Lesson Learned: Take Care of Your Skin!

Let’s talk about skincare!  Specifically, let’s talk about skincare for oily skin.

I must admit, taking care of my skin has always ended up a low priority.  It doesn’t start that way.  It just ends up that way.  Its either due to cost or due to availability.  Let’s face it.  In the world of cruelty free skincare for oily skin, it can be a little challenging.  Great products made specifically for oily skin and/or acne usually come from companies that test on animals.  Two major players in this game are Clean & Clear and Neutrogena.  I grew up on Clean & Clear.  It was affordable for a teenager/young adult, and it was coming of age just as I was.

Fast forward a decade (maybe 2), and I find myself an adult buying moisturizer and cleanser from Trader Joe’s.  Why?  Its simple.  I’ve given up.  And let’s face it, I’m cheap when it comes to certain stuff.  But what I failed to realize is that I was not taking good enough care of my skin.  Its like I refuse to get more grown up with my skin care, but my skin was definitely changing with my age.

Enter a particularly humid summer and me, a girl who loves to wear full coverage foundation.  My skin looked terrible.  I needed to make a change.  In a nutshell, I went to Sephora, saying that my foundation was giving me issues.  I said I had oily skin and that I use Trader Joe’s cleanser and moisturizer.  They gave me a look that said it all.  I’m doing the exact opposite of the right thing.  HA!  After some discussion, I landed on the OleHenriksen Balance line.  The main components of this line is the Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser, Balancing Force Oil Control Toner and the Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator.  After a week of using all 3, I’ve noticed such a difference that I almost feel silly for all the wasted time on cookie cutter skin care.  In conjunction with the OleHenriksen products, I’ve started to do weekly detoxifying masks.  My favorite is the Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask.  It smells nice, and it isn’t painful.

All in all, this week has taught me a valuable lesson.  When it comes to taking care of your skin, you have to get what is right for you.  Plus, when your skin looks good, you feel good.  I’m extremely excited to see the results after doing this routine for a few weeks.  I can already tell its working, and its an extremely satisfying feeling.

By the way…nothing against the skin care available at Trader Joe’s.  Its cruelty free and super affordable.  If you have normal skin, it will likely be closer to the right fit!  =)

Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mask

OleHenriksen Balance It All Essentials Set

DIY Travel Palette

Travelling.  Its either something you do often, or not enough.  As a self-proclaimed home body, I do not travel often.  And if I do, its usually somewhere close like Las Vegas or San Francisco.  Basically, somewhere that I can drive to within a few hours.  I’m not great at being away from home, and my cat, McClane.  I worry about whether everything is ok back home, and it can totally derail my vacation.  And surprisingly, this fact does not bother me.  I take comfort in the fact that I like to have a home base.

However, this year, something bigger is on the horizon.  I’m taking an actual vacation, for more than 4 days.  I also have to fly there.  I have not gone someplace other then the state of Nevada or California in at least 5 years.  This September, though, I shall be going to New York City.  I have only been once in my entire life, and it was to be a balloon handler in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I was in the city for less than 24 hours, and it was so long ago that I barely remember much of that day.  But alas, I will be there for 5 days and 2 half days.  Since I don’t want to be hassled too much, I will only be taking 1 carry on and a backpack.  Herein lies the challenge.  What am I supposed to do about makeup?!

Normally, while travelling, I’m driving, so there are no restrictions on what I can take.  I can take as much makeup as I want.  But, with this trip, due to TSA regulations and  space limitations, I needed to seriously consolidate the makeup I am bringing.  All toiletries need to fit in my makeup bag and of course, the 1 quart bag for the liquids.  I thought about it.  Well, I could try and buy the trial sizes of everything I have, but at $15-$20 per item, that could be pricier than I would like.

Then, my sister gave me an idea.  She was going to Italy and she bought the Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette.  It comes with eye shadows, blush, highlighter and contour.  I realized quickly that the problem with these kinds of palettes (although beautiful) is that the colors are predetermined.  And in my case, its either the eye shadows are not my colors (too light) or the contour/highlight shades are not my colors (too dark).  And so, the quest began; the quest to build the ultimate travel face palette.  And let’s just say that what I came up with is the perfect travel set for ME.  Now, if you were to buy all of this new, it would come up to around $60.  I already had a couple of the items, so it did not break the bank.

