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Archive for May 31, 2013

Friday Fitness: One foot in front of the other…

exercise-woman

It’s been an up and down week.  The high was finishing the Patriot’s Run 10k on Saturday!  That showed me just how fit I’ve become over the past several months because not only did I walk 8 miles that morning (6.3 in the race, the rest to and from the car), I had enough energy to do facepaint at a Farmer’s Market in the afternoon and then do henna at a Bat Mitzvah that evening (although I was getting a little cranky at whiny teenagers by 11pm…) AND my plantar’s fasciitis only hurt while I was eating breakfast after the race.  A half hour of icing and stretching and I was mostly pain-free for the rest of the day!

Woo hoo!

The rest of the week has been more challenging… but not in the pushing of physical limits and triumphing over defeat.  It’s been more of a challenge of patience.

1. Bloating and weight gain.  Even though I’ve been sticking to my diet (mostly), I woke up with a 2lb gain on Tuesday and freaked out a bit. I did lose that weight over the next 2 days, but it did bring home just how bound up my self-esteeem is in this whole weight-loss adventure.

2. They turned the water off.  Yes. It was only 1 day, but it was a very long day without a shower or proper toilet flushing… and I know it will happen again soon since they have yet to complete the sewer maintenance in our neighborhood.

3. Hives.  The day they turned the water off, I broke out in hives.  What had started as a mild rash on Tuesday night became a bigger rash on Wednesday and by Thursday was full-blown hives.  Very itchy. Very frustrating.  I still have little clue as to the trigger, but I saw the Doctor today and got a prescription for prednisone and also one for a strong anti-histamine for the itching.  The pharamacist reassured me that the predinsone will only cause bloating, severe hunger cravings and hyper-irratibility ( yes, that is the term she used) for the course of the medication: 5 days.  The antihistamine will make me so drowsy I won’t be able to drive.

Oh joy.  Tomorrow I have 3 gigs — all of them requiring alertness, patience and a friendly attitude.

So, I’m going to take a 5 day hiatus from actual dieting… still counting calories and trying to make good choices, but not imposing strict limits in an attempt to keep my mood at a more even keel — esp. tomorrow. I’ve been on prednisone before; it wasn’t pretty.

Still, on the bright side, within an hour of taking the antihistamines the urgency of the itching has subsided. It’s still red and inflamed and not happy, but at least I no longer have to wear handcuffs to keep from ripping the skin off my neck… (just kidding, I did not wear handcuffs, I just balled up bits of paper instead of scratching, but it was very difficult — especially since I have hives all over my neck and half my face.  The ones in my eyebrows are the most difficult to keep from scratching.)

In spite of all this, I lost another 1.1 lbs this week. Woo hoo!

My crunch time for the year starts tomorrow.  With a day job, a part-time henna/facepaint job at Seaport Village and various library programs and private parties, I will not have a day off until June 29.

Doing what I love to do...

Doing what I love to do…

Please bear with me if my posting becomes sporatic.  It’s not that I don’t want to post, but time will be scarce and precious in the coming weeks and the blog may end up on the short end of things from time to time.

In the meantime, I will keep walking at least a half hour every morning becaue my sanity depends on it. And I will work hard to resist the siren call of Ben & Jerry’s (my booth at Seaport is right next to one)… and I’ll check in when I can.

Sunscreen Smackdown: Part 2, Body

Yesterday I waded through several sunscreen trials to find my new Holy Grail of sunscreens for my face. And today I will will give you the low-down of the the body sunscreens I have been testing.

Ever questing for

The Holy Grail

The Holy Grail

The first one of the pack is AVEENO Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Aveeno_sunscreenHand1

What the website says:

