Monday, March 31, 2014

Q & A Monday: Hobbies and Games

Hey, y'all!

It is Monday again.  I had a really fun weekend hanging out with my husband, having dinner and playing Pictionary with friends, and playing Elder Scrolls Online.  I was sad to see the weekend come to an end.

But here we are.  I am feeling very productive and happy and look forward to a week of catching up on chores as well as fitting in more fun stuff.

Now time for the questions and answers!

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at Losing Weight and Having Fun, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

Hobbies and Games

1. Do you have a favorite board game?
As I kid, I loved playing Monopoly and Life.  As an adult, I don't get a lot of board games in, though I think they are a lot of fun.  Just this weekend, my friends and I played Pictionary and had a blast.

2. Do you have a favorite card game?
Cards Against Humanity is, hands down, my favorite card game.  There is never a dull moment!

3. Do you play games on your phone?
I don't play games on my phone, but I do play games on my iPad.  Right now, I play Candy Crush, the farm themed version of Candy Crush, and the occasional Scrabble-like game.

4. Do you prefer the Xbox, Playstation or Wii?
I like all three of them because they all offer something slightly different.  We own various versions of all three consoles and enjoy gaming on each one.

5. Do you have a favorite outdoor hobby?
Maybe sitting in the shade on the beach, or walking around at the Farmer's Market.....I'm not really an outdoorsy kind of girl.

6. Have you ever been geocaching?
Nope, but it actually sounds kind of fun.  I would try it at least once.

7. What’s your favorite hobby?

Does shopping count?  lol  I love decorating, organizing, crafting (more like arts and crafts), getting into sewing, gaming, reading, writing, not arithmetic, trying new beauty products, putting outfits together...yada yada yada.

8. Is there a hobby you would love to try but are too scared too
Playing the drums, dancing, traveling...

9. Do you enjoy doing puzzles?

I guess it would depend on my mood, but I think getting a good puzzle done is fun and relaxing.

10. Have you taken any classes in anything?
Painting, ballroom dancing, cooking...that is about it so far, but there are definitely more classes I would like to take.  The husband and I were talking about signing up for a dancing course and maybe a writing course.

Have an awesome Monday and an equally great week!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What I Wore: Goodbye Winter

As spring fast approaches and I cheer for the rain to subside, I thought I would take a moment to post a couple fall/winter outfit photos I still have lying around.  Sometimes when I take outfit pictures, I forget to post them or, more than likely lately, I just run out of time.  While both outfits are similar, they show a little of my go-to errand running style for the colder months. - What I Wore: Goodbye Winter - What I Wore: Goodbye Winter (Perry Stretch Riding Boots from Avenue)

Since finding great boots that fit my large calves, I am completely obsessed with the jeans/boots combo.  I wear these as much as I possibly can.  All of Avenue's boots are on sale now, so you may want to check them out while you can.  Finish the look with a top of your choice and WA-LA! You are ready for a day of fun. - What I Wore: Goodbye Winter
Peplum Top - eShakti (Use my referral link and new customers get $30 off their purchase and I get $15.)
Plaid Shirt - Torrid
Dark Wash Jeggings - Torrid
Perry Stretch Inset Riding Boot - Avenue
Leaf Necklace - InPink

My husband calls this look "a-dork-able". lol - What I Wore: Goodbye Winter

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thyroid Cancer Update: I'm Radioactive!!

In my last post, I discussed the beginning of Radiation week, during which I was given thyrogen shots and a lesser form of radiation in preparation for my whole body scan.  Let us continue... - Thyroid Cancer Update: I'm Radioactive!!

On Wednesday, I didn't have to check-in to my appointment until 11:15 AM, which is so much better than 7:15 AM.  I was able to sleep in a little bit longer.  I also only had to fast for two hours prior instead of the four hours prior like the previous day.  I wore comfortable clothes that I didn't mind getting irradiated.  For me, this consisted of old tennis shoes, comfy knit pants, and my new graphic tee featuring pre-mutant Ninja Turtles.  The shirt was a hit with all the nuclear medicine doctors.

They called me into the depths of the nuclear medicine department.  The whole body scanner consisted of this long, curved plank with a small pillow at one end.   There were a few moving parts with two foot square panels for scanning.  They could move the bed up and down and rotate the scanners as needed.  I was instructed to lay down on the plank, for lack of a better word, with my head resting on the pillow while the nuc med guy put another pillow under my knees.  They offered me a warm blanket, but I was pretty warm from freaking the eff out.  They used these curved plastic arm rests on either side of you that you have to tightly fit your arms into.  That was probably the most uncomfortable part.  It was a tight squeeze.  It was explained to me that they would do side shots of my throat area and top shots of my throat area that would take ten minutes per shot.  Then they would do the whole body scan, which would take about half an hour.

