Wednesday, October 29, 2014

High Hopes

Listen, I'd love to write you a blog about how successful my #34before34 has gone. I'd write about how my mission of self-discovery has led me to a higher level of self actualization than I could've possibly dreamed of. My life would become stress free, I would dance with unicorns on a rainbow in the land of cookies and puppies. However, that ain't it.

Reality is I've only accomplished 15 items off my list (#23 is a stretch-I didn't write an article but I feel like being in Good Housekeeping counts for something, darn it!). The school teacher in me is screaming "15/34 is only a 44%! You're getting an F in life!" Fact is, at this point the most I can get is 30/34, because the items in red are a big, fat FAIL. I didn't finish 2 months of NutriSystem (at least not all at once), my Half Marathon was cancelled (sure, it wasn't MY fault), I an an OTF drop out (the classes and my schedule were not friends) and I didn't blog every week (alright, alright, I'll own up to this one).

However, some things have been crossed off. I did manage to take the furry child to the beach last weekend. He walked to the marina, chilled on a balcony with a view of the ocean and enjoyed some delicious mango rum...I wish I was kidding.
My friend Kevin thinks manatee mailboxes are fun

#beachdog

My co-pilot, beach bound!

My friend Amy and I also made it to Chicago! We had an amazing weekend full of food, fun and mayhem. I ate a grilled cheese that had mac n' cheese on it....IT WAS AMAZEBALLS. I swear I could hear my arteries clog as I ate it but soooo worth it. My hair looked amazing, I rocked warm clothes and I took in the sights. Did I mention I ate a lot?

The bean!


Go Cubs. Or at least look at how cute this new scarf is!


So I didn't accomplish what I expected to by this point. What's a girl to do? Carry on. Frankly my friend Kathleen warned me this list would be near to impossible and I should have listened. She is always right. Did this list give me some anxiety? Yes. Is my job insane this year? Yes. Do I need sleep? Yes. so moving forward I have exactly one month left. I doubt I will get a 30/34 but perhaps this list is about more than accomplishing things. Maybe this is all a good lesson in patience and allowing myself to not fulfill every list that comes along. It has been a long time since I haven't accomplished something I've set out to do, and this will be a real blow to my ego. Maybe that's what I need. Come the end of November I'll let you know. Until then, I'm off to relax and enjoy life. I hope you do the same.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

It's here! It's here! Thank you Good Housekeeping!


It's here! It's here! I'm so honored to be a part of "The New Face of Heart Disease" in the November issue of Good Housekeeping magazine! It was amazingly surreal to read my own story in a magazine! Good Housekeeping has been a part of my family since my first memories. My grandmothers, aunts and my mom all read Good Housekeeping and I remember flipping though it when I was younger, imagining myself baking the recipes in its pages or decorating my bedroom with brightly colored linens and unique throw pillows. So to say I am included in its archives is a huge privilege. 

Thank you to Amanda Robb who wrote the article, Janie Matthews who did the fact checking, Andrew Thomas Lee the amazing photographer who took my pictures (of which I get to see in 30 days!), Jillian Caro who did the hair and makeup, and Marina Harnik who was the Photo Editor. Did I miss anyone from GH? I sure hope not because they were all very kind and encouraging.

A huge thank you to my friend Kathleen who put up with me through the process, graciously opened her home up for the photo shoot and kept me sane. 

P.S. Check out the other 2 women featured! One was an army lawyer and the other a reporter in D.C.! 

Here I am!
This is the cover. Just me and Eva, y'know. ;)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Macys

Last Saturday I had the privilege of speaking to the employees of Macy's at Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, FL. Since Macy's is a major supporter of Go Red for Women and Thanks for Sharing, it was an honor to speak about the importance of self-care and heart health. Thank you Macy's!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Beat


Welcome to my new posts, called The Beat. I'm always on the hunt for red clothing (dresses, especially), running gear, and things with hearts! I'd like to feature some of them every once in a while. See any others? Send 'em my way! 

2014 Greater Orlando Heart Walk

This year's Greater Orlando Heart Walk was another success! First off, thank you to everyone who helped me reach my fundraising goal. I raised $500 total!

