June 20, 2014

swimsuits

I've made passing remarks before, but I thought I'd write an official "I love Lands' End Swimsuits" post.

This is it. You're here.

I'm amy, and I love Lands' End swimwear.

In 2008 I discovered that LE sells swimwear where you can order your cup size (D, DD, DDD - on the left side of the screen scroll down to "Bra Cup") and then you order your regular size. WHAT THE WHAT? You mean I can order a suit that will fit my breasts and my body?

YES.
SOLD.
They had me then and there.

I've always been a swimsuit wearer. I'm not one of those girls who says, "mmmm, I think I'd rather stay in my clothes on the shore." As you know, I spend as much time as possible at the lake in the summer. I refuse to not spend that time in my swimsuit. I only wear one-piece suits or tankini's. No bikini's for me...I do have a four-piece swimsuit [I only wear three of the pieces: the bikini top, the tankini cami cover, and the brief bottoms]. One day while I was home alone in KS and it was 100+ degrees outside I decided to float in the pool in just two skimpy pieces. My poor sun-virginal tummy was FRIED. And I mean fried to the point of waking me up in the middle of the night. It was not pretty. tsk. tsk. tsk. We'll just keep my tummy covered from here on out, thankyouverymuch.

Things I love about LE swimwear:
1. the weight of the fabric - these are the first swimsuits I've owned where I feel like everything is held together, ya know? I'm not going to be popping out unexpectedly because all my goods are locked and loaded.
2. the fit - with the tankini's I own, the tops are long enough to hit my body just past my hip and they have several bottoms so I can choose how much coverage I want or don't want. I wear the bottoms that come up to my belly button -- it's pretty hot. heh.
3. the return policy - I can order LE products and return them to Sears. I don't have to deal with going to the post office and figuring out how to send something back. Since I have a Sending Disorder Syndrome [seriously things can sit around in my house for months before I send them] this is a HUGE gold star for me.
4. the sale section - you had me at hello. You had me at hello.

Things I have grown to appreciate:
1. sometimes the patterns are a little...matronly. [OK, I kind of love/hate this. I'm a fan of pattern, so I attempt to rock some grandma chic patterns. Lands' End has a foundation of classic clothing. Their target audience is not the trendiest, hippest shoppers. I am neither trendy nor hip, yo. Yo? YO.]
2. the back of most of the suits are covered which is another element that can feel a little matronly. This really bothered me for awhile, why not have an open back? some criss-crosses? I'm over it now. This is one of the elements that makes the suit feel secure to me.

Things I don't love:
1. every once in a while the suits will have a baggy bottom. WHY? Who wants a droopy butt swimsuit? Those get returned.


I just ordered this suit yesterday:
I've been eyeballing it for a few months, and I hope it fits! In an ideal world I would have both the budget and they would manufacture all swimsuits with the cup size--clothing size connection. It is not a perfect world, so sometimes I've got to do a little trial and error while I peruse the sale section and live on my student-loan budget.

These ones have also caught my fancy:
I totally love this. See what I mean about the slightly matronly, but she's rocking it look? I'd wear that fo' sho. 
POLKA DOTS. I have similar bottoms in black.

If you've ever gotten an LE Swim catalog you know they build several collections with coordinating patterns and colors. You buy the tops and bottoms separately to get exactly what you want. I actually think the catalog is a much better way of seeing the options. The website can be a little overwhelming if you haven't navigated it before. SO MANY TOPS. SO MANY BOTTOMS. Do they match? Can I wear this with that? Will this fit? Will that fit? I shall take this moment to remind you of the return policy.
These Swim Cami's are similar to what I have with my four-piece suit. Its a loose swimsuit fabric that goes over a bikini top. They have several styles/patterns available. Trust me, you need a top under them since they don't have ANY support, but they're really nice for extra coverage.

Right now they're running a 30% off of everything. EVER-EE-THING. Even the stuff that's already reduced. That's why I ordered the new suit.

