Friday, May 18, 2012

Lovely Lady Lumps

Let me preface this by stating that I am absolutely fine.

I haven't shared this with anyone except for a small handful of people, but 5 weeks ago, I came across a lump in my breast. I've been doing self-exams for some time to familiarize myself with what things should feel like. There is a strong history of breast cancer, and cancer in general on both sides of my family, so I've always wanted to be pro-active about such things.

I made an appointment with my OB/GYN for May 11th for a check-up and breast exam. My doctor didn't feel any unusual lumps, but referred me for a mammogram and ultrasound to make sure everything was all right. Being that I'm not yet 29, I'm not a normal candidate for either procedure. Typically, mammograms aren't recommended until 40.

My appointment was this morning at the Breast Health Clinic. I kept pretty calm about the whole thing all week. My biggest concern was how much the mammogram would hurt. The receptionist last week told me that times have changed, and it doesn't feel like it used to - and not to worry. Well, I took her advice. Normally I'm a worrier and a daydreamer of all things that might go wrong. But, I didn't worry, or dwell on it. And let me tell you this: mammograms AIN'T NO THANG.

After the first image was done, I said "wait... was that it?" Seriously, it didn't hurt in the slightest. Sure, I don't have gigantic breasts, so that might be part of it. But it's really just a slight pressure for a few seconds. NICE.

"Is it a girl or a boy?"

Immediately following the mammogram was an ultrasound for each breast. Not exactly what I pictured for my first ultrasound, but hey, things happen. "Is it a girl or a boy?" I asked the technician. She laughed, and then I realized she probably gets that a lot. No one likes hearing the same dumb things while they're on the job. Trust me, I know.

This whole process took about 10 minutes. Then, the technician left so she could get the results from the radiologist and I could clean myself up and get dressed.

I waited no more than 10 minutes to find out that everything came back normal, and no other tests would be needed. I'll just need to keep an eye on the things, and if nothing changes, I won't need another mammogram until I reach 40.

That couldn't have gone any better, and I'm so glad to have peace of mind now. Everything is gonna be all right.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thankful Thursdays: 2

Here's my list of what I'm thankful for this week ::

1. Sunshine: Seriously?! The weather has made it two Thursdays in a row! That's huge for the Seattle area. I seriously can't get enough of this sunshine. It'll be here for about another day or so, and I'm definitely taking advantage of it. Since I'm decidedly sick with a cold, I wasn't able to make it to Seattle like I planned. Instead, I've relaxed on our back patio with the dog. Not a bad compromise, I say. Which brings me to my next point...

2. Relaxing: With the prospect of soon trying to start a family, I'm definitely aware of each quiet moment I have. Someday, the idea of a lazy afternoon doing nothing will be all but a distant memory. Let's just say I'm getting my fare share of relaxing in now, before it's too late ;)

3. Fresh-Cut Flowers: The other day was the first time I've ever cut flowers from my yard and brought them inside. It made me ridiculously happy to snip a few stems of our hydrangeas that were already blooming when we planted them. My only problem now is that they're already starting to wilt. Hydrangeas are notorious for this, so I'm hoping I'll figure out how to make the blooms last.

4. Big Stick Popsicles: I had Zac pick me up some of these popsicles at the store last night to soothe my sore throat. These bring me back to my childhood, as they were my absolute favorite popsicle to have. And I think they still are. The beauty is that almost every store has their own store brand version of these for a hell of a lot cheaper than the Popsicle ones. It's funny how something as simple as a popsicle can instantly cheer you up.

Thankful Thursdays: A lesson in appreciating what we have, and finding the joy in every day life.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where'd You Come From?

Suddenly, it seems, that I'm fighting off a rogue head-cold. Something like the plague blew through my workplace about 1 1/2 months ago, and I didn't get sick then; so I'm slightly bewildered why I'm coming down with something all of the sudden.

