New living room ideas, dark or light?

New living room ideas, dark or light?

Surya rug
64 CAD – hayneedle.com

Sketch drawing
11,135 CAD – 1stdibs.com

Framed wall art
780 CAD – uttermost.com

Steel wall art
455 CAD – urbanremainschicago.com

West Elm abstract canvas wall art
390 CAD – westelm.com

Agate book end
325 CAD – calypsostbarth.com

Wall art
295 CAD – dwellstudio.com

Oliver Gal Artist Co modern home decor
265 CAD – zincdoor.com

Addison Ross modern picture frame
130 CAD – bloomingdales.com

Mina Victory white accent pillow
130 CAD – nordstrom.com

DENY Designs motivational wall art
130 CAD – nordstrom.com

Threshold faux silk panel
33 CAD – target.com

Accent chair
4,120 CAD – hivemodern.com

Jonathan adler furniture
2,945 CAD – jonathanadler.com

Pastel furniture
850 CAD – zanui.com.au

Modern table
785 CAD – capsulehome.com

Glass side table
520 CAD – alexanderandpearl.co.uk

No fears or tears… my road to becoming a freelance writer.

Whoever said Instagram was a waste of time or just pretty pictures was wrong, why? Well last week my feed presented me with an  incredible opportunity, Domino magazine put out the call for freelance writers and this Momma jumped at the chance.

For a long time I let fear of failure rule my life, never reaching towards the dream of being successful in my creative endeavors.  My lofty goals were tucked away in a box buried under responsibilities and self doubt. The fear of failure can be a huge hurdle for people to overcome, but if you never try you’ve only got yourself to blame for not full filling those dreams. After Miss E was born I made the decision that I could’t let control my life anymore, everything I do now is for her and I’ve  got to be successful to provide for my family.

As I said,I jumped and contacted them about being a contributor. The response back was swift and I was asked to write a test coming up with a few story proposals.  I spent a few days coming up with my submission sent it of and hoped for the best, but remained realistic about all possible outcomes.   Needless to say I didn’t get the job, but that’s okay. The whole experience was a positive one, the editor has been encouraging and told me I can always contact her with story ideas in the future, which I will definitely be doing. Until that day comes I will keep working hard to learn more about my craft.  Every step I take is in the right direction and I can now say that I will not be afraid to put myself out there anymore.

To all of you out there who are holding back, don’t let fear rule your life. Get yourself out there and work hard, then maybe one day all your dreams may come true and if they don’t at least you can say you tried.

How to start saving money on kids clothes.

Who doesn’t love shopping for baby clothes? I love it a little to much and before my daughter was born I went a little over board picking up every cute little piece I could find.  The excitement got the better of me and I spent just a wee bit to  much money, but my saving grace was that I never paid full price for anything.

How do you control your spending and appropriately plan out what you are going to need with out buying or spending to much, well here are just a few tips that I’ve figured out over the past year that should help you save some money and keep your little fashionably cute for the years to come.

First off always wait for the sale. Kids clothes can be rather pricey these days and paying the full ticket price can sting. Your always better off waiting till the middle of the season to pick up the things your child really needs, unless it’s a hot ticket item like a snowsuit ( trust me those go fast, you want to scoop’em up ASAP). Most retailers begin initial markdowns about a month or two after product hits the shelves. If you wait your looking at a discount of about 20-30%. If Back to School starts in August look for deals  by the beginning of October. Why wait two months? Think about transition periods in seasons and shopping season. Retailers have to keep product fresh and get new items in for the holidays or whichever the next  roll out package maybe.

End of season sales need to be marked on your calendars. Please note this and highlight it , put it in your phone, sign up for newsletters do what you have to, but do not miss this opportunity.  This is the time when you can save big by purchasing items for next year.   All retailers want to clear out product to make space for the next season and holding onto goods is not ideal for their bottom line. They have goals to make each quarter and anything left in the inventory looks bad on their gross profit margins.  We have all seen those big red signs “Final Clearance” take notice and run in there. Many stores like the GAP,  Old Navy,  Joe Fresh,  will offer an additional % off already reduced items. That could mean and extra 20% or if the shopping gods are being favorable an extra 40% off the last ticketed price. Think about that cute little dress at Baby Gap you saw at the beginning of the season that was $40 might only cost you $10.

