About Denise

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Three things I’m grateful for this week: March 27

Thankful Thursday 200x300 Three things Im grateful for this week: March 27

Making lemonade from lemons!

  • Our vacation to Phoenix for Spring Training. Oh my gosh, it was so good to get away and relax for a few days – I’m so grateful to my husband for organizing everything (and doing all of the driving) so that I could focus on the enjoyment of it all.
  • Gentle rain. Last month’s gully-washing rain in San Diego were awful because so much moisture came down so quickly that it couldn’t be absorbed to do any good for our plants and streams. This week we’ve had a couple of days of slow, gentle rain and you can see it all soaking into our poor, parched dirt. With any luck at all, we’ll have some wildflowers in May to show for this.
  • A recovering Pug. Poor Alouysius, he swallowed a large piece of landscaping bark not last weekend but the weekend before and had to have emergency surgery to remove the obstruction. Between eating the bark and the veterinarian discovering what was going on, fluid and partially digested food built up in his abdomen and even post-surgery it was still draining from his (very short) nose, leading to concerns that he could aspirate some of the fluid and develop pneumonia. You can’t imagine how little sleep any of us got until it was clear he was out of the woods! He’s got to wear the Cone of Shame for another day, until his stitches come out tomorrow, so he’s doing Doggy Day Care at the vet’s office for the week, but it’s a small price to pay to get his sweet, squishy face back and healthy.
10013318 10152269047894660 233868382 n 300x300 Three things Im grateful for this week: March 27

Poor, sad Cone-of-Shame Pug!

Your turn: What are you grateful for this week?

Surround yourself with inspiration

This is a sponsored post; it does not contain affiliate links.

For as long as I can remember, having bright, pretty things to look at has inspired me. From the colorful posters I plastered on the walls of my on-campus apartment freshman year in college to the bright red, patent leather heels that make me smile whenever I wear them, I am happiest – and do my best work – when I have pretty things to look at.

When I moved into our new home – now just over six years ago! – I wanted to wait to hang things on the walls until I could figure out exactly the perfect piece for each spot. As a consequence, most of the walls in our bedroom and office are bare. A rare exception is the wall next to my side of the bed where I wake up every morning to see this:

minted more than coffee 237x300 Surround yourself with inspiration

More Than Coffee, a limited edition print by Lehan Veenker on minted.com

Several years ago now, I stumbled upon minted, where I found this print for sale, and fell in love. There are so many gorgeous pieces on the site, created by independent artists who submit their work for consideration and are chosen by visitors to the minted site; this one spoke to me because I am obsessed with coffee. Once I’d chosen the design I wanted, I was able to easily view my options then choose the size and frame for my finished piece – saving me a trip to the framing shop plus the time to wade through all of the framing options to choose just the right one for my piece. A short time later, my limited edition print, framed and ready, arrived in the mail and went straight onto the wall in our bedroom, where it still lives today.

When I was recently approached by a representative from minted to write a review of my experience with their site, I remembered the great end-to-end experience I had with my purchase and agreed without reservation. There’s a quote on their site, in the About Us area, that I absolutely love -

“Our purpose in life is to uncover exceptional design from all over the world and bring this to savvy consumers who won’t accept anything else.”

By giving visitors the power to choose what will be offered for sale on the site, minted allows artists from anywhere in the world to put their work in front of buyers who might not otherwise ever see it; what a neat business model.

What inspires you? And is anyone else still looking at (mostly) bare walls in their home and/or office?

Disclosure: I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

Three things I’m grateful for this week: March 6

  • San Diego finally got some desperately-needed rain. Yes, we did get about a quarter of what we ought to get for a whole year in one very soggy weekend and yes, lots of areas flooded badly, but I was beginning to despair of ever seeing rain without going on vacation again. Also, it restores my hope that further precipitation could still happen here before the end of our rainy – ha, what a misnomer! – season.
  • Work is getting slightly less hectic. Yes, it’s still tax season and things get crazed several times a week right up until the filing deadlines but our number of weekly releases will finally start decreasing drastically with this week’s schedule and it can’t come soon enough for everyone on the team. (Working without a complete weekend off from Halloween until well into March every year is tiring.)
  • I attended the Women Get Social conference this weekend in San Diego. While I was there, I learned a few cool things from the scheduled content but even more from the three smart women I was privileged to spend most of my time with for two days – thank you, ladies!
three fabulous bloggers Three things Im grateful for this week: March 6

Three fabulous bloggers (and one very fortunate one)!

