Sunday, June 29, 2014

Product review - Jamberry Nails

My niece had an in-home party for a product I'd never heard of. Jamberry Nails After a quick check on Google, I was interested.

Here's my final result.

Jamberry are nail "decals" that put fun designs on your nails.  I've tried other brands such as Sally Hansen and I wasn't particularly thrilled with them.  They were a pain to put on and they didn't last long.

These have a 30 day money back guarantee, so I took a flyer on it, and heck, it was for my niece.  Love that girl!

They come 18 on a sheet, and unless you have really long nails, one decal is enough to cover two nails. Here's what I used to do 10 nails.

Like the other brand, they are a pain to apply.  Took me about half an hour to do 10 nails.  Then again, when I paint my nails, it takes me much longer than that, so.....

I like to do fun designs on my nails and I change them pretty much weekly.  The wide variety of designs available intrigued me and I really like the detail that I couldn't possibly do on my own.  This style is called "Vacay."  I did then since it's summer and July 4th is Friday.  They seemed rather appropriate.

They do also carry styles or designs you're not going to get elsewhere, such as collegiate and sorority.  There are also matching Mommy & Me styles for you and the little girl in your life.

Price wise they come in about the same as the drug store brands.  Since I can get at least two uses out of these, more if I'm doing my toes, the set of $15 for Jamberry comes in pretty much dollar for dollar with the drug store cost of $6 - $8 for one set to do 10 nails.

One thing I did find out as I was going was to heat them as long as you can.  The application instructions say 3-5 seconds, but when I heated them for 7 - 10 seconds they went on easier.  The ones that weren't heated as long have more wrinkles in them.  However, with the design I used, you can't really see the wrinkles.  And as with most things, using your non dominant hand to apply them is harder.  If you can have someone help you, it would probably go much easier.

So, the jury is out to see how long they last.  I didn't top coat or anything and the instructions didn't tell me to, so I'm going as is.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

S'Mores bar - pump up your S'Mores

For my 30th birthday we had just purchased our first home and we had a birthday party in our back yard.  We live in the country.  Between the land that we own and the land that surrounds us, we have about 70 acres of vacant land.  My birthday is in August.  What did we do?  You betcha'!  We had a giant bonfire.

What better summer event than sitting around a fire with good friends, good drinks (of course) and good laughter and talk?

Of course, if you're having a bonfire, you must have S'mores!

One of our friends set up a "s'mores assembly line," which was all well and good, until someone bumped the log that all the ingredients were on and dumped them into the fire.  It was all good and served as a good laugh for the night and stories for years to come.  It is a birthday I'll never forget.

You don't need a party to have S'mores.  Any fire night is a good night to roast some marshmallows.  It always brings back memories of our group camping adventures when I was a kid.

Instead of sticking with the traditional S'mores, why not set up a S'mores bar?  Allow everyone to make their own creation?

You can buy different flavor variations of marshmallows, but you can really get creative with the other ingredients.

Varieties of chocolate

Peanut butter cups
Caramel filled
Peppermint patties
If you like nuts, use a chocolate with nuts in it, or a candy like Turtles
Miniature candy bars instead of plain chocolate

Cookies instead of graham crackers

Fudge stripe cookies
Peanut butter cookies
Chocolate chip cookies
Pull out some of the Girl Scout cookies you bought!!
Oatmeal raisin
If you want more gooey insides, split an Oreo or Nutter Butter, or other similar sandwich cookie open, and place your chocolate and marshmallow between them.

Get creative with your combination and see what you can come up with.  Report back with what your favorite is/was.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

You're having a hysterectomy - Getting to the hospital

This may be your most stressful time.  It wasn't for me.  I couldn't wait to get these painful units out of my body!!

You should have been instructed by your hospital where to go to check in.

Even though you have given the hospital, and probably about 8 other people along the way, but make sure to take your ID and your insurance card as well.  Also, get used to giving your name and birth date numerous times throughout your stay.

Once you are called in and given a room, get ready to be a lab rat and talk to more people than you probably see at Christmas time!!  I quit counting after 10 people were in an out of my room.

You have your doctor, which will probably be one of the last people in the parade. You have to have a urine test to make sure you're not pregnant (if you're still of child bearing age), blood pressure, temperature, and all the usual tests. You'll change into your fun gown and be given some socks to wear.

You will have your IV put in.  I have issues with this because my veins roll.  I always make sure to tell the nurse this so they don't use me a pin cushion. I usually have great veins that are easy to find, but since I did my cleanse the day before, it was difficult to get the IV port in.  2 nurses, 3 sticks and 3 ugly bruises later, it was in.  If you have difficulty giving blood, make sure you tell them this ahead of time.

The anesthesiologist and the assistant will come in, along with a slew of other people.  Reminder, you're going to give your name and birth date to all of these people.

