Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Does Your Map Look Like?

I found this neat site where you can click off all the states you have been to and visualize it all in map form!

What I saw was a little surprising! I am missing a large number of states!

I feel like I have traveled all over the U.S., but apparently I have neglected a bunch in the middle and much of the east coast!

I did not count states where I might have had an airplane layover of some kind while traveling and there was no room for other parts of the globe.

If there were, I could proudly proclaim that I have been to multiple spots in Mexico, Belize, Canada, and the Caribbean.

I have always wanted a huge wall map of the world that I could post up over cork board. I think it would be interesting art to have a large map where I could pin point (with thumb tacks or pins) all the places that Mike and I have traveled. Maybe it would give us more motivation to see new places, instead of revisiting somewhere we have already been!

Someday this map will be displayed and when it is - I'll post a photo of it for you to check out.

Has anyone been to ALL of the states? That would be quite a feat!

If you want to post YOUR map or just see what it would look like you can visit this site!

Monday, March 28, 2011

This Is What Happens When I Don't Pay Attention

Today I ate a big brownie!

Let me set the stage -

I was at work. I was juggling 8 different things and very distracted. My coworker pops her head into my office and asks if I want a brownie. I nod my head in what I hope seems like I am listening, but I'm not.

She holds the plate out and I grab one, eyes still on the computer screen. I mumble 'thank you' and without even stopping to think about what I am doing (it was close to lunch and I was already starving), I ate it.

I ate it in huge bites. That is until I realize that I am eating a large chocolate brownie. Then I exclaim "damn it!" and my other coworker looks at me like I am crazy.

It was too late. I had one bite left and had already consumed the majority of the calories, so I sighed and stuffed the last bite in my mouth.

(This was me, but staring at the computer)

I think I need to learn to do one thing at a time. I have always been a multi-tasker, but this time, my diet suffered because I couldn't take a second to think about what I was stuffing into my face.

Good job Alissa. Jeez!

Anyhow, I swapped my traditional lunch of a sandwich and fruit for a salad and made sure to add 30 minutes more to my gym time this evening. I did what I could.

As disappointed as I am that I mindlessly ate what was probably 300-500 calories, that brownie was DELICIOUS. Well at least the last bite was. I didn't really appreciate the first 6.

I'll update you as soon as I reach my next goal. I am hoping to lose another 2 lbs this week if I can keep the gym time strong and quit eating brownies.

But it's so hard! I love chocolate! Damn you sweet tooth!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

It's Sunday and I am out of ideas at the moment for a post, so I am getting back on the Scavenger Hunt band wagon. It's getting to be Spring and it was a decent day broke out my dust-covered SLR camera!

I haven't been inspired at all this Winter and have had a lot on my plate. But I don't want to forget my trusty Canon as the weather turns and the flowers make their early appearance.

So today I hung out with my photographing family and went to the park to play with my nephew and the dogs!

Without further adieu, here is my entry for the scavenger hunt this week put on by Ramblings and Photos.

1. Camera Phone

Nothing Fancy here, just me with my messaging phone and my favorite Chihuahua Chupes! You can't really tell in the picture, but he looks very skeptical of me.

2. Camera

This is my momma using her new lens! I thought it was fitting that she be included in this scavenger hunt.
 3. Shoes

Not my best work, but I use what I've got and my sister had the cutest shoes between us! Plus little Jeffie-pie is posing so that's a plus!

4. Chair

Bennett is checking out the hobby horse so why not use that for the chair?

5. Imperfection

This is the fence to the side of our house. It's falling apart and looking mighty sad, BUT it's got character. And we rent, so I am not replacing it. :)

*Want to join in? The rules are simple:

1. Anyone can participate.

2. You're encouraged to take five new photos this week for the challenge.

3. If you get stumped, you may use one photo from your archive (although I'm not too strict about it - I do my best to take fresh shots).

4. Link up here on Sunday (or Tuesday at the latest) - you can use the button above.

5. Leave comments for at least five entries around yours (we have so many new participants each week, this is the only way I know to be inclusive).

Have fun!

Here are a couple other photos I took of my sweet nephew Bennett. It's been months since I have attempted to get some shots of him. They are not the best pictures I've taken, but they sure are cute!

( I may have a case of the Monday's tomorrow...)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Music Monday - Keepin' It Real

For today's post I thought I would link off of The Rustic Wolf and do a Music Monday tribute.

Today's amazing artist award goes to JESSIE J.

Mike and I heard this Brit's chops displayed on Saturday Night Live this past weekend and were both blown away.

She is an up-and-comer in the Pop/R&B genre and has her first album coming out next month. I have to also add that she writes her own music, because well, that's important to me and it's a sign of her dual talent.

She's got an interesting look about her that reminds me of a dark Camron Diaz.

Her style on the other hand shows the true makings of a Diva. A little Lady Gaga, a little Beyonce, with a mix of Katy Perry.

Jessie's voice on the other hand...unlike any of those women.

I would probably cross her with Amy Weinhouse, Christina Agulara, and Lily Allen as far as vocal sound goes, which is an awesome blend!