Provides even the most sensitive skin with broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection.
AVEENO® Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 50 contains MINERALGUARD™ Technology with 100% naturally-sourced sunscreen ingredients, a more natural alternative. Formulated with ACTIVE NATURALS® Oat Extract and mineral ingredients (Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide), this sunscreen forms a protective barrier on top of the skin that scatters UVA/UVB rays for superior sun protection. It soothes sensitive skin and is oil free, fragrance free, hypoallergenic, and water resistant for 80 minutes.
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (6%) (Sunscreen), Zinc Oxide (3%) (Suncreen)
Inactive Ingredients : Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, PEG-8, Beeswax, Dimethylimidazolidinone Rice Starch, Polyamide-5, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexlglycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Arachidyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Trisiloxane, Dipropylene Glycol Dibenzoate, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Bisabolol, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Arachidyl Glucoside, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether Benzoate, Chlorphenesin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Sodium Citrate, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract
What I say: Although this is thick and goopy, it spreads nicely and with attention you don’t get much of a white cast.  If you are in a hurry, however, there will be white streaks. This is a great sunscreen for sports… and I’ve already finished this tube. Although it’s mainly for body, I used it on my face once and despite profuse sweating, it did not run into my eyes or make me cry. For a very water-resistant sunscreen at an affordable price, this can’t be beat!
5stars
Coppertone Tatto Guard

Coppertone Tattoo Guard

What the website says:

  • Lotion great for larger tattooed areas
  • Moisturizing formulas help maintain smooth appearance of tattooed skin
  • UVA/UVB sunscreen helps protect against UV rays that can fade or blur tattoos
  • Portable
  • Photostable, broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection
  • Water resistant (80 minutes)
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Available in 2 fl. oz.

Active ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 10%, Oxybenzone 6%

Inactive Ingredients: Beeswax, Lauryl Laurate, Ozokerite, Cetearyl Behenate, Polybutene, Cetyl Alcohol, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Myristyl Myristate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Phenoxyethanol, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate),Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate ( Thanks to DailyMed for the ingredient list; it was not on the Coppertone site)
What I say: This is a small tube of very goopy sunscreen that leaves a white cast even though it doesn’t have any titanium dioxide or zinc oxide! I suppose its purpose is to protect tattoos which in general do not cover an entire body… due to its frustrating texture, small size and lack of mineral sunscreen ingredients, I give this a 3.  Even it’s relatively high SPF can’t counteract its drawbacks.
3_stars.svg
Sunology Sunscreen for Body, rubbed in

Sunology Sunscreen for Body, rubbed in

What the website says:

Sunology® is the only sunscreen in the world that contains VitaOleféra™ Complex™ and FSG Complex, both breakthrough ingredients derived from nature. VitaOleféra™ is an all natural complex of moringa oil, Anti-oxidants and Vitamins (A,C & E) which nourishes the cells of the epidermis. It is among the world’s most opulent exotic oils which enables Sunology® to be both healthy for skin and extremely water resistant. Because Sunology® is Concentrated, it should be used sparingly, not excessively.

  • 50 SPF (maximum allowed SPF under FDA 2013 Rules)
  • 75% Moisturizers and cell nourishing emollients – dried or flaking skin is considerably reduced
  • Natural Vitamins & Antioxidants
  • UV MicroReflexion™ reduces: free radical formation, degradation of DNA, degradation of Collagen, Premature Aging of the skin
  • FSG Complex™ softens skin and reduces formation of wrinkles and appearance of wrinkles
  • Free of these chemicals: Oxybenzone, Avobezone, Octisalate, Homosalate
  • Ultra water resistant

Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide 10.0%, Titanium Dioxide 7.5% Purpose: Sunscreen

Inactive ingredients:C12-C15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethylene Diamine / Hydrogenated Dimer Dilinoleate Copolymer Bis-Di-C14-18 Alkyl Amide, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Glyceral Isostearate, Polyhyroxystearic Acid, Hydrated Silica, Dimethicone / Methicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, Feruloyl Soy Glycerides.
What I say: I found this in the clearance bin at my local Rite Aid and for $3.25, I had to try it.  I like that the 2013 FDA regulations are mentioned and also that it has a high percentage of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as well as antioxidants.  What I don’t like is the super-oily consistency. It left my arms shiny and when I went for my brisk walk, my sweat created little white rivelets that dripped onto my clothing. However, my legs love this product.  They drink up all that oil and stay soft and hydrated (and protected) all day.  I really can’t give this sunscreen more than a 3 since it only works on my legs which are some of the least sun-exposed parts of my body.
3_stars.svg
Elta_SPF30_blob_on_hand_copy
Look Ma! No white cast!

Look Ma! No white cast!

