Monthly Archives: May 2016

Being healthy

If you’re already at a physical disadvantage, being unhealthy affects you more than the average person. There are a few easy things I do that help keep me on par:

  • Overnight oats, for those who aren’t good at mornings. You can YouTube it; my fave is a 1:2 ratio of oats to unsweetened almond milk, throw in some cinnamon and blueberries or golden raisins. Takes maybe two minutes max to prep three servings.
  • Keep a lot of liquids on hand. I buy six pack bottles of diet Snapple peach tea, and I have a few tumblers (the plastic cups with lids and reusable straws) I keep filled with jasmine green tea, ready to go. I keep these at work too- keep a little water boiler in my pod and bags of green tea, honey. You’re more likely to stay hydrated with yummy beverages on hand, and dehydration is the simplest and most common problem to myriad issues. When my students come to me with headaches or nausea, my first suggestion is always “go drink some water.
  • Get rid of weird smells. I know a lot of people who are very sensitive to chemicals. Try using natural cleaners for a month or so, see if that helps daily headaches or fatigue. Also change your laundry detergent or dryer sheet if you have skin irritation.
  • Decrease your light! I don’t know about y’all, but I’m pretty sensitive to certain types of light bulbs. Close those blinds, change your lightbulb.
  • I take gummy multivitamins. I tend to throw up the hard pill vitamins if I take them on an empty stomach, which was a lot, so I stared taking the gummies and I love them. Your body’s working pretty hard, and needs nutrients. Always take your vitamins.

These little things help me. Grab and go breakfasts, staying hydrated, and decreasing household irritations can improve your daily life.

Thursday is my favorite day!

Mrs. Scottsdale K RoyalSeriously, Thursday is the best day ever. It’s the day before the week-end (cause Friday IS the week-end); both my daughters were born on Thursdays; and it rhymes with “her way” – with some creative license.

Today, however, really stands out. My friend, Crystal, lands tonight to support me and my daughter returns from Hawaii. And…it is my last day really to prepare. Preparation has to be done among my other responsibilities, like my job. Contrary to popular belief, pageant girls are not like superstars – we don’t get paid to be glamorous.

Oh my good googli moo – did I just call myself a pageant girl?! and so it begins.

For those who wonder what a pageant competitor does to prepare, I’m here to blog it all for you!  Perhaps more meaningfully, how does someone who works full-time, consults on the side, volunteers more than 500 hours a year, teaches graduate courses, working on her dissertation, who is recovering from a concussion, and managing multiple major systemic conditions manage?

By losing her mind. If you find it, just lock it up, I don’t seem to need it right now.

Seriously though, my job is fascinating. I am a privacy attorney for an emerging technology company. Although my family and health come first, my job is a high priority with me. I actually enjoy the work I do and most especially, working for my general counsel, Rebecca.

All the other stuff is fit in around those. I maintain a comprehensive calendar. I text important reminders to myself and my husband of things I need to remember. I have a strong advisory board (mainly women who are important to me and who I value their advice and the fact that they don’t gloss over anything – they shoot straight from the hip) and good friends.  I make checklists and prepare for as much as I can ahead of time.

Oh pooie. I really cannot say that last one with a straight face. I try to do it, but I am more – SQUIRREL – oops sorry. Where was I?

I am master-level procrastinator. On the other hand, I do my best work under a crunch.

It bites me in the butt when we are in a rush to leave the house for something. For some reason, I then get in clean mode. I think it’s ADD. In the midst of triple checking in a rush that we have everything, I start then putting everything left in it right place. And Lord help us if I ever put anything in a safe place.

So today is work. conserve energy. get dress altered (which I just got last night… yeah yeah procrastination). spray tan. clean. butt glue. I forgot butt glue. Crud. Amazon prime just failed me. make sure I have plenty of gluten free healthy snacks. water water water.

Tomorrow is a lot more. I took the day off and booked the hotel for tomorrow night so I can be up and at ’em Saturday morning. Husband’s dinner is tomorrow. That should be cool.

And last but certainly not least – the pageant pictures for the program book went live. Check it out! http://mrsarizonaamerica.com/2016-contestants/ 

I am truly honored to be Mrs. Scottsdale and humbled by those who cheer me on. I’ve lost 28 pounds in the past 7 months and am much more fit than ever! Let’s bring it!!

 

Sucky Doctors

You know what you call the worst student in med school after he graduates? The schlep, the lazy one, the one who almost failed every class?

You call them Doctor.
I’m not advocating for Doctor shopping, but if you dislike or distrust your doctor, go find another one! Don’t just sit around and follow orders because “oh, well she’s the professional”. No. It’s your body, and there are more doctors out there. Take care of your temple, because you’re the one that has to live in it.