Your turn: what are YOU grateful for this week?

Project Me 2014: January/February review and goals for March

My goals for January were:

  • Re-do the ‘running a 5K course’ that I started (then stopped) last year - Although I’d just finished Week 3 (of 8) when I published my January goals, I hit another brick wall at the start of Week 4. Something about the step up between those two weeks had my hip flexors crying out in pain, again, and I had to stop. After giving in to a really horrible bout of depression that was at least partially brought on by my seeming inability to run more than a couple of kilometers at a time (even interspersed with plenty of walking), I decided to give the running thing another go but this time on my own schedule. Miraculously, it seems to be working out better for me and I’m able to run 3/5 of a 5K (in run 1K, walk 1K repeat format) without feeling that I want to die. This, my friends, is progress!
  • Concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, both of us, for 15 minutes each weekend - While I haven’t been perfect with this goal – and TCB isn’t with the whole “let’s do this thing together” program – noticeable progress has been made. I would guess that I’ve put in 30 minutes at least half of the weeks since I posted this goal and I’ve donated several car loads to the charity shop, taken a couple of boxes of old paperwork to the secure document destruction service, and arranged home pick-up for approximately a cubic yard of e-waste, u-waste, and textiles that were too worn or yucky to be donated to charity. I’ve also started a collection of old writing instruments that I find as I go through boxes and bags of crap because we have boxes at work for donating those as well. I knew when I declared this goal that it was going to take more than one month to clear even a quarter of our garage, so I’m not at all disappointed in how much progress we’ve made – at least we’ve made progress!

You might have noticed that I didn’t set any goals for February. Since I was so late setting my January goals and because my time in late January and most of February was really tight due to work deadlines and my new college class I’m taking, I decided that the same goals would do just as well for February. I did add an additional goal, too, although I didn’t post about it here:

  • Go on a spending fast for 21 days – while I didn’t go to extreme lengths, I did refrain from buying any non-essential items from January 13th through February 3rd. I did window shop a lot and I even pinned a few items to Pinterest to go back to after the fast was over. The funny thing was that, on February 4th when I was convinced I would go absolutely crazy with binge shopping to make up for the fast, I couldn’t think of a single thing I actually wanted. I did a lot of thinking during the fast about buying fewer and better quality items – clothing, for the home, electronics – and suddenly it became much harder to justify giving over our hard-earned money. Even items that are on the most incredible sale ever, if they aren’t truly gorgeous items that I can see myself using or wearing forever or if they aren’t of the very best quality, just aren’t worth it. I have too much cheap junk in my closet, littering my home, and cluttering my garage, so the spending fast was a great way to focus on what I need vs. what I want. I’ve splurged on a few items since then but, much like my eating, there haven’t been any binge episodes and I’m pretty proud of myself for that.

Now that we’ve caught up for January and February, let’s think about what I’d like to work on for the next 30 days.

My goals for 2014 have been published and they include:

  • Achieve a healthy Body Mass Index by weighing 140 or fewer pounds,
  • A waist circumference measurement of 30 inches or less,
  • Body fat between 23 and 33%,
  • Complete a 10K event in 75 minutes or less,
  • Park both cars in our garage at the same time

So, where to focus my energy for March?

  1. Keep up the run/walk workouts three times a week - I’d like to get another solid week under my belt on the current scheme before attempting to increase the first running segment from 1k to 1.5k. If I can go slowly, I’m pretty well convinced that running a full 5K before the end of the year is possible.
  2. Continue to concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, by myself, for 30 minutes per week – In addition to the clutter-busting, I am also going to focus on cleaning the newly cleared areas of dust, debris, and grime. Yes, it’s a garage, but there’s no reason the floor has to be absolutely disgusting!

OK, your turn: what small things are you going to work on in March to make your life happier and/or healthier?