Here is what did:

Step 1:  Get some sort of empty magnetic palette.  I used the Morphe one, as it was the best priced one I could find.  I used the 6 in x 4 in size, as I needed space for 6 eye shadows, Blush, Highlighter and Contour/Bronzer.

Step 2:  Get a plan of what colors you want to put in your palette.  For me, I wear black eye shadow often, so I knew that I would want a basic color scheme of White/Gray/Black, along with a few colors to mix it up.  For blush, you want one that matches all potential makeup looks.  The same goes for your highlighter.  Contour is the easiest as your shade is your shade.

Step 3:  Locate all of the chosen colors in pan only.  Ah, pan only.  This is actually a concept that is falling by the wayside.  Some companies sell the component that allows you to pop the pan out, but its easier, in my opinion, to find them in pan only to begin with.  For eye shadow, Morphe, Makeup Geek, Colourpop & Anastasia Beverly Hills are my go-tos for this.  For Blush and Highlight, I chose Makeup Geek’s Heart Throb and Shimma Shimma (an eye shadow shade that works fantastic as a highlighter).  And for contour, I used the Kat Von D in shade Sombre.  Kat Von D Beauty came out with the refillable version in the incomparable Shade + Light Contour Palette.

Step 4:  Fill your empty palette, throw it in your bag and enjoy your vacation!

Now, of course, with an empty magnetic palette, the possibilities are endless.  Especially since you can always buy magnetic strips at the craft store to make anything stick in the palette.  With makeup, it is especially important to remember that if something doesn’t work for you, there will surely be a way to find an alternative.  It may take more effort than just buying something already made, but at least you get EXACTLY what you want.  I included a picture of what my palette looks like below, along with the links to the products.  =)

 

PostPic

Eye Shadows:  Top – Porcelain/Pink Silk, Middle – Velveteen/Magic, Bottom – Coal/Emerald

 

Kat Von D Shad + Light Contour Palette – $49

Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Refill – Shade Sombre – $16

Makeup Geek Blush Pan – Heart Throb – $10

Makeup Geek Eye Shadow – Shimma Shimma – $6

Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadow Singles – Emerald – $12

Morphe Eyeshadow Singles – Magic, Pink Silk, Coal, Velveteen, Porcelain – $2.29 each

Magic

Velveteen

Porcelain

Coal

Pink Silk

Morphe Empthy Magnetic Palette (6″ by 4″) – $6.99

 

Be Well Challenge: The End is Near

This month has been crazy, and has been such a good experience.  I loved being able to ramp up healthy habits and things that help to reduce my negative effect on the planet.  When I originally started this challenge, it was the most intensive way I could think of to gain footing in making things stick.  Although I did not do everything perfectly, I am content with the progress I have made over the last month.

Let’s start with food.  I don’t think I have ever eaten as well and as consciously as I have for the last month.  Being mindful of what I am putting in my body made me eat healthier on the whole.  And although there was the occasional misstep, I did a lot better than I thought I would.  I bought more fruits and veggies, and ate more clean.  Adding in the Farmers Market component to this challenge was extremely beneficial.  I tried some new things, and taught me to go outside my comfort zone.  Before this, I would have never tried dandelion greens or even the green plums.

Now…on to workouts.  I was almost perfect with my workouts.  Forcing myself to be consistent makes it a part of my life.  Some people really dread physical exercise.  But the truth is is that I get to workout.  After surviving cancer, it is nice to be able to do anything.  Working out is no exception.

When it comes to waste, I would say that this is where I was my weakest.  I realized quickly that there are many places that do not subscribe to the less is more philosophy with waste.  Personally, I frequently forgot my reusable cups and eating take out made this more difficult than expected.  However, I most definitely was more conscious of the waste I was producing.  And although I wasn’t able to eliminate my waste, I’m definitely moving in the right direction.

