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Monday, September 30, 2013

What does healthy mean to you?

This weekend I had a conversation with a new health coaching client for our first session.  She was very knowledgeable, but had some common misconceptions. Through this conversation I started to think, what does healthy mean to each individual person?

Here are a couple of questions I have for you: What does healthy mean to you? Do you feel like you are at your optimum level of health? Do you know the barriers that are keeping you healthy?

Each person has a different view of healthy. It depends on your knowledge and your interest. It also depends on your current health status.  Every person's optimal level of health is DIFFERENT. The important thing for you is figuring out what your optimal level of health is, what is holding you back from it, and how you are going to get there.

During this health awareness week, I have a few key things I want you to look at.

1. First off, ask yourself the questions above.

2. Have you had your yearly physical?  Have you had your blood work drawn in the last year?

3. Are you up to date on all your vaccines?

4. Are you up to date on all your cancer screenings?

5. Are you drinking enough water throughout the day?

6. Are you active at least 30 minutes out of the day?  If not, are you making steps to be active for at least 30 minutes out of the day?

7. What excuses are keeping you from living healthy?

8. Are you eating 3-4 servings of fruit AND 3-4 servings of vegetables a day?

These questions are great steps in getting to your optimum level of health.

Have a happy, healthy week!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Just because you don't have hair...

Gold is such a royal and beautiful color.  It just so happens to be the color associated with pediatric cancer.  Cancer is a disease that steals.  It takes without mercy and when an adult is diagnosed it is bad; but it is horrific when a child is diagnosed with such a disease.  Children have such a beautiful innocence about them and even thinking of what is against those who are diagnosed makes me ill.  Children should never have to deal and cope with something so heavy, yet the unfortunate reality is that this is apart of our lives and cancer isn't going away anytime soon.

Today, I want to offer some fashionable assistance and resources in helping children dealing with feeling better about their appearance through their diagnosis, treatment, and helping keep their esteem up through the recovery of this disease.
As found on Pinterest

Just because you don't have hair, doesn't mean you aren't beautiful!

Believe it or not our hair is just an accessory to our over all appearance.  It doesn't own us or define us.  It enhances our over all appearance but it doesn't make us who we are.  When going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments it is not uncommon for a patient's hair to disappear.  Then after treatment, it could grow in very different then before!  That is hard to imagine.  It can be embarrassing for a child to lose their hair, but there are ways to help ease the pain of this.

Locks of Love:
This Florida based organization provides hairpieces to under privileged children in need.  This organization is extremely popular and I know of several individuals who have donated their mane to them.  You are able to nominate a child or alert them of someone that might be a good fit.  Check them out at

Wigs for Kids:
This Ohio based organization provides information, consultations, and wigs for kids dealing with hair loss of all kinds.  Specific for children's needs.  Finding a good wig will help boost a child's self-esteem and confidence. (Great resource to find wigs of all kinds based on a needs basis)

Headcovers Unlimited:
I was extremely impressed with how this company started.  Under the "Our Story" tab on the website, you too can read it.  Really awesome start to helping others feel better through the hair loss.  They have a wide variety of offerings that a child dealing with cancer might find just perfect to cover their heads.

Fashion Scarves and Hats:
At Claire's boutique, you can find several hats and head wraps to which would be appropriate for a young girl without hair to accessorize with.  They are brightly colored, fashionable, and I think could really help a young lady shine.

This site also had some reasonable and adorably fashionable choices to choose from as far as hats and head wraps go.  I also like this as they have also included some hat choices for boys as well.

Finding the right wig or covering can be a trying and exhausting task.  It is important that you go to a wig specialist in finding the perfect shape and style to fit the face.  A wig specialist is also going to help you find the best fit for the head in need.  Wigs can be fun to play with in addition to finding something that looks as the child's prior to hair.  The better the fit, the better the child is comfortable in the wig or head covering the better over all they will feel about them wearing it.  That will have a direct and positive affect on your child's self-esteem.

 Good luck most of all to the children who have cancer.  Those innocent children who are faced with fighting for their lives.  You are not only an inspiration to the cross you bear with such strength, but you truly are amazing.  Keep fighting, praying and never lose hope. We support you.  We love you.

--Catie Manning

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Even Kids with Cancer Just Wanna Have Fun

We all know that cancer sucks. There isn’t any better way to put it – it sucks. It’s ugly, it’s painful and it’s terrifying. It’s even worse when a child is suffering from cancer. Whether you’re a family member, a friend or a neighbor, everyone is impacted in some way when a community member is suffering.

One of my favorite things about children is their unstoppable enthusiasm. No matter their circumstances in life, they’re always optimistic and excited for any opportunity to have fun.