(-:

**Lands' End doesn't know who I am nor are they giving me anything for that matter. I just really like their stuff [swim wear, cardigans, and coats FTW] and I know, I KNOW, the struggle to find a good swimsuit! I'm just a little blogger sharing what works for me.**

June 19, 2014

ten things

1. I was recently shopping for a new wallet because I have checks again [it's been years since I had a checkbook] and I wanted something I could just cram everything into. My little bi-fold Vera Bradley wasn't fulfilling my needs anymore. [Does anyone want it? It's got some wear from carrying it around for a year.] I trekked to TJ Maxx. Did you know that TJ Maxx sells Kate Spade Saturday? WHAT!? You may or may not know my love for all things Kate Spade. I got my grubby paws on this sweet black and white pattern with a yellow interior. Eeep. SO CUTE. The lines at our TJ Maxx/Homegoods were at least 20 people deep though and I needed to be at work in 15 minutes. UGH. It went back on the shelf under some similarly black and white Calvin Klein wallets. #pleasestayhidden

It was gone when I went back a few hours later.

I checked back several times a week hoping to find My Precious or a new Precious again. No luck. No luck. No luck. No luck. BAZINGA!
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Look at her. Isn't she beautiful?

2. You may have seen my instagram picture, but in case you didn't: I'm on a smoothie kick.
Doesn't it look appealing? No? No, it doesn't. It tastes pretty good.

Pro tip: if you're going to increase your dietary fiber you should also increase your water intake otherwise your bowels will hate you. HATE.

3. Dairy Queen is about a 4-minute walk from my house. I don't have a freezer to keep ice cream in. Do you understand my dilemma?
DANGER.
Wanna walk over with me? (-;

4. OH.MY.GOSH. Y'all. If you've liked Ingrid Michaelson in the past you must listen to her new album, Lights Out. I had it on repeat on Spotify and then I had to purchase it so I could listen to it ALL THE TIME.

5. Manchester has a tumblr of archived photos: Manchester Scrapbook. I adore it.

They have a letter written from the Women's Residence Organization giving all the ladies on campus tips about what to wear [and what not to wear]. My favorite? "Help the fellows to act like gentlemen - dress like ladies. Reserve the wearing of slacks, jeans, and bermudas for the week-end (which begins Friday night and lasts until Saturday evening.)" Because obvi.

And this picture or this picture of my favorite professors? Gah. Old pictures are my fave.

6. IU School of Nursing is turning 100! This background was sitting in the hospital and during a break my friends and I decided to have our red carpet moment.
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7. I’m not a super-energy MT kind of person. That’s not really my thing. HOWEVER, I have this new client who I have the most peculiar, awesome energetic match with. He’s very energy aware. I’ve had clients say stuff about energy before where I just eyeroll, but this guy? Literally everything he says, I can feel. After our last 90-minute session when I should have been exhausted I left the room feeling energized and light. He stepped out of the room and said, “Normally, I’m really sleepy after a massage, but I feel really energized right now.”

WHAT? Please explain this to me.

BTW: I think this is great.

8. I went to see The Fault in Our Stars. I basically had a river of tears running down my sternum. Ain't no shame. 

9. This is our finals week for Summer Session I. My last day of clinical is next Monday then we have a final on Tuesday and then a FIVE DAY break. I'm hoping to get all my work done before then so I can actually take a break...

10. I'm going to Kansas! YAY! Maggie is picking me up at the airport and we're going to giggle and talk all night before my mom picks me up the next day. Then it's a family-filled few days! I shall kiss and snuggle and play with the Nephew and Niece as much as humanly possible. I'm totally excited.

OH--and we're going to see buffalo. I'll share all the details, don't worry.

xo

June 13, 2014

breathing deeply

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Summer classes are wreaking havoc with my life. I thought it wouldn't be too bad. Two days of class and one day of clinicals? The arrogant me of late April thought, "I've got this with free time." Riiiiight. My social life. My sleeping life. My introvert life. My time management life. My self-care life. My I-want-to-lay-in-the-sun-by-the-lake life. All those facets that make up what I consider my "life" are no longer aligned. I seriously don't know how people do family/serious relationships/marriage during this. Props to you, friends!
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Today is the first day this week that haven't been on campus since 7am or earlier. Tuesday I was up at FOUR AM.

Ew.

At that hour the only thing I should be seeing is the back of my eyelids, instead I was traversing my way through parts of a big-ass Medical-Surgical Nursing textbook. Needless to say, I'm now in the horrible habit of getting 6 or fewer hours of sleep [this is from a person who always needed 7 hours 45 minutes to be pleasant...and most of the time I'm tolerable now]. Life is changing, folks.
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In the midst of all the time commitments, work, studying, clinicals, and trying to maintain and nurture relationships, I've been decluttering. 

