Friday, November 21, 2014

Family Friday - Winter Weather

Ah winter weather. Part of me is ready for some serious snow so we can take Russell outside to build snowmen, make snow angels, and just run around in the snow. Then there's the part of me that realizes snow = crazy terrible commutes. BOO! For now I am embracing things knowing that the seasons must change at some point so winter here we go!

We finally bought our tickets to The Nutcracker. We haven't ever gone to the ballet before so this will be fun.
Yep, there is no escape. The stores are full of Christmas stuff. This was just one endcap...
Russell is sporting his winter coat and carrying his lemon. He loves to hold on to lemons for some reason.
I get it's not even Thanksgiving yet but Russell loves trains so we put some up on the windows and he loves it!
Surprisingly the trains have still lasted so far. We have low expectations for them surviving through December.
Last Saturday we woke up to our first snow that stuck but by mid day a lot of it had melted already.
A snowy train seemed perfect with the snow outside.
Are you ready for winter weather? Have you already had snow where you live or are you lucky enough to live somewhere that doesn't see snow? I saw plenty of pictures of friends in the Salt Lake valley who got way more snow than we did. It will be interesting to see how much snow we get this winter.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Wedding Fun

I decided this week I wanted to share some pictures from our wedding. I was talking to a friend at work who had a terrible experience with a wedding photographer who proved to be very unprofessional. It made me really grateful that I had a wonderful wedding photographer who did a great job and left us with these beautiful photos to remember our special day. I am also so blessed that I still call her my friend and we can enjoy so much more than just this one day. So, below are some fun shots from our wedding. I loved how our photographer could capture the details as well as the shots you know you'll want to see later.

I love seeing the beautiful details of my dress and having both of my friends helping me get ready makes it really special.
I love these ladies. It was such a fun day and I was glad they could be there.
Sometimes it's the little details that really capture the day.
I loved having the little Hawaiian touches that made our day special.
MMM... Cake!!! I loved our cake and was happy a family friend was able to make it for us.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day? Is there anything you would change if you had to do it all over again? Share your favorite wedding memories even if they were from a wedding you attended instead of your own.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Finally Answers

WOW. If you read my post two weeks ago about some trouble I was having with my skin you would have found out two things. One, that I was doing some mad cleaning around the house and two, that my dermatologist thought I had a fungal infection (ringworm). Well, I am excited to say that after the couple of weeks of still not clearing things up and feeling rather crappy about the whole situation I went back in and showed her what my hands were doing. To me it was completely different from how things were but still concerning enough to need to be seen. With the additional information I shared and finding out that our cats did not have ringworm we concluded that it was likely I actually have a form of eczema called Nummular Eczema.

I have found through my whole life I don't often get sick with small things but I end up getting things that aren't as common so it's not surprising that I'd end up with a disease that tends to be more common in men than women and also is more typical to older men 55 plus. HA! On the bright side it's not contagious and will just take some care on my part to keep it from flaring up. Anyone with eczema will understand that sometimes it can come and go and sometimes it can be really bad. I would classify the past few weeks as a really bad phase. Luckily now I have what I need to treat it and can better take care of my skin.

You know it's scary when the person at the pharmacy asks you if you were aware what your meds would cost...
I was prescribed a couple of medications to help treat the eczema and just as my dermatologist said I could begin seeing results as quickly as a day or two. She was not lying. My hands look and feel significantly better. I can tell the spots on my arms and legs are also getting better which is great. I think I would have freaked out if things didn't get better though because this medicine is no joke.

Check out the "your insurance saved you" numbers. Crazy! Who can afford this stuff without insurance?
Yeah, I am super grateful that I have insurance that helps me cover this stuff because I paid $132.03 which was rather pricy but as you can see with my insurance and a coupon from the doctor that saved me $805.95. I'm pretty sure if I didn't have insurance I wouldn't have gone to the doctor so many times to figure this out and then I couldn't have afforded this medication. Sheesh. This makes me grateful that I don't often get sick because I have friends with chronic health conditions and I know medications can get really expensive.