What the website says:

  • UVA/UVB Sun Protection
  • SPF 30+ with Zinc Oxide
  • Moisturizing lotion for the whole body with UV protection
  • Apply daily after showering
  • Safe for all skin types
  • Great for the whole family
  • Noncomedogenic, paraben-free, fragrance-free and sensitivity-free

Active Ingredients:  7.5% Octinoxate, 7% Zinc Oxide

Inactive Ingredients:  Purified Water, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Octyl Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Dimethicone, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyisobutene, PEG-7 Trimethylolpropane Coconut Ether, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polyether-1, Citric Acid, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane

What I say: This is sunscreen love in a pump bottle! The consistency is elegant and smooth; it absorbs quickly, moisturizes without being greasy, and doesn’t leave behind a tell-tale white smear.  It feels great and the pump dispenser makes it very easy to apply. I put this on the bathroom counter and use it just like lotion every morning.  The only drawback is you can only find this beauty online and it’s not cheap.  Considering the size, it’s not expensive, but it’s definitely more expensive than most drugstore varieties.  However, I think it’s worth every penny (plus shipping).

5stars

So, that’s what I’m wearing this summer… at least until I run out and find new ones to try…

 

Sunscreen Smackdown, Part 1: Face

Summer is upon us and although we *should* wear sunscreen year-round, the warmer weather usually means more time spent in the sun which makes wearing sunscreen even more important.

One of my guiding quests in life is the Search for the Holy Grail of sunscreens.

holy-grail

To this end I have tested numerous sunscreens for both face and body over the past few weeks.  Here are the results for facial sunscreens:

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Shiseido_sunscreenHand1

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream For Face, SPF 50+

First up: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream+For Face, SPF 50+

The website says:

A highly nourishing cream-formula sunscreen for the face with UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum Protection that defends against powerful rays that cause sunburn, cell damage, dryness, roughness and premature signs of aging such as fine lines. Smoothes on with no trace of stickiness. Invisible on skin.

Contains Super-Veil 360 for extreme outer protection. The new technology allows sunscreen to fit perfectly on the uneven surface of the skin providing high protection from UV rays at all angles. Contain Profense CEL, for inner protection, a new ingredient protecting cells and DNA from UV damage by controlling enzyme activity which is the cause of future uneven skin tone and wrinkles.

  • Very water-resistant up to 80 minutes.
  • Transparent finish.
  • Perspiration-resistant.

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate7.4%; Octocrylene 3.0%; Titanium Dioxide 1.7; Zinc Oxide 19.3%

Inactive Ingredients: WATER, SD ALCOHOL 40-B, ISOHEXADECANE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, DIMETHICONE, ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE, POLYMETHYL METHACRYLATE, LAURYL PEG-9 POLYDIMETHYLSILOXYETHYL DIMETHICONE, XYLITOL, GLYCERIN, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, POLYBUTYLENE GLYCOL/PPG-9/1 COPOLYMER, ISODODECANE, TRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE, PEG-6, PEG-32, SAXIFRAGA SARMENTOSA EXTRACT, SCUTELLARIA BAICALENSIS ROOT EXTRACT, ONONIS SPINOSA ROOT EXTRACT, ECTOIN, SOPHORA ANGUSTIFOLIA ROOT EXTRACT, HYDROGEN DIMETHICONE, SILICA, CARBOXYDECYL TRISILOXANE, TRISODIUM EDTA, SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE/METHACRYLAMIDOLAURIC ACID COPOLYMER, ALUMINA, POLYMETHYLSILSESQUIOXANE, TALC, ALCOHOL, TRIETHOXYCAPRYLYLSILANE, BHT, SYZYGIUM JAMBOS LEAF EXTRACT, TOCOPHEROL, PHENOXYETHANOL, FRAGRANCE (source: http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov )

My take: Profense CEL and Super-Veil 360?  Sounds like pseudoscientific pschycobabble to me…but despite the marketing gobbledygook, this is a really nice sunscreen.  It’s very creamy but applies easily and the initial white cast disappears completely after about a minute. The finish is soft and matte.  I wore this all day at the job and it worked beautifully as a primer as well as a sunscreen.  And then I wore it during a long, hard walk where I sweated profusely.  No white streaks, no pilling.