Finally you're going to be taken into the operating room.  Truthfully, I remember very little about this.  I remember being transferred from the gurney onto the table, being asked my name and birthdate, again, the IV getting hooked up, and the mask going over my face.

The next thing I knew, I woke up in recovery.  I remember waking up in recovery and asking what time it was.  When they told me it was 11:00 AM, I knew something had gone wrong during surgery. I was scheduled for surgery at 7:30 AM, but it was after that before I went into the OR.  It was supposed to be a 3 hour surgery, which would have put me at 10:30 into recovery.  The fact that I was waking up this early in recovery told me that things did not go as planned.  Apparently I was told at some point in recovery that I had to have the traditional surgery, but I have no memory of this at all.

The other thing I remember is being transferred to go back to my room.  The nurse or tech or whoever asked me if I thought I could transfer to the gurney myself or if I wanted them to slide me.  LET THEM SLIDE YOU!!!

Once you get back to your room, it will be mayhem and you'll be poked, prodded, blood pressure, temperature and a repeat.  No pregnancy test this time though.  :)

Next installment... what happens during recovery.

Monday, June 9, 2014

You're Having a Hysterectomy - What to Expect

I AM NOT A DOCTOR!!  If you doctor tells you something different, listen to your doctor!!

This is my personal journey and what I'm leaning along the way.  Hopefully this will help to prepare you for what you are facing.

First and foremost, talk to your doctor about what TYPE of hysterectomy you'll be having.  There are 4 different variations, and talking with your doctor is the best way to decide which procedure to have.  That is not to say that things can't change.  I was scheduled for a robotic laproscopic hysterectomy, but due to complications, I had to have to the old fashioned one.  That means a much larger incision and longer healing.  If your doctor doesn't do the robotic or the laproscopic, ask for a referral!!  The healing time is shorter and the incisions are much smaller, so you want that to be an option.

The best advice I can give you is ask questions.  Keep a notebook with all your questions.  No question is dumb.  This is YOUR surgery, your fears and your body.  If you start to talk to your friends, you may find that quite a few of them have had the procedure.  However, medical advances change quickly.  Even though I had the "traditional" surgery, the advancements are making my healing go better.

It's best to bring someone with you when you talk to your doctor.  While it may be a "routine" surgery, if you're nervous, you may not hear everything, or you may forget to get answers.  Another set of ears of thinks of question that you don't.  Anytime you're talking surgery, take a friend, spouse, parent, or someone else with you.

You may plan to work up until the day of surgery...DON'T!  Because all the parts that they will be working with are close to your colon and bowel, they will usually have you do a "cleanse" the day before surgery.  Trust me, you do not want to do this at work!! It involves laxatives and Gatorade or something similar mixed with two week's worth of a different kind of laxative.  You just really don't want to be sprinting to the bathroom at the office.  And it will stink.  Set up your bathroom with a book or your tablet, and a candle!!  You'll thank me later.

You will also have to do a clear liquid diet the day before.  If you've every had a colonoscopy, this will be familiar to you.  If you haven't, I've heard the prep for that procedure is much worse.  Oh joy.  You are very limited on what you can eat, but quite honestly, I was so bloated from the prep, that I didn't feel like eating.  I was also told that tequila, vodka and rum do not count as clear liquids.  They weren't much fun.  :)  In fact, there is no alcohol and no intercourse for 48 hours before your surgery.

In addition, you will have some kind of antibiotic before the surgery.  There is the normal oral kind, or a vaginal kind, similar to a yeast infection treatment.  Your doctor will tell you which one he/she prefers.

And then there's your body.  Nair those legs before you go in.  You're not going to be bending over to shave them for a while after the surgery.  If it's winter, eh, who cares.  In addition, think about the other hair on your body.  My husband is an EMT and at his part time job he works with various surgery techs.  He was discussing my surgery and his partner of the day gave him/me one word bit advice.  "Ladies, tidy up."  You don't have to get rid of all hair, but it will make your clean up easier afterward, and depending on where your incisions are... You don't want the adhesive tape ripping THAT hair off!!  Do a close trim to make things easier on you and your surgeon.

In most cases, you will be kept overnight, so pack a bag.  You don't really need to take much, because they'll give you most of what you need, but here are some things that I forgot, or that were very helpful.

Pack some granny panties a couple sizes larger than you normally wear.  Your stomach will be very distended after the surgery and you don't want anything tight on your body.  You may not wear them for long, but trust me, they'll be a Godsend.  They do have special undies for you to wear while in the hospital.

Bring loose clothing.  I found these awesome pants at Walmart for $10.  They come in both capris and full length pants.  Pajama pants work great too.  Again, you belly will be distended.  You want loose clothing.  You'll want clothes that are easy to put on for awhile after your home, and these types of pants will work great. One friend told me to use pregnancy pants, but using the loose ones that I bought have worked fine.