High Five Friday: Sharing Project Me With the World

highfivefriday6 High Five Friday: Sharing Project Me With the World

A few months ago, I was approached by a writer for Sanofi USA’s diabetes blog, Discussing Diabetes, to share the story of Project Me with their readers. I still don’t know how they found out about my little health-improvement plan but to say that I was excited about the prospect would be an understatement. I spent an hour at lunch time chatting with a couple of very nice women who wrote what I think is a great piece on the why and what of Project Me. Judge for yourself, if you’d like, because the piece went live yesterday afternoon.

My hope is that people living with chronic diseases, not just diabetes but any ailment that requires focus and diligence to manage successfully, will find something in what I’ve done that will help them make a positive difference in their own lives. I certainly don’t have any secrets to impart and nothing I said in that article will come as news to anyone who’s been working diligently on their own journey to better health and more happiness, but perhaps looking at things with a different perspective might help someone else find what works for them. (I hope so, anyway.)

Your turn: what have you done this week that deserves a high five?

Three things I’m grateful for this week: February 20

  • An understanding husband. TCB puts up with my craziness, my mom’s craziness, and the craziness of my job at this time of year and he’s usually pretty even keeled about it.
  • A job that I enjoy, serving customers that I admire, with colleagues that I love. Some days are better than others but no matter what happens, I still wouldn’t trade this team, our customers, and our product for the world.
  • The ability to buy jeans off the rack and have them fit with no alterations. I can hardly form words to communicate how happy I am to very nearly be an actual, off the rack clothing size, people. Not just in knitwear or loose-fitting blouses, but in real denim jeans. The health benefits of my better lifestyle choices are what makes me get up to walk every morning and resist the leftover (homemade) scones sitting in my refrigerator since Sunday, but fitting into real jeans and feeling good about what I see in the mirror? That’s pretty satisfying.

What are you grateful for this week?

High Five Friday: A happy reminder about why I do what I do

highfivefriday6 High Five Friday: A happy reminder about why I do what I do

I went to see my Primary Care Physician – as opposed to my Endocrinologist (diabetes doctor) – recently, because I am losing my hair. (Definitely NOT celebrating that development.) After congratulating me on my weight loss and explaining that it was probably the cause of my hair loss, the doctor ordered a comprehensive metabolic panel and lipid panel – blood and urine tests to look at how I’m doing with my diabetes and see if anything medical might be causing the hair loss.

We were both expecting to see good numbers for these tests, based on the healthy lifestyle changes I’m making, so I was anxiously awaiting the results letter. I received it on Wednesday and rushed to open the first envelope. Every number on the metabolic and lipid panels was much improved from this time last year, including my overall cholesterol, HDL (“good” cholesterol – it was way too low last year and is now safely above the “low” level), triglycerides (a whopping 93% reduction in 12 months!), and fasting blood glucose (I’m smack in the middle of the “normal” range, not even near the “impaired” much less “diabetic” ranges).

Then I opened the second letter which turned out to have the results of my Hemoglobin A1c test, measuring how well my blood sugar has been controlled for the last several months. This is significant for diabetics because fasting blood glucose only measures control for a brief moment in time but the A1c shows how you’re doing overall. The ranges for this test are:

  • Therapeutic goal of American Diabetes Association = <7.0%
  • Controlled diabetics = 6.0-8.0%
  • Non-diabetics = 4.0-6.0%

Let me interject here to say that at my last test, back in June, my result was 5.8% and my Endocrinologist and I were THRILLED with that result. So thrilled in fact that he took me off of my remaining oral diabetes medication, so this month’s test is completely without medication of any kind.

So, what was my number? My latest Hemoglobin A1c reading was 5.0%. I read it, then blinked a few times because I’m blind as a bat without my reading glasses and I thought perhaps I’d misread a 6 as a 5; I hadn’t. You guys, that means that, without chemical assistance of any kind, my body now functions like a non-diabetic person’s does. Yup, I cried. A lot. Then I sent a text message to my diabetic colleagues (also friends!) at work to tell them the wondrous news and this is the message I received in return:

“I’m so happy, Denise…this is why you do what you do.”