5stars

Next up: EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 Face and Body Physical Sunscreen

Elta_SPF47_blob_on_hand_copy

EltaMD UV PURE BROAD-SPECTRUM SPF 47

What the website says:

  • Purely natural active ingredients: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide
  • Provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection for face and body
  • Gentle and lightweight
  • Very Water-Resistant (80 minutes)
  • Sensitivity-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free, oil-free, dye-free, hormone-free, gluten-free and noncomedogenic

Active Ingredients:  Zinc Oxide 10%, Titanium Dioxide 5.5%

Inactive Ingredients:  Purified Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Lauryl PEG-9 Polymethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Silica.

My take: I would hope my susncreen is gluten and hormone free!  This is a thick cream that takes a bit of work to rub in and leaves a slight white cast unless you are persistent. It also has a shiny finish. But once it’s on, it’s not budging.  So while this isn’t my choice for daily use at the office, this is what I use when I exercise outdoors.

4stars

Moving right along… another one from Elta MD: UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

EltaMD_sunscreenHand1

EltaMD UV CLEAR BROAD-SPECTRUM SPF 46

What the website says: A winner of the ELLE 2010 Genius Award: Skin

  • Broad-Spectrum UVA/UVB Sun Protection
  • SPF 46 with 9% Micronized Zinc Oxide and high-purity Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
  • Calms and protects sensitive, acne-prone skin
  • Very lightweight, oil-free formula leaves no residue on skin’s surface
  • Use alone or under makeup every day
  • Noncomedogenic, paraben-free, fragrance-free and sensitivity-free

Active Ingredients:   9.0% Zinc Oxide, 7.5% Octinoxate

Inactive Ingredients:   Purified Water, Cyclomethicone, Niacinamide, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyisobutene, PEG-7 Trimethylolpropane Coconut Ether, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.

My take: Elle, schmell… this is one awesome sunscreen!  Oil-free, goes on like a dream, absorbs quickly, lasts all day and even calms sensitive skin.  The finish is a little shiny, but nothing a quick dab of powder couldn’t handle. I will definitely be wearing a lot of this when I work outdoors this summer.

5stars

But I didn’t stop there…

CeraVe_SPF50_blob_on_hand_copy

CeraVe® SPF 50 Sunscreen for Face

CeraVe® SPF 50 Sunscreen for Face

What the website says it does:

Developed with dermatologists, CeraVe® SPF 50 Sunscreen for Face is like no other sunscreen you’ve ever experienced.

Enjoy powerful protection from the same zinc oxide trusted by lifeguards and dermatologists, now in a new lightweight formula that spreads easily and dries with a clear finish even on the most sensitive skin.

  • INVISIBLE ZINC™ technology uses a revolutionary naturally sourced microfine zinc oxide to deliver its unique dry, clear finish for powerful protection from the sun’s damaging rays.
  • Ceramides help repair and restore the protective skin barrier.
  • Niacinamide helps the skin produce more natural ceramides and fatty acids essential for repairing and restoring the skin barrier. May also reduce skin redness.

Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Lightweight and oil free
Water resistant (80 minutes)
With Invisible Zinc™, Ceramides, and niacinamide

Ingredients: GLYCERIN, PHYTOSPHINGOSINE, SODIUM LAUROYL LACTYLATE, ARACHIDYL ALCOHOL,  ARACHIDYL GLUCOSIDE,  ASCORBIC ACID,  AVENA SATIVA (OAT) KERNEL EXTRACT,  BEESWAX,  BEHENYL ALCOHOL, BENZYL ALCOHOL,  BISABOLOL,  BUTYLENE GLYCOL,  BUTYLOCTYL SALICYLATE,  CARBOMER,  CERAMIDE 1,  CERAMIDE 3,  CERAMIDE 6-II,  CETYL DIMETHICONE, CHOLESTEROL,  DIMETHICONE, DIMETHICONE PEG8 LAURATE,  DIPOTASSIUM GLYCYRRHIZATE, DISODIUM EDTA, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN,  GLYCERYL STEARATE,  HYDROXYETHYL ACRYLATE/SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE COPOLYMER, ISOHEXADECANE,  METHICONE, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, NIACINAMIDE, PANTOTHENIC ACID/YEAST POLYPEPTIDE, PEG100 STEARATE, PEG8, POLYAMINOPROPYL BIGUANIDE, POLYHYDROXYSTEARIC ACID, POLYMETHYL METHACRYLATE, POLYSORBATE 60, POTASSIUM SORBATE, RETINYL PALMITATE, SILICA, STEARIC ACID, STYRENE/ACRYLATES COPOLYMER,  TITANIUM DIOXIDE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE BHT, TRIETHOXYCAPRYLYLSILANE,  TRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE, TRISILOXANE,  WATER, XANTHAN GUM, ZINC OXIDE

