Friday, February 28, 2014

Blessings.



As February comes to a close and a new month begins, I want to take time to reflect. Mom is recovering well and getting stronger every day. She had an appointment with her GP yesterday who also confirmed she is doing well, yet he expressed some concern that her blood pressure was still a bit high. He doubled the dosage on one of her medications, but explained that she was on a very low dose to begin with on all of her medications.

The doctor also said he would like for her to have no more than 150 grams of carbohydrates daily, so now we are now watching sodium and carbs closely, as well as cholesterol and fat. Food labels are my new best friend, and all meals other than breakfast, which consists of Cheerios and a banana, are made at home from scratch. I believe this event is a blessing in disguise as an opportunity for a better, healthier lifestyle. It's been a life-changing event for both mom and me; I know am committed now more than ever to being healthy.

Regarding being healthy, tomorrow starts my third month on Weight Watchers. Since starting the plan on 01.01.14, I've tracked everything I've put in my mouth and have not gone over my points. To date, I've lost 29.6 pounds. I don't think it's extremely obvious yet, but my clothes fit better and I feel better. I've gone to the gym every week, taking Body Pump (weights) and Step (cardio). I'm very encouraged and excited about my progress!

Many prayers have been answered this year, and I am thankful for each of these and for all of my many blessings. Three things I desire: That my parents be happy and healthy, that I have gratitude for all the wonderful blessings in life, and that my appreciation always outweigh my expectation.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Good Info

Measure Equivalents

1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 3 teaspoons (tsp)
1/16 cup (c) = 1 tablespoon
1/8 cup =
2 tablespoons
1/6 cup =
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
1/4 cup =
4 tablespoons
1/3 cup =
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
3/8 cup =
6 tablespoons
1/2 cup =
8 tablespoons
2/3 cup =
10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
3/4 cup =
12 tablespoons
1 cup =
48 teaspoons
1 cup=
16 tablespoons
8 fluid ounces (fl oz) =
1 cup
1 pint (pt) =
2 cups
1 quart (qt) =
2 pints
4 cups =
1 quart
1 gallon (gal) =
4 quarts
16 ounces (oz) =   1 pound (lb)  
1 milliliter (ml) = 1 cubic centimeter (cc)
1 inch (in) =
2.54 centimeters (cm)


Since I have been implementing a healthier diet and lifestyle, I've realized how important it is to measure the content of my food. I found this handy-dandy measurement chart on the usda.gov site, and I thought I would post here and to Pinterest for reference.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Where to start...

The last few days have been a huge whirlwind of emotion.

My mom had a mild heart attack and was in the hospital from Tuesday through Thursday. If it were not for God and faith I would have fallen apart - my greatest fear is that something will happen to my parents. I don't know how people cope with the death and sickness of loved ones.

I rushed my mom to the ER on Tuesday after 24 hours of persistent pain. The nurses immediately began tests and monitoring. As I waited by her side, the doctor told us that there was concern about her EKG, that her enzymes were high, and that her blood pressure was dangerously elevated. They gave her aspirin and administered nitroglycerine intravenously. I knew something was wrong, but, perhaps naively or being in denial, I didn't think it was as bad as it was.

The cardiologist came in the room and said he wanted to send dye through her arteries to "see" if there were any blockages. At that same time, the nurse began looking at the area they would feed the catheter, and I stepped out of the room to give my mom some privacy. It was at this time that the cardiologist told my mom that she had already had a heart attack and that there was a 100% blockage in one of her coronary arteries. No one told me this when I came back in the room, but I hugged my mom and we said 'I love you's' as they wheeled her away for the angiogram. I was then directed to a waiting area where I cried hard and prayed earnestly.

Soon, they came and got me and said my mom was doing well and that the doctor wanted to talk to me. I sat alone in a consultation room before I looked up to see him standing in the doorway. He was a tall Asian man, and while very direct, he had a warmth and kindness about his eyes. He explained my mom had a heart attack, that there had been 100% blockage in her artery, and he had placed in two stents. 

I thought I was going to collapse. I could barely breathe, and for a second he looked very concerned. I gained my composure as he asked if I had any questions. I couldn't even think at that point and said no. As he left the room I began to feel a strength and peace that was beyond me. I know it must have been God helping me, and I knew he was keeping my mother safe and well.