Also, KNOW YOURSELF. Doctors see dozens of people a day, and are relying on a maybe-accurate folder on you. Know your own history- incidents and medicine reactions- and know exactly what and how much you’re currently on. I take a photo of my bottles and keep it in a special phone photo folder AND in my cloud thing.

PS: you have the right to your own paperwork. When you switch doctors, go in there and demand your folder (politely, you know). Just explain you want the new doctor to have all your info. Don’t let them fax it; they’ll try. They have to hand it over to you.

Flares, Fit, and Finery

IMG_20160524_181154What’s worse than a couch potato? Me! I was a bed twice-baked potato skin!

In this last week before the Mrs. Arizona America pageant, I am terrified, excited, nervous – all at the same time. It has been so rewarding to have people support me, both emotionally and financially. No one has mocked me. No one has insulted me. In fact, many women have said they envy me and have asked lots of questions about the process.

However, it’s not all fun and games. With the physical issues I have, it has been quite challenging. It would be challenging for someone starting at a good physical point, or even at a mediocre one. I was much less than that. Seriously, couch potato would have been a huge improvement.

And although I am not where I hoped to be, I am proud of what I have done. I am 25 pounds down from fall of 2015. My downfalls? the changing barometer sets my lupus, sjogrens, and fibro flaring like crazy. I passed out one day at physical training. But Dave Ashley (the pastor of pump) is amazing. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of me when we met. Heck, most docs who read my chart are shocked that I’m not 80 years old.

We push through it. I have a shiny carrot dangling in front of me. And given that all my weight is in my belly (I hear MIke Myers now – Get In My Belly). Anywho… I am not the front-runner for the swimsuit. Don;t get me wrong, I’m sexy as all get out, but these curves are not what our society thinks of as being fit.

My definition of fit is different. Obviously.

So although my step-goal was 12000 a day, the past 10 days or so….anhhhh, not meeting that goal so much. And I have cheated on my nutritional plan. Not bad food, just more than I need. Okay, a little bad food – whoever made salted caramel protein bars should be shot. In the shoe. No blood.

And in my corner, Wendy, the spray tan queen. She makes such a beautiful color on my “look like I tried to tan failed” body. Her skinny tans are to die for. They do work.

As does spanx. Which is why I hope to change my pageant gown to one with a high back. I mean, a girl needs her secrets, right?

 

Gluten Free Life

My mom has Celiacs, which pretty much means she’s allergic to gluten; there are two (known) genes associated with it, and she has both. Being spawned from her genetic pool, she wanted me tested. I characteristically resisted, but- after years- she wore me down and I agreed to test it. I went gluten free for two months, then tried it again and had a pretty immediate and negative reaction to it…. Damn. Guess this is my life now.

It’s actually not so bad. I didn’t like beer anyway, and I’m not a huge cake person. I’m fine ordering meat and veggies when I go out. This has cut out fast food for me, but that’s probably for the best anyhow. It’s still embarrassing to tell servers about it, and I’m working on that. My current gluten free goals: check out gluten free bisquick (Walmart), and figure out which salad dressings have gluten because apparently that’s a thing.

I’m so much less tired and headachy off gluten, and I’m a lot more digestively regular. When I eat gluten now- after the two months it’s taken to get it out of my system- I get an immediate and horrible headache, my mouth and throat feel funny, I feel hot, and my brain is fuzzy.

Did some minor research- there’s this great documentary on Netflix called Cooked that explains the seemingly abrupt rise in gluten allergies (something about the flour processing), gonna watch that… Sometime in the near future. Probably.

My arm

I got pulled down while walking my Atticus, the foster Great Dane, April 17th. I fractured my elbow and level-three sprained my wrist. Had a sling, still have a fancy wrist brace. Learned some things:

  • Bone pain sucks and is never fully knocked out by meds.
  • Vicodin makes my head feel funny, so I only took that a couple times to sleep and mostly stuck with Tylenol 3 and Duexis (mega Advil).
  • Skirts are the key to restroom independence
  • Pain is exhausting, just on its own, and you can’t out-stubborn it (you’d think I knew this by now).

I went back to work too early, because I’m an idiot and, in my defense, a drugged idiot when I made that decision.

I’m mostly back on track now- I graduated with my Master in Education. The stole was dreadfully uncomfortable, but felt kinda cool. I need to start elbow PT…. I’ll call ’em tomorrow. Probably. Adopted a couple dogs, now I have three. My 25th birthday is tomorrow. Turns out I have a gluten allergy like my mom, and that being gluten-free isn’t so bad. Still want to do spin class, waiting on the wrist to heal up a bit more.