My take: This drugstore beauty is comparable to the water resistant SPF 47 sunscreen by EltaMD but at half the cost and easily found at major drugstores.  I found mine at CVS.

5stars
And a couple days later I popped into Rite Aid to pick up some allergy medicine and spotted this beauty:
CeraVe_SPF30_blob
What the website says:

Developed with dermatologists, CeraVe® Sunscreen for Face SPF 30 is like no other sunscreen you’ve ever experienced. Enjoy powerful protection from the same zinc oxide trusted by lifeguards and dermatologists, now in a new lightweight formula that spreads easily and dries with a clear finish.

  • Ceramides help repair and restore the protective skin barrier.
  • Niacinamide helps the skin produce more natural ceramides and fatty acids essential for repairing and restoring the skin barrier. May also reduce skin redness.
  • Hyaluronic acid attracts moisture to the top layer of the skin.

High performance, water resistant sunscreen, suitable for all skin types, CeraVe® Sunscreen is perfect for daily use on even the most sensitive skin.

Invisible Zinc technology uses a revolutionary naturally sourced micro-fine zinc oxide to deliver its unique dry, clear finish for powerful protection from the sun’s damaging rays.

Ingredients: ARACHIDYL ALCOHOL, ARACHIDYL GLUCOSIDE, ASCORBIC ACID, AVENA SATIVA (OAT) KERNEL EXTRACT, BEESWAX, BEHENYL ALCOHOL, BENZYL ALCOHOL, BISABOLOL, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, BUTYLOCTYL SALICYLATE, CARBOMER, CERAMIDE 1, CERAMIDE 3, CERAMIDE 6-II,  CHOLESTEROL, DIMETHICONE, DIMETHICONE PEG8 LAURATE, DIPOTASSIUM GLYCYRRHIZATE, DISODIUM EDTA, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, GLYCERIN, GLYCERYL STEARATE, HYDROXYETHYL ACRYLATE/SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE COPOLYMER, ISOHEXADECANE, METHICONE, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, NIACINAMIDE, PANTOTHENIC ACID/YEAST POLYPEPTIDE, PEG-100 STEARATE, PEG8, PHYTOSPHINGOSINE, POLYAMINOPROPYL BIGUANIDE, POLYHYDROXYSTEARIC ACID, POLYMETHYL METHACRYLATE,  POLYSORBATE 60,  POTASSIUM SORBATE, RETINYL PALMITATE, SILICA, SODIUM LAUROYL LACTYLATE, STEARIC ACID, STYRENE/ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE BHT, TRIETHOXYCAPRYLYLSILANE, TRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE, TRISILOXANE, WATER, XANTHAN GUM
My take: Another winner from CeraVe! Not only does this compare nicely to the EltaMD Clear SPF 46, it’s  got a lovely matte finish and a great drugstore price!
For its lovely texture, and heavy-duty moisturizers like glycerin and  hyaluronic acid plus niacinimide, and affordable cost makes CeraVe Sunscreen for Face SPF 30 my Holy Grail of sunscreens (The EltaMD Clear SPF 46 places second and Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Cream For Face, SPF 50+ a close third)
CERAVE_holy-grail
Both the EltaMD SPF 47 and the CeraVe 50 are great for outdoor activities and are sweatproof/water resistant for 80 minutes but their thick, goopy texture makes them less favored for basic daily use.
What is your favorite sunscreen? Do you have separate ones for face and body?

Holiday Monday: A day in the Park

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial-Day-Slider2

And while we paid homage to the service men and women who served our country in times of war, it was also the official first day of summer for most places.

