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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Healthy Fall Outdoor Activities and Tips

Fall is here and if you’re an outdoor enthusiast as I am, you’ll know that the evenings have turned cold (at least here in the Midwest) and the mornings are even colder. As it get’s colder, it gets easier and easier to skip a workout or hibernate inside.

Fall and winter bring with them not only cold weather, but great opportunities for new outdoor activities you and your family can enjoy. As you move your workouts and activities into colder weather, consider the following to stay safe and healthy:
  • Dress in layers: You want to make sure you’re comfortable as your body warms up, but you also want to be careful not to over heat. Keep your base layer tight and made of sweat-wicking material. Avoid cotton if you can!
  • Stretch: Stretching is incredibly important before and after a workout. Your muscles are more limber when they’re warm, so the longer you wait after a workout, the less effective stretching is. Don’t forget cooler temperatures will cool you down faster. Begin your workout with dynamic/active stretching and finish your workout with static stretching.
  • Warm-up: As important as stretching is warming up. When working out in colder weather, remember your body has to work harder to warm itself up. Don’t be hard on yourself it if takes you longer to get into your groove.
  • Be forgiving: If you can’t go as far or as hard or as fast as you normally would, don’t be hard on yourself. Remember that there are outside elements that are out of your control – listen to your body.
  • Hydration: In colder weather, you likely won’t feel as if you’ve sweat as much. Trust me, you have. Hydration essential at all times, but as the air dies out and moisture is sucked from your skin, it’s more important than ever to hydrate before, during and after a workout.

If you’re not so much a fan of solo outdoor workouts, the following are some of my favorite family-friendly outdoor cold-weather activities:
  1. Hiking
  2. Sledding
  3. Ice Skating
  4. Snowshoeing
  5. Snowmen building
  6. Yard work (who doesn’t love jumping in leaves)
  7. Fire pits for roasting marshmallows
  8. And finally, my favorite, go for a family walk!

Fall is my favorite time of year as it is full of colorful change, transition and tradition. I hope you enjoy the fall – cold weather and all!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Needles, Meds, and Blood- Oh My!

I never thought I would be a nurse. Never. Ever. When I was growing up I wanted to be a librarian or a cashier; mainly because they got to check things out and made wonderful beeping noises all day while they did it-ha! Honestly, that only lasted until about age 8, then I really didn't think about it. I guess I figured that the right profession would just come to me one day. However, I did have a toy medical kit when I was young and I remember having lots of fun with the stethoscope; it was a little muffled if you spoke right into it so I would pretend I was ordering at McDonalds. I had a big imagination.

During my junior year of high school, I realized that I actually needed to figure out what I wanted to do with my life as college degree choices were looming before me. I knew for SURE that I did not want to be in the medical world because I HATED needles. If I didn't like needles, I couldn't imagine poking anyone else. That being the case, I began to look for other options. 

My interests were mainly in the arts (sewing,crafting,cooking,etc) but deep down all I could see myself doing was being a wife and mother someday. But I decided that just in case I didn't find the "right guy", I should probably have a back up plan. I looked into home economics at multiple colleges but was not very impressed. I loved working with kids so I started looking in that direction. Seeing as I didn't want to be anywhere on the medical side of things, I decided that becoming a "Child Life Specialist" was the route for me. 

Basically a child life specialist is someone who counsels kids about different procedures and treatments while they are in the hospital. I would pretty much be a medical counselor; finding ways to help children understand what was happening/being done to their bodies (here is a link to more information about Child Life Specialists). Content with my choice, I proceeded to find the best college to suit my decision. 

Last day of my Pediatrics rotation in nursing school
In the spring of my senior year, I saw a documentary about Romanian orphans. The show documented how the majority of Romanian orphanages were overrun with orphans. The problem was so bad that the kids were not getting enough physical touch every day and therefore suffered developmental problems as they grew. Some babies were lucky to have a small amount of touch when their  bottle was propped in their crib, or when they had their diaper changed once daily. Needless to say, the show touch my heart and I hatched a plan. 

