Back Soon!

I’d like to apologize for my recent absence. I’ve been gearing up for a wedding that is happening this weekend and I haven’t had much of a chance to share. Anyway, I’ll be back in business on Monday June 3, 2013.

What you can expect:

  • Information about my CSA share
  • New recipes
  • My newest (and favorite, so far) ab routine

In the meantime, you can browse some of my recipes, tips or workout routines!

See ya soon!

Definitely Not a Cat Hair in my Lap

A few nights ago, Karen hopped up on my lap after I had returned home from a long day of work and errands. We had just settled in when the dreaded cat gagging sound started up. Maybe I was too tired or maybe I’m just truly no longer repulsed by anything gross my cats may do, but I had absolutely no reaction to her vomiting in my lap. I stood up, took the blanket to the bathroom to clean and tossed it in the washing machine. Minutes later, she was running around with Grace as if nothing had happened. I returned to the couch only to hear her gagging once again, only this time, on my beautiful dining room table cloth runner. Again, little to no reaction. I cleaned that up, tossed it in with the blanket and realized that I had really become a “grown-up.”


Poor Karen!

I always thought it was amazing that adults/parents could wipe our spit up off their clothes and continue on with the day like it was no biggie. A few years ago, I would have cried (my reaction when I get really grossed out) at the thought of something hurling in my lap, but now I’m the one shrugging it off. Maybe it isn’t about being a grown-up, but rather about truly being a devoted cat guardian (I’m trying not to use the word ‘owner’ anymore). Anyway, it was a nice moment to realize that skipping a work out or having a piece of cake really doesn’t mean anything. Just like having a little cat vomit on you doesn’t ruin your night.

I say all of this because I’m about a week behind on my Jillian Michaels workout. I have two weeks until the wedding, but really don’t feel that terrible that I’ve been spending my evenings celebrating birthdays, having dinners and enjoying life. That being said, I am going to get my butt back in gear as soon as the race is over this weekend. My energy levels have been way down from my lack of cardio! Oh and before I forget…let me recap the first week of Ripped in 30.

At first, I felt like I was going to die. I was sweating more than I do when I run, but after day three, I felt amazing. I felt my legs getting stronger and my arms leaner. Week two should be interesting considering I took some time off in between! I’ll keep you posted.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: If you have a desk job where you sit in front of a computer all day, set a time every hour to get up and stretch or walk around for five or ten minutes. You could even get creative do something like the Weather Channel and move around on the 8s. I get up at every :30 mark. I even find myself getting antsy a few minutes before!

Guest Post: Helping in Recovery from Open Heart Surgery

Ken Myers holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College.  As president of, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

Well, this has been a hard few months for my family. My mother underwent surgery on her neck to clear out a blockage about eight weeks ago and then two weeks ago went in for a triple bypass. My step mother also went in for a bypass three weeks ago. I don’t know why, but it seems like everything comes all at once.

After my mother’s first surgery, which was only the second time she had even had surgery in her life and the first time was over twenty years ago, she had a very hard time recovering. She was very weak and could not seem to stand the pain of the cut on her neck. Of course the doctor had told her that this surgery would be painful because he had to cut around some nerves and that could mean that she would lose feeling in her ear or even part of her face. Thankfully it was just her ear that is numb and hopefully in a few more months that will go away. However she took a long while to recover from this first surgery but the bypass needed to be done as soon as possible to prevent a heart attack or stroke.

When we went to the hospital to do the bypass it was a very hard time on us both. I took her to the waiting room and she was so nervous she couldn’t stand it. Right as they came to get her she appeared to have a stroke and could not move her legs or talk. We all freaked out and they admitted her to the hospital for testing. It turned out she had a mini stroke, the kind that does not cause any permanent damage. After a day or so in the hospital and lots of tests the doctors decided to go ahead with the surgery.