The side shots weren't a big deal.  I laid very still and just closed my eyes and tried to think happy thoughts.  With the top scan, the large two foot square of the machine is about four inches from your face.  It is a bit off putting, but doable.  I took deep breaths and kept my eyes closed so I wouldn't start freaking out.  Happy thoughts are the key.  I think I hummed some songs too.  During the whole body scan, the two foot square goes very slowly over your body.  It was above my head for another five minutes at least.  Once it moves past your head, you can turn your head and look around. Once it moves past your arms and hands, you can move them around and so on.  The doc was good about letting me stretch between scans.  I was tightly packed in, so my arms fell asleep a bit.  It was great when I could shake them out.

What was supposed to be a sixty to eighty minute scan took almost two hours because the computer they used to start the scans messed up a couple times.  That was pretty annoying.  Another thing that was troubling for me was the computer monitor attached to the two foot moving square.  It would show the scan results image as the scanner moved down your body.  I didn't necessarily know what I was looking at for sure, and since I was already stressed out I was in panic mode thinking the worst.  My nose, cheeks, and ears, throat, stomach, and bladder all lit up pretty bright, but I didn't know what it meant necessarily so I was freaking out.  I think maybe they should have explained it beforehand or not had it there at all to save me some tears.

Once the scan was complete, I waited in the waiting room for the physical copies of the scan and walked them over to my endocrinologist.  She went over them, consulted with a radiologist on the amount of radiation I was to get, and then met with Sean and I.  We were shown the scans and explained that the stomach and bladder uptake, as well as the ears/nose/cheeks was totally normal.  Because I stuck to my Low Iodine Diet so well, nothing else lit up in weird areas.  She said it was "quite remarkable" that I did so well on the diet.  I am guessing most people cheat a little?  I don't know.  I wasn't taking any chances.  I was given two bags of sour lemon candies that I was to suck on constantly during the first three days at least.  The sour candies get your salivary glands in motion and pull the saliva through to get the radiation out.  Otherwise, it can cause permanent damage to your salivary glands, which can actually not show up for months and months down the road.  Hopefully I won't have many issues.

This was also when she decided to give us a list of precautions and time periods for when I could be around people again and all that jazz.  I have to say, I was pretty frustrated that they waited until the day of radiation to give any kind of precaution list.  I feel they should have sent that out weeks in advance.  Also, they never talked about covering things in plastic or being overly cautious.  They never touched on that at all.  If I didn't have the internet, I would have been alarmingly under-prepared.  I know I may have been a bit overzealous in my preparations, but better safe than sorry.

The appointment was pretty quick and I was sent back to Nuclear Medicine to receive my 150 millicuries of radioactive iodine.  My waiting room time was short.  Sean had to stay in the waiting room, but as I left he grabbed me and kissed me in front of everyone.  It was super sweet.  It'd be at least two weeks until we could kiss each other again, so he made it count. :-)

I was taken into a little room where I met with the head radiologist who went over the same precautions with me and answered any questions I had.  When she left, I waited patiently for the other nuc med doc to bring my radioactive pill.  He brought a metal canister with a plastic pill bottle inside.  He went over a few more precautions and handed me the bottle.  Inside of it was a clear plastic pill capsule with a blueish green substance in it.  It kind of looked like sand.  I couldn't get the top of the pill bottle off, so he had to open it for me.  I downed the pill and he showed me out to the waiting room.  On our way, he told me a joke about radiologists or something, which I can't remember now.  He said I had half an hour before the radiation would be running through my system.   It was all very anticlimactic.  I feel like there should have been a drum roll or throwing of confetti with the radiation symbol on it or something. 

Sean and I walked out to the parking garage and hugged each other one last time.  I covered the back seat of the car with a plastic shower curtain and put on rubber gloves for the ride home.  I had to sit as far away from Sean as possible for the ride.  It only took us about twenty minutes to make it home, where I hopped out of the car and stayed away from Sean while he unlocked the house.  Then I high-tailed it to my Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail where I would stay for the next nine days.

This post has been a bit longer than I intended, so next time I will cover what my room looked like and all the precautions and what I did to stay busy.  If you would like to learn more about the whole radioactive process, you can read more about it here.

Q & A Monday: Would You Rather...?


I am out of Radiation Jail!!  Friday was my follow-up scan, so that evening the husband and I went to Target and Craft Warehouse and out to eat.  It was so awesome to get out of the plastic room and out of the house!!  On Saturday, we made a whole day of going out and about. We had a yummy lunch and then visited Home Goods, Fabric Depot, JoAnns, Penneys, and Lowes.  Sunday was more of a stay-at-home-and-clean day.  We got a few projects done and took the boys for a walk since the weather was so nice.  It was mostly a slow, relaxing kind of day where what got done, got done.  We didn't fret over anything.

Today, I spent a majority of my time taking down the plastic in the bedroom and wiping everything down.  I am still not done yet, so tomorrow I will be back at it again!

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at Losing Weight and Having Fun, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

Would You Rather...?
1. Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?
 Swirl!  lol  I like both and my answer would depend on my mood.  McMenamins makes a really tasty chocolate ice cream that I adore.