Many countries are closed to the Bible and visitors in general, however they welcome medical aid. My plan was to become a nurse so that I might get into such closed countries and help those suffering while also spreading God's Word. I had decided that although I didn't like the "blood and guts" side of nursing, I could stomach it if that meant that I could sneak my way around closed doors in the world. Due to my change of heart, I then also decided to switch universities a month before school started (sorry Mom!) but everything worked out.

Once I conquered nursing school, I worked for a year on a Medical-Surgical unit at a local hospital. I learned a lot, but mostly, I learned how I wanted to find a different area of nursing to pursue. I am now a Medical Supervisor (nurse) at a plasma clinic and love the daytime shifts and decreased stress level. My heart for overseas aid is still burning for an opportunity to go help the suffering in another country and deep down I still would rather be a stay-at-home momma to my little baby girl, but for now, I am still a nurse-outside the home :) 
Last day of clinicals for nursing school

I love the idea of nursing; caring for the vulnerable and suffering, advocating for wishes that would otherwise go unheard, and striving to ensure that all needs are met while you, the nurse, are in charge for a shift. I still have residual effects from "med-surg/night shift burnout", but I am slowly coming out of that. Nursing is a very challenging profession that requires a lot of stamina- emotionally, mentally, and physically. There are times where I wish that I still had the passion for nursing like when I walked across the stage to receive my diploma, but at this stage in my life all I can think about is how I want to stay home with my baby. My recent endeavors to reach my ultimate mommy goal has started with my other passion- sewing. 

From a young age I loved to sew and make things myself. A couple years ago I delved into card making and had many friends and family tell me I should sell them. I am not the business type and the idea of starting my own business made me very nervous, to say the least. I continued to sew gifts for family and friends and kept hearing comments about selling my creations. I was flattered but still balked at the idea of promoting myself. After having my daughter nearly a year ago and having difficulty with finding a family friendly job as well as finding a babysitter that we were comfortable with, my husband and I began truly searching for ways for me to be able to stay home. Once again, selling my handmade items was suggested. 

This time I had an entire plan to back me and up so I took the "plunge" and opened a store on Etsy (which is a very gentle way of introducing anyone to the business world, just by the way). So far I haven't sold much other than custom orders but I am excited for what it can become. I have learned that patience truly is a virtue, so I am waiting to see what God has in mind for my store and my profession.


PS: If you are interested in becoming a nurse - GO FOR IT! The schooling might be tough, but it is definitely doable. If you have questions, feel free to ask and I will try my best to answer them. If you are already a nurse but feel like you are drowning in the newness of it all, definitely check out the "Note to New Grads" post by Erica (who, by the way, is an awesome nurse with a passion for what she does- its so encouraging!). There will always be a need for nurses, so if you do decide to pursue that field, be the best you can be; learn all you can so that you can give the best care possible to your patients. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

The road to nursing... it wasn't easy

I remember the day well. I was a junior in high school and had been contemplating "what do I want to do with my life?" I walked into a hospital with some of my cheerleading companions. Our cheerleading coach had to have all her female organs taken out and we were going to visit her. In that moment I felt like "this is where I belong". I never thought about being anything else inside the hospital but a nurse/nurse practitioner. My one main thought was "I want to be to other families what those nurses have been to my family as we've watched far too many of our loved ones battle cancer." I proudly proclaimed at my senior sports banquet "I am going to be a nurse practitioner".

It didn't take long for that bubble to get popped. Taking microbiology as a first semester freshman wasn't my brightest idea. I had always worked hard in school, but no matter how much I studied, I didn't know how to study for me. So I left my freshman year of college defeated. I had a 2.5 GPA and an adviser telling me I was never going to make it in the nursing world. Ever. My heart had one passion at the point, to be a nurse. So I made the decision to transfer to another campus of the school I was going to that required a lower GPA.

While it was incredibly hard to leave the main IU campus, I would never take back that decision for multiple reasons. At IUPUI I had teachers who invested in me and helped me learn how to study. I am not a quick learner. I have to spend hours studying to get average grades. But I love the sciences. I love the human body and I love anything that can help me take care of another human being. It was here I fell in love with exercise science. It was a long battle though, because my only thought still was "I want to be a nurse". At the end of first semester of Junior year I finally claimed exercise science as my major. I knew it was what God was asking of me, but I still struggled with it. It wasn't that I didn't love exercise science, in fact to this day it is something I am extremely passionate about, but it wasn't my dream.