Wow, I never knew my mother was so stubborn. She did not say anything but she kept coming up with things to delay the surgery. Her stomach hurt, her chest hurt, she had a headache. On and on it went. It was just nerves and stress because the doctors had run all the tests and she was healthy. Thankfully the nurses figured out what the problem was and gave her something to help her sleep the night before we went in.

The surgery went well and they got all the bypasses taken care of. I stayed in the hospital with her for five days after the surgery until the insurance would not pay anymore and they made us go home. She was not really ready to leave as she was very afraid that something would happen. Eventually we made it home and she felt better being back home. However she could not go up the stairs to her room. To accommodate her I let her sleep in my room and I slept on the couch.

It was very hard on us both. The hospital had no bed for me except a pull out chair and there is no rest in a hospital to be sure. Nurses are always coming in and out and the doctors make their rounds at three in the morning. We were both exhausted when we got home.

Then it was still hard even at home. She had trouble getting up to go to the restroom and the doctors had told her if she did not get up and move around she would get pneumonia. She also had to use a breathing machine to keep her lungs clear. She could not use her arms to get up however or risk tearing open the stitches on her chest.

Strangely enough it was not the pain from the cuts that bothered her. Rather it was the weakness and the place that the doctors removed the drainage tubes. She did not want to get up or do anything because she was just so tired.

I did not want her to get pneumonia though so I made her use the walker they gave her to at least go outside and walk around a few feet before she could lay down again. Eventually she got to the point where she no longer fought me when it was time to use the breathing machine or even to take her medicine. She refused to take any pain medication except for Advil because pain pills made her feel funny.

And then it got worse. Just when we had a system going her hip started hurting. Due to her laying around more than usual her nerves in her hip got irritated and hurt her so bad she felt that she could not walk. Well, that would not work! So I got a neighbor to help me get her to the car and I took her to her doctor. Thankfully he was able to give her a shot and some pills that would reduce the irritation and allow her to walk almost immediately.

To say it has been stressful is an understatement. It is very hard to be a caretaker for a person who is just out of surgery. But my mother did not want to go into a rehab hospital and the insurance would not pay for a nurse so we had no other choice.

Some things I would recommend to caretakers after surgery is to make sure that you get enough rest. Call on friends or family to help out at least for a couple of hours so that you can get out of the house and get refreshed. I asked a friend of the family to come one day and stay with Mom until I could get some food at the store and run a few other errands. It really helped me out a lot.

Another thing to watch out for is hurting yourself. I almost hurt my arms really badly because I was lifting up my Mom to try and get her to the bathroom and so on. There are ways you can lift someone without hurting yourself. Ask a nurse before you leave the hospital to show you how to do it right.

Make sure you let the person who had the surgery, like my mom, do as much as possible. They need to use their strength to get more and the more you do for them the less effort they have to put in. This can also help with issues like being depressed or bored. When someone feels useless they will often get down and feel badly. However if you make them do what they can they feel like they are being productive and taking care of their own needs again.

I know how hard it is to stay on top of things both as a caregiver and as someone after surgery. I was in a major auto accident at one point in my life and could not walk for a long time. It was very hard for me to accept help especially because I was young and felt invincible. However I eventually learned to do what I could do and ask for what I needed. I am thankful I could be there for my mom like she was for me after my accident.

It is very hard being a caretaker and takes lots of love and compassion. I was not made to be a nurse and I know that nurses and doctors must be called to be able to handle this all the time. However there are ways that you can make it for at least a short period of time. I am thankful my mother is healing and I will not have to do this forever though as I do not think I could handle being a long term caregiver. I am in awe of those people that chose this as a career or are willing to take care of other in this way over the long term.

Thanks for the submission, Ken! 