If you've been around, you know that earlier this year I shut-down that other blog that I had once upon a time dedicated to recipes and such. Scratch that off the list. 
  • Cooking Closet - move the decent stuff over to MN365
  • Pinterest - stop following boards you don't care about even if they're your friend's boards. I'm looking at you teachers.
  • Bloglovin' - mark all as read, there's nothing that's going to be that life transforming
  • Facebook - just stop following the people who make you eye-roll constantly, you don't have to unfriend to unfollow and they'll be none the wiser
  • Food - shop once a week, PLAN PLAN PLAN
  • Clothes - 1. do you need it? 2. do you love it? 3. does it fit? 
  • Say no

It's been challenging and quite the process, but I'm really working hard to just simplify and love the things I have in my life. If a trip or outing is going to be stressful on the back end I'm trying to consider that in my "yes" or "no." And, I'm going for the guilt free "no." The guilt or lack of guilt is the difficult part. Ugh. Some weeks I'm  better than others. 
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Lots of breathing.

These peonies were in the neighbors yard when I was up north at the lake recently. When I turned around the rest of the scenery looked like this:
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Not bad, eh? Who wouldn't want to spend every weekend there?

June 30th I start the second summer session where we change classes. I read the syllabus. I'm going to start praying for my personal sanity now. 

June 8, 2014

answers

1. What was the date of the first post? June 3, 2009
You can read a bit about when/where I was when I started ye olde blog in the about the nonsense page. I'll summarize though so you don't have to click: I was working a temp job as a receptionist/office assistant and wanted something to do...and you're on the internet viewing my "something to do."

2. What's my middle name? Elizabeth
One of my mom's college BFFs was named "Amy Elizabeth" and my mom always liked it. Elizabeth is also my Aunt's middle name and my Great Aunt's first name. My immediate family calls me Amy Liz.

3. Where's my favorite place to shop online? Lands' End.
I love it. I've cut back my shopping drastically over the past year, but Lands' End is my go-to for sweaters/cardigans, swimsuits, and outerwear.

4. Where was this blog started? Durham, NC
Although the first posts were written at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I sat in my bedroom stealing borrowing the neighbor's internet and tried to figure out how in the world to use blogger.

5. I blogged about Harry Potter openings twice. How many Harry Potter posts are there? 29.
It's to the right in the categories section. 29 posts about HP? Seems excessive.

6. "Freals" is a word I use combining the words "For"+"Reals." True.

7. The one month in the past 5 years when I only wrote one post was: August 2013
I was a little stressed about starting school and money at that point in my life if I'm remembering correctly.

8. I'm currently in school for...nursing!
My first degree was is psychology and I hope to go on to get my master's in Midwifery, but right now, I'm fighting my way through nursing school.

9. This blog was originally called: Facts, Opinions, & Other Nonsense
Whyyyyyyyyy?
I kept it that way for awhile and then one day I just changed it. I read an article about how it was helpful to have a matching website and blog name, so I went with it. Plus chellooo--Mostly Nonsense 365 is basically the perfect name for me.

10. I would classify myself as a: Pescatarian [Vegetarian who eats fish]

11. I had a picture on The Pioneer Woman's website once. [I had heart palpitations and high-fived myself.] What was it a picture of? My cousin's wedding. 
I still think I'm cool.

12. When I was in Hawaii my dress flew up and I showed a bus full of tourists my undies. True.

13. My favorite beverage: Coffee.

14. I love that you read my blog. TRUE.


Thanks for reading my rambling over the past 5 years, y'all.
love you.

June 6, 2014

a quiz at the end of the week




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It's the final day, friends! Today, to enter all you have to do is answer all the questions in the quiz. You don't even have to get them all correct! Leave your name and you're entered to win a virtual gift card from Sevenly
The winner is #9 who was "wifey" (aka MG). (-: 
If you're not familiar with Sevenly, I suggest you head over and check out what they're all about. Every week they team up with a different charity and have limited edition, very cool products rolling out on their website. 

Commenting will be open until Sunday (6/8) at 9:00am and random.org will select the winner. If you have trouble with the Google Form let me know ASAP so I can see what I can do. 
**All items are purchased and sent [or hand delivered with hugs] by me.**  

June 5, 2014

the sex

Let's talk about sex.
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Or not.