My senior year I was able to go back to the main IU campus, and because of that I ended up some how by God's grace graduating on time. I knew nursing still was not where I was supposed to go next, but it still burned on my heart. I went off to the east coast to pursue my masters in nutrition. I love nutrition. I love what it can do in the human body. I loved learning the biochemical breakdown of the body. But as much as I love nutrition, my heart still ached. I wanted to be a nurse.

It is funny though, because the moment I felt like it was okay to pursue nursing. I didn't want to. Not because I didn't want to be a nurse, but I was deathly afraid that everyone was right. That I would never make it. I apply to one school in NYC and got rejected. I wanted to stop there. But I felt the nudge to go on. God knew the perfect school and the perfect semester for me. All the details He worked out I won't bore you with, but I will say this. I was in nursing school with the exact right people, at the exact right time, in the exact right school.

When I started nursing school I had already lost 2 grandparents and 1 uncle to cancer. 3 weeks into nursing school I spoke with my grandpa for the last time as he lost his battle to cancer. I remember his last words as he was dying 600 miles away from where I was "I believe in what you are doing you were created to be a nurse."  The next morning I sat sobbing on the bathroom floor of my nursing school as I received the news he had taken his final breath. And I knew no matter how hard school was, there was purpose behind what I was doing.

Nursing school sucked. It was hard. I had no life. But I loved what I was learning. And I absolutely love where it has brought me. The interview process I'll save for another time, but I can tell you this, the wait was worth it. The hard times were worth it. And I know without a doubt I was meant to be a nurse. My nursing career and education aren't complete, I still have more schooling and many more steps to thank. But I'm thankful for the journey I started taking as a junior in high school. I'm thankful for where I am today because of all the trials I've been through to get here. Who knew the girl with the 2.5 GPA my freshman year of college would graduate nursing school with honors? God writes pretty cool stories, and thankfully because of His path I have 2 other careers I am passionate about as well.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Falling Into Fun: with the kiddos!

Fall is a great season to get outdoors with the kids. Although my daughter is too young to walk, there are still plenty of things to do outdoors with little ones. 
Apple orchards and pumpkin patches are hot spots for young and old alike but they can get pricey so what we usually do is just avoid the tours or hay rides and walk around enjoying the cider and donuts (which if you like to bake, definitely check out these two recipes that I made over the weekend: pumpkin donut holes and maple cinnamon donuts). Bring the stroller or back/front pack and you're set for a fun day!

Check out local parks or trails in your area. A walk among nature is a wonderful (and inexpensive) way to experience the great weather. We love to hike as it creates time to just be together; there are no distractions from home or electronics, and its a great time to just talk about life. While you're hiking, pick up colorful leaves, pinecones, or acorns for fall crafts around the house. There are many crafts that are easily found on Pinterest these days that bring the outdoors inside so be sure to search on there for some good ideas this season. Here are a few fall craft ideas that I thought looked easy and fun:

Other fun activities might include raking the leaves in the front yard (with jumping in the piles of course); this not only includes exercise but it turns a chore into a game for the whole family. Make up a batch of hot cider (great recipe found here: hot apple cider) and you have youself a great way to finish out the activity. 

Whether you plan a full day out in the crisp cool weather, or you just hang out in your back yard, fall is a great time to get out into nature! I hope you find some unique- and inexpensive- ways to spend your fall days with your family this year. Make sure and leave us a comment so we can share in your adventures! 


Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Changes

I love fall! The cool crisp weather. The wonderful leaves. FOOTBALL SEASON! The fact that I can again wear my boots. The changing of seasons. Apple picking. Pumpkin carving. Biting into a crisp fresh apple. Bonfires. I love it all :-)

It was exactly a year ago today that I packed up a U-haul with my parents and a couple of friends in Grand Rapids, Michigan and made the 3 hour trek to my new home, Chicago.  It is hard to believe that it has been a year and yet so much has happened since then.  As I sat in my apartment today, a completely different one than the one I moved into a year ago, with windows open and the fall air flowing in it made me contemplative.