I now have some giant tubes of meds. HA HA HA!
Anyway, I just wanted to say we finally have answers and I am grateful it's something I can manage. I'm also happy we didn't do anything hasty and get rid of the cats really fast. We did get a new couch but we really needed it anyway. I'm also still going to get the allergy test done to see what I'm allergic to because I still wake up sneezing quite often and I go back and forth between stuffy and runny nose symptoms. Allergies can trigger eczema so it will be good for me to be aware if there are any other things that may bother me.

Do you or someone you know have eczema? Do you have any nice heavy creams you've found that work well for you? I have a few that my doctor recommended but I'm always interested in hearing what else is working for others. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Motovated Monday - Digital Detox

Normally I like to share something positive and uplifting but I think this is still worth sharing. Earlier in September I wrote about my accidental cell free detox and now that I have a phone back I am trying to figure out how I can get back to that place again.

For now, I think let's just remember to put our phones down when we're with other people. They deserve our full attention and in return hopefully they will give you the same courtesy. If they don't maybe you need to send them this picture... ;-P

Friday, November 14, 2014

Family Friday - Fall Time Fun

So the past few weeks we've been doing a lot of work in my parents backyard to help keep things ready for winter. We've done a lot of raking leaves and pulling out dead plants. I've decided in the coming year I need to stand in the same spot and take a panoramic pic through the different seasons because it is so different looking at different times in the year. Right now things are looking pretty bare. This panoramic picture was from the other weekend so some of the green you see has now fallen off the trees.

I took this funny panoramic over my head which is why you can't really tell where the ground is in this picture. If you can't figure out how this picture works I was facing the fence at the bottom of the picture and instead of panning from left to right I went from in front of me and up over my head. 

I have truly decided that if you want a good workout find a 3 year old and have them "help" you rake leaves. Russell LOVES to run through the leaves and spread them all over the place. You can end up raking each leaf multiple times with a 3 year old's help. On the bright side, at least for us, Russell really does love to help and he will help gather the leaves and throw them in the garbage can. It's super cute. 

Close up of Russell. I can't believe he's getting to be so big! I'm interested to see what he thinks of snow when winter comes. In the past he's seemed like he was just too young to really have an opinion of it. Now we'll see if he likes playing in the snow or if he decides it's better to stay inside. I honestly can't imagine he won't love the snow and love playing outside even when it's cold. This boy LOVES being outside.

So, happy fall everyone. I know we can't be far from winter weather so I am enjoying the crisp cool evenings and somewhat warm days.

What are your favorite fall activities? Are you looking forward to winter or do you dread the cold and snow? If you have any family traditions during this time of year I'd love for you to share them.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Hawaii 2013

Oh my goodness! I have this picture printed and on my fridge and I decided I just had to share this as my TBT photo. I seriously can't believe we were in Hawaii last year. Russell looks so small but he had such a good time. I think he would love it even more now but this photo is my favorite. Seriously look how happy Russell is and you can just see how much he looks like his dad. Oh buddy! It's time to start saving so we can go back and visit your Kira and Jade again. (You can actually see Kira's knees sticking out on the bottom left side of the picture. She was hanging out watching Russell swing.)

Do you have a favorite photo or favorite vacation you've been on? I have the best memories from the different times I've spent in Hawaii. I love to visit our family there and enjoy the wonderful things the islands have to offer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Shop Local

A couple weeks ago I did a feature on shopping small for the holidays. Today I wanted to share a cute place I've followed on social media for a while and finally visited in person. TEAramisu, also known as The Emperor's Tea, is a cute little shop at 929 E. 4500 S. in the Millcreek area. They have a robust online presence but recently opened the shop where you can purchase a variety of loose leaf teas, tea accessories, and you can stay and enjoy a cup (or pot) of tea or a boba drink. MMMM!!! I snapped a few pics on my phone to share some of the fun goodness you can expect to see when you visit.

