Monday, August 22, 2011

Motivational Monday

I'm going simply stated this week. Kick this week off to a GREAT start! 

"There is no major secret to success in athletics, the secret is the will. If you have the will to do it, then it will be possible."
- Eliud Kipchoge, 2003 World 5,000m champion, who has amazingly made every Kenyan team since 2003.

Courtesy of

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Workout Wednesday

Happy "Hump Day" friends! It's officially my "first day of work" at my new job! Soooo excited. A touch of nerves, but for the most part I'm really excited. New people. New places. New experiences. [added bonus: they come with a pay check too!]

So, I have been trying to focus a little more recently in my own workout regimen on strength training. Not the bodybuilder or figure model kind of strength training, but overall athleticism. I'm not big on the weight room for weight machines because I find they don't let me move naturally and the way my body/muscles are aligned to do so.... ultimately setting me up for an injury later. I prefer strength training moves that I can do with my own body weight and in time, and if need be, I can add a dumbbell/weighted plate to enhance the movement.

This is one of my favorite leg strengtheners: One Leg Body Weight Squats

Basics and Beginners:
Get it Cathie Fredrich!

With your back against a wall, with or without a balance ball behind your upper back, lift one leg up and bend the opposite knee, dipping as far as you can, with control, while flexing at the hip, knee, and ankle. Use the wall/ball/chair for additional support and balance until you build up enough strength in each leg to do it without assistance. Hold this position for a goal of 30 seconds. Switch legs. Repeat.

Once you have built up your leg strength - or you're ready for an added challenge, move up and down slowly in this position. The goal to have your thigh parallel to the floor.(See the advanced image) Do 10-15 repetitions per leg. Switch.
More Advanced:
Now, these are hard! I can't get as low as Mrs. BodyRock here, but I work on it all the time. Please don't try to go here immediately - you won't get back up!

Aim for five to 10 reps on each leg. Switch. Repeat. 

Like always, start low (with weights) and go slow with the speed and depth of the movement. Keep your CORE engaged and your back lifted up (don't get sloppy or slouchy). If you start to feel pain, stop and make sure you're aligned properly and executing the move correctly. Try again. If your pain continues... Stop doing it all together and check with your doctor.

HAVE FUN!! Remember to think about sexy thighs and a great butt when this one starts to get hard!!  :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Herbal Antibiotics

Todd found this article a while back and I've been meaning to share it with you guys since.... I finally remembered it today! :)

As you know, I love Dr. Oz. He's amazing. Not only a good lookin' Doc, but a smart and inspirational one at that. I know that he still takes the time to SIT DOWN with each of his patients, do a thorough exam, makes sure all questions are answered (and understood) and fights for a continued holistic approach to health care (as we all should).*sigh*.... dreamy!

Take some time to read and think about this article and what it has to say. Contemplate your daily use of cleaners as well as medications. Think about your baby next time your doctor immediately writes a prescription for the third antibiotic for the month to clear up that "ear infection"..... Maybe there's a more natural approach you could use to treat them? Breast milk (yes, feeding them with breast milk is one way... but did you know that some holistic professionals swear it can also cure an infection (example: eye/ear) when a few drops are applied to the area?)?? A change in diet - yours or child's? Feeding positioning... etc.

Just some food for thought.
**ummm... I probably need to get on my box for this**

As a medical professional, I really want to encourage you to think twice about the use of antibiotics. I fully believe there is a time and a place for them, but I also think many American's take the "fast route" with antibiotics to fight, say a sinus infection... when really they're body probably just needs a freakin' break! A day or two of rest, warm liquids, some herbs, a neti pot cleanse, tea and more rest. Antibiotics these days make us much more susceptible to BIGGER 'bugs' later.

