Monday, December 31, 2012

Vegan Kickstart 2013

Yep, it's that time again.  New year, new start and all the jazz.I'm doing another PCRM Vegan Kickstart this year but this one will be a little different.  I'm doing it gluten-free. 

The kickstart focuses on a low-fat, high nutrient plant-based plan.  It's easy to go vegan while enjoying snack foods and fattier fare, but it's not the healthiest way to do it.  You can trust me on that.  Unlike past years, the kickstart is ongoing,  A new group starts on the first of each month. I like this change.  If you join late you can always jump in from the start the following month and go from there. 

Check out the Vegan Kickstart on Facebook and main site for ideas on making it easier and to see what others are doing.  To see what I'm doing, check out my Independent Team Beachbody Facebook page, Vegetarian Examiner page, or Tweet with me.  I'll share recipes, menus, and my exercise plan for the day. 

So, are you in?  Other plans? 

Until next time, peace. 

Goodbye, 2012

It was a good year. 

I'm still here and doing well.  I'm slowly getting to the place I want to be. Not long ago I'd be frustrated with the speed of progress, but I've finally learned that I cannot force it or I'll end up further behind.  I wish I'd realized it before, but I know now.  Dwelling kicks my butt as much as sitting still does.

Here's some of what I learned this past year:
  • I discovered two sources of pain that I can control.  That made a world of difference in how I feel.  
  •  My dogs must be up my butt, every second of every day that they're awake.  Well, just Victor.  Poor thing is a mess lately.  If his routine is off, he's a neurotic 80+ pound lap dog.
  • I love these people more every day.  
  • Gray hair knows no bounds.
  • I'm more patient than I realized.
  • My tolerance for bull ish is much lower.  Yes, I realize these last two may clash, but it is what it is.  
I'm not making resolutions, but setting goals.  Three simple ones:
  1. Make the new year healthier than the year before.
  2. Embrace love and light.
  3. Release the negativity. 
Not so bad, right?   Do you make resolutions or set goals for the new year?  Wanna share?

So here's to 2013.  May yours be filled with love, laughter, and light. 


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry, Merry!

Whatever you celebrate, may your holidays be filled with love and light!

Now hear this: if you call me between 8:50 and 11 pm on Christmas night, I will ignore you.  I have to get my +Doctor Who and +Leverage on TNT on.

Much love! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: It's Here!

I am a happy wahm!  It's supposed to be an early Christmas present, so I haven't completely unwrapped it.    This gift of health is especially timely since SC was named one of the unhealthiest states yet again.  We have got to end the trend, and it starts now.  Today, very day, one meal at a time.  Are you with me?

Until next time, peace!

Monday, December 3, 2012

More on my former doc

I have not made me feelings for my former doc private.  She was so horrible to me that I feared going to another doc even when my blood pressure spiked to near-stroke levels.  A few days ago we had to review health insurance info and physician's info was required for our file.  We included her info only because we haven't found a new primary physician yet.  While Googling her address and phone number, I found a review site and could not believe what I saw.  Several people reported similar treatment and she seems to have gotten worse.

Does that change my opinion?  No.  She is supposed to help patients, not ignore, abuse, or ridicule them.  She may have gone off the deep end, but that is no excuse for her behavior.  I do wonder if I could have saved some people from her lack of care if I had reviewed her.   But I know I was (and may be still) too hurt and angry to make my point without seeming like I am bitter.   I'm not bitter.  I'm sad and angry.  I avoided help when I really needed it due to fear of being put down and accused of being crazy, lazy, or just looking for pain meds.

Yep, still too angry to review her.


Sunday, December 2, 2012


I love this time of year.  Yes, it's somewhat stressful, but it's kinda chill at the same time. People are a little less grouchy and my kids are particularly well-behaved.  As if one month of the super straight arrow role will make a difference on present day.

I usually gain a few pounds during the holidays, but not this year. I am moving down and keeping on track. I will end the month smaller and fitter than I started it.  My plan:

- Exercise 7 days a week.  That includes walking at least 3 days, Beachbody workouts, and yoga.  

- Shakeology daily - as a shake or in a recipe.  

- Clean eating with one cheat meal as week - if I feel like one.  

This is a simple and effective plan.  Keeping flexibility in the type of workout will keep me from getting bored. Including a cheat meal (not a cheat day) in my eating plan makes it more doable for my life without guilt.  And Shakeology is a no-brainer.  It makes a yummy mocha, delicious smoothie, and killer vegan chocolate mousse.  It's one less meal to plan and makes it easier for me to avoid temptation.   

What are your fitness plans for December?  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Workout Wednesday

Tai Cheng for the win!  It feels great and is helping me improve m balance and posture.

Until next time, peace. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The thrill of victory

First off, Go Gamecocks!  Nice game last night.  Sorry, Tigers.

(Remember, I'm a Cubs and Raiders fan - I don't get much opportunity to celebrate.)