The wall of tea! Oh so many amazing varieties to try. Their green tea creme brulee was what got me to finally visit the shop.
The boba was delightful! I had the yummy spiced chai which was great and the boba was nice and soft.
They also sell a variety of Italian treats and drinks.
I am a sucker for cute little goodies. MMMM!
This is some of the seating that's available if you want to pull up a chair and stay a while.
My purchase was this lovely Green Tea Creme Brulee and a new tea strainer thing.
I highly recommend you get in there and check out the amazing options available for the tea lover in your life. I am pretty sure the guy who helped me when I was there was one of the owners. Regardless, he was super nice and very helpful when I had some questions about what to buy. The tea is lovely and I completely expect to go back and enjoy this beautiful space.

Even if you can't shop now follow them on social media and support a local business. Also, if you've never really liked tea in the past I would recommend you get into a legit tea shop and try some loose leaf tea. Loose leaf tea is SO different from the bagged stuff you buy in the store. There are some reasonable options in the store however if that's your only experience you might find you enjoy tea if you try something really fresh. There are so many varieties and when prepared the right way they can be really enjoyable.


Do you have a favorite place you love to shop at in SLC? Let me know your favorite places so I can check them out and try something new.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Motovated Monday - Love Who You Are

For this Motovated Monday I am excited because I had the opportunity to review the book Love Who You Are and now I get to share this lovely goodness with you too! Before we get started check out this video:

Love Who You Are from Compendium on Vimeo.

LOVE! If for some reason you're still not sure if you need to get online and order yourself a copy right now here's what I thought of the book...

The first thing I noticed when I received my book was the branded packaging. Now, there's nothing wrong with a plain brown box but I love details like this because I know if I sent a book direct to someone as a gift it would look nice when they received it.

I actually ordered some other products from Compendium prior to agreeing to do this book review and check out the fun polka dot packaging I received from that order! Isn't it fabulous? I'll reveal what else I got later on as some of it will be used as gifts so I don't want to give that away.

The funny thing about this whole situation is I found Compendium when I received one of their Pop-open Cards from a friend. I loved the concept of a beautifully written quote or some words of inspiration in a cute pop-open card so I had to check them out and see what else I could get. 

When I received the book I was excited to see what was inside. From everything I could see in their videos and online I felt the book would contain simple yet uplifting phrases along with whimsical and fun illustrations. I have always felt I need to work on improving my internal image of myself so I felt this book would be the perfect one for me to start with.

When I opened the book I was delighted to see how nicely the book was put together. It felt solid with it's thick cardboard covers and heavy weight pages in between. It struck me as having that homemade look and feel which is something I appreciate and enjoy. It's not too big, which for me works to be able to leave it out and remind myself to love who I am every day.

I think this was one of my personal favorite pages. Love yourself when things are hard. Love yourself even when it hurts. I think it's always easier to love yourself when you're in the best shape of your life, when you are wearing that power outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks, or when you're just having a great day. I think it's much harder to love yourself when you're having a bad day, when you just got laid off, or when something terrible has happened. In reflecting on this statement I felt that it is a good reminder that we should love ourselves even when things are hard.

This is one of the illustrations in the book. I loved this cute little jar of hearts. Simple but fun.

This one was another favorite of mine. You are just the person you need to be. I personally doubt myself sometimes and often it's too easy to compare ourselves to others. Lately I've worked to really appreciate who I am and my own unique talents. Of course there are people, probably dozens or hundreds, that are far better than I am at even the things I do excel at but I am learning that is ok. I've realized that for any of us to become great we need to connect with the people who have gone before us that we admire and then along the way we need to reach back and help those who are coming up behind us.

Love the parts of you that need more loving. This can be hard but when things aren't ideal or don't seem to feel right sometimes all you can do is love yourself and keep on trying. Sometimes a simple reminder is all we need to get back on track.

I want a popper filled with hearts and confetti! This book is a delight from cover to cover and would make an excellent gift for the people who have a special place in your heart. I know it will become my go to book when I'm feeling down or just want a little pick me up. It's one of those books you can breeze through cover to cover or just open it to a specific page for a little inspiration.