And it’s the first day of henna season for me. From now until Labor Day I will work at one or more jobs every day, six to seven days per week. It’s intense, but fun and I wouldn’t have it any other way… well, maybe without the day job… but I need that in the winter so I stay during the summer… so it goes.

For the past 6 years I have spent Memorial Day at Spanish Village in Balboa Park (where I am a juried member of the group of patio artists). It’s a tough job… but somebody’s got to do it…

Here I am at my table on the patio

Here I am at my table on the patio

Don Strandberg soothed us with his mellow guitar playing

Don Strandberg soothed us with his mellow guitar playing

Only in San Diego can you find poinsettias and jacarandas blooming together...

Only in San Diego can you find poinsettias and jacarandas blooming together…

The hibiscus were in full bloom

The hibiscus were in full bloom

A fun design

A fun design

Look up in the branches of the jacaranda tree...

Look up in the branches of the jacaranda tree…

 

I discovered this little gem in the tree next to my table!

You never know what is sitting just above your head!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Pix: Patriot’s Run!

On Saturday, May 25, 2013, I got up extra early… so early that my husband was still sleeping soundly.

I fed the cats (imperative first morning action if you live with cats), made the coffee, got dressed and laced up my shoes.

I put on 2 layers of a few different sunscreens.  Although it was cloudy and cool at 6am, I knew that by race time, the sun would definitely be out and at my race pace of extremely slow, I burn to a crisp without sun precautions. I haven’t reviewed these products yet — stay tuned next week for sunscreen smackdown results…But this is what I wore to the race…

What I wore on my legs

What I wore on my legs: Sunology for Body SPF 50. It’s pretty greasy everywhere else, but my thirsty legs LOVE this stuff!

Then I grabbed my keys and small fannypack (for MP3 player and keys) and headed off to Lake Murray.

It was a cloudy start....

It was a cloudy start…. photo by Jennifer Theroux

Although I left in plenty of time for the race, I had not anticipated the lack of parking near the park… and ended up about a mile away. It was a good warm up for the actual race.

After a 400 meter dash for the young runners (one was a toddler!), it was time for the National anthem and the the start of the 10k.  I quickly found another walker at my slow pace and we spent the next two hours chatting amiably about life, racing, visiting tropical countries and California history.

patriot_run-86_RyanDaley_small

Photo by Ryan Daley

What a fabulous way to “race”… we were the next to last finishers… but we finished in almost exactly 2 hours (although racewire.com had stopped clocking results after 1 hour, 48 minutes so we are not included in the official race results)… and we collected our flags and race medals from the volunteer booth.

After a quick rehydration stop at the only booth still left, Zico Coconut Water, I walked back to the car, which was a mile away… then returned home to a champion’s breakfast cooked by my handsome hubby (Huevos rancheros with green chile sauce and hash browns). The perfect end to a fantastic morning!

My bib and finisher's medal

My bib and finisher’s medal

The returning champion!

The returning champion! (For you fashion mavens out there, the t-shirt is a hand-drawn Natasha original depicting a Dia de los Muertos style skeleton with a champion’s bouquet and 2 cobalt-titanium hips…

What a feeling of accomplishment to finally achieve what I set out to do 5 year ago!

And the best part! I wasn’t wiped out for the rest of the day.  I was at a Farmer’s Market doing facepainting by noon and then worked at Bat Mitzvah that evening.  My plantar’s fasciitis complained some, but with ice rubs and orthotics, it was totally manageable for the rest of the day with no residual pain the next day. But the hips worked just fine with no pain at all. And that’s the real victory!

 

 

 

Friday Fitness: Gearing up for a 10k!

exercise-woman

It’s been a pretty good week out here among the lemon trees. I am feeling much better and have gotten back on track with weight training. I even picked up my kettlebell again.

Also,  my average number of daily steps has increased from 5,000 to 8,000 with 2 days of more than 10, 000 steps!  It’s easy to be sedentary when I can park in the driveway of my one-story house, and the parking at work is right in front of the office. But I get up an hour early and walk at least 2 miles each morning and lately, I’ve been taking a second walk when I get home from work… it all adds up. Even time spend shopping adds up as steps taken! (Like I need another incentive to go shopping…)

The big excitement of the week is the Patriot Run tomorrow!  I registered to walk the 10k.  This is the course route: http://www.runningmap.com/?id=546731 which is a little different from what I walk when I go to the park and includes packed dirt trails as well as the paved one.  There will be 4 water stations along the route… as well as the porta-pots which are a part of the park.  It’s not a closed race, so along with all the racers will be the folks who come to the park to walk their dogs and just enjoy the trail.