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By doing this I was able to snag Miss E’s entire summer wardrobe for next year at for under $60, that’s 7 tee’s, 3  pairs of pants, 4  pairs of shorts, 2 dresses, 3 tanks, a light weight jacket, splash pants, and some socks. Is your mind blown…mine was.

Growing up if you were the youngest hand me downs were inevitable,  you hated wearing them, but  your parents saved serious money.  If you have friends or family with older kids find out if they have anything they would be willing to part with. I’m more then certain that they’d be willing to unload some of the stuff currently taking up space in their basements and help save you some money.  In some case you could get lucky and never have to shop again. My sister is friends with a lot of other moms and rarely has had to buy clothes for her youngest. Between her network of moms, they have passed around everything a child could possible need and collectively saved a small fortune in the process.

Never turn up your nose at thrifting, first off it’s a fraction of the cost of buying new and secondly  most kids are not even in the clothes long enough that anything ever looks to worn. Make it a habit to frequent your local Goodwill, Value Village and consignment shops on a regular basis. I’ve found some great deals on items that were barely worn, some pieces even with the tags still on.  Some digging might be required but in the long run it’s totally worth it.

If your not into hitting up the thrift stores or are not able to get out of the house another option are online sites like these;

MiniTrade, Baby Outfitters, ThredUPBoomerang Kids, iSpy Clothing,

Here is just a small peek at some of the deals you could score over your morning coffee aka morning nap time.

 If you have any tips or tricks on saving big on kids clothes please share. I’m sure ever momma out there is looking to save a buck or two and maybe splurge on oh say a nice bottle of pinot.
Look for my follow article coming this weekend on efficient wardrobe planing for your babes. Until then be well and  be kind.
A

We survived the first year and celebrated with Blueberry pie!

Recently we celebrated Miss E’s  1st Birthday. To us it was a big deal as we survived the first year with our wits intact for the most part, but to her it was nothing at all. Except for the yummy treats, that got her attention😉

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Thinking back on it now, after the world wind  “Fam jam” we had, it’s amazing to think that Miss E has only been with us for 12 months, but in my mind it seems that she’s been here since before the dawn of time. I barely remember what life was like before she came into our lives and can’t imagine a day without her. Through all the sleepless nights, the tears (some were hers, but most were mine), the milestones, and messes, I ‘ll be that cheesy mom who says “She is the best thing that every happened to me”.

If your wondering about the lack of cake, well we had a homemade blueberry pie. Miss E loves her blueberries and who doesn’t like pie.

Blue Berry Pie

Crust 

2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

2 tbsp of coconut palm sugar or granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup of unsalted butter (cubed and kept cold)

1/2 cup of whole milk  (3%) add 2-3 tablespoons of milk if necessary

Filling

4 cups of fresh blueberries

1/2 cups of coconut palm sugar or granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp of ground  nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 ground coriander

3 tbsp of flour

For the crust:

In a large bowl blend together your flour, salt , and  sugar. Cut the cold butter into cubes, then add to your flour mixture working it together with your hands until it looks shaggy, When all the dry ingredients are combined with the butter make a well in the center and pour in your milk.  After the dough begins to stick together knead on a lightly floured work surface for about 5 minutes till the dough is smooth. Divide into 2 and lightly roll into a disc ( try not to work the dough to much, as you want your pastry to be nice and flaky), wrap in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.

Now for the filling:

First combine  your sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, coriander, and flour. Give these ingredients a good stir till everything is mixed. Now pour in your cleaned blueberries stir in gently, then add in the lemon juice and make sure that they become completely coated in the mixture.

Place the blueberry mixture in the fridge while you roll out the bottom part of you crust.

Now is the time to preheat your oven. 350 degrees please!