I'm not sure if any of you have been to a hospital lately or not, but if so, have you noticed all your nurses putting on and taking off plastic/cloth gowns & gloves just to go in to a patients room? Well, it's these BIG BUGS (MRSA - a "staph infection", and VRE - another drug resistant organism) we, as nurses, are fighting and protecting ourselves and other patients against with the use of these protective devices. All of this combined is a big reason for rising medical costs, utilities, medical supplies, insurance rates and hospital stay time.

Please do this nurse, and all other nurses out there, a HUGE favor by donning your gown and gloves BEFORE you go IN your family members room, taking it all off IN the patients room, and WASHING YOUR HANDS immediately as you leave the room as your nurse requests. It's not stupid. It's not to burn you up. It's not make you look ridiculous. It's for the safety of our communities. Seriously. Don't do as you see others do - especially doctors. They're the worst. (I also advise you wash your hands after you shake the hand of a doctor!

*okay... off my box*

Here's the article. Read up. Ask questions. Really! I'll find the answers if I don't know it! (plus, we have lots of smart readers who might be able to help too!)

Herbal Antibiotic Alternatives

By Pina LoGiudice, ND, LAc
Director, Inner Source Health  

 The Bad News: Antibiotics Are Not Working

Since the accidental discovery of penicillin in 1929 by Alexander Fleming, antibiotic use has saved countless lives. Unfortunately, antibiotics are losing their effectiveness. Today, modern medicine faces the challenge of antibiotic resistance, thanks to the overuse of antibiotic medication. One example is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which now accounts for approximately 20% of serious infections in some areas of the United States. MRSA is also now becoming resistant to vancomycin, the choice medication for this serious problem.

Interestingly though, back in the 1930s, Fleming lectured throughout the world, warning that less than judicious use of these drugs could lead to problems. He cautioned us not to give penicillin unless there was a clear need for it. Fleming noted in his early experimentation clear evidence of bacteria’s ability to get around antibiotic exposure. This is because bacteria can quickly change its machinery to avoid the killing effects of the antibiotics.

Besides overuse, the addition of low-dose antibiotics in our animal feed is also to blame. Antibiotics are employed not so much to stop infection, but to make the animal grow faster artificially. Way back in 1977, the FDA concluded that adding low-dose antibiotics to animal feed raised the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Despite this knowledge, we still continue this practice today.

The Good News: There Are Antibiotic Herbal Alternatives

We can help the situation and avoid antibiotic drugs by harvesting the powerful substances nature has given to us. Both animals and man have harnessed the medicinal power of herbs for at least as long as history has been recorded. Plant alternatives use different mechanisms of action. As such, herbal antibiotic choices can help without further contributing to resistance issues.

Many common ailments such as sinus problems, sore throats, simple urinary tract infections and superficial wounds do not necessitate drugs in most cases. Many times, these can be effectively treated with the right lifestyle changes and botanical medicine care.
Immune Support: Start With a Good Lifestyle

Antibiotics kill the vast majority of the bacteria, but it is up to our body’s immune system to finish the job and get rid of the rest of the bugs. To use a military analogy, our immune system acts like the  “ground troops” that come in to get germs that are still entrenched after the antibiotic “carpet bombing” has cleared out the larger mass.

Harnessing the healing power your body possesses requires taking good care of yourself. It is important to remember that in most cases, bacteria can take over only when the environment allows. My recommendations to keep your immune system strong include:

•    Getting quality sleep (at least 8 hours)
•    Exercising regularly
•    Eating healthy whole foods and avoiding sugar intake
•    Practicing relaxation, such as meditation or yoga
•    Maintaining healthy relationships and following your passions

All of the above are important for a balanced body. These will help you prevent an infection – and help treat one most effectively if it occurs. These lifestyle recommendations will also help herbal antibiotic alternatives work their best.
  Antibiotic Alternatives: Four Herbs to Know

The following plant medicines are very effective choices in helping us avoid pharmaceutical antibiotics. Along with many other botanicals, these have been used to fight infections for thousands of years. I see them work everyday in my own practice. They have proven to be quite safe when used in the short term at standard dosage. When used in conjunction with the aforementioned health recommendations, these can be valuable allies to keep in your natural medicine cabinet.