Hubby and I decided to start a friendly competition.  He joined a gym and focuses on working out there.  I work out at home but join him once or twice a week at the gym. I'm also eating cleaner than he is and having Shakeology every day.  We took our measurements on October 26 as our starting point.  We did not set any particular goals. Well, I did - I wanted to beat him, lol.   Guess what - I did! 

11 1/2" inches lost overall (neck, chest, waist, hips, arms, and thighs).  
YES!  He lost 3" and immediately said I won because I'd been working longer.  We started on October 26, buddy.  Suck it up and deal!  I love you.  

This is huge for me because he loses weight easily while the scale tends to laugh at me.   That's alright.  I have what I need to stay motivated and focused:
Shakeology Chocolate Mousse?  Yes, please! 

  • Shakeology - every day.  Breakfast, lunch, lat dinner on crazy days, a snack, or dessert.  
  • A mix of my favorite programs - Tai Cheng, 10 Minute Trainer, Turbo Jam, and Rockin' Body.   (And some are on sale right now for the holiday weekend).
  •  Nearly-new clothing in my closet that I love and cannot wait to get back into.
  • Visions of a future with less pain and better health.

I know I'll end 2012 stronger and fitter than the beginning.   What about you?

Until next time, peace.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Ouch

See this?  This not what a healthy cervical spine should look like.  Now I know another reason for the headaches.  Boo.

And it's a neat picture.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

October went fairly well.

Even though it's the month of Halloween (meaning candy & other tempting goodies), I think I came out of October pretty well.

Straight up, with almond or soymilk, with fruit or
almond butter - this stuff is yummy!

  • I ate clean 80% of the time - which was the plan. 
  • I pushed play at least four days a week - also part of the plan.   
  • I cooked more than I ate out.  But still ate out more than intended.
  • Chocolate Vegan Shakeology daily.  Oh my word is that stuff good!  
  • Less pain all month.  Yay! 
Well, less pain until around midday November 1.  A migraine came on, as expected, but this one is a doozy. I cheated a little, so I'm paying for it in a big way.  I know I should not eat any gluten, but I got lazy/experimental and thought a little wouldn't hurt.  Meh.  It hurt.  It's still hurting right now.

And on that note, I need to bring this to a close.  Time for another dose of meds and quiet time.  Peace! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Early Morning Exercise Person? Not me.

Exercise, yes  Early morning?  Not so much.
Dream Designs photo.

Yeah, I am not a 5:30-6 am exercise person.  Maybe by 6:30 I'll be awake enough not to trip over my own feet.  Maybe.

We don't all have to get moving this early.  I know how I am, and a morning person I am not.  Trying to
force it makes me resentful and ready to quit.  I won't focus on what I'm doing, but on how much I hate being up and active other than the usual morning thing.

But that's okay. Knowing that this isn't my style is okay.  Trying to force it when I have the option of flexibility is not okay.  Making this time my time to reflect and awaken is good.  Having breakfast (Shakeology with almond & coconut butter, ice, and unsweetened almond milk - noms!) and checking my calendar this morning is more my style. I like to ease into my mornings is I can.  The alternative does not bode well.  For me or anyone in my path.

So why am I up this early?  Hubs is starting a new routine and that means I'm starting one, too. I don't have to like it, but I am supporting him.  So I'm awake for now.  And working a little.  Kinda.  Checking the calendar and completing a little research isn't going to kill me.  I don't think it will, anyway.  Ask me again in a few hours.

Oy, I digress.  How did a discussion on morning exercise turn into something about work?  Oh yeah, I'm not completely awake.  Wow.

Anyway, exercise is important to me.  Whether it's a walk, strength training, yoga, pt, or sweat time with my fav videos, I need it.  Finding the optimal time for me to exercise mindfully is important.  And the early hour wake-up calls are not optimal for me.  I'm a late morning type.  It's when I'm more functional, so it's when I need to move.  The mid-morning or early afternoon coffee break is my sweat time.  I fel better that
way and move better that way.  And don't want to strangle anyone that way.

So here I am, coming out.  I am not a morning person and that's okay.

Your turn.  When do you schedule your time to move?  There are not wrong answers; just different ones.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Power of We

This isn't my usual type of post, but it is something I think about.  A lot.  I'm a hippie at heart and there is nothing wrong with that.  All we need is love.  Start from that place and the difference will amaze you.

It hurts me to my core to see people torn apart by stupidity and hatred.  I can't help it.  We as people should have the ability to recognize and celebrate our differences.  We should put aside petty squabbles to help the nation and world heal all year, not just when disaster strikes.  Life should not be an Us vs. Them competition 24/7.   A little competition is good, but come on!

Look at what the power of we can do!  In town, people rallied and adopted over 200 pets from the Charleston Animal Society more than once.  People rallied and helped to find the person who killed two dogs and attempted to kill a third.  Groups come together to clean neighborhoods, build houses, feed others, and so on.  People do not hesitate to give time, money, goods, and good thoughts to help those in need.

