dipped

Have you ever had a dip manicure?  I was talked into it at a nail salon in Scottsdale, while we were on vacation.  As a devotee of gel manicures, I was certainly intrigued when the nail tech said it would last an extra week, that it doesn’t peel off and it makes your nails stronger.  Since I was already cheating on my own nail lady back home, I figured why not, and, I loved the results.  There is no UV curing process, just polish and powder.  It is like the acrylic they brush on for a fake set of nails, but in this case you literally dip your nail into the powder.  Whatever they paint on your nails (it is clear) grabs the colored powder, then a file is used to shape the hardened powder stuff.  A final coat of clear is put on to shine the nails up.  I have only experimented with light, natural colors, but I am loving the result.  My nails have never looked better!  The down side is that Ann, my Napa nail tech, doesn’t offer the dip manicure.  So once again I went to someone else here in town to get a new dip manicure.  Also worth mentioning, the removal process is much easier than gel.  It is simply soaked off, the only tool used is a cotton ball to wipe the residue away.  No scraping!  I am sure it is all chemical laden and likely going to be the death of me at some point, but I am willing to take my chances.

If you are in Napa, Polished Nail Salon next to Nob Hill Foods offers dip.  Christina did my nails, and I am in love with them.  Hugh is also a master, so I have been told.

sleeping

I sleep terribly most nights.  I used to think it had to do with alcohol consumption, and often times too much wine does contribute to a 3am wake up.  Lately however, I have been abstaining from wine with dinner and I am still having trouble with the mid-sleep wake ups, but now I am struggling with just getting to sleep.  My neck always feels jumbled in the morning, especially after the deep sleep I finally do get between 4am and 7am.

After doing some research, I am trying some different supplements to help the rest come more naturally, than say an ambien.  First, I tried the Sleep chocolates when I was in Coloma last May with H and his classmates as a chaperone.  They did work, although I was a bit sluggish the next day.  Not having read the label, I ate four of them (the max, I later found out) which was clearly too much.  Last night I tried three, and I needed a bulletproof coffee to start the engine this morning.  A friend had suggested I try the Calm Magnesium drink before bed.  That will be tonight’s plan.  I understand magnesium has many other health benefits as well, so perhaps it should be in my program anyway.

What do you do for a restful sleep?

tahoe, booked

Every summer, my family escapes to Tahoe for a week.  We join our dearest friends for fun on the beach.  Our biggest decision of the day is what time we will have a Golden Eagle (a blended orange drink with tequila, vodka, with a grand marnier floater).  It is a week’s worth of doing nothing, and I look forward to it the day we drive home.  Here’s to dreaming of summer, and a week at the beach.

hello, you

For many of us, 2017 was a very challenging year.  It was filled with a lot of tragedy, loss, stress and struggle.  And towards the end, it was almost unbearable. There was nearly a whole month lost when our town caught on fire.  The time spent evacuated from our home was actually not so bad – with no real concept of what remained behind the police barricades.  We were only able to make the best of a terrible situation and did so by gathering with our family and friends, sharing stories and laughs, and a lot of tears.  It was the weeks after that really took their toll on us all.  The dark reality that my mother’s home was completely gone was gutting.

There were tiny miracles along the way too.  My mom moved into a lovely home, even closer to us, that she can spread out in and enjoy.  We are working together to build back her life; starting from scratch can actually be fun!  Another milestone, we sold our house in Utah.  This was something that absolutely had to be accomplished in 2017.  It took a lot more effort to do so than expected, and in the ninth hour on December 29th, it was no longer ours.

To celebrate the little things, we decided to take our kids to Arizona for a few days.  Never have I felt the need to connect as a family as I have in this new year.  I have all of the other resolutions lined up as well, but the goal to be present has become paramount.  We chose Scottsdale because we love the Phoenician and it’s kid friendly vibe.  Also, two of my best friends live there coincidentally.  Even though it was a family-focused trip, we did manage to spend some time with them, and they are practically family anyway!

The time away reminded me how important it is to make each day count.  When I say count, I mean that by the time I settle into bed, ready to start over again, that I can identify a way I’ve made a difference.  Whoa, that sounded very earth shattering, and I don’t mean it that way.  More like, the differences could be for my own health.  Or, having helped my kids with a school project.  I’ve crossed off all of my to-do’s.  Just taking 15 minutes alone to think or clear the slate is meaningful.  I want to accomplish things that will make a difference in the well being of not only my being, but others close to me as well.