Money, money, MONEY!
This year I did something a little different. I volunteered with the Passion Committee! Instead of getting there right before the Walk began, I was able to drag my tired behind out of bed at 3:30 AM and report to duty at the Advocacy tent! Along with a few other Passion Committee ladies we got people to sign postcards for elected officials regarding the lack of CPR as a graduation requirement here in Florida. I got to speak to other survivors, family members, even high school students who were in support of the change. We obviously were the coolest tent EVER because we had temporary tattoos. Hotness.
You're The Cure...you're obviously b@da$$ too
It's amazing my eyes were this open at 5 AM
Finally, the sun rose in the sky and people flooded the UCF campus including my loves, Lina & Jo. This was Lina's first Heart Walk! Jo is no stranger on this blog either. As I've said before, he walked in memory of his mother who died from a heart attack in 2009 and then helped me survive mine. He even rocked his heart guardian tee I got him.
My lovers for the morning
And we're off! 3 miles in the hot Florida sun. I'm used to the mileage, but we always run before the sun comes up so this was brutal. But we made it through. Another successful Walk!


Let's do this!

Almost done! Must. Have. Breakfast.
Until next year!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Second Chance Is Why!

Another insane week. Good Housekeeping, the first week of school with kiddos, my to-do list growing exponentially by the moment and trying to keep my sanity. I did, however, manage to build a new shelf for the guest bedroom. Is the bedroom still in complete shambles with boxes everywhere? Sure. But is the old shelf that I lovingly named the Leaning Shelf of Piza demolished and gone? HECK YES. Score.
The new campaign for the American Heart Assoc. What's your why?

Good Housekeeping shoot!

About a week ago I did an interview with Good Housekeeping magazine! How, do you ask, did they find little ol' me? Ah, the inter webs. I guess this very blog came up in a search! I'm so honored!

Yesterday was the photo shoot for the article! I got to work with the amazing Andrew Thomas Lee. We did 3 outfit changes and took pictures everywhere from the bamboo to the dining room to the living room! Major shout out to my friend Kathleen who opened her home for the fun. Jillian Caro did my hair and makeup and everything looked fab! Clothing styling by me...just how I like it. ;)

Here are some pics from the big day. I'm told this is scheduled for the November issue of GH but I'm sure there will be a post/tweet/facebook post/scream as soon as it comes out!







Monday, August 18, 2014

No Pressure, No Diamonds

I literally did not accomplish one thing from my list this week. Nothing is crossed out, in the slightest. So why do I feel so satisfied? I'm "letting it go." Please don't sing.

I ran. Once, but I ran. I just didn't have it in me this week. Instead of the usual heavy guilt trip I might normally lay on myself, this week I slept in on Saturday for the first time in...I really don't know when. It felt amazing.

I'm down a total of 7 lbs. This is amazing considering I tried it my way and lost hardly anything. I'm super excited and ready to lose more. Nutrisystem is actually super easy to follow. I even took a mini break this weekend to enjoy time with friends (and a certain cup of delicious fro-yo) and still went down a half a lb. No guilt here.

I'm a little stressed, I have to confess. School has started back up again, and my to-do list has grown astronomically over the last 24 hours. Thank goodness I love my job. It's worth the anxiety. My real source of stress this week comes from this lump I found in my neck. It's been there for about 2 months (maybe more, I've been a little distracted) and it's super annoying. So when I was at the doc last he recommended I go to an ENT doc and have it looked at. Faaaantastic. Is there a Carfax for bodies? Pretty sure I got a lemon. So I'm trying not to think about my appointment next week until I have to. I'll keep you posted. Fingers crossed, it's just a mutant lymph node or alien fetus. That'd be rad.

My goals for this week are
1. sleep (I'm still exhausted alll the time and this week really takes a lot out of any normal human)
2. see the Cardiologist on Thurs (regular check up)
3. get to OTF at least 2x
4. that dang media kit (that's been a goal for how long?)
5. raise some moola for the Heart Walk

This is my "If by go for a run you mean sleep in, then I'm sold" face

7 down, ? to go!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Work In Progress

Life is a work in progress, and so is my list. To be honest, only 1 thing got crossed off this week. However, I have a ton that are in progress. My major accomplishment? I tried Fabletics. I LOVE IT. For my first outfit I got these slammin' blue capris and geometric top that are super comfy and great quality. I also got a sports bra but it's really meant more for yoga and not running. Still awesome. I've got my eye on a pair of splatter print capris. Try it and tell me what you think. 


