite as bad off but not far.  I agree)

I Posed Nude for Money & Saw How Beautiful My Body Really Is  (Takes some guts!  I envy her)

How to Behave at the Airport   (So the tuna kimchee sandwich is a no go?)

This Hilarious "Aunt Flo" Video About Periods Should Be Required Viewing For Women and Girls Alike  (Such a crack up!)

9 Period Delivery Services to Help 'Aunt Flo' Chill TF Out  (Did not know these existed)

32 Photos That Show The Difference Between Normal Food And Hipster Food  (If you serve my food on a dustpan or shovel head, prepare to get hit by both)

19 Slightly Odd Things All Dog Owners Have Done At Some Point  (2, 4, 5 and 10.  #2 was called the Princess Leia and I did it with both dogs)

We've got a poop load of stuff to get done this weekend and in the upcoming weeks so checking in may be sporadic.  I can't believe April is almost over!  Where the heck did the month go!?

What are you guys doing this weekend?

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pass the grass

We were never huge hamburger people during the week regardless of where we were in our weight loss adventure.  I was never picky about what kind of beef I got I just picked up 80/20 (or 90/10 if we were watching it) and went on with my life.  About 10 years ago, I remember hearing about this amazing grass fed beef on the Big Island of Hawaii.  It was back when grass fed was not common and we paid to have four steaks mailed to us.  You can imagine what we paid for the privilege.

We were both raised to believe that corn fed beef was the way to go.  We both agree that, to us, it does taste the best.  However, there is just too much evidence that much of the corn feed is GMO, chock full of hormones and antibiotics and Lord knows what else.  After reading about the benefits of grass fed beef, it got me wondering if we should give it another shot.

Here are some of the benefits of grass fed beef:

  • The way the animal is raised for grass fed is good for them and supports great farmers with ethical ranching practice.
  • It is leaner than grain fed and had a higher amount of omega fatty acids, which is good for everyone.
  • It contains conjugated linoleic acid that's believed reduce to cancer and heart disease risks as well as more antioxidants like vitamin E.
  • It's more environmentally friendly.  The U.S. produces 1.5 billion (with a B, y'all) bushels of yellow corn per year just to feed cows.  That corn takes chemical fertilizer added to the soil and the gases emitted by the machines used to harvest them which leaves a massive carbon footprint.  It takes half the fossil fuels to produce two pounds of grass fed beef vs. corn fed.  

When I saw it kept showing up in Trader Joe's both in the regular and frozen section, I figured that would be the time to try it again.  If you don't like anything at TJ's, you can return it no questions asked so what did I have to lose?  I've since used their organic grass fed beef but this was my first dabble to see if I was going to be able to make the switch for the rare times we had red meat in the house.

Here's a peek at the nutritional info

I thawed the beef in the fridge and slapped it in the skillet.

I gave it a goodly amount of seasoning while it cooked like ground chipotle powder, garlic powder, cumin and some ground black pepper.

One thing I noticed was despite being 85% lean, it cooked as though it was 80% and had a lot of extra grease that I'm not used to.

When it was done, I drained the beef so what I was going to add to it wasn't swimming in fat.

I grabbed my TJ's enchilada sauce...

...and my poblano salsa.

I added two servings of each to the meat.

I gave it a stir to combine.

Time for the taco shells!

I also cut up some red cabbage I had on hand as well as some black beans.

Here's how I stack my tacos so that we get more healthy filler over meat.  Layer the cabbage first.

Then the black beans.  (These are crock pot beans, not from the can)

Then add about 2 oz of meat to the shell and a little cabbage on top for color.  It fools you into thinking the entire taco is filled with meat.

I paired it with some roasted carrots and it was taco time!

The Verdict?

The Mr could barely tell the difference, he said it was very slight but nothing he didn't like.  I did notice that the meat was slightly more chewy due to the leanness of the meat and it was more greasy than I normally like.  For the rare times we have red meat in the house, I will likely go grass fed even though it's more expensive.  The reasons listed above are enough to change my mind and now, I just rinse it off slightly (not until it's bone dry though) so it gets that coating of grease off the top.  (It's still plenty juicy inside)

Do you eat grass fed beef?  How often do you have red meat?