I mean, let's talk about not having sex. Yeah...I'm going there.
ack. I've been wrestling with writing this for months. MONTHS.  Trying to find the right words without sounding preachy or judge-y is hard. I don't know if I accomplished it. *deep breath*

I don't have sex. It's not because I don't want to have sex because I definitely want to have sex. It's one of those I’m-waiting-until-I-get-married things.
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Cards Against Humanity - it's like they know me. 

Most people assume that I’ve had sex [because obviously a 30-something would have, right?], so if I'm in a situation when I feel like I want to say more than a make a non-committal facial gesture it feels like kind of a big deal. The reality of my experience has been that when this comes up in conversation, the response to me is usually an anti-climactic, “Oh.” 

[I seriously hope you’re saying, “oh” right now and not “amy, this is so weird.”]

Growing up as a Christian girl [I'm sure this exists for others out there, but this is my experience] we're taught that "sex is bad" or "sexual feelings are wrong/dirty/inappropriate" and "good girls do ____ and don’t do ____." I couldn't even pinpoint who's doing this teaching, but it definitely lives at a lot of churches and spreads like wildfire through impressionable youth. While I’m OK with a stance on abstinence, I think the part of the conversation that’s missing is, well...the conversation. What do you do with those feelings? How do you practice self-control? How do you integrate loving your body, honoring your faith, and figuring out romantic relationships? I’m not sure why there is such a strong value judgement based on feelings and urges and these things happening in our bodies that we have to figure out how to handle. 
I grew up in a church and family that talked about those things. For the most part I turned out pretty normal. I like to say I'm abnormally normal. I don't know if my self-perception is skewed or not, but that's the space where I'm residing. [DON'T BURST MY BUBBLE!]

The way I see it we have two choices: 1. act on those feelings/urges or 2. learn how to not act on those feelings/urges. I'm not making a judgment on people who choose to have sex or not. I can only make the decisions that are best for me.

Do I think the path to heaven is through our genitals?

(thinking)

(thinking)


Uh. No, I definitely don't.

The truth is, I don't actually feel a lot of pressure to have sex because I'm confidently grounded with who I am. I do feel like I'm supposed to feel shame for not having sex, and that's a load of bullshit. 

When I remain authentic to the things I believe, it's reflected in the positivity and joy I reflect to the world. Does that make sense? I’ll describe it more: if I can live in a way that aligns with my morals, values, and beliefs then the person I present is an accurate representation of my true self. There's no hiding or pretending that I'm someone I'm not. 

Example: You know when you're exploring your boundaries...that thing that wasn't right for the you a year ago miiiight be OK with the you of now? Like when you were 18 you didn't want to drink, but now that you're 20 you might go to a party and drink a few boozy beverages. After the fact you might question your actions [we've all been there, right?] and you get moody and grumpy and that feeling of being unsettled deep down in your gut? I'm pretty sure that unsettled feeling would haunt me if I chose to have sex right now. I've made a commitment to myself and my future partner [if that's part of my life story] that I'm a one man lady. Sure, I wrestle with the God-Jesus-Spouse-Me quadrilateral, and how that comes together and what it all means and the complications of where my faith and life and the bible and social norms run into each other, but I'm down with that wrestle. 
{via} 

This is part of my story. If someone can relate to it—that’s awesome. If someone can have a different perspective—that’s awesome. If you’re going to look at me negatively—that’s not so awesome.

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Today I have a Kelly Rae Roberts necklace for one of you!
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I don't have any good ideas for comment topics today, so you can just say, "hi!" if you feel so inspired. (-: 
The winner is #4 - Maggie! woo!
Commenting will be open until Saturday (6/7) at 9:00am and random.org will select the winner. If you have trouble commenting you can leave a note on fb and I’ll add it here when I get a chance. (-: 
**All items are purchased and sent [or hand delivered with hugs] by me.**  

June 4, 2014

massage Q&A

First things, first: always massage therapist (MT), never masseuse.

Q: How do I find a good massage therapist? 

A: Ask your friends. Ask the staff. Ask. Ask. Ask. 

Honestly, it’s really difficult to find a good MT. Part of the reason that it’s so difficult? Because the best MT for you may not be your BFF’s massage therapist even though he loves his MT. Another reason it’s difficult? Because who wants to drop at least $60 trying out five people to hopefully find someone who can do a decent job of manipulating your soft tissues?