Third Annual Girls on the Run 5K

Well, tomorrow is the big Girls on the Run race! It seems like it just crept up on me, but here it is! Like the last two years, the 5K will be held at the Marilla Center in Morgantown and will offer a variety of activities and booths. To name a few:

  • Zumba – 10 a.m.
  • Yoga – post race
  • Happy Hair Station (That’s where you’ll find me!) – available all day. This is a great place for our GOTR participants to stop by and get some awesome Goody hair decor.
  • Pinky Promise Station – available all day. Stop by this booth and take the Pinky Promise Challenge to help put an end to bullying by having your pinky nails painted blue.
  • Shopping Area – available all day.
  • Eco Race Events (ERE) will be recycling and will also be accepting donations of any old race shirts and other clothes, including old running shoes. Clean, usable clothes and shoes will be donated to be used again and will also be used to make new textiles and shoes will be given to Nike to chop up for running track surfaces. Old trophies will also be collected for reuse.

As you can see, this will be a fun-filled, jam packed event. Don’t worry, we have a map for all of these awesome activities! So, what if you’ve already registered? You can pick up your pre-registration packet tonight at Health Works in Morgantown between 5:30 and 7 p.m. Any questions you have about the race can be answered by me or one of our volunteers. If you can’t make it, you can always get your packet tomorrow morning starting at 8:30 a.m. Remember the race starts at 10:30 a.m., so get your packet early! If you haven’t registered, you can register starting at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow inside the Marilla Center. The race does fill up quickly, so come early if you want a spot.

Parking is available along East Brockway Avenue and in lots surrounding the Marilla Center, including the lot by the upper ball field and playground. Carpooling is encouraged! Lastly, if you play to come, don’t forget to bring a towel, as we won’t let rain stop us from enjoying the day! Should thunderstorms be in the area, participants won’t be put at risk. Cancellations will be posted on our Facebook page.

Ok, that covers it! Have a great weekend and hope to see some of you there!

5K Facebook Logo

Guest Post: Six Skincare Tips for Girls Before Going to Bed

Today’s guest post was written by AJ. AJ specializes with skin care products and runs her own small salon. She loves to advise people with beauty and health care tips via her articles.

In today’s world everyone is on the run for studies, new jobs, shopping, marketing and various other kinds of work. This does not exclude girls. At the end of the day when you return home, your skin can be bashed and battered with pollution, ultra violet rays of the sun and dust. The skin pores can get clogged and this is the initiation of pimples and skin allergies. Thus, it is very important for a girl to treat her skin before going to bed every night. The everyday routine before going to bed includes, brushing your teeth, flossing, and brushing your hair. However this is not enough. To get good glowing skin, one has to follow few skin care tips to look good. One can also use non surgical facelift for improving the texture of the skin

Sleep is the best time to give your skin he adequate rest that it requires. Thus it is very necessary to get a good night’s sleep before anything else. Along with that let us see the other ways in which one can take care of the skin.


It is very important to clean your skin before going to bed. For that you can just use some cold ice water along with some gentle soap free face wash. This helps the clogged skin pores to open up and also helps the skin to breathe properly.


Purification of skin is very important. If you are a lover of makeup, and you wear it every day, do not forget to remove it before going to sleep. Make up blocks the skin pores, making breathing of the skin impossible. This gives rise to skin break outs and rashes. There are a number of cleansing and purifying gels available in the market. However the best way is the natural way out. Dab clean cotton with some cold water and rub it all over your face after cleaning the face.

For better results you can sue an alcohol free skin tone. The makeup under the eye should be removed slowly as the skin is very gentle beneath the eye. A good way to get rid of dark circles and puffy eyes is using either tea water, cold water of products like tomato and curd.


Girls should use a nice night cream before going to bed. Night cream helps the skin to become moisturized and also protects the epidermal layer of the skin from  damage. It helps the skin retain its elasticity.


Toning of the skin is also very important because it helps the skin to remain firm and fresh and pure. Toning can be done with the help of either a good alcohol free toner or rose water made at home. The best facial packs that can be used at home are honey, tomatoes, papayas and curd. They protect your skin and also remove the dark patches formed all through the day.


Relaxing is the best thing that one can do in order to give the skin rest. Close your eyes and listen to some soothing music with a cold napkin over your face. You will feel the difference. You can also use aroma therapy like sandalwood, geranium plant, rose and Jasmine in napkins for a better effect.


