My life through through my smart phone

March 26th, 2013

These pics be building up on my phone-o! Here’s what’s been going on according to my Droid…

The gorgeous view from my apartment deck
IMG_20130323_190849_064

And just before that lovely view, this lovely view. Sunday evening on the deck. Good wine, good man, good convo. Good life. #SoBlessed
IMG_20130324_183027_819

Trying on dresses for a wedding. This one was the winner.
IMG_20130314_145345_124
IMG_20130314_135248_729

Pedi for the wedding, matches the dress! I’m totally digging the coral color for spring.
IMG_20130314_163006_883

Car selfie on the way to the wedding. Plenty more weddin’ pics, but no more on the phone. And this is a phone photo thang.
IMG_20130316_131734_683

Said wedding was across the street from a winery and we got there about an hour early. How to kill time? Order a bottle of White Cab Sauv and enjoy the company and the sunshine!
IMG_20130316_151312_973

I love photo booths! One from the wedding, one from Merrick’s company Christmas party on my desk
IMG_20130321_092747_848

Lattes with Lisa from L.A! I love alliteration!
IMG_20130323_142552_174

And speaking of lattes, how bout a Chai Tea Latte from work. Wahoo!
IMG_20130318_105759_837

And another gorgeous sunset in Laguna Beach. I am so happy.
IMG_20130319_175750_226-1

What’s the most random pic on your phone these days?

Home

March 21st, 2013

I’ve lived in SoCal for almost 6 years now and it certainly is HOME. Moreso now than the Frozen Tundra is, in fact when I go back there I don’t say, “I’m going home.” I say “I’m going to my parents place.”  Because that’s what it is – it’s their home and I’ve become a guest in it. Not a sad fact, just an adult reality.

However, I’m really missing my family right now. Most of the time it’s really easy to not be “home sick.” I’ve got my whole life out here. A great job, a great spouse, great friends, great weather… I’m very happy and satisfied in my move out here. But I do miss the opportunity to invite my sisters over for dinner, or go to the gym with my Mom. I miss my nieces and nephews and my sweet Mother-In-Law’s tight hugs. I even miss arguing with my BIL ;)
IMG_2239

And we’ve got a lot great stuff going on now that would be really nice just to physically share with my family. So when Daughtry’s “Home” came on Pandora today, I couldn’t help but tear up and miss on my Midwest Homies. I suppose a tiny part of me will always think of that place as HOME. The place that raised me. The place where I found my heart and came across the country to be with him. So although we may not ever live there again, and we certainly don’t make it back there enough, it still occupies a tiny “Home” labeled slice of my heart. Ironically, the song also reminds me of my SCB because when we were separated by states and time zones years ago, this song was very prevalent. So they say “Home is where the heart is,” and my heart is split with 3000 miles between it. Sigh.

So today I’m sending some virtual sunny hugs to those who occupy my heart across the country.

DSC00410

Well I’m going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I’m not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don’t regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old,
So I’m going home.
Well I’m going home.
IMG_0324

The miles are getting longer, it seems,
The closer I get to you.
I’ve not always been the best man or friend for you.
But your love remains true.
And I don’t know why.
You always seem to give me another try.
IMG_0441


Oh, well I’m going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I’m not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don’t regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old.
I said these places and these faces are getting old,
So I’m going home.
I’m going home.
IMG_0662

Juicy Juicy

March 15th, 2013

So it’s been crazy ’round here {per usual}, but probably the CRAZIEST thing we’ve done recently is a 3 Day Juice Cleanse.
IMG_20130314_100423_338

That’s right, we did a juice cleanse. My hippie friends are cheering with their kale and cayenne pepper drink, while my MidWest Peeps are shaking their heads in shame.

So out here in SoCal, which is synonymous with hippie town (but it’s masked under “healthy living”), juicing has been a big deal and is all over the place. Well I’ve been thinking about it for a while, saw a groupon and was about to take the plunge when the Mister had some reservations. He thought the groupon was a smidge expensive and wasn’t sold on the results, so we thought LET’S JUICE ON OUR OWN!
IMG_20130314_100621_943

So we did a little research, bought a juicer and followed this plan.

