F/U to Stinging Nettle

on Friday, August 29, 2008

And by F/U I mean follow up...although the other famous F-U could apply. I tried to give it a fair chance, but after a week of taking it and still sniffling, sneezing, and suffering from all of the other fun symptoms of allergies, I could not take it anymore. I broke down and bought some Claritin. And...it's my savior! The past few days have been, for the most part, blissfully sniffle free. I love it!

Home Sweet Gym

This is hard for me to admit, but as I’ve said many time before, this blog is a place for me to be completely and unabashedly honest. Here it goes…I am sick of my home gym. Ugh…I feel guilty for even saying it!

It was a rather large investment, and it’s been wonderful to have over the past couple of years, but I am plain old bored with it. I like running, but I don’t love it, so if I do it too much, I get sick of it. It’s pretty much the same story with elliptical-ing (totally not a word, but you get the idea) and biking. I like them all, a lot in fact, but too much is just too much for me. I get bored easily by them. I have a lot of dvd’s that I like, but you can only do them so many times before they become uber-boring as well.

So, what do I love that I can’t get enough of? As cheesy as this may sound, I love the classes at the gym! Kickboxing, step, boot camp, yoga, pilates, spinning, groove, body pump…the list goes on and on! So many choices, so much variety, and being in that environment really motivates me. I was going to these classes religiously before my wedding, and I was seriously in the best shape of my life. I’ve missed them since I stopped going, but lately I’ve really been missing them.

I tried to suppress my desire to go back because it seemed foolish to pay for a gym membership when I have a rockin’ home gym right in my basement. But, recently John told me that he was feeling the same way…that he really missed the gym and getting to work out with his buddies…and you know what he did? He went and re-joined the gym! So, I’ve been mulling over this in my mind for a few weeks now, and I think I’ve finally decided that it’s back to the gym for me too. It’s not that expensive, and I’m sure I’ll still get some use out of our home gym...in fact I’ll probably be more inclined to want to use it when the monotony is broken up by the variety that the gym offers…so it’s really not that bad of an idea. Sure, it’s a little wasteful, but there is so much more to it than money. It’s my health we’re talking about, and you can’t put a price on that.

So, sorry home gym, but you’re not the most important exercise location in my life anymore. I still love you, though :-)

Ode to the Peppermint Patty

on Friday, August 22, 2008

Oh Peppermint Patty, how I love thee
Your yummy goodness makes me so happy

Your creamy peppermint filling is quite simply the best
When you add that dark chocolate coating, you have a recipe for success

Your genius creator, York, knows where it’s at
At just 50 calories each, you won’t make me fat

How did I go all these years without knowing of you?
It’s truly a miracle that I was able to make it through

Your deliciousness can only be described as sublime
I could eat you day or night, I could eat you anytime!

Allergic Reaction

on Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I’ve never wanted them (who would?). I’ve gone 27 years without them. I’ve never fully understood how terrible they are…until now. What could I possibly be talking about? Allergies. For the first time in my life, I think I have them. I’ve got classic symptoms…runny nose, sneezing, headaches…it’s no fun at all. I thought I’d give it a little time before taking any action, just to see what happened. Well, the symptoms continue to persist, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. I’ve been doing a lot of research on natural remedies for allergies, and my proposed solution to my allergic state is Stinging Nettle. Here’s a little science lesson on my potential miracle herb:

From prevention.com:
Stinging Nettle is a leafy plant that is found in most temperate regions of the world. The Latin root of Urtica is uro, meaning “I burn,” indicative of the small stings caused by the little hairs on the leaves of this plant that burn when contact is made with the skin. The root and leaves of nettle are used in herbal medicine.

There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the identity of nettle’s active constituents. Currently, it is thought that polysaccharides (complex sugars) and lectins are probably the active constituents. Test tube studies suggest the leaf has anti-inflammatory actions. This is thought to be caused by nettle preventing the body from making inflammatory chemicals known as prostaglandins. A preliminary trial reported that capsules made from freeze-dried leaves reduced sneezing and itching in people with hay fever.

From necessarywriting.com:
In 1990 The National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon sponsored a double-blind randomized study on allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. They compared the effects of freeze-dried nettle to a placebo. (Plant Med, 1990) After only one week of therapy the results were nothing to sneeze at.