When children are going through treatment, they experience a wide range of physical and emotional levels of fatigue. It’s important to keep physical limitations in mind when living with cancer patients, but I would argue that it is even MORE important to make sure everyone is living their life to the fullest. 

Even Kids with Cancer Just Wanna Have Fun 

Depending on level of treatment or degree of progress, the following suggestions are things you can do as a family/community to make sure the children in your life – fighting for theirs – never lose sight of fun and excitement.

Get Active 

Countless studies have shown that physical activity brightens mood. Even more, physical activity promotes general health and wellness. You can share with a fighter (child beating/fighting cancer) that not only are they getting healthy, you’re getting healthy with them. Consider some of the following activities:
  • Long family walks – preferably with a dog!
  • Bike rides and the occasional bike race (friendly, of course!)
  • Go to the playground/park
  • Play tag in the front/back yard
  • Play catch
  • Soccer, anyone?

There are countless physical things you can do as a family. Find what you’re interested in and what you can participate in with your fighter.

Get Adventurous 

There’s nothing better than a good adventure to take your mind off of the mundane. Children have a special gift of imagination, rendering “adventure” as something that doesn’t have to go far. Try some of the following:
  • A family boating trip
  • Theme park vacation – there’s nothing like the thrill of a rollercoaster
  • Camping/hiking – everyone kid like sleeping in a ten
  • Road trip to “weird” places
  • Backyard treasure hunts
  • Day trips to the beach

Get Creative 

Children are endlessly creative – fighters ever the more so in many ways. Using imagination takes everyone out of their current circumstances (often circumstances we’d rather not think about) and into a world where anything is possible. To aid your journey to this world, try some of the following:
  • Build a fort- better yet, a fort colony
  • Pull out your old costumes (and maybe wardrobe) and imagine yourselves as something completely different
  • Have a craft day – anything is possible with a little glue, glitter and paint
  • Redecorate rooms – make your world a space adventure or an underwater oasis 

There are countless things you can do with your fighter as a family to help them still live the life of a child who isn’t suffering from cancer. This list isn’t by any  means exhaustive, and I encourage you all to share some of your favorite children’s activities. If you think hard enough you’ll notice that these aren’t things that are cancer specific – they’re child specific. Children with cancer are children first.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can become involved with cancer research or fundraising, check out some of the following sites:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

But this only happens to other people...

My name is Christa Thieme, and I've been asked to be a guest writer, and share my story because this month is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Spoiler alert: my child has cancer (still strange to write). So, here is our story.

It seems to me in my short experience with motherhood that there is a strange paradox that at least goes on in my head, and somehow I think I'm not alone. As a mom, I worry about EVERYTHING! Since my son, Charlie, was born in May, everyday when my husband came home from work, I had a new "fear of the day". Whether it was tummy times, feedings, diapers, SIDS, the fears never ended. Most of my fears were incredibly irrational, but what happens when a seemingly irrational fear is right?  So, here is where the paradox have all these fears about what could happen to your child, but when the fear actually does comes true, you think, "This only happens to other people's children" "My child can't possibly have a rare cancer".

When Charlie was 6 weeks old, I started noticing a strange yellowish glow in his right eye under certain lighting and in certain angles. After I saw the "glow" the third time, I realized this probably wasn't normal. Something (I believe God) prompted me to look at pictures I had previously taken of Charlie. Every picture taken of him with the flash on, his right eye glowed white, while his left eye glowed the typical red.
The white glow is the tumor

Being a concerned mom, I started googling what it could be, and all signs pointed to retinoblastoma. We took Charlie to his Dr. the very next day. The Dr. said his eyes looked perfect, and he would see Charlie again when he was 6 months old. The Dr. also said he saw the "red eye reflex" in both eyes, so, there was no need to worry. Scott and I left the appointment feeling somewhat reassured, but still wanted and explanation for what we were seeing. We decided to get a second opinion. My sister in law gave us the great advice, "if you are going to get a second opinion, make it count." Over the weekend, I researched Dr.'s at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis, and found Dr. Plager - the Medical Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology, and a specialist in retinoblastoma. I called the following Monday, and amazingly we were able to get into their office on July 19th, just a 3 week wait time. At that appointment is when our worst fears were realized. Charlie had a fairly large mass in his right eye called retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is a cancerous tumor in the eye that is caused by a cell that is responsible for developing the eye that goes haywire, and never "turns off". While retinoblastoma only effects 300 children under 5 years of age every year in the U.S. and Canada, since Charlie has been diagnosed, there have been several people that our friends or family have known that have had children with the disease. The best news we received is that Charlie will survive this cancer. It is the most curable of all of the pediatric cancers, and the earlier it is caught the better the chance of saving the eye and vision. Despite the positive news of his survival, it was still a hard pill to swallow. I just remember crying while holding my 11 week old baby, and just feeling outside of my body, like this was just a really, really bad dream nightmare. This could not possibly be happening to my precious Charlie. Every time I heard my husband deliver the news to a family member on our two hour drive home, it was like another punch to the gut. We got the news on a Friday, and following week was filled with an MRI, exam under anesthesia, surgery for his central line, and round 1 of chemo.