We  think of others as our bothers and sisters in need only when they need us.  Let's try to do it more often.  No money?  Donate time.  No time?  Send good thoughts.  Think you have nothing to give?  Give a few minutes to send good healing thoughts.

More love and less hate.  Hell, less indifference would make the community better.  Don't think you can save the world?  Don't reach that far.  Start at home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Strategic Shopping

Salvatore Vuono photo.
I am a  huge fan of strategic shopping.  I wasn't always.  Wandering the aisles aimlessly and grabbing whatever looked good was the old plan.  It explains why I have tons of condiments in the fridge and pantry.  Returning to school, buying a house, rising gas prices, and growing kiddos forced me to re-evaluate and put spending in check.

But the budget does not keep me or the family from eating well.  Coupons, store specials, menu planning, and a stocked pantry make all the difference.  When I shop for produce, I check for sales, but make sure I wander around for goodies.  It's the only section I wander aimlessly in anymore.

We hit Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or Earth Fare for my hippie stuff I can't get in the standard grocer.  Vegan chorizo, coconut milk or almond yogurt, and an assortment of gluten-free baked goods are what I look for.

Big box stores may be the bane of some shoppers, but they are awesome for my budget.  Bulk almond butter, agave nectar (if on the list), and organic produce are ready and waiting at killer prices.  Thank you, Costco!  Ethnic markets are good for the budget, too, but I have to admit I haven't visited one in a while.  I have to see if I can score gluten-free soy and hoisin sauces.  (I cannot believe how much i miss hoisin sauce! Okonomiyaki is just not the same without it.)  

How do you shop?

And on that note, I need to get to making my shopping list.  Off to check Southern Savers for this week's coupon match ups!  Peace, all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Raw Goodness

Oh man has it been a while.  I'll cover where I've been in another post since today is about less words and more pics.  So here's one pic of my fab lunch and (hopefully) tomorrow's breakfast if hubs doesn't love it):

It's is the Save the Tuna Salad from  It's nummy!  It's my first seed and nut-based tuna salad and I think I have a new favorite.  Of course I had to add more pickles and celery than the recipe calls for, but that's just how I roll.  And since gluten is a no-no, I had it over romaine with tomatoes from the garden and cukes.  Want some?  I might share, but it would be better if you just made your own.  Cuz that's how I roll when I'm sleep-deprived and sore.

So much for semi-wordless, eh?  Jeez.

Peace, all.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Julia Child!

digitalart photo

Julia Child would celebrate her 100th birthday today.  She was far from vegetarian, but was one of my inspirations.  I remember watching her PBS show as a kid and started reading cookbooks like novels soon afterward.

So thanks, Julia!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday - Jackfruit!

Kai4104 photo.
I love jackfruit!  I wasn't sure I would, but it is perfect!  Soy-free, gluten-free, and budget-friendly goodness just ready to absorb whatever seasonings my heart and tummy crave.  Jackfruit carnitas have been the biggest hit overall, but jackfruit and black bean enchiladas work, too.  

Get to an Asian market and pick up a can or two of young jackfruit in brine.  Drain, rinse, season, and cook.  Dump it in a crockpot with onions and your favorite barbecue sauce.  Want to cook it on the stove?  Saute the jackfruit and onions, then simmer in sauce on low-medium heat.  Serve it with slaw, beans, and cornbread or a bun.  35 minutes from can to table if you have sauce on hand.

Have you tried jackfruit yet?  What did you think?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I’m working toward a stronger, healthier me. Join me?

You all know that I'm semi-broken and in pain 95% of the time.  What you might not know is I'm not going to let that stop me from reaching my goals.  It might take a little longer than others on the same path, but it's not a race.  I'll get there when I get there; without making things worse for myself like I have in the past.

Yoga and Pilates are good for my flexibility, building some strength, and helping me handle pain better.  But I need more.  I need to get in more exercise (a mix of fun cardio and strength training) and to eat better.  I'm learning as I go along.  The veggie path isn't enough on its own; it has to have more veggies and less veggie junk food.  More water and less veggie junk food.  Notice I said ‘less’ and not ‘no,’ lol. Balanced meals that give me everything I need are on the menu, whether at home or out.   

From now through July 31, there is a killer deal on - challenge yourself for 30 days for just the cost of shipping.   You can try P90X, Brazil Butt Lift, or Turbo Fire, a month of Shakeology in your choice of flavor, and a 30 day membership in Team Beachbody's Club for $14.95.  If you decide you don't like them or want to go a different route, just cancel and return the DVDs.  But if you like how you feel and what you see, stick with it.  Then you'll be charged the full price for the challenge pack.  Interested?  Visit or email me. 

I’m not alone in this and neither are you. Slow, steady, consistent progress is what I’m going for.  What about you?

