Skincare follow-up!!

Okay, so I thought of a few helpful things I wanted to share with you after detailing my whole skincare routine.  I think this stuff is SUPER important, so here goes.

 

First

There is a huge difference between skincare and make-up.  HUGE.  Skincare should be practiced whether you wear make-up or not, and when you use Rodan + Fields, the opportunity to have bare skin presents itself often.  Skincare is about the health of your skin, the texture, moisture and general well-ness of your skin.  Make-up, on the other hand, is about appearances. I love a good make-up and have been supremely happy with my Juice Beauty products (certified organic). But, I choose to use Rodan + Fields skincare because I’ve tried organic skincare solutions, and have been wildly disappointed.  And I drink a lot of water.  And have a green smoothie every morning. (Amongst other, healthy habits). So I am pretty healthy.  Which leads me to my next point …..

Second

Rodan + Fields is a regimen.  What makes it so brilliant is its simplicity.  And of course, you can add in enhancements or double up on your regimens, but R+F makes skincare easy and approachable for anyone.  HOWEVER.  You have to make skincare a ritual in your life. Because R+F is designed to work when done consistently.  Sure, you can use moisturizer once and it will make your skin feel better.  But the regimens and products of R+F are targeted to do specific things (and they are good at them!) so it’s really important that if you decide to take the plunge, that you follow the regimen (including the ramping up, because most people’s skin is not ready for the onslaught all at once because most people don’t have a whole routine). Taking consistently good care of your skin is important! It’s like brushing your teeth.  These products are broken down into very easy, understandable steps.  Don’t skip any!  Learn the regimen first before messing around with it.  Because ….

Third 

I think there is a vast under appreciation for Toner.  So I’d like to take a minute right now to talk about how important and incredible TONER is.  I’ve had a few people tell me recently that they don’t use toner, they don’t think it’s necessary.  My mind = blown.  I blow through toner faster than anything.  It is the step in the process that makes me feel as though my skin is absolutely clean and ready for moisturizer.  Toner gets all the crud that your facial wash doesn’t get (which, by the way people, is a lot!).  I highly recommend using cotton pads rather than cotton balls (as a person who blows through toner, cotton pads are a must because I get more usable toner and less waste.  Plus, you can visibly see all the gunk the toner is grabbing from your skin that your wash didn’t get). There are a million products for making your skin better — exfoliators, hydration, a myriad of moisturizers targeted to do different things.  But if you don’t use your toner, nothing is as effective.  And I mean this seriously.

**Also, a note.  Toner should NOT burn your skin or make your face feel irritated.  Toner is different than astringent.  R+F Toners smell amazing and make your skin feel amazing.  

And finally!

Ladies (and gentlemen) if you are trying out Rodan + Fields, and wondering why you are mortgaging your house for such small little pots of cream and tiny jars of toner, let me remind you of something. First, you are worth it. And your skin is worth it.  And when it comes to great skincare products, less is more.  Each regimen is set up to last about 60 days, but you can squeeze more time out of them if you are diligent with your portions.  AKA, you don’t need a lot to get the job done!  I don’t even squeeze my toner, I just let a couple drops drip out onto  my cotton swab.  And my sponsor sent me my favorite thing ever right when I began using R+F and I’m going to share it here.  Jen, I hope you don’t mind!  I think this is a great visualization of how to make the most of product.

 

I am absolutely sure I will think of other things and as I do, I’ll try to blog about them, so it’s all there.  I love skincare, I love results and I think about it all a lot — which in turn, could benefit you (especially if you want results without having to do all the trial and error stuff!).

Again, don’t hesitate to send me a message if you have any questions.  I’m here! 🙂

 

my skincare routine

 

Okay, so I’m a little nutty about skincare.  I’m fairly certain I’ve confessed that before.  And when I began using Rodan + Fields I was wildly skeptical.  How could these products be any better than the things I’d been using for years?

Um.  This was a silly question.  They are amazing.

Nine years ago I quit smoking.  I’d spent the better part of my twenties huddled outside the back door of whatever restaurant I was working at and I will confess, those few moments of quiet during an insane dinner service were blissful.  But I was approaching thirty, and i started to notice that my normally good skin was looking gray and dull.  It would not be a lie to say that my skin was a huge contributing factor in giving up the nicotine.  (Yes, yes, also the terrible health issues and the basic ‘badness’ of it).