The best way to give your skin complete rest is by a good nights sleep.

Protect your skin from the pollution, dust and ultraviolet rays by these six skin care tips and see yourself glowing every day!Natural treatment is the best treatment other than non-surgical face lifts.

Thanks so much, AJ!

Guest Post: Exercising After Breast Surgery

Brenda Panin is a blogger and a full time mom of two beautiful girls. She enjoys healthy life, exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family. In her free time she loves to read about plastic surgery.

No matter what type of breast surgery you have, it can make it difficult for you to do normal every day things, such as being able to take a deep breath or to move your arm or your shoulder normally. This can make activities such as taking a bath/shower or getting dressed difficult. It is important to do exercises after breast surgery to limit the difficulties you could have.

As with any surgery, there are typically restrictions that you are placed on for a period of time. This is to ensure that your body has time to begin healing and that you will not cause yourself any injury. Because of this, it is important to ensure that you have your doctor’s permission before beginning any exercises. Some of the exercises can be done just a few days after the surgery and others should wait a few weeks, but your doctor will be able to give you directions on this.

One type of exercise that can be done is rolling your shoulders. You will start by bringing your shoulders up, backwards, down, and forward. You should repeat this ten times and then reverse the motion in the opposite direction for another ten repetitions. This particular exercise is a great one to start with. It helps to stretch out the muscles in your shoulder and chest.

Another great exercise that helps to stretch your muscles begins by sitting and clasping your hands together on your lap. Keep your head straight and looking forward. Keeping your hands clasped together and your elbows level with each other, you will then begin to raise your hands up in front of you. You should continue to slowly raise them up and over your head to the back of your neck. You will then want to slowly spread your elbows out away from your body while keeping your hands on the back of your neck. Once you have your elbows spread out to your sides, you will want to hold this position for about one minute. You will then slowly reverse the movement, bringing your elbows back in and slowly moving your clasped hands back over your head and down until they rest in your lap.

This exercise could pull and put some strain on the place of your incision. If it does, you should pause in the position you are in and take some breaths in through your nose and let them out slowly through your mouth. Because of the strain and discomfort, you may not make it all the way through this exercise the first few times, but as you continue to do this exercise, your muscles will stretch and the strain on your incision will ease.

This next exercise will help you regain the strength and ability to reach behind your back, which is quite important for things such as hooking your bra. You will put both your hands behind your back and hold the hand on the side of the surgery with your other hand. You will then want to slowly move both of your hands up your back as far as you can. If you begin to feel pain or strain, you should pause and breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. If the pain and strain passes, you should again try and move upward. Once you have gotten to the furthest point you can reach, you should hold the position for one minute. Then slowly move your hands back down your back.

Exercising after breast surgery is important in getting the mobility back in your arm and shoulder that you had prior to the surgery. Following these exercises can help get the normal functionality back in your arm.

Thanks for this great article, Brenda! This is a subject I’m sure a lot of women have many questions about.

Pasta Party

Yesterday was supposed to be my third day doing Ripped in 30, HOWEVER, I skipped it in favor of a much needed hang session with my friend Abigail. First, we had a very filling dinner at Puglioni’s. I got linguine with veggies and pesto sauce, ate at least half the loaf of bread and still managed to walk out of the place without the help of a crane. After we left there, we headed back to Abigail’s to start planning our little getaway in July. We are going to see She & Him (!!!!!!!!) in Washington D.C. and plan to stay in the city for two nights. Abigail used to live in D.C. for a summer while she worked at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, so she knows the area much better than I do. We’re hoping to do some sightseeing and definitely hit the museum to catch up with some of her former colleagues. Pretty fun trip planned! I stayed out much later than anticipated, but got to see another great friend as well! Worth it.

