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Friday, February 28, 2014

Blues Be Gone, Baby!

This winter my dear friends has seemed never ending.  Classes and schools cancelled for periods of time seem as though it is a norm.  What a winter this has been!  I don't know about you, but I am over this whole "Polar Vortex" thing.  So much so this was even my Facebook Status:
As found on my Facebook Page...yes the comments add to the hilarity of it all too...

Winter blues hit a little harder than usual the past few months.  I was kind of needing a little pick me up, if you will, so I accidentally thought outside the box and it actually worked.  Blues be gone, baby!

Being that I am a social individual, I sought the help from a friend.  My friend Rachel and I take ourselves very seriously...more times than not.  We decided to make a visit to the mall to promote exercise of our legs and mouths.  We walked for a good 2-1/2 hours.  We ate an Auntie Anne's pretzel.  We continued to walk until we stepped into Claire's Boutique.  That my friends is where we got lost in goofiness, headbands, and One Direction memorabilia.

Being that we both were in the market for new headbands (a girl can NEVER have enough especially of the kind that is comfortable).  We were looking on the racks and trying a plethora of items on our heads.  Some looked amazing others not so much.  Then we realized, they are having a buy one get one 1/2 off on earrings!  Another awesome item a girl could always use.  We checked out the clearance almost too good to be true.  Some of the pairs made us laugh and others a little confused.  The end result put a slight dent in our pocket as well as increased our style points I must confess.

We ended up with a wide array for ourselves.  Check out these beauties:
I couldn't stop laughing.  Rachel couldn't stop laughing.  We literally laughed until we cried.  We decided that her sister definitely couldn't live with out these.  Might as well make her laugh as well!

Upon paying, we sat and chatted for about a 1/2 an hour more until we realized we definitely shut the mall down.  Who would have thought that the mall could be the place for such laughter and lifting us up and out of our winter blues!  It was just what we needed.

Catie's Bucket List:
#25 Be a "Mall Rat"

Checked it off the list...word.  Never underestimate the power of a true friendship.  You can go anywhere and make it fun and exciting.  Sometimes just spending quality time with your friends is enough to make those blues disappear.  Who would have thought?

Catie Manning
Hair Stylist

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kenya Teaches Brittany

One of my absolute best friends wrote an incredible blog the other day and has agreed to share it... here is what Brittany has to say...

Dear High School Self….

You’re not going to believe this.  I’m going to Africa this summer and it won’t be for the first time.  This will actually be my third trip to Africa.  Did I just make your heart start racing with panic and fear?  Don’t worry, you have about seven years to prepare yourself (although you’ll never be fully prepared for that first trip).  

Right now, I know you have the rest of your life planned out after graduation.  Your plan starts with going to college to become a teacher.  After you graduate you’ll find a full time teaching job in Avon, move out of your parents’ house, meet an amazing guy, get married, have two kids (a girl and a boy), get a dog, a cat, and be a stay at home mom in your house with a big front porch and a pool in the backyard.  
Well high school self, I have some advice for you and it’s only five words:
"Let go of your plan."
I know how much you like to be in control, and I know you’ve had your plan set in stone since you were a little girl.  I know how stubborn you are and how much you are going to fight with God over keeping your plan.  I hate to tell you, but God is going to take your world and flip it upside down.  Then He’s going to send you to the other side of the world and rip you right out of your comfort zone.  You will find yourself thousands of miles from home walking through some of the worst slums in Africa.  As terrifying as that sounds right now, I can tell you that Africa was a part of God’s plan all along.  From the moment you step foot in the slums, you will forever be changed.     
Letting go of your plan won’t be easy, but I can tell you that God’s plan is SO much better!  You won’t even recognize yourself in ten years!  God is going to challenge and strengthen your faith in the years to come.  He’s going to take your passion for teaching and call you to teach in the last place you ever expected to be.  He’s going to call you to lead instead of just follow.  He’s going to show you that life is so much more than just the American dream.  
So high school self, I leave you with this verse to remember in the years to come.  Cling to these words, let go of your plan, and let God do an amazing work in you.  
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Will you make the choice to be healthy?