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Sources for info:
The Scoop on Grass Fed Beef
Does grass-fed beef have any heart-health benefits that other types of beef don't?
Grass is Greener: Buy Healthy Meat

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

There's been a what?

*The following are a list of resources that you can use should you find your family dealing with a dementia diagnosis.  These are resources that have helped me, personally.  I am not a medical doctor and none of this should be construed as medical advice or direction.  Consult the appropriate physicians when possibly dealing with dementia and related issues.*

Since sharing our family's story with the horrible disease that is dementia, I've received many lovely comments, emails and messages with empathy and compassion for the toll it has taken.  I've relayed many times how this disease sucks and how truly an actual death is easier to deal with than having someone you love no longer know you.  But what happens if you or someone you know is suddenly being struck with this reality in their own family?  Where do you turn?  What can you recommend?

Below is a list of things that have helped our family and us as individuals cope with this seriously underfunded but rapidly growing disease.  I hope you find these resources helpful and they give you a direction to go in as you or someone you know navigates this new reality.

The SAGE test:
Is it normal aging or possible dementia?  If you want to test yourself or someone you suspect could have it, there is something called the SAGE test.  (Self Administered Gerocognitive Exam)  It takes less than 15 minutes to fully complete and don't worry if you miss a few.  Our neurologist was most concerned with the clock test which can be the first sign of a true cognitive decline.  If in this digital age, you don't know how to read an analog clock...LEARN.  Like now.  Please realize that the person affected will be scared, think of how you would feel if someone accused you of what many ignorant people callously refer to as "losing your marbles."  You would be defensive, resistant and scared of possible diagnosis.  You must approach this from a place of love.  Be kind, be patient and be empathetic to all of the emotions and resistance that may come with a person who feels cornered.

To learn more about the SAGE test, click here.

Make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible!
If you suspect you or someone you love may be going through more than just a normal bout of age or hormone related forgetfulness and truly feel something is wrong, make an appointment with your family doctor right away.  It is helpful if you have the person complete the SAGE test first and bring it to the appointment.  If they brush off your concerns, you must insist on being referred to a neurologist for proper testing.  A family doctor is not trained to ask the right questions, they are not a specialist.  Your family doc doesn't care if you want a second opinion and if they do, then they do not have your best interest at heart and consider switching.  When it comes to health of any kind, be your own advocate!  No one else will!

Has there been an official diagnosis?  
You will be overwhelmed, scared and wondering where to go next.  I would recommend going to which can give you an overview of what this diagnosis means.  They also have a great thing call Alzheimer's Navigator which can help you formulate a plan and answer the millions of questions you may have swirling in your head.  From working up a plan with your doctor to safety issues you will now have to consider to legal and financial planning to caregiver support, care options and what to expect of new daily routines, the Alzheimer's Navigator is an invaluable resource.  It can direct you  to local resources like caregiver support groups (which are imperative but often ignored) and home health care for mid to late stages.

The importance of help and empathy
As a caregiver, you will want to take on everything.  You will convince yourself you can handle it all but the fact is, you can't.  The sooner you accept that, the better.  Just because someone you love has dementia does not mean your life stops.  Living your own life is tough enough sometimes but helping someone else live theirs means there is not enough time in the day and something will suffer.  Too many caregivers exhaust themselves, their health suffers, they can resent the person they are caring for and yes, often times caregivers die long before the patient because they refused the amount of help they needed.

If you have family and friends who offer help, take it.  For as long as they offer it, accept it.  Also accept that some family and friends will not be able to emotionally handle the changes you and your loved one are going through and being around them will not be an option.  This does not mean they love the person any less!  They may have their own health issues like depression or anxiety that just make it difficult to be around them.  They may want to honor the person by remembering them as they were as the stages get more severe.  If they still offer to help in some way, give them some money and a grocery list to go shopping.  Allow them to bring over a home cooked meal from time to time giving them a list of the patients favorites.  Let them do yard work like pull weeds, mow the lawn, plant flowers, etc. If they want to contribute toward a cleaning service to come in every few weeks for a deep cleaning, let them.  Allow them to address Christmas and/or birthday cards.  If those traditions were important to the patient, they would likely be thrilled to know those things are still being done.  There are a myriad of ways people can help make your life a little easier and express their love and appreciation for the person who was diagnosed.