I have set January 15th as my official implementation week.  I am using this week to prepare and get all the tools out that I will need.  Of course, I will be starting the 30 Clean eating and fitness challenge that I often participate in.  But I will also be using a 30 day chart to be more mindful, in addition to visiting with my spiritual coach (yes, I have one) each week.  So to the new year, I say hello.  Nothing more than welcome, with warmth and new horizons in sight.

amazing

I have been debating on buying this for an entire year.  It is a face oil with a hefty price tag (for me), that I just couldn’t bite the bullet on, despite all of the rave reviews and buzz it has. During my last facial, Denise used this as the final product for moisture. Obviously post facial, my skin was glowing already, but this serum made such a difference that I took home a sample to use for the week.  With each day of use, my skin’s appearance just got better and better.  While I love face oils in general, I haven’t been able to find a good replacement for the Rose Hydrator that my friend and skincare guru, Cheryl, in Utah created.  Her facials and products are completely fantastic – but she is in Utah.  Vintner’s Daughter was created here in Napa, by an actual vintner’s daughter!  And, I am a huge fan of shopping locally for local goods, and when I discovered how amazing this product truly was, I was hooked.  It feels luxurious while keeping the natural element at the forefront. I have yet to feel like it is wearing off in it’s spectacular-ness, and I don’t think it is going to. Guess I need to keep my day job!

starts now

The last entry was all about intentions.  This is about action.  Today was a day that would be considered most’s one week AFTER the new year.  The past two weeks have been too much to quantify as new, fresh and clean for this family.  It has been stressful, annoying, remarkable and sad.  Not quite my ideal new year start!

I achieved little to nothing in the first week of the new year, based on my last post.  And I am giving myself a pass.  Here is what I did do, which I am proud of.

  1. Last weekend, I was flown out by the new owner of TDM Salt Lake to celebrate the five year anniversary and new ownership.  I was so nervous that I begged my bestie here in Napa to go with me.  After growing some serious guts, I decided I would go on my own.  It was awesome.  I spent the first night with my bestie in SLC, laughing and eating and drinking all of our favorite things.  I taught a fun class to a packed house of my dearest friends and former students.  We ended with a mellow night in PJs at Lisa’s over lasagna and wine.  Just banner.
  2. We hosted G’s Dad at our house for the past six days.  He has the later stages of Parkinson’s Disease, not shaking, just terrible balance and very affected speech.  He has always been a talker and deal maker.  He can no longer tell you to get him a napkin.  It is heart breaking.
  3. School started today!  Everyone got out the door on time and with lunches, homework, etc.  Both kiddos were so thrilled to see their friends.  I was personally so happy to send them back, eager to learn and be social!
  4. Family Dinner Night started tonight.  It isn’t a 100% thing that we will do every night.  But for the nights it does work, we are all eating the same dinner.  Vegetable trying is a must.  Protein trying a huge bonus.  There were few tears and both got a treat!  Shocking what everyone will do while around a table.

I also purchased a “D” charm in man-made opal to hang around my neck.  I love it so very much.  For whatever reason, it has given me clarity and focus.  So much so, I went to TDM Napa today for a great class with Christie.  I cleaned house and made a good dinner for our whole family.  Weez painted, H finished his homework.  It was an ideal night at the Christo’s.  Finally, I feel that we can start 2017 as a family.  Kind of a relief, with a huge dose of JOY.

new song

With every post from friends and people I follow bidding a passionate farewell to 2016, I’ve thought, “I don’t have ill will towards the past year.”  It was a year that absolutely flew by and for the most part, I thought, went fairly well.

The first day of the new year was spent lazily watching kids shoot off their rockets, sipping on wine, occasionally looking up at the football games.  We had a super low key party the night before at our good friend’s house.  Not much drama other than Mariah’s disastrous performance on Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve. I made black eyed peas, a southern good luck tradition that I do every year, they turned out just okay.

Today, January 2nd, I am struggling.  I am now reflecting on the things in 2016 that will follow me through he new year.  I sold my half of TDM to a new owner, but the loan for the business will haunt me for five more years.  While I didn’t vote for Trump, the uncertainty and absolute ignorance of his leadership is terrifying.  I work hard.  Really hard.  That’s not going to change.  It will likely just get busier and the work more complex.

I am entering this new year no better than last.  That makes me sad.  Little has improved, in fact, things have gotten harder.  Despite this, I am forcing myself to embrace each day as something special.  I plan to push myself both physically and mentally.  Here’s how I plan to hold myself accountable and in control of as much as I am able:

  1. Do something physically active for at least 30 minutes.  If a full Dailey class works into it all, fantastic.  Should my only window be during Weezy’s bath, and I have to use the counter top to do push-ups, fine.  But there must be blood flow and an increased heartbeat.  Every. Single. DAY.
  2. Meditation.  I am no pro at this, trust me.  But I do know that setting even five minutes aside to ground helps me majorly.  I will aim for the morning, but will put it to work when I can.  Often is my requirement.
  3. Limit my alcohol to the weekends.  This may be a pipe dream, but there it is.
  4. Prepare foods for everyone in my family.  Cooking brings me great joy.  I love to peddle around in the kitchen.  We are all as a family going to eat better and together more often.
  5. Spend time with friends and family doing things that are important.  Board games.  Hiking.  No more mindless cocktails while I let the kids melt their brains on iPads.  We all have fun together.  That’s rare and awesome.