Although the cleanse was only three days, it technically was five from start to finish. Day 1 & 5 you were allowed to eat solid foods, but only fruits and veggies. Days 2-4 were the liquid diet.

I initially thought we could just use our Vitamix blender to juice and that our only cost would be the produce. But apparently you can’t juice in a blender, so off we went and bought a juicer. And after 10 POUNDS of carrots, 13 cucumbers, 1.5 big bags of spinach, 30 apples, 10 lemons, 15 pears, 8 POUNDS of oranges and 3 LARGE bags of celery, here I am on the other side of the cleanse, 3 (well, 5) days later. {Yes, all that produce for THREE DAYS! Man, shoulda bought the groupon!} And let me tell you, I’ve never been so happy to eat food in my life!

Actually, the cleanse wasn’t that bad (go ahead hippie friends, cheer! I’m slowly being converted to your organic, chia seed side). Honestly the worst part was all the prep, chopping, cleaning, juicing for three days and nights. Yeesh. That alone will make me want to buy the groupon. It was SO MUCH WORK! Thankfully, I was off of work for two of the three days of the cleanse, so I was able to do the prep during the day.
IMG_20130314_095150_827

The Days:

Day 1 we were all gung-ho, excited and couldn’t wait for the next drink two hours later! My little alarm went off on my phone and I jumped up to prepare my juice. However, I did feel a little tied down and living my life in two-hour increments. I thought I couldn’t really go anywhere or do errands that would last longer than two hours.

Day 2 was rough. Very rough. I had heard the 2nd day is the worst because now your body is starting to release all the toxins that had been so generously stored in my organs for a while and the release of those toxins can cause flu-like symptoms. Blah. I felt crappy. Headache, unsettled, nauseous stomach and a general malaise. My joints ached and my calves tightened. Unfortunately that was also the day of the cleanse that I worked. So that was difficult. I came home, made the juices for the final day and went straight to bed, WITH my Pro Compression stockings on just to heal my sore leggies. Day two was also hard because I had an evening and dinner scheduled with friends and I couldn’t eat with them. But dang, I was tempted by some veggie burgers, cheese and roasted veggies!

Day 3 was much much better. I only got a headache when I was dehydrated running errands and didn’t drink enough water. I wisened up on the third day and carried my juices in a cooler left in the car so I could stay out longer than two hours in between drinks.

Hunger: I wasn’t really hungry, which surprised me. I thought I’d be starving and I was worried I’d become hangry for a couple days {this actually does happen consistently when I eat regularly, so I’ve started carrying snacks in my purse when I’m out. Yes, I am a toddler}. I really only became hungry about a half hour before my next juice was due, so that was easy. I mean, we can delay satiation thirty minutes, no big.

The only other thing was that I thought about food all.the.time. I even dreamed of eating. But I wasn’t hungry. Maybe it was a “you want what you can’t have” kinda thing…
IMG_20130314_100212_510

Bathroom: (because people have already asked, so I’ll include it. Doesn’t bother me one bit, see: related) I was also surprised by this. I normally “evacuate” {gaaahh terrible word, but that’s what the REAL juicing hippies say} about twice a day and during the juice it was only about once. Everything was a little softer, but certainly no RUNNING TO THE BATHROOM RIGHT NOW moments. I thought I’d have more bathroom and evacuation issues with such a high fruit and vegetable consumption, but everything was a-ok. It’s because the juicer removes most of the fiber from the produce.

The physical: Well, I did end up losing a few pounds and I noticed a visibly flatter stomach (wahoo!). Of course, we gained 1-2 pounds back once we started eating solid food again, but the other pounds stayed off! I did sleep a lot better during the cleanse, and I noticed an increase in my energy, especially on the third day. I don’t drink coffee daily, but the Hus does and he said he was able to function well without it and that he had more energy too.