There will come a time that you will need more help than family and friends are able to provide.  There are expenses that come with home health care but there are also many programs available to help aid the financial burden.  If the person diagnosed is under retirement age and they are a spouse, you may want to check with your employer about options for enrolling in long term care insurance.  In most cases you do not have to wait for open enrollment to get that ball rolling.  A wonderful resource many families use for home health care is Home Instead Senior Care.  They will answer any questions you have and for those uncomfortable with leaving people with strangers, our local chapter was completely comfortable with us setting up a camera so family could check in.  A good health care place won't have an issue with any precautions you want to take to ensure the comfort and safety of your loved one.

Diet and exercise
You can do a search for Alzheimer's diet and exercise and find tons of articles about suggested foods that may help prevent the disease and many studies show moderate to intense exercise helps ward it off as well.  What many don't realize until there's been a diagnosis that diet and exercise is very important to possibly maintaining what cognitive function there is at that point.  The neurologist specifically told us to make sure Grandma was not eating fast/junk food and that she needed to exercise every day.  That was not followed.  The result was a dramatic decline so fast that even the doctor was surprised.  I firmly believe we could've gotten another 1-2 years with minimal decline had that been followed.  Obviously I can't know that for sure but when it is basically written down on a prescription pad as medicine for a diagnosis, to me, that needs to be followed as closely as you would medicine on a bottle.  Don't allow what happened on that front in our family, happen in yours.

"I don't want to go into a home."
This is the number one fear as soon as a patient hears the word dementia.  They think the family will throw them in a home and never see them again.  It is all very scary for them and paranoia is an early stage symptom you may need to address.  It is best to tour assisted living with dementia care programs while the patient is still able to give their opinion on what they did and didn't like about the place.  Assure them you are not looking to "dump them off" and run but as a responsible caregiver you must be prepared for the worst case scenario.  Tell them even if it's years down the road, discussing these things early in the diagnosis is imperative and you aren't making any kind of statement by wanting to tour these places.  If anything, it is a statement of your love for them and wanting them as empowered as possible to make decisions regarding their health.  It's very important that all of the family is on the same page with this because there is so much emotion involved it needs to be talked about in a practical way.  It will make an already difficult decision more tolerable if you all know you are coming out of a place of love not only for the patients best interest and the best care they can receive but also the health of the caregiver.

Good resources of comfort:

When grandma was first diagnosed, this book was recommended to our family and it has been invaluable. The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease  It gives you a good idea of what to expect in each stage and how you can handle it.  Some things were handled in a similar manner with our situation and unfortunately some things weren't.  It is definitely one of the first resources I would turn to post diagnosis.

Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again  This is a book I'm still in the middle of but I can tell you as a big fan of Kimberley Williams Paisley that sharing her story of her mom's dementia and her concern for her dad as caregiver has helped me feel less alone.  A book like this will pull at your heartstrings but help you realize your feelings and situations are common and make you feel less alone.

Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer's  I haven't read this yet but it's on my list.  You may recognize B. Smith from her appearances on The Dr. Oz Show and she is truly a sweetheart and your heart breaks for her.  She and her husband stress the importance of part of her treatment being a healthy diet (no sugar) and exercise and meditation.

I hope that this has given you a good place to start whether you are going through this with your own family or want to share with others who are going through it with their family.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A different play book


It shapes you in many ways.  We are a product of what happens to us and how we choose to react from the biggest to the smallest of decisions.  We all have certain personality traits that are inherently ours.  They can be influenced by events, people, arts and all kinds of things.

I think our parents (or the people that raised us) obviously have the biggest influences on how we react to things.  Kids are always watching, aren't they?  My dad was always very stubborn, strong willed and kind of commanded respect but he was also a schmoozer from what my mom said (a side of him I rarely saw) and was an engineer so he was a planner.  My mom was always kind hearted, emotional, thought of others and later developed her own stubborn streak.  With two sets of stubborn streaks on either side of the family, you can imagine how charming I am!  HA!  I'd like to think I'm a good mix of both.  I am the first to admit I'm stubborn and I fly off the handle like my dad used to when he was in my life.  My family always knew I didn't take crap.  I stood up for myself and I wore my emotions on my sleeve.  On the opposite side, I also was (and still am, I think) a thoughtful, kind hearted person who thinks of what she can do for others.