A few lessons I've learned in my short time of being a mom:

1. Trust your gut and God's leading. If you sense something not right with your child, act on it. I would rather look foolish to my Dr. and be wrong, then not act on something, and be right.

2. Don't be afraid to get a second opinion, and make it count!

3. During well baby check-ups, when your child's Dr. is looking in their eyes with that light, they are looking for the red eye reflex. In order to truly identify the red eye reflex, the room needs to be dark, and your child's pupil large. Insist that the lights are off and blinds are drawn. When our Dr. was looking at Charlie's eyes, the room was bright, and that is probably how he missed the tumor.

4. True joy can be found in the midst of heartache. It's possible to grieve and rejoice all at the same time. I never imagined this road of suffering could offer joy, but it does. Unexplainable joy only given as a gift from God, at a time when it's need most.

Here is the latest update on our precious Charlie. Last Tuesday the 17th, we had a eye exam under anesthesia. This was the first one since he's been diagnosed, and started chemo. After our ophthalmologist examined Charlie's eyes, he came back to report his progress to us. He was stunned, and said that Charlie's tumor has shrunk significantly, and his retina has reattached. We were previously given a 0% of Charlie ever having vision in that eye or even saving the eye, and his retina was almost completely detached. We were just buying time by doing chemotherapy treatments until he was old enough to have his eye removed. Since Charlie now has a promise of saving that eye, and even vision, there is another treatment that is more of a localized chemotherapy that we will be exploring in Philadelphia in the next few weeks. We are just so thankful for all the prayers, and for God's healing hand on our Charlie. Retinas do not just "reattach" on their own, and we know it is Our Great Physician who has worked a miracle in our boy.

I pray that this would never happen to any young children that you all may know, but if it does I hope this helps to bring awareness to the disease.

This is the "glow" of the tumor that we could see in certain lighting/angles.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bring them Joy!

I love to sew things for my family and friends but I am also always on the lookout for ways that I can help others with my talents. So far, I have yet to decide upon a charity/organization that I want to commit to long term (there are so many out there that it makes it hard form me to choose!) However, I have come across a few that look promising, both of which focus on children.

Project Linus is an organization that makes blankets for children. They don't have to be sick, just in need of some comfort. The organization focuses on giving children any type of  homemade blanket; crocheted, knitted, fleece tied, or quilted etc. This being the case, it opens the door for many talents which is awesome! If you are interested, there are chapters all over the U.S. that you can join- definitely check out their website! Listed below are a few simple tutorials for blankets that would definitely work for this organization if you are a beginner sewer but would like to help out.

Fleece Tie Blanket
Beginning Quilting
Simple Crochet Blanket

Another organization geared toward cheering sick kids is Conkerr Cancer. This organization started when the founders son was in the hospital with cancer and she decided to make him a pillowcase to bring something fun into his hospital room. Last year they delivered 168,730 homemade pillowcases to sick children!! That's a lot! As with Project Linus, this organization has many chapters throughout the country that you can deliver pillowcases to. I've gathered a few more tutorials for ya to check out! :)  

Hopefully our posts this week will inspire you to bring some smiles to a sick child by sending them a handcrafted blanket or pillowcase! Just knowing that someone cares enough to make them something will brighten their day :) 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Little Warriors-Pediatric Cancer Awareness


My goal as nurse has always included pediatric oncology. While I have not worked with anyone younger than 18 with cancer, pediatric cancer is still a strong passion of mine. September marks the time for pediatric cancer awareness. This week I'm so excited to focus on educating each of you about pediatric cancer. There are many ways to support research for pediatric cancer and support those children and their families who are walking through this battle.  Below is a video that outlines the basics of pediatric cancer facts and figures currently.

Very little progress has been made in research and proper treatment.  Statistics don't tell the whole story.  We have such a long way to go and I'm hoping through the blogs this week, each of you will be made more aware of how deep the need is in the pediatric cancer world.  Cancer is the leading disease cause of death in children ages 1-14.

Alex's Lemonade Stand is one of the ways you can start to make a difference.  Continue to read the blogs this week and videos posted to educate yourselves.

Let's fight for our little warriors together!