Stinging nettle (Utica dioica) contains, among other chemicals, histamine, serotonin, and actylcholine. It might seem counter-intuitive that these substances have a positive effect on reducing allergy symptoms but histamine actually acts as an autocoid (a local hormone) to modulate the immune response. (Melman, et al., American Journal of Medicine, 1981) In fact, the participants of the above study all rated stinging nettle more effective than the placebo, and in many cases, more effective than their traditional allergy treatments in relieving hay fever symptoms.

Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Natural Healing, Natural Medicine (Houghton Mifflin, 1998) says that stinging nettle has long been a traditional remedy for dispelling mucus, treating coughs and providing an antihistamine effect. Dr. Weil recommends nettle as an effective and safe treatment for hay fever symptoms, saying, “Stinging nettle is the best natural remedy for hay fever that I know.”

When a person gets hay fever, an allergic response is initiated, causing the immune system to work overtime. According to Dr. Weil, “Getting an allergy is an example of misplaced immunity. The goal of treatment should be to convince the immune system that it can coexist peacefully with external allergens.” How does nettle factor into these physiological peace talks?

Delving deeper into nettle’s pharmacological nature reveals an important immune-balancing component. Greg Kelly, N.D., reports, “Stinging nettle contains, among other things, a small molecular-weight lectin that is capable of favorably inducing a balanced immune response.” It works similarly to histamin mentioned above. Dr. Kelly adds, “This means that unlike most things stimulating the immune system toward greater activity, this super-lectin appears to stimulate the immune system toward balance.”
The most common stinging nettle allergy product is found in freeze-dried form, produced by Eclectic Institute. This company has pioneered a freeze-drying technique that they say preserves herbal vitality and potency. The process involves harvesting nettle plants at their peak, freezing them immediately and placing them in a vacuum. The frozen water then evaporates without passing through the liquid stage. According to Eclectic Institute, “It’s the next best thing to fresh plant materials as no nutrients are lost in a liquid solution.”

Well, when I read that Dr. Weil is a big proponent of Nettle, I was sold. I am a big fan of Dr. Weil and his philosophies. I frequent his website and have read many of his works. He has made me a believer of homeopathy and has inspired me to seek out natural remedies to the ailments that affect me rather than turn to pharmaceutical solutions. So, today is the day that I am going to buy some Nettle and hopefully stop suffering from allergies for good!

Painted Lady

on Monday, August 18, 2008

Just a word of advice…if anyone ever asks you to help paint their house, SAY NO!

I spent this past weekend helping my dear mother paint her house. It’s something she’s wanted to do for a long time, and with her recent break up, I thought it might be a good way to help lift her spirits and make her feel a little more in control of her life. Plus, the house really needed it. So, we spent the entire weekend prepping, priming and painting.

I seriously underestimated how difficult it would be. I am not exactly sure how we pulled it off, but we got it done!!! It truly is a miracle that we finished. And, the best part of it all…it looks fantastic! My mom is thrilled about it all, which makes all the hard work worth it. I’m exhausted, sore, bruised, bug bitten, sunburned, anbd covered in paint, but I don’t even care. The satisfaction I feel from completing such a monumental task and making my mom so happy far outweighs the physical ailments I am feeling today.

But, alas, there is no rest for the weary… I have so much to do to make up for my lost weekend. I need to grocery shop, do laundry, clean, study, run errands, and get ready for our trip to Maine next weekend. This week is going to be crazy busy and very exhausting. But I guess that’s life!

Today I am thankful for my family…my mother, my brother and my husband (and me!) make an incredible team. I love them so dearly and I am in awe of how amazing they are.

Mama Drama

on Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WARNING: This post is going to sound mean and cruel, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I am going to be completely honest about my feelings. I always try to be positive and see the good in people, but sometimes that’s impossible.

My mother is a wonderful woman. She is compassionate, caring, loving, generous, funny, smart, beautiful…she really is special. Beyond special. She deserves all the happiness in the world.

She and her boyfriend, Chris, broke up yesterday. Naturally, she is heart broken and sad over this, but in my opinion, this is the best thing that ever happened to her. Without going into too much detail, Chris is…well…a loser. He is an unappreciative, cold-hearted, selfish, mean, unhappy individual who, in my opinion, brought nothing positive into her life. He’s toxic. He’s a sad individual who is not worthy of my incredible mother…not even close. She was so blinded by her unconditional love for him that she overlooked the truth of the matter. And he treated her terribly and made her feel bad about herself. So unfair! She has every reason in the world to be filled with confidence and yet she has allowed him to be the decider of her worth. Well, no longer! I believe that after she gets over the heartache of it all, she will see how much better off she is without such a wretched individual in her life.