I went to CVS and spent far too much time in the cosmetics section, seeing how I could upgrade my routine to something more effective. I chose a great line of products from Finland and was overjoyed that once again, I could go outside without makeup.

And then, a few years ago, I woke up one cold January morning, and saw my thirty-six year old face staring back at me, huge black smudges of puffiness under each eye.  Dull skin again.  This just wouldn’t do.

So I took the plunge and began my Rodan + Fields journey.  The ridiculous amazingness of their products is what finally convinced me to join their ranks as an independent sales consultant.  I’ve spent the past eighteen months manipulating their products so they work for me and my skin.  And recently I had a friend ask what that routine was.  Well, it’s complicated.  So here goes.

Routine #1(morning)

If I’m getting up and immediately hitting the gym, I don’t do a full regimen.  It just seems wasteful and silly, since I’ll probably do it again after my shower.  The thing to remember with skin is that it’s a delicate balance of how much you do.  You don’t want to do too little — then you won’t get results.  But you don’t want to do too much and irritate your skin, causing more problems than you need.

For this a.m. Gym routine,, I splash my face with cold cold water, pat it dry and then apply toner and moisturizer.  My favorite choices?  Rodan + Fields Redefine Toner and Step #3 of the Redefine Regimen, AM Moisturizer (Triple Defense Treatment) with SPF 30.  It’s amazingly lightweight, and I know that I’m protected for my morning walk with Lucy.  I also dab on Redefine’s Multi-Purpose eye cream (I do not believe you can use this too much — since I have issues with dark circles and puffiness, it’s one of my favorites).  You have to make sure to dab the eye cream on the bone, not too close to the eye itself.  But, that’s my wake-up and go skincare.

Routine #2 (morning)

Whenever I shower (whether it’s after a workout or at the beginning of the day) I start with Redefine’s Daily Facial Mask.  I put this on dry skin and try to keep my face out of the water for as long as I can, so it sits on my skin for a little bit.  After rinsing it and finishing my shower, I use my Toner and Moisturizer almost immediately.  I’ve read that it’s really beneficial to apply your Toner and Moisturizer wishin five minutes of getting out of the shower, because your pores are open from the steam.  So, when I can, I do that.  For this routine, I use Reverse Brightening Toner and steps #3 and #4.  Step #3 is a combination of Retinol and Vitamin C moisturizers.  Step #4 is Facial Sunblock SPF 50.  Back in 2008 I was in South Africa and got wickedly sunburnt.  I don’t take any chances any more.

After everything has sunk in, I use Juice Beauty products, because they are certified organic and I don’t like to clog my pores with anything unnecessary.  Their stuff is pretty amazing, too.

Routine #3 (evening) 

Okay, so my obsession with skincare goes back so far, I can’t actually remember not washing my face.  But I will say this — it is ABSURDLY important to wash your face at night.  ABSURDLY.  A little over a year ago, I learned that plastic surgeons recommend doing your exfoliation at night, so your skin is clean while you sleep and there are no dead skin cells (which can cause blemishes, irritation, etc).  Exfoliating in the morning can lead to clogged pores (because of make-up) and more chance of sunburn, because you are stripping away all the protection of the outer layer of skin.  So, my evening routine consists of using Reverse Deep Exfoliating Wash (step #1 of the regimen) and then using Reverse Toner, Multi-Purpose Eye Cream and — if my skin is feeling dry, Redefine’s Overnight Restorative Cream (Step #3 of Redefine’s regimen).

I also rotate in the Microderm Abrasion Paste (a much grittier exfoliator that is amazing) at least once or twice a week, and I use the Amp Roller with the Night Renewing Serum beads.  If I use the Amp roller, I use it after Toner and before any moisturizer.  And on those nights, I just use my eye cream and the night renewing serum.  I don’t usually do the Amp Roller the same night I do the Microderm Abrasion Paste — too much for my skin!

 

***Also!  I recently began using their Lash Boost (I felt like my lashes were looking so thin!). It is a fairly amazing product, although I didn’t start to see anything note-worthy until I’d been using it for about six weeks.  When using Lash Boost, you have to apply it on completely clean skin and not use anything else for about 90 seconds after you apply it.  But, it’s worth it! 