You can lightly flour your work surface or what I do is use a piece of  plastic wrap to roll out my dough. This will help make it easier to transfer the  dough into your pie tin afterwards.   Roll out your crust till the dough is about 1/4 thick or thinner. Once that is done take your pie tin and place it upside down on  your crust, now carefully flip both the tin and your crust, gently press the dough into the pan with your fingers. Leave the plastic wrap on the inside of your shell and place back in the fridge.  Then roll out the top part of the crust, once that is finished take out the bottom part of your shell and the blueberries.  Remove the plastic wrap from your shell and pour in the blueberries, then whisk an egg and lightly brush the edges of the pie, once that is done add the top crust and firmly seal both top and bottom together. Take a knife and trim of the excess pie crust, then using two fingers press along the edges making a ruffle effect or use a fork, which ever tickles you. Cut a few slits in the top to allow for steam to escape and finish by brushing the top with the whisked egg and sprinkle on a little bit of sugar ( this will give it a  beautiful golden color).

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Now your pie is ready for the oven.  Place the pie on a cookie sheet to prevent any messes and get that pie in the oven on the middle rack for about 45- 50 minutes. Please note some oven may take longer to cook then others, but in my case we have an gas range that cooks everything at turbo speed.  So if the pie needs to stay in a few extra minutes go for it, you know your oven. When it’s done take it out and let it cool for a bit, then enjoy!

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Should I stay or should I go now?

There is big decision every new parent has to make when their time at home is coming to an end. Do I return to work or do I become a stay at home parent. Depending on your situation the decision can be quite easy, but in most cases it’s one of the most difficult ones to make.

In Canada we have a year’s paid maternity leave ( government unemployment insurance that we’ve all paid into), but as the months ticked by I became increasingly more anxious about what to do.  I made lists to weigh pro’s and cons, tried making all kinds of alternative budgets to make either decision more feasible. I started seeking other better paying employment opportunities, and work from home options. I had countless notebooks compiled with endless information and plans on what I was going to do, yet still I was hesitant on making the decision.

My biggest dilemma with returning to work was daycare. First the cost, then the availability of spaces for infants were two big hurdles. I applied for subsidy daycare through the City of Toronto and got Miss E onto as many wait lists that were affiliated with the program. I figured that if I qualified ( that’s a big “IF”), I might be able to go back to work, seeing as how the average daycare in this city can run you more then a months rent (avg $1850 a month).  Retail merchandisers don’t make a whole heck of a lot of money , so this plan was stringent on my success with the Subsidy board.  After not hearing a peep from the city for months, I called them relentlessly for weeks trying to get an appointment, so I could get an answer out of them, which in turn would allow me to give the all to important answer back to my boss if I was indeed returning or not. Anyone else going through this process please do not wait on the city of Toronto they’re like that guy who doesn’t call you back. You have to be the aggressive one in this pseudo relationship.  After weeks of calling, being put on hold and eventually hung up on, I finally got through scoring my meeting with the board.  I then scrambled to get all my paper work together.  During this whole process my one guaranteed daycare spot was given away. I had already confirmed with my boss that I was coming back, I had a start date for my return to work.  Within a two day span I was  cold calling daycares around the city, applying to more wait lists, filling out countless applications, and paying silly fees that I would never get back.  My head was spinning and this whole thing was driving me crazy.

It was the weekend before my meeting, that Mr. H and I had a few to many glasses of wine, which prompted a serious slightly boozy discussion on what our plan was.  In our haze we sat down on the beaten up couch and crunched numbers and honestly considered what our future might be if I did go back to work.  We calculated that even with support from subsidy there would still be too many additional costs and variables that would end up digging us into the financial hole every month without a ladder to get out. If I had the potential to be making a higher income it could have worked, but it wasn’t our immediate reality and didn’t make any sense returning to a job with very little prospects. So, the decision was made, I would become a “Stay at home mom” or “SAHM” as we liked to be abbreviated.  I meet with my boss the next week and resigned my position, canceled my  subsidy meeting and took our daughter off all the wait lists.  It’s now official I’m a SAHM.

It would have been nice returning to work, I’ve always been one of those weird people that enjoys working, but being at home with my babe will be one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had the privilege of doing.  In a way though I will be a working stay at home mom. My plans are to work for Mr. H helping out with the paper work, study to become a real estate agent in my spare time and of course writing.  Who knows maybe you’ll see my words on another site somewhere and think.. hmm I know that voice.  Until then the Hepburn’s will be living modestly, until this Momma starts making some dough. If anyone out there needs a writer/merchandising consultant/ buyer/ stylist/ personal shopper I’m your woman.