There are no t-shirts; each finisher will get a little American flag.  This makes me happy since I generally don’t wear  t-shirts except for yardwork, and I already have more than I need.

This run (or walk for me) is a sweet victory.

Five years ago, I started running and set my sights on running a 10k… in fact, it was this 10k.  However, I soon experienced intense pain in my groin while running that continued even after I ran… after several months of testing and a parade of doctors, it was finally determined that I had severe arthritis and I no longer had cartilage to cushion my hip bones. I spent the next year and a half in chronic pain and relied on a cane to help me walk.

It was a difficult time. The pain clinic had a 2-year waiting list. Cortisone shots did not help.  Heavy duty pain medications did not help.  I was frustrated, in constant pain, and irritable.

Finally, in July of 2010 I got my first titanium hip and in October 2010, I received its partner.  The relief was immediate.  As soon as the anesthesia cleared, I knew the deep pain was gone. Miracle. I am grateful every morning I lace up my shoes and walk without pain.

However, unlike the bionic woman whose running speed was greatly enhanced by her new legs, I have several restrictions and running is one of them.  If I want my hips to last at least 20 years, I can never do high impact activities again.  But I can walk.  And I can walk faster. And now I have built my endurance up enough to walk a 10k.

The Patriot’s Run…. better 5 years late than never!

Guest Post: How to Improve Your Strength During Your Cancer Recovery

This guest post is written by Melanie Bowen:

MelanieBowenMelanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness.  To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.

 
Those diagnosed with cancer may find it extremely frustrating and recovering from the disease may seem like a daunting task. Conventional wisdom has always suggested that cancer patients should refrain from physical activity to allow the body to rest and fully heal. However, recent findings have shown that this preconceived notion of getting rest and refraining from physical activities during treatment and recovery is actually counterintuitive. In order to best combat this disease, it is imperative that both the mind and body are fit. Here are a few ways to gradually improve your strength and flexibility during treatment and recovery.

Light Exercise Option: Walking

2womenwalkers-healthEdco

If you’re looking to start some light exercising, walking is a great option. This type of exercise shouldn’t drastically change your breathing patterns. Walking is a ideal for patients with compromised respiratory function, especially for those who are undergoing treatment for mesothelioma. Walking is a relatively simple activity and a great way to increase your stamina and reduce the exhaustion you might feel from your chemotherapy and radiation. In addition, it also provides psychosocial and emotional benefits.

Start by walking small distances even if it’s just to the mailbox in your front yard. Gradually, you can work up to longer distances as you build up your endurance. It may seem as if you really aren’t doing much, but every little bit counts towards your overall recovery. You have to walk before you can run.

Moderate Exercise Option: Yoga

Gentle-Yoga-300x295

A moderate level of exercise should quicken your breathing a bit more than a light exercise. If you want to decrease your stress hormones, increase your flexibility and improve your sleep, practicing yoga might be beneficial to you. You may develop a sweat after 10 minutes of stretching and posing in yoga positions. Engaging in yoga can help you manage psychosocial and physical pain from your cancer treatments. In some people, practicing yoga has been shown to improve a patient’s appetite, sleep quality and increase their energy level.

Many cancer centers now offer yoga classes for their patients in treatment and recovery as an adjunct to chemo and radiation therapy. While you practice yoga, you’ll perform breathing and stretching exercises that will improve your body and disposition.

Advanced Exercise Option: Weight Training

Senior woman with barbells

If you’re looking for a rigorous exercise, you may want to try lifting weights. During chemotherapy, a patient may experience a decrease in muscle mass. This occurs in many patients who have prostate cancer, stomach cancer and cancers of the head and neck. The National Cancer Institute encourages patients who have undergone cancer treatments to opt for strength training exercises. In addition, studies suggests that weight lifting can be very beneficial for breast cancer patients in decreasing fatigue, a common side effect of radiation and chemotherap

Begin by lifting small weights and gradually increase the amount of weight as you become stronger. You can start by using weight machines at your local gym. Be sure not to strain yourself too much. This type of exercise should feel more strenuous than a light or medium exercise.