 

So, that’s my skincare in a nutshell.  I started out just using the Reverse Regimen, but found that using the exfoliator twice a day left my skin feeling a little tender & vulnerable.  Now that I’ve incorporated the Redefine regimen, I think I have covered all my skincare needs.  Yes, you can do less than all this.  Not everyone is as nuts about skin as me.  And if, after reading this, you have any questions or are curious about the skincare products, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!  simplygwyneth [@] gmail dot com.

rainy monday

I love rainy days.  Especially if there is little to no wind, and it’s not too cold.  Today dawned misty and gray, the rain coming straight down and pattering softly on the deck, the roof and the driveway.  Lucy looked up forlornly on our only walk, unhappy to be outside in the wet.

But I felt motivated today.  We spent the weekend in Mansfield (three out of the last four weekends is absolutely a record!) and despite having slept in a tent next to a luggable loo far too many times recently, I didn’t wake up in any pain.  I’d slept well (and through the night, which anyone with M.S. can tell you is a small miracle).  I’d planned on cleaning the house today (something I try to do on Mondays, so it’s done for the rest of the week) but thought better of it when I realized the rain wasn’t going to stop any time soon.

Instead I braved Wegmans at 8.30am before the crowds and then sat down in my office, determined to make a dent in the piles of paperwork that have (seemingly) grown exponentially in the past few weeks.  I had my first successful R + F interaction, signed up for an HR certification course, balanced our checkbooks and finally (after procrastination) rode over 21 miles on my bike.

Tonight, John and I will have some filet, fresh corn and zucchini for dinner (I love when we have real, well-balanced meals, and truly appreciate how much thought and time goes into creating them night after night).  I’ll probably fall asleep curled up beside him on our couch, watching sitcoms while he scrolls through his phone.  It will be blissful, because life has been so unexpected of late, and this will be a return to normalcy (before he heads to NYC tomorrow on business).

That’s the comfort of a gray Monday.  The release of pressure to be outside. The silence and stillness. The freedom to quietly tap away at keyboards, and get the things that need to be done finished.  The knowledge that cuddling up under a soft blanket in sweatpants is completely acceptable.

With a nice glass of red, of course!  🙂

focus

One of the things I struggle mightily with is staying focused.  I seem to recall a time when it wasn’t that hard.  But now, being unemployed and having M.S., I feel like after the wicked fatigue, the brain fuzziness is the worst.  This morning I stood scrolling through my phone for a good 40 minutes in the kitchen.  For no reason.  No purpose.  Just reading random articles about Steelers training camp and looking at people’s vacation  photos.  What’s the point of that?  I mean, the photos are always adorable (or funny) and I do care (maybe too much) about the status of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  But couldn’t I have used my time more efficiently?

Um, yes.  Yes I think I could.

And then, this afternoon, following some intense procrastinating, I finally made my way downstairs to the garage and set up my ‘Insanity’ workout.  And then wasted even more time.  Doing … I don’t even know.  I. Don’t. Know.

When I go to bed at night, it’s usually too late.  But I promise to get up on time anyway.  Which I don’t do.  Then, when I finally drag myself out of bed, I’m running behind whatever phantom schedule I’d made for myself the night before.  Today, when John came upstairs after his morning workout, all I said was “I have to make better decisions.”

And that is certainly part of it.  But another part of it is the idea that when you don’t have structure in your life, everything feels amorphous.  You just float around, certain there will be enough time.  Confident that all will be well.  There is something weirdly relaxing about that.  And I am lucky enough to feel that way because John is successful enough that I don’t need to work.  But it’s also a little disconcerting and disorienting.  I’ve spent my whole life independent.  Taking care of myself.  (Well, y’know, after my parents took care of me and I learned how to do a little bit of adulting).

But I’m so tired and so air-headed nowadays, that the idea of going back to the workforce is absolutely terrifying.  I think back to the end of my time at my last job, and I was so unhappy, I struggled so painfully every day to just keep my head above water….  Could I do it again?  Could I find the strength to have a career and keep my health under control?  Is finding out worth the risk?  I don’t know.