Ultimately there is no right or wrong in being a working parent or one that stays at home, it’s really all about what works best for your family in the end. Either way both paths are a full time jobs, just in different environments.  Whatever you choose don’t let others shame you about it, hold your head up and tell them it’s your life and it’s none of their business and if you decide to stick your tongue out give em’ a big old raspberry you cheeky devil.

Mean Girls at this age????

Making mom friends is like trying to make friends in high school. You feel as if everyone is judging everything about you and your child ( who for all purposes is usually an innocent bystander). In these circumstances yourself confidence is none existent, any back bone you may have grown since leaving high school has turned to jelly, and your need for recognition from your peers is at an all time high.

I’ve tried Mommy groups, which from my experience are full of  negativity and people looking to act out a passive aggressive warfare that could rival the Cold War arms race. Why do we bother to over analysis other people parenting skills and compare them to ourselves? Which mom is doing to much or not enough. “What do you mean you don’t have your child enrolled in Montessori school yet??? You should have done that while they were in the womb. Now they’ll never get into the top universities” ” your going to put your child in daycare, oh I cold never do that”  Your kidding me, right?  or my favorite “WHAT YOU STOPPED BREAST FEEDING!!!” (oh btw, never feel guilty about giving up on breast feeding, for some people it just doesn’t work no matter how hard you try, don’t let anyone shame you about it. We had a terrible time and I just wasn’t producing enough for my colicky babe. The bottle made her happy and healthy. Formula for the WIN!)  My mom has the best answers for these situations and that is “everyone has a different life and what works for some doesn’t work for everyone. The most important thing to remember is  to do what works for you”. My personal favorite ” why, is it your business?” I’ve retorted with a few of those when faced with some rather judgmental attitudes and it pretty much shuts them down cold.  I hate feeling the need to defend myself our other mothers from these types, but you just have to remember not to let it effect you or your child. Sometimes they mean well, but there are those who get off on making others feel like crap… to you I say “grow up already”.

There are some women out there who are dead serious about this kind of stuff and will simply pass judgement on a momma  by what stroller she happens to be pushing or how well your put together. Even for those momma’s who can pull off  getting themselves out of the”lulu pants”, doing your hair and makeup, be prepared to receive the look. You know what I mean..the I just smelled something “stank face” laced with a dash of bitterness. Well, let me just say that if a woman manages to have the time to herself to get ready, we should be applauding and give the overworked momma a complement rather then a dirty look and a back handed comment.  We are all sisters and we must stick together and support one another as we navigate our paths through motherhood.

Speaking of put together, for years I worked in a very “La Di Da” area of the city, where the fashionable mom’s wear expensive yoga gear everyday that has never seen a drop of sweat, it was a surreal experience in seeing how the other class lives. Three children was the trendy number to have, privates school’s and nannies a must, being surrounded by the kind of women you feel would judge you Mean Girl style, I was always surprised how they always seemed unaffected to other peoples opinions of their parenting style or lack there of.  I learned a thing or two from these Fashion Mommies, to just not give a shit about what other people are saying or doing. Just sit back, enjoy your glass of pinot grigio and get on with your life, because it’s to short and the precious time we have to spend with our little ones shouldn’t be bogged down by negativity.

That being said, I’m still on the search for new mommy friends, so I’ve joined a Mom Date site called Hello Mama. Funny thing is I actually thought of this idea the other day and was doing market research to see if I should develop it, then discovered one already existed.  I will let you know how it goes.

Naptime… Ha!

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The garbage is waiting to be taken out, an old rug rolled up in the corner that needs to be aired out in the back yard, bathroom needs to be cleaned, and the vacuuming has been on the back burner for several days now.  Normally all these tasks would be a breeze to accomplish and I’d have a chance to squeeze in a shower, but Miss E has decided that the word NAP doesn’t exists in her world anymore. wpid-20150422_133831.jpgAt the moment I’m watching her attempts to remodel her crib, by pulling down her breathable bumper pads. This has become her new favorite thing to do in her crib, the other activities she enjoys are spinning around and then practice her crawling, which she usually gives up and does a face plant into the side of her crib and screams till I come to her rescue.