Working on that whole 'stressing less' thing


Also, I don't want to get too excited, but I had a phone interview with a writer from Good Housekeeping yesterday! They are doing a piece on heart disease and wanted to use my story. Craziest part? They are sending a photo crew for a whole shoot to Otown! That's nuts people. Tyra Banks, I am not. But I will pretty much do anything to get the word out about heart disease, especially in women. I'll keep ya posted.
5 down, 5 in progress, 24 left, 3 months and 2 weeks to go!

Monday, August 4, 2014

"Strive for progress, not perfection"

This has been one heck of a tough week. It was my last week of my summer job, the second to last week of the semester and work starts up again in just under a week. Crazy times. But...get ready....I lost 5.6 lbs! CRAZY! I made it through the first week of NutriSystem, which they call Fast Five. It's basically their pre-packaged food plus veggies. Now this week I can finally have cheese! Sure it's fat free string cheese, but it will definitely satisfy my craving for that delicious, salty yumminess I've been missing. I also had a hard time without coffee creamer, because you can only have black coffee with non-calorie sweeteners. But, by day 4 I almost didn't mind. So this week I can have small amounts of what they call PowerFuels and SmartCarbs. Thank. God. I've definitely made it through the hardest part so I'm so excited to finally be seeing some progress. Now, on to the list!
Stress less, live more ♥ 



Again, the items in blue and italics are in progress. I am working on NutriSystem, OTF, my dissertation, blogging and stressing less. I ordered my first Fabletics outfit this week but it hasn't arrived yet, otherwise I would cross it off. I can't wait-the shirt looks amazing! My big accomplishment this week (minus those 5.6 lbs I lost) was purchasing a Keurig! I really don't know how I lived my life without one. Being the crazy deal lady that I am I made sure I got the best price ever. So they had the yellow one I wanted at Bed, Bath & Beyond (tons o' colors!) for $100 and then I signed up for the email list which got me a 20% off coupon. Then when I got to the store they had an offer where you got the K-cup carousel for free with purchase! Also, Lina and I went halvsies so it only cost me 40 bucks. I really should have a blog on shopping.
Karl (or Karol, depending on who you ask;))
My goals for this week are stressful but I need to suck it up.
10. Finish 3 chapters of my dissertation. In fact, after I'm done writing this post (and maaaaybe watching a tv show) I'm off to write my life away.
33. Fabletics-outfit, get here soon!
31. Update my media kit. It's one of those things that doesn't take long but involves me to be in front of the computer which I have done waaaaay too much this summer.
Can she do it? Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Solvin' Mysteries & Crossin' Out Stuff

I'm well on my way to completing my list of 34 things I want to accomplish before turning 34! I figure that if I complete an average of 1.79 items a week I will be right on track to finish by my birthday! Yes, I realize I just dorked out. Math is cool, yo.

This week I solidly accomplished 2 items and I'm working on items in blue/italicized.
I'm working on sticking with OTF, blogging weekly and stressing less. Those are *in progress.* (I think stressing less is always in progress for me, but you get the picture!) My 2 solid accomplishments were to try Stitch Fix and to go to The Great Escape room. Now for a quick recap.


The Great Escape Room
The Great Escape Room is a place that recently opened here in Central Florida. It's basically a puzzle room. You get a team of 10 people (in our case we were a team of 6 and a team of 4 signed up with us) and you are placed in a room. A number padlock is placed on the door. You have an hour to solve all of the puzzles, answer the clues, find the code and get the heck out of the room. We definitely rocked it but we were literally a minute too late. The puzzles were amazingly challenging and we are definitely going to try again when they have a new room next month! So glad we did it!
The team!