This morning, I woke up with a very slight sore throat, not terribly uncommon for me because of my allergies. But when I checked my tonsils in the mirror, they were definitely red and inflamed. No bueno. Throughout the day, I'm getting more sneezy, and I feel the histamines going nuts.

I'm pretty bummed, because I planned on having another superawesomefuntimes day in Seattle to soak up what little bit of sunshine we're gonna have left around here. I just took a dose of Airborne, so I'm hoping that helps. Perhaps tomorrow I'll just douse myself in Dayquil and head to Seattle anyway. The sun is hard to come by, you know!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

This Week: Instagram Style

I love these little weekly re-caps with pictures from Instagram. Here's mine:

1.) Tonight I made a chimichurri sauce for chicken kebabs. It's SO good. I'll post the recipe soon!
2.) Parker was tuckered out from our day in Seattle on Thursday. He NEVER lies down in a car!
3.) Parker and I as he sat on my lap while we found a new parking spot.
4.) It was a gorgeous day in Alki Beach.
5.) I'm half-hispanic, and I was definitely looking the part. Side pony, tortoise-shell earrings and a knit poncho.
6.) Nothing makes me happier than coming home to my doggie. Can you tell I love him?
7.) Our peonies are going crazy! They've grown about 6 inches or more in one week.
8.) I love the color of this ELF polish. Unfortunately, it's quick to chip. I might have better luck using it on my toes.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thankful Thursdays: 1

In the spirit of being more appreciative, I've decided to create a series called "Thankful Thursdays." Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of what IS going right, what IS good in our lives - so these can be little reminders to myself that I'm pretty damn lucky.

1. My Husband: I truly married my best friend, and I couldn't be happier. He is my strength, my shoulder to cry on, my source of laughter, and of course, occasional frustration. He cooks, he cleans, he does his own laundry (and sometimes mine!), and he gets up in the morning to walk the dog so I can get more sleep. I mean, COME ON. I won the marriage lottery.

2. My Doggie: We are absolutely smitten with this dog. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but sometimes I used to cry while browsing for dogs that I couldn't adopt. I wanted a dog so badly, but couldn't have one in a rental. Once we bought our house, I wanted to get one as soon as possible. We finally adopted Parker in September 2010, and we love him more and more each day. He's our best pal.

3. The Weather This Week: If we forget yesterday (it was cold, mixed with some sprinkles), the PNW is having a really nice stretch of great weather. It's supposed to start warming up again today, with temperatures reaching near 80(!) degrees over the weekend. I absolutely adore the summers here- you know, when it's actually sunny and warm. Can't get enough.

4. HomeGoods is Coming to Town!: I didn't know about HomeGoods until I started reading design and decor blogs during the last couple of years. With each find and crazy deal that I saw, the more jealous I became over the fact that the nearest store was over 3 1/2 hours away. Then, about 6 months ago, I started seeing commercials for them. It drove me NUTS, because I knew there were no stores anywhere close to the market in which they were advertising. It was like they WANTED to torture me.

The other night, after seeing the millionth commercial, I decided to look up their Portland, OR location. Hey, I've never been to Portland, and this would be a good excuse. Yes, I'm weird.

Well lo and behold, there were 2 listings for HomeGoods stores IN MY AREA. I gasped. I fist-pumped the air.  And I did some quick research. I learned that both locations (Lynnwood & Federal Way) will be opening on June 24th. MY BIRTHDAY. The day that my No Shopping Challenge ends. IT IS FATE. The Federal Way store is only about 25 minutes from my house. FATE, I tell ya! I am way too excited for this. Is it bad that I'm considering taking the day off from work for this? *shifty eyes*

I'm really glad I'll be doing this each week. I had a rather emotionally draining week at work, and sadly, that is often the case. My days off are Thursdays and Fridays, so it will be refreshing to start each weekend focusing on things that bring me joy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Birchbox: May 2012

As I stated in a previous post, my Birchbox subscription is tiding me over while I'm doing my no shopping challenge. Imagine my delight when Zac came back from the driving range, Birchbox in tow! Normally, it arrives around the 15th, so I'm super excited that it came early this month. It's seriously like Christmas morning every time I get one!