We are currently experiencing what they call the 8-10 month sleep regression, and it’s a battle most momma’s who’ve experienced it will tell you feels like a back slide of any kind of routine that was previously established.  We had a pretty good one to, that took weeks to develop and became the pillar of my continuing sanity. First bottle at 7 ish, back down for a morning nap around 8am, up for breakfast at 10am, a 20-30 minute midday snooze, and a good nap in the afternoon from 3-5.  Then dinner at 5:30 and off to bed at 7.  I feel pretty lucky, we worked so hard to have such a  great schedule. This is only a bump in the road I’m told by other momma’s who have already experienced this phase, and that is exactly what we’ve got to remember it’s only a phase and it won’t last to much longer, but Little Miss No Nap, does have to get her rest. This Momma will try every trick in her book to get a nap out this kid, otherwise we face true sleep regression which means, she’s to amped up to sleep at all.  When babies don’t get enough rest they get cranky, but when they start to miss to much sleep is when the real problems start. It goes from missing naps to not sleeping at night, frequent wakings, which will send a Momma back to square one, with under eye circles included… oh  and sorry I’m out of  coffee.

So what do you do? This momma doesn’t have all the answer, but so far this what has been helping us get through this interesting time.

1. Remove anything that could be to stimulating from the crib or anything from their vantage point. Babies will be distracted by bright colors and patterns, I didn’t realize at the time, but Miss E had full view of some fun little knick-knacks and toys that were keeping her to preoccupied to sleep. She also has been investing serious time into pulling down her breathable bumper pads, I will be taking them out later when she’s up, whom I kidding she’s probably up. ( EDIT: Please note, I only get to post in short time allotments, I started this one on Tuesday last week and am only now getting to finish it a  week later)

2. If your baby is trying to crawl or up to other monkey business in their crib, get a sleep slack, trust me they help. At first your little adventurer might still try to continue their shenanigans, but will realize it’s far to tiring and difficult to do anything while in a sleep sack.  If you’re unfamiliar with what a sleep sack is, think of a baby sized sleeping bag with arm holes. Then imagine yourself trying to roll around and crawl in a sleeping bag, near impossible right? It was a game changer, she will settle down more easily in her snuggly sack, then with just a blanket. Although she still manages to sit up, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

3. Try to maintain your nap time schedule the best you can. For us this was difficult. I would put her down while awake, but sleepy. She knows how to sleep on her own without to much intervention on my part, but for the last couple of weeks she has been more dependent on bottles, rocking, tummy rubs..etc. When I would lay her down she’d roll over and start rocking, whining, which would end in her screaming or playing in her crib. She would soldier through the whole day without a minute of sleep and some serious grumpattitude, but when nap time rolled around we would try again and again and again till she finally gave in  and had a nap. Please keep in mind you should never just leave your child in there crib to just scream for anything length of time, especially if they don’t know how to self sooth. When they start up, go in and check on them offer comfort, then try again and again, and again if need be. You never know if you don’t check up on them, they could be in serious trouble, your babe could be caught in between the crib rails, tangled up in blankets, banged their heads while practicing new skills. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to check on my little monkey and she’s got her legs stuck in the rails or a good size red welt from head butting her crib.

Things are starting to settle back to a more normal routine around here. I’ve finally managed to catch up a few things and get  some sleep. Life with a baby can be challenging at times, but I would never give up a second of it, even the rough patches. Every smile is worth every minute of lost sleep.

If anyone has any great tips or stories to share on this subject please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.   Till another time, hopefully soon.

Be well and be kind.

A

Natural Beauty from the kitchen

Proper skin care is my worst nightmare, creams with ingredients which require a wiki search, heavily scented to the point of nausea, and the expense… Cruising the drug store beauty aisle is not my idea of fun what so ever, so what is a momma to do?

Hit the Kitchen!!
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So far after some trial and error, trust me there was a few times I questioned some of treatments. Side note don’t use turmeric unless your prepared for nasty yellow stains .