It is amazing how the decisions we make impact our life. Because of so many decisions I made before moving to Chicago, now in Chicago I have an incredible group of friends from almost every place I've lived before this.  I also have an incredible job where I can pursue not just one of my degrees, but all 3 of my degrees.  Each one of those degrees challenged me to look at health in a whole different way.  Together, I have a unique perspective on the medical world and for that I am so incredibly thankful.

There is no great nutrition or fitness or nursing advice in this blog post.  It is more of a encouragement for the steps each of you are taking in your life. Fall is a time where a lot happens and schedules are super busy. We all seem to be running all different directions and trying to keep up with life. Fall is a wonderful incredible season where memories are made, changes happen and not just the changes in the leaves, and we are challenged to live healthy lives in the busyness. But you have some incredible opportunities where you can choose to live healthy. My challenge to you this fall season is this.

Take time to look at the changing of the colors of the leaves and embrace the changes happening in your life. Hang onto the moments that will soon be memories...  apple picking, pumpkin carving, dressing up, football games, grilling out, the bonfires, raking of leaves. Take time to acknowledge the changes that are occurring in your life and don't be afraid to take that leap if you feel like it is the right decision. Embrace the weather changes. And this fall season, love yourself exactly where you are at and exactly who you are this moment. One thing I learn from my cancer patients it is to live every moment and savor each memory.

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mom's Story - Witnessing What Breast Cancer Can Do

I honestly do not know what to write. When Erica gave me the opportunity to be a contributor to the blog this week I jumped at the chance to share my side of my mom’s breast cancer survival story. But now, it being 6 a.m. and staring at a blank word document that has been written and rewritten five different times, I’m not sure what to say (& for those of you that know me, this doesn’t happen to me at all, making the feeling even more perplexing).

To be quite honest I don’t know how to put my mom’s story and the series of events I witnessed, felt and went through because of cancer into words on paper.  Although we all come from different walks of life I’m sure many of us can agree on one thing (and to be blunt about it): cancer sucks. It’s a hard, scary, exhausting process for any one and their family to go through. So here is my story and what I witnessed through my mom’s fight with breast cancer…

In late November 2004 my mom, dad and I went out to dinner to celebrate my grandma’s birthday. Everything was normal as usual until my dad made some reference to the future and then my mom cut him off mid-sentence to change the subject. Knowing my parents, it seemed like something was up to me and I was right. Later that night my mom told me that they had found a cancerous mass from her mammogram images and her and dad would be meeting with an oncologist to come up with a game plan.

When my mom told me she had cancer, and even later that night, I didn’t cry. Seems weird right? As a 17-year-old hearing your mom has cancer you would think one would break down and sob hysterically but I didn’t. Although I was scared and had thoughts in my head of “Will my mom see me finish high school? Will my mom see me graduate college? What about when I get married or have a family? Who is going to be there to tell me how to do it – how to get through life?” I still didn’t cry –I didn’t know what to feel because I had no idea or thought on what to expect and what would happen in the next couple of months let alone day when we would find out more news.

After being diagnosed my mom underwent three different surgeries including double mastectomy to get rid of the entire left and right breast and the cancer as well.

I cried hysterically at each surgery. Even after the very first surgery I remember my entire family - dad, sister, brother and me - huddling in the hallway outside the pre-op room. All of us crying, huddling like a team in the middle of the hallway. Of course we were a team, we all had one goal (for mom to get better) and felt the same main emotion that we didn’t know what would happen tomorrow or in a few hours because of breast cancer, but we wanted mom to survive it.

The hardest part of my mom’s breast cancer fight was hands-down the chemotherapy. Again, being 17, I felt like I was living two very separate lives. By day I was going to school, hanging out with friends and talking about whatever issue that was catastrophically ruining our lives at the moment (most likely it was the sheer fact that it was Monday and we didn’t have plans for the weekend yet). By night, I was coming home to see my mom on the couch, tired, dazed and lifeless from the various rounds of chemotherapy.  It was hard to see that day in and day out, but even harder to see it from the one person who, when you’re 17, you count on to take care of you.