Eventually I was escorted to the ICU to see my mom. When I first saw her she looked so pale and helpless, yet she smiled a big smile and said, "Hey, sweet girl!" She explained she had made the decision not to tell me about the heart attack so that I wouldn't worry. She said she felt better than she had in a long time and was committed to being healthy like never before.

The nurses in ICU were so kind and let me stay with my mom as long as I wanted to, even though visiting hours were technically very limited. Wednesday night she was moved to a standard room, and then Thursday we finally went home.

Mom went from taking nothing but a multivitamin everyday to now taking 6 different medications. The doctor explained that with improvement she could slowly be weened off most of them. We have also been educating ourselves about nutrition - especially sodium and cholesterol intake. The dietician came around and explained that sodium should be kept under 2,000 mg a day, and further explained that there is almost 2,400 mg in a TEASPOON of salt. I didn't realize that almost everything has some sodium in it - even fruits and vegetables - and to keep it under 2,000 you almost can't use salt. So, I have been tallying both mom's and my sodium intake - making a lot of things from scratch to eliminate the use of salt as much as I can (I also want to follow the same regimen of reducing the sodium in my diet).

Before mom was released from the hospital the doctor said even though there was some damage done to the muscle, her heart is very strong. There is some plaque in her other two coronary arteries, but with healthy diet, exercise, and taking her medication, she can prevent further build up to any point of concern. The doctor also said it is rare for there to be complications with the stents, or for them to collapse, as long as she adheres to her healthy lifestyle and medication.

I feel like this post is one long stream of consciousness, but it feels good to get it out. I've only told my dad, so very few people know this has happened. I want more than anything for my mom to be healthy and happy - she deserves nothing less than this. I want to do everything I can to ensure she has this. 

My greatest fear is that something will happen to my parents. Sometimes the worry even keeps me up at night. But, I remember a story my mom used to read to me as a little girl called, The Hiding Place. In it, the little girl expresses similar concerns and fears to her father. Her father very wisely asks a simple question: "When does the train conductor give you your ticket?" and the little girl replies, "Right before I get on the train." Her father continues to explain it's the same way in life - God will give us the strength we need at the time we need it. We may not be able to comprehend how, but that is only because it is not the time to know. 

God kept my mom safe through all of this, and I firmly believe she will live a better and longer life after having had this experience. And God provided his strength to me, so that even in this potentially dark time, I have felt his peace and joy. 

There are so many things for which to be thankful.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day ♥


Happy Day of Love. ♥ 

That's my wish to you - however and with whomever you celebrate the day. I know Valentine's Day can be over-commercialized and put pressure on people without a significant other to have one, and cause those with a significant other to have unrealistic expectations on how the day should go.

Personally, I've never gotten caught up in the commercialization and rather think a day all about saying I love you and doing special things for those we love {in a myriad of ways: parents, pets, friends, co-workers...} is kind of a neat idea. :) Whenever true love is the focus, we can't go wrong. ♥

Friday, January 31, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Expectations


So this weekend didn't go exactly the way I expected or pictured. I was disappointed, cried a little, and then accepted it. Other people and their feelings are out of my control, as they should be, and I try to draw upon the Serenity Prayer and God to help me "accept the things I cannot change." I also leave room for learning, and that maybe I'm the source of the problem or perhaps my expectations are just too high.

On a separate and positive note, I weighed on Friday (my weight-tracking day with Weight Watchers) and I've lost a total of 11.2 pounds since beginning the program on 01.01.14. I worked out 5 days last week, which was my goal, doing Body Pump on Tuesday and Thursday and Zumba on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I feel great and very encouraged!

Looking forward to the new week ahead.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Weekend.


I'm taking a drive this weekend to visit my dad. He lives in a larger city about 3 hours from here, and I'm really looking forward to it! Sometimes one just needs a good road trip - to experience a different city, to drive on the open road, to think, to listen to great music...and most important of all, to visit with someone you love dearly.

I think it will be a quiet weekend: dinner, conversation, maybe a museum or two. I've been to this city a handful of times, but didn't really have the opportunity to explore while I was there. I'm excited to be able to experience some of the culture this time, however briefly.

If I haven't mentioned it before, 2014 has been an exceptional year; I anticipate many more good things as the year continues to unfold. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Crafty.


I saw this little crafting project over at ELM STREET LIFE, and I just had to share it!
I was thinking that instead of drawing text, maybe I would try my hand at drawing a design. Whitney shows you step-by-step how to create YOUR perfect little custom coffee mug, and she found these in white for only $1! Wow! Can't wait to get started; I'll post photos of my finished product upon completion.