I’ve worked at places where there were two massage therapists and places where there were 25. If you have the words to describe what you want in a massage [admittedly, this is it’s own skill] ask the person who answers the phone. Tell that person exactly what you’re looking for and see if they have someone who can do that. Ask him or her if they’ve had a massage from the MTs there. Ask him or her who is the most popular with clients. Tell them you can be patient and wait to get in to see that person. 

If you already have a good MT, tell your friends! Brag about him or her! Share the wealth! Your friends and your MT will appreciate it. 

Q: For peeps who need easy to deep to avoid muscle triggers. I don't like my head pressed forward toward my chin to relax upper back. Is there another option? If yes, how do I ask for that?

A: The first thing you need if you have specific comforts/discomforts or likes/dislikes is an MT who will listen to you. When you book your appointment tell them you'll need some extra time to go over your history. You can always ask if you can come in on a different day and have 15 minutes to talk to an MT about what didn't work for you before (or what did!) and make sure the MT assigned to you is comfortable with that. If they’re not comfortable or you feel them hesitate, go to someone else! Trust your intuition!


I alway try to ask my clients if they have anything from massage in the past that they've disliked (or anything they want changed from a previous session with me). If your MT doesn't ask that -- offer the information! Believe me, we'd rather have you say "I don't like _____" or "if my head is pushed forward it really causes my upper back to tense up, so please avoid doing that" before we get started than to do something that might cause you pain! You might need to remind your therapist during because we get in the zone and get forgetful. Be willing to try different options (and give your yay or nay) as your MT brainstorms what may work best for you. 

A massage generally has a person on their tummy for about half and on their back for the other half. There are several other options though if those positions are uncomfortable for you! We don't always have loads of specialty pillows or bolsters around, but there are sheets, towels, and blankets a'plenty!

Some ideas for discomfort while face-up:
-You can put a folded sheet (or several) under your head, under your shoulder blades, or under your back to make yourself more comfortable, just hold the top sheet to your body and sit up so the MT can place the sheets
-I always have my client’s knees elevated to take some of that pressure off the lower back, but if your therapist doesn't do that ask if they can
-You can roll a hand towel and place it under the neck 
-You can pull off the face cradle (it's velcro-ed down) and put it under your head/neck

Some ideas if you're uncomfortable face-down: 
-Use a few sheets under your hips
-For my large-breasted friends, fold a sheet or blanket into a long skinny strip and place it under the pectoral muscles and shoulders
-ADJUST THE FACE CRADLE, and tell your MT if it's uncomfortable
-I like the ankles elevated, I just use the same bolster as under the knees; you can have a similar relaxation if you put your feet over the edges of the table (your legs like this o-|-<)

If you HATE or CAN'T be face-down, you can always do a side-lying massage. I've only really done prenatal side-lying, but the concept is the same. I always end with the client sitting on the edge of the table with her feet on the floor and work on the neck and shoulders from that position while she hugs a pillow. I have done an entire massage with the client face up and then done similar work on the back/neck at the end. 

The #1 thing is communication with your MT and an MT who will listen and respond to your needs. 

Q: How can I shut my brain off so I can enjoy the massage instead of thinking about what else I could be doing? 

A: This is so hard! It's definitely a practice of shutting off the outside information and opening yourself up to what's going on in your body! The best thing I like to tell people who are practicing the experience of mindfulness (because really, that's what we're doing!) is first being aware when you start to think of all that "stuff" and coming back to the present moment. There's no value judgement of good or bad. 

Personally, I find myself able to stay present during a massage when I focus on my breath. I like to start as soon as I get on the table, before the MT is even in the room. I take a few deep breaths and do a body scan from my head to my toes. What am I aware of? What am I totally unaware of? Once again, no judgement, just observation. As the therapist works, I focus on the area he or she is working on. If you have questions you can ask them, but I like to limit questions to exactly what we're working on and not all the other stuff. (Not a hard rule because it's YOUR session so you get to talk or not talk as much as you want!)

Breathe.
Focus on body.
Breathe. 
Focus on body. 
(repeat as needed)

Eventually you don't have to think about it. We live in a very fast-paced, high visual input world, but massage is a physical input and is a completely different experience! Part of my mindfulness practice is remembering how I do most of my thinking with my head, but I do so much of my living with my whole being. Massage helps facilitate a way for me to increase my awareness and care for all that life below my neck! 

Oh! TURN YOUR DANG PHONE OFF. 