Friday, September 20, 2013

His and Hers

Like I mentioned in my last post, I am very into anything DIY. My most recent projects include making “His” and “Hers” apron sets as wedding presents. The groom apron is made with his favorite sports team fabric and the bride apron is very girly; complete with lots of ruffles! (I love ruffles, I think I would put them all over our house if my husband would approve). Once I get a set done- I have 3 to complete!- I will definitely post some pictures J Once finished with the currents projects I am planning on adding them to my Etsy shop as a “made to order” item as well. Customers would pick the general color scheme of the bride apron and then the sports team fabric for the groom apron (or stripes etc if the groom is not into sports).  Sewing and crafts are my big hobby but I also love to be in the kitchen; a good apron is always something that comes in handy. For guys who are not into “kitchen cooking”, tailgating season is upon us which brings plenty of grill time. And what better way to grill out than to also support your favorite team?!

On the topic of “his” and “hers”, it is Ovarian/Prostate Cancer awareness week. Although I am a nurse, I do not work with cancer patients and so the statistics of the different types of cancer always stun me. Yes, there are many diseases that tear the body apart, but few are as deadly as cancer. It is a great accomplishment to overcome such a sickness- so to all you cancer survivor readers: WAY TO GO! You fought the fight and WON! In support of the victims of ovarian or prostate cancer (whether current or past), I would donate 10% of apron sales to ovarian and prostate cancer foundations, unless otherwise specified.

My maternal grandfather had prostate cancer which metastasized to his lungs (and other parts of his body) and sadly did not win his fight. I was only 8 so I don’t remember much, but he was living with us for the last few months and I do remember the day he died. It’s interesting how vividly you remember some events in your life and yet others pass by unnoticed. My mom sent us kids outside to play and a little while later I came inside to find out that he had passed. That was the day I also saw my dad cry for the first time. I said “Dad, you’re not REALLY crying are you?” He responded, “Yes, I am. I am sad.” “But you NEVER cry. You’re not really crying.” He looked taken aback and was silent after that; a very awkward kind of silent and I am pretty sure I hurt his feelings. I have always regretted that comment, but I was only 8 and I guess 8 year olds don’t know much about holding their tongues. While in nursing school I made a medical family tree for one of my classes and found out that my paternal grandfather also had prostate cancer but had gone into remission. As far as I know, he has not had any problems since (J). Knowing this fact, I am very aware that my father and two brothers are at high risk to also have prostate cancer. Scary thought, huh?!

Anyways, if you know someone who is/has been victim to ovarian or prostate cancer, be sure to say a word of encouragement to them this week. Cancer is a tough battle and those who survive do so with the help of their family and friends beside them. If the “right” words don’t come to mind, a smile or hug often speak more encouragement than words ever could.

~ Ruth

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dear Ovarian Cancer Patient

Dear Ovarian Cancer Patient,

It was with you that I got to start my nursing career.  It was your cancer that I first got to know at an in depth  view. I was there with you has you came back from your TAH/BSO and whatever else they felt needed to be done. As you rolled up to the floor from the PACU in so much pain I was immediately running to get pain meds.  I was there with you as you could barely keep your eyes open from the pain medication but you were also anxiously waiting to see what the doctors found in your abdomen.  I was there with you holding your hand as the doctors told you it was cancer.  I was there holding your hand as we rejoiced over the news it hadn't spread.  I was also there holding your hand as you were told it had spread farther than they had thought.  I was the one annoyingly asking you to sit on the side of your bed when the thought of even lifting your hand was terrifying. Because a nursing manager took a chance on me as a new grad, I was there in your world... walking with you... and learning about how hard a diagnosis of ovarian cancer is.

At a very young age cancer was part of my vocabulary.  Before I was even born my paternal grandma battled ovarian cancer and lost. It is such a rare diagnosis, and is so hard to detect.

I've been a few places since that first job.  But I still walk with you.  Now my job is to walk with you day in and day out as you deal with chemo.  As you get your scans back.  I'm still there holding your hand through good news and bad news. And I'm so thankful for the opportunity to walk with you through your battle.  Thank you, ovarian cancer patient, for letting me walk with you. To learn so much about love, drive, and fight through your own battle. To learn what it means to have grace. To learn what it means to be hopeful in the hardest of situations.

It is for you I am writing this blog.  To get the word out there about ovarian cancer.  Together, let's fight this thing!