Stitch Fix
I'm not going to say this was a total fail, but this was a...complete....bust. Ok, it was a fail. Now, I consider myself to be a stellar shopper. I know what style I like, I pick out great pieces and I even bargain shop and find some kick booty deals. I've been told numerous times my blog should really be about shopping. Sure, in all my free time. So I was a little hesitant about Stitch Fix. But I've been dying to see some new, different things in my wardrobe that you might not see everyday. That is exactly the opposite of what I got. Below are 4 of my boring-as-heck pieces, plus I got a pair of jeans that fit amazing but there was no way I was going to pay $78 for a pair of jeans, no matter how slammin' my backside looked. I got a very basic white top and a boatneck striped shirt. They were both just ok, but I could find the same shirts at H&M for a fraction of the price. The teal, draped-neck top was just horrible. No one with a chest needs the combination of v-neck AND draping in a jersey material. Whew. The striped dress on the bottom right was just cheap looking and I'm pretty sure I've seen the same piece at Ross for under $15. This dress was over $50. So everything got sent back. I wrote one heck of an online review and I'm giving it one more chance in September so we'll see. For now I'll stick with my own picks.



This week
Tomorrow I begin my first week of Nutrisystem. The food has been sorted and is ready to go, the body measurements have been made and recorded (horrifying) and I am determined to make it through 2 months of this. Things I will miss? Alcohol, coffee creamer (just the first week), and my freedom. I will just keep visualizing the hotness that will eventually occur and power through. The first week is definitely the hardest because it's just the food plus 4 veggies a day. Next week I will be able to add things like string cheese (OMG cheeeeese.....I really love cheese) and yogurt.

This week I also hope to accomplish updating my media kit and maybe getting trying Fabletics or buying a Keurig. I'd like to say I'll be ambitious and rebuild the shelf or clean out the closet but I will probably be an angry little elf this week. I also realized that I have a few things that aren't going to happen until my Nutrisystem time is up (Orlando Brewing, Cafe Tu Tu Tango) so those would be easier to cross out but they will have to wait until October or November. So this week I will be easy on myself and do what I can. 

The kids helping with my Nutrisystem food

Don't forget that in honor of my 200th post, I'm doing a giveaway! Big stuff people, big stuff!

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Friday, July 25, 2014

A Little Trip to the B&B

Hey, remember those chest pains I was talking about? Hm well they didn't go away. Then some tightness happened, then my feet started swelling....so then I went to the ER. Turns out it was just some random chest pain, with absolutely no explanation. C'est la vie. But with my history they admitted me, strapped me to a heart monitor and did bloodworm every 3-4 hours. I'm so glad it was nothing but feeling kinda ridiculous. The worst part? The usual crew of nurses that can't find my veins and poke me like a Christmas ham. Bruises for days, y'all. Oh, and if one more person comes to my door and said, "You're so younnnngggg" I. Will. Scream.

I took Thursday to relax and recuperate since going to the hospital is definitely emotionally draining. The smells, the blood...did I mention the smells? I seriously couldn't wait to get home and wash the smell of the hospital off of me. It's this combo of rubbing alcohol/sweat/hospital gowns that gets me. When I smell it, I swear I'm back in the moment even after 2 and a half years. I don't know if the PTSD symptoms ever go away completely.

Swollen feeties
Duck face in the hospital realness


I'm plugged in
the usual accessories
the port from Hell





Thursday, July 24, 2014

200th Post Giveaway!

Holy motha...this is my 200th blog post! In honor of my 200th post, I am having my first giveaway! This giveaway is for a red (duh) Nalgene water bottle. So let's stay hydrated together!




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Sunday, July 20, 2014

34 Things To Do Before 34!

This week I'm taking a cue from my heart brother from another mother, They Call Me Mini. You might recall his guest blog on my site not too long ago. He decided to make a list of 38 things he wants to accomplish before turning 38. So, challenge accepted! I decided I should do the same. My birthday is at the end of November and I will be...*gasp* 34! Crazy how time flies! 

Actually, I've already accomplished number 1! My sister and I finally booked our trip and we will be heading to the motherland in March! 1 down...33 to go! Each week I will update you with my progress and let you know where I am at. Some will be easier than others but I am determined to finish the list by November 28th! Any suggestions? Leave 'em below! 

2 1/2 Years & Feeling...WAIT. What Was That?!