Something I’ve been doing for years, which is one of my favorite beauty tricks is baking soda as an facial exfoliator.  After reading an article from the CBC on how the use of commercial exfoliating products was destroying the ecosystem in our waterways, I decided to make a change to my skincare regime ( not that I had much of one in the first place). All those lovely little micro plastic scrubbers in your cleansers and toothpaste are polluting our lakes and oceans slowly killing the wildlife.  After doing some research baking soda seemed like a great option as a replacement for micro scrubbers and gave the same results as a product with beta-hydroxy acid, the bonus I wouldn’t be damaging my already sensitive skin. Baking soda is easy to use, I keep a small container ready to go in my bathroom to apply on my face in the shower or added to my favorite cleanser (Sukin Organics Sensitive cleansing lotion). The results of using baking soda once a week, my skin feels softer and cleaner. The only issue is that baking soda has a high alkaline content, if used to often or in large amounts it can cause irritation.   I apply only a small amount, using very gentle circular motions and wash off quickly.  I then follow up with some rose water or witch hazel to restore my skins natural Ph levels and finish off with a moisturizer.

Sugar isn’t just for baking , it’s also great for sloughing of dead skin. Everyone has come across some sort of fancy sugar scrub recipe, some have a huge list of ingredients when really it doesn’t need to bet that complicated. All you need is 1 cup of sugar (take your pick granulated white or delectable smelling brown sugar) and 1/2 cup of coconut oil. Mix them together and store in an air tight container and you’ve got yummy smelling exfoliating power direct from your pantry.  This can be messy, I recommend applying this dreamy mixture to your skin in the bath tub before you take a shower.

I love lemons! There I said it.  I sneak some tart juice into everything that passes through my kitchen much to Mr. H’s dismay. Those little yellow wonders are also great for cleaning around your house, but I love it for skin care.  Growing up I remember reading in Anne of Green Gables one of the characters recommend she use it to bleach her freckles from her nose. Now this was back in the day before everyone had access to the internet in there home , so fact checking was not an easy option for a kid from small a town with no public transit. Sorry kid no trips to the library. Sick to death of my freckles I gave it a try and rubbed a lemon all over my face, shoulders, arms, anywhere a freckle lived I was out to destroy it. I realized after my skin started to burn, that I was using way to much and should maybe take it easy.  Now a days I’ve taking the advice of some more reliable sources and only use just a small wedge with some honey and apply it to any blackheads after having cleansed my skin.  The blackheads don’t completely disappear on the first application but I have notice they’re less noticeable. The citric acid works as an astringent and much like beta hydroxy acid

Creamy and yummy avocados are one of the strangest yet wonderful things in this world, it always used to baffle me how it was considered a fruit, more so than tomatoes. We go through a bag of avocados in just a few days, between Miss E and I, we must consume one each everyday. On top of that making masks for my hair or face every week. Another great thing you don’t need to do much to it all, just mash and apply. You can add honey or sometimes I like to mix a little powered red clay from the health food store and use it as a facial mask. I leave it on till it dries or goes brown whichever comes first.

These are just a few natural solutions, A quick search of the internet will surely give a gal inspiration to raid her pantry. If you would like me to post more on the subject let me know in the comments section. I’ll test different things out and give you all the highlights of the disasters and the real winners.  If you’ve tried anything let me know what worked, what did you incorporate into your weekly beauty routine and what would you never try again.

The Never Ending pain in the neck… tra-la la la la la.

I’ve been agonizing about whether writing this post is a good idea or not. The purpose in creating The Modern Hepburns was about a positive course correction in my new life as a momma and wife, it was about not losing myself in my new role and forgetting who I used to be, but the the last month was a bit rough. I didn’t want what I was experiencing to tarnish the voice I’d built here, so I kept quiet. Now that I’m starting to feel better and life is returning to normal I feel I can talk about it honestly and hopefully not come across as being over dramatic.  Being open about things has been hard for me, it’s difficult to know who you can trust and who has your back  at a time when your most vulnerable.  Yet here I am exposing myself all over the internet, I’m a walking, talking oxymoron.

But here it is… I was in pain every waking minute of the day and night. I had experienced the same physical symptoms in the fall and had visited to 2 doctors int the city, a dentist, had far to may labs done, 2 rounds of antibiotics, and visited a yogi. I hesitated in making a trek all the way out to no man’s land to see my trusted family doctor of the last 30 plus years, because I knew this trip with a finkie baby would be a nightmare, so I just suffered in silence and popped pain killers like candy. Nothing I’d tried worked and I was becoming afraid of what might happen if I let it continue.  Everyday was unending, I dragged myself out of bed and went through the motions of appearing fine. When someone asked how I was doing I’d answer with gritted teeth through the pain that I was “great, never better”.  Reality was, my head was constantly splitting, my neck ached, my shoulders felt as if they were being pulled apart, I was constantly dizzy (I didn’t trust myself to pick up Miss E), and the worst part was the longer I let it go the further the pain spread through out my body. Some days I could barely move.

