I wish...

I have lots of wishes but today here's what I wish for most...
-I wish I could blink my eyes and my house would be clean
-I wish a full work week was only 30 hours long
-I wish dogs didn't shed
-I wish I could take a short nap everyday
-I wish working out didn't seem like a chore


Birthday Girl

She may be a fighter- but she's also a lover. We consider her our baby. We think everything she does is the cutest thing we've ever seen. Most people think we're talking about our child (which she is) but she's actually our furry baby. It's her 2nd birthday today and we are celebrating in pure doggy fashion. Just like her birthday last year, she was treated to a very special birthday breakfast, served "breakfast-in-bed" style (prepared by her dad, of course).

Today we pampered Zoe with lots of loves, belly rubs, a nice walk in this beautiful Fall weather and a game of fetch.

We love this little girl so much. She fills our hearts with so much love. We can't imagine our lives without her. Happy Birthday, Zozo


This Bites...

Friday night Zoe got into a tussle with one of the neighborhood dogs. This particular dog is one Zoe's played with many times. In fact, one of the things we love most about our community is the large grassy area that pretty much serves as a dog park. We've met most of our neighbors because of the dogs. Each night we can look out of our kitchen window and see who's outside playing. Zoe is usually on high alert making sure she doesn't miss out on any fun.

Typically the dogs all play really well together but for whatever reason Zoe wasn't feeling it and after enough prodding the fight ensued. It all happened so fast but luckily Cardy was quick minded and strong enough to break it apart. Both dogs were okay and not seriously injured. However, when we got home we noticed Zoe had a tear in her front paw. It was a pretty good size tear but after assessing it, it wasn't bleeding and she was walking on it just fine. Cardy and I cleaned it and wrapped it up for the night but we took her to the vet the next day to have it officially checked out. I had a feeling the tear was just big enough it would be difficult for it to close up on it's own. I was right, the vet felt Zoe would be fine but put 4 staples in to close up the wound.

Fortunately the neighbors dog was okay. We walked over to check on her and make sure she hadn't been injured her during the fight. Neither one of us had ever experienced a dog fight before and it shook us up pretty good. We're just thankful the injuries were minimal we'll keep our fingers crossed this doesn't happen again any time soon.


End of Summer

This summer seemed to go by so fast. My schedule has eased up but I still feel like there were so many things I wanted to do this summer that I still haven't gotten to. My dumb knee and even dumber hip have kept me from doing all of the active things Summers usually entail. I was really looking forward to hiking with Zoe and doing some more biking but my body just wasn't having it. I've been starting to feel a bit better so hopefully I can still do a few things before snow hits the ground. And I certainly hope I'm feeling better before ski season! Summer officially comes to an end next week but I'm still looking forward to another month of the Farmer's Market, cooler days and nights, a few more movies at the drive-in, and hopefully another time or two on boat.

I'm also SUPER excited for the Fall. Definitely my favorite season!

Dear Fall,
Please stick around for as long as you possibly can.

My Fall favorites:
-my anniversary
-hoodies and sweaters
-pumpkin spice lattes

I also love cooking this time of year. I love firing up the grill and I don't mind turning on the oven. I love the veggies during this season. I've been such a cooking slacker this summer but I'm excited to try out some of the recipes I've been posting to Pinterest.


Stiff, Sore & More

Back in April I started having some issues with my right knee. At first I thought I had hyper-extended it from a doggy play time accident. I limped along and didn't think too much about it. After a week or so of some serious stiffness and some mild swelling, I had one of the doctors I work with take a look at it. He examined it and moved my leg around to see if my pain could be related to the ligaments or meniscus in my knee but we quickly determined they were fine. We were unsure what was really going on but decided some anti-inflammatories, ice and elevation might do the trick. Unfortunately, they did not. I didn't feel well but I was trying not to be a complainer and just "suck it up". I kept thinking that with time it will hopefully just go away.