With greatest gratitude,

One of your nurses

Quick Facts and Figures:

* 1 in 72 Women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her life (
* It is the 5th leading cause of cancer deaths in women (ovariancancer.og)
* Most women are diagnosed in late stage which has a lower survival rate

More Information about Ovarian Cancer:

Test and Diagnosis outline

CA 125's Potential for Earlier Detection

Potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer

Facts and Figures of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer Statistics

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Note to the New Grad Nurse Part 2-Things we wish we knew as new grads

I can still remember the day I got my acceptance letter almost 4 years ago like it was yesterday.  It was a crisp fall day when that letter arrived in my mailbox. While in many ways it feels like just yesterday, in reality it was almost 4 years ago.  Since then I've finished my masters, gone through an accelerated nursing program, and now have 2 years of nursing under my belt.  Every day I am still learning a ton, but there a few things my now "experienced" nursing friends and I wish we had known when we first put on those scrubs and proudly put on that badge saying boldly and loudly "RN".

27 Things We Wished We Knew as New Grad Nurses

1. If you feel like you are going to puke before every shift or drive to work in tears... don't worry you aren't alone. Same thing if this is what happens after your shifts. You are most definitely NOT alone.

2. Don't accept just any job.  While it is hard as a new grad to find experience, you will be spending  A LOT of time there it is ok to wait for the right fit.

3. On that same note though, your dream job may take time, but a good fit is a GREAT place to learn.

4.  Confidence in yourself. It takes TIME. And that is ok.

5.  Sometimes SBAR isn't all you need to tell the MD, PA, or NP.

6.  Those silly code runs that are fake and make you feel ridiculous. They actually are REALLY helpful!

7.  The field of nursing is wide and broad. Don't limit yourself to just bedside nursing if it isn't your passion, that is ok.

8.  You DON'T HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING. It is ok to say "I don't know" and learn for next time.

9.  Asking questions doesn't make you a bad nurse or make you stupid, it makes you SMART. That is the absolute best way to learn.

10.  Every place has its own "Policies and Procedures".  Realize that how you learned something in nursing school may change during your first job... and your second... and your third... and so on.

11. You aren't going to like every patient you take care of and that is OK. You just have to give every patient the best quality care you can.

12.  Driving home from work... crawling into bed after a long night shift you're going to realize "OH MY GOODNESS I DIDN'T CHART THAT 300 mL OF URINE!". You aren't perfect. If it is something that needs attention you can call in to the nurse who followed you, but if it is something that can be let go... let it go. Learn from your mistakes of not charting in the moment and figure out a system of remembering that works for you.

13.  You have to come up with your own system of writing things down, charting, doing assessments, and managing your shift. It is perfectly ok if it isn't like anyone else's as long as it works for you and you can get everything done.

14. The first few shifts on your own you're going to feel like a truck hit you and you're never going to make it. But you will.

15.  Don't be afraid to go in the bathroom, sit on the toilet, and take some deep breaths.  In the end every nurse has taken extra time in the bathroom just to catch their breath for a minute.

16.  When possible.... waste the medications that needed wasted right then and there.  That is just something you don't want to even chance forgetting.

17.  You are your patients's ADVOCATE. Don't be afraid to stand up for them.  And if you're wrong... oh well... at least you can leave knowing you fought for your patient.

18.  Keep your social life.

19.  Try as best as possible to lead a healthy lifestyle outside of work.  13 hour shifts are brutal.

20.  If you're in MedSurg... we feel your pain. But know this. YOU ARE GOING TO LEARN A TON!

21.  There is a person beneath that rude and frustrating patient.  Do the best you can to find that person and care for their soul too.

22.  Find hobbies outside of work that help you unwind.

23.  This is a 24 HOUR institution if you are in a hospital.  Leave the patients with the other nurses. They are trustworthy and capable :-).

24.  Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself.  You went to school for this. You've done your training. You've come this far. You don't need to be walked all over.

25.  As you learn your area of specialty things will really start to fall into place. You'll understand things better and you'll be able to tell earlier and earlier when something is wrong in a patient.  Never underestimate the little things. They can in the end be warning signs for something much much bigger.

26.  You are only one person. Do not be afraid to ask for help! And one of the best things you can learn how to do is delegate appropriately... but don't forget to double check that things that have been delegated are done.

27.  When you're tired, warn out, smelly, dehydrated, not sure what is on your shoes, and squinting at the sun light as if you were a vampire know this. YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT! You are an incredibly intelligent person who has fought hard to get this far in your dream.  Keep running after it with your whole heart!  And don't be afraid to try a few different areas until you find your passion (but make sure you give each area an ample amount of time before moving on).

We hope this helps,

Some slightly more experienced nurses

P.S. It is true the more you know... the more you realize you don't know anything :-).

Friday, September 13, 2013

A penny for your thoughts


My name is Ruth and I am a "wannabe" stay at home mom. I am a newlywed (with 3yrs under my belt-woot woot!) and mom to a beautiful 10 month old girl. I will be posting here and there about ways I cut costs at home on my quest to quit my day job. 