This blog post thought started when a ripple went through the nation about the most recent Biggest Loser Winner and how she may be TOO skinny. I'll be honest, I've always had the fear of this happening with that show, especially for people who are former athletes (super competitive) and/or have addictive personalities. I fear this because I've walked in those shoes. I'm a former athlete and also a former exercise anorexic. I've felt the thrill of losing weight and wanting the numbers to KEEP coming off even when there really were no more pounds to shred. I know the "joy" of stepping on the scale every morning and feeling that "control", but I refuse to go back there. Refuse.

Instead I choose this...

I choose to be healthy!

And I want to challenge you to do the same. I want to challenge you to let go of the number on the scale, let go of the calorie counting, let go of the fat restricting... and simply choose to live a healthy life. Choose to daily eat fruits, vegetables, and nutrient dense foods... to daily be active and to be active at an activity level that is healthy and not overindulgent. Choose to tell yourself you are beautiful just the way you are every day and to judge your health level by how you feel, the energy you have, and the way your clothes are fitting. Choose to deal with your anger, frustrations, insecurities, and anything else bothering you instead of letting it eat away at you. Choose to embrace yourself. Right now. Where you are at. Choose to let go of harmful practices, harmful relationships, harmful foods. Choose to have cheat days. Right now, in this moment, I challenge you to make a choice.

Will you make the choice to be healthy?

Will you choose to recognize you are a unique individual and your healthy is vastly different from anyone else's healthy?

One of the worst things we can do is compare our health to our neighbors health. To compare our weight to our neighbors. To compare our diet to our neighbors. To compare our exercise regimen to our neighbors. To compare our job to our neighbors. To compare our relationships to our neighbors. 

Choose to let go of comparison.

Choose in this moment for facebook, pinterest, and all other social media to not be comparison resources, but rather to be resources that help you to establish YOUR version of healthy. Your own unique and absolutely stunningly beautiful version of healthy. Trust me, it is worth it... Because you are far more than a number on a scale, a clothing size, miles run, hours worked out, job title, friends on facebook, and whatever else you may define yourself by.

You are stunningly unique and beautiful.

Today is your day. To choose to change those habits whether they are over exercising or under exercising. Whether it is over eating or under eating or maybe it is not sleeping enough or sleeping too much.It just might be too much junk food and not enough nutrients or maybe it is an abusive relationship. It may be letting go of that self harm you think will help ease your pain. Whatever it is that is keeping you from being the healthiest you, I challenge you, get to the core of the problem. So my challenge to you:

Dig down to the core of your unhealthy habits.

 It is going to suck. But it is most definitely worth it. It may have started somewhere in your childhood or those dreadful years called middle school. It could be self inflicted or stem for lies that someone has fed you. It could be out of sheer laziness or lack of self worth. Whatever it is, find it and face it. Let's walk through the unhealthy habit struggles together while each of our unique versions of healthy unfolds. 

Will you walk this journey with me?

I sure hope so! If you feel so inclined, share your stories, your pictures, and your journey. I absolutely love stories of beauty from ashes! The road to health is a daily journey and it is better traveled together, side by side, without comparison but rather a journey full of teammates. Let's do this. Together.

You my friend, are stunning and beautiful and I canNOT wait to watch what your version of healthy looks like.

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is the day where everyone thinks of conversation hearts, flowers, chocolates, hot dates and romantic sentiments.  I mean, even my Pandora has added stations to set the mood....

Pandora's email to me this morning...
So, tonight is a special night.  Are you going out?  Staying in?  Today, I am going to give you some small, but festive ways to sport Valentine's Day whether you decide to get dolled up or stay in your pajamas.

Roses are red...
I love roses as most girls do.  So why not incorporate them into a hair style!  You don't have to do something outrageous to look chic.  These are just felt rosettes on a clip.

I found this on

Violets are blue....
Right now, pastel eye color palettes are all the rage!  MAC and Cover Girl have their pastel shades out just in time for spring.  If you are wanting a little more dynamic make-up this evening, consider using violet eye shadow to accent your eyes.  A little can have a brilliant affect and go a long way.  Light eyes are perfect for evening.