IMG_20130312_100906_570

Repeat offender? The verdict is still out whether I’d repeat this again. I’m pretty sure I won’t do a homemade cleanse again, at least one that lasts longer than a day. The produce bill plus the amount of prep I did was not worth it to me. If I did it again, I think I’d go with the groupon this time.

What about ya’ll – any of you try juicing before? What was your experience?

Supporting after loss

February 28th, 2013

I think there comes a time in our adult lives where the deaths happen faster than the weddings. In my early 20’s (gaahh, I’m late 20’s!), the weddings were happening all over the place, certainly more than the funerals.

Unfortunately, I think the seasons have switched. Now most of my friends are married and it has become a season of elderly parents, grandparents and others in failing health. In addition to those older than us, it’s also unfortunately been the season of miscarriages and child deaths. It’s been the switch from “Congrats!!” to “I’m so sorry for your loss.”  In fact, my family has called this the Season of “4 funerals and a wedding,” a ploy on the old movie “4 weddings and a funeral” {terrible movie, by the way…)

Sigh… it’s a crappy season.

In addition to my own personal losses, I’ve also been a witness to a number of losses within my career – the life of a nurse I suppose. It’s an unfortunate part of life, but in all the losses I’ve witnessed, there have been a few common denominators in helping get through the loss.

So whether your season of “Losses” vs” New Life” has switched over yet, there are a few tips to help our struggling friends in their times of loss:

1). Always, always, always acknowledge the loss. Some people want to talk about it, some people don’t. But even if they don’t want to talk, a simple “I’m so sorry for your loss” or “I’m so sorry for what you’re going through” text really means the world. My husband is one of those who falls in the “don’t talk about it” category, and even so, when we went through a difficult period a couple years ago, the support he got through brief messages meant the world to him. And conversely, the ones who didn’t acknowledge it, due to their own discomfort, were the ones that Merrick felt the most let down by. Even if it’s not a death per se, even acknowledging, “How is your Mom doing in chemo?” or the like is more than helpful and shows you do care.

2). And on that same note, let go of your own discomfort. It’s NOT about you. It’s about being there for your friend. If death, illness and loss makes you uncomfortable, just think how much worse your friend is experiencing it.

3). Give them the opportunity to talk. Unlike my husband, I {not surprisingly} fall into the “talk it out” category. When acknowledging your friends loss, ask them if they want to share and let them know you’re here for them whenever they’re ready to talk. I sometimes just need a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. But I can’t have that healing if no one brings it up as acceptable to talk about first. Your hurting friend may not bring it up out of politeness of your feelings.

4). Be present. If going to a hospital/funeral/memorial is able to fit in your schedule, be there. If there’s not an opportunity to be at the event, be present to your friend. Take them out to lunch, coffee or just go for a walk. Let them know you’re there.

5). Hug is out. For some, touching is awkward, but for others {like myself}, a genuine hug or an understanding touch are healing. If you’re hesitating on the hug, just go for it. If it’s awkward, it’s awkward. Oh well.

6). Anticipate the needs. We’ve all heard for new moms it’s important to make a dinner schedule or to just commit to saying, “I’ll come over on Thursday and do your dishes”  and to help the new Mamma get some sleep. This is also applicable for those grieving too. Depending on how close the loss was will determine how incapacitated your grieving friend will be. If you’re noticing they’re not their normal, happy selves, don’t hesitate to step in. Besides, you truly can’t have too many frozen lasagnas! :)

7). Follow up. So you were there during the immediate grieving period. But what happens six months down the road? Your friend has most likely resumed a normal semblance of life to all outside appearances, and we’ve all moved on without thinking about the loss anymore. But your friend thinks about that loss every.single.day. Follow up a few months later with a card or a check-in to see how they’re doing. Those coming months are really lonely and a little check-in can make all the difference.

…And on that happy note, I’m off to the Frozen Tundra! It’s about high time for a Michigan-fix anyway ;) Stay warm, my friends.

When the Hus is away, the Wife will play!

February 22nd, 2013

Merrick has been on a business trip for the last three weeks.