2. Coke or pepsi?
Neither.  I stopped drinking coke (or what non-Southern people call pop or soda) at least 4 years ago...I can't remember exactly when but it has been a while.  My favorite when I did drink cokes was Cherry Coke though.  My husband will have a coke on occasion and I have taken a sip now and then, but it always makes me feel gross. lol  I've learned my lesson.

3. Cats or dogs?
I had lots of animals growing up, but I have always been a dog person.  I'm not a huge fan of cats, maybe because they are so independent and seem snotty and rude to me.  I like cuddly lap dogs.  Right now, I have two long-haired chihuahua boys that are total loves.

4. Summer or Winter?
If I still lived in the South, I would say winter because it is too friggin hot there.  But maybe I will say summer, just because there is more to do here in the Pacific Northwest in the summer.  I just don't like heat or humidity. lol

5. Early bird or night owl?
Night owl.  I feel I have more creative thoughts and energy late at night.  I wish I was a morning person though because I think I could get more done in a day.  Sometimes it is just frustrating staying up super late and having to be up early to get anything done.

6. Baseball or football?
Neither really.  I used to (sort of) watch football with my husband when we had a Fantasy League.  He taught me how to play Fantasy Football and I kicked all the guys' asses three years in a row.  However, I know jack squat about football.
7. Glasses or contact lenses?
I have some glasses I wear on occasion. There is no way I could do contacts.  I don't want to touch my eyeball!
8. Coffee or tea?
I will take coffee over tea any time, but I do enjoy tea as well.

9. Mac or PC?
I adore my iPad mini.  I use it constantly, but for blogging and all that jazz it is my desktop PC all the way!

10. Roller coasters or not?
I always enjoyed roller coasters on my trips to Six Flags as a kid and young adult.  I don't necessarily trust them and they scare the crap out of me, so I don't know how willing I am to ride one nowadays.  My husband has actually never been on a roller coaster, so if we ever did go somewhere that had one, I guess I would ride one with him.

Happy Monday!  Hope y'all have an awesome week!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thyroid Cancer Update: Radiation Week!

This is going to be a pretty long post while I explain more about the process leading up to being radioactive.  I decided there was just too much information to put everything together in one post.  Next post will be all about being radioactive!  As always, I am being so long-winded to inform and to give other thyroid cancer patients a detailed look at the process and what to expect. - Thyroid Cancer Update: Radiation Week!

The next step in my cancer journey is radiation.  For thyroid cancer, a radioactive iodine is ingested and used to kill any leftover thyroid cells (which may or may not contain cancer).  The thyroid must have iodine in order to make thyroid hormones, which affect every aspect of your body.  In order to start the process and ensure the radioactive iodine is taken up by the thyroid cells, one has to go on a Low Iodine Diet (or LID) for about two weeks prior to treatment. 

The LID forces you to eliminate all dairy, seafood, sea products, soy, anything made with whole eggs, and anything that uses iodized salt in order to starve the remaining thyroid cells of iodine they so desperately want.  For this reason, no meals from restaurants or pre-packaged foods are allowed. (Unless they specifically say they use non-iodized salt.  Trader Joe's has some no salt added salsa and tortilla chips we found towards the end of the two weeks.  I so needed a snack like that!) Because I was going to have to be very strict on the LID, I also decided to be really strict on my gluten-free and sugar-free regimen.  I was a little naughty after surgery and here and there throughout the beginning of the year.  I would also add grain-free, but I occasionally had quinoa with dinner and gluten-free oatmeal for breakfast. I won't bore you with listing everything I could and couldn't eat, so if you would like to know about the Low Iodine Diet you can find more information here.

I didn't have too much trouble with the LID because it was basically going back to how I was eating pre-surgery.  I had to get a little creative with some recipes, but that is where my Gluten Free Pinterest board came in handy.  The only downside is that there really isn't an easy and quick meal on the LID.  Everything has to be cooked at home and, when I'd leave the house, every snack I might need for my time out of the house had to be packed in a cooler and brought with us.  The constant thinking ahead was a bit exhausting.

After about two weeks on the LID, it is time to get the thyrogen shots.  Some doctors make their patients stop taking their thyroid hormone replacement pills prior to treatment.  This can cause you to become hypothyroid which brings on a whole slew of symptoms, all of which make you feel like total crap.  To circumvent this, many patients choose to get thyrogen shots prior to treatment so they can continue to take their thyroid hormone medication.  Thankfully, I was given this option. 

Thyrogen is a drug that mimics your body's natural Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, or TSH, which is produced by the pituitary gland.  It tells the thyroid gland to make and release thyroid hormones into the blood.  Basically, it puts your thyroid to work.  When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's, my TSH was 3.68, which is almost normal. In fact, the first doctor I saw thought it was perfectly fine and wouldn't even test me for Hashi or any other thyroid-related issues.  With medication, I have been able to get my TSH down to .76, but because I am a thyroid cancer patient, that number needs to be all the way down to sort of shut down any thyroid cells that could be hanging out.

