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Archive for October 28, 2013

Walking on Sunshine… the Sunshine Award!


Let the sun shine in!

I’ve just been nominated for the Sunshine Award by the lovely Zan of!

For the Sunshine Award, the blogger must:
  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  • Share 11 random facts.
  • Answer 11 questions from the nominating blogger.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers who deserve some recognition and a little ray of sunshine!
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate answer & let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

11 Random Facts

1. Although I spent most of my childhood in  Nashville, my earliest memories come from when we lived in Montana.

2. I knew about cornrows a *long* time before Bo Derek wore them in the movie, “10”.

3. I did not save any memorabilia from the bicentennial celebration of 1976…

4. My first real job was in a camera shop where I was forced not to work during inventory because the company hired temps for that job…

5. Many years later, I worked as a temp and did inventory jobs.

6. I discovered the deliciousness of Tex-Mex at a small take-out place in Buffalo, NY.

7. I have never been to India, but it is very high on my list of places I want to visit.

8. I managed to graduate high school without taking chemistry.

9. I was not an athlete as a youngster, but now I really enjoy competing against myself in walking races.

10. I used to take my dates to Chinese restaurants to see how they reacted when I ordered Szechuan dishes.  When the man who is now my husband not only ordered Kung Pao chicken, but also ate the peppers and didn’t bat an eye, I knew I had met my match.

11. My college art teacher told me I had no talent.

11 Questions to Answer

1. What is your favorite relaxing technique?
Listening to quiet music.

2. What is your favorite dessert?
Pie.  Most varieties.

3. How old is your oldest child, if you have any?
No kids.  Our oldest cat is 12.

4. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Asking for good lighting at a gig and then getting put in a dark corner… just because you can see in semi-darkness does not mean I can see well enough to DRAW in those conditions… getting riled up just thinking about it… it happens more than you would think which I why I travel with a lamp…

5. Where were you born?
North Carolina

6. Have you ever traveled outside of the country?
Yes. China, England, Italy, Australia, France (just Paris), Germany, South Korea

7. How many books do you typically read in a year?
12 – 15

8. What is your favorite genre of movies?
Kid’s… I love me those Disney films!

9. What is your favorite breakfast?
Huevos Rancheros!

10. Do you make your own laundry soap?

11. If you had a choice between ice-cream and chocolate, which one would you choose?
Do  I HAVE to choose?  Ice cream.

And here is where I am supposed to nominate 11 other blogs.

But I have a problem here.  I can’t think of 11 other blogs that weren’t aready either nominated for this award or recently nominated for another award.  And some blogs have a No Awards policy… so I’m going to take the cue from Little Miss SCB and do what she did when nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award: she invited readers to come up with their own nominations!  Brilliant!

So, I’d like to invite anyone who is interested in the Sunshine Award, to tag yourself and post a link of your blog in the comments section below. Or, if you want to bring attention to someone else’s blog, feel free to post that link, too!

Thanks again to Zan from flourishingathome. Her blog focuses on “all things homemaking” from her delightful perspective as a Mom, craft diva, recipe sharer and child of God.  Check out her blog when you have the chance!


Friday Fitness: New Insoles!

I wear custom orthotics in my walking shoes — and superfeet in my regular shoes, and wear Orthaheel sandals (which have built-in support for plantar’s fasciitis which I have.)

So, I was very thrilled to be chosen by Influenster ( @InfluensterVox )  to test-drive Dr. Scholl’s new Active Series Insoles. #ActiveSeries


Dr. Scholl's Active Series Insoles

Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles

Dr. Scholl's Active Series Insoles -- the back of the box

Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles — the back of the box


Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles — the actual insoles, front and back.

What the company says these insoles do:

  • Reduces shock by 40%
  • Designed with Triple Zone Protection for your ball of foot, arch, and heel
  • Helps relieve and prevent pain from shin splints, runner’s knee and plantar fasciitis
  • Helps reduce foot odor with SweatMax™ technology

I tried these out on a fast 4-mile walk this morning and I can report that they were very comfortable — in fact, they are much more comfortable than my current orthotics!  And yet, despite feeling cushiony, they also gave great support so my feet were happy during the walk and afterwards.  I did not feel any plantar fasciitis pain (which I usually do with non-custom orthotics).  Afterwards, I gave the shoes a good whiff, and was pleasantly surprised — no horrible sweaty foot smell. Granted, this is the first day of cool weather and I didn’t sweat as much as usual, but my feet ALWAYS sweat…

What I say they do:

  • feel super-comfortable — way more comfortable than my custom orthotics
  • did not cause pain; the foot with plantar’s fasciitis did not complain after a 4-mile fast walk
  • no nasty smell

5starsThis product gets 5 stars for being affordable, easily available — and making my feet happy!


Beauty Advice from Miss Java

Miss Java, the elder cat in our household, knows a thing or two about looking pretty. And since her diagnosis of CKD (chronic kidney disease) a few months ago,we have spent many an evening on the couch together and she has shared a few of her favorite beauty tips that I’m sure transcend species…

Miss Java, beauty maven

Miss Java, beauty maven

1. Get your beauty rest.  According to Miss Java, the more the better and if you feel the urge for a catnap, don’t fight it! You look and feel better when you are well rested.