All in all, this was a very cool experience.  I learned about what motivates me and what I really enjoy doing.  And I really enjoy being healthy.  Exercising, taking care of the planet, and eating right just makes me a happier person.

Yay or Nay: Dandelion Greens

In my quest to try something new every week at the Farmers Market, I decided to try dandelion greens.  Dandelion Greens are extremely high in good nutrients and from what I’ve read, is way more of a super green than kale.  As far as greens go, he more bitter the better they are for you (or so I’ve read).  How could I not want to give these a chance?

My conversation with the farmer went like this:

*Me:  What are those?

*Farmer:  Dandelion Greens

*Me:  Sold!  I’ll google how to cook them.  This will be interesting.

*Farmer:  Usually people eat them with a little lemon.  They taste terrible.

In my head, I thought, oh great..can’t wait.  I don’t think I was even out of the stall before I had put “how to cook dandelion greens” in my Pinterest search box.  It seemed like, overwhelmingly, the preferred method to cook dandelion greens was with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper (I linked the recipe at the end).  The basics of cooking dandelion greens is to wash them, cut them into pieces (about 3 inches) and sauté in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Now, I put waaayyyy too much salt, like, an obscene amount.  Also of note, these cook down much like spinach.  So, you get 1/3 of what you actually put in the pan.  Cooking them took about 8 minutes.  After they were all wilted and tender, time to taste.  First bite, oh these aren’t bad.  A little bitter, but I could get used to the bitterness.  Second bite, wow, these are really bitter, the guy was right.  Third bite, how many bites until I’m done?

I know what you are thinking, how bitter could they POSSIBLY be.  If you have never had dandelion greens, I urge you to try them.  Judging by how many stalls have them at the Farmers Market, I imagine that more people than I think like them.  If I had to describe the bitterness, they are about 10 times more bitter than arugula.  With that being said, I am not ruling them completely out.  I also found a recipe for pesto using dandelion greens.  Maybe when the trauma has worn off, I’ll try that.  But for now, its a no go for me.

Dandelion Greens from: Givens Farm (Yes, they are organic!)

Recipe used:  http://www.italianfoodforever.com/2008/05/sauted-dandelion-greens/

Be Well Challege: 2 Weeks In! 

My original intention with this challenge was to update everyday about my progress. However, life happens. I was sick (I’ll talk about that), and was super busy. So, now, I’m looking at a 10 day gap in updates. So, here is a general update on the first half of this challenge.

Food:
What I have been eating has been pretty much the same every day. Instead of a detailed per day update on food, I’ve included a general guideline I use when planning my food for the day.

      *Breakfast: Usually, I try to eat   something that will get me through the morning, and not make me a crazy person. This usually consists of oatmeal and fruit. On the weekends, I usually eat eggs with toast.

     *Lunch: For work, I usually bring a sandwich, a veggie, and a fruit. Summer at the Farmer’s Market is so great. I fully take advantage of fresh strawberries and stone fruit. On the weekends, I try to get it as healthy as possible. There is no method to the madness on the weekends, but I just try to stay within the healthy set of foods.

     *Dinner: My biggest range of variety comes with dinner. Same as lunches on the weekend, I just try to keep it as healthy as possible. I will usually indulge in pasta with sauce and some kind of veggie. 

Farmers Market: The last 2 weeks have been so great at the Farmers Market. I also committed to trying something new every week. The first week was dandelion greens (I will update what I did with these in a separate post). The second week, I tried some green plums. I’m a creature of habit, and picking a green plum is not in my lane. It was delicious. They were slightly less sweet than a purple plum and worked so awesome mixed with the yellow nectarines I bought. 

Waste: The past few days have been rough on the waste front. I started housesitting for my parents in the middle of the week. And they are also having their kitchen worked on, so I’ve had to buy food every day. This has contributed to my overall waste. Also, a major waste fail over the last few days is with Starbucks. It makes me so sad about this, as reducing my waste is one of the key parts of this challenge. 

Workouts: This is one of the biggest wins over the last 10 days. Aside from the 2 days I was sick, I completed all scheduled workouts. Overall, I can tell the difference in my mood. Exercise just makes you feel better. Even if it’s just a quick walk, or stretching. 