Getting the thyrogen shots shoots up your TSH and gets your remaining thyroid cells into overdrive.  This makes them take up the radioactive iodine that should eventually kill them off.  So essentially, we are starving these cells and then getting them all worked up so they go to town on the iodine.  After two rounds of shots, my TSH was 42.  There can certainly be symptoms from getting the shots - fatigue, dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting.  Thankfully, I had none of these symptoms.

On Monday, the 10th, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to make it to me 7:30 AM appointment.  It was a pretty simple appointment where the nurse asked me questions about the medications and supplements I am on and then took my vitals. The doctor came in and talked to me about what was going to happen the next few days and answered a few of my questions.  Then she took my blood (OUCH, she is not good at that) and gave me my thyrogen shot in my butt.  If you are a very modest worry wart like me, don't worry.  No clothes had to come off.  You just pull the waistband of your pants down a little to expose the top area of your buttocks.  She was done with the shot before I even knew she was doing it.

Tuesday was another 7:30 AM appointment for vitals, blood work, and the second thyrogen shot.  The previous day's blood work explained that my innards were all working good, that my TSH and T4 were getting in good ranges (for every day) and that I am not pregnant.  Apparently the blood work they did on Tuesday was another pregnancy test and another TSH test.  I'd much rather them take my blood than have to pee in a cup for this mess.

After the appointment with the endo, I was off to Nuclear Medicine.  The nice lady I met with went over what was going to happen on Radiation Day, answered some questions, and gave me a list of precautions for being radioactive.  I'd like to point out that this DAY BEFORE radiation is the first time they gave me any list of precautions.  If I was some dumby with no internet, I would have been very ill-prepared.  Like it was, I am over-cautious and over-prepared and I like it that way.  But more on that next post.

The nice Nuclear Medicine lady then brought in a metal container with a smaller plastic container inside it.  The plastic container contained ten pills of a lesser form of radiation that was safe for me to have and still be around people.  I had to down all ten pills and then was free to leave.  These pills contained the tracer dose of radiation, so the next day's scan could show where my leftover thyroid cells were hanging out.

After having been in the house for two weeks working on cleaning and reorganizing, getting prepared for all the radiation crap, I was glad to have one last afternoon out.  Sean and I ran errands to pick up supplies at Target.  I also swung by Lane Bryant to make a return (and a purchase!).  If you follow me on Instagram, you know what I bought.  We came home and spent the rest of the evening (until 2AM), moving furniture out of the bedroom and covering everything in plastic.

It was almost time to get radioactive.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What I Wore: Sartorial Medley - Animal Attraction

It is time again for Sartorial Medley, a monthly themed fashion post hosted by myself and Aislynn of Aislynn's World.  (Did you miss the previous posts? Check them out!) We welcome participation from anyone, regardless of your dress size.  From now until the end of the month, email me your photo and link to your blog post  - diva (at) divinemrsdiva (dot) com.  

To participate, even if you don't have a blog,  just Tweet/Instagram/Pinterest/etc. your photo with #SartorialMedley to be featured in the blog post.  We can't wait to see you rocking your outfits!  (Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @DivineMrsDiva.)

Now on to this month's theme: Animal Attraction - eShakti belted poplin skirt, Lane Bryant belt, Torrid flats, SWAK Designs Amber Shrug

Thankfully, the ladies of Sartorial Medley and I decided on a theme prior to my radiation, so I took some photos of my outfit choice in advance!  I really, really love this look.  It is kind of retro in a sense, comfortable, and super fun to wear! - eShakti belted poplin skirt, Lane Bryant belt, Torrid flats, SWAK Designs Amber Shrug - eShakti belted poplin skirt, Lane Bryant belt, Torrid flats, SWAK Designs Amber Shrug

This was my first time wearing my black eShakti skirt.  However, it is already too big and may be my first sewing machine project.   I ordered it before I started losing more weight with all the dietary changes I have had to make.  I need to take it in about four or five inches.  It is the first thing from eShakti I have ordered without customizing it to my actual measurements, choosing to go by the size chart this time.  According to my measurements and the size chart, I should have ordered this in a size 30.  But I went with my size at the time - 26.  When I received it, it was still a little big.  Keep that in mind when you order.  I recently bought a chambray skirt in this same style and ordered a 22, which fits wonderfully.  There is an elastic panel in the back of the waistband that helps with fit.