I read a quote recently — something about happiness is what you find beyond the fear.  It was the idea that if you felt uncomfortable or unsure, that maybe it would be worth pushing through to see what exists on the other side.

So I decided I would push through.  I would conquer my fear and reticence to try to sell skincare online.  I would reach out. I would embrace it.  What could the worst result be?  A no?  And so, this August, I am going to fully embrace selling Rodan + Fields skincare.  Because it is the best stuff I’ve ever used (and if you know me, you know I’ve been obsessed with skincare for a long time), because the people who brought me into the company have been unbelievably supportive and encouraging and I think it will be a work environment I can believe in and be proud to be part of.

I hope it helps me find whatever it is I feel I am missing.  I hope it is a positive experience.  And I hope I can help other people discover these great products (that might sound like a line, but I do inherently believe it).

 

revisiting an old friend

A few weeks ago, John and I spent the weekend in Mansfield so he could help his dad do some projects around the house.  This left me at a loose end, but I was determined to stay as healthy as I could so we got a portable blender and I brought up all my smoothie goods, plus my laptop to google some work outs.  We set up our tent and canopy, plus the love seat bench that we got this year with our REI dividends.  And when I was finally motivated (aka, ran out of ways to procrastinate longer), I looked up some things on You Tube, and got to getting sweaty.  I didn’t hit my move goal though, and that frustrated me. Three days in 2017 I haven’t hit it, and one was because I couldn’t manage to find a good workout.  Grr.

I was fairly determined not to let that happen again this past weekend.  I still packed up my blender and my laptop.  We set up the tent and the canopy (and Lucy, on her long lead).  But this time, I decided to pull the trigger and sign up for Beach Body On Demand. Because I’ve never done a workout that I’ve found as challenging yet satisfying, as ‘Insanity‘.

I think maybe I thought that since I’ve been working out regularly that somehow the program would be easier?  Um, not really.  I mean, some things were ‘less hard’ but let’s be honest here.  Those workouts are killer.  And now — added bonus? — there are a million different versions of ‘Insanity’.  I stuck with the original because I knew it was tough and I hoped it would burn calories.  And because I’m a little insane, I did two workouts in a row.

For the past two days, my legs have been so unbelievably stiff and sore, I wondered what in God’s name I’d been thinking.  I would never do an Insanity workout again.  But, then I decided to stop being a baby, and I fired up the laptop yesterday afternoon.  It was a very tough 40 minutes.  When I climbed on the bike for a cool down afterward, it felt like a cakewalk.  And then, I pulled myself up the stairs, and decided to take a bath with salts, in the hope that it would help my poor legs recover.

It did!  I woke up this morning and didn’t feel like my legs were dying.  Not only that, but for the first time since I began riding my bike last year, I was enthusiastic about a different kind of work out.  I got up, looking forward to my date with Shaun T, and set about my day.

I remember doing Insanity several years ago — before the MS.  It’s challenging in different ways now — I have little to no bounce in my legs, so I am working on that.  But I am less angry at Shaun T this time around. In fact, I’m not angry at all.  He makes me smile.  I feel encouraged. I am really enjoying it, and how it’s forcing different muscles to work harder.  Working out every day isn’t really anyone’s idea of a good time (well, maybe someone?  but I don’t know that person) but I am feeling really glad about my decision to branch out and do different things.  I need to work out every day — it keeps me strong, it keeps me focused on being as healthy as I can be. And to be honest, it’s a little bit of a relief not to ride the bike for an hour and fifteen minutes every day.  Although, I’m sure I’ll start to miss it eventually.

each new day

It seems a little strange to think that it’s August now.  The weather has been so funny all summer that just a few days ago, I would have sworn it was a late September day – perfectly warm at the height of the afternoon without being humid, but cool as the evening approached, a light breeze ruffling the leaves on the trees.

We spent last weekend in Mansfield, camped out in John’s parents’ yard.  It’s the closest we really get to camping right now, and this past weekend, we brought Lucy.  (This was a mistake.  But probably one we had to make in order to really know for sure that Lucy and Mansfield/camping don’t really mix).  The sky at night was full of twinkling stars, the air crisp as we cuddled under blankets in our tent.  Just me, and John and our little fur-creature, together under the night sky.  It was sort of wonderful.