You can order your own copy online here. I recommend getting online now and placing your order because November is Compendium's annual Friends & Family sale. If you use the coupon code ThankYou30 you'll receive 30% off your entire order. Believe me when I say there are SO many other really cute things you'll want to get one for you and one for a friend. If you order something let me know what you got. I know you're going to love it!

P.S. be sure to check out the clearance section too. Nothing like SUPER cute stuff at a deep discount. :) I may have done some mad clearance shopping on my recent order. There are some great stocking stuffers you won't want to miss.

Even if you can't order now you can always get connected online and share some love.


I did receive a free copy of this book to do this review but otherwise I was not compensated and do not receive any compensation from future book or product sales. My opinions here are my own and have not been edited by Compendium Inc.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Family Friday - Halloween Recap

Another Halloween has come and gone but I wanted to share some pictures of our Halloween adventures.

Mom grew some pumpkins from the seeds from last years pumpkins.
Russell didn't want to put down his truck to play with the pumpkins.
Ready to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house for trick-or-treating!
We were a happy family ready to go fishing!
Russell's fishing vest even had parts of some real flies from Joe's dad.
Russell got a bucket full of treats and had fun knocking on doors.
Happy Halloween!
How was your Halloween? Do you have any family traditions you participate in every year? I know as Russell gets older we'll do more like carving pumpkins but for now he seems happy to just knock on doors and get candy.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Throwback Thursday - DC Metro

I went to Alexandria, Virginia recently for a work conference. It ended early on the second day so Alison and I were able to spend some time heading over to DC. I realized I had the picture below from when Joe and I went to DC and rode the metro to get around. So, here we are throwing it back to a time before we had Russell. We actually just got engaged before this trip. The other picture is of Alison and I on our hunt for Georgetown Cupcakes. I can't wait to go back to DC someday because there are so many cool things I still haven't seen.

Where have you gone in the past that you'd like to go back to now? Or are you the type of person who doesn't like to go back to the same place twice? I personally love a mix of the familiar and visiting new places where everything is a new experience.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Three Reasons You Should Have a Year End Cleaning Spree

** Heads up to all my readers, this post is personal to me and talks about some stuff I've been dealing with. I don't think it's graphic but some could classify it as TMI (too much information) so if you don't want to read the back story feel free to skip down below the list pics and read from there. **

Lately I've had some issues with allergies and a crazy rash I had on my hands. I saw a dermatologist who thought it might have been a fungus like ringworm but when we tested it, it came back negative. Apparently it's possible the swab just was negative since it's not as sensitive as taking a full on biopsy which would require taking some of my skin to check under the microscope. By the time we finally got the test results we had already moved forward with doing some serious work around our house and my hands were almost healed.

First of all ringworm is not a worm, as I mentioned it's a fungus. It's relatively common (if you've ever heard of athletes foot or jock itch you've heard of ringworm) and given there is fungus in everyone's environment it's hard to pinpoint why some people get infected and others never do. It can be spread between humans or between humans and pets like cats or dogs. Since we have three cats and no one else in the family was showing any signs of an infection we decided the cats were the most likely culprits.

I just went to VA for a work conference so while I was out of town Joe and his friend got rid of our old couches (he'd had them since before we were married) since we've had them with the cats and with dogs. Joe also had our carpets cleaned where we allow the cats to be (we don't allow them in the bedrooms because I like to have some space in our house that is clean/cat free). My dermatologist is concerned that I could be allergic to cats which is exacerbating my issues so all the cleaning we could do was in order.