Other things you might want to know: The material is poplin, so no stretch and definitely needs to be ironed.  Also, dog/cat hair sticks to it, so you need a sticky roller.  It has pockets sewn in on the sides, which I love. - eShakti belted poplin skirt, Lane Bryant belt, Torrid flats, SWAK Designs Amber Shrug

For the "animal" portion of this look,  I tucked a leopard tank into the skirt for that awesome fit and flare look, added some leopard flats, and a turquoise shrug for some color.  I found the belt at the Lane Bryant outlet and love that it has silver and gold little studs on it. I sized down with it because it is elastic, so it fits really good and will stay put. - eShakti belted poplin skirt, Lane Bryant belt, Torrid flats, SWAK Designs Amber Shrug
Leopard Print Tank - Fashion Bug
Amber Shrug - SWAK Designs
Belted Poplin Skirt - eShakti  (Use my referral link and new customers get $30 off their purchase and I get $15.)
Belt - Lane Bryant Outlet
Leopard Flats - Torrid
Lipstick in shade Mia Moore - theBalm

And it wouldn't be a complete post without me being a dork, right? - eShakti belted poplin skirt, Lane Bryant belt, Torrid flats, SWAK Designs Amber Shrug

Sartorial Medley: Animal Attraction

Sartorial Medley Liz - Animal Attraction
Liz of With Wonder and Whimsy
Sartorial Medley Aislynn - Animal Attraction
Aislynn of Aislynn's World

Monday, March 17, 2014

Q & A Monday: Holiday Traditions

I'm still in radiation jail, my Plastic Palace, whatever you want to call it.  I will do a post on that later this week, so I won't bore you with details now.  About the only exciting thing I have going on is looking forward to Wednesday when I can finally leave the room and do my radioactive laundry.

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at Losing Weight and Having Fun, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

Holiday Traditions

1. Do you celebrate St Patrick’s Day?
I used to, but it has been a few years.  In 2009, my older brother died (on the 16th) and it just hasn't been the same since then.  I was looking forward to decorating the house and cooking an Irish dinner this year, but here I am all radioactive and stuff....

2. Which is your favorite holiday to celebrate?
I enjoy Halloween for all the fun and dressing up.  I enjoy Christmas again because my husband's birthday is Christmas day. And I also look forward to Valentine's so I can make a gift for my husband and eat some tasty food.

3. Do you have a favorite ‘holiday’ food?
Pecan Pie, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, etc. etc.  I love all the tasty comfort foods.

4. What do you think of holiday parades?
They can be fun.  I don't usually watch them on television anymore because I don't like all the commentary and lip syncing.  Plus, who the heck are the people??  I don't watch the Disney channel, so I don't know half the "celebrities" involved. I do like to go to the annual Gay Pride parade though.

5. Have you ever been part of a parade?
Yes.  I might have been in some when I was a Girl Scout as a child.  Then, when I worked at an old folks' home in our last town, I road on the facility bus with some of the residents and waved and threw candy to the crowd.

6. Do you decorate your house for the holidays?
We just bought a house this past July, but I was sick and awaiting surgery over the holidays and we didn't decorate outside.  I did manage to decorate well inside right after Thanksgiving though, so we would have a festive holiday while I was recovering from surgery.  I enjoy decorating for the holidays.  I just hate taking it all down.  I guess I find it harder to keep up with all the spring holidays.

7. Do you send holiday cards?
I do.  My husband and I love to do fun, silly Christmas card photos.  I don't typically send cards for other holidays, though I do get cards for my husband on occasion.  Also, I try to send my sister a Halloween card because it is just something I do.

8. Are there any holidays that you celebrate that are traditional in another country, but maybe less well known in the US?

It isn't a holiday, but my husband and I started including Krampus in more of our Christmas festivities because the idea of him cracks us up.

Hope you enjoyed this week's questions!  Link up to participate or answer questions here!  Have a great week!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Q & A Monday: Vacations

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a glorious weekend filled with fun!

Mine was spent cleaning and checking things off the To Do List.  We began the weekend by organizing the garage (i.e. packing the Goodwill stuff into the car, putting away trash and cardboard, organizing and putting away the Christmas boxes, and going through miscellaneous boxes we packed in the rush of the move).  We also changed the big light fixture in the entryway from an outdated 1980s fixture, to a nice cylinder one we found on clearance for $35 (regular $160).  I also managed to vacuum and steam mop a majority of the house, as well as start on laundry.

On Sunday we continued laundry, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, dishes, etc.  Sean spent most of the day in the attic installing my shower light and our bathroom exhaust fans.  Those 1980s relics are gone now too!  All of this cleaning and project-finishing was a last ditch effort to get things done before I start radiation this week.

I went into the doctor to get a thyrogen shot this morning and will do the same tomorrow.  Thyrogen mimics your body's natural thyroid-stimulating hormone.  This will allow my leftover thyroid cells to take in the radioactive iodine I will be taking on Wednesday.  I'll be in isolation for about a week and then have minimal contact with people for another week or two at least.  I'll know more on Wednesday and do a post about it all as soon as I can.

So we got a lot done this weekend and I am just trying to remain calm and finish any side projects and cleaning in this last day and a half.  Now on to some fun stuff!

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at Losing Weight and Having Fun, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.


1. Where was the last place you went on vacation to?
The last time we had a true vacation was about five and a half years ago when we went to Hawaii for our honeymoon.  It was wonderful and we long to go back.  There have been a lot of stressful things going on since then so, once this radiation mess is behind me, we plan on going on a vacation!