.:: Image taken from ELM STREET LIFE ::.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Morrissey 2014!


Via True To You:
Morrissey has signed a two-album deal with Capitol Music in Los Angeles. He is set to record a new album in France starting on February 1st. Producer is Joe Chiccarelli, and musicians are Boz Boorer (guitar), Jesse Tobias (guitar), Gustavo Manzur (piano), Solomon Walker (bass guitar) and Matt Walker (drums). This will be Morrissey's first album since Years Of Refusal, which was recorded in 2008. Morrissey has been signed by Steve Barnett at Capitol Music.
So far, 2014 has been a fabulous year, and this exciting news just puts the cherry on top! 2014 is the year! Morrissey. . .such a kindred spirit. He gives a voice to our deepest fears and insecurities. My hero. ♥

UPDATE 02.14.14: Morrissey has announced US tour dates! I'm seriously considering Nashville on May 28!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mantra: 2014


We may be surprised by how much others are able to perceive about our thoughts from our countenance. My goal is to think and believe the best of all people.
This is a simple one to remember when feeling less than happy about any given situation. The ripple effect, and my mantra for 2014. Positive mind = Positive vibes = Positive life.


And this is just a pretty picture. I love her eyeliner and makeup, and her hair and her dress. :) I probably should've saved it for a post on beauty and makeup, but if you can't be random on your blog, where can you be?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Wanna be a French Girl?

*Disclaimer: You don't have to be blonde to be a French Girl, but one of the most famous girls was. :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Secret Garden

 

I've been thinking about spring and about gardening. Right now my space is limited,  but the above photos have inspired me to plant flowers and other greenery in containers - I especially love the look of the galvanized metal tubs. 

I could line up a few of those on the balcony and use a shabby-looking bench to add height and layers. Even if no one else is able to see it way up high on my balcony, I could still enjoy it! 

Martha Stewart has some great ideas for a winter garden too; you replace delicate flowers with hardy evergreens. You can see her article here.

And, if you like the green bench above, you can purchase it and other handmade items at this lovely Etsy shop .

Friday, January 10, 2014

Goals and Progress


I took a Zumba class tonight and feel great (must be the endorphins)! I felt a little ridiculous at the beginning of the class, but somewhere along the way it stopped feeling awkward and became fun! By the end I was dripping with sweat and pretty sure I learned how to dance! 

I've also been taking Body Pump, a (low-weight/high-rep) weight training class. And, as I get back into shape, I want to start taking yoga again.

I know what I eat is an important element of health and fitness, so I joined Weight Watchers. I started on 01.01.14, had my first weigh-in on 01.08.14, and lost 2.2 pounds. I was so happy! It's been easy to do, and what I like most is the concept of eating what you want in moderation. 

Fruits and vegetables are "free" (0 points), and I've found myself eating a lot more of those, along with making healthier food choices in general because they are lower in points. I'm also doing the program online, and it gives me a smiley face when check off my 5 servings of fruits and vegetables for the day. I really like this validation. :)

To find out more about Weight Watchers, feel free to contact me, or you can visit here.

I posted the above picture because I tend to look at how far I have to go and get discouraged. In the past I've looked at Weight Watchers and a gym membership as a luxury I shouldn't be spending money on instead of acknowledging they are just as essential as paying my electric bill.  

I'm now focusing on all the little victories along the way - like actually sticking to my way of eating and going to the gym 5 days a week - and feeling good about it.

And since I haven't had a chance to say it yet . . .

H a p p y 


 ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Transformation


A photo I took during warmer days on my favorite walking trail in my favorite park. 

I came across it today and something about it struck me as special. Maybe it's the warm glow of the sunshine, maybe its the green foliage... I think it's the delicate butterfly looking so free.

That butterfly wasn't always so beautiful, wasn't always so free. The butterfly breaks free from its cocoon, and only then can the transformation really be fulfilled.

I'm working on myself these days. Physically and otherwise. Sometimes t's a struggle to push past my comfort zone, but I know it's all for the better.

Transformation. 2014 is the year.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Paris in Winter


Le sigh . . .

One day I will journey to this beautiful city - a city that seems even more magical in the snow, as if that could even be possible.

I have it on good authority that this website is an excellence resource and guide through the city of lights; I've begun to consult it regularly as I plan the trip of my dreams.  ♥

Until then,

À bientôt