Wednesday and Dad-ay

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This week has been an interesting one. On Tuesday a medical problem that I had hoped had gone away (actually I knew it wouldn’t have gone away but didn’t address it since it hadn’t reared it’s ugly head… very “if I can’t see you, you can’t see me” of me) resurfaced and made me finally have to think about what the next step was going to be. It was a bummer and I went home and buried my head in cashew butter, as I sometimes do (guess my relationship with food is as strong as ever!). As always though, my family swooped right in and made it not feel so daunting.

Yesterday, my dad was coming through town and it couldn’t have been better timing. We look the train together into the city and then met M for dinner. It was good to spend time with him and have an awesome meal. While he will always be my parent, in recent years he feels like a friend too… Except when I frantically call him after being rear ended for the 8th time or texting him to see if I would get a disease from holding a bird…then he is mostly dad. Our similar personalities were at times the cause of us butting heads when I was younger but are now why we are so close. Even though we have very similar personalities, he does not get nearly as stressed out as I do….Sound familiar? Similar to me and M? Classic, daughter marrying someone similar to her father. Is that weird?

Anywho. I realized it when we were both talking about work. When he is in high stress situations, he is as cool as a cucumber. When I am in high stress situations I look as cool as a cucumber (minus my eyes maybe being a bit more bulgy) but inside my heart is going a million miles a minute and I have sweat through my outfit. I don’t know when that happened to me. I used to be so chill and now I am like a windup toy. Watching home videos my brother would be swinging from the rafters and I would be quietly sitting, organizing my mother’s food cabinet. There is literally a video of us at the park where my brother is running around jumping off of every slide and jungle gym and the camera pans to me, the slug on the ground with my mother prodding me begging me to do something for the camera. I begrudgingly grab a tricycle and slide down the hill, not even pedaling, just letting my legs drag alongside until I finally run into the wall at the bottom of the hill. It also used to be pointless to try and discipline me because I would be sent to my room and end up joyfully singing to myself and playing barbie dolls. Now if I feel like I have done something wrong or disappointed anyone, I angst over it until I make it right. Funny how much we can change over time. Who knew I would one day aspire to be like my 3 year old self?

 

Earth, Air, Water, Fire

Over the weekend, we were trying to check things off our wedding to-do list. While I focused on the registry (apparently just having an ice cream maker on the registry was considered a faux pas) M worked for 45 minutes on filling in all the details of our accommodations page. He worked out prices, distance to venue, placed them in order of least to most booked…the works. When he was finished I heard him calmly say “Oh no”. When I asked him what had happened he sighed and told me everything he had just worked on for the last 45 minutes was deleted. Simultaneously, I felt so sad for him but was also so amazed that THAT was his reaction. I kept watching him like a little specimen, waiting for the big blow up. He shook his head and went back to trying to fix it.

That. That right there is a perfect example of how we can be total opposites sometimes. I want to preface this with saying that, as a counselor, I am aware of what an appropriate reaction is and what an inappropriate reaction is. I am also aware that we do not control other people and we do not control what happens around us (usually) but what we do control is our actions. That being said. MY initial reaction would have been to throw my computer out the window. Just kidding. Kind of. But there would for sure have been a large, exaggerated exclamation, followed by some stomping of the feet and then a good 3 minute pout before pulling myself together and reminding myself that I am a grown up and what an actual appropriate reaction is (See M’s above).

We are so similar in some ways but soooooo different in others. What would have caught my hair on fire, simply ruffled M’s feathers a bit before he calmly moved right along with his day. Even though this happened three days ago, I found myself still thinking about it today. “You’ve got to be a water sign or something”, I said to him, knowing that whatever he is, it must be opposite of what I am (I’m Fire…SURPRISE!!). We decided to look up characteristics of both and see if it fits…He is earth by the way.