After I got home, I started thinking about how important it is to savor time with people you care about. Abigail is moving in August and will be living out of the state for nearly 3-5 years, so every little bit of time with her counts. I’m definitely used to her being far away, sometimes even halfway across the world, but it still always bums me out when I realize she won’t be a few minutes away from me. Regardless, I’m very happy and very proud of her. Plus, now I have an excuse to finally visit Massachusetts.

Tonight I plan to hit the Ripped in 30 DVD hard. I may even sneak in 20 minutes on the elliptical at the gym as well. Every little bit counts!

What activity can guarantee you’ll skip your workout?

Guest Post: How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

Author, traveler and die-hard foodie Cole Millen has recently been looking into how it is increasingly difficult to maintain a nutritious diet when indulging in cuisines across the world from my travels. “As more folks like myself begin trending towards a healthier travel experience, I think it would be great for your readers to learn some tips and tricks of the trade that I have learned in my own experiences of traveling and staying healthy.”

Taking a vacation is a wonderful way to reduce stress and improve productivity at work and at home. Taking yourself out of the normal routine can be exhilarating, but many vacationers end up packing on those extra pounds they worked so hard to get off before their retreat. In order to stay healthy and fit while on your getaway, there are a few simple steps you can follow to retain that pre-vacation body.

Depending on how long you are in transit, one way you can maintain a healthy diet is to avoid indulging in that greasy airport food. Not only is this food expensive, but it’s also designed for speed and convenience. While this is great for travelers in a rush, it’s not good for your diet. One way you can eliminate these unnecessary calories is to eat before you fly. If you have a long day of traveling ahead of you, try and pack healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, and crackers in your carry-on luggage. This can be a great replacement that will curb your appetite. You should also avoid picking soda for your in-flight drink. Stick to juice or water––this will be better for you in the long run.

Since hotels are a staple for any vacationer, this can also end up being a destructive inzfluence on your diet. When choosing a hotel, make sure you research the quality of the pool and workout facilities, since these features will help you stay slim during your stay. If you prefer not to be stuck in the gym, there are usually activities such as volleyball going on at the pool area that can serve as a good alternative. Although the primary goal on a vacation is to relax and socialize, you can always look for group fitness classes that fit your style. Some hotels have complimentary sessions or appointments with personal trainers. Make sure to look into all your options beforehand so you can plan ahead. I recently took a trip to Sin City and found a great site that listed reviews for Las Vegas hotels. The reviews not only gave me insight into which hotels were perfect regarding amenities and offerings, but it also had reviews regarding the restaurants in the surrounding area. This allowed me to plan out how to remain healthy while in and out of the hotel!

One of the keys to having a successful vacation is to strike a nice balance. While you want to indulge, you can do so in moderation. Avoid temptation where you can. Refuse (or hide) the key to the minibar, which will help you stay trim and also avoid making a dent in your wallet. If your hotel has a continental breakfast, skip the pancakes and bacon. Especially if it is early in the day, stick to healthier options such as oatmeal, fruit, and whole grain toast. When eating out, be aware that most restaurants serve food that contains higher calorie content than the healthier food you cook at home. I suggest you research the restaurants near your hotel and check the menu offering in advance. Try and avoid chain restaurants and make sure to stay away from any meals that have stuffed, loaded, smothered, battered, creamy, bottomless, or fried in the description. Choose steamed vegetables as a side and if you have the option, pick salad over soup.

Since most vacations are more than just hotel living and restaurant food, you can use your exploring to your advantage. When out on day trips, try and walk as much as possible. Walking is the fastest and easiest way to burn calories while still enjoying your vacation. Also, eat when you’re hungry. It’s easy for busy travelers to forget to eat, but maintaining a regular meal schedule is especially important on vacation. Regular meals will help you cut down on snacking and keep your body in better shape as you sightsee. Drinking water is also very important. If you want to keep your energy up, staying hydrated is the easiest way to keep your body going.

It’s important to unwind while you’re on vacation, but remember to relax your body and mind without relaxing your diet. Stay disciplined, and you’ll come home to an even healthier you!

Thanks for the useful information, Cole!