So, goodbye Chris. And good riddance! I hope that you get what you deserve in life…a big fat nothing! And, I hope that you will someday realize what you have lost and live to regret it for the rest of your pathetic life.


on Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve become a health and wellness junkie in my 20’s. I eat healthfully (most of the time, anyway) and I exercise religiously. I have my own home gym that I can be found in nearly every day of the week. I’ve developed a love of running…I’ve run a marathon (although I’ve vowed never to run another!) and I participate in races every week (weather permitting) as part of a running club. I’ve also developed a love of biking, and I am so excited to finally get a new bike this coming weekend…tax free weekend! I take my health and wellness very seriously. I could talk about fitness and nutrition all day long and never grow tired of it. I love reading books and articles and I've had my subscriptions to Fitness and Shape magazine for several years now.

To take my love of wellness further, I decided (with a little encouragement from my mother) to pursue my ACE Personal Training Certification. I began studying in January, but I sort of got side-tracked…first with my job search, then my new job, and then with the summer. My studies got put on the back burner and, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t picked them up in months. Well, my recent decision to go to graduate school reminded me of my ACE studies. It made me want to finish what I started and pass that certification.

So, my new goal is to finish the studying portion of my journey by the time I go back to school. Yes, that’s in 3 weeks, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’m off to a great start, though. I just the past week, I’ve finished 3 study units (and aced the exams, by the way!), bringing my total to 10 completed. So that means that I only have 5 more study units to complete, and they should go fast because they are the fitness topics that I am most interested in. In addition to completing my studying, I have to get my CPR/AED certification before sitting for the exam. I’ve already looked into several CPR classes in the area, and I will most likely attend one prior to my graduate class beginning, but it’s still not set in stone. After I complete all of this, I will be ready to actually take the exam! Saturday exams are not held that frequently, and I’d prefer not to take time off from work, so I’ll probably try to sit for either the September or October Saturday exam. No matter what, I WILL complete the certification, and I will do it in the near future. You can bet on that!

The truth of the matter is that I don’t know if I’ll ever actually become a paid personal trainer. I am doing it more for my own benefit, so that I can have all the knowledge right at my fingertips to achieve a healthy, strong body. I am also doing it in hopes to help others; even it’s just my family and friends on an informal basis. Maybe someday it will turn into something more than just a hobby, but for now, it’s a personal goal that I’ve set just for myself.

XM = Happy House!

on Monday, August 11, 2008

XM seriously rules! I was skeptical of it’s worth until I got a free three month trial with my new car. Those three months got me totally hooked. So, I’ve been subscribing and listening to XM in my car for over a year now…and totally loving it.

Last weekend when John and I went to Hampton Beach, we listened to XM the whole way there and back and heard so many of our favorite songs, both old and new. I don’t know what it was about this road trip…we’ve been on plenty in my car and listened to XM…but John reignited his love for satellite radio. A few years back, when XM was relatively new, John got a portable unit for Christmas. He liked it at first, but then grew tired of it, and grew especially tired of the poor reception in his car. The signal would come in and out, in and out. As you can imagine, that got really old, really fast. It was only a matter of months before he cancelled his subscription and the radio was boxed up and stored away.

Well, last weekend inspired him to pull out the old radio and give it another go. He reactivated it and got it all set up…in the car, in the house, and on the go (like an iPod). The radio still does not work that great in the car, and we’re still unsure how it will work on the go, but…it works fantastic in the house! We have it all set up with its docking station and speakers and we have had music on all week long. It’s been so great to have some music on while doing…well…anything! On Saturday, we had some mellow music on when we had company for dinner. Yesterday, I had high energy tunes cranking while I was cleaning the house, and then we turned on some softer music when we were reading after dinner. Such a great mix of songs played…including our song! Even this morning, John put some fun music on while we were eating breakfast and getting ready. It’s such a pleasant addition to our house that we never even realized we were missing!


on Friday, August 8, 2008

This is the theme of my life for the past few days. Last night, I was baking cookies for a friend’s party that we are attending tonight and I burned the entire first batch. The cookies went from looking raw to being burned in like 10 seconds! I managed to get another 27 cookies out of the batch, but John liked them so much that he had two last night, so now I’m down to 25. He’s been home all day today, so who knows how many they’ll actually be when I get home from work :-) I hope I have enough for the party!

