Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bio-Identical Hormones at Elase + A Giveaway

It is no secret that I have PCOS and my hormones are completely out of control. In fact, infertility and adoption are things we often talk about around here, that kind of talk is completely welcome and normal to us (so much so that sometimes I forget it isn't normal to talk about with just anyone ;-). What I don't always talk about is the crazy, hormonal banshee that is around our house sometimes. So here we go, let's get real about it.
There are some days where I want to rip my hair out, where I know that I am being completely ridiculous and think to myself, you've got to pull it together, but I really just can't. My hormones take over and I am all over the place. I am certain I should probably lock myself in my room and not come out (and trust me, that has happened and probably welcomed by my family members).
But my insane cycles that I have had since I was 12 years old just added to all of that and I would turn into a raging lunatic. While I thought some of that had gotten better, I realize now that I had just accepted the fact that my hormones were that way and tried to deal with it in the best way I could.
 What I didn't know up until 5 months ago was how much better it could be. When I had the opportunity to work with Elase I was excited about so many things. Of course getting rid of my manbeard was at the top of the list (thank you PCOS), the VIVE weight loss program, photo facials, chemical peels and even Botox, but I was also completely intrigued by the bio-identical hormone therapy. So, I set up an appointment to meet with Catherine, the nurse practitioner at Elase, and had my blood work done.
I went back the next week to go over the results and she asked me a few questions. For example, did I felt anxious? Sure, sometimes. She asked me if I had a hard time sleeping. Yes, but I am a busy mom of three with a lot on my plate!!! She asked me if I felt like I was always in attack mode and if even the smallest things irritated me. And I asked her if she had talked to my husband! Because certainly he must have told her how insane I could be because she was describing me to a tee. And then we laughed and laughed because that is one of my favorite things to do with the ladies at Elase.
Catherine knew exactly why I was feeling that way and went over my blood work with me pointing out how low my progesterone was (basically non-existent) and how high my testosterone was (almost triple what it should be) as well as the lack of Vitamin D in my body. She went over the good aspects too like my thyroid and cholesterol levels. She sent in a prescription for progesterone and told me to use it as a tool. If I was feeling anxious and irritated I should take some progesterone because more than likely I was lacking and could use that boost.
I am so, so glad I went to see Catherine to see how bio-identical hormones could help me. I haven't felt this good in ages. Truly. I don't feel like the crazy, hormonal banshee that I was (and had been for a while). As long as I have my progesterone and Vitamin D, I feel like my best self (except those days I forget and then I see a glimpse of that crazy banshee self that no one misses around here!). And this may be too much information (I told you I was keeping it real) but for the first time in my life, I have had a regular cycle for five months in a row. I will spare you the details but that alone has changed my life! I never knew it should be like this because it never has been until now. Thank you, Catherine & Elase! You are the best!

And because Elase loves my readers as much as I do, they are giving away a FREE Chemical Peel & Elase tote to one of you! While I haven't had a chance to get a chemical peel yet (it is definitely on my list), my good friend, Kim did and you can read about her experience here. Your skin can be feeling fresh and new just in time for the holidays! And for all of you up near Station Park in Farmington, they have a new location coming oh so soon, so enter away.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gardner Village with My Craft Channel

I love the quaint little shops at Gardner Village and always enjoy shopping and wandering through the little village of houses. Blogger's Night Out was no exception. Thanks for having me, My Craft Channel!

 Lucinda was hilarious throughout the entire evening.  

Pine Needles is always one of my favorite shops. I love their fabric, their rick rack and love, love, loved this little happy bunting. I am certain I need to make myself one. 
Gardner Village is so close to my house and I love heading over there for the morning, grabbing something to eat and getting a little shopping in. This Saturday is their Midnight Madness event. Have you been? I haven't but think it could be a lot of fun.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall Is In The Air: Free Printable

I am sitting here in my cozy sweatshirt with a blanket on my lap and the thermostat saying it is a mere 63 degrees in my house. My popsicle toes definitely thought it was cooler than that. Fall is in the air. It always creeps up on us and lets us know the crisp air and cooler weather is here to stay. I am certain the change in weather warrants some hot cocoa, fuzzy slippers and a good book. I am also certain it warrants a free printable with the best things fall has to offer. Download it here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Laser Hair Removal Follow-Up