Earth (M)

Extremely down to earth and grounded (Check)

Dependable and trustworthy (Check Check)

Never ending duty of responsibility (CHECK)

The most dependable signs and always there to help out a friend (He has spent many nights talking on the phone and coaching friends through big decisions. So. Check)

Fire (Me)

Assertive and courageous (somewhat)

Independent and at times hard headed (welp)

Enormous passion for life (yep)

Big hearts (remember how I’ve been banned from the news)

Water

The most sensitive of the signs

Strong emotional bonds with others

Don’t always make decisions based on logic

Artistic

Air

Smart thinkers who handle abstract reasoning well

All about communication

Often calm and collected but can quickly turn cold (like the wind!)

Fair

Goddess Provisions

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For our 2nd anniversary, M turned to our friend Brie for gift ideas for me. Brie and I are very similar in our likes and dislikes. We love animals, feel all the feelings and enjoy all things holistic. Brie had tried getting a subscription to something called Goddess Provisions which she ended up loving. Each month you get all sorts of things like super food snacks, aromatherapy, crystals, tea, apothecary beauty products and more. Right up my alley. I love all things lotions and potions. My parents still recall my letter to santa in which I humbly asked for just one thing…magic powers, like Matilda. If Santa couldn’t manage that, I would take some potions. 20 years later, here we are. 

I got my first box on Friday and couldn’t wait to open it up! Literally. I sat in the main lobby of our building and gleefully tore into my pretty purple package…as our sweet concierge observed the shredded filler path of destruction I left behind me…No worries. I cleaned it up, Glen.

My first box is dedicated to being a goddess of the sea. Who hasn’t wished they could be a mermaid?! Or merman. MERMAN!!

Here is what I got:

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Moon Magic Mermaid Ocean Mask & Toner- The face mask contains sea clay, organic jasmine and sea kelp as well as other nourishing oceanic minerals to cleanse and rejuvenate the skin. After the mask comes the hydrating toner made with orange blossom and rose hydrosols (not sure what that is) and a bit of pore tightening sea salt. 

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Cottagewicks Goddess of the Sea Candle- A soy wax (I’ve been wanting one of these) candle which releases buried treasures as it burns such as blue sea glass and shells.

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Sara M. Lyons Patch- to iron on a bag or jacket. This is so cute. I haven’t decided what I want to iron it to yet but I for sure want to put it on something.

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Red Abalone Shell & Sage Smudge Kit- Has anyone heard of smudging?? I have been so intrigued by this and will probably talk more about it at some point. The idea is that you burn the sage to cleanse a specific area (typically your home) to get rid of negative energy and make room for healing vibes. I’m excited to try this one. M already raised an eyebrow at this one 😛

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Ruby in Fuchsite- The box says that this stone will help to maintain an awareness of your individuality while also connecting you to humanity as a whole. I am supposed to rest the stone on my third eye to enhance my psychic awareness. This is one I am not super jiggy with. I will try it but I have yet to be super infatuated with or believing of crystals and stones…which I know sounds weird as I am burning essential oils while smudging the apartment and trying to convince M we have a ghost. I know. I believe in everything. This is just not something I have much of an interest in but everything is worth a shot at least once. And at least the stone is pretty.

I also got a Raw Revolution Spirulina Dream Bar, but I am not allowed to try that yet since it is not Whole30 compliant.

Happy Sunday everyone!

TGIF

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TGIF. What a week. 5 things that happened this week:

  1. I got my first essential oils kit!
  2. We started getting our RSVP’s back 🙂 Things are getting real! We are getting a lot of questions about plus one’s. Trimming the list was really hard and this part I feel bad about! I can be such a sucker about some stuff. I can’t even make eye contact with people at mall kiosks for fear of rejecting their sale and making them feel bad.
  3. My plans got cancelled tonight due to the flu (them, not me). As bummed as I am for them, I needed to just veg tonight. My brain is fried. M and I will go on a Whole Foods salad bar date…things are clearly very exciting while we are doing the Whole30.
  4. I got my first beach run in of the season…and finally threw out my marathon shoes. They literally were broken for about a week before I gave in. Probably explains the aches and pains.
  5. This didn’t happen this week but last week Naomi Olindo (from Southern Charm) gave me tips on how to do my own wedding makeup. She was so sweet and genuine and truly took the time to break it down for me. She is seriously the best. 