  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis): Hailing from the northwest United States, goldenseal is a potent antibiotic, well known to help treat sore throats as well as digestive infections which can cause diarrhea. The Native Americans taught us that goldenseal has the ability to soothe the linings of the mucous membranes of the respiratory, digestive and genitourinary tracts while effectively clearing bacterial invasion. A few drops locally can stop a sore throat in its tracks.
  • Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium): Also from the Northwest, Oregon grape contains a substance known as berberine, which can stop bacteria from adhering to the walls of the intestine and urinary tract. When used as a tea, it is a wonderful way to wash away urinary tract infections; it can be used in dried capsules or liquid tincture to treat digestive tract conditions like infectious diarrhea.
  • Andrographis paniculata: This Asian herb with thousands of years of traditional use is now being proven through modern research as being able to disrupt the quorum-sensing system of bacteria. This system helps bacteria attach to each other and thrive as a community. Andrographis basically helps break up the bacterial “party.” As a result, it is beneficial to treat symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections and sinus problems. Numerous studies report its ability to reduce upper respiratory infection symptoms, such as fatigue, sore throat, cough and headache.
  • Manuka honey: The sweetness of Manuka honey is already being used in hospitals in protocols for wound care. You can place the honey directly on gauze and cover the wound. Typically, the bandage is replaced three times a day. Although studies show most honey has antibacterial activity, manuka honey seems to be especially potent due to a compound called methylglyoxal. In fact, studies have confirmed its activity against a wide range of medically important bacteria, including MRSA.
Always Be Safe

It is important to note that there are cases where conventional drug antibiotics are still be the safest choice. For example, cases of sepsis (blood infections), certain pneumonias, kidney infection and excessively high fever may require a potent drug antibiotic. A naturopathic doctor or holistic physician well-versed in botanicals can help you decide which herb is appropriate or when a drug is needed.

Conclusion: It Is Up to Each of Us

To truly slow and eventually reverse antibiotic resistance, it will require us to stop using antibiotics unnecessarily on an individual level, and as a world community by ceasing the use of antibiotics as growth enhancers in animal feed.

Using herbal medicines like goldenseal, Oregon grape, andrographis and manuka honey can help us make natural choices for our best medical care – and we can then save the drug antibiotics for when they are really needed.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Motivational Monday!!

Happy Monday friends! :)

Todd and I started our morning off saying good morning to Ole Abe. We met up with a running group from a local running store at 0530 and off we ran over the Memorial Bridge and up the steps of the Abe Lincoln Memorial. I'll be honest, I've never been at the monument before 6AM, but there was a calmness that was so inspirational.... It was really amazing.

I'm so lucky to live in this part of our country.

As I ran back over the Memorial Bridge I looked out over the Potomac and Arlington Cemetery and prayed that this view would NEVER get "old". It's breathtaking before the crowds (and heat).

Now to keep you energized and working towards your goals....

I have a friend who just started her own blog documenting her quest to being the BEST woman she can be. I'm so excited for her and what's in store for her and her family. This friend is the perfect example of the do-it-all-mother and working professional. Yes, she's GREAT at taking of of everything and everyone else (literally).... but she cheats herself of many things she really needs to stay a balanced, sane and healthy woman. She is an example of taking personal responsibility for herself, but also finding accountability with the help of her family, friends and probably, her new blog.

I would LOVE to share her blog with you guys, but I need to check with her first. I'm not sure she's ready for EVERYONE to know it exists yet... but I promise, it's well written, humorous and real. She's amazing!

But here's your motivation for the week. I know it's "sales" related... but if you listen to the short 2:50 clip, you'll take away a lot. I first discovered Jeffery in college when I started reading "The Little Red Book of Selling". He knows how to motivate the heck of anyone! I instantly wanted you to see this video "Kick Your Own Ass" when I saw it. I had a crazy spin instructor in college who was the first person I had heard use the phrase... In the midst of screaming (seriously, she was intense!), cussing, sweating, ripping hamstrings and near dehydration... she'd say she wasn't "making us do this"... she was "only motivating us to KICK OUR OWN ASSES!". After she yelled that the first time, I got it.