Q: Do people fart? 

A: Yes. Everybody Farts. They don't all fart during massages, but everyone does it. 

Q: Are there specific ways to word your deeper/less deep that are more effective? 

A: If you like deep work, keep saying it. I find that MTs are especially hesitant to give deep work to petite women. (The opposite is also true, if you like medium-light work keep saying it! So many people come in asking for deep work that it’s easy to get into that rhythm.)

In general I start with a medium pressure just to warm the tissues and then check in. If someone has told me REPEATEDLY that they like, can handle, and have experienced really deep work, I may go deeper before my first check in. My medium might be your last MT’s deep or my deep my be your last MT’s medium. Every therapist is able to apply a different amount of pressure and you have to navigate that together.

One of the things I feel is difficult to do in massage is to ask for lighter or deeper pressure because it feels like you’re criticizing the MT’s work. The three phrases I like to use: 
“That feels great, do you think we could try to go deeper?” *therapist goes deeper if they can* “That amount of pressure is better/worse/perfect for me.” 
“You’re right on the edge of what I can handle.” This is GREAT to use before the work gets too deep. I like to know at this point!
“That area is more sensitive than I realized.” If your MT is paying attention he or she should lighten up and ask if you want them to continue working on that area or if you’d like to move on from that area because you can’t handle it.

If you’re seeking out deep work, you have to understand that there are many factors that come into play 1) Can the therapist go as deep as you want without compromising his/her body? 2) Will your tissue open up and let them into that area to go deeper? It’s a process! We listen to the words coming out of your mouth and the response that we feel in your tissue.

Q: I recently heard about visceral bodywork. Do you do that? Can you cleanse my gallbladder? Are we close enough to have this conversation?

A: I don’t have any experience working on gallbladders. Sorry. 

I can work your colon, so you can have a great bowel movement if you’re constipated. (-: 

I don’t believe in TMI. I ask people about their last BM and if they’re passing gas on the daily.

Q: Tell me a story about something weird. *sits expectantly*

A: I have a lot of stories about weird things…massive blackheads covering the entire back, hairy bodies where I come away with my hands covered in hair, toenails that are falling off, smelly feet, blah, blah, blah. The weird stuff is just…stuff. None of it is a deal breaker for getting a massage. 

Tell me that one of those people with those conditions didn’t know they had something going that was not “normal.” They knew. At some point in their life they probably felt some embarrassment or shame about those very things. The fact that they were willing to be vulnerable enough to say, “hey, I’m going to take off my clothes, let you touch me, and I’m going to come back” is pretty incredible don’t you think? 

Q: What amount of clothing do MTs really prefer you to have on? 

A: My preference is no clothes. Underwear get in the way. Bras are a pain. I only undrape the portion of the body I'm working on, so you should really feel covered and not too exposed during the massage. 

However, and this is a big HOWEVER, if not wearing underwear/bra would make you not get bodywork then wear them! You're not going to receive the work (and I mean the therapist will work on you, but you won’t get the maximum experience) if you're thinking about your lack of underwear. You can always wear your underwear your first time and then take them off if you get comfortable later. Never feel like you HAVE to do anything when it comes to massage. True life confession: sometimes I wear my underwear if I don’t feel like I have good rapport with the MT or I’m in the middle of my menstrual cycle. 

In my practice I do pretty general massage (Swedish, Deep Tissue, Prenatal). Some other practitioners will ask you to wear different amounts of clothes. For example, I received a session from a practitioner who does structural integration and at one point during the session he stepped out and I put on my underwear and bra and walked around the room. UH. WHUT? There’s a way you can communicate and build a relationship with clients that just makes them comfortable. It was a little weird because it was the first time I’d received that kind of work, but not that holy-crap-I-must-use-my-hands-to-hide-my-body discomfort. Just wandering into the edge of my comfort bubble discomfort. He observed the alignment and movement of my body without having to guess through clothes and then did very specific work related to what he saw. It was amazing.

I’m sure I’m forgetting things and leaving out important information, but I hope I answered some of your questions and gave you some things to think about! If you have questions you can always ask—if I don’t know the answer I’ll pass it along to my other friends. (-: 

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Today I’ve got some lotion and skin care happiness for one of you! This the Body Drench lotion, scrub, and lip balm. This lotion smells like I want to be on a beach. I can’t get to the scrub, but it’s walnut scrubbies and apparently smells like raspberries. That lip balm is my jam. 
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random.org chose #6 for this post! that means Dana C. you're a winner! I'll send you a fb message. (-: 
To enter leave a comment:
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being I’m turrible at self-care and 10 being I take care of myself like a boss, where are you? I’m about a 2 right now. 