Remember the manbeard? I am happy to tell you that after just a few months of laser hair removal, it is almost non-existent. I am feeling much less...manly. I still have some peach fuzz that grows (don't we all) but I definitely don't worry about it every. single. day. like I was when the manbeard was in full force. I touch a few little hairs about once a week and other than that, I am no longer worrying about my pesky beard. Hallelujah!
The laser hair removal treatments take less than five minutes and are not uncomfortable at all. I normally use Dr. Numb but the last time I completely forgot until I got to my appointment. While it was warm (it is a laser afterall), it wasn't painful. And since it is so fast and I had cool air blowing on my face, it wasn't a big deal.
The technician's at Elase are awesome and even ask where the thickest parts of my man beard were so they could go over them another time. I love that because those are the spots I definitely don't want to see coming back!
Goodbye manbeard! I wish I could say that I will miss you but I am more than happy to see you go.

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Full Disclosure: While I am working with Elase and receiving services in exchange for sharing my opinion, my opinions and experiences are all my own.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gratitude for the Women in My Life

My SIL, my cousin, my aunt & me. Girls trip, Olympia, WA July 2013

This journey we call life can be so crazy and I am so very grateful for good friends (some of which happen to be family too!) to share it with. Life is full of excitement, laughter and fun filled days but amongst all of that are the crazy, exhausting days. Days where I really just want to curl up in my bed and cry myself to sleep. Days where I know I don't have all of the answers but just try my best. Days where I pray that I am making the best decision for my kids and for our family. Days where I feel like a complete failure as a mom.  

Thankfully I have wonderful women surrounding me in my life. Women of strength, faith, courage and love. They are women I can always count on, who always lend a listening ear, who I can laugh with, who never judge, who reassure and comfort, who understand and who are inspired. I can truly just be myself around them and share the good, the bad and the ugly. They make me want to be a better person, a better mother and a better wife.

I am certain it is because of these women that I have survived the last six months. They build me up, reassure me and remind me of what truly is important. For that, I am forever grateful. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Guest Blogging at "Is This Really My Life"

Sharing one of my most requested recipes over on my friend, Emily's blog {Is This Really My Life} today. You won't want to miss it. Hop on over here.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My Favorite VIVE Shake Recipe

With any protein shake, it takes a few tries to really get it just how you like it. It definitely took me a few shakes when I first started the VIVE program to make me feel like I could keep doing the meal replacement shakes. Here is my favorite recipe:

In the blender:

4 oz. chocolate Hood milk (I had never heard of this but Smith's & Walmart both carry it)
1 Tbsp. Omega 3-6-9 Udo oil
2 scoops chocolate WIO MRP
6 to 8 ice cubes
4 oz. of water
4 drops of coconut or peanut butter flavoring
I simply add to blender in that order. Blend until all of the ice is finely mixed, grab a straw and enjoy. The coconut flavoring reminds me of an Almond Joy and since I am not eating anything like that anymore, it sort of feels like a treat. My back-up flavoring of choice is peanut butter. After all, who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate?

If I do not have time for the blender or am mixing it on the go, I simply add more ice (10 to 12 ice cubes rather than 6) and more water (8 oz. of water instead of 4). That way it is a bit thinner and it stays cold while I drink it. I like it to be more of a consistency of chocolate milk if I can't have it like an icy cold shake.

Full Disclosure: While I am working with Elase Medical Spas and receiving services in exchange for sharing my opinions, all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 30, 2013

VIVE Weight Loss at Elase

I am beyond excited to have been introduced to the VIVE weight loss program at Elase. I am just starting my 12th week and have lost 20.2 lbs (17.3 of that being body fat!). After losing 7.5 lbs the first week, I knew I needed to keep doing it).