I mentioned in the beginning that I was sick. Even prior to this challenge, I have been trying to eat as healthy as possible. My favorite food is quite possibly donuts, followed by anything else fried. I have largely abstained from eating those, as it never is good for you. But, as stated before, life happens. And sometimes, life can derail you from being consistent. This past weekend, I went on a bit of a binge. Saturday, I had 4 donuts, 4! This was followed by tacos that were fried in oil. Then, on Sunday, I had a generous portion of fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Are you starting to see a theme? Well, this all resulted in me being sick for 2 days from the bad eating. Lesson learned. When you eat healthy, then eat A LOT of bad food in a quick time frame, it will affect you negatively. You could escape unscathed, but usually, it doesn’t end well. 

All in all, this challenge has been pretty great. It has taught me a lot already about how I buy things, what my default is, and things that are hard to keep up (like this blog). I’ve also learned that even though you get thrown off course, you can just right the ship and keep going. Quitting is not necessary, and its ok if it doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Be Well Challenge: Days 3-4

Being healthy.  Its something we all strive for.  Not one person says to themselves, “I don’t want to be healthy”.  Its all a matter of how bad one wants to be healthy.  Perhaps they have always applied themselves, and making healthy choices comes easy.  Or perhaps, they have always made horribly unhealthy decisions, and being healthy takes a conscious effort.  I would definitely fall into this category.  This challenge is most definitely helping me make better choices.  When I am more mindful of making the right choice, it becomes easier.  Here is my recap of Days 3 and 4.

Day 3

Workout:  My Monday night yoga class is one of my favorites.  It is with one of my favorite teachers, and its a nice way to start off the work week.  It is also not as challenging as my Sunday class.  It forces me not push as hard as I would like to and listen to what I need at that time.

Food:  When I don’t have to work, I tend to either graze all day or eat horribly.  I tried to be mindful of everything I ate, and it seemed to pay off.  It wasn’t perfect, but hey, at least I didn’t order pizza.

  • Breakfast:  Coffee w/ soy creamer & Cottage Cheese w/ Peaches
  • Lunch:  Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Snack:  Banana
  • Dinner:  Tofu w/ Fried Rice & Frozen Yogurt for dessert

Waste:  As I go through this challenge, I’m realizing more and more the little things that one doesn’t think about when trying to eliminate waste.  The trash I created was limited to 2 wrappers from the cheese slices and empty bag from the fried rice.

Day 4

Workout:  Due to the holiday, my regular gym class was cancelled.  Luckily, there was one available to go to in the morning.  I met my friend at the gym, and we had a great morning workout.  It felt good to be able to get our regular workout in and also to start the day off with a little sweat (or a lot of sweat in my case).

Food:  Oh, the Fourth of July.  A day with BBQs, Fireworks, and lots of other unhealthy food to be eaten.  Other than Christmas or Thanksgiving, this is one of the hardest days to stick to a healthy eating plan.  I tried to not give myself too hard of a time, since I gave in to the temptation.

  • Breakfast:  Coffee w/ Soy Creamer, Eggs w/ Toast
  • Lunch:  Pasta w/ Ground Turkey & Sauce, Salad w/ Tomatoes & Cucumbers
  • Dinner:  Turkey Burger, Hot Dog (no bun), BBQ chips
  • Snack:  Iced Vanilla Latte, Banana

Waste:  I forgot my reusable cup to get a latte after my workout.  In total, the waste produced was the cup from my latte, and a paper plate from the BBQ.  Not the best, but not terrible either.

So far, after 4 days, this IS getting a little easier.

 

Be Well Challenge: Day 1 & 2

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I thought about the plans I had laid out for the next 31 days.  It was a strict plan, but by no means impossible.  I also thought about how I’m tired of being overweight and tired of feeling like I didn’t apply myself to lessening my impact on the planet.  With those thoughts upon awakening, I started my day.  Here is my recap of Day 1.

