Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's Good To Be Back!

I'm back! I'm back on Obagi C Rx skin system that is. I've been on it for about 5 years with breaks of a few months or so and always seem to go back on it. This past break from Obagi C, I started using the Cindy Crawford Meaningful Beauty day and night creams as well as a couple of other things I use before applying makeup. My friend L loves CCMB and is on the automatic mailing system of the product so she receives it every month whether she's out or not. She's accumulated tons of it so she gave me a couple of the products to try.

Since I was out of the Obagi C tretinoin cream (Obagi's retin A), I found an almost entire tube of a Retin A cream that the Boy had tried a few years ago for acne and never finished. I finished the tube off and then it was time to get another. I try to never go without a Retin A product. Bad things happen to my pores and skin when I do.

While we were in Birmingham this week, I headed over to Spa 119 to finally restock my Obagi products. I had planned on getting the C serum without the added skin lightener, hydroquinone, since I am a little suspicious of long term use of it even though it really works to get rid of age spots and freckles. I had freckles all over my chest that are now gone from using the night cream on my chest for a while a few years ago to give my face a break from it. Totally works!

I like the Cindy Crawford Meaningful beauty cream as a moisturizer with added sunscreen, but I still needed something stronger. My skin started breaking out (only minor, but still!) probably more from the drug store sunscreen I was using and my skin was flaking. Dry, yet breaking out! It was a mess!

Get Obagi C Rx System 20% Here with code May2013

I ended up purchasing the entire Obagi C starter kit since it is less expensive to buy it that way and I was out of everything anyway. The C serum in the kit had the hydroquinone so I went with it this time, but when I need a refill I'm going with the non-hydroquinone despite the fact that I was reassured that the 4% in the product was very mild and didn't cause any problems. It's still a chemical that I don't really need year round.

And I got the .05% Tretinoin Cream.

Obagi C Rx system also available for Normal to Dry skin Here 20% off with code May2013

Now Obagi C Rx has SPF 50 sunscreen instead of 35. That is much needed these days since I'm in the sun a lot. I'm going to avoid the drug store brand so hopefully the breakouts will stop.

I can already tell a difference in my skin after only two days of use. It is not peeling, seems more moisturized and the break outs are clearing up.

It's good to be back! Back on Obagi and back at the beach!

White dress: Free People; Black Jog Bra: Lululemon; Flip Flops: Juicy Couture; 
Necklace: Free People Here

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow... Or Rather Gone Last Night Sometime Before Midnight

We didn't have candles so we used matches. The top two = 20 and the bottom one = 1 = 21!
The Boy spent a couple of days with us during the Memorial Day weekend partly because he was bored and out of food at his college apartment and partly because his birthday is this Wednesday and he needed to get around as many family members as possible to get his birthday loot aka MONEY!! Money to buy food since his meal plan for last semester is over.

Sunday I took him out to eat at his favorite Mexican restaurant, Margarita Grill. The same place I went with the Babysitter for Cinco de Mayo and had to leave sans my taco salad because of the wildness of the place. Sunday it was calmer and a very nice day for outdoor dining as well.

Below are some fuzzy pics taken with my new Iphone 5. I now have Instagram. Hope that works better...
Chicken Chimichanga

This time I got my chicken taco salad and ate almost every bit of it. The first time ever accomplishing that feat.  The Boy got a chicken chimichanga with rice and beans and of course we got chips, salsa and cheese dip.  Later we had birthday cake and the first thing the Boy said was, "Why blue roses?" I tell him it's because he's a boy and the other alternative was pink roses. He was cool with the pink roses he tells me. Oh well, too bad. Next year I'll get pink!

Chicken taco salad

On Monday, he and the friend that he was riding back to school with decide they are going to leave around 9 pm, after the Boy gets back from eating out at his other favorite place, The Cheesecake Factory, with his dad and grandparents. I tried to convince him to stay at least until this morning, but he said his friend really wanted to go back Monday night.  Then at 10 pm when the Boy still wasn't home or packed to go back to school, I text him telling him he needed to wait until Tuesday morning to leave since it was so late and he still wasn't home yet.