You're in charge. Enjoy Jeffery's message.

Go out and KICK YOUR OWN ASS today! :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

16 Things You Didn't Know About SLEEP

Recently I've developed a great love for reading...


Oh my goodness. It's almost embarrassing. I still haven't finished the 4th and final book of the Twilight series (Sorry Taylor! I promise, I will so you can have your book back!), last night I almost got to crack open the book Todd's been telling me I need to read forever ... and well, even my online news reading has fallen through the cracks. Blogs are addictive. Some are informative. Some are like juicy gossip. Others... serious soap opera material. I generally stick to a lot of running/athlete's blogs, but a few are way too good NOT to read and get sucked in to the drama. DC has some very talented bloggers. Mine is terrible in comparison.

But we won't compare! :)

ANYWAYS! This week, Sarah, on her blog: Sarah Runs a Lot, posted this GREAT little factoid about SLEEP. Interesting enough. Enjoy.

From Psychology Degree/

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Welcome... AGAIN!

I say "Welcome... AGAIN", because I officially start my NEW JOB next week!! YAY!

I will be working as a Critical Care Nurse at The Potomac Hospital. It's actually in Woodbridge, VA. About a 25 minute drive when traffic is moving. In other words: day shift will be simple. All traffic is coming North (to DC) when I'll be going South. Night shift: NIGHTMARE! Going South when Everyone else is going South!?!

I really didn't think that one through when I agreed to be 100% night shift.... did I?

Well, in all honestly, we planted ourselves in a really great location for Todd. His daily commute is actually great... I think he saw more traffic on his evening commute from Charlotte to Salisbury. Soooo... I'm very grateful that his daily grind is much easier, drive wise, than it has been in years. My original intention was to work close to here: INOVA, Virginia Medical Center, GWU, Georgetown (eh?), or maybe even a doctors office. I wasn't ruling out much (only oncology, L&D, and huge Med-Surg floors where pt:RN ratios were absurd).

My heart was (and still is) really set on working at GWU (because my "re-found" friend, Jancie, works there AND because they've got a nursing school with a lot of options available in my interest - BONUS: they help pay two-thirds of it too!!) and VA Medical Center - because the community RAVES about it. I've asked SOOO many nurses, strangers, bus drivers, neighbors and grocery store clerks "Which hospital would you go to, as long as you had the choice, for your medical needs and WHY??!?".

Most of them had the same response: Babies at INOVA and everything else: VA Medical Center - "They're the best" and "their staff is so kind". To hear the PUBLIC say that about it's community hospital... when they're amongst some of the nations most innovative and advanced hospitals, means a lot.

I care about the perspective of my patients and their family members. It makes a huge difference to EVERYONE involved. If our patients are happy, it makes my job easier. If I'm happy, my employer's job is easier. Happy patients make a happy community too. Nursing and medicine in general are services provided to everyone whether they want it or not, but to leave a good taste in the mouths of consumers regardless the circumstance? Something good must be happening. ---- One day, I'd love to see how they're doing things.

Potomac Hospital of Woodbridge, VA

Until then, I will enjoy being back at the bedside, at the small community hospital. Here, I'll have lots of room to grow and learn, lots of flexibility with scheduling, no med students and time. My patients won't be nearly as sick as what I would see at FMC, but really - I don't care!!