*Workouts:  I may have gone a tad overboard with this one on Saturday.  I went to my morning circuit TRX class in the morning, then ran 3.34 miles.  I also decided to get in 1 more workout and went to another circuit TRX class in the afternoon.  Normally, I don’t do this much a day.  But I think my enthusiasm for this challenge may have made me do it.

*Food:  An unspoken thing about this challenge is that its not just about not eating fast food.  It about eating healthy in general.

  • Breakfast:  Cottage Cheese w/ fruit
  • Lunch:  Grilled Cheese Sandwich w/ tomatoes
  • Dinner:  Sushi (my friend took me to dinner for a belated birthday dinner)
  • Snack:  Energy bar before my run

All in all, my food intake wasn’t terrible, so I can’t be too mad about it.

*Waste:  Rest assured, I didn’t let any sushi I ordered go to waste.  In all seriousness, I would say that this would be my biggest victory for Day 1.  The only trash I produced was the wrapper from the energy bar and the disposable chopsticks (w/ accompanying wrapper) from dinner.

I would say that Day 1 was a successful day.  I felt good about the day when I was going to sleep, and was looking forward to Day 2.

Day 2 started like every Sunday starts; with Yoga!  Yoga was something that stumbled onto in an effort to get over an ex-boyfriend.  And for whatever reason, I was hooked from the beginning.  I love it, and it has become a part of my life.  It is for sure a workout, but its also something that you can always improve at.  You learn about yourself along the way, and that is sometimes the better benefit.  Here is my recap of Day 2.

*Workouts:  As previously stated, I went to my normal yoga class.  My Sunday class is usually challenging.  Although I may not always be able to do everything, I try to do what is right for me at the time.  Coming off a day in which I overtaxed myself in the workout department, my body just didn’t want to do what I wanted it to.  But rest is ok.

*Food:  Sundays are usually the day in which I am a bit freer in my eating.  But I still try to stick to some kind of boundary.

  • Breakfast:  Banana (pre yoga), Latte & Bagel Bites (post yoga)
  • Lunch:  Prosciutto wrapped shishito peppers
  • Dinner:  Spaghetti w/ sauce and cheese, bread w/ butter
  • Snack:  frozen yogurt after dinner

*Waste:  The only waste created was the wrapper from the bagel bites (which I’m going throw in the recycling bin), the wrapper from the prosciutto, and some paper towels from prepping the produce from the farmers market.

*Farmer’s Market:  I love the Farmer’s Market.  Like, if I could get EVERYTHING there, I would.  But like the rest of America, I also have to be budget conscious.  Summer makes it a lot easier to shop at the Farmer’s Market.  Let’s face it, summer produce is just more appealing.  I got tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, peaches, and dandelion greens (my new item for the week).  Now, I just want to say that NOTHING compares to good tomatoes.  To be dramatic, I feel like I have been living in tomato purgatory for the last 2 seasons.  I appreciate the fact that stores carry organic tomatoes.  But they are just not the same.  My favorite farm, Ellwood Canyon Farms, has the best tomatoes.  This is also my strawberry supplier.  I eat more strawberries and tomatoes than any other produce in the summer.  Enough about that, the important thing is that I used all my reusable bags and refused the plastic bags.  On to the new item, dandelion greens.  I’ve never eaten them, nor do I know how to cook them.  As I was putting them in my bag, I said, I’ll have to google how to cook/eat them.  The farmer then said, good luck, they taste terrible.  I googled how to cook them, and let’s just say ummm…just wish me luck.  I shall update on this in a future post!

And there it is…Day 1 and Day 2 of the Be Well Challenge.  All in all, I would say that the last 2 days were a great start to the month.  I can’t wait for the rest of the month!

30 Day Be Well Challenge

As mentioned in some of my previous posts, I have tried to live a more sustainable lifestyle.  As I have learned, this can be more difficult than I originally thought.  2 years after I set out on this journey, I find myself regressing into a wasteful and not so sustainable way of living.  So, what is missing?  I need accountability and consistency.

And thus, the 30 Day Be Well Challenge was born.  For the month of July, I will be adhering to the below “rules”.  My goal at the end of the month is to reduce my waste and to be healthier.