Feel free to ask anything about my routine (a mix), my menu (gluten-free veggie), my mood, and/or progress.  I’m all in and not scared of questions.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Giveaway on Kristen's Raw!

I am by no means a raw foodist, but I love raw food.  One of my go-to resources is Kristen's Raw.  She has so many recipes and tips I can incorporate into meals the whole family will eat.  And anything veg or vegan I can get the man and boy to eat are winners in my book.

Speaking of books, Kristen is hosting a giveaway.  10 winners will each receive their choice of three of her ebooks.  How cool is that?  Wanna enter?  Just go to her giveaway post and answer a simple question.  I did.  You can get more entries by sharing about the contest, too.  I did that, too.

Go, enter, and learn more about how the raw life is good for her and her family. Good luck!

Overfed and Undernouished

Part vent, part epiphany.  Oh, and a request for a swat on my hand or bottom if you see me slipping into destructive behavior.

Yep, that's been my way of eating for years now.  On and off that is.  First it was about money and later about convenience.  When I focused on speed or cost more than getting what my body needed, I ate too much to help quench my hunger without giving my body the nutrition it needed.  And I gained.  A lot.

The various eating plans and diets I've tried over the past 15-20 years have taught me what works for me and what doesn't.  I know meat doesn't work for me.  I hate the thought of it and hate how it makes me feel more.  I love carby, yeasty, and wheaty goodness, but it does not like me at all.  And cheese used to be my beloved, but alas it broke my heart.

What does work for me is produce and lots of it.  Produce and protein.  It's simple, right?  I mean, beans, greens, fruit, and nuts.  Why does this scare me so much?  Why do I fall back on goodies and are so bad for me?  I know what I have to look forward to when I deviate (and I'm feeling some of that right now), so why torture myself?

Well, partly because I'm feeling lazy.  I'm fighting off something nasty (chest colds, woohoo - not) and want to reach for my old favorite comfort foods.  So I did.  Two sandwiches and two days and I feel horrendous. On top of the elephant sitting on my chest, I have blocked sinus and a migraine.  Were those grilled cheese sammys worth this?  Today, nope, but at the time, yes.  I know better, dammit!

I also torture myself because part of me feels like I'll spend too much money on food.  This is a dumb one I've debunked several times.  It's cheaper overall when I eat what's good for me because the ingredients are cheaper (and better) than the packaged versions of kinda food-like substances.  What I feel guilty about is the amount of Gardein and Boca I snagged before going gluten-free. Hubs said he'd happily eat them, and I know he will.  I just feel bad about how much I spent.  I can't get it back, so I need to let it go.

I promised an epiphany, didn't I?  Well, I realized I know what works.  Instead of searching for a new answer, I need to get back to basics.  Shopping in season and preparing good food.  That's it.  Summertime harvests make a huge difference for me.  I love the colors and selection of produce this time of year.  Focus on that, throw in some nuts, seeds, and other forms of protein, and I'm golden.  Avoid gluten and dairy and the headaches and joint pain will ease to manageable levels - if I hurt at all.  Keep sugar intake down (especially easy with all the berries and melon around) and I'll feel even better.

Wow, I'm chatty today, headache and all.

If you see me out and about, say hi.  And if I need a gentle swat on the hand or bottom, please remind me that I asked for them.

And speaking of bottoms, mine is still getting firmer and higher.  Yeah, baby!  The scale is holding firm, but the body is firming up.  I'll take that as a win.  

Peace, all.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Food, glorious gluten-free food! Thank you, Patat Spot!

Gluten-free isn't as difficult as I thought it might be when dining out in Charleston.

Patat Spot is one of my favorite places in town.  It's not just about the food, but the staff, decor, and falafel.  Okay, the food is one of the main reasons I love it.  I was concerned I'd have to forgo the pita with my falafel or black bean cakes, but I don't.  GF pitas are available and the black bean cakes and falafel are both GF. It works.  It works very well.

Sorry for the dark pic - my phone's camera is not the best sometimes.
Last trip was the first time we took the kiddos with us, and they were smitten.  Teen Girl does not always love new experiences, but she was willing to give it a go.   She ordered the Frikendel Especial, a veggie dog served with diced onions and Patat's fantastic curry catsup.  She thought it was pretty good.  If you've met her, 'pretty good' is her second most enthusiastic rating.  The top rating of 'awesome' only applies to electronics and anime.

Teen Boy snagged the Beef Shawarma and inhaled it before I could get a shot of it.  No joke.  He ate like he was starving (which he could have been because he's always hungry) and praised the flavor between bites.

Hubs went for the Regular Falafel (two patties in pita with all the toppings you want from the toppings bar) and I had the Salad Spot (two falafel or black bean cakes served on a bed of greens and anything I wanted from the toppings bar).  Of course, we all made our meals combos with drinks and friet.  We all left satisfied (well, closer to happily stuffed) and smiling.  Oh, and the falafel can be grilled or deep fried.  Either way, the meals are healthy and filling.