 Me with 1 lb. of body fat. Add another 19 of those and that is what I have already lost after 12 weeks. 
While I know that shake replacements are not for everyone, I have found that for me, it is exactly what I needed. I love that the shakes take the aspect of food out of the picture for me. Me and food have obviously had a great relationship throughout the years but sometimes relationships aren't always good for us even if in the moment we really enjoy them. In this case, me and food needed a separation! That separation has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I see food in a different light. Instead of thinking about what I am craving or what I might want to eat, when I am hungry, I just grab a shake. For dinner, I always make a great salad and have a lean protein or fish with it.
I won't lie, the first week I wondered if I could really keep it up. It took a few shakes before I figured out how to make them the way I like them. By day 3 of having mainly shakes, I was really feeling like a ravenous beast. I felt like I could have eaten a horse. Granted, I didn't. I stuck to the approved veggies and even stooped as low as buying a can of pickles (sorry, pickle fans!). I needed the crunch and salt aspect of it after drinking shakes. I also started chewing Extra Dessert gum (the lemon bar is my favorite) to try to curb the sweet tooth that is always plaguing me.
The other thing that has really helped keep me on track is the InBody scan that I weigh in on every single week. Thinking of it as weighing in really doesn't do it justice! In fact, I am certain it should have some super-stealth, cool name. But, let's just call it George. It does indeed tell me my weight but also tells me my body fat, lean muscle mass, and water levels. It plays music for you while you stand there for your scan and it scans all of your limbs. When it is finished, it prints our your body composition analysis and you can see exactly what your week entailed. Nice and neat on one little sheet.
What is so great about the InBody scan is that it can totally make me feel better than just the scale can. For example, on one of my weeks where I knew I had done so good staying on track, I had only lost 1.5 lbs (which is still great but I was hoping for a bit more). But with the InBody scan, my VIVE coach was able to point out that while the scale only reflected 1.5 lbs, I had actually lost 3.5 lbs of fat that week and gained almost 2 lbs of muscle and some water. All of a sudden, I felt much better about that 1.5 lbs on the scale.
So each week, I meet with her and she does the scan, talks to me about my concerns and my progress that week and measures me. We talk about all sorts of things from how I am feeling, my slip-ups that week, ways to stay on track, things coming up the following week, etc. I love talking to Brittney. She is so nice yet keeps me on track and keeps me accountable in the areas that I might start to slack. I track everything in the binder she gave me including my meal tracking, scans and weekly lessons.
I am excited to be doing the VIVE program and I feel so much better than I have in a long time. I am looking forward to seeing where I am at after I finish the whole program. My husband's 40th birthday is in November and my goal is to lose 40 lbs. by then. 20.2 lbs down, 19.9 to go. This is going to be awesome!

Full disclosure: While I am privileged to work with Elase and they let me try the VIVE program for a week, I have chosen to continue it on my own. My opinions and results are all my own.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School Free Printable: Getting to Know Your Teacher

We are back to school this week. How about you? Every year brings the stress of what class my kids are going to be in and if they are going to be able to thrive in their new classroom. I always hope and pray my kids get teachers that will get to know them, appreciate their strengths, love their quirks, work well with their personalities and take the time to help them learn in their own way so that we can all have a good year. It's a tall order, believe me, I know. Hopefully the things we do throughout the year let them know how much we truly appreciate what they do every single day.
Kohl's has THE cutest set of Curious George cards right now that are perfect for a little note to the teacher. 
This year, I wanted to get to know more about the teachers that my kids will be spending half of their waking hours with. The few minutes you get with them at the back to school night definitely isn't enough time. In hopes of getting to know them better, I decided to make a little questionnaire so that we could find out a few of their favorite things. I also hope it helps us get them things that will be most useful for them rather than generic teacher gifts throughout the year.
We attached the getting to know you questionnaire to a bag full of Kleenex, Lysol wipes and Bandaids and hope to learn a bit more about the things their new teachers love. After all, they are about to get to know my kids really well, we should learn a few things about them too!
Mr. L started 3rd grade and Miss K is chomping at the bit to start 1st grade tomorrow. It is going to be a great year with great teachers! I can just feel it. 

Sharing this free printable here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The R House Couture on My Craft Channel

Follow my blog with Bloglovin I had such a great time taping this episode of My Craft Channel with Christine. So much fun being in the studio and hanging out with all of the ladies. And of course sharing some tips and tricks for handstamping.