xo

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doTERRA

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SHE’S HEREEEEEEE! I’ve been waiting patiently by the mailbox for my first shipment of doTERRA oils. I was a little blue when I realized my diffuser was shipped separately but I am supposed to get that tomorrow and then I will REALLY be zen. I’ve heard a lot of people talking about essential oils for a while now and of course my little holistic ears would always perk up at that sort of chatter but, I held off for a long time since I am really trying not to spend as much money during the most expensive year of my life.

Well. I was out to coffee a while back with a woman I worked for when I was interning in grad school. We try and catch up once every month or so and I just love her.  Partly because we connect over our Italian roots but also because I feel calmer just being in her presence. While we were chatting, we got on the topic of how fast paced life can be and how it seems like everyone around us is feeling stressed (including us!). She pulled a little bottle out of her purse (I think it was clarycalm) and said she uses a bit of it on days where she needs a bit of calm. I brought our previous conversation to an abrupt stop and requested she tell me everything she knows about essential oils. It turns out one of her daughters had started working with doTERRA (am I capitalizing this correctly? It feels unnatural) and had seen major health changes with oils that modern medicine had not been able to help with. This got her hooked. I don’t want to go into the details of the story because it’s not my story to share but, it was enough to convince me.

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I am always suffering from all sorts of weird ailments whether it’s breathing issues, cystic kidneys, migraines, you name it…I’ve probably had it. My dad once called me his million dollar baby because honestly, it felt like there was a period of time there where someone would look at me the wrong way and I’d break out in a rash. When you are constantly dealing with some sort of health issue, you don’t want to constantly be pumping your body with medicine. Or I guess I shouldn’t speak for you. I. Iiiii don’t want to pump my body with medicine. It’s a temporary fix and the more you have, the more you need. I had headaches all through my childhood and painkillers hardly work on me now. I just don’t want to go there if I don’t have to. I love the idea of using something natural to address physical as well as emotional issues. 

After our coffee, my friend’s daughter reached out to me and couldn’t have been nicer. I already felt like I was talking to a pal and realized I should probably reel myself back in when I started telling her my weekend plans. She was able to give me a complete rundown of the things I needed to know and what might make the most sense for me based off of what I shared with her (price point, areas of concern, etc). She was awesome and I would be happy to connect anyone with her (just send me a quick e-mail). She recommended I start with the aromatouch kit as it gives you a bit of everything. I also wanted the clarycalm roller to keep with me when I am out and about. 

Since this post has gotten really long and also since I am waiting for my diffuser…I will hold off on writing more until I can review the oils. I’m pumped and would love to hear more success stories of people who have used these oils!

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Bells Will Be Ringing

Ohh Pinterest, my little china doll. How would I plan my wedding without you?? You, and my Italian mother who reminds me of the important things such as places for people to stay, the band, groomsmen suits, venue etc. Without her planning, I would be solely focused on rolling around in a field of flowers and trying various combinations of cake and frosting. I am, perhaps, a bit too relaxed of a bride. No bother! I’ve got plenty of people around me to gently push me back on track when I get caught up in the artsy aspects and forget about the snoozy details. M and I are lucky to have parents that want this day to be about us and are willing to let us get creative, even when that strays away from tradition.