I have always been a type A personality and much of this was not just inherited but also by the circumstances I found myself in.  As a child of divorce with a lot of instability throughout my childhood, I was always anxious about would we get child support on time and knew as I grew up I wanted to always have a plan.  I needed to have a financial plan and a social plan.   (I was and am still very against smoking, drinking and drugs.)  It just brought me comfort to have a plan for the best and worst situations because I knew one of them would be right.

The same continued into early adulthood.  I was a planner (we had a 2 year engagement) and I had to make some pretty hard life decisions after we were married about people who were emotional vampires.  It sucked because I was not getting a reciprocal relationship with a few important people in my life and I had to take a stand for myself and what I needed.  (I don't think a few emails or outings every couple months is too much to ask, is it?)  But when they made it clear they had no interest, I cut my losses.  I remember my family being very upset about this because it's not the way they would handle it.  At the time, they were people who were I guess what you'd call pushovers to keep the peace.  They had no problem complaining about people and situations behind the scenes but wouldn't do anything to actively rectify those situations.  They became mired in regurgitating the same complaints with no resolution.  I'm not built that way but I can respect it if that's how they choose to deal with things.

However, I always found myself on the end of having a different playbook handed to me.  I felt like "how is it that I can respect your handling of a situation even if it's not how I would handle it but you can't do the same for me?"  As I've gotten older, I have really tried to work on my initial reaction to situations.  I have no interest in rehashing the same family turmoil with some members that just can't seem to get their crap together.  It's not that I don't love them, wish them well and to find some peace but I've literally heard the same complaints for 30 years.  I do not wish to bond over gossip.  I have better ways to spend 3 hours even if it means I'm not as close to some people as a result.

One example of something small that really irritated me as a highly sensitive person, is an interaction I had with my mom at a holiday gathering last year.  I had posted on my personal social media page a hearty congratulations to the opposing football team who creamed our team.  It was nothing snarky, it just congratulated the team who showed up to play.  A few people commented their disappointment we sucked but that I was right - the other team showed up, some liked it just like with any post.  Well that had been at least 3 weeks by the time I saw my mom and somehow the game came up and she's like "yeah I saw your post and said "congratulations my ass...HIDE."  I kind of laughed and was like whatever...until she reminded me two more times that she hid it.  Okay...I get it!!!  You didn't like what I had to say because you're a zombie fan with no desire to look at a stupid game objectively, I'm taking offense.  Do you know how much of her crap I've had to hide because I didn't agree with her viewpoint or wasn't interested in that particular thing clogging my feed?  But do I have to say "yeah, that opinion you had about that thing?  I didn't like that so I hid it.  Yeah...totally hid it.  To remind you, if you post something like that, I will hide it."  NO.  I hit hide and she didn't know any better.  But it's just a case where I consider others feelings and I don't get the same in return.

I remember one time someone asked me when we were leaving for a trip and I couldn't recall the exact date.  I got an eye roll and a "PLEASE, you always know and have everything planned to the tee six months in advance.  Don't act like you don't know."  Uh...scuzi?  Yes, when I was 23 that was true.  Now, I have to practically be tasered to force me to plan a trip.  I cut it way too close for my own good and cause myself unnecessary stress.  (For those who may say "just wing it!"...nope.  Tried that a few times, it was a disaster.)  It just knocked me over how utterly irritated this person was at my lack of an answer to their satisfaction and more so that they thought they knew me...they just assumed I was the same person I was 15 years ago.  How many of us are?

It amuses me when people get irritated that you answer a question or handle a situation differently than you did when you were in your teens or twenties.  They have an expectation of your reactions and when you don't fit into the mold they cast you in anymore, they feel threatened by it.  It's like they want to keep you in this box and not allow you to grow and change as you acquire more wisdom and ways of coping with life.  If I'm somehow "different" to you then you've never taken the time to get to know the real me.  What does that say about you?

I have this weird need to want to connect with people on a deeper level that doesn't seem to be shared by most people in my life.  There are a few exceptions to the rule.  I have a few people in my life who aren't afraid to go deeper than the surface and I'm so thankful for that.  But I find myself only knowing many people in my life I used to be closer to by what they present on social media or how they act at the few times we get together and it's always pretty vague answers.  Is that all we are is asking about each others jobs, what immediate plans are within the next few days or what we brought to a get together?  That's crap you save for the family reunion people that you see once a year.  (We won't even go there.)  I'll admit that when I see some family members who are in their mid twenties and early thirties, I see their little faces as they were when they were kids so I can understand why I am still seen that way by some people but I don't treat them like the fools they were in their teens.  (Despite they're actin' a fool but in a different way now...HA!)