THREE WEEKS!

That is the longest time we’ve been apart in our marriage. We had a 10-day stint apart a couple years ago, but for the most part we’ve been together like birds of a feather – can’t live without each other.

So anyway, the Mister had been working his tail off in the freezing cold Midwest. He was cold, lonely and bumming. So being the good little Wifey I am, I decided to make him a care package. He was on the move each night, but finally found a nice hotel in Canton Ohio that he was going to stay at for the remainder of his trip. So I called the hotel, got all his info (did you know hotel workers give the name, room number and duration of stay when you call?!) and got my cute little package ready Sunday night, all set out to send out Monday morning.

Some of the little treats were inspired by The awesome Dating Divas!

First up, a little sweet treat – My heart BURSTS for you!
IMG_20130217_203533_096

Then some gum to freshen his breath:
IMG_20130217_203659_902

And because he actually prefers flavored gum:
IMG_20130217_202913_398

And because my lonely Bear was missing some Wifey hugs, some portable hugs! { The printable says “Thought you’d need some H.U.G.S XOXO Hate U Gone Sweetheart”}
IMG_20130217_202449_532

And another sweet reminder:
IMG_20130217_203142_193

In my last minute planning, I had grand ideas of doing a cute scrapbook/collage thing, but my head ran faster than my crafty fingers. So instead I just grabbed some old printed pics I had hanging around (like OLD… check out that blonde!) and I ended up making it a silly thing with some funny {inappropriate} sayings on the back of the poorly cropped photos.
IMG_20130217_212746_971

The last few treats were just some paper love notes – the {very typical, cliche} Bible verse said at our wedding and engraved on our wedding bands plus a fun little maize.
IMG_20130217_221328_375
IMG_20130217_202616_455

I grabbed a bag of cutesy Valentine bags that I had left over from my friends bridal shower, stapled the index cards on the outside and packed it all up in a box.
IMG_20130217_222120_289

I had called the hotel Sunday night and spoke to a lady who told me to make it get there faster, to do a 2-day shipping through UPS, not USPS. So Monday morning – off it went, guaranteed to be there by Wednesday!

So my care package made it to my sweet hubby and let him know how loved and appreciated he was – he loved it!

EXCEPT…

When talking to my Mister Tuesday night, I found out he was checking out of the hotel WEDNESDAY MORNING!! And the package was arriving WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.

So he never even got it!!! GADFALKSF;LASHDF;LASJFD

So now my cute little care package is sitting in a hotel in Ohio while my Mister is on his way back to me. Here’s to hoping there might by chance be another “Merrick” in room 425 to enjoy all the treats (and let’s hope by chance his wife is named Katie… or else the other Merrick might be in trouble!)

…Even the best laid plans. Sigh…

How to Be a Yes (Wo)Man

February 17th, 2013

I really really like my routine and I have a difficult time straying from that. I like planning, being in control and sticking to my To-Do list. I am not so good with the impromptu. I have a difficult time being “flexible.”

Type-A much?

Now these characteristics are very valuable in keeping my very Type-B Husband on track, as well as keeping our house and tasks and life organized. However, being a stickler of {my own} rules can sometimes make me tightly wound and kinda seem like I have a stick up my ass.

So in an effort to become more flexible and easy going – a characteristic I really admire in people and one that often eludes me, I decided it was high time to kick my To-Do lists to the curb (aahhh, cue the anxiety!) So a couple months ago I told Merrick I was going to try to start saying “Yes” more often to things.

YES to staying up a little later (aahhh! I won’t get my 8.5 hours of sleep!)

YES to having impromptu guests over (aahhh! My house isn’t clean!)

YES to a random happy hour or dinner date (aahhh! I didn’t account for that in my meal planning!)

YES to new exercise classes (aahhh! I won’t know the choreography!)

YES to joining new groups, new activities, and new things (aahhh! I won’t know anyone or know what I’m doing!)

(I really sound like a JOY to be around, huh?)