After a while, I was feeling miserable- not only was my knee still a problem but my right wrist and a few other joints were starting to bother me. I am lucky I work for the Rheumatology group at the University of Utah and the doctors in my department are amazing. They were all concerned with my continual limp and my obvious frustrations but I kept passing off my pain and limp as no big deal. Finally I couldn't take it any longer, I made an appointment to physically be seen as a patient in my clinic. Gary Kunkel saw me as a patient and did a full exam. He was pretty sure my knee pain wasn't related to any damage to my tendons, ligaments or anything else. And he's pretty certain the tenderness and swelling in my joints is actually something called, Reactive Arthritis. This type of arthritis is an autoimmune disorder which responds to an infection in the body typically caused by certain types of bacteria.

Dealing with the reactive arthritis has not been pleasant. Since my doctor's visit I've taken two rounds of steroids, had two cortisone injections (one in the knee and one in the wrist), been eating Ibuprofen like it's candy, and started a medication called Sulfasalazine. I'm still incredibly stiff in the mornings and my new meds are giving me headaches.  I also feel sluggish and fatigued- I'm not sure if it's the arthritis or the medication that's making me feel this way. Thankfully, my joints seem to loosen up by the afternoon and walking, climbing stairs, and driving become much easier. But it's like Groundhog Day- it all starts over the next morning. I did make Dr. Kunkel promise the meds wouldn't make me gain anymore weight or make me more irritable (lol). He found this amusing. I read that sulfasalazine can actually make you lose weight due to all of the GI related side effects- I'm still waiting for this side effect to kick in.

Here are some pictures of the cortisone injection I got in my wrist. (I was too chicken to even look at the injection when he did my knee.) Dr. Kunkel uses an ultrasound machine to analyze the swelling and to help determine exactly where he will inject.

Here is my wrist the morning of my injection. You can see the swelling in the top of my hand.

Prepping my hand prior to the injection.

Using ultrasound, ready to inject.

All the way in. 

Pulling off fluid.

This is the screen on the ultrasound machine. 


April Showers Bring May Flowers

We're already into June and we've just barely had our first day of 80 degree weather. April and May were unusually wet for Utah this year so we've been stuck inside most weekends. Over Memorial Day, I took an extra day off work to do some projects around the house and well... have an extra day off of work. The weather was mediocre for Friday and Saturday but raining again on Sunday & Monday. I took advantage of what I could and headed to the garden store with my mom to buy some flowers for my pots. I love planting flowers and seeing the color and extra charm it adds to the front of our house.

Zoe hung out with me while I planted. I'm surprised she hung out on the porch. Usually she's snooping around the neighbors patio or searching for some friends to play with.

Here's the flower pot on my front porch

This year I decided to try my hand at growing some herbs. I planted cilantro, chives, rosemary and basil.


Oh how I love taking vacations with my husband. I'll pretty much take anything when it comes to a vacation- a night in Park City, all-inclusive in Mexico, or boating trips with my family. You name it and I'm there. But there is something about traveling with Cardy that is so much fun. Maybe it's his sense of adventure or his relaxed state of mind- whatever it is, it makes him a dream to travel with.

This trip was especially fun. I was invited to attend a conference for work and it just so happened to be in New Orleans. Perfect! I've always wanted to take Cardy to New Orleans. With such a rich culture and history galore, I knew he'd love it. We could not pass up the opportunity to take a couple extra days and visit one of the neatest cities in the United States. Yep, I said it, literally one of the coolest places I've ever been. I was fortunate enough to visit New Orleans six years ago, the spring just before Hurricane Katrina and I've always wanted to go back. I was a little worried the city would be different than I remembered. We've heard so many stories about the devastation which occurred there and I wasn't sure Cardy would have the same experience I did. Fortunately, I was wrong. Cardy fell in love with New Orleans and is already dying to go back to see more.

During our little trip we crammed in as much as we possibly could. Here are some of the highlights...

-Ate BBQ in Memphis (layover to & from NOLA. sadly, no pictures- my fingers were too messy!)

-Stayed in the gorgeous and historic Hotel Monteleone

-Explored the French Quarter, Jackson Square and the River Walk

-Noshed at some amazing local hot spots

-Rode the Trolley for a little more exploring

-Took a walking Ghost Tour through the French Quarter

-Enjoyed watching the street performers

-And of course, who can forget Bourbon Street?