The Mr talked about how he left his childhood and old traditions back in his old hometown.  His whole life changed when he moved as a teenager so he mourned that then.  Now he sees me dealing with losing the glue of our family (grandma) and how much she really represented all that made up the important times in my life and how it has gutted me.  He said when you see something change and there's nothing you can do, you have to make new things that will become the norm or do what makes you the happiest.  I felt immense guilt about telling my mom we wouldn't be here this Christmas and ran through every horrible comeback she could have and put myself through a month of physical agony and panic attacks just thinking about it.  In the end, as long as we still had a Christmas together even if not on the day, she was okay with it.   I need to learn to not put her in the same box I don't want people to put me in.  (Though I have more experience getting what I expect, ya know?)

I had to take Christmas back this year and I look at it as a way to finally break the mold people put me in.  "Anele the Christmas freak..." or the second a flurry falls I get flooded with snarky messages about how I must love it while they proclaim their hatred of it.  Well if you'd been paying attention the past few years, you'd see that Anele has rarely had a smile on her face Christmas Day.  The first clue last year should've been when someone said at Thanksgiving "I bet you're excited for Christmas", I couldn't even mask the dread and just blurted out "actually no.  I just want it over with."  They looked shocked I said that but do you think they asked why?  Nope.

Me?  If I knew someone was a Christmas freak and that was their response, I'd pull them into a private room and ask what was wrong and what I could do to help.  Why is it I think of these things for others but no one other than the Mr (or a few select online friends) will think to do that?  I know they love me but I also know some of them would do it for each other.  I don't need to be all up in everyone's business but man how I would like to know that we're all equally there for each other.  It's something I used to feel and now feels like a thing of the past.  I try to take responsibility for my part in it but there seems to be this old expectation of who I am to them that I can't seem to shake.  I also feel like they think they can't relate to the "new" me.  I actually have people kind of recoil when I bring food because they're afraid I'm going to feed them healthy food.  Perish the thought!  I will throw out something I am interested in as a talking point sometimes and when the eyes glaze, it's like "okay, guess not."  I don't care about some of their interests but I listen to them...sometimes for 10-20 minutes but don't get the same courtesy.  I've literally been in the middle of sentences and had people turn away or start other conversations.  Wow...thanks?  I don't want to make it sound like I'm Dark Helmet and surrounded by assholes but I guess I don't know where I fit in anymore and it doesn't feel so hot.

I will try to navigate through it all and hope for the best outcome.  I'd say it can't get worse but I know we'll be dealing with grandma and her husband's death in the next few years and when death comes...I've experienced how it rips families apart.  It blows so yeah, not looking forward to that time for a myriad of reasons.

How has your personality or coping mechanisms changed as you've gotten older?  Do people in your life accept the "new" you or assume you're still the same person you were 10-20 years ago?

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Happy Monday

Is that an oxymoron?

We had a lot of cleaning that needed to get done.  Well, not as much as we would've had if we hadn't skipped our traditional workout Friday to do some deep cleaning.  We both felt quite whooped from the week's workouts and felt like another ballbuster would've put us over the edge.

The scale spat in my face and I just tapped out on life.  The Mr and I went into the weekend without a plan...again...and it wasn't pretty.  Lots of hissing and just being frustrated in general.  When we finally calmed down, we went back out and I got some stuff I needed and found some brioche for Sunday's brunch with mom.  We went home and cleaned the rest of the way.  While it was great to have a clean house in every single room (sans the basement), we kicked up a lot of dust.  So that meant we woke up with nice gritty noses and throats Sunday morning.  But we had no time for that because we had brunch to get ready for.

I made Croque Madames (ham and brioche with homemade cheese sauce and egg) with a side salad and individual tea pots.  Mom seemed to really like it and we enjoyed our time together.  I need to remind myself to just tune out when the subject of anything to the handling of grandma's situation comes up.  I almost went off once and caught myself.  The Mr later said he was proud of me for catching myself on it even though I still got my point across.  But I didn't want this visit to be about that so I just tried to concentrate on making the food and let the Mr deal with the brunt of that stuff.  Thanks for taking one for the team, Mr.  I let her try out a back massage thingy I got and she loved it so I bought her one for Christmas.  (Paid $10 less than I paid too...hmmph!)  So I guess you could say I started my Christmas shopping already!