She's got all the makings for a huge star and I like her already. Even if you're not into her style, quirkiness, or music, you have to admit she has some GREAT pipes on her!

Check out the video I posted below to get yourself a taste of some Jessie J!

This song was one of my favorites and has a little blues/funk quality I love.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Let's Play a Little Game

...called "what's in your medicine cabinet".

I thought this would be a fun peek into the products I use on a regular basis!

So here we go!

Almay oil-free eye makeup remover!
I use this before bed to get the eyeshadow and eyeliner off. They work really well except on certain mascaras, which can smudge. I usually just use the shower to really get my mascara off completely.

Bio Silk - Silk Therapy
I was referred to this product by a good gal-pal of mine and I love it. It's a serum I use while my hair is damp to protect my poor little strands. You don't need much since it will leave your hair oily if you use too much, so it lasts a while. I usually let my hair dry naturally before I straighten it, but you can also style with a blowdryer.

These are to take the make-up and dirt off my face. I'll be honest, I don't like to wash my face that much and I mostly do it in the shower, so these are great when I need a fresh face or when I am feeling oily. It's easy to throw a few cleanser pads in a baggie too for travel or camping!

This is what I use for my deodorant. It works really well! I think I smell decent most of the time and I don't sweat as much as I do without it. It's a good buy and you don't really even have to reapply each morning (unless you shower).

Loreal Revitalift - Night
When I turned 30 I went out and bought my first anti-aging cream. I know I have a few years before I start really noticing anything, but I think the thing that marks youth the most is nice skin. And it can't hurt right?! I don't use it every night, but a few times a week in the evening. I especially use it on my forehead and around my eyes, where it's most dry and prone to wrinkles.

I can't say enough good things about Mary Kay Timewise - Microderm Abrasion.
I have used this for a few years now and it really leaves my face soft! The first step is to scrub your face with the Refine cream which has a grainy texture to remove dead skin cells. (I usually do this first part in the shower) After you wash and dry your face, you use the second bottle thingie as lotion. It makes your skin silky and acts as a Replenishing surface. If you have some money on hand, I would find some of this stuff online!

Mary Kay - Satin Lips
This stuff also works wonders. It comes in a microderm abrasion duo like the above product, but I only have the second part now. I used all the first tube! Help! Anyhow, it's great in keeping your smackers moisturized and soft.

No need to explain this one!

Love this stuff! I did a trial a while back when someone I knew was selling it and it was so easy! I am a girl who thrives on 'easy' skin care and this fit the bill perfectly. Although a little pricey, it does the job. It's a clear night mask that you roll on before bed (after cleaning your face of dirt) and just peel the thin layer off in the morning. It works great to soften your skin, gradually remove redness, and eliminate blemishes. You'll start to see it working after a few days. I use it more when I have a break-out to make it last longer.

On to the Perfumes!

I have more than this, but these are the ones I use the most.
The first is Aquolina - Pink Sugar
You don't need much of this as it's very sweet, but I like me some sugar, so this is perfect! It makes me think of cookies and treats!

Escada - Pacific Paradise
This is my tropical, floral, fruity one!

Good ol' Standby! Dolce and Gabbana - Light Blue.
This one I use when I want to smell fresh and just a little bit citrusy.

And finally ~ Victoria's Secret - Succulent
This one is a nice smell of blackberry, vanilla and sandalwood. It's light too, more of a spray then a heavy perfume.

I have some others on my wish list, but they are pricey and given that I don't wear perfume that often,  I haven't bothered to purchase them yet.

That's about it my friends! There are a couple of other small things I am leaving out, but they are not that essential to my daily existence so I chose not to add them.

If you would like to show us all what's in YOUR medicine cabinet, by all means! I would love to see what people are storing in there. I don't have a lick of actual medicine in my cabinet, that's all confined to a drawer.

And I don't know about you...but I have been known to stick my nose in other people's medicine cabinets! It's so interesting to see what is all hiding back there. And I think you can learn a lot about people, believe it or not! Don't judge me, I know you have done it before!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vloggin' Vednesday - My Favorite Room

I made the big decision to take to Vlogging. I thought "why not participate?" and went about taping my first ever Vlog. If you would like to tag along and want some more information, take a trip on over to A Sorta Fairytale and you can read all about it!

The first Vlog is up for viewing and I am happy to say does not require a shot of me! Whoo hoo!

Hope you enjoy and are not too bored by my un-exciting Favorite Room.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Risky Business - A Female Health Bulletin


This may not be a popular subject with the male population, but it's important I express my worry in a public way. So if you are a male and reading this, be cautioned - you may want to desist in further reading (even though it could benefit someone you know).

I have been doing some reading lately. Reading on Tampons.
For a while I have wondered if they were safe for regular use.

All material suggests they are and all doctors will probably tell you the same. They are a widely used feminine product and the preferred method for most.

They are cleaner, more comfortable, and more portable than pads. And let's be honest, who likes the feeling of pads? Not I.

I have religiously used tampons since I can remember. I started using them young and although the idea was strange at first, I quickly got in line as someone who wanted to use them exclusively.