*Wow, it took me a long time to post this. This trip feels like it happened ages ago. I think I'm ready for another!


The new plan

Fine. I'll admit it. I'm just now realizing that I can't do it all. What? Could this be true? I'm not some super woman with amazing abilities and unlimited hours in the day? For my personal sanity, and my husband's, I've come to realize I don't want this persona, I want to have a good life balance.

I've done a lot of thinking since my last post and I decided I need to make some changes to help with the new balance I desire. Here's my plan:

1. Eliminate 1 of the 3 current jobs. By my own elimination criteria, I've decided which of the three it will be, it's not official so I'm not sharing yet but you'll soon find out. I love all my jobs and I'm lucky that in such a crappy economy I have jobs coming out of my ears. The down side to having too many jobs is I feel like I'm devoting all of my free time to working. I can't wait to have my evenings free and more weekends to enjoy.

2. Spend 30 minutes each weekday completing a task or two around the house. Whether it's dusting, cleaning out a drawer or throwing in a load of laundry or two, I want to accomplish more throughout the week instead of waiting for it to pile up and overwhelm myself with what seems like hours of cleaning. This way I can feel like I'm keeping on top of my house work and I can still make time to cook and relax with Cardy for the rest of the night.

3. Relax. When Cardy asks me to sit with him on the couch and watch TV for a bit, I'm not going to throw a tantrum and ask him if he knows just how dirty our bathrooms are. I need to make a huge effort to show him know he's far more important than my dusty tables.

I'm trying to be reasonable and rational in my new plan and for now, it seems doable. It's definitely a plan I can stick to.


Thoughts for today...

When I get home tonight (that is, if I don't have to work at Pottery Barn) I want to walk in the door and blink my eyes and have this happen:
-magically clean bathrooms
-clean, folded and put away laundry
-mopped and glimmering kitchen floor
-vacuumed carpets
-oh, and a clean car would be nice

So that I'm not:
-all of the above

Why do I let household chores stress me out? How come I can't come home and relax like my husband begs and pleads? Why do I think it's not okay to veg on my couch and watch TV all night with take out and a glass of wine? Poor Cardy, he gets the brunt of my craziness (sorry, Baby). Can you imagine if I had real stress in my life?


"Shampoo is better- I go on first and clean the hair..."

Do you want to know the most amazing hair product ever? Dry Shampoo! It's the absolute best and a huge life saver.  I don't typically advertise what I'm about to say and I'm only saying it because I love my dry shampoo so much but with this amazing little invention I've been washing my hair only once (maybe twice a week).

The best brand I've found is called Batiste. I buy it at Got Beauty in Salt Lake but I've heard it can be found at Sally's. It's about $10 a bottle but totally worth it. My hair tends to get a little greasy, my bangs especially and around my hair line. I used to wash my hair every other day and then a few years back I started using a little baby powder to help absorb some of the greasiness (what can I say, I'm lazy in the mornings). It helped and I was able to extend my hair washing another day or so but too much baby powder and my hair looked gray and ashy. I'm not sure who introduced me to dry shampoo but I'm sure thankful! The manager at Got Beauty recommended the Batiste brand above others they sell and said most of the stylists in the salon used it. It is definitely my favorite of the few I've tried. I used TIGI Rockaholic and the new dry shampoo by Tresseme. Both were fine but I think the Batiste still does the best job and it comes in a few different fragrances as well. My favorite is the Tropical but I want to try the new Diva scent.

I cannot tell you how much less stressful my mornings are with not having to wash, blow-dry and straighten my hair constantly. I know to some people it sounds gross but honestly- most people don't even know when it's been 4 or 5 days. Believe me, I have my hair issues and by the end of the week, I'm sporting a bun or a ponytail but at least I don't have greasy, smelly hair. Oh yeah, and to keep my hair from getting wet in the shower, I just pull my hair up in a bun and cover my head with a shower cap.

If you're a wash your hair everyday or even every other day kinda girl, think about trying a dry shampoo, I promise, it's worth it!


Burgers and Pork Chops and Nuggets, oh no!