This week I will celebrate my 2 1/2 year anniversary with Stewart the Stent. This past week I thought about how long it has been since I've been concerned about my heart. I mean, I lost my nitro spray (old purse maybe?) and I have been running without it this session. That's a huge step for someone who wouldn't leave home without it the last 2 years. So I can already tell that I'm weaning myself off of the constant panic and paranoia. Or so I thought.

Friday night I was minding my business, cleaning the house and watching mindless entertainment on Hulu when out of nowhere I got a pain in my chest. A sharp, stabbing pain on the left side. It was quick, but it definitely took my breath away. I figured I had moved wrong so I kept going, throwing my laundry in the dryer. It continued. It hurt so badly that I had to sit down and take a moment. But it continued. It was the kind of pain that makes you panic a little bit because it is so sharp and painful that it can't just be a pulled muscle. Plus it's riiiiiiight where my heart is. 

When I had my heart attack, the pain was in the middle of my chest. It felt like an elephant was sitting on my sternum while a mop was being wrung out underneath it. Intense. This was not the same feeling but it still had me upset. I haven't had any chest pains for 2 years now. Weird fatigue? Yes. Weak body? Sure. But chest pains? Nope, definitely not.

When I had the heart attack I walked the dog and drove to the hospital. Again, it's a miracle I'm still alive. But I figured it worked for me last time so I walked Max, took a few aspirin, packed a quick bag and drove to the hospital. No, seriously. But as I was parking the pains stopped. I got out of my car, walked the parking garage ramps a few times to get my heart rate up, but nothing happened. Feeling like a moron, I headed home. Well, first I bought a smoothie since Kathleen told me an iced coffee would be asinine. Noted.

The next morning I got up to go running, figuring it was all a fluke and I might as well get my training in. But, as I was waking up the dreaded pains were back. Two of them. Then nothing. I went to my running group and we ended up walking 5 miles which I think was probably a wise decision. But, NO PAINS. Score. I headed to meet everyone for breakfast but had another chest zinger on the way there. I also felt like my chest was tight, but that could have been my paranoia which was building rapidly at this point. 

The breakfast club convinced me to put in a call to my cardiologist's office and when I finally got a call back the on-call doc said it was probably premature beats and to have some magnesium. So, a fistful of almonds and a 3 hour nap later, I was feeling better and I've only had one zinger since. The moral of the story? Having a chronic illness never goes away and always be on your toes. Also, have amazing friends that force you to call your doctor.♥

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2014 Greater Orlando Heart Walk!

It's that time of year again ladies and gents! The Greater Orlando Heart Walk is September 6th this year. I have a fundraising goal of $500 but let's blow that motha out of the water! Please take a minute to visit my fundraising page and donate a dollar or two. Wanna walk? Sign up and let me know so we can meet and walk together!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2 Months, 0 Lbs, 'Murica

Ok, the universe is hilarious. First of all, I'm precisely the same weight I was 2 months ago. But, the real winner winner, chicken dinner goes to my sunburn from last week that is now peeling like a motha and making me itch like I have some serious leg dandruff. It ain't sexy. I swear I put sunscreen on but when I reapplied I missed some spots...like half my leg. Whoops.

It looks like you could fry an egg off of it

#caucasian
However, even with my body covered in aloe and a few Aleve in my system I still managed to make it to Orange Theory Fitness 3x last week! The rowing machine was rough because I could barely bend my legs, but I made it through. I even had a conversation with one of the trainers. Apparently my medications are preventing me from getting my heart rate as high as others in the class, so I shouldn't be discouraged if I'm not in the orange and red. I'm still burning almost 500 calories in an hour and that rocks.

I hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July! We had a great time hosting a party at our place. There was an insane amount of food, delicious drinks and dips and awesome company. Lina and friends even had a crab/shrimp boil (I hid inside and ate my turkey dog). The only negative? Our A/C gave out in the middle of the day. No bueno. But maintenance was here within the hour and we were back in business. It was a lovely, happy, celebratory day. 

So this week? No lbs lost. So, no ridiculousness at the end of this post. Just me, trying my best to be healthier everyday. If the weight changes, I will be happy. If not, I will continue logging my food, running, working out, loving, wearing my FitBit, smiling and being me. The end. 'Murica.