Pop a super plus tampon in and change it out after 8 hours. Done. (Of course adjusting the absorbency size according to flow).

* I told you men...this post will be TMI.

What I didn't start to wonder until recently, is whether any real testing has been done about the safety of tampon usage. Especially long term.

There has been little to none, FYI. This made me a little nervous.

I had always been warned against Toxic Shock Syndrome. I KNEW about TSS. It happened to women who left a tampon in too long, due to toxins in their systems. I was sort-of careful to remember this fact. Often not being as cautious as I probably should have.

As I looked into what tampons were made of, I started to get concerned.

Most women think they are simply cotton that absorbs their monthly flow. This is much too general an assumption and sometimes completely wrong.

Tampons are sometimes Cotton (if natural), but are most often made with Rayon, a man-made artificial fiber made up of wood pulp and Chlorine. This then gets bleached.

Should bleach be introduced willingly into our bodies?

Also of alarming nature, is the knowledge that Rayon includes harmful chemicals like Dioxin.

I got some information about Dioxin from the World Health Organization website.

"Dioxins are environmental pollutants. They have the dubious distinction of belonging to the “dirty dozen” - a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants. Dioxins are of concern because of their highly toxic potential. Experiments have shown they affect a number of organs and systems. Once dioxins have entered the body, they endure a long time because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue, where they are then stored in the body. Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer."


Granted that your levels of exposure to Dioxin my be less than what you are exposed to in the food you eat, but it's worrisome that as women, we are continuosly putting harmful chemicals into our bodies.

It's also known that tampons can cause minor tears in the vagina walls and cervix when inserting and extracting 'dry' tampons. I am referring to the days during your period where there is little flow and not much to soak the tampon. Usually these tears don't effect us much and heal quickly, but if we have a chemical laden tamon pressed snug against these lesions, couldn't this cause harmful exposure?

Come to think of it, why would we think it's safe to have anything thought to be toxic, up our valuable lady bits? Something to ponder....

On a whole separate level is the possibility that tampons can cause infertility.

Of the articles I have read - many suggest that tampons could be contributing to or even causing Endometriosis.

Endometriosis is one of the three main causes of infertility and effects millions, many of which don't know they have it. Simply put, Endo occurs when the uterine lining (the part that's shed during your period) begins growing on nearby organs such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and bladder. Endo appears differently in each person and can cause zero pain to excruciating pain. When this lining sheds, as it all sheds during your period, the material has no where to go but your pelvic cavity. This causes scarring and fibroids to coat your organs.

When a case of Endometriosis is found (usually after you complain to your ob/gyn of discomfort), the only real treatment is surgery. Most often times the Endometrium is 'burnt' off, which leaves room for it to grow back. There is also a lesser performed excision surgery, where the doctor will attempt to cut it out. This has shown to slow the 'grow back' time and possibly eradicate it. Worst case scenario is that the scarring has taken over your reproductive organs and a hysterectomy is necessary.

This is the equivalent to castration in men.

For a woman to have to go through that at possibly an early age, before she's been able to have children, would be unimginable. And because the average age of diagnosis is 27 (prime reproductive age), many women are left without the abililty to have children. You can imagine a scarred uterus is not the best environment to attempt growing a fragile fetus.

There is still very little understood about Endometriosis and very little research being done to search for a concrete cause. As is the problem with other major infertililty diagnosis.

When you consider what tampons were made to do, it makes a reasonable case for infertility.

Tampons are blocking our exit. They are plugging up what is supposed to be leaving our bodies completely. Yes, they absorb some of that fluid, but probably not all of it. Some of the tissue, cells, and fluid gets backed up inside of our bodies.

So whether you believe Endo is caused by the chemicals in the tampon or by the tampon itself (or both), you have to at least aknowledge it isn't a natural practice.

This is not meant to scare you. Just to inform.

I wanted to bring this topic out in the open as it is officially Endometriosis Awareness Month and I have known women with this terrible and unspoken health issue.

The Endometriosis Foundation of America has some great information about Endo if you would like to read more.

What is the moral of the story you ask?

Think hard about what you are putting into your body. Whether it be supplements, food, or tampons. Do some research and find out what you are exposing yourself to.

I know one can't be afraid of everything in life, and I won't tell you that I am abandoning tampons myself, but I am doing my homework.

I am looking to invest in all natural, organic cotton tampons (minus bleach and Dioxin) and possibly pads too. I may switch to pads at night when I can't change tampons as often. In all honesty, I don't know what all I will do.

I do know that I have to consider the possibilities. And I have to at least push awareness in others, as someone else has done for me.

In no way am I saying that I know all of this to be facts. Endo could have many causes, including heredity. Tumors, hormone imbalances and infertility could be caused by many varying factors. There is still uncertainty about the long term effects of birth control.

All I know is that it's worth looking in to. It's something that perhaps won't be too difficult a change. I hope you are at least thinking seriously about the implications of continuous tampon use.

If you are, my job here is done.

Thanks for listening, if you've made it this far. And if you are a male...well done!
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