2. Grooming. Always take time to take care of yourself, including full-body brushing — it helps get the blood circulating and just feels good.  I use a loofah right before I shower… but Miss Java prefers a nice brushing, preferably by one of her humans.

3. Supplements. Since her diagnosis, we have taken our Vet’s advice (and that of the website, Tanya’s Comprehensive Guide To Feline Chronic Kidney Disease ) and given Java (and by default, her sister, Sahara — since they switch bowls back and forth)  fish oil supplements, B-vitamins and pre-biotics.  Two months later, both girls have even softer, glossier, shinier coats.  What’s in those expensive beauty vitamins out there? Fish oils, b-vitamins, pre-biotics… and  vitamin C (which cats don’t need, but humans do). You can take the expensive supplements or you can take individual vitamins… either way,  your skin and hair will thank you.

4. Tolerance and Patience. Don’t be ashamed if you have have special needs due to a medical condition. Miss Java needs to pee… a lot… often… and in very large amounts.  It’s part of her condition and that’s just the way it is.  I could be mad, or I could deal with it.  So, we have extra litter boxes and puppy pads on hand.  It’s the same with being human.  That period shows up when you don’t expect it b/c you haven’t had one for 3 months and now you do… well, that’s life and it’s a good thing there are supplies.  Having a CKD cat is helping me relax more about unexpected things that my own body does.

5. When in doubt, a little eyeliner makes everyone look fabulous. Miss Java is blessed with natural black eyeliner that really accents her baby blues. Her sister, Miss Sahara, has tawnier coloring and natural taupe eyeliner. I find dark brown is the most neutral color for me. Just a smidge of eyeliner frames and emphasizes the eyes, and on days when you really NEED that catnap, it can make a big difference.

Even when barely awake, Sahara's natural eyeliner defines and accents her beauty

Even when barely awake, Sahara’s natural eyeliner defines and accents her beauty.

Do you have any beauty tips that you’ve learned from your companion animals?

Friday Fitness: My First Giveaway!

Woo hoo!

In my quest to increase my protein consumption, I ordered a jar of powdered peanutbutter from Amazon and somewhere along the line, the package opened and an empty envelope arrived at my house.


So I emailed the company and they sent me 2 jars of powdered peantbutter which arrived yesterday!

So now I have an extra jar that I can share with you!

This is a really nice addition to my protein shakes — I only get 15 minutes for lunch at the day job and need something that will not only fill me up, but also give me energy to finish out the day.  PB2 has great peanut flavor without all the fat.  I’m thinking of using it the next time I make a Pad Thai dish or even adding a bit to my Mexican Mole sauce…

And now, a lucky reader will be able to get a free jar, too!  Just follow the rafflecopter directions and at the end of the month, I’ll pick a winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Happy October!

And along with the pumpkin chai lattes and spiderwebs starting to coat the neighborhood, October is the month for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Breast cancer is a special cause for me. My mother is a 2-time survivor.  My grandmother didn’t make it.  My great grandmother was a survivor as was my great aunt, Rita.  My stepmother and step-mother-in-law both fought the good fight but ultimately lost. I have at least 5 close friends who have battled (and won) breast cancer.

Breast cancer is personal. For the facts, check out WebMD and the National Cancer Institute pages.

Glitter tattoos for the cause!

Glitter tattoos for the cause!

So for years and years and years I have worn pink in October and raised money through run/walking the Susan B. Komen 5k and also doing pink glitter tattoos for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. (I’m not really one to buy products that are “pink”- labelled because such a small amount of the product profits actually make it to the charities — or, if they do have a sizeable percentage donated, it’s a product I don’t necessarilly want…

Did the 2012 Komen Race with my father-in-law!

Did the 2012 Komen Race with my father-in-law!

But this year I am having serious misgivings about the Susan G. Komen Foundation and would rather donate my money (and money given to me for pink ribbon glitter tattoos) to an organization I can respect in the morning.

But faced with a plethora of charitable foundations, each one professing to be more charitable and accountable than the last, how do you figure out who is real and who isn’t… Enter the American Institute of Philanthopy aka

And even though when I did a search on breast cancer charitable organizations, I got a long list of groups all willing to take my money, there are only three that get the seal of approval.

Breast Cancer Fund … graded A-

Breast Cancer Research Foundation … graded A+

National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund … graded A

So I took a closer look at the three listed and while all are excellent organizations, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation stands out for me because of its partnerships with other organizations, it’s high rate of monies raised going straight to research and awareness programs, and its lack of political involvement. Politics is definitely NOT something I look for in a charity.

And then I discover that BCRF was founded by Evelyn Lauder, of Estee Lauder fame — and that she not only helped found the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign (with Alexandra Penney of SELF magazine) in 1992, she was co-creator of the ubiquitous pink ribbon!

OK. I’m in.  For the month of October, I will have my portable pink ribbon glitter kit with me at all times — and will send any monies raised to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

I may also re-evaluate my opinion of Estee Lauder cosmetics… which currently make me think of my grandmother.  But since my grandmother died from breast cancer, perhaps that is fitting.

If you would like to contribute to my campaign: Glitter Ribbons for the Cure, please follow the link to the donation page.  If you are in San Diego, I will give you a free pink ribbon glitter tattoo; if you are outside of San Diego, message me your address and I’ll send you something pink and glittery as a token of appreciation.