I even remember one time before a basketball game, (I cheered for 4 years in high school) another cheerleader and I were at my house getting ready and she mentioned to me, “I like your mom’s wig. It’s cute.” To this day that comment makes me shutter. Although there were only the best intentions intended from this compliment, these are the things that you hear and think, “I shouldn’t be hearing this. My mom shouldn’t have breast cancer.” Because of breast cancer I was already coming home and witnessing the effects of chemotherapy, having meals brought to us by various people in our church and strangers who I wasn’t even sure how they knew my family and in general hoping, praying and wishing that the whole cancer situation would be done, gone and out of my family’s lives. Hearing this comment was just another reminder of the one thing I didn’t want to be reminded of: my mom has cancer.

Fortunately, after 3 surgeries, 4 rounds of chemo and 4 rounds of radiation, my mom will be 9 years cancer-free this spring. Looking back, I’ve noticed there is a strange thing about cancer: although it has the potential to tear one person up, it has a greater potential to bring that person and the people around them closer together.

As you read and can see, there were a lot of moments throughout my mom’s fight with breast cancer that, as a witness to the process, just plain sucked (are you seeing the common theme here?). Yet, there were a handful of moments that because of going through them, I know my family as a whole, and each person themself, have an unbreakable bond that some families just cannot replicate. You know someone will always be there for you (even in a different city or state) when you have a phone call with barely any words spoken but instead tears and sniffles (my sister and I), you know you have someone who believes in you when they tell you it’s okay your report card has C’s instead of your usual A & B grades (note to the reader: to say I’m a perfectionist is an understatement - anyone who knows me knows that I’m OCD and not only dot my I’s and cross my T’s but will go back and check those I’s & T’s 235 times so C’s were a big hit for me) and you know you have experienced true, selfless love when your mom, in between the various rounds of chemo, apologizes for missing a majority of your cheerleading gigs and you can see the pain in her eyes that she can’t be there to see you, even though that is the one and only thing she wants in the entire world right now.

So, over a thousand words, two cups of coffee and an hour later - that is it. That is my mom’s story and now my story as well.  To confess, this is the first true time I’ve shared my view and recollection of co-surviving breast cancer with anyone and yes, I will answer the question you are all wondering: why don’t I share this story more often or tell people my side of the story? And to be honest, nobody asks.

Cancer is one of those things that for most people unless you’ve had it or witnessed it first hand, it’s just two-dimensional. Yes you may ask what stage it is in, how that person is doing and even offer to help but there’s so much more to it than a simple answer & small talk. It’s a three dimensional process and it doesn’t just apply to the one fighting it, it extends to the family and community around that person as well.

There is a quote that applies to Christianity that says, “I believe in God just as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it but by it I see everything else.” (C.S. Lewis).

Being the daughter of a breast cancer survivor has changed things for me. Like the C.S. Lewis quote, some things are a little more ‘real’ in my point of view because of what my mom went through. My health, how my time’s spent, even Breast Cancer Awareness Month holds a different meaning for me than most people sporting hot pink and ‘liking’ a breast cancer article: it’s real.

My hope is that me sharing my story with you has made the effects of cancer a little more real for you too. I hope that my experiences have given you a glimpse of the true dimension of cancer and what it can do but also bring light to the beauty of not just a person but an entire army of people beating cancer like my mom did.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Staying One Step Ahead

"A stitch in time saves nine" is a common phrase known by the majority of people today. The idea of doing something simple now, rather than dealing with a bigger problem in the future applies to many situations. When it comes to your health, regular screenings can save you a world of trouble down the road. 

To all the women reading this, I have a request for you. I have a request that I hope you will take seriously. I have a request that I hope you will incorporate into your life and encourage women around you to follow suit. 


You heard me. FEEL YOUR BOOBIES. EVERY MONTH! Regular self breast exams are very important to help detect cancer. While they are not 100% accurate(as many lumps are benign), they greatly assist in early detection. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. has a very informative section on their website(click on the link) that walks you through a self-exam, so be sure to check it out! Yearly mammograms and clinical examinations are also very important in detection as mammograms can pick up on cancer before you can even feel a lump. However, the self breast exam is still something that every woman needs to incorporate into her routine so as to catch lumps early. 