Now that school's out we plan to go more often, with or without the kids. Swing by Patat Spot at 41B George Street and enjoy some GF comfort food.  Yes, I consider falafel comfort food.  Sue me.

Until next time, peace.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day (and every day) - Thank You

Words cannot express my gratitude for those who serve our country.  To them or their families.  But until I have stronger words, thank you.  Many blessings to you and yours.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I hate doctors. My former doc in particular.

Nice hibachi dinner at Sake House.  Skipping the soy and other sauces
helps keep it gf, but does not guarantee there won't be cross-contamination.

I've been holding back on this post for a while because I've been angry. No, not just angry, but dead on pissed off, ready to kick down doors and punch holes in walls. Why? Because for years I've been hurting and was told my two docs that I'm just fat and/or not trying hard enough. But something was very wrong and they blew me off because I was overweight. That is unacceptable.

Yes, I was (and still am) heavy, but that is not a sign of laziness or lack of trying to be healthier. I've tried on my own and with medical professionals to find out what could be causing some of the problems. My last doc sent me for GI films (and oh man is the Barium smoothie horrendous) and blood tests (twice without telling me to fast first) and prescribed meds left and right. When I told her I was at loss because my weight was not changing and I felt horrid (and still dealing with chronic pain), she said I needed to suck it up a work harder and that I must not be honest about what and how much I was eating. I was counting points and measuring everything. I worked out at Curves, and she said 'only chubs go there. You need to find a real gym and really work.' I felt stuck. I had to see a doc for help, but she wasn't helping me. She was mocking me and blowing off my concerns because I weighed too much. I left that day and did not go back.

The past few months have been particularly bad. My migraine had gotten out of control and the scale refused to budge. My body hurt all over and my stomach was bloated and ached constantly. I had no energy and had trouble sleeping. Just fracking miserable. Veggie eating was not helping me and I kept my calories and fat in check. Nothing seemed to be working. I wanted to crawl into bed and stay there.

I broke down and called a naturopath. She told me to cut gluten because it seemed to her I might have gluten sensitivities. So I started cutting. I didn't go completely gluten-free, but stated feeling better. I had more energy and a lot less tummy distress. And it seem to be shrinking. The scale still didn't move, but my clothes were getting looser. Two weeks ago I went completely gf, no cheating. I had multigrain gf bread, muffins, and fantastic vegan and gf cookies from Little Whitney's Cookies. My energy level skyrocketed, I had no headache all week (for the first time in years), no stomach issues. I ate really well and did not exercise because of a sore ankle. I switched my usual whole wheat flour and pasta for gf options and made no other changes. And I lost 8 pounds and did not have joint pain. My blood pressure was the lowest it had been in years with meds. And I cried. Then I got angry. I've been suffering for years and my doctors did not help me. They made me feel like a failure instead of helping me. They had me return often for drugs and abuse.

I'm getting angry all over again. Gah.

As soon as I said screw docs, I'll do this on my own, I felt a little better. I called a naturopath when what I did stopped working, and she helped me more after one consultation that my former docs did in 8 years. The moral of the story? Trust your gut! You know when something is off, so do not let the doc tell you it's nothing. Do some research (real research, not fly-by-night stuff), talk to people dealing with whatever you're dealing with, and go from there.

And once you cut gluten, do not follow my example and allow a cheat day. One meal off track and I've been feeling it for days.   Next time I crave a Bloody Mary, I'll make it at home with Grey Goose and the mixers from scratch.  Owww. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Killer 2012 Halloween Costume? Check!

It's never too early to plan for Halloween. 

I love Halloween.
Me & hubs a few years back.
Schoolgirl and her Bad Boy.

What does this have to do with getting healthier?  Halloween makes me happy, and happiness is good for my health.  And besides, Halloween is FUN!  The costumes, the history, the magic of it; I love it all.  While my kids have “outgrown” the holiday, one is still interested in costumes, but only as cosplay and not a one night (or weekend) thing.  Me, I love the idea of celebrating that escape from reality by taking the role of a beloved character.

I usually shop for costume components from the usual department stores and pick up accessories from costume shops.  This time I found what I wanted online at  I was offered the opportunity to review the store and received the costume of my choice.  This had no impact on my opinion of the costume or my shopping experience.

After browsing the catalog with certain themes in mind, I found exactly what I wanted.  I found more than one option actually, and had to narrow it down.  I asked the hubby what he liked, but he was as undecided as I was.  Men I tell ya.  This year I decided to go with something reminiscent of Once Upon a Time.  I love that show.  What do you mean you haven’t seen it?  Get thee to Hulu or now and watch.  I love Regina.  She is confident, regal, smart, and dark.  She may not be the fan favorite, but it’s not always about popularity for me.