2. Do you have any plans for a vacation this year?
We fully intend to go on a vacation this year.  We need it.  To where? I have no clue.  We have a long list of places we want to visit.

3. If money was no option, where would you dream vacation be?
If money was no option, I would want to do a European vacation and go all over.  But if I had to pick one place, it would be Ireland.

4. What is your favorite vacation spot that you have visited?

Maui and Victoria, B.C are among my favorites.

5. Have you ever had a staycation?

Yes, in the way that I had days off and didn't get to go anywhere fun.  Usually those aren't really vacations, they are more like longer days to get chores done.

6. Are you a lie on the beach person or a go out and explore person?
Maybe both, although I don't like to be in direct sunlight for too long.  I am not a lay-out-and-tan kind of person.  I do enjoy exploring and seeing new things, trying new foods, and doing fun activities.  I suppose my favorite things in Maui were the activities we did, like going up to Haleakala and doing a whale-watching excursion.

7. When you fly do you have a favorite airline?
I don't have a favorite airline because I hate flying and airplanes.  It all frightens the crap out of me.

8. Have you ever had a ‘vacation from hell’ ?
Well, it wasn't technically a vacation, but I was moving from WA State to Boston, MA.  My friend Norm (aka Michelle) was traveling with me to stay at our destination for a couple of weeks as I was moving in with our mutual friends.  I was moving across the country to the great chagrin of my mom and stepdad, who were positive I was going to fail at anything I decided to do.  I had made all the moving arrangements without their knowledge because I knew how much they would disapprove.  Anyway, I had $300 to my name the day I moved, Norm in tow.  Some friends of mine drove us up to Seattle and dropped us off at the airport.

The first problem was that the red-eye flight was five or so hours late, so Norm and I slept in the airport chairs waiting for our flight.  From Seattle to Chicago we went, obviously arriving in Chicago Midway very late.  We were told to go to the ticket counter and get our luggage so they could re-route it on time to our final destination.  We waited in line for about an hour to get our luggage and change our tickets, only to be told they didn't have time to look through everyone's luggage to find ours and it would make it to where it was going anyway.  There were no other flights to Boston (or they were all full), so the airport put us, along with about six other passengers needing to get on the same flight, into a limousine and sent us to Chicago O'Hare to catch a flight that was leaving in about an hour or so.

It was high traffic time, so we were waiting in traffic for at least 45 minutes and got to the airport a lot later than anticipated. We were all told to run to the boarding gate because the flight was waiting on us.  So here I am with a backpack that weighs at least 60 pounds because I was moving, having an asthma attack as I try to run as fast as I can to the gate.  Which, by the way, was at the very end of the airport terminal.  It was horrendous.

So on to Boston we go.  At least we thought enough ahead of time to call our friend who was picking us up at the airport and warn her we would be very, very late.  Once in Boston, we were told our luggage would be delayed, but to just wait an hour or so for it to come in on another flight.  So we waited.....and waited.....and waited.....for almost three hours.  By this time I think we had both been up for twenty-four hours and were beyond exhausted and cranky.  When our luggage never arrived, we filed claims with the airport and hoped our luggage would show up.

Norm's came about a week later, halfway into her trip. I had two suitcases.  One of them arrived a couple weeks later and the other didn't show up for another couple months.  People had been through it and my stuff was all jumbled up, not packed secure like I had taken the time to do.  One of my nail polishes had broken because of this and leaked on some of my clothes.  During that time period, I used my only money to buy toiletries I needed, underwear, socks, tops, and work clothes so I could find a job.
It was awful.

9. Have you ever had an airline lose your luggage?
See above.

10. Do you send postcards to friends and family when you go on vacation?
Not usually.  I normally don't have postage or a way of finding any and stay busy enough that I forget.

Have a great week!

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Favorite Hair Products (review and video)

I've been planning to do more reviews and videos for the blog since the new year came around, but life has gotten in the way.  I filmed a couple videos in late January and finally had a chance to edit one this week.  All of the opinions from the video still ring true, and the products shown are still my favorites. 

For reference, I have naturally curly, semi-coarse, color-treated hair that thrives on hydration but hates oily serums or anything too heavy or crunchy.  The ends get dry very fast, hence my need for weekly deep conditioning.  If watching videos isn't your thing, keep on scrolling to my written reviews and information on each product. Let's get started! - My Favorite Hair Products

My Favorite Hair Products - My Favorite Hair Products (DevaCurl Light Defining Gel and Set It Free)

DevaCurl Light Defining Gel - I first received a sample of this product through my Birchbox.  There are really only a handful of "curly hair" products I have used and loved (i.e. they don't leave my hair crunchy, weigh it down, or make it too oily or dry...), so I didn't have high hopes for this.  However, it won me over very fast.  Included in my sample were the No Poo Shampoo (Sulfate free but does contain hops and wheat) and the One Conditioner, as well as the Light Defining Gel.  The gel stuck out for me because it is a very light gel with a great texture and light fruity scent.  I really felt like it took my curls to the next level by helping them form better.  My hair seemed curlier after I used it. The non-heavy formula allows hair to stay bouncy and feel fresh.  For my shoulder-length or shorter hair, this big bottle is lasting a long time!
3 oz bottle - $8.00; 12 oz bottle $19.00.  Paraben, sulfate, and phthalates free.  It can be purchased at Sephora and Ulta stores and online.