July has been a funny month for us personally.  John began his new job at the end of June, so July has been an exercise in new normals.  How our days work, how our life is crafted.  When we moved into our house, a little over two years ago, we both worked outside of Chester County.  We both spent an amazing amount of time commuting.  Now, we are both home every day, enjoying our home, and enjoying our life out in the countryside of Southeastern Pennsylvania.  The transition hasn’t always been easy — there  have been bumps and confusion.  But we have seen both our families more this year, enjoyed each other’s company more, and been able to devote time to our friends and our hobbies, without the endless fatigue of a commuter’s life.

Last night, as Lucy and I walked along the mowed paths between high grass up on the hill behind our development, the sun sinking slowly in the sky and coloring the horizon with fire orange and blazing pink and violet-purple, I knew something inherently, at the very core of my soul.

I am at peace.

Everything that John and I have done to this point, to get us here, has been worth it.  But nothing is forever.  And leaving toxic environments and allowing ourselves to focus on what truly matters to us has been liberating.  Terrifying, yes.  But also joyous.  There is a unique power and confidence that having a partner and a small family unit provide, that may explain mankind’s tendency to couple up and procreate across the centuries.  But it is truer than true, the idea of feeling settled, of feeling heard and understood.

To watch Lucy chase butterflies and sprint the length of her leash in multiple directions, with what can only be described as a doggy smile as the warm evening breeze touched  my face and swayed the grasses surrounding us — the sky a myriad of indescribable color — John’s warm steadiness beside me.  I knew more than I’d ever known before, that I’d made the right choices, I was with the right souls, and anything was possible.

 

fridays

I realized today, as I rode the elevator up from the parking garage, that I’ve been coming to UPenn for meds for two and a half years.  I’ve known my nurses for a long time.  They smile and wave as I sit in a bed, getting juiced up for the month.

Tysabri.  What a game changer.

It took me awhile to try it.  I spent 2014 in a downward spiral of frustrating physical handicaps – Lydia (my walking cane), numb limbs, the inability to climb stairs — and my favorite, when my right hand would just stop working out of nowhere.  I’d been on Avonex, Copaxone (my least favorite), Gilenya (oh lordy, the testing) and finally, Tecfidera.  Nothing worked.  My body was sliding into utter disintegration and chaos.  I burst into tears a lot, got huffy and wallowed in feelings of defeat and despair.  Dr. M prescribed Tysabri three times before I actually made an appointment.  Three times.  Three mailings full of shwag I would never use (bags, neck pillows, etc etc) and a welcome packet with smiling people who looked less like MS patients, and more like catalog models.

My first infusion (after sitting for hours in a room with John and Dr. M hashing it out) was on December 17th, 2014.  Hubs came with me because the entire experience was a little overwhelming.  My second infusion in January 2015 was three days after I was diagnosed with shingles (that’s right, shingles — I was thirty-five).  I didn’t really notice a difference, but John did.  Around April he casually mentioned that I could walk from our living room to the bathroom without reaching out to hold walls and countertops.  By July of 2015 I wasn’t even using Lydia that much.  I would forget her at home on work days.  We moved into our new house, with two flights of stairs, and I was okay.  I had to hold onto the railing and take my time.  But I was okay.  Slowly, it got easier.  I made the transition from taking one step at a time to one foot after the other.  It was a little like learning to walk all over again.

I wore heels again for the first time in March 2016.  I still can’t do stilettos, but a nice wedge or a thick boot heel?  Yes, please!  And then, this June, I got my first manual car for the first time since 2012.

I still have tough days.  I find the brain fog comes a lot more often, and a lot earlier than it used to.  But I ride my bike every day.  I eat as well as I can (which isn’t always great, but I do my best).  I come in for my medicine without fail.  All these lovely things help me live as close to a normal life as I can hope for.  I won’t give up wine (I know plenty of MS peeps who stopped drinking and I agree, it doesn’t help the brain fog at all, but man, it’s so tasty).  I still have cheese and gluten (albeit sparingly).  I try not to think about the terrible things my medicine has caused in other people.  Because for me, Tysabri gave me back my life.