I searched through all of the fairy tale-themed costumes, and final decided on Sultry Sorceress.   I knew I could work it the way I wanted and love that it would show a little leg.  Well, a lot of leg.  Hubby loved the sultry part, as expected.   I placed the order and waited.

Don't you love it?
Shipping was quicker than expected and I love the costume!  It fits perfectly, and that was something I had concerns about since I’ve had difficulty purchasing plus sizes online in the past.  Hubs grinned when he saw me in it, so that made it even better.  All I have to do now is choose the accessories.  I have a killer pair of boots I’ll wear with it, so all I have to do is select jewelry and make the hair and makeup decisions.   Should I work my hair or go with a wig?  How exactly will I do my eyes?    Now that I have the costume, I have plenty of time to decide.  I think the Coffin Clutch Handbag just might work, too.  If not with my costume, just in general.  Love it!  

Love these sleeves!
Thank you,

Take a look at their inventory today.  They have costumes for all sizes and ages, and the prices are awesome!  

Guess what? is sponsoring a giveaway!  A $25 coupon will go to the person who shares this post the most.  Get to promoting for your shot at the prize!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Dragonflies

Have I told you how much I love dragonflies?
Shaun Dovey photo

Last summer they were all over my yard and I loved it.  I'd sit and watch them fly about, entranced by their grace.  And I am not an insect lover at all.  Dragonflies are not insects to me; they're magical.

When Rosemary Daniels sent me a copy of Iris and the Dragonflies to review, she didn't know.  Recently this fab neighbor to the north sent me a dragonfly.  

It's sitting on my workstation, bringing a little cheer to my workday.  I can't stop smiling at it! 

Thanks again, Rosemary!  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Another Migraine

Yes, I know you're getting tired of hearing about them, but oh man was this one a doozy. I wanted my head to explode so I couldn't feel it anymore.

The pre-event aura lasted over a week. I thought I might get lucky and not get one in April, but when it hit, I wanted to crawl into a hole. How bad was it? Hubby took over all morning and dinner duties and sent me back to bed. I spent all but 2-3 hours on Thursday in bed. Today I still hurt and have a funky tummy to boot. Gah.

I don't have time for this! Work and dinner plans this weekend. I'm already a day and a half behind. Boo.

That's it for my pouting today. I've got work to do. Look at the sweet puppy face.

Did she make you smile? Good.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The kitchen is mine!

Hubs has thrown up his hands and said I get to decide how it looks. I've asked what he thinks, what he wants, etc., his concerns pretty much are cost and function. So I get to decide and I'm torn! We bought the fridge and dishwasher shortly after we received the deed, so those are set. The stove came with the house and is in good shape and matches, so it stays, too. We have 35 sq. ft. of counter space, which seems awesome, but over the past few years it seems to have shrunk, lol. The hippie in me wants to reduce as much construction waste and possible while making the space mine. One thing for sure is I'm going to get the trashcan into a cabinet and not out in the open. And a compost bin. Anyway, I have the floor (in boxes waiting for installation for a couple of years now), cabinet hardware (also waiting), and backsplash. We're keeping the L-shaped galley layout and the cabinets (original to the house with flat slab doors). I want to keep the green walls (forest green for now) and the shelves flanking the window (currently dressed with cafe curtains). The counter is the main thing, really, since we have everything else we really liked or loved on hand, waiting for installation. Including the new faucet. Gah. Eclectic sense of style is hot helping! I'm all over the place when I look at design ideas. I've pinned some, but have so many ideas bookmarked. According to various decorating style surveys, I have a transitional style - not too traditional, country, or modern. I guess that makes sense, but it would help if I could decide. I love to cook and think I just might cook more if I liked my kitchen. Until next time, I'll be pinning and bookmarking and shopping for ideas. Feel free to share.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Baby Love Wordless Wednesay

So my baby girl is 18 now.  But she'll always be my baby.

Thanks for the inspiration, Her Baby Stuff. Blog hopping FTW! Want to join in?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Short and sweet - three days in.

So it takes three weeks to form a habit.   I intend for some form of morning exercise to make my day complete.  I restarted on Sunday and am two days with morning exercise.  I know without a doubt now that my battered body requires modifications if I am to keep on track without injury. 

My mind and body are finally connecting as they should.     

So call me lazy or undisciplined because I don't get in hard core workouts that leave me dripping in sweat.  I'm moving at a slower pace so I can keep moving instead of ending up yet again on injured reserve.  I'll bet my lazy way leads to a stronger me.  

My former workout buddy,  RIP, Willow.
Until next time, peace.   

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Iris and the Dragonflies is fantastic for family reading

Africa photo.

I have always been an avid reader, and even more so once I discovered science fiction and fantasy.  I read novels to my kiddos as bedtime stories and firmly believe it helped them bolster their creativity.  As they grew and filled their schedules (and mine) with extracurricular

activities, I put my fun reading time aside and focused on required reading for school and work. On occasion I'd flip through a beloved text and dream of having the time to read something new for fun.