Commenting will be open until Friday (6/6) at 9:00am and random.org will select the winner. If you have trouble commenting you can leave a note on fb and I’ll add it here when I get a chance. (-: 
**All items are purchased and sent [or hand delivered with hugs] by me.**  

June 3, 2014

then I swooned

In nursing school we have a lot of confidentiality bases to cover, so I'll write about what I'm learning, silly things I've done, but nothing that could tell you where I'm working or anything specific about a patient. If I share anything, I'll write some stories which are free of identifiers, hold on to them for a few days/weeks/months to increase the distance between me and my stories, and then-finally-share them with you.

As a future nurse it seems so cliché to have a crush on a physician. Sometimes, the heart wants what it wants. It likes what it likes. Can you feel me?

Today** I experienced my first physician crush.

Nursing students see all kinds of people all day on the unit and I can barely keep them straight: physicians, nurses, residents, respiratory therapists, environmental personnel, patient care personnel, physical therapy, chaplains, transportation, lift team, kitchen staff, pharmacy staff, specialists who specialize in things, patients, and families. My point is there are a heckuva lot of people around the unit, the hospital is filled with people who know all kinds of things.

Normally, I interact with about 2-3 of those categories.
1. the nurse I'm collaborating with [Help me, I'm insecure and this makes me forgetful. I'm sorry I can never remember the action of that one drug that I can't remember that I can't remember.]
2. the patient care personnel [Help me, I'm an idiot for pulling the dirty sheets out rather than tucking them under. You are so much more efficient than I am.]
3. the patients and families [Yup.]

I spend a lot of time asking for help.

I don't actually talk to the physicians or residents. Did you see the comment about about my personal insecurities? I'm still going to need to work on getting over those first thankyouverymuch.

When Physician Crush came down the hall today he was friendly. [I didn't have a crush on him yet of course, this was the first time I'd interacted with him.] He looked at us [my partner RN and me] in the eye. He genuinely seemed to enjoy his work. [I will say, many physicians I see on a regular basis seem to enjoy their work, but in a manner that says, I'm Very Serious and Busy. I'm definitely not trying to make light of the seriousness of health care, however you don't necessarily get to see the delight in their practice. This man had delight.] He laughed. He paused long enough to ask questions about personal lives. He took the time to write a letter for a patient's spouse explaining why they were in the hospital just so the spouse could give that letter to their employer. He ran upstairs to answer a patient question. He was at the hospital to serve his patients and take really excellent care of them.

The real kicker for me was when my nurse and I were going through medications [This is a nursing school thing, as you give each med you tell the patient what it's for and a possible side effect and I was prepping to go through this with a patient. Remember when I said I can never remember them? This is one of my weaknesses.] and we were curious if we were giving a broad spectrum antibiotic or a specific antibiotic related to culture samples. He came over and explained the differences in gram negative and gram positive rods and when, how, and where those show up in the sputum [aka phlegm] and how those would relate to an antibiotic selection.

*swoon*

I'm pretty sure I'm in lust with this physician who told me about the rods in the sputum.

And by "lust" I mean, thanks for being so kind, Physician Crush. I might even ask you a question about a patient if I see you again.

That's a big maybe.


**not actually today, sometime in the recent past

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Today's giveaway is a print from one of my favorite Etsy sellers, Lindsay at Pen+Paint. She doesn't know who I am, but I love her work! Go check out her store. (-: 
How great would that look with a couple of strips of washi tape hanging it on your wall?
random.org chose #1 who is my mom (Dawn)!

To enter simply leave a comment telling me a quick story about a time when you witnessed kindness toward you or someone else...or you can just say hi! (-: 

Commenting will be open until Thursday (6/5) at 9:00am and random.org will select the winner. 