She was here quite a while and when she left, we went to the historic district and did a 3 mile walk which I'm sure we'll pay for today.  Those uneven cobblestone sidewalks are always a joy on the hips and legs the following days.  Last time it sent me straight to the chiro but I think he's still on paternity leave this week so I'll need to take care of it myself if there are any issues.  When we were done, I wasn't in the mood to cook, we had a steakhouse gift certificate on us so decided to use it.  That is super rare for a non high cal day but we did well.  Sometimes we just want to feel like "normal" people and not be so friggin' strict.  When all was said and done, I was only 200 calories over what I had planned so I didn't feel bad at all.  Sodium was another story but oh well, that's what water is for.

We swung by the grocery store and grabbed some fruit and back home to get ready for the week.  I got a nice thank you email from mom saying she enjoyed her time and gifts so that was nice.  Now it's time to get ready for a new week!

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, April 22, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week 2016 #16

TGIF yo!  Who else is ready for the weekend!?

I know, I know, we're always ready for the weekend, am I right or am I right?  Ri-ri-right?  (Points if you read that like Ned Ryerson)

Let's get right to...

The 5 Foods You Should (Almost) Never Eat  (Good outlook on food in general)

How to Know If a Diet Is Legit or Just a Fad  (Interesting video and good for anyone considering one)

8 Guilt-Free Cleaning Products to Make at Home  (I make a few of these myself and will add some new ones to the arsenal)

Secrets Of The Very Old And Healthy — Start When You're Young  (Great reminders to keep active now to be active all of your life)

Those Drug Commercials You're Bombarded With Are WAY Sketchier Than You Realize    (I know this is long but the first few paragraphs tell you about all you need to know about how "trusted" these meds should be considered)

Signs of Diabetes: 5 Symptoms You Should Not Ignore  (Make sure you know them, just in case!)

These 10 Foods Can Help Balance Your Hormones and Reduce Inflammation  (Will add the few I'm not already using)

This Company is Selling Luxury Dorm-Style Living to Adults  (Interesting concept.  Not sure I could do the whole communal areas though especially if I shared with a few people I didn't care for!  HA!)

Scientists Discover Simple Technique That Cuts Calories In Rice By 60%   (For those who eat white rice)

12 Things No One Tells You About Owning a House  (I would give anything for "absence of noise."  It would not freak me out in the slightest.)

Why Food Labels With Exercise Equivalents Are a Horrible Idea  (I think it could be okay for impulse buys like candy bars.)

9 Things Wedding Guests Should Never Do  (I am still livid about the witch we didn't know that MIL forced us to invite and her 3 year old brat can be heard in our wedding video screeching over the whole first half of our ceremony!  We don't watch our wedding video any more because it just pisses us off.)

Wedding Photographer's Warning to Wedding Guests Goes Viral  (The picture this photographer is talking about shot my blood pressure sky high.  Standing in the aisle!?  That is a moment those people will NEVER get back.  Your crappy iPhone pic rarely gets sent to the couple anyway!  These people hired a photographer to capture the magic...stay the hell outta the way!!!  As you can see, I have no opinion on this.)

I went without my smartphone for 7 days — here's the most disturbing thing I noticed  (It's kind of sad that was all he noticed and then went right back to it.  Get your noses out of the phones is happening all around you.)

Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo List Their Spacious Soho Loft For $5.5M  ( can tell Adam decorated this place.)

We've got some house stuff to get done this weekend since we're having my mom over for brunch Sunday morning.  I'm making Croque Madams and a little side salad.

What are you guys getting into this weekend?

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

What goes ON the body, not just IN it

As a child of the 80's, I remember whenever someone talked about recycling, growing their own veggies and making homemade potions to lessen the impact on themselves and the Earth, hearing people call them "tree huggers", "crunchies" or "granolas."  It was always said with a roll of the eyes, a slight scoff and basically being flippant about those people from that point on.  