Lip balm - yes, this sounds stupid but I didn't bring my full purse, because, well, I didn't need it.  I didn't have any lip balm and my lips were horribly dry.  You will have a tube in your throat and the rooms are dry, which will make your lips dry out.

Bring a pillow - I had several friends tell me this and it was a life saver.  Not a pillow for your bed.  A pillow for your belly.  Use it to support your belly when they get you up to walk, an they will.  Here is the one I took.

As you can see, it's not much larger than the span of my hand, but that's really the size you need.  The other key is that it's firm.  You don't want a soft, squishy pillow.  You want support.  I make these pillows and sell them on my Etsy store, so I could make it exactly as firm as I wanted.  You can also place this pillow between your belly and the seat belt when you're driving home.

Whether or not you bring a nightgown is up to you.  They won't let you put it on until you're off all forms of IVs, so depending on how long you're in, you might not have time to change.  I just brought one that covered my butt, so when I was walking the halls, yes, you walk the halls, I wouldn't be hanging out the back.

I wasn't at all nervous going in.  I had so much pain from a 5 cm fibroid that was twisted, I couldn't wait to get the part removed.  However, my doctor did tell my husband that I was tense during the surgery.  Must have been  subconscious reaction.

The last thing I'm going to say is to talk to your doctor about any medications you take.  You will be told to go off all your medications, even over the counter, for the week before surgery.  This is because they don't want you on blood thinners and many over the counter meds are blood thinners.  I have severe allergies, which can also lead to severe migraines.  Not having any of these meds for  a week would have made me miserable.  We went through what I take, and what would be safe, and what dosages.  However, do NOT take meds without consulting with your doctor first.

Don't be afraid to ask.  You will hear horror stories from people.  Ignore them.  Just because they had a bad experience, doesn't mean you will, and who knows how long ago they had their procedure and what type of procedure it was.  You can't directly compare it to you.

A friend of mine referred me to a website called Hyster Sisters.  It does have plenty of forums to ask questions and get recent information.  Always take the advice of your doctor first!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Salad ingredients

I have some stuff going on right now and need to get my behind moving and lose some of this behind.

Naturally, salads are a 'diet food" but they can get boring.  If you have a good list of ingredients you can add, you can mix things up a bit.

I actually like to mix fruit into my salads.  I have a sweet tooth, so this a way to get some of that sweet, without adding a bunch of calories.

Here's a list of ingredients you can add.  Mix and match to fit your tastes.

Bacon - sparingly - unfortunately
Cheese - Try feta or sharp cheddar or other strong cheeses so you get flavor and don't use as much
Tofu - I don't like it, but other people do

For the "base" I like to mix spinach with spring greens.  Spinach has so many more vitamins in it.  YOu can do straight spinach if you want.  I just like the mix of textures and tastes.

Berries - blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry
Dried cranberries
Citruses - Orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime

You can add some grains if you like.  A nice couscous or a whole wheat pasta.  Quinoa if you're gluten free.  Add some crunch with baked tortilla chips.

If you're still not inspired, check out Pinterest.  There are great recipes for making a week's worth of salad in a mason jar.

If your kids are picky eaters, set up a salad bar and allow them to pick toppings for a salad.  You might be surprised by what they choose and what they'll try.  My daughter actually likes asparagus!!  We love a salmon, asparagus and feta salad with a hot bacon dressing.  I had this in a restaurant and loved it, so we make it at home now.

What's your favorite salad topping?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book review - Boob Envy by Shelly Knowlton Jones

If you, or someone you know has been affected by breast cancer, this a must read.

Shelly is a wife, mom, cake decorator and cancer survivor.  She journals, very honestly, about her journey from discovery of the lump through treatment and recovery, right up through the implant of the prosthetic breasts.

The thing about this book is that is the most honest look into cancer and treatment that I have ever read. From the emotions, the side effects, the days that she cried and the days she wanted to hide from even her kids, you get the complete range of emotions.

Shelly holds nothing back about how things hurt, pain meds that didn't begin to touch the pain she experienced and being annoyed with people.

However, she also brings the good side of cancer, if you can call it that.  The benefits that were given, the friends and family that stepped up and helped out with kids, housework, meals and yes, money.

There are several pages of resources for others battling cancer to draw from and use to help themselves and their families.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Shelly in person. She is as funny in person as she is in print.  And she's just as honest.

I am confident that if this horrid disease should ever strike me, I will be prepared for what might happen to me.

Other books I have read have kind of sugar coated things and been a little bit like a cheerleader.  Shelly holds nothing back, and that includes some language you might not like, but it's what she felt at the time.  I don't begrudge her anything. It's her journey, not mine, so who am I to judge?

As she puts, quite bluntly, cancer can "F*ck off and die!"  I lost my aunt to this disease and have seen many friends fight it.  Spread the word about this book, and finding a cure!

Boob Envy can be purchased on Amazon.