It wasn’t until I was out with Miss E (please note I was wearing her in the baby carrier at the time) on a mission to pick something up for dinner, when I was over come by a wave of dizziness and splitting pain which was going to cause me to faint.  The fear of falling and my baby girl getting hurt made me stop to sit on the closest bench I could stumble to.  I tried calling Mr.H to see if he could come walk me home, but his phone was busy. So, I called someone who everyone calls when their in trouble not 911, but my own Momma.  Just hearing her voice was reassuring even if she couldn’t help me, because she lives over an hour away. I needed to have someone on the phone to talk me through it and to be there in case anything did happen, causing Miss E who was already pretty helpless to be put into a dire situation. I didn’t want to leave her unprotected at a time when I was to weak to do anything.  I eventually was able to pull it together and a 10 minute walk home took me a half hour with no dinner in hand. (Thank you Dominos delivery for being there for me that night).  That day was my proverbial “straw the broke the camel’s back” moment.  My Momma called me later that night and told me she had made an appointment with our family doctor and that she was going to pick us up (btw as most city dwellers, I don’t drive), so we were going!

When the day came, my Momma picked Miss E and I up and we drove all the way out to “Scarberia” (as it’s unaffectionately know by everyone) to see the Doctor. My Mom sat with a rowdy Miss E, while I went in for my appointment. My Doc checked me out, moved this part , felt that gland in my neck, checked my eyes… yada yada… order some testes (ex-rays, blood work), but said it looked to him that I might have Osteoarthritis in my neck and spine. He would wait to confirm this after the tests, but this was a major break through for me. No more worrying about a botched epidural, my pain finally had a possible name. After my test results came in his suspicion was confirmed at our follow up. He gave me some exercises to do, told me which medication to take, and a few alterations to my diet I would be feeling great. For the most part his recommendations worked, but what I didn’t know was that if you suffer from Osteoarthritis expect to have seasonal flare ups. Some are affected by the cold weather or humidity, but for me the dampness of early spring and fall are a nightmare. Let’s just say I would rather go through childbirth again then live in constant gnawing pain for months.  Funny thing, at the hospital they always ask you from 1-10 what is your pain level…at the time labor wasn’t bad pain wise I could manage at a pain level of 7 or 8. That was until they gave me oxytocin, contractions every 2 minutes  or less for 8 plus hours = no fun, but that would at least end, the arthritis pain will be with me forever and some days it’s a 6 others it’s a 9.

For most of March up until last weekend I’ve been fighting through it and trying to go about my daily life as if everything was normal, but that was not the case. I stopped doing things I loved in favor of taking care of the priorities, because I knew I only had enough in me to get a few things done. I was doing my exercises 3 times a day, knocking back pain killers and just hoping that it would end.  People would tell me I looked tire, then make  some off color comment about how the baby must be keeping me up, uh wrong!  The pain kept me up and thank you very much for telling me I look like a tired piece of crap, it’s greatly appreciated. Me being nice would just laugh and say “oh no, she’s a great sleeper I’m so lucky” then walk away, when we all pretty much know what I really wanted to to say. On the positive side, I’m starting to feel better and I have all these half finished posts  I’d been working on last month, that I need to edit and get out there for you to read. I didn’t realize till I logged in today how much material I had, but just didn’t have the energy to finish ( sitting the last month has been excruciating, so being on a computer for any length of time was painful).  I’m going to be working my way through my back log posts the next couple of weeks.

If anyone out there is experiencing something similar, don’t worry I got your back. I’ll explore new recipes using foods with anti inflammatory benefits, share with you my failed exercise attempts, what works and what you might want to avoid, and be your sounding board for any crap that comes our way.  Osteoarthritis might be here to stay, but I’ll make it my bitch.

Be well and be kind

A

Frizz free… we’ll see???

