Friday, April 28, 2017

Pollen, Bracelet, Lotion

The pollen here has been crazy!
I have been working to not take allergy medication anymore
and it's rough this time of year, but I'm doing pretty well.

So far, I'm using a supplement that has a bunch of ingredients in it that are shown in studies to help allergies: stinging nettle, bromelain, reishi mushroom, N-acytl cystine, and quercetin.
Not all of them are well-researched yet, but I'm willing to give them a chance because of the studies that have been done and because most of them have been used therapeutically by natural providers for a long time.   I also use Himalayan pink sea salt and a Xylitol nasal spray.  Together they make a big difference, but I still definitely know that I have allergies.
To be honest, even Mucinex and Zyrtec (over-the-counter allergy medication and anti-snot medication) didn't cut it, so I'm just as well off this way, with no side-effects.
I also read recently that antihistamines are well-known to cause mood difficulties (anxiety, depression, etc.), and I DO NOT NEED any of that!

The weather has been warm, too.  It reached 100 last week, but then, 
happily, it cooled right off again!
As I type this, it's 68 and very breezy.
I couldn't resist opening the windows, but my eyes are watering and I'm sniffling.

Even the cats seem to notice the allergens.
They've been sneezing more than usual and they've been very sleepy. 


Claude & Stephen (on my desk while I was working):

Close-up of Stephen:

Juvy wedged her head into the pillows on the bed and peered out at me.
She got some kisses and snuggles for being so cute! 

Wookit dose widdle toesies!!!

Here is my favorite outfit from the past week.
I love the turquoise and tangerine together!
dress: Haani
shoes: Bandolino
jacket: Tulle
bag: unlabeled, from Ross

I had the exciting opportunity to speak for a local United Way program that trains child-care providers how to better support the kids in their programs in various ways.  I got to talk about behavioral and sensory strategies and I had a grand time!  They got great feedback about my talks, and they are hoping to have me back to speak some more in the fiscal new year (which starts in June).
I'm very happy to have the chance to teach things I know and love and I'm honored to help kids by giving their caregivers some more information.

Here's what I wore to the first talk:
 dress: Tacera

Another exciting thing is my new bracelet!

I found it on Etsy and stalked it for a month before finally purchasing it.
I think it's the prettiest bracelet I've ever seen.  It is dainty and feminine and it dangles just right.

I also want to talk about my new lotion because it's transforming my skin!

Alpha Skin Care Renewal Body Lotion with 12% Glycolic AHA, 12 Ounce ( Packaging May Vary)

Due to hypothyroidism I have had terrible dry red itchy skin.
I don't have any before photos, but the one above could count as the "after" or at least the "in progress" because it's a HUGE difference from how my hands used to be!
I got this lotion about four days ago.
It contains 12% glycolic acid, which sloughs off old skin and keeps the skin underneath nice and plump.  Hooray!
I use it morning and night on all the parts of my body I can reach, and it's fabulous!
My previously terrible feet are changing, too.  I might actually show my feet in public at some point again in my life thanks to appropriate amounts of thyroid hormone and this lotion.
One of my calluses just flaked right off yesterday!

As far as food,
I've been eating a LOT of veggies . . . 
in fact, I found a new way to cook them that I like better than any other way.
I chunk them up sort of small and then roast them on my baking stones until they get brown and a little caramelized.  My mouth is watering now!

I use sweet potato, zucchini, mushroom, and red bell peppers.
Delicious!  I served it over black bean pasta.

I think I'm off for a snack!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Patio Revamp!

I made a little video tour of our newly fancied up patio!


For your enjoyment, here's a cute little video of Juvy playing with her dinosaur.
She's a huntress and she needs to hunt!

Happy Tuesday!!!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Yellow Blooms

Found another dress that I want to wear every day!
Yes, it's from Ross.
It's by En Focus Studio and I believe it was $15.99
It's got a cute little toggle closure at the neck (which I folded down and left open),
a wide elastic waistband, and long slits from shoulder to elbow with
a tie at the elbow.

It is bright and cheery!

This ad popped up in my sidebar the other day, and it made me smile because even though the proportions are all wrong and this girl is extremely stretched out, this is the pattern I usually take with dressing!


How to dress like Christie:
1.  Put on a colorful, patterned, knee-length dress with elbow-length sleeves or long sleeves.
2.  Add a corduroy (or denim) jacket in one of the colors from the dress.
3.  Add shoes and bag in one of the colors from the dress.
4.  Add delicate jewelry in one of the colors from the dress.
TA-DA!  Done!

This week I got some new video editing software, and I'm really proud of what I've been able to learn and do with it so far.  Here's my most recent work video:

I realized I forgot to show you the gifts I bought for my volunteers on Easter Sunday.
For those of you who don't know, I run the 1:1 (special needs) program at our church,
and I have a team of other volunteers who work with me to make the church experience fun and inviting for students who need more support than typical programming can provide.
We also teach kids about God and work to help them get to know Jesus.

I like to remind them that what they are doing is IMPORTANT
and that I appreciate them.
I found cute little faux succulents at Michael's and bought a bunch of them.

I have a bunch around my house and patio, too, because I love them.

I found absolutely the perfect boxes at the Dollar Store (four for ONE DOLLAR!)
They had a beautiful shiny green scroll pattern and a little card that tied on with a ribbon.
Of course, I wrote with a metallic green pen, too!

One of our precious students drew this little picture of the Easter Bunny (a sign of New Life!)
and wrote us a special Resurrection Sunday wish ("hpeee eastr").

This little guy taking TWO friends to nap on the bed with him is pretty adorable, too!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

One Dress Eight Ways

I'm very proud of my new Life In Specs video!
I learned some new video editing software to make it and I hope you like it!