I am a RN, working at a plasma clinic but have a passion for anything DIY and am always on the look out for ways I can save my family money. While nursing is a wonderful profession, my goal at this stage in my life is to find away to stay home with my baby. A little history about me, I was raised by a very frugal family. Growing up with four siblings, we HAD to be careful about money. My mother stayed home and was always finding ways here and there to bring in some extra cash. Meals were usually from scratch, we shopped the sales and thrift stores, and we were always finding ways to make things ourselves. My mom did sewing work for others, babysat, and made bread for a local farmers market.

I love a good deal. I love it when I see something in the store, then go home and make it for half the price. While some may not agree with me, I would much rather give my time than my money. I might be called a penny pincher, but that's okay; I know that with every penny I save, I am that much closer to being rid of school debt (ugh!) and one step closer to my dream :) 

In an effort to bring in some extra money, I started an Etsy business recently (You can check it out at !!) You can read about how it all got started on my Etsy shop info page, but I'll share a quick blurb here too. "Bound With Hope" was born through conversation with Erica about cancer awareness. I had made her a wallhanging with a cancer poem before she moved to Chicago and she suggested that I sell them. She works with cancer patients daily and knows how much a simple word of encouragement can brighten their day. My hope is that my quilts can not only encourage those battling cancer, but also comfort those who lost loved ones to the deadly disease. It is exciting to be able to join my two worlds of nursing and sewing into a productive outlet. 

Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing my discoveries of how to cut corners and save some cash! 


Tailgating Fun...

Happy Friday the 13th!  I hope everyone has had a great week thus far.  Today's post is dedicated to TAILGATING in honor of the beginning of the College Football season!  This means it is officially OK to whip out the face paint, temporary hair color, and attire supporting your team.  There is nothing like having team spirit.

Tailgating is a great way to bond with fellow fans and friends.  It is also a great way to make friends.  The atmosphere is full of energy, food, games, drinking and music.  Everyone is trying to get pumped up for a victory!  Victory! (as inserted from the movie 300).  Whether you are one that takes things to extremes or you are the kind of person that is just alright wearing a sweatshirt to the big game, there is something for everyone there.

I have just a few things to consider when you are tailgating that might just save you in the end!

1.  Temporary Color might not always stay temporary.  I cannot tell you how many times someone has come into the salon and they have to get a corrective color due to temporary color.  Yes, if you read the labels--it claims to be removable;  washes out!  Well if you have extremely porous hair (blondes especially), it can soak it up which makes it stay longer.  The color can fade in a few washes but once it is there, it takes a professional to remove.
2.  Face/body paint has a lot of wonderful attributes and is easy to use, but make sure you are not allergic to it before applying!  I have a good friend who is extremely sensitive.  She has some trouble wearing certain eye make-up colors and most definitely has to watch what facial products she uses.  This friend decided to tailgate but paint her face first.  Bad news bears!  She broke out in hives.  #bodypaintfail  It is always a great idea to test what you are using before the big day.  There is nothing worse than having to wash it off, take a Benadryl and sit in discomfort at home.  If you need more information on allergies regarding face or body paint, this website was pretty all inclusive:

3.  Attire.  Now I don't know a lot of people that have trouble with this one.  But, if you are a Southern Belle and you would like to look the role, here is a great find for you!  I must confess, I am appalled that they wouldn't include any of the Big Ten in this list!  It is perfectly appropriate to wear your school colors proud.  Whether you bought a jersey or a t-shirt, or are wearing long johns and an oversize coat for the game...the attire is where it is at!  I am more of a practical person I must confess--if it is remotely cold, I have my hat and gloves ready.  This website is more up my ally:  I love seeing the game day goofs in full blown costumes though!  Who doesn't love seeing Gumby or Big Bird floating around the tailgating fields or in the stands?

Here are a few friends of mine who were willing to share their tailgating pictures!  Keep in mind, we are Indiana girls through in through.  GO IU! (and ND I suppose....)  :-)  Enjoy.
Provided by Jenna Gabet; This is "The Walk" as started by Coach Hep.  Pre-game IU festivities.

Provided by Jenna Gabet; "The Walk" beginning procession which includes the introduction of the players entering the premises and stadium.  These are the escorts! 

Provided by Jenna Gabet; The roommates  :-)

Provided by Cyndi Wolf;  Game Day--Irish style that is-- is never  fully complete unless you have a Guinness in hand!

Provided by Cyndi Wolf; Pre-game photo opt!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Happy, Healthy Tailgating!

Senior year at IU when we beat Purdue!