Pretty eventful couple months, all done with a wrist brace and/or sling, and utterly exhausted and slightly irritable because my arm hurt.

Also, I’m not sure if this is the lesson I was supposed to learn, but I seem to be healing faster than expected and I’m pretty sure it’s because I kept using my arm too much…. Which hurt, but kept my elbow from freezing up sooooooo….. Don’t blindly trust the man, man. Especially when he’s a pervy old guy who may or may not be getting reported to the board for being an entirely inappropriate creep; that’s a separate story for another day.

Tassels, Tiaras, and Two Weeks

13221646_10209166550832011_3516464117704372866_n This week (now two weeks away from P-day)  has been a week of incredible ups and downs.  The biggest UP was my first-born, Dazlin, graduating with her Master’s degree in education! So Proud!

Her program was one through Arizona State University, where they cover the tuition for her to be certified to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and she was awarded a year-long living stipend.  In exchange, she commits to teaching two years at a local Title 1 school. She was offered a contract just over half-way through the program, so she is set.

Also, she took her teacher certification tests and aced them! She only missed like one question out of three sets for each test. This is the kind of teacher we need.

The DOWNs were mainly me and the pageant. I bought a dress at the start of this in a size up from the size I hoped to be (these dresses are generally made small). I have lost quite a bit in pounds and inches – going from 29% body fat (actually within limits for my height) to a 24%. lost an inch and a half in the arms and three in the waist. All my weight is pretty much belly. [I could seriously pass for pregnant and that might not be horrible in a Mrs. pageant, they value moms! bwuhaha] But apparently, I was a little too ambitious and will not reach the size I need for my amazingly awesome dress. And I don’t want to buy a size up. So….I will be out shopping for a new dress (that’s an UP coming from a DOWN).

The swimsuit represents the lifestyle and fitness portion. I am incredibly fit!! I am no longer using a walker, rarely have to use a wheelchair, have been off serious meds for years, hold a full-time busy job, plus consulting, teaching two law school courses, volunteering over 500 hours a year. And trying to finish my PhD dissertation. “Fit” to me is being able to participate in life. Expert level achieved! And I have set a goal – doing a triathlon. My training may take longer than most, c’est ma vie.

My DOWN? I was mostly okay with the swimsuit part until I tried it on. Can I opt out and do a talent instead? I was mortified (through no fault of the swimsuit… this is ALL ME). First, in my real size, the torso is too short and the top barely covered the important part of my breasts. On my lower abdomen, my c-section and hysterectomy scars hang out the sides and everything  is cinched (yea! Carol Wior) in for the middle (nice) and puffs out the edges (not so nice). I will wear one 2-3 sizes up to cover me from boob to butt. However, going up sizes means the boobs are huge (I’m a all-natural 32DD, so it’s not like I got nothing). sigh. First world problems, right?  The swimsuits ain’t that bad….it’s my body in it. I got some dangerous curves, baby. They just can’t be contained!

And the women competing are simply fabulous! They are so beautiful and sexy and smart! They look great in the swimsuit, too. And they seem to know what they are doing – some have done pageants before and here’s little, ol’ non-pageant me doing my own thang.  Huge UPs, I have hired the amazing Kelly Wisniewki to do make-up and will be getting spray tanned by the phenomenal Spray Tan Queen, Wendy Carlson. Elegant Rebel Skin Care, Laura Becker, has been taking care of all the facial and waxing (yep, went there) needs. Plus, physical training by the Pastor 0f Pump, Dave Ashley… truly whipping this body into better shape. I have researched and studied everything possible (including coaching by Red Haute Mama Kirin Christianson) and have practiced walking and posing, with the help of lots of friends, notably Laura Lawless Robertson, who was Miss Arizona 2002 and placed in the top 15 nationally. Now THAT is one sexy, intelligent woman right there. One of the best UPs?  My mentor, Tracy Elliott, Mrs. Arizona 2008. She talked me off the ledge after I tried on the swimsuit.

And sponsors! Mark Monson with V.I.P. Mortgage, Blue Orthodontics, Reveal Body Contouring (after the pageant, they will take care of the last 3 stubborn pounds), and Fitness by Design (Dave Ashley). These are some major UPs in my corner.

And I cannot thank my supporters often enough, loud enough, or long enough. My family and friends are definitely in my corner, cheering me the whole way. I won’t go into a Oscar speech here, but they all know who they are – and they are from all over the world. It’s humbling to be loved by so many people and I will strive to make them proud of me in this effort.

14 days and counting!!

 

 

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