It is a start.  I refuse to let this year get off and running without me being a part of it, doing my part, for me.  My family needs me at 100%.  I need me at 100%.  If you are feeling the same, let me know.  I would love a warrior to partner with.  Heck, if you have even read this far, thank you.  That’s all I really need is your support.

Love,

D

backstory

One week ago, I was at this very moment, under general anesthesia while a total laparoscopic hysterectomy was happening to me.  The surgery took about three hours. My doctor, Dr. Gonzalez, is a master at this type of procedure, so I knew I was in good hands.  Even still, it is major surgery and there’s lots that go into getting prepared for such a thing.  I had an EKG, a chest x-ray, plus a dozen containers of blood drawn.  I did the terrible colonoscopy prep the night before, after being on clear liquids for 24 hours, starving.

All for good reason, I later found out.  I had over 20 fibroid tumors, all benign, and some endometriosis on one part of my uterus.  I now have eliminated my chances of cervical cancer (don’t have one anymore), uterine cancer (obvs, gone too) or ever having a period again!  I can’t imagine how life will be not having to literally hunker down for a whole day each month.  I was in terrible pain, I couldn’t leave my house.  Now, all of the conversations I had with myself like “this cannot be normal” are over.

The recovery from surgery has been easy.  Really.  That’s not me trying to sound like superwoman.  My personal experience has been great.  Having polled friends that have had this same procedure, I was expecting to be bed-bound for at least a week.  Most said they weren’t back to regular function until three weeks had passed.  That was literally the only thing that freaked me out about this procedure.  I don’t have three weeks to rest.  Especially with the holidays knocking at our door!  Call it determination, mind over body, not sure what exactly…but I am totally fine and despite an abdomen that looks like I took four bullets at close range, I feel fantastic.

I am so grateful to my family and friends that have taken such good care of me this past week.  My fabulous friend Jenn made me homemade dashi broth to sip the day before surgery (also took the kids for a day, brought me treats).  My dearest and fellow “hyster-sister” Alyssa and her hubs took both kids the night prior for a sleepover and an all day play date with their kiddos. The ever-loving Jen Freeto M.D. sat with G while I was in the operation room, and relieved him so he could get scripts filled while I was in recovery.  My mom brought soup, plus goodies from Bouchon Bakery.  My neighbor sent the most delicious dinner from Food Shed.  And the flowers!  I received the most beautiful posies.

There are lots of reasons that I am beyond okay and doing so well. I feel lucky.  I feel humbled.  I feel grateful for many, many things.  Here’s to being uterus free!

cold feet

Today it feels, well, cold.  Yes, the high is supposed to be 63.  But for Californians, that’s starting to dip down into the brr zone.  Recently, I threw out a ton of slippers and house shoes.  When I saw these on a friend’s instagram, I nearly died.  Look how cute these Ugg scuffettes are!?  The Pendleton print is just adorable.  Santa, I have been a good girl all year long.

 

end of summer + beginning again

In an effort to re-kick-start the kick-start of the start of my blog, I would like to wax about the end of summer and what that means to me.  Summer ended, yesterday, really.  That was it.  School is officially in session, full-time.  Both kids are on the same schedule finally, which makes life so much easier.  With the Olympics ending and football season beginning, I crave cooler temperatures and hearty food.  Knowing as I do, there are always a few sneaker days between now and Halloween where it is absolutely smoking hot. October in general is always warmer than anyone wants.  But to get my mind prepared, a slow transition must begin.

I fight internally; feeling like I should ignore the corn and heirloom tomatoes and load up on squash and braising meats.  I keep reaching for my boots and plaids, when really the JCrew city shorts should still be at first grab.  Iced tea to hot tea.  Cajun Shrimp nails to Malaga Wine.  The sun is at that angle, where you know change is upon us.  The problem is that change happens so quickly, there is really never a time to soak it in, moment by moment like I would like.

What helps to make the transition an acceptable one for me is to plan.  Bring out the calendar and start marking things up all the way to December.  To plan things strategically so that there are milestones and earmarks.  Getting organized by day, week month and balance of the year helps tremendously.  Yesterday I planned the week’s worth of meals, and I have even planned a few breakfast bites, so there is no room for that blank stare.  When my fridge is stocked with things that have a purpose, I am happy.  Nothing is more disappointing than looking at a fridge full to the brim with nothing I want or can use.  The freezer also has options for quick meals post-baseball when we get home late.  Sundays we have implemented “Everyone Eats the Same” which probably sounds ridiculous to most families.  But Sunday we all come up with the menu, sit together, and eat what’s on our plate.  It is a step for us.  Don’t judge.

Today, I ordered a leopard print dress.  I am drinking more water. I am lowering my dose of crazy pills.  Lamb shanks are braising for dinner, but I am serving them with a cool couscous salad.  It is a start, and I think I am ready.