Yet, despite that nagging, anxious voice in the back of my mind about all the things that could go WRONG by being a YES man, I have actually enjoyed my new adventures.

I realized getting <8.5 hours of sleep actually won’t kill me or disrupt my day. And impromptu time spent with friends is way better than my usual night in, plus they really don’t care how clean my house is. And the meal I was planning to make can always get pushed to tomorrow. And some of the new adventures have led to great new friendships, a new confidence and a greater overall satisfaction with life.

I can’t say that I’ve totally turned in my To-Do lists and Type-A mindset, but I have become more open to new experiences by being a YES man.

So here’s to saying YES and quieting the voice that tells us “No” or that we “can’t,” or that we’ll “fail.”

…And on that note, who wants to go bungee jumping with me? Ya gotta say yes…

Say whaaat?!

February 14th, 2013

Overheard while sitting at Costco’s food court, waiting for my car to be done:

“Real hunger pangs are when it hurts in your throat and neck. Stomach pains isn’t hunger, it means you’re addicted to certain foods, like sugar.”

Umm… WHAT? #Wrong!

Yes, most people mistake thirst for hunger, and yes, most people “crave” certain foods (i.e. sugar) because they are “addicted” to them.

BUT BUT BUT!

… if you have stomach pangs, that does not mean AT ALL that you’re addicted to certain foods. And let me tell you, when I’m hungry, my throat never hurts.

It was disappointing with how much conviction the woman spoke, as if “What I say is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH.” Equally disappointing was the way her friend soaked it up.

And on that note, HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! Try not to indulge in your sugar-addicted-stomach-pangs, and pay more attention to the throat pains (just make sure it’s not strep throat or bronchitis, ain’t nobody got time for that!)

The Haps, Take 2

February 12th, 2013

The Haps, Part I seen here.

This morning I woke up pretty early for an appointment, took my {somewhat usual} energy concoction then headed off. Ya’ll, at my appointment my blood pressure was 140/90!!! Say whaaaattt? Normal is <120/<80 and I usually run 110/70. Yes, I was a smidge nervous, but dang I’m attributing it to my morning energy mix, looks like that one has got to go!

After my appointment, I headed off to a coffee date with a girlfriend. I love local coffee shops much better than the big brands (I’m talking to you, Starbucks!). The local vibes are just so much cooler. Plus they do latte art! I got a DELISH Turkish latte with cardamom. YUM! Ever had cardamom in your COFFEE? Amazing.
IMG_20130212_101847_874

My friend and I parted ways and I headed back home, but was a little shaky. Not really surprising because I usually get a little jittery after caffeine, but decided to take my blood pressure again at home. I’m in my own enviroment, not nervous, I’m comfortable {albeit, still shaky}, 136/85!!! H’ok, so there goes my energy and caffeine combo. Yipes!

Anywhoozles… aside from me making my blood pressure even higher… the other Haps these days:

I threw a bridal shower for a friend last weekend. We had delicious mimosas, yummy brunch and hilarious games. Bridal showers always bring out the funniest (R-Rated) comments. But the Bride-To-Be looked lovely, even if she got the wrong answer to most of the questions the groom answered. For every wrong answer, she had to chew a piece of bubble gum. The wad in her mouth was pretty funny (and we slightly wondered if she knew the last name or birthday… or ANYTHING IMPORTANT about the man she’s marrying ;) )
P2020317

The Mister and I went to a work event a few weeks ago, got our fancy pants on and rubbed shoulders with the big wigs. It’s always funny to me people’s reactions when meeting me as Merrick’s wife. I get a lot of wide eyes and “Oh, that’s your wife?” comments. Um… do I have a booger hanging out or something? Or is my 3rd eye staring at you again? Why the surprise, Boss Man? Usually it’s because they expect my Brown Suga to have a Brown Suga-Mamma, but then are surprised to see my vampire skin. I vont to suck your bloooood!
Anyway, the Stud Hubs looked amazing and he got recognized for all his hard work. Wahoo!
P1250307