That's right, I'm not eating meat for 40 days. Lent is here and as I have in the past, I am giving up something I enjoy until Easter. I'm giving up meat but will still be eating fish and shellfish and dairy. I was telling a co-worker about it today and she exclaimed this is not vegetarianism. fine. To be clear...I will forgo the following: red meat, pork (all pork products) and chicken. To be technical, this style of diet is called Pescetarianism.

When I mentioned my soon to be meatless diet to Cardy, his first reaction was, "What am I going to do?" Well, I'm the cook so you'll pretty much be doing whatever I'm doing.

I'm extremely hesitant and a little worried about this challenge. Of course I felt this way last year when I gave up sugar and the year before when I gave up carbonation. Notice a trend here? Sugar, carbonation, and meat- all food related. Oh well. I'm not very prepared to for this diet change and I'm getting ready to go to Orlando this weekend where some of my meals will be provided- hopefully they will offer a pescetarian option.

So tonight I'm still trying to decide what my last meaty meal will be before I delve into the world of meat free living. In & Out? Crown Burger? Ruby River?

Please feel free to send me vegetarian or seafood related recipes. I'm excited to try some new things in my kitchen. Unfortunately...I don't like shrimp.

Okay, so Cardy suggested SmashBurger tonight. I love SmashBurger but the funny thing is- I never order the burger. In fact, I never, ever order burgers at any restaurant. I always get the grilled chicken sandwich or a salad. I also love the fact that SmashBurger offers wheat buns- bonus points! Tonight I thought what the hell...I'm getting a burger. I'm giving up meat tomorrow so why not go out with a big, juicy BANG!

It was really good and I'm glad I ordered something out of the norm for me. Although, I am feeling a little more full than I typically like.

(Delicious burger. Sorry for my gross bangs.)

P.S. I went out with some girlfriends last night and ordered fish tacos. Fish tacos? What the hell? These are some of my best pescetarianism choices for the next 6 weeks - why start early? I should've had a steak. Dang it!

I'm not (blog) worthy.

Well, especially if you compare me to the Queen of all bloggers - The Pioneer Woman.

Last month she was in town on a book tour for her newly published, Black Heels & Tractor Wheels. She was at the downtown library and I couldn't wait to stand in line to meet her. My girlfriend, Caroline, is also a huge fan so she was totally on board when I called her with the news. I don't pretend to be an amazing blogger. I'm pretty much a beginner in the whole giant blogging world but I do enjoy it and I think sharing my stories and pictures with my friends and family (or whoever else may be reading) is cool. The PW inspires me and she has some pretty awesome recipes. I love her photography and her humor. In person, she talks exactly how she writes.

She was a doll and she allowed the audience to ask her any questions imaginable. Some asked about her family, others asked recipe questions and one lady even requested more pictures of the Marlboro Man's back side (The PW's husband).

Caroline and I didn't have to stand in line too long (thanks to Caroline's ability to get us tickets as soon as they were available). I forgot my camera that day so Caroline was kind enough to take our picture. She took others with the three of us but I can't seem to find them.

After the book signing, Caroline and I went to Eva's for dinner. If you haven't been - Go! Now! I highly recommend it (albeit, it's very small and a little noisy but the food is fresh and totally amazing).


Me Likey

Wow. Two whole months and not one post. It's not for a lack of stories, topics and pictures but mostly just time. I have lots to share but for now, I'll do what I can from work.

Lately I've been having a slight obsession with these awesome ceramic trophy heads- specifically the Rhino. I know it might sound weird but I think they're so cool! Every time I mention this accessory to Cardy he rolls his eyes at me. He thinks I'm a little crazy. I've been stalking the William Sonoma Home page where I originally found the trophy head I wanted but I just about shed a tear today when I saw they are no longer available. Apparently I'm not the only one eyeing these, they've been out of stock for a while and apparently aren't getting anymore in. Boo. WS Home wanted a pretty penny for these trophies (even with my PB discount) so I was hoping to catch them on sale- guess not. I found a few others at Z Gallerie but the rhino just isn't as cute.

What do you think? Am I a total weirdo for liking these? I swear I'm pro animal and I'm not a hunting enthusiast but I think these are so awesome  and would look fun on one of my walls.