Look found on
Here is another beautiful palette that you might consider:

You are beautiful...
Whether you are celebrating this holiday with a significant other, with friends, or just simply chalking it up to another Friday in is always a good reminder to look in the mirror and genuinely realize all of the qualities you possess that makes you awesome!  Remember there is only one you.

I hope you believe that too!
You don't need one day to feel special in my book.  You should feel special everyday!  Life is about the little things, you know...

Happy Valentine's Day,
Catie Manning

Friday, February 7, 2014

Reacquainting Myself with the Gym: Enjoy the Trip...

All my life, I have been accustomed to working out.  I have spent more than half my life in 3 sports for prolonged periods of time to which "choosing" to work out was never an issue.  It was simply something I did and didn't think twice about doing.  Well now I am faced with forcing myself to "choose" to work out.  Blah.

When did this love for working out die out?  Maybe it was simply because working two jobs and maintaing some social, church and prayer time was completely exhausting!  I don't have time for a riff-raff let alone any other additions to this schedule and yet, I realize there is a gapping hole missing.  I miss working out.  I miss feeling healthy and not tired and sluggish.  I miss the burn.  And for all of this yearning to fill the void, last night I chose to work out.

I left the house with my essentials: full water bottle, iPod, headphones and keys with gym card.  I was wearing and testing out my Bolder Band and a giant sweatshirt.  Normally, I would try and at least look put together in case I would run into someone.  Last night, I just didn't care.  I wasn't there to impress--I was there to work out darn it--but boy this was a trip!

Scrubbin' it!  :-)

The Trip: Part 1

Activity: Cardio and Endurance.
Music: Fun. and Fall Out Boy
Mental State: Do work son!  Ready to go!

I stretched my legs, neck, back and arms.  I rolled my ankles and wrists to loosen up a bit.  After that, I sound an open treadmill and I found myself in the center of the gym anxious as ever.  Anxiety rises.

Treadmill is on and walking starts.  I started walking at a good pace to get the blood going.  I had a full water bottle sitting in the cup holder, so I forced myself to drink it.  I knew I needed more water than just that one bottle, so I had to drink 2 bottles before I could leave the treadmill for good.  My hands started to feel clammy.  I started to fidget.  My anxiety level continues to rise.  Were other people looking at me?  I started to become self conscious and look around at other persons working out.  I tried to keep myself loose by stretching...

"Oh her hair is cute!"

"Her hair is done with full make-up for the gym?  Maybe she came from work or something..." 

"how is that guy running in a ball cap? If that were me, that would have flown off by now"

"oh crap, almost dropped the iPod....again....I need to switch this song to something else"

"holy geez that guy is ripped! I wonder how much he can squat..."

"WOW I could really help that guy out with hair color..."

"He is super cute...oh and there is his girlfriend...."

"Oh her workout gear is so different, wonder where she got it?"

"I hope I'm not bothering this guy next to me with my water bottle crinkle noise...oh well if I am!"

Yes that is literally everything that went through my head for the first 7 or so minutes so I switched to running.  

As seen on

Surely I was not the only person in the history of working out at a gym that this has happened to! After that, I switched walking and running every 7 minutes from there on out.  I did this for 30 minutes and polished off the second bottle of water.  Refill water machine!

The Trip: Part 2

Activity: Stairs; Legs and Gluts
Music: Imogen Heap, Instrumentals 
Mental State: Motivated

I have a love hate relationship with the stair climb machine.  It is hard for me.  I was really going to do work on this one!  Left foot then right foot (repeat).  I almost wiped out because my toe caught the lip of the plastic where the mystery stair appears...then I tried to drop my iPod again.  So I just kept my head down. Sigh. Don't. Fall. Off. Machine....

To my dismay, I was appalled at my progress as I was intentionally trying to burn calories.  DID YOU KNOW, 20 minutes on a low to moderate increase of speed having climbed over 40 flights of stairs burned just over 100 calories!?  I found my mind wandering here too.  You see there is a window on the other side of the machine that leads to where most of the guys lifting major weight go.  So of course I felt like I was putting on a show for them!  "HEY YOU STOP STARING AT MY ASSETS!"  Grrr.....just drink your water, Cate and calm the heck down...."WOOSAH!" ( Moving back to the mat...