As part of all of this craziness I have an appointment with another doctor to confirm if I'm allergic to cats amongst other things (my brother is allergic to almost everything they test people for). We also started some additional cleaning around the house so I could safely say that we'd done all we could to eliminate other allergens that could be causing my body stress. I introduce you to our year end cleaning lists:

These lists are on our fridge and include all the things I want to do before the new year. For me, having a dirty house is distracting. It makes me feel crappy about our house and where we live and makes me not want to have anyone over which is sad. I also make myself feel bad when the house is dirty because I question how I can let us live in this level of filth. Now, I promise I'm not living in a state of squalor and I know there are people who are far worse off than me but I grew up in a clean house so when there are layers of dust (seriously you can see it from across the room) and piles of clutter (stuff in boxes since we moved in over two and a half years ago) it drives me nuts.

I decided there were three main reasons to give the house a deep cleaning.
  1. I wanted to eliminate all the dust that could be holding any allergens that could be making me sick.
  2. I wanted to make sure the house was as clean as possible before Joe's parents come into town.
  3. I wanted to clean out all the stale energy that was causing me stress because I knew there were old thing that needed to be thrown away and good things that we could use that were just hidden under piles of clutter.
I always loved the idea of spring cleaning but honestly I think a year end cleaning is a much better idea. Where we live it gets cold so we tend to leave the house closed up most of the winter. This means that all the dust and clutter just sits around getting dustier through the winter. I know this is bad for people with allergies so we're cleaning as much as possible now while we can still have the windows open to get some fresh air in. In addition to wanting a clean space I also want to clean out all the old crap and free up some positive energy so I can really focus on my Yoga Teacher Training and setting our goals for the new year.

Even though we've only just started cleaning I can say I already feel so much better about things. We've uncovered a stack of cookbooks I've been wondering where they went to, we tossed a bunch of old stuff that wasn't serving us, and have done a bunch of cleaning in the main space we spend our time in which makes me feel so much better about things.

In the coming weeks I am going to post about setting goals and some fun things that will be on the blog in the new year. For now I am challenging you to start your own year end cleaning spree. You've got two months to get rid of all your old things that no longer serve you so you can open up new space to receive all the good things we're going to create in the new year.

Here are three quick tips to get you started in case you're feeling overwhelmed:
  1. Make a list of all the major things you need to get cleaned. Not just the routine wipe off the dinner table stuff but the things that are really getting greasy, dusty, or gross. For me cleaning the vent covers was one thing because I figure if our air is getting circulated past something that is filthy that can't be a good thing.
  2. Be specific about the items on your list. I personally like to make check boxes next to things so I can see what I've completed and what still needs to be done but you can just cross stuff off the list as you finish tasks. I also like to break tasks down into manageable pieces. Saying clean the first floor would be so overwhelming I'd never do it but breaking down cleaning the first floor into tasks like dusting the picture frames, cleaning the windows, etc. become things I can do when I have a burst of energy or a spare moment.
  3. Get rid of things that are no longer serving a purpose. Some of the criteria we used including tossing anything that's expired, throwing away anything that we wouldn't need during an IRS audit, and getting rid of things that no longer function or hold true sentimental value for you. Don't forget to go through your clothes and be honest with yourself if it's too small, too big, or out of fashion just get rid of it. Someone else could be using that item NOW and when you let it go you make space in your life to find something better. I also am trying to be smart about getting rid of random paperwork. Unless it's something I'll need for medical reference or for tax/legal purposes I probably don't need to hold onto it.
Now get making your year end cleaning list and be honest with yourself about what needs to be done so you can move into 2015 feeling positive and ready to move forward with new goals. If you create a list and share it post a link to your blog so I can check out what you're doing. Let's clean things up and finish 2014 with a bang!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Motovated Monday - Kid President Part 2

In case you missed the last Motovated Monday I wanted to make sure you got a dose of Kid President today. Go out there and make today awesome for somebody.

If we all make today awesome for somebody else, today will be awesome for everybody. - Kid President

Oh and leave your comment below of something you think we all should say more often. Mine is I love you just the way you are. We're all on a journey and no one is perfect and I feel if more people felt supported as they are they could become everything they were meant to be on their own terms instead of trying to fit in to what society tells them they should be. Follow your dreams people! Let's make the world a better place by being completely, totally, uniquely YOU!