Something I used to do when the kids were younger was flip through anything I thought they might like before passing it to them. These days my teens give me a sidelong glance when I recommend reading material because they don't see me as cool anymore I suppose.  One is rediscovering her love of books while the other is focused on paintball and baseball.  He'll come around.

How does reading make me healthier?  It relaxes me and brings down my blood pressure.  The time spent with a good book helps me escape for a while, and that helps keep me sane.

My first venture back into reading for fun was a copy of Iris and the Dragonflies.  While technically it was reading for work, it did not feel like it.  I was hooked from first mention of dragons.  It made my geek girl heart sing.  

Rosemary Daniels nailed it in this novel.  An instantly likeable female lead, magic, nature, family, adventure, and the fight between good and evil all make this story for young readers sing.  While it is geared toward pre-teens, it caught me and kept me engaged from start to finish.  

Iris is an amazing, talented, loving, and  special girl with the ability to talk to dragonflies. As a mother, I wanted to just hug her.  As the girl I once was, I rooted for her. My heart raced when she faced danger and sang when she smiled.

Her teacher, Mrs, Alrich is a gem and I wish all children have a Mrs. Aldrich in their lives.  My Mrs. Aldriches were my first grade teacher and her assistant, Mrs. Hart and Miss Brown.  I remember those ladies to this day and how much they meant to me.  They encouraged me to be myself and to take a closer look at the world around me.

It's been a long time since I found myself lost in a book, and this one is a keeper.  It was hard to put down. The best part?  Iris' adventures will continue in a second book!

I wish my daughter was a little younger so we could read it together like we used to.  I think I'll send it her way so she can read it anyway.  I think she'll inhale it like I did.

Iris and the Dragonflies is available on for $13.45 in paperback or just .99 for the Kindle version.  If you don't have a Kindle, download the free Kindle for PC app.  Get a copy for you and your young ones to enjoy.  

To learn more about the author, check out her gorgeous blog and on Facebook.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using
Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. And this book will definitely be good for you and yours.  


Friday, March 23, 2012

Keeping track on weekends

One of my fav lunches - chickpeas on a Greek-inspired
salad with lots of lemon juice
I look forward to the weekends like most people with typical schedules.  The kids are home from school, hubs is off work, and we try to do something together besides just hang at home.  I can keep on track with food and scheduled exercise during the week, but on weekends, all bets are off.  I plan to keep steady, but that isn't always the case.

On weekends I can be swayed off track between errands and the lazier schedule.  I will concede if outvoted by the family on places to eat, and if I'm tired or overly hungry I'll just pick something heavier instead of making cleaner choices.

Am I alone in this?  I can't be.  Can I?

I know how I can get if I go too long between meals, and I plan to stash something in my purse to help me get through, but if I'm rushing about I forget.  And I tell myself I can wait 5-6 hours, but by that time I am heading for a crash and either get grouchy or shaky.  Either way, it leads to heavier choices, like deep fried instead of grilled or starch fests instead of a balanced plate.  I hate what I'm eating while eating, but while ordering I ignore the call for better food.  Oy.

But on the plus side, even though I've ignored the scale for a few weeks, nothing has changed for the better or  worse.  That in itself is a victory to me.  It means I am making good enough choices when I'm not really on track.  But it's time to make better choices, period.  More greens, less starch, and more movement!

Until next time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My 24 hours juice feast fiasco

Fresh apple, carrot, and ginger juice is fantastic!
Photo credit: Paul  
I'm not saying a juice feast is a bad thing, just that it was a bad thing for me yesterday.  I'm not sure if it was juicing or the migraine that did it, but yesterday was a miserable day.

When I heard about the 24 hour juice feast on Facebook, I decided to give it a shot.  I'd had an iffy few days of eating and thought it would be an awesome way to help flush the heavy away and get back on track. I didn't think ti would be bad.  I've mixed green smoothies and veggie/fruit fresh juices with eating for quite a while now and wanted to try a feast.  It was not pretty.

The day started great.  I took my dose of Candigone and followed it with a glass of lemon water like usual. My morning juice was really good and I'll have it again.  Apples, carrots, celery, ginger, lemon, and cabbage made a slightly sweet and satisfying start.  I sipped slowly and had plenty of water.  I felt fine for a while.

At lunch I went savory with a tomato, celery, garlic, onion, broccoli, pepper, and lemon juice.  It was fantastic and is a keeper.  While drinking I thought it would make a perfect soup appetizer or dinner with some salad and garlic bread another time.  I was satisfied for about an hour, then was suddenly starving.  I made a second batch and was enjoying it when I saw the migraine aura.  I felt the beginnings of a migraine on Sunday, but what hit me yesterday around 2:30 pm was horrendous.  I could barely stand and my kiddos told me I should go lie down.  I went to bed, but took the laptop with me so I could work.  Ha.