Speaking of my Brown Suga, here’s the fool again at a little night out – Taco Tuesday takes away the Blues-day! Some margies, good company and delicious and cheap tacos sounds like a win to me!
P1290310

Other Haps include a sweet little PreValentine’s date this past Friday. We don’t really “Do” V-day, but he surprised with a beautiful bouquet of roses.
IMG_20130209_095838_957

He also surprised me with a gorgeous new work bag. My old work bag was a Swiss Army one we got for free when wedding registering at Macy’s. That was four years ago. And it’s now on it’s last leg – ripping, holes and dingy. And I’ve been eyeing bags for a while, since starting my new job and trying to pull of the “professional” persona. A ripped bag doesn’t exactly say “Professional.”

Now feast your eyes on that beauty! Sturdy, large, pretty and oh-so-professional!
IMG_20130212_130519_467

So now my life is complete – coffee dates, oogling the Mister, roses and pretty bags! And now we’re about all caught up…

What’s one random thing ya’ll have done recently?

Two, True Believers

February 9th, 2013

Church bells ringing on our wedding day
Climbed in that limo and rode away
Guess you’ll always hear some people say
They’re never gonna make it.
Ceremony-133

We settled in and we settled down
In this quiet little seaside town
You were the rock I built my world around
And life won’t ever break it

We are one heartbeat in the darkness
We are one lasting answered prayer
We are one unbroken promise
We are two, True Believers

IMG_1792

It wasn’t easy getting here today
Sometimes you stumbled or I lost my way
But every roadblock was a chance to say;
Take my hand I’m here beside you.

We worked and made it through the toughest parts
Now every days another chance to start,
To look around and see that where we are
Is where we were trying to get to

KatieMerrick-058

We are one heartbeat in the darkness
We are one lasting answered prayer
We are one unbroken promise
We are two, True Believers

We are one before our God in Heaven
We are one road when the going gets rough
We are one now and forever
We are one name, one life, one flame

We are one heartbeat in the darkness
We are one lasting answered prayer
We are one unbroken promise
We are two, True Believers

KatieMerrick-029

(Because it just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t write out my marriage in song form, right? ;) )

Health Corner

February 7th, 2013

Hello and welcome to the next installment of our Health Corner.

Today I’m talking about Vitamin D.

Now we’ve all heard about the ol D and that we get a smidge of sunshine and we’re set. Right?

Wrong.

Every.Single.Patient I have ever ever ever seen has low Vitamin D. Every single one, even me. So chances are, you probably have low Vit D too.

It is surprising, especially for those of us living in the Sunshine State. But I have seen surfers and life guards with low Vitamin D.  Also of note, very few foods contain vitamin D, so neither our diets nor our sunshine exposure seems to be enough.

So what’s the big deal about D anyway? Historically low Vit D was associated with Rickets in children.

Now for us adult women, low vitamin D is associated with an increase in osteoporosis. Vitamin D stores decline with age, especially in the winter. Studies have shown that vitamin D and calcium supplementation can reduce the risk of falls and fractures, especially in women and the elderly.

Vitamin D is also important for breastfeeding infants because the vitamin D content of human milk is low. Even formula fed infants still need to be supplemented because although formula is supplemented with vitamin D, it is usually still too low.

And we all know the risk of osteoporosis and fracture risk after menopause? Basically, after menopause the risk of decreased bone density and fractures increases SIGNIFICANTLY. However, preventative measures for osteoporosis are best laid long before menopause. Vitamin D helps combat osteoporosis and promote bone health.

Which is where our dear D comes in. There is a blood test to check the levels (ask your health care provider to include it on your next lab slip) and the levels need to be between 30-100. The lowest I’ve ever seen was 4! Mine is 20… so clearly I’ve got some work to do.

The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is 800-4000IU/day. Most multivitamins have vitamin D in them (usually 1000IU) so if you’re still taking your multivitamin, then you should be set!

So go get D-ing! And BONUS points if you combine it with calcium (1500mg/day)!

(Pazirandeh, 2012)