I'm a Hoosier. I was born in Indiana and went to Indiana University for college. This means I was raised to be a football fan and to love tailgating. Anyone who knows anything about Indiana knows that we, as a state, love football and basketball. There are two large Big Ten schools in Indiana: Purdue and Indiana. Naturally, because they are in the same state, they are fierce rivals.

Growing up you are either a Purdue fan or Indiana fan. Of course you have the occasional split household. We also have Notre Dame, which it seems that everyone in Indiana supports – even around the country, unless you are a Michigan fan (I however, am not included in that “everyone”) Finally, you CAN’T forget about the Colts (I’ll be fair and include northwest Indiana residents with the Bears).

Football. Saturdays and Sundays in the fall plans are centered on the great American pastime of football. Whether it is on the TV or actually at the game, flowing drinks and excessive food are staples of a football weekend. And this isn't just in Indiana.

So how do we, as health conscious people, still enjoy the wonderful world of football and tailgating? This is a blog devoted to being health conscious and still having fun during this wonderful thing we call football season! Follow, or at least keep in mind, the following tips and tricks as football season gets underway:

1. Eat healthy throughout the week. Making healthy food choices throughout the week is going to change your taste buds and influence what you crave. By eating healthy throughout the week, the "junk food" often served at football festivities will be less appealing.

2. Be conscious of what you are eating and plan ahead. A great alternative to cheap burgers and hot dogs is fish. You can also use a healthy veggie burger - black bean burgers are great alternatives. Take a night to make your own homemade veggie burgers or black bean burgers and freeze them. If you're choosing to go with the meat, make sure that you are getting grass fed beef with no hormones or antibiotics that is less than 10% fat content. Another thing that you can make ahead of time is the beef. If the beef is on sale, buy enough to make burger patties to freeze. Add onion and garlic to your burgers for flavor and health benefits. As far as hot dogs go, let's not get into the details of what goes into those cheap hot dogs. Applegate has a great option out there for all beef hot dogs that have hormone and antibiotic free meat. It isn't the best option, but is definitely a better option. The key when looking at any hot dog of any meat is to look for key words like uncured, antibiotic and hormone free, and grass fed. Be conscious of what you're buying.

3. Sweet potatoes are a power food and a great substitute for the other fried potatoes we often eat. You can make your own sweet potato fries by peeling, dicing them into strips, and using olive oil and things like garlic to add flavor. Toss them on the grill for a delicious side! 

4. Be aware of the beverages you are drinking. Look at the calories in the alcohol and realize that drinking too much doesn't just leave you feeling bad the next day. It also slows down the metabolism. Furthermore alcohol has a more calories than one may realize. Make sure you're staying hydrated and not drinking too much alcohol. At the very least, stay away from sugary drinks such as sports drinks and pop; they’re packed with sugar and calories. This is not the way to spend your calories and you definitely don't want that insulin spike.

5. Pinterest. It is a great resource for converting unhealthy recipes into healthy ones (there are also plenty of unhealthy ones on there too.

6. Don't be afraid to pack the veggies and fruit. It is apple season and they are a very portable fruit! Also, carrot and celery sticks travel well. You could also make veggie kabobs to grill. If you want to spice it up a bit, make fruit kabobs and grill them with some cinnamon!

7. Most importantly be aware of what you are putting in your mouth. Be conscious and deliberate. Remember that everything you consume either honors or dishonors our body.

Happy football season everyone! We'd love to see your favorite football fan pictures!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Just because you are a nurse...

Today's post is dedicated to the nursing crew today!  Although this post is applicable for anyone.  I have had a few nursing friends that were specifically asking me about hair styles that they could try to shake it up when they are working.  They were tired of the same old drab ponytail.

Usually when you are working, you typically want your hair to stay out of your face.  It needs to be low maintenance and easy to do or else you aren't going to want to do it.  It needs to be pulled back and last for hours at a time.  Typical shifts for my nursing friends could be anywhere from 8 to 12 hour stints with limited breaks.  Clearly, the last thing they need to worry about or should be worrying about is their hair.

1. Ponytail with hair wrap
This is so very simple.  Pull your hair into a ponytail.  It is your preference of whether you want this to be a low ponytail or if you want it up a little higher.  I would recommend using a thicker elastic band even if your hair is fine and thin it will make a huge difference in stability.

Then take a section of hair (as seen below) and you will wrap it around the elastic band as a covering around it.  When you get to about an inch or so of hair left reach under and tuck the end of the hair through securing it.  You will still have a little bit of hair left, you can tuck it in the lower part of the ponytail where it magically disappears.