It can be difficult to overcome a debilitating illness that weakens your body. After numerous amounts of treatment, you might find it hard to return to your daily physical activities that you enjoyed in the past. With the help of your doctor and a great exercise regime, you can improve your chances of beating out cancer with a stronger body.

Natasha’s note: My father-in-law has a rare form of multiple myeloma which he manages with chemotherapy and running.  This is his story: http://www.armorytrack.com/News/Post/bill-welsh-never-give-in

 

Oh the places you’ll see…

Seuss_Truffula

from Dr. Seuss
Wiki

It’s spring and
for reasons beyond me I have been obsessed with trees.

Truffula
trees.

Every morning as I walk I see trees that don’t talk, but
if they could talk would they balk if they knew I thought they
could be… just maybe… truffula trees?

Dr. Seuss’s adopted home was San
Diego… actually La Jolla… which puts star-bellied sneeches on
pristine beaches into perspective, since La Jolla has one of the
more upscale beaches in the area… and I can’t help but wonder if
his fantastical creations were based in the truth of this strange
landscape.

Take the
Truffula tree. Fantasy, right? But…

What about this?

What about this?


And what is this?
I found this blooming in my
neighbor's yard...

I found this blooming in
my neighbor’s yard…

And…
These make an appearance every
spring...

These make an appearance
every spring…

Could it be? Could it be? Could this be a truffula tree? That fluffy top made me stop. That fluffy top made me hop…I saw that tree and felt such glee and went upon a rhyming spree. I need to stop this silly bop and get back to my little shop. But I think that I will never see something so silly as a truffula tree… .     

Blog Love: Beautyholics Anonymous

Every Monday I share a blog that I love and think you will enjoy, too.

Beautyholics Anonymous…beauty comes in all sizes, not just size 2. When I saw that tagline, I knew I had to check this site out!  And I was not disappointed.

Tine from Beautyholics Anonymous is the first to admit that she is a beautyholic… and also fond of chocolate and shopping, but not necessarily in that order. Originally from Malaysia, she now lives in Australia and while her beauty focus is mainly on Asian products, many of the products she reviews are found in the US as well.  She also covers a wide variety of other topics, ranging from ethical questions to her lists of lusts (that make me drool) to her Bloggie Wednesday series in which she answers burning questions about the practice of blogging. She has beauty regrets and has bravely admitted to the world that although she is a beauty blogger, there are a few things she can’t seem to master (I can’t figure out false eyelashes, either!)

Her posts are lively, fresh and always interesting. Check her out. You’ll be glad you did!

 

 

Friday Fitness: Hanging out on the plateau

exercise-woman

It’s been kind of a blah week with not much going on. My weight has held steady.  At least it didn’t go up. But it didn’t go down either.

I realize I just added extra pressure in my head because my birthday is in 7 weeks — and I found out that we will be in Hawaii that week (hubby has a conference on the Big Island).  So I will be spending my 50th on a beach in Hawaii… and even if I lose another 15 lbs by then, I’ll still be too fat to look good in a bathing suit… and with no weight loss this week, it’s looking doubtful that I’ll be down that much by then.

But since it’s in Hawaii, I won’t know anybody, so it won’t matter what I look like. I’ll just be another white, fat tourist.

fat woman cartoon

The diet: I am still fasting twice a week, which is still a struggle and last night I ended up succumbing to the allure of a chocolate hazelnut bar… those cravings are deep and I try to satisfy them with other things, but sometimes only real chocolate will do.

I have been reading “Eat to Live” by Joel Fuhrman and as a result have been trying to add more fresh vegetables and fruits into my diet.  I feel virtuous, but have yet to feel any increased energy, vitality or weight loss. However, hubby is out of town until Monday, so I’ll continue eating mega-salads through the week-end. They taste good and they’re easy to prepare for just one person.  Hubby’s not a salad kind of guy; he likes the idea in theory, but in practice, his salads go uneaten so I just stopped serving them when he’s around.

So, hopefully I’ll have better news to report next week.  Until then, I’ll just keep on keeping on.  One foot in front of the other.