The Trip: Part 3

Activity: Core Strength
Music: Jason Mraz: Geek in the Pink
Mental State: Cool. Calm. Collected.

Then, not 10 minutes later,  I was just annoyed.  There were a bunch of high school girls sitting on the mats taking up space and talking.  There are other places to talk. Don't you go to the gym to exercise?  

Once I switched to planks, I was dependent upon the wall clock to know when my minute was up.  WELL guess who moved right in front of the clock!?  The talking young ladies!  I was scooting to locate the clock.  Could this girl not see me?  Was I not being obvious???  Squirm more.  Ouch this is really starting to burn....come on move?!  Has it been a minute yet....WHAT I HAVE 15 more seconds?!  At the end of my 15 seconds, I collapsed on the mat.  I was done with the gym at that point.  I was just done.  I was irritated and annoyed.  

I stretched for 5 minutes then, I gathered my things and I took my rear home.

Finale: Light Bulb Moment!

Activity: Reflection
Music:  Jimmy Eat World: "The Middle"
Mental State: Partly annoyed with a chance of irritation....

Last night, I realized why it had taken me so long to get back to the gym.  It wasn't the being at the gym that bothered me so much as what happens at the gym.  I get annoyed at others lack of awareness or consideration toward other's space and workout needs.  As humans naturally are comparing ourselves to one another based on a perception of progress.  I won't wear form fitting clothes either because I feel like guys are always ogling over my body despite my perceived imperfections.  I want to work out without catching someone looking at my rear end or cleavage.  It is uncomfortable.  

I think my love of working out paused was when I felt my body change from this fit athletic little girl into a curvy young woman.  I have become overly self conscious with my flaws.  Yes, I have always been muscular, but as the years progress my muscle softens a little bit and is slightly more insulated.  I have let myself go a little bit.  That is directly in relation to me not eating healthy or working out as I should.

I am glad that I have become reacquainted with my old friend the gym as it has made me realize how important it is to take care of myself.  I have a feeling that we are going to become close friends as this year progresses.  I have identified my insecurities of being in the gym environment and flaws with my body.  The trip isn't going anywhere so might as well enjoy the ride and concur these insecurities.

Look out!  Motivated hair stylist coming through...
Catie Manning

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I need cancer patients

The amazing nurses I work with

I was debating on my blog topic for this week while sitting and watching the Superbowl. And then the Chevy commercial came on. I wasn't quite sure what it was about, but the look on the wife's face were tears of appreciation and joy and the look on the husband's face of thankfulness and complete adoration reminded me of so many relationships I've witnessed within my job. And then came the truth, it was exactly about that. February 4, 2014 is world cancer day. And while I'm not a Chevy fan, I appreciate that they spent their Superbowl money to raise awareness. Check out the commercial:

I've had this thought running through my head for a few weeks about how it is viewed that my patients need me. They need me to draw their blood, take their vitals, listen to their symptoms and help manage them, help make things clear and explain things, teach them about different things, give them their medications, listen to their struggles, and so much more. Even on the toughest days... the days where I struggle to smile or struggle to focus I know without a doubt I was made to be a nurse; specifically a nurse to cancer patients. It is on these days of struggle that I especially need cancer patients.

I feel strange saying that I need cancer patients, but it is true. I want to make it clear... I have a strong dislike, really a hate, for cancer and wish that it didn't exist, but I have first hand witnessed how something so ugly can produce some of the most beautiful stories.  These patients and their families make my life so much richer. Through their battles I learn so much. Through their love for each other I learn so much. Through their ability to show their struggles I learn so much. My absolute favorite aspect of my job is sitting down and talking with these patients and their loved ones. It is knowing that at the end of the day I just don't put medications in them and draw their blood, but that I truly have spent time with them. That when things get tough, they trust me.

I think back on some of my favorite patient stories, and to be honest they are often hard stories, but beauty within them. The young dad who was going home on hospice, but still chose to enjoy every moment he could with his wife and son despite the excruciating pain he was in. The middle aged woman who thought I was crazy because I wouldn't leave her side when she had elevated blood pressure, but smiled at me. I had the privilege of taking care of her almost every shift and her smile sticks in my head and heart. She had a grace about her that few have. One day I came in and I remember the shock I had as I heard she was actively dying. I had the privilege of knowing this incredible woman, and I had the privilege of taking care of her in her last few hours. Her grace shined through in her final breaths.