I’ll admit it, I horde hair products. Half empty bottles, unopened packages, hair packs, oils, let’s just say I could open a salon. In my defense my intentions are good, but I never get around to experimenting with all these products. The term “Frizz free” is a real motivator with most of my ill fated purchases. The fantasy that I to could have Pantene fabulous hair from a bottle(s) is my number one reason for giving into this compulsion to buy and pray that someday just someday I might be able to brush my hair when it’s dry or not lose my cool when people try to touch my hair. That’s right you know who you are, so please control your greasy hands and keep them out of peoples hair.

Since it’s spring the need to declutter my life has sprung up, I decided to tackle the vanity cupboards and cull my precious collection of hair products. I got rid of anything that I couldn’t remember buying ( who knows how old it is.. question do hair products expire??? Yes they do! Thanks Dirty Looks for answering my question). One thing that was taking up space, I had bought with the intention of banishing my frizz… for at least 30 days.  Marc Anthony Bye Bye Frizz keratin smoothing treatment I picked up while still pregnant with Miss E before we were suppose to go on a trip to Central America. I thought this would be a great product to use to combat the humidity, but later found out pregnant women shouldn’t use keratin, because it hasn’t been thoroughly tested. So there it sat forgotten collecting dust under my sink, until now.

Since Miss E takes a fairly long morning nap, I had a “it’s now or never” moment and opened the box. I had no idea how long this was going to take me, given that my hair is thick and my curls can be unruly.  I started by washing my hair with the clarify shampoo provided, twice without conditioning ( I almost died from lack of a cream rinse).  Following the instructions I blow dried my hair to 80% dryness, then applied the Keratin treatment section by achingly small section and proceeded to bundle up my poofball into a plastic baggy on top of my head to let the whole mess set for 30 minutes. (Please not this is a sans makeup photo. The crazy eyes just add to the overall insane cat lady look I’m usually rocking in the mornings).wpid-img_20150325_210402.jpg   Also I totally broke a comb, 1 pt for my mass of hair…comb Zero.

The whole time I’m doing this I’m dreading Miss E waking up and having to swoop in to rescue her from the dire peril of the dreaded crib. Lucky for me she was in the mood to nap this morning.

After waiting for my hair to set, I had to blow out my hair with paddle brush.  My hair might be short  now, but I still have a lot of it and this took a considerable amount of time.wpid-img_20150325_210653.jpg I finally made it all the way through every last strand, had the flat iron cooking at 420, hair sectioned off and ready to get going on the straighten. I got about two tiny sections in and I heard a howl imitating from the front of the house. Miss E was up. I put down the flat iron and came to her rescue from the wretched poopy diaper.

Happy baby in tow I set up her high chair in the hall way outside the bathroom door, prepped her breakfast and sat her down to watch as her Momma tortured her poor hair some more.wpid-img_20150325_214244.jpg Miss E happily gobbled down her toast, fruit and whatever else I threw down to keep her happy. Cheerios are a literal live saver, those little round O’s helped me at least make it through half of my hair. Thank you General Mills!  I’m such a lucky Momma that Miss E can be so easy going and is willing to sit there and watch me do this all without complaining.

While straighten you have to do each section 5-7 times.  I noticed that hair gets extremely hot, I burned my hand just holding sections. Trust me it isn’t pretty, so I recommend using a glove. I dug around in my purse for one of my winter gloves just to protect my hands from the heat. You’ve been warned use protection and I’m not talking about the baby.  When Miss E was just about finishing her breakfast I was almost done this whole crazy process. I straightened the last few small sections I had left  it was DONE! wpid-img_20150325_192527.jpgIt took me almost 3 hours from washing to straighten and the results weren’t that bad.  Maybe there is some hope in a bottle. This isn’t part of the treatment, but my ends were looking a little rough, so I finished off the tips with some coconut oil.

I’m almost satisfied with the results, my hair is straight and not as frizzy as it usually is. My blow out skills are still not to the level of the ladies at H2Goa, but I’m not a pro like those amazing hair goddesses. I did notice that tonight when Miss E was splashing around in her bath and my hair got a little damp, the frizz made a return. I guess that’s why they tell you not to wash your hair for 2 days after doing this treatment. Oh well c’est la vie I guess.