**All items are purchased and sent [or hand delivered with hugs] by me.**

June 2, 2014

five years

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Holy cow. I can’t even believe that I’ve been here at MN365 for five whole years. A highlight or two or thirteen from the past five years:

-I finished massage school.
-I moved to a new little house in Durham, with my wifeys.
-I fell in love with Parker & Otis.
-I moved to Indiana to go to grad school.
-I didn’t go to grad school.
-The Nephew was born.
-I decided to try my hand at nursing...as if one just "tries out" nursing. Bahahahaha.
-Hank moved to Kansas and discovered his love of the prairie. [I’m still holding on to the dream that he’s alive and hunting bugs among the waving wheat.]
-I moved to the big city to start classes.
-Pitch Perfect came into my life. #cantstopwontstop
-The Niece was born.
-I got into my program and cried tears of joy. [Now I sometimes cry tears of non-joy.]
-I moved again!

I hope you’re up for a full week of posts. 

And giveaways because I want to buy your love. Obvi. 

I made a cake to celebrate this momentous occasion, then I lit a candle and sang it a song. No, not "Happy Blogiversary." I sang "Seasons of Love" from RENT because that's what was on my television. 
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It's a Very Vanilla Marvelously Minty Cake. I’ve been thinking about the combination of mint and vanilla ever since I got a tube of C.O. Bigelow Vanillamint lip gloss from Bath & Body Works years ago. I like to purchase lip gloss more than I like to actually wear it, but this is some tasty stuff. 

I couldn’t stop thinking about how the strong vanilla flavor with just the tiniest touch of mint worked so well together. This cake had to happen. A vanilla cake is topped with a sweet, ever so slightly minty vanilla buttercream. 

As with many baked goods, it starts with dry ingredients sifted together. 
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Then wet. 
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Combine, put in your pan [I’m using a 4” springform pan I picked up at Michael’s] and bake. 
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This is the adult version of an Easy-bake Oven. 
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…and I will need more practice to figure it out. 
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Let the cake cool and make the frosting. 
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Here’s the dealio, yo. You want this to be a vanilla buttercream with the teeniest-tiniest [tiniest!] essence of mint. Just a couple of drops, OK? You’ll add enough cream to reach the desired consistency--remember it’s easier to start with a stiff frosting and add more liquid. [sidenote: someone needs to find her whisks in storage]
After you’ve frosted your cake, decorate it as you see fit. Sprinkles welcome. 
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Very Vanilla Marvelously Minty Mini Cake
cake recipe reduced and adapted from Cupcake Project

The Cake
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp AP Flour
1 Tbsp Corn Starch
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Butter, room temperature
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Plain Yogurt 
1 Tbsp Oil [Coconut or Vegetable]
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste*
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
2 Tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream

Prepare your pans! Grease and line those babies with some parchment. Preheat the oven to 350. Sift together flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the sugar to the flour mixture. After combining all the dry ingredients, mix the butter until the mixture has come together and is ever so slightly crumbly. In another bowl [I like to use a measuring cup] whisk together the egg, yogurt, oil, vanilla[s!], almond extract, and heavy whipping cream. Add the two mixtures together until just combined. Divide between two 2 1/2” pans and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely. 

*if you don’t have Vanilla Bean Paste you could use half a vanilla bean and scrape the goodies out of it OR you could use more vanilla extract, get the pure stuff please. please. please. 

The Buttercream
4 Tbsp Butter, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste* 
1/8-ish tsp Mint Extract
1-2 Tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream
2ish cup Powdered Sugar, sifted

Whip the butter and add in the vanilla and mint [you just want the tiniest amount of mint, I used my 1/4 tsp and only put a few drops in before adding it]. Add the sifted powdered sugar and the cream until you reach the desired consistency for your frosting. Frost your cake! This frosting, y’all. Oooh. 
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In honor of my love for baking I’ve got a Vera Bradley apron [totes cute], Vanilla Bean Paste [my FAVE], and a little cupcake key-topper [how could I resist?] for one of you! HOLLA AT ME. 
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For the record: I put on a dress and heels for the irony of it all in the picture. I have never baked in heels. 
random.org chose #6 which is Ama as the winner! I'll be in touch!  
Leave me a comment telling me what are some flavors that have you dreaming about cake combinations. Are you a chocolate-peanut butter fanatic? A strawberries and cream lover? An espresso and caramel dreamer? A vanilla-vanilla K.I.S.S. person? If you’re not thinking about cake [how are we friends?]...you can just say hi. (-: 

Commenting will be open until Wednesday (6/4) at 9:00am and random.org will select the winner. 

**All items are purchased and sent [or hand delivered with hugs] by me.**