While I didn't grow up in the South, I did adopt their motto of 'the higher the hair, the closer to God' in the late 80's and a few years into the 90's.  So I've done my part with the purple can of hairspray to eat through the Ozone since licking a light socket was burning my tongue.  (< -- That's called sarcasm, please don't do that.)  I also used that spray-in hair dye that you could be out in the sun or use a hair dryer to make you "blonde."  Well, I don't know what was in that crap but the Mr and I both had at it back in the day and our hair DNA has never been the same.  Seriously.  The texture and color have always been horrible since then.  I am reminded even now as I look in the mirror and see that brass strawberry blonde color that my hair projected instead of the California bleach blonde they promised us on the box.  I looked like a copper nightmare.  Because we were on a budget when I was a kid, we grabbed whatever was the cheapest where cosmetics, lotions, shampoos and all of that stuff was concerned.  That mentality spilled over into my adulthood and I never really questioned it.

As DIY blogs and health food stores started to become more prevalent instead of the punchline to a joke, I started to take notice.  Could people be on to something?  I would occasionally dabble in homemade masks with honey and purees and stuff like that.  My skin care routine was the occasional bottle of Olay this or that that I would use with no regular consistency.  Then when I discovered their micro dermabrasion kit, I did really like that and would use it every other month or so.  So basically I didn't have a consistent skin care routine.  Well, before you know it, you're staring into the middle age abyss knowing if you don't do something consistent now, you're plain screwed later.  Fillers and the like are not going to be part of my future...ever.  I don't care how bassett hound like I look, that shit just scares me.  If you do it, God bless's just never going to be a door I ever want to open.

So as I began to take my skin and sun care seriously, I decided to do some research.  I knew high end stuff was out of the question for me because I just don't have it in me to pay an outrageous price .  I also know people who spend their money on it and honestly, I haven't seen any major improvement in their skin or appearance.  Plus I can't justify bankrupting us on skincare products.  There was this vlogger I ran across who I thought had really nice skin and saw she did a current skin care vlog after people kept mentioning how much her skin changed and improved.  I think she mentioned she did some vegan challenge and when she went vegan, she wanted to make all of her beauty products cruelty free.  One brand that kept coming up was Andalou Naturals so I looked on Amazon and was pleasantly surprised that it was actually affordable.  Like if you spend $75 on one cream, you could actually get a whole skin care routine for the same price with Andalou and it was cruelty free, vegan and no parabens and all of that crap.  I bought a few items and some I liked, some were just okay and I probably wouldn't buy again.  I also saw she liked Acure and it was the same thing, very affordable and void of chemicals that can potentially do some damage in the long run.

I know, I'm sounding like a crunchy granola.  But if you think about it, there is enough research that parabens are being found in cancer cells and that we may or may not need to freak out about them.  Okay so if you think about all of the things you may use in the course of a day from shampoos and conditioners, lotions, makeup removers, skin care products, make up, hair care and the like, that "little bit" of exposure can add up to a lot.  I would much rather stop soaking myself in ingredients that have been shown to do some scary things.  According to this article, "scientists continue to study the effects of these endocrine disruptors and have investigated possible links to miscarriage, premature birth, birth defects, deficient sperm, obesity, metabolic disease, bone density and breast cancer. But how much exposure might lead to these health risks simply isn’t known, and scientists cannot ethically conduct tests to directly show such effects."  That is enough for me to say I'm going to clean up my medicine cabinet and linen closet.  I admit it's been much harder to find cruelty free make up that won't put a serious dent in the wallet.  I just can't justify $25 for ONE shade of eye shadow so I'm still doing a lot of searching for the right company and hopefully a palette I like.

In the coming months as I test out products (that I buy myself...I'm no big time blogger so I don't get free stuff like that), I will do posts on what items I like and why and what ones were misses for me.  I'm not saying everyone needs to jump on the bandwagon but it is something to consider.  I mean if we are told that whole foods are the best for our bodies, then why wouldn't it apply to what we put ON our bodies as well?  I'm now considering whole ingredients of things you can pronounce a prerequisite to my skin routine and not scary stuff that make you wonder if you're going to grow a third arm.

You can browse some of the Andalou Naturals stuff below:

You can browse Acure here:

Do you use organic/cruelty free beauty and/or skin care or just what you've used for years? Would you consider switching to more natural ingredients?  If you already use vegan or organic products, give 'em a shout out and what you love about them!

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