Vegan Easter Feast

Some of Greg's friends from work were asking questions about Christianity and about Easter,
so he invited them to join us for Easter Sunday (RESURRECTION Sunday!) at church
and a lovely vegan feast afterward.

Of course, this was a tricky proposition because I as the chef and hostess ran 1:1 (special needs) programs in two out of the three services on Sunday morning, and lunch was right after the third (which I attended), so I wasn't able to prepare the food during that time.

Happily, I was fairly energetic during the week and into the weekend, so I made the food on Saturday
and hoped that it would taste okay reheated in the oven on Sunday.

Here's what I made . . . 

Sweet potato patties (to be eaten in buns like burgers):

Seasoned roasted potato rounds:

Cashew butter crinkle cookies:

and cinnamon cupcakes (with crosses to celebrate the Resurrection!)

I also set up the table centerpiece.
I put all sorts of things there that symbolize NEW LIFE
(trees, succulents, eggs).

Greg was pleased to give his friends a tour around our church facility.
Most of them are engineers, so they enjoyed his explanation of how he volunteers (as a sound tech)
and they were interested in all the sound equipment.

While they were touring, I had time to come home, have a quick snack, and then think through the best way to heat everything up.  Beans in a pot on the stove, potatoes and sweet potato patties in the oven.

The potatoes got a little browner and crispier with the second baking,
but they sure tasted good.

I piled up the patties in a pan and popped them in the oven along with the potatoes.
They were definitely no worse for the wear.

I'm surprised my eyes were open and I was smiling by this point!

After lunch,
foosball attracted everyone quickly!

We hung out for a bit longer, and then everyone needed a nap!
I'd been up since 5:30 am, but it was already late afternoon, so I kept myself awake to be able to sleep in the nighttime.  Greg and I did some online browsing, some reading, some cat snuggling . . . 
pretty much brain dead.

Two cats on the coffee table - dangerous!
by the way, I'm very much enjoying this book series . . . very interesting!

Stephen, drooping, as usual.

Special Daddy snuggles:

I hope you had a joyful Resurrection Sunday!

Thursday, April 13, 2017


I have a very helpful cell phone holder!!!

Best looking one I've ever seen!

Yes, it's been another less energetic week and I haven't been able to figure out why.
I had a follow up with my doctor last Friday, and my blood work wasn't looking that much better.
Slightly better, but I still have more than three times the antibodies I should have, and they've only gone down slightly since we started treatment with T3.  Sigh.

I believe I will get better.
I AM getting better already!
I am much better than I was two months ago or six months ago or a year ago.
There will probably be more improvements like the ones I've already seen.
There's more healing yet to come!

It's lovely to have tastes of health along the way. 

Here are some jeans that are in my Macy's basket, waiting for a good enough sale.
I adore the crochet along the ankles.
I don't absolutely love the fading on the thighs, so if they do go on sale, I may not end up purchasing them.  I keep looking at the photos, though, and thinking how cute and springy they are!
Great for the not-frigid Arizona desert winters.

 I found a couple of hidden outfit shots in my phone that I thought I'd share . . .

dress: Haani
bag: Kenneth Cole Reaction
Shoes: Target

dress: Tacera
bag: Kenneth Cole Reaction
shoes: Target

I've felt really good about what I've been cooking lately.
I'm planning to film some "what I eat in a day" videos, but I keep forgetting until lunch time, when breakfast is already finished!

The meal pictured below was for both Greg and me (for more than one night for sure!)
I made Greg a spaghetti sauce with faux-beef crumbles in it.  The crumbles had a weird texture and weren't the best; I will try a different brand if he wants to try faux meat again.

The big pile of veggies is for me, as well as the brown rice pasta in the pot behind them.
I browned sweet potato, zucchini, onion, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper in vegetable broth and then threw in some frozen spinach at the very end.  I ate it on top of the brown rice pasta with some Himalayan pink sea salt sprinkled on top.  Delicious!  I love how browned vegetables are sweet.

Greg's friend Mahesh from work had a birthday and it was celebrated at an interesting restaurant in Arcadia.  The neighborhood was adorable, with cool shops and interesting nooks and crannies everywhere.  The restaurant was called North Italia.  They had gluten-free options, including a gluten-free pizza crust.  The normal toppings were meaty and very cheesy (it IS supposedly an Italian restaurant, after all, which these days is known for meat and cheese . . . but I think traditional Italian food would be more vegetables and less meat and cheese).  I asked them to put on whatever vegetables they had in the kitchen, and I got a very interesting mix.

and maybe some other stuff I can't identify from this photo.
Not the best pizza I ever had, but it was definitely edible!

Greg had some pasta.

It was a large group!
The birthday man is the one with the mustache near the balloon.
Greg is the photographer (photo-documentarian!) of the group most of the time.

And he does a great job!

Sometimes he even manages to smirk at the same time!

Our desert plants continue to enjoy the beautiful warm weather (it hit 91 today for the first time).

One of our teensy little cacti shot up TWO huge flowers as big as it this week.

Look how tiny he is!!!
It must take a lot of energy for him to produce those gorgeous blooms.

Here's another sneak-peek of our newly redesigned patio . . .
there are still a couple of things I want to adjust before I film the reveal, but it has certainly been lovely to spend more time out there in comfort and beauty!

Slightly gory bonus:

On the way to get the mail a couple of days ago, we saw this perfectly intact little finch head . . .
with no body!

I am amazed that a predator could rip of a bird's head that neatly.

A few steps further, we found a wing.
No blood, no gore.  Just a wing.

Poor little birdie.

I hope your week has been interesting and enjoyable!