And then I cried even harder because yes, this is exactly why I do what I do. Why I wake up every single morning – not just the days when I’m feeling good and had enough sleep the night before, nor only on the days when I have nothing else competing for my time – and make the decision, again, to put myself and my health first. To go for a walk before work and, optimally, again in the afternoon with my team. To eat smaller amounts of low-glycemic foods and to stop before I feel full because my body can’t use the extra food properly. To make an appointment with my therapist when my depression and anxiety lead to binge eating. To faithfully keep my every three month dental cleaning appointments even though I am terrified to be there and still traumatized by having 15 teeth removed in one go last July. Complacency in any of these areas will hurt my body and I don’t intentionally do that any more. (Gosh it feels good to be able to write that last sentence.)

So that’s my “win” for this week – not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

Your turn: what have you done this week that deserves a high five?

Three things I’m thankful for this week: February 13

  • Sunshine. I know it’s really awful for so many people across not just this country but in other parts of the world, too, so I’m so grateful for the gorgeous weather we’re having right now in southern California. (If I could bundle some of it up to send to all of you, I would, truly.)
  • My parents are visiting for the weekend. Mummy and Daddy arrive tomorrow/Friday afternoon for a short stay and I’m so looking forward to it. Our itinerary includes the Little Italy Farmers Market, a walk along the Embarcadero, Skypeing with friends in England, and Afternoon Tea.  So much to look forward to!
  • Vacation planning. TCB surprised me last week with the news that we’ve come into a little unexpected money and we’re going to spend it on a short/lovely stay at the Lake Austin Spa Resort in May. Words cannot convey how thrilled I am that not only will I be spending five days in one of my favorite spots on Earth but that TCB will be with me. Yay!!!
yoga by the lake Three things Im thankful for this week: February 13

yes, they really DO have yoga classes next to the lake!

 

What are you grateful for this week?

Three things I’m grateful for this week: February 6

  • A lessening of my anger and anxiety. I’ve spoken here before about my mental health issues and I need to write a longer post to deal with it more fully but suffice it to say that the past few weeks have been very bad and it’s starting to get better.
  • Comfortable clothes. I might look like a lumberjack today but I’m warm and cozy and I didn’t have to use any brain power to coordinate what I was going to wear. Work is tough right now and I have my Marketing class to keep up with plus spending time with TCB and The Pug – it’s a lot, so it’s nice to be able to kick my feet up on the desk with a cup of Black Currant tea and my Paul Bunyan look while I’m working.

     Three things Im grateful for this week: February 6

    not pretty, but it works

  • My Puggy pal. I’ve always been a cat person. We had dogs when I was a kid but I never really bonded with any of them. But Alouysius T. Pug is different. His whole attitude toward life makes me smile in spite of myself. I’m so very grateful to have his little, squishy face to come home to every night!

     Three things Im grateful for this week: February 6

    life is good when you’re this cute

What are you grateful for this week?

Project Me 2014: Goals for January

My goals for 2014 have been published and they include:

  • Achieve a healthy Body Mass Index by weighing 140 or fewer pounds,
  • A waist circumference measurement of 30 inches or less,
  • Body fat between 23 and 33%,
  • Complete a 10K event in 75 minutes or less,
  • Park both cars in our garage at the same time

So, will I work on for the next 16 days?

  1. Re-do the Up & Running 5K course that I started (then stopped) last year - I just started Week 3 of the (8-week) course yesterday and am optimistic that I’ll be able to finish this time. My running is faster and smoother than it was when I tried it last year, although I still have trouble with the breathing part.
  2. Concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, both of us, for 15 minutes each weekend – We have lived in this house, or I have, for not quite six years now and there are still boxes packed from when we/I moved. That’s my part of this mess, along with all of my paraphernalia from my stint as a Stella & Dot stylist last year. TCB is a packrat and also incredibly messy/not detail oriented. He’s got boxes of American Legion stuff that needs to be dealt with as well as just scraps of paper, bits of plastic, etc, plus miscellaneous junk we haven’t used since he got home from Japan in 2009 and won’t ever use, no matter how much we think we might one day. His poor car can’t ever get into the garage so he has to wander like a demented nomad at night when he gets home just to find a place to park. We have a two-car garage and we will be able to park two cars in there before the end of the day on December 31st! By spending just 15 minutes each weekend between now and then, that’s nearly 13 hours for each of us to dedicate to this endeavor, hopefully without getting completely overwhelmed before we’ve started.
 Project Me 2014: Goals for January

this is so embarrassing!

 

Someone please make me feel better and tell me about your own, shameful hoarding/clutter bug ways?