I jumped lots of hoops and hurdles trying to get a position closer to here, but either they didn't have an opening in ICU; HR was moving so slow that I was fearful if I waited on them, Christmas would be here and I still would not have a job; or for some reason (unknown to me or anyone else actually - b/c no one can check my answers) I didn't "pass" this assessment they require all clinical staff (0-100 years of experience) to take called a nursing career battery (NCB). The NCB is supposed to be on critical thinking skills and some personality. Allegedly, the NCB has been approved for new grads alike, but even the Director of HR at GWU said she's really beginning to rethink that for new grads.... but she also said she's seen nurses with 20+ years under their belts not pass it either. Unfortunately, corporate policy states that you must "successfully complete" the NCB to be hired and you can't take it again for six months. So, after bumming out a few potential employers and co-workers, crying and carrying on a bit, I found a few more hospitals to look at and practically the next day, Gina from Potomac called me. (How's that for Gods timing?!)

Instantly I felt good about it. Gina and I hit it off immediately and she "talked" the ICU manager, Sharon, in to interviewing me that week. All things have moved smoothly from then on. Fingers are crossed I don't show up next week sounding and acting like an idiot because I've not been working for two months or at a bedside since May. [YIKES!]

Needless to say - I'm giddy about having a patient again. SOON! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Workout Wednesday: ZUMBA!

Okay - So, I'm really, really, really working on putting up more tips and ideas weekly. I'm going to do my best! I've received so many emails from readers asking how to, what to, and why.... it's time to answer them for everyone or at least offer a few suggestions.

Now, each Wednesday I'm going to dedicate my blog to a workout, a new strength move, a goal or a trainers tip (if I can get all my favorite trainers out there to help!).

This week, I bring you ZUMBA!

I'll be honest. I've NEVER tried Zumba. I know, crazy... and here I am suggesting it to you guys. Well, honestly... It's a suggestion to find something FUN to do to help you reach your fitness and health goals. Last week I Kathie & Hoda on the TV while I worked around the house and it so happened, Kathie Lee & Hoda had gone all Latina!! It was a crazy Zumba fest out on the Plaza and everyone was dancing and shaking their money makers to the rhythmic beats of Zumba! Check out the link I included to see a clip from the show if you didn't see it.

Zumba looks like crazy fun. I've watched it several times through the windows at the gym while twerkin' it on the the treadmill or something. The downer for me: Coordination. Or the lack there of.

I'm a runner for a reason. I lack a lot of the skills for dance coordination. Maybe it's because my parents didn't let me stick it out in ballet/tap/jazz as a little redhead? Maybe it's because I grew up watching my mom dance and twirl around a big musical stage in awe (the big poofy skirts were every girls dream!) and I shied away from the art and pretended I wasn't interested.

I don't know, don't really care, but I do love to dance! College definitely taught me that! Drinks or not, if the girls wanted to go boogie to Britney, we did it. Occasionally, I'll get jiggy with it around the house to make Todd giggle... or the car, but I don't break it down regularly in public now (I would never count running around Arlington with an extra-enthusiastic-pep in my stride while blastin' "Til the World Ends" as technically breakin' it down).

Although, I haven't enjoyed the new exercise craze personally. I know MANY people who simply rave about it. I'm quite certain that even my Step-mom, Sharon, has fallen in love with this workout. Maybe one day I'll give it a try too... but I try to avoid those group exercise routines that involve dance moves. I get frustrated with my lack of "let it go" ability and that I think about it too much ... and then by the time it's over I've barely elevated my heart rate and I get mad because I 1.) didn't have fun, 2.) didn't really get in the workout I had in mind and 3.) I probably didn't sweat = therefore, I've wasted my time.

SO... if you're unlike me and LOVE to shake your groove thaaang... Give Zumba a whirl and let me know how it was! Maybe you all can convince me to give it a swing. :)

I'd like that. Have fun!! ZUMBAAAAA!

 And PLEASE tell me how it was!!! Are you hooked? Do you love it? Give us some feedback here... maybe your comments can help someone else (umm, me) give ZUMBA a shot! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Motivational Monday

So, I'm going to do my best to give you all some type of MOTIVATION each Monday morning. Something to get you moving. Get you groovin'. Something that get's you ready for your week. Motivation to keep working hard on YOU. 