The burning didn’t stop there, though. I got a little money for my birthday and it was burning a hole in my pocket (pun totally intended!). So, on Tuesday, I went to the mall and hit my favorite stores. I bought a fabulous new shirt from New York and Company and was saving it to wear today for the aforementioned party. This morning I was so excited to finally get to wear it. It was a little too wrinkled for my liking, so I decided that I was going to try to steam out the wrinkles with my iron. Well, I accidentally touched the hot iron to the satin for a little too long and burned a giant hole in the back of it. I almost cried when I saw the damage I had done! So upsetting! I guess my only option now is to replace it with the remainder of my birthday cash and forego the new pair of jeans I’ve been eyeing. Or, maybe I’ll just have to get both :-)

At least it’s Friday afternoon now…only 2 ½ hours of work left and then the weekend is here. And, a fun one it should be…

Tonight is the party that I’ve already written so much about…let’s hope it lives up to the hype!!! I’m sure it will be great…we’ll get to see a lot of people that we haven’t seen in a while and we’ll get to see our third bowling team member for the first time in many months! That’s right…bowling season is just around the corner and I am so excited that John is able to rejoin the team this year. He, my friend Mike and I are going to take the league by storm! We need to come up with a new team name this year and the only one that John and I could come up with (after a few cocktails) was “Shut Your Bowl Hole”. Too offensive?

Tomorrow we are going to hang out with our friends Steph and Andy. Why is this so exciting, you might ask? Well, in addition to being recently engaged, Steph and Andy are also expecting a baby and they just found out on Wednesday that it’s a boy!!! So, of course our time will be filled with conversations about every woman’s two favorite topics…weddings and babies! We’re sure to drive our men bonkers with it all!!!

Call me "Ms. MBA"

on Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Well, I did it. I signed up for my first graduate class today. I guess this means I am officially an MBA student!!! For the most part, I am really excited! I do feel a bit nervous and apprehensive as well, but I'm sure once I get used to being a student again, all of that will go away. It is a big committment to pursue my MBA, but I feel ready to take on the challenge and I am excited to begin yet another new chapter in my life. Here's to higher education!!!

All I can say is WOW!

on Monday, August 4, 2008

Well, I am officially 27! It was seriously one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had! It was such an amazing weekend from start to finish!

On Friday, my work friends took me out for a celebratory lunch. It was so great to see them all since I get to see them so rarely these days. Then, when I got home from work, I had a fabulous gift waiting there for me from my best friend Crystal. Then, John and I had a relaxing evening at home, enjoying some take out and a movie.

On Saturday, John got up at 5:30 AM and told me it was time to get up. Of course, I thought he was insane, and I told him so as buried my head under the pillows to block out the light from the lamp that he had turned on. He walked out of the bedroom and returned a few seconds later with a sweet card for me that told me to get up and get packed, because we were headed to Hampton Beach for a weekend getaway! I couldn’t believe it! He arranged everything in secret and totally surprised me! So, we got up and got ready and hit the road. After dropping Bailey off at my mom’s, we were on our way. We spent the entire ride up there listening to great music and engaging in great conversation. Unfortunately, it was not the best beach weather, but that didn’t stop us! We spent the day reading on the beach, walking the boardwalk, browsing the shops, eating yummy food, playing LOTS of arcade games, and just enjoying each other’s company. We seriously had SO much fun!!! It was a truly incredible day with my truly incredible husband!

Sunday was a repeat of Saturday weather-wise, so we decided to just get some breakfast and hit the road. We mapped out a new route home that took us on local and back roads (versus the highway) and just cruised along, enjoyed the sights, and chatted it up the whole way home about anything and everything. We stopped at my mom’s on the way back to pick up Bailey and were surprised with a delicious BBQ (the biggest steaks I have ever seen!!!) and an ice cream cake! So yummy! Then, when we finally got home, we had some people over to hang out, have a few drinks and then enjoy our city’s fantastic fireworks display (making up for the cancelled July 4th fireworks)!

Such a busy and exciting weekend full of food, friends, family and fun!!! I was so surprised by everything and so overwhelmed by the love that so many people showed. Each wonderful birthday wish, call, text message and email meant so much to me! I am so lucky to have people in my life that will plan and plot and go out of their way to make sure that I have a great day. I feel so fortunate and so grateful for the wonderful people that make my life so great!