While breast cancer is not as prevantable as, say, lung cancer, it is a cancer that can be easily treated if caught early. Any cancer that goes undetected for a long period of time has a high chance of being terminal, so these self exams are very important especially if breast cancer runs in your family. So play it safe; feel yours boobies and stay one step ahead of cancer. 


P.S. Check out my Breast Cancer awareness quilt in my etsy shop!
Breast cancer wall hanging

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dear Breast Cancer Patient

Dear Breast Cancer Patient,

I have to admit that I feel like the world doesn't have a complete understanding of how bad this disease still can be. Thankfully, because of research and screenings many women can battle this disease and still have a long healthy life, but that isn't the case for everyone.

I was a new grad and I had yet to see a breast cancer diagnosis when I opened the chart, but I can remember you, my first breast cancer patient. You were a young women in your 30's and your disease was everywhere. You were in severe pain from bone mets and my heart broke for you. All you did was stand on your leg to go to the bathroom and it cracked in half because of disease eating away at your bones. It was there in your room as you cried out in pain that I, a new grad nurse, learned a new side of breast cancer, the side that is not often seen, the side that needs to be spoken about.

As I continued my inpatient journey I continued to meet you. Some of you were paralyzed and your life was forever changed due to your mets. Some of you had infection due to tumors. Some of you I met at the end of your battle as you took your last breaths on this earth. You have all impacted me.

At this stage in my career I am walking with you as your chemo nurse. My eyes are opened more than ever to how horrible this disease can be. Breast cancer patient you are that 1 out of 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer. You have the cancer that is most commonly diagnosed in women. You unfortunately have been handed the disease that is the 2nd leading cause of death of women.

I've changed your dressings from your tumor that is bursting through your skin. I've comforted you as your pain is so severe because of the cancer eating away the skin on your chest. I remember that time when I had to send you to get a stat CT because we were afraid you had a pulmonary embolism, but in the end it was the sad news that the cancer had spread to your lungs and there was a large amount of fluid build up.  I'm seeing more sides of your disease every week, and they are ugly.

Breast cancer patient, you amaze me. As you are crying in pain, hating the fact that you have to take oxy to keep your pain at bay, you still smile at me and say to me "my nursey". You sit with me and look at pictures of my niece and nephew and tell me about all the things your beautiful young kids are doing. You are my hero. I learn a whole new side of what love looks like from you and your husband. The look he has in his eyes is one of the deepest of love I have ever seen. The way you and he work as a team and know each other so well is incredible.

Breast cancer patient, don't lose your spunk. Keep wearing your crazy hats, keep rocking that G.I. Jane look, and don't you ever lose your ability to look at the bright side.  But know this, it is perfectly ok to have bad days. It is perfectly ok to be in a funk.  It is more than fine if you need to cry your eyes out during each chemo treatment. Know this, that through every good news I will rejoice with you, through every bad news I will cry with you, and throughout the days of my life, I will fight this battle alongside you and fight for a cure for this disease. Thank you for blessing my life breast cancer patient. Thank YOU for fighting with grace and passion. Thank you for being you.

Be brave. Be bold. Be beautiful.

With a grateful heart,

One of your nurses

Informational Resources:

1. Basic Facts of Breast Cancer

2. Facts and Figures

3.  Breast Cancer Symptoms

4. Breast Cancer Genetics

Friday, October 4, 2013

Health Awareness: Nails, Hair, and Skin Issues

This week's post have been about Health Awareness.  The key to good health consists of eating properly, exercising and getting the proper rest.  Your body will look and feel better when you are taking care of it.  Now sometimes, we could be doing all of the above and our body will start to change in subtle ways.

When you go to the doctor, the first thing they are going to look at is your physical body.  This is one way to assess whether something bigger is going on in your internal body.  When you look at your nails, hair and physical body on a daily basis in terms of whole picture, you might not notice subtle changes which is your body's response to fighting a disease or sickness.