Please share your clips, quotes and ideas with me too!! If you've been inspired, I'm sure it will inspire someone else too. Email them to me!

To start us off, here's an awesome commercial by Under Armor. 

Who's footsteps are you hearing now? GET GOING! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Okay - so this blog is probably WAAAAAAY overdue, but it's better late than never.... Right?

But hey! We're in DC now... well sort of. We're "slummin'" it in the really close suburbs. :) In our hunt to find a home, we would have loved to live IN the district... but let's face it. It's hella expensive!!! Good grief, NOVA ain't cheap, but at least we have grass all around our apartment for Ginger to do her business in instead of a flower pot. Honestly, I feel bad for those little (and big) dogs roamin' around the city looking and longing for a big, plush, plot of GRASS just to poop on.

I have recently discovered several blogs by local DC peeps and a few "born and raised" DC brats. In one of the blogs, one of the girls went on a rampage about people "moving to the city" and then not "living IN the city". She just didn't understand, she couldn't comprehend why anyone would want to "slum it" in the suburbs.

If it's not obvious already to you, my fellow readers and friends, she's NEVER LIVED ANYWHERE ELSE! Spending $2,500+ a month in rent for less than 900 square feet is "normal". HA!

Are you puking yet?

Seriously, it's ridiculous. I mean, okay... if you've got the money to do it, by all means do it. Spend your hard earned money to live IN IT. DC is a wonderful city and anyone wanting to live the city life would LOVE to live there... it's an easy city to live in.

But do explain why there are soooo many people living in the city to live and thrive off of a delectable diet of Ramen and booze?

Yea, I'm sorry. I'd rather save my money and buy a house... with a drive way... perhaps with a garage for my CAR (the one you can't afford to pay for or to pay to park it in the district)... some grass... neighbors who also have their own space to make noise in so that I don't hear while I'm trying to blog...a few extra rooms for family and quests to stay while they come to visit me (or just while they sight see)...  and maybe even room for a real BBQ.

I KNOW buying a house here in NOVA is a big deal too. Did I EVER think I'd say I'd be interested in saving/buying a modest home that costs $500,000!?!??!?!?! HELLLLLS NO! In NC I thought that was probably my later in life upgrade! You know, after you've had your kids and raised each of them to the age where they're all in school and going through their hormonal and independence rage where they practically DEMAND their own room (or backyard bungalow). *deep breath*

Certainly not what I thought would be in the plan for the next 5 years. Kids, probably... but a half a million dollar home without an acre of land............  uummmmm didn't see that one coming 5 months ago and I'm crossing my fingers now for the HOPE we'll find something we like, can live in, that's not a million miles away, not in a "bad neighborhood", and actually that "cheap".

GAG! I'll probably throw-up the day it actually happens.

Until then... I'll just keep laughing at the "DC Natives" who can't imagine living anywhere else. I'm quite certain that if they gave it a try, a few years and a couple major elections (because YOU CAN'T VOTE IN DC!), they might learn that the grass really CAN be greener on the other side.

Or well, maybe just in the "slums".

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kelly Loves Stella & Dot!

So, I sat down to catch up on my blogging and saw on my Stella & Dot homepage that Kelly Ripa has discovered our jewelry!!!

Funny thing is, I was watching a segment yesterday (maybe the day before) and thought her serpent cuff looked like ours... but wasn't sure. Today, I discovered IT WAS OUR SERPENT CUFF!!! Way exciting for Stella & Dot. 

Watch Kelly's cute episode of Fashion Finder for today...  She cracks me up!

Here's the Serpent Bracelet up close so you can see it. It's AWESOME!
Kelly shows a lot of other pieces from the new Fall Collection, but go check the whole line out for yourself! I think it's the best collection we've had in a while. Seriously, had I been working at the time I had 50% off for the new line.... I would have spent an entire pay check on Stella & Dot!

This is what I'm saving up for NEXT! :)

Our new collection of Stella & Dot Handbags will be released SOON!