I remember the man who had ulcerative colitis and on top of that a new diagnosis of cancer. He had a longer medical history than almost anyone I've ever seen. I took care of him for 3 nights in a row. On night one he could barely sit up on his own. By night 3 he was getting out of bed and walking. I have rarely seen such courage, hard work, and determination. It was through this patient I learned what determination truly looks like.

I could talk for hours about the love I have witnessed in so many husbands eyes as they look at their wives. Often these women have lost all their hair, many have had mastectomies, and their color is gone. Their physical beauty is altered by all of this and normally many scars. But this is where I've witnessed what true love looks like. Because in these husbands eyes all I saw was love; pure adoration for their wives. It has been in these stories I've been challenged not to settle. To find a love that is as true as these that I've seen.

Just last week while my patient is facing cancer, which makes so many of my battles seem insignificant, a very special patient wrote ME a note of encouragement. I had had a very bad week (you can read about it here) and this patient was encouraging ME. It is true when I say, I need cancer patients. They make my life so much richer. And I am so blessed and thankful to call myself a nurse of cancer patients.

So as world cancer day is here (or possibly it is after it as you are now reading this), I want to challenge you. Challenge you to learn the stories of the wonderful people who face cancer daily. Challenge you to see how you can help raise money to fight this horrible disease. Challenge you to join in supporting these wonderful people during or after their battle. Challenge you to walk alongside the loved ones of those who have faced this disease not directly, but through walking this battle with a loved one. I promise you won't regret learning their stories.

Trust me when I say, you will not regret getting to know these incredible stories and these incredible people.

How are you going to fight?

3 of my favorite oncology RDs and I
On a final note we want to share in the rejoicing of a miracle of baby Charlie. His mother shared their story here: But this only happens to other people Christa shared this incredible news on facebook just the other day and we are SO excited for baby Charlie and his parents:

"I know many of you have been following our journey, and I just have to let you know about our latest miracles. A little over two weeks ago we began patching Charlie's good eye with an eye patch daily in effort to strengthen the bad eye. The Dr. said that "we could not patch enough". I had high hopes that he would see to of that eye immediately, and things would be great. This unfortunately was not the case. It was very difficult to watch Charlie's happy demeanor change every time we patched him. He would hang his head and just check-out. He would not respond at all to Scott or I visually and that was pretty heartbreaking. It seemed cruel to me to be putting him through this, but we knew we had to stay with it. We began to pray. Jesus healed the blind in the Bible, right? God has brought Charlie this far, so why wouldn't he continue to work in his little life? So we continued to patch, but I needed an attitude adjustment with it. Patching was something I dreaded because Charlie didn't enjoy it, and it's unbelievably difficult to keep an eight month old engaged for a couple hours a day when he can't see. I tried new things everyday to stimulate his other senses, but I was definitely running out of ideas. I was reading one morning in my devotional, Jesus Calling (highly recommend!) and it challenged me to thank God for the very things that were troubling me. Patching immediately came to mind! It hit me that I really should be thankful for the very opportunity to patch Charlie's eye - just 6 months ago we were given a 0% chance of saving his eye. Six months ago the idea and patching and the possibility of having vision let alone an eye were out of the question. How sad that I quickly forgot how far God has brought us. What a mammoth perspective shift! Thank you Lord for that wake-up call. Anyways, that was on the 27th. Yesterday on the 29th Charlie showed his first glimpses of vision in that eye. While we had him patched yesterday he responded with a smile to Scott's silent silly faces. I'm typing through the tears right now because I just really feel like we once again witnessed God's healing hand on our boy. Charlie also reached for and successfully obtained two remotes intentionally. This was amazing! So today we patched again, but this time I laid the remotes out on the floor and he crawled to them! What an amazing God we serve. So we continue to pray for progress and sight, and be thankful for the very things that are troubling us. I'll try to get a video of it tomorrow and post - it's truly amazing!"

Ways you can help:
Kim's Fundraising Page
Denis's St. Jude fundraising page


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