In a small way, I have come to associate Fridays with medicine.  I know that Fridays are great for the working world — last day of the week before the weekend.  In my world, every fourth Friday is when I get to come into the hospital to fill up on whatever it is that makes my life better.  I’ll take it.

today’s goals

I definitely woke up  much less stiff and sore this morning.  But I also had to do a very modified work out yesterday (due to my sore knee).

Hubs and I are headed to his parents this weekend so John can help them do some projects (which involve climbing on the roof, so I’m guessing they are both serious and necessary).  I’ve struggled with travel since the whole MS thing, because I am a creature of habit, and those habits involve food (ahem, smoothies).  So yesterday, I set about finding a small, portable blender so I can have a smoothie in the morning while we are away from home.

Amazon really dropped the ball.  I originally ordered a blender that had a guaranteed delivery date of tomorrow, just to have the tracking information update this morning when I checked shipping.  Thanks Amazon, so glad I have a Prime Membership and infinitely more glad that it’s so efficient.  Smoke could be seen coming out of my ears and in a rage, I cancelled the order.  What good does a blender do me on Monday?  No good at all.  None.

So, today, my goals include hitting my Move goal (aka burning over 800 calories according to my watch), drinking at least four bottles of water in preparation for meds tomorrow (being hydrated means the nurses can find the veins and saves me additional angst because I really don’t love needles) and finding a portable blender at either Kohls (I’ve googled, it seems they have quite a selection) or BBB (I’d rather hit the jackpot at Kohls – it’s closer to home).  I’ve done my meal planning for the day – salad for lunch and veggie noodles with chicken sausage for dinner (I had sushi last night, because Hubs had to go meet a work associate at the last minute and take him to dinner).  We also have to pack up the truck for the weekend — tent for camping in the yard, air mattress, blankets etc etc.  I’m still trying to figure out what workouts I will do while in Mansfield.  But I’m sure I’ll come up with something.  Additionally, the paper has begun to accumulate on my desk, so I should probably sift through that before going away for a couple days.

Ah.  Life.  Always keeping you on your toes.  Wishing everyone a great day filled with lots of smart food choices, a healthy sweat and tons of hydration.  It’s a humid one in Southeastern PA, so I’m sure the MS will be buzzing!  (Literally.  It feels like buzzing in my fingers and hands).

a day in the life

I’ve had a rough few months.

Not in a bad way.  In a good way.  But the past few months have not been easy.  I’ve felt really lost a lot of the time.  I keep coming to this blog wondering what I’m doing.  What do I have to say?

What do I have to say.

I started this blog about six years ago, with the idea of learning to cook and sharing the amazing recipes I was sure I would be making.  And along the way, I got MS.  Which really changes the shape of a person’s life.  About a year and a half ago, I started to work out in earnest.  To be fair, I don’t know if I had a specific reason.  Just the idea that I knew I should be working out, and we’d spent some cash on a stationary bike.

Earlier this year, I though to myself, I should make this blog about MS.  But lemme tell you something — that is both challenging and slightly depressing.  MS is not fun.  It challenges a person every day in every way.  But it also makes you look at things from a completely different perspective.

Would I be biking nearly 170 miles a week if it weren’t for MS?  Maybe.  But probably not.

Would I have an addiction to green smoothies?  Um… I’m going to guess no.

Would I constantly be trying to push the boundaries of my dietary restrictions in the best possible way, and make things that normally sound dismal delicious?  Absolutely not.  I mean, I think we all start to get healthier as we age — recovery isn’t as quick, and we learn that taking care of this body we were given really does help lead a more fulfilling life.  But I think the extremities of the consequences I deal with really helped clarify my life.

I really don’t like absolutes, so when I try something new, I think of it in an 80/20 capacity.  I’ll be good 80% of the time, and take my chances 20% of the time.  Over the past few years, I’ve found this approach works best for me.  I think everyone responds to boundaries differently — some of us might like the all or nothing approach.  But all that all or nothing accomplishes for me is a truly terrible attitude and massive resentment and unhappiness.  That isn’t to say that over time I haven’t found certain things are better at 100% (green smoothies are an example — a day without a smoothie means feeling much more lethargic and foggy, having lower energy and waking up in gripping stiffness and pain the next day — all of which I’m sure, sound amazing).  But across the whole spectrum, 80/20 has become my go-to.