By 6 pm, I was done.  I hurt, was just sick, and could not see.  I had to get something else to eat or drink but could not bring myself to turn on the juicer.  The sound would have pushed me over the edge.  I grabbed a cup of cinnamon tea and was again told by the teen girl to go to bed.  She sat next to me and hugged me.  I must have looked like death warmed over because both teens were nice to me and not snarky at all.  I remember hubby getting in from work and leaving to take the boy to baseball practice, and think I remember them coming back.  I do remember asking them to stop yelling because it felt like everyone was standing around me and scream talking.  I was in bed and they were all on the other side of the house.

Yeah.  Wasn't pretty.

I have no plans to do it again anytime soon.  I will keep fresh juices on my menu, but not as meals.  Maybe it was the migraine, but I am in no rush to go again.

Have you feasted?  How did it go?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Had to change things up a bit

So I started a yeast and sugar-free way of eating last week and had foggy brain by Wednesday.  By Friday night I was in a rage.  It was not pretty, I felt horrid, and scared my family a bit.  Eating clean in general (no junk or sugar with minimal if any bread) made me feel good and I had few if any symptoms I need to combat.  So back to clean eating I went - a combination of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, Eat to Live, and clean eating guidelines. Lots of veggies, water, clean veggie protein, and no sugar.  I feel better and am still detoxing. 

Do I feel like I failed or am bailing?  No.  I know what detox feels like, and that was not just detox.  I was either yelling or crying with nothing in between. If I didn't work from home, I may have been fired.  Yes, it was that bad. I feel like I hurt my family and never want to feel that way again.  I never want to make them feel that way again or tiptoe around me like they did. 

So here I am, even tempered and enjoying meals rather than dreading them. 

Until next time, peace. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Semi-wordless Wednesday: Boozy Edition featuring Exclisiv Vodka

I like vodka.  Scratch that, I love vodka.  It's my go-to when I mix cocktails for myself or guests and becoming vegetarian didn't change that.  Enter Exclusiv Vodka.  The kind people at Exclusiv sent me a bottle of Exclusiv Classic and  Rose Moscato.  Color me happy!  It's vegan and lovely.  Smooth straight up and in cocktails.
Moldova 76



Next up, vegan 'jello' shots!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Exercise and other evils

Exercise, how I both hate and love thee.  I know I need you, but some days you hurt me so much I'm not sure if I'll ever let you back in.   But I do, and I don't regret it.  

Nope, I am not fond of that word, 'exercise.' It is, however,  a necessary evil.  When I say it's time for exercise, I groan, grumble, and try to think of 100 other things I also need to do.  But when I say I'm going dancing or to walk, I don't see it as exercise and enjoy it. Finding an activity that inspires me is key to getting me up and moving.

I love karate and obtained my yellow belt 14 years ago. Since my accident, I dream about getting back into a dojo and throw a little kickboxing in when my body can take it.  I decided to check out Tai Chi and Qigong as alternatives to karate that my crumbling spine and crotchety hips can take.  They feel awesome and I burn a decent amount of calories in 30 minutes.  It might be slow and steady, but it feel like much more.  I feel energized and strong, and those feelings carry me through the day.

How do you exercise?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two weeks + into the new year

Short and sweet since the school session started with a vengeance.

The scale is moving down!  My pants are falling off.  I'm happy, have more energy, and eating better than I have in a long time.  Yes, I'm cooking more, but I'm still cooking ahead so it's easier to grab and go.

**Happy dancing**

Longer posts are coming.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Semi-wordless Wednesday - all about the food

Nom nom nom

Vegan French Onion Soup from Vegan Nutritionista's
Cut the Cheese 

Vegan Cheesecake from Cut the Cheese

Same cheesecake topped with strawberries.
'Twas awesome!

My fav veggie curry from Saffron Cafe and Bakery
 (soon featuring vegan desserts - just ask)

A fab dinner from Sunset Oasis

Black Bean Sliders and Sweet Potato fries from
Sesame Burgers and  Beer

Dinner salad from Runaway Bay 

Are you hungry now?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nothing like a kick in the gut to slow you down

In may case, it was a popping followed by searing, shooting pain.  I'm sitting back with an ice pack, counting the minutes until hubs returns home so I can hit the spot with Arnica.  Yes, it's my back again.  Spasm central.  It makes me wonder if I'm cursed or not.

What kills me is how it came about.  We took down the tree, cleaned a bit, and moved the hutch base without issue.  The second I reach a few inches for a piece of paper, pop, shoot, sear, scream.

I will not let this keep me down!  I will not eat the pain away.  I will not drink the pain away.   I will meditate, medicate when necessary, and heal.  I still want to walk that bridge and will.   I have plenty of time until the race (and before the participant cap is met).  If I have to walk after the race, so be it. It does not mean I failed.  It means I'm being smart and realistic about recovery.

Now off I go.  Peace.