Tomorrow is our 2 year anniversary and how fitting that today we finished putting together the invitations and shipping them out. Boy, does that feel good. I kept thinking about that episode of Seinfeld where George’s fiance was poisoned from licking all the envelopes. I reminded M of this and he took over. He either thought I was becoming delirious or he wasn’t amused with my crooked stamp placement. That stuff really gets his goat. Our reverend has couples take the Meyers-Briggs personality inventory before getting married to learn more about each other and to see what areas might cause tension. I took the test in Grad school but will take it again to see if it remains consistent. I’m curious to see what M’s outcome is. He is in many ways way more relaxed than me (I’m a fire sign. Enough said.) But certain things really get his pants twisted. For example, I like (and he does NOT like) to use our stove top as a drying rack when the actual rack is full. Meanwhile, he uses our bathroom sink as a little bird bath splashing around without a care in the world, leaving our bathroom mirror looking like it belongs in a horror film. In his defense, we are both, at times, walking contradictions. I strive to be zen by ordering my essential oils and salt lamps but then when I get duped with a phony salt lamp, I throw my fist in the air and write a strongly worded e-mail to the salt lamp distributor…not super zen of me.

Welp, we are either going to have exactly the same personality outcome or end up being total opposites. Either way, we find balance within each other and that’s what matters, right?

 

Whole30 Update- Day 7

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Things are going ok. I probably should have had the cashew butter slapped from my hand a few times but other than that the Whole30 has been manageable. I haven’t had any unbearable cravings yet but, I also have avoided going out to meals. I get pretty extreme food FOMO to the point where I make the entire table announce what they will be ordering before the waiter arrives so I avoid becoming jealous and pouting for the rest of the meal. One thing that helps is that our good friends have joined us in this challenge.

Today we were all texting about how exhausted we have been the last two days. I was prying my eyes open at 7pm last night and slept WAY later than I ever do this morning. The good news is, our friends read that this is normal. Apparently days 6 and 7 are the “I just want to nap” days. This is because our bodies have gotten so used to relying on sugar for energy and now need to get accustomed to not demanding sugar every few hours. I was hopeful that getting over this hurdle would be the worst of it but apparently I have the pants being tighter and the hardest days to look forward to.

One thing that I am loving about this plan is that it has been somewhat of a challenge when it comes to cooking and is forcing us to get creative. As I write this, M is making a dairy free omelet that smells amazing and tonight we are going to be making a cauliflower crust “pizza” (can it really be called a pizza without the crust and cheese?).

I’m on my way to a family party in a few and hoping being surrounded by all that great food will be ok. Mind over belly!

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Anxious All Day & Thirsty Thursday

This week has draggggggggged on. Every day I found myself saying “It’s only Monday??”, “It’s only Tuesday??”. Well, Friday eve is here at last. I found myself struggling to come up for air this week with various things that popped up at work. I wasn’t alone in that feeling and saw many co-workers looking run down, frazzled and at times, in tears. I tend to take on other people’s emotions- my fiance likes to say that I feel all the feelings. There were several months where both him and my mother banned me from watching the news because I would end up in a puddle on the floor.

Anywho. I took on a lot of emotions this week and found myself feeling really anxious. My daily runs weren’t doing the trick and having been deprived of my daily glass of wine (perhaps not the best coping skill) I looked for support elsewhere. I started digging around and talking to people who have similar personalities and can sometimes get anxious. I ended up talking to a friend who told me about this packet she had been adding in her water at night to promote calm. I love a good concoction so I was intrigued.

After looking into it, I learned that Natural Calm is a powder that dissolves in your drink and promotes healthy magnesium levels and balances calcium intake. When our bodies don’t have enough magnesium, calcium remains in our cells which prolongs stress. Also- we can experience symptoms from magnesium-deficiency such as having low energy (check), inability to sleep (this week check), muscle tension (check), spasms and cramps, constipation, nervousness (check check) and headaches (CHECK).

My ears always perk up when I hear about anxiety. It seems like every day I look around and more and more people are suffering from anxiety. Maybe it is because we are exposed to too much information, maybe it has something to do with the foods we consume, maybe it’s environmental- or perhaps it’s a nice combo platter of all of that. Regardless, never before have I heard the word “Anxiety” more. I find it really interesting (probably why I am in this profession) and am always looking for ways to address it. Seems like it’s worth a shot right? And bonus- Natural calm is vegan, gluten-free, non gmo, certified raw and certified clean. I tried it last night and felt calm today regardless of my hectic schedule. Now, that could be a coincidence. It was just the first day. But I am really hopeful about this and plan to try it out for a few weeks.