Here are the “rules”:

  • No extraneous packaging
    • My goal with this one is to reduce my use of plastic, and to refuse styrofoam.
  • Use reusable cups only if going to Starbucks
    • I normally go to Starbucks for an iced tea during the day at work.  5 cups a week for 4 weeks adds up to a total of 20 cups not going into a landfill.
  • No fast food or soda
  • Buy most produce at the Farmers Market every week
    • Supporting local, organic farms is something that I have always felt very strong about.  Relying on large-scale factory farms is not good for the environment, and supporting local farms helps the local economy.
  • Buy only humanely raised animal products
    • Ideally, I would be vegan.  I like the cleanness of a vegan diet, but I can never get the nutrition right when I try to eat a vegan diet.  Every day, I try to eat a little less meat and more plant based products.  Someday, I will get there.
  • Bring my own lunch and coffee to work every day.
    • Bringing your own lunch and coffee helps to save money, and helps you eat healthier.  Frozen dinners are off limits!
  • Complete all scheduled workouts
    • This is a tough one.  I consider myself to be an active person, but I can be incredibly lazy when it comes to working out.  Regular physical activity can only help.

I’m so looking forward to this journey.  Sticking with something starts with being consistent.  In addition to me doing this, I am doing this challenge along with a couple friends.  We all have the same basic rules, and we have all added bonus rules we have added according to other life needs we may have.  Let the fun begin!

Why You Should Listen to Power Ballads

Power Ballads.  Those essential songs of the 80s and early 90s that put a lot of rock bands on the map.  They were there before things got too grungy and after things got punky.  They marked a time in musical history when many songs were about having a good time.  They also served a greater purpose in terms of marketability.  If someone got hooked on the ballad, maybe they would buy the whole record.  Enough about the boring stuff.

You should listen to power ballads because they put you in a good mood.  Whether you like to admit it or not, when Faithfully by Journey comes on the radio, it probably makes you feel happy.  They are also fun to sing to.  Living in today’s world, we are inundated with so many negativity.  A good helping of non-political songs you can sing along to at the top of your lungs could make even the worst day better.  This is of course my opinion, but I challenge anyone to sing Something to Believe In by Poison at full volume in your car and not feel better.

Now, I realize that not everyone has a stockpile of power ballads at their disposal.  So, here is my list of what I think are the Top 10 Power Ballads everyone needs in their playlist.

  •  Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison
    • One of the most identifiable Poison songs.  Usually, people can name this song, even if they cannot name any other Poison songs.  Although this may not be my favorite song from them, its up there.
  • Love Song by Tesla
    • Tesla.  A gravely underrated rock and roll band.  This song put them on the map.  Regardless of its categorization as a ballad, this song is still one of the greatest songs to come out of this time in music.
  • Faithfully by Journey
    • Steve Perry is arguably one of the best vocalists, period.  This song is one of the best in the Journey catalog, and no one can do it like Perry.  A song about being away from your significant other while on the road can pretty much write itself.  Its his voice that makes it.
  • Close My Eyes Forever by Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne
    • The only duet to make the list.  The pairing of Osbourne and Ford always made me wanting more.  I wish they had done another song together, but at least we have this masterpiece.
  • November Rain by Guns N’ Roses
    • Oh where do I begin.  Allegedly, November Rain and this album was technically a pain in the butt to make.  It could also be suggested that the making of Use Your Illusion took a major toll on the band, contributing to the breakup of one of the greatest bands in the history of rock music.  However, this song is their opus.  It has the best guitar solo, some of the best lyrics, and even an orchestral section.
  • Home Sweet Home by Mötley Crüe
    • Now, there are 2 versions of this song.  One is the original on Theatre of Pain.  The other as a reboot (if you will) in 1991.  The difference being that the ’91 version has the intro using an actual piano, instead of a keyboard.  Although the difference is slight, it makes it just better.  With that being said, either version is one of my favorite songs of all time.  This album was this band at its greatest.  This includes Vince Neil at his finest.  All of the goodness of this time period in Crüe history is reflected in Home Sweet Home.
  • More than Words by Extreme
    • Simple and beautiful, this song was their biggest hit.  It is so simplistic that the lyrics just speak for themselves.
  • Don’t You Ever Leave Me by Hanoi Rocks
    • With Hanoi Rocks, it is hard to not think about the tragic death of Razzle, and how the band’s magic was lost with him.  This song is one of my favorite Hanoi Rocks songs and it is a reminder of when the glam metal era was coming of age.  Michael Monroe may not be on many people’s radar, but he is one of the greatest frontmen of all time.  The whole album is also worth a listen.  Period.
  • Heartbreak Station by Cinderella
    • After seeing Tom Keifer last year, I heard the story behind this song.  Keifer met his now wife Savannah years before they got married.  He wrote this song about their first meeting.  Years later, they reconnected and are living happily now.  Although this song is incredibly heart wrenching, knowing that story, it just makes me think that you should never think that happiness is unattainable.
  • High Enough by Damn Yankees
    • This song.  This song will surely make people roll their eyes.  I love this song.  Its fun to sing along to, and evokes that feeling you want from listening to a power ballad.  For myself, it is also my favorite Ted Nugent thing, even more than Cat Scratch Fever.