DevaCurl Set It Free -Set It Free is a creamy textured gel spray that locks in moisture and eliminates frizz.  I picked up a small bottle on a whim when I went to purchase a large bottle of the Defining gel.  It has a light lime scent that I love.  When I use it, I spray it onto my hands, rub them together, and scrunch my hair and smooth the product over my roots and downward.  Not only does it help eliminate the frizz, but it adds shine as well.  If I use it when my hair is still slightly damp, I feel like it helps enhance the curls a little bit more too.
3 oz bottle - $8.00; 6 oz bottle - $19.00.  Paraben, sulfate, and phthalates free.  It can be purchased at Sephora and Ulta stores and online. - My Favorite Hair Products (It's a 10 and Number 4 Super Comb Prep and Protect)

It's a 10 - This leave-in conditioner is one I remember seeing in passing at my local salon, but never stopped to take a look.  As I said in the video, I rarely change up my hair products if they work well.  I happened to see a review for it on Weesha's World one day, which sparked my curiosity.  She has beautiful curly hair and praised what this product had done for her.  After thinking on it for a while (I am resistant to change), I caved and bought it.  I am so glad I did!  This product definitely detangles with ease, adds body and shine, helps my hair color last longer, and protects my ends from getting too frayed.  I've definitely seen a difference in my hair since using this product. Listed on the back of the product are the ten things it does for your hair.  In addition to what I have mentioned it also has the ability to repair dry and damaged hair, control frizz, stop hair breakage, creates silkiness, and act as a thermal protector.
Ulta lists a 4 oz bottle as $18.00 and a $10 oz bottle for $36.00.  I found mine for cheaper on Amazon, but it is also carried at Target, drugstores, and salons.

Number 4 Super Comb Prep and Protect -This leave-in conditioner was also another Birchbox sample success.  It has a stronger, warm amber smell and hydrates my hair well.  I love using this on a no shampoo day to add hydration after I spritz my hair with water.  It works great to keep the fy-aways at bay, plus is 100% vegan, gluten free, sulfate/sodium chloride free, and paraben free.
I purchased mine on Amazon for $29.99 for a 6.7 oz bottle.  It typically costs around $32 to $36 at select salons and online. - My Favorite Hair Products (Carol's Daughter Monoi Oil Repairing Collection)

Carol's Daughter Monoi Oil Repairing Collection - I received this sample kit as a gift from a friend and was beyond excited to give it a try.  The kit includes a sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask. It is for repairing hair, so I use it more as a once a week deep conditioning treatment and not an every day product.  Within the first use, it made a big difference in my hair.  It helped to hydrate and repair split ends, soften my hair and eliminate frizz, and made my hair incredibly bouncy.  I do feel that I will be purchasing full-size products once I run out of this kit.
The kit retails for $26.00 and is formulated without parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances or dyes, petrochemicals, or phthalates.

I hope this review helped introduce you to some new products.  If you use or have tried any of them, let me know what you think.  If you already have tried and true products you love, let me know what they are!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What I Wore: Fat Girls Can Definitely Wear Stripes - Avenue Striped Metallic Screen Print Tee

Stripes have a bad reputation.  It seems like a lot of people are doing away with that notion of stripes being a bad thing, but I know people who still cling to that belief.  I was taught from a very early age to never wear stripes, so I didn't.  In fact, most of my life I have shied away from anything with stripes.  I've been making strides in my stripe wearing in order to take a stand.  Fat girls can wear stripes!! - Avenue Striped Metallic Screen Print Tee and Casey Beaded Canvas Flat, Lane Bryant Skinny Jeans, Hooded jacket, and earrings

This totally cute top from Avenue is so comfortable and fun!  It has a bit of stretch to it, with this great solid and metallic scroll print that adds some interest.  It is a thinner material, so I did wear a nude cami underneath.  I love the larger scoop neck and three-quarter sleeves as well.  I cannot wait to wear it in the summer or try it with a chambray skirt.  The possibilities are endless. - Avenue Striped Metallic Screen Print Tee and Casey Beaded Canvas Flat, Lane Bryant Skinny Jeans, Hooded jacket, and earrings

I paired the top with my new Lane Bryant skinny jeans.  They are an exclusive style at the outlet, so if you have one near you check it out.  They are really stretchy and comfortable and haven't lost their shape yet, which is awesome.  I'm in a 24 now, but with these I was able to size down to a 22.  It seems to just be the way the style is made. - Avenue Casey Beaded Canvas Flat, Lane Bryant earrings - Avenue Striped Metallic Screen Print Tee and Casey Beaded Canvas Flat, Lane Bryant Skinny Jeans, Hooded jacket, and earrings

I also want to point out the rhinestone canvas shoes that are so delightful.  I had to wear socks with them because it was so cold this day, but I cannot wait to rock them in the spring and summer too.  The canvas has a nice shimmer to it, and you know I love my sparkles!  The earrings were a clearance find at my local Lane Bryant outlet.  Woohoo!