If you go to a Nail Tech or your Hair Stylist they should regularly analyze your nails and hair.  They are looking to make sure that everything looks good and healthy.  The same idea goes hand in hand with your Skin Care Specialist.  They could be minor or major changes yet, any change is worth looking into further.

If your nails look like any of this slide show as shown via the Mayo Clinic, please go see a doctor immediately.  If you experience any yellowing, blackened portion or discoloration of your nail, could be a sign of fungus to which is highly contagious and can only be treated properly by a professional.  Fungus cannot be "cured" by a topical cream or spray to which you can find at the store.  That is an assumption as it will only bandaid the problem.

As a hairstylist, it is part of our job to get the "low-down" on you!  During a consultation, we may ask you what medications you are on, if you have any health issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes, what your daily routine consists of, what products you use, what your hair does on a daily basis, if your hair is usually oily or dry...etc.  All of these questions have a greater purpose and allow us to keep an eye on you better!  Medication is a big factor that will cause a change in hair, yet it is not always the problem.

If hair is a person's hair is thinning and they are shedding an over abundance of hair frequently can be signs of malnutrition.  It can also be signs that an illness might be present.  They also might simply be genetics.  If your hair is overly dry despite the proper hair treatments, your scalp starts developing irritations or crusty patches, or your developing hair loss in a patchy sort of fashion all are indicators that something bigger is happening.  They can indicate hypothyroidism, psoriasis, or maybe you have a condition called alopecia.  All are problems worth seeing a doctor or dermatologist about to be safe.

In the same way we have discussed nail and hair changes, our skin's condition can tell us so much about our body's health.  According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, skin can show first signs of some internal diseases.  ( Rashes, unusual dry patches or growths all should be looked at carefully by a professional.  If you notice anything unusual, it is never a bad idea to seek professional's opinion on the affected area.

Drawing awareness to your nails, hair and skin can be the easiest way for keeping good health and preventing illness.  The rule of thumb that I tell my clients is that if you are uneasy about something you find on your nail, skin, or scalp and hair, go have it looked at by a professional and doctor.  It is not crazy to do so and it shows you are taking an initiative with your health and keeping your body protected.  We need to take care of our bodies the best we can as we are only given one!

Catie Manning
The Hairstylist

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Healthy Eating on a Budget

Hey everyone! I hope you are enjoying "Health Awareness Week" so far. Make sure you keep reading this week as we have lots to share with you all! Today I am going to share some tips about how easy it is to bring healthy eating into your home, even on a tight budget. 
I grew up in a big family and a tight budget came right along with the siblings. My parents were always on the lookout for coupons and money-saving tips when it came to providing healthy meals for us kids.  Through them, I learned many tips that help me as I plan meals for my family today. 
Lately, my biggest help with staying within budget has been to make a weekly meal plan. I look for healthy meals that are quick to prepare and easy on our wallet. I use coupons where I can, but I usually just shop sales and off brands. I love looking on pinterest for recipes and have found many healthy and budget friendly recipe sites through it (BudgetBytes and HeavenlyHomemakers are two that I visit often). Some things that I try to keep in mind while writing my meal plans include:

  • Potatoes, rice and pasta are cheap bases to any meal. Use brown rice or whole wheat pasta for a healthy option.
  • Cheese is expensive, and honestly it’s not that healthy for you in large quantities (such a sad fact of life). Look for recipes not drowning in cheese.
  • Fresh produce can get expensive but it is worth it. Plan your menu wisely and you won't be buying excess produce that you end up throwing out at the end of the week.
  • Your crock pot is your friend (especially if you work outside the home).
  • Do I have a protien, carb, and veggie/fruit for every meal? Check out these sites to learn more about preparing a healthy, balanced meal.
Just remember, your food is your fuel. You don't have to have organic foods bursting your ears, but your body does need GOOD FOOD so that it can function effectively. (If you need some nutrition advice, I'm sure Erica would be more that happy to help!)

P.S. Make your healthy food in style with one of my custom-made aprons! Remember one of my recent posts where I mentioned that I was sewing aprons? Well I finished them! These were for a friend's custom order but they have inspired me to finally complete one for myself! If you are interested in an apron for yourself or to give as a gift- feel free to leave me a comment or find them on my Etsy shop! 


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