Here's a peek at what's inside:

The Contents:

1.) Dr. Jart + Waterfuse BB Cream: These are all the rage right now. I haven't found one that works for me yet, so we'll see what I think of this one!
2.) Color Club Nail Polish in Disco Nap: This looks really fun. I wonder how sheer it'll be. Maybe it'd be a great top coat for other polishes.
3.) Blender Cleanser - make-up sponges and brushes cleaner: I looking forward to using this on my beauty blender that I got in March's Birchbox.
4.) Twistband Skinny Headband: This is really cute! It's a good thing I'm into pink now. It's bright! I think I'll try this as a ponytail holder.
5.) Arquiste Perfume: I like the dry down better than the initial scent. I'm on the fence. I'm pretty particular about the perfumes I like.

Underneath the tissue paper is a notecard sample with an envelope. I didn't see it at first, so that's why I don't have a picture. They always include a non-beauty item in each month's box. This notecard is cute!

And there you have it. I definitely think Birchbox is worth the $10 a month. The nice thing is, you can choose a monthly subscription if you don't want to commit to a full year. Do any of you have a subscription? What do you think?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quick & Easy Salad Dressing

In the past week, I've made this recipe a handful of times. It's something I just threw together on a whim, and it came out great. I decided that making it in the serving bowl would eliminate superfluous steps and streamline the process.

This is a great trick if you're having a dinner party, or if you need to prepare your salad ahead of time. If the dressing is at the bottom of the bowl, you can just pile the greens on top and toss it together when you're ready to serve. If you do it this way, the greens won't wilt or get soggy. Win!

The more you get to know me, you'll realize that when it comes to cooking, I rarely measure things. I rely on sight, feel, and taste. I just think it's so much easier to grab & go, instead of having to mess with measuring spoons & cups. That's just how I do. Less steps equals less dishes. Am I right?

Now let's get to the good stuff, shall we?

I mix it all together using the tongs that I toss the salad with. Make sure your tongs won't scratch the bowl you're using. Otherwise, use a whisk. If you want to double the "recipe" or make this in a separate container, it should keep in the refrigerator for about a week.

Simple Olive Oil Vinaigrette:

3/4 tbl olive oil
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp honey
1 small pinch of good salt (I like sea salt, but kosher is great, too)
2-3 grinds of freshly cracked pepper or 1/8 tsp black pepper
1-2 good shakes of garlic powder

Serves 2-4 
These are approximations. Play around with it and see what you like!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rainy Day Blues

The sound of the rain against the skylight awoke my senses as I stumbled into the bathroom this morning. "Not again," I said with a sigh.

Today is probably the 8th day in a row of rainy, gloomy, stereotypically Seattle weather. It's May 3rd, but if you didn't know any better, you'd think it was November. Or maybe January. Perhaps even March.

Who am I kidding? Today looks and feels like it could be ANY day in Seattle.

I decided to be a masochist and look at the 10-day forecast, hoping to find at least ONE sunny day in the midst of rain showers. Much to my delight, I was shocked to find 9 of 10 days promising just what I need: sun, warmth and more sun.

In my efforts to appreciate what I have, I've tried to tone down my outspoken desire to move back to California, and focus on what I love about living in Washington. But when the weather is a big reason why I find it a challenge to live here, it's hard to remember the good things.

When it's nice out, I definitely try to squeeze every last drop out of each day- I'll go outside on my breaks at work and sit on a bench, I'll read a magazine on our lawn, or I'll take the dog on a nice stroll of the area. I'm already planning what I'm going to do next week if the forecast doesn't change. I see lots of grilling, lounging on the patio, and sunbathing in my future.