So, there it is, my Top 10 Power Ballads.  Enjoy!

Bouncing Back

As I’ve shared before, prior to the cancer diagnosis, I had started training for a half marathon.  After the all clear in July 2016, I was determined to get my body back in the shape it was in previously.  I had lost all core strength and all my stamina.  But that is what happens when you are in bed for the better part of 4 months.

Not even before my picc line was out, I had resumed yoga.  Although it was a drag to practice with the hinderance of a picc line, doing SOMETHING felt fabulous.  And luckily, I had the guidance of teachers that understood and cared.  After the picc line was out, I was able to go full throttle.  I, of course, expected to be at the same place quickly, but it took me longer.  After a few months, I started to get the same strength back.  Triumphs are triumphs, no matter how small.  Prior to getting sick, I was almost able to get my feet off the ground in Crow Pose, and I had started working on inversions.  The first time post treatment that I was able to get both feet off the ground in Crow Pose was so exciting that I fell out.  But that is ok, it gave me the signal that I was getting stronger.  I’m still struggling with inversions, but I’ll get there someday.

I also started running.  Running is not something that I necessarily care for, but it is good exercise.  I also had a goal in mind; completing a half marathon.  Now, of course, 4 months outside of a half marathon, having just completed cancer treatment, there is just not enough time to train for something like that.  With that being said, I was still committed to supporting my squad in their race.  After discussing the trip, my friend said that I could still do the 5K if I wanted to.  And they were right.  3.1 miles is certainly different than 13.1.  And thus, I set out to train for a 5K in November.

November came, and soon, it was race day.  I had never done an official race before.  It was exciting and I was nervous.  But, the race started and off I was.  I completed the race in 43 minutes.  Upon immediate completion, I decided this was terrible and was never doing it again.  By the time we got to the taxi stand, I was saying that I wanted to do another one.  Unfortunately, this is what running does to you.  It makes you want more.  I am a self proclaimed hater of running, but I love doing races.  It is also a massive accomplishment.  It may not be to someone who is top physical condition, but for someone who was semi-fresh out of cancer treatment, it was everything.  My body was coming back to me.  I started to own it again.

Since November, I’ve completed 7 races.  Within that 7, I’ve completed a Spartan Sprint and most recently, the iconic Bay to Breakers in SF.  I cherish every medal and I will always cherish the medals from the first year I started doing races.  This is an important year and I have something to prove, not to everyone else, but to the cancer.  That it doesn’t own me, and never will.

Fitness has become a staple in my every day.  I think to feel your body getting stronger is psychologically healing as well.  As I approach the year anniversary of me not having cancer anymore, I still can’t believe that its only been a year.  My life has been full and awesome and full of sweat.  I am eternally grateful that I have a body healthy enough to run 6 miles.  And in November of 2017, I will be running 13.1 in Las Vegas with my beautiful squad.

Here are some of my medals. =)