And as I struggle each day to make the best decisions I can (I succeed sometimes, but I also fail … a lot) I thought maybe it might be something I could share here.

I have meds on Friday, which means I’m tired this week.  And the heat and humidity of July are not my friends.  When I woke up this morning, after about ten hours of sleep, my entire torso ached every time I inhaled.  My legs were unbelievably stiff, and my left knee hurt.  I mean, hurt.  Which I find so depressing, because it means I won’t have a good ride on my bike, if I ride my bike at all.  And that, in turn, means that my “Move” circle on my watch might not get completed.  Highly unsatisfactory.

I knew John had a long conference today (we are still adjusting to him working from home – finding routines and rhythm). I tried to make my bullet point list for today — things I wanted to accomplish.  I was going over to a barn near my house that does therapeutic riding with disabled children with my mother, but otherwise, nothing on the agenda.  I’d done some grocery shopping yesterday, so I figured I’d make something yummy.

I did a slight variation of a black bean & citrus salad that I first made years ago (from Iowa Girl Eats).  Let me tell you something ~ making a recipe when you are infinitely more comfortable in the kitchen is so much more fun than freaking out about measurements and ingredients every five seconds.  This recipe *could* be healthier (I used Israeli cous cous cooked in chicken bouillon instead of quinoa and water) but it’s still a pretty good one.  It’s definitely a recipe that makes me feel both healthy and happy.

What I used:

1 1/2 cups pink grapefruit segments

1 can black beans (rinsed)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 ears of fresh corn (cut off the cobb raw)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 cup dry Israeli Cous Cous

1 1/4 cup chicken bouillon

 

 

 

 

 

Dressing:

Juice of 2 limes

1/2 cup EVOO

2 tsp Cumin

Salt & Pepper to taste

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

1.  Combine cous cous and bouillon in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer.  Cover and allow cous cous to absorb liquid — about six- eight minutes.  Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally so the cous cous doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  Once the pearls are inflated, transfer to a  bowl and let cool to room temp.

2. Combine grapefruit, beans, corn, cilantro and cranberries in a medium to large mixing bowl.  I fold together with a spatula so that the grapefruit doesn’t break down too much.

3.  In a separate bowl, squeeze lime juice and combine with EVOO, cumin and salt and pepper.  Whisk together.

4.  When cous cous has cooled, combine with other ingredients, pour vinaigrette over and continue to mix until well combined.

5.  It’s delicious.  Trust me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m heading down to the gym now ~ I’ll probably do some burpees and squats (depending  on my knee) and then about 20 miles on the bike (again, knee dependent).  I’m hoping to get back to a regular yoga practice soon — my muscles are feeling tight from all the cardio and strength work outs.  Hubs and I have sweet potato noodles to make for dinner tonight (Wegmans = the best).

I’m already on my third bottle of water, so if I focus, I could probably get four in today (which may help with the soreness and stiffness).

 

conundrums

Having MS.

It’s sort of like everything all the time, and nothing at all.

I don’t really know how to better describe it.  How it affects everything, and is always on my mind, but at the same time isn’t that important at all.

When I talk about my MS, I usually feel like it’s a throwaway comment ~ not that big a deal, just the norm.  But then, halfway through the words coming out of my mouth, I realize (usually from the changing facial expression of the person I’m talking to) that perhaps, my comments are a little more jarring to them.

I guess it’s like …. nope.  I can’t think of anything that it might be like.  It’s just … my baseline, my reality.  I don’t want sympathy.  I don’t want pity.  But I also don’t know how to exist without it anymore.  It’s such a huge part of my whole life.  It influences everything I do, everything I wear, every decision I make.  I am no longer myself without the MS.  I am MS, it’s become part of my framework.

I don’t bring it up on purpose … and what I mean by that is, it’s so much a part of every aspect of my life, I don’t know how to exist without acknowledging it.  Yes.  Maybe that’s it.

I guess my throwaway bio on Instagram and Twitter are the truest of true … I am an MS warrior — BUT, I’m so much more than that.  Sometimes maybe, it’s hard to remember that there’s so much more, when I lead with such a wham bang punch.