2. Braids
French braids are great for keeping your hair back and out of your face.  There are many variations to which all ages can wear.  You can secure your hair in a ponytail first, then braid the remainder of the hair.  Secure with a secondary elastic band.

Another variation which is really fun is creating a braid across the front of your hairline as seen below.  If you need your hair more so away from your face, pulling it into a low ponytail is always a good option.
Or you could always do two french braids:
3. Buns
Here is a bun with the front braid idea:
Now, you can also wear a stylish traditional bun.  If you are worried about having enough hair to do this style that is no problem.  There is also a lot of variety seen with wearing buns.  You can wear a high bun, low bun, messy bun...the possibilities are truly endless.  

If you have long hair, you can buy this beautiful little tool called a hair donut.  Here is how it works!  This is so easy to use and makes your bun look flawless every time.
4. Shorter Hair
If your hair is not long enough to try any of the above, sometimes it is just easier to invest in some cute headbands.  I have found some that don't squeeze my head and are very chic.  They hold my bangs back without fail and allow me a little bit of flair. 

All in all, there are ways to look and feel good at work without spending a ton of time on it.  A little effort goes a long way!  These are just a few suggestions but you know it could be infinity and beyond...

Beauty knows no limits....
Catie Manning

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Note for New Grad Nurses

I recently ran into a girl who I cheered with in high school.  There is a bond between athletes from any sport that never seems to fade.  It is a pretty incredible thing of what working together as a team can do to bond people together.  As we were catching up, there was another bond that was found. She is a brand new nurse.  She is exactly where I was 2 years ago. No matter what area of nursing or what path you have taken, the letters RN will bring you into an incredible community of people who you will forever have a bond with.

Since 2 years ago I've come a long way.  Recently there was a blog that went viral Not Just a Nurse. I encouraged this new grad RN to read this. I can't tell you how many times "I'm just a nurse" has come out of my mouth. There is such a vulnerable truth that is spoken in this nurse's blog. A truth that needs to be heard.  But it also brings up another truth about being a nurse, it is incredibly hard to be healthy in most nursing jobs.

I started my career 2 years ago as a nurse at the bedside.  I had spent the last 7 years in school. And the summer before working at a teen weight loss camp.  Here I was in my first full time big girl job. Little studying to do, but a ton to learn on the job. I had a brand new schedule that for the first time in my life had no sort of consistency. And I came home from work at least 13 hours after I had left for it. While at work I was constantly stressed and terrified of making a mistake.

Being a new grad nurse was probably one of the absolute HARDEST things I have ever done in my life. All day long my brain was going and my body was moving. You are constantly worried about what you could do to lose your license or worse, lose a life. You have to learn how to best communicate with different types of MDs, PAs, and NPs. You have to learn how to delegate to the nursing assistants and how to keep track of their work along with yours. Your brain doesn't stop going.

On the outside of work it is hard to get patients off your mind. You wonder if you wasted all the medications you needed to. You wonder how you can manage time better. How are you ever going to be fast enough to get all your things done AND all your charting done?

Nursing takes a HUGE emotional  and physical toll on your body. You're going to struggle to figure out how to stay healthy during your shifts and days off. Here are a few tips.

1. Remember to stay hydrated. You have a very physically active job. Your body needs water not just caffeinated beverages.
2. If writing helps, journal. You have a lot going on in your heart and head after each shift.
3. Make your meals ahead of time. Before a long stretch of shifts make your food so you aren't tempted to eat just fried food.
4. Keep a healthy snack in your pocket.
5. Remember you CAN'T do it all.
6. Listen to your body and how much sleep it needs.
7. Find ways for you to unwind when you get home
8. Don't forget to be social
9. Exercise on your days off
10. Develop a support system both inside and outside of work. Do not be afraid after a long shift to call that nursing friend and vent for as long as you need.
11. Don't bee too hard on yourself

You are entering into one of the most amazing careers. You will struggle. You will doubt. You will look at your fellow nurses and ask "why did we choose this?" My dear friend, you are going to see things you never thought possible. You are going to do things that most people would never be able to handle. You were created to do a very unique and incredible job. It is perfectly ok to feel overwhelmed.

But there will be moments when the patient breaks down in tears and you are there holding their hand. When the family member hugs you after their loved one has passed and says "I'm so glad you were their nurse". When the new baby is born and you get to help see that beautiful life come into the world. When the patient goes into remission and you are the one rejoicing with that patient as if you were in remission. When the patient hears they are getting the organ they've been waiting for.  You are there to walk through the valleys and mountains with these patients and their families. When it gets tough, remember the reasons why you chose nursing.

That RN is an incredible gift that means more than you could ever imagine. My dear new grad nurse, its your time to shine! Take it one step at a time. You. can. do. this!


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