PS - At the time of this post (March 4th, 2014), the striped top is 40% off and the shoes are 30% off.  So don't miss out on that!  Avenue has some really great pieces out now. - Avenue Striped Metallic Screen Print Tee and Casey Beaded Canvas Flat, Lane Bryant Skinny Jeans, Hooded jacket, and earrings

Striped Metallic Screen Print Tee - c/o Avenue
Distressed Skinny Jeans - Lane Bryant Outlet Exclusive (Similar here, here, and here)
Casey Beaded Canvas Flat - c/o Avenue
Olive Hooded Coat - Lane Bryant circa 2012

I wore this outfit out to meet B.J. Novak during his book signing at Powell's Books in Portland.  If you aren't familiar with B.J., he played Ryan Howard in The Office, as well as wrote, directed, and produced some episodes.  He's also branched out to movies, like Inglourious Basterds. - Hailey and B.J. Novak (Powell's, Beaverton, OR)

Q & A Monday: Let's Talk Movies

It has been a sort of disjointed weekend.  We were supposed to work on house projects all weekend (cleaning, putting in light fixtures, reorganizing, moving furniture around, etc.), but my mother-in-law's car decided to stop working while she was over in Portland.  My husband had to go try to help her get the car started again.  They spent a lot of Saturday trying various things with no luck.  Therefore, no house stuff got done, except for me taking everything out of the dining room bookshelves and moving things all around to create more storage space. 

Sunday was slightly more productive because Sean only had to go help his mom for an hour or so.  We were able to get my dressing room light fixture up and I finished laundry.  Unfortunately, I had a stress-induced cry fest about my upcoming radiation and not being able to spend any time with my husband or fur kids (or anyone else) for a few weeks.  So that took a lot out of me.

Elder Scrolls Online beta testing was this past weekend too.  We managed to get some play time in Friday and Saturday nights.  Sean was able to play this time because they gave me an extra key code to share.  That was a bit of fun for sure.  I hope you all had a much more fun weekend than I!

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at Losing Weight and Having Fun, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

Let's Talk Movies

1. What is your all time favorite movie?
Far and Away, Phantom of the Opera, Romeo and Juliet, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Adventures in Babysitting, Dirty Dancing, Steel Magnolias, etc etc.

2. Who is your favorite actor and actress?

I immediately want to say Donnie Wahlberg and Claire Danes, though I could name many more who I think are extremely talented and awesome.

3. What is the first movie you ever saw at the cinema?

I don't know for sure.  But I remember seeing Ghostbusters at the drive-in theater with my brother and parents.  My mom made me turn my head any time there was kissing or anything that might turn into something sexual or romantic. (I'm guessing it was just the Dana/Zuul part.)

4. Did you watch The Oscars last night?

I didn't.  I recorded them though so I can go back and watch it soon.

5. How many of the Best Picture nominations did you watch and which did you enjoy the most?

I haven't seen any of them.

6. What did you think of Ellen hosting The Oscars?

I like Ellen, but I have not watched the Oscars yet.

7. If you had the chance to play a part in any movie, what would it be?
Hmmmmm, I have always wanted to do a buddy movie with Queen Latifah or be in a live-action version of Cinderella or something....I can't even fathom all the roles I would want to play.

8. Is there a movie you have watched that was so bad that you have either walked out of the cinema or turned it off?
I typically power through bad ones just to see if they ever get better.  I hate not finishing something I start.  I think one I couldn't deal with was Batman 2, the one with Danny Devito.  I despised it.  It is the only movie I have seen at the theater where I left to go to the restroom because I didn't care about missing anything.

9. What do you think of 3D and IMAX movies? Are they worth the extra money?

I've only seen one movie in IMAX and that was trippy.  I think some 3D movies are really great that way, but I don't like when it is too gimmicky.   Like when they don't film in in 3D and change things up just to try to sell more or higher priced tickets.  Meh. 

10. What was the last movie you saw at the cinema?
Hmmmmm.....I actually had to look at 2013 release dates to figure this one out.  I think it was either Man of Steel or This is the End sometime in June.  July was crazy with a road trip to see NKOTB and then we bought a house.  Then other stuff was going on while I worked on the house.  Then I found out I had cancer and we have pretty much been focused on that since.

You know the drill!  Answer on your blog and link up with Sarah or answer here in the comments if you like.  Have a great week!

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