*** Make sure to avoid my mistake and actually read the directions. I skimmed and saw two teaspoons and only after consuming the entire drink did I read that it says to start with HALF a teaspoon and gradually over time build up to two teaspoons in a day, only if your body needs it.

 

Natural Calm

Coconut Oil

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I made it ALL winter without catching any of the dreaded illnesses that have been going around.

That’s exactly what I announced on Friday right before I got sick.

So here I am in March, nursing my first cold of the year. I used to get sick all the time, especially in college. That was likely due to a combination of my ramen noodle/pineapple pizza diet in conjunction with my lack of exercise (this excludes my power walks to the campus center for frosted pop-tarts).  But things have improved. I ran my first marathon this year and consume pineapple sans cheese. Because of this, I got confident and announced my accomplishment just a tad too early and jinxed myself.

In my search for natural remedies, one of the first things that popped up was coconut oil. I LOVE this stuff. I use it for everything and didn’t realize it can also boost your immune system. I keep a jar in the shower to remove my makeup and to use on my skin and hair and a jar in the kitchen for cooking. I also use it instead of deodorant. I know what you’re thinking 1. there is no way that works and 2. she reeks. I randomly tried it since I use it for everything else and I got freaked out reading about the scary truth of regular deodorant. It really works. I’ve had friends try it too who say even clinical strength deodorant won’t work and they are hooked now too. To be clear, it won’t stop the sweating. Nothing will unless it is bad for you, I think. But, it takes care of odor  – I imagine due to its natural antibacterial properties. On top of that, if used after shaving it can really help with in-growns.

I realize it is probably in poor taste, as well as off putting, for me to discuss armpits and in-grown hair in my second blog post. But, it happened.

I’d eventually like to talk about the benefits of oil pulling but in the meantime here are some other uses from byrdie.com coconut-oil-uses

 

Holy 40 and Whole30

Usually I’m not late to the party. Actually, I am usually about 5-10 minutes early to the party. However, I am a couple months late to the whole “New year, new me!”idea. Not the best year for me to be slacking either since this is the year I get married. My family and I decided to give up sweets for Lent this year. I know the concept is to not necessarily give something up but to do something that contributes to the world around you. I try and do that every day. I’ve committed to helping others through my career choice. Giving up sweets for me and my family is a sacrifice for sure. As someone who has been pretty much surviving on sugar and caffeine for the last couple of months and who grew up with a mother who didn’t really insist on us eating our veggies but would cock her head in confusion if we didn’t finish our dessert….this is going to be a shock to the system.

At work last week, after announcing my plan, a co-worker smirked and mentioned how that was nothing…he had done the Whole30. I didn’t know much about this but had heard people talking about it and how much better they felt after completing the challenge (it’s a challenge right??). I was intrigued and started looking more into it. So here’s the breakdown…

…Sugar, grains, dairy and legumes could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness (aches and pains, energy level, weight gain, allergies, etc.)  The idea is to take 30 days to strip all this stuff from your system in order to let your body recover from whatever these foods could be doing to it. You’re essentially resetting your body and discovering which of the food groups you have cut out are actually affecting your health.

To be honest, the hardest thing about this to me seems to be the sugar. I am generally a pretty healthy eater…until the end of the day when I turn into a gremlin and will eat an entire carton of ice cream while my fiance looks at me with fear in his eyes. Just kidding. Not about the ice cream part… I actually think he is somewhat impressed. HOWEVER. Even though my love of sweets is pure and true, I figured it is time to prove my love for my health more.

I counsel people every day about the power of one’s thoughts and I can recognize how much of a mental challenge this is. If I am going to talk the talk, I better walk the walk. So here we go.

For more information on Whole30 whole30.com