No response.

Around 10:30 pm the two show up at the house to get the Boy's stuff preparing to head back to school that night which meant they wouldn't get to school until 2:30 in the morning. When I tell him no, it's too late, he called me a jerk and said the PLAN was to go back that night. Staying would screw up the PLAN! He can't mess up the PLAN!!

Neither the Murph nor I could convince them to stay at least until morning even though I felt driving that late was dangerous and I didn't like it one bit.

After much name calling (apparently I'm a huge jerk), I finally tell him he's an adult (21 years old tomorrow!) and could do what he wanted, but I still didn't think it was a good idea. His friend said he wasn't tired one bit since he'd just woke up at 3 pm and would be okay to drive that late, he's driven it before at 4 am, he said.  I told them I was getting ready to go to bed so they needed to be out before I was finished so I could set the alarm.

When the Boy got all packed up he came upstairs to tell me good-bye and wanted to know if he should call me when he got to school. I told him at 2 in the morning I would be asleep, but to text me to let me know he had gotten there safely. He said okay.

In the morning, no text. No text until he finally woke up sometime after noon.

While I really want him to be independent and to do things for himself, I know that things can still happen. He has Asperger's and sometimes not the best judgement. The Murph still says I'm a helicopter parent, but I don't think that applies to me at all anymore. I've loosened the reigns and allowed the Boy to be more independent than I probably would have if I was still single and it was just the two of us. In a way, that's been a good thing for both of us.

The Boy still depends on me to get his financial aid in order for the upcoming school years. Since we just got our federal income tax return back, I had to go to UPS to fax a copy to the school. While we were there, the Murph was telling the owner of the store what a helicopter parent I was by doing all the work for the Boy. I defend myself by saying, "I have to be a little bit of a helicopter parent because my son has Asperger's, have you ever heard of it, it's on the autism spectrum?"

The owner nodded her head toward her daughter who was in the back working on a computer and said,  "She has Asperger's. I don't have to be a helicopter parent because she's right there with me all the time."

I started talking to the daughter who had helped us several times when we were in the store and she told me that she had been to a private college for about a year but had to quit because of severe depression and anxiety. So severe she couldn't even go to class. I told her that the Boy had experienced the same thing his first year and had to go on anti-depressants.

It also helped that he has a friend at the same college that he's known since 3rd grade. They now share an apartment with one other person, but have their own private bedroom and bathroom. It's almost like him having his own private dorm room, which he liked, but more homey and not so lonely because there are others to share a common area with whenever he feels like coming out of his room. (I don't know if any of them come out of their room that often except to go to class though).

I'm really glad the Boy is doing well and WANTS to get back to his own apartment and school. It could have so easily gone the other way and he could be back at home. Fortunately (I guess),  he doesn't even like it here anymore. It's tough sometimes knowing when to let go and when to pull in the reigns. As the Boy gets older it is REALLY tough! He still needs me when he needs me, yet he needs me to back away when he needs me to back away. It's usually up to me to figure it out.

I might not like it sometimes, but I think that this "helicopter parent" is doing her job helicopter or not!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend In Pensacola Beach

During Memorial Day weekend the usually fairly conservative, family friendly Pensacola Beach turns into one big wild party for the LGBT community. This year is the first time I've ever been down there to experience it in person and I have to say I was very surprised at the sheer number of people as well as the adult only atmosphere. Literally, Thursday morning there were still families with young children at the pool and on the beach, but by Thursday evening the families disappeared and everything went adult only, almost anything goes.

The Murph and I were suddenly in the minority and I really don't know where the other condo residents disappeared too. Tents were set up for miles on the fairly private beach area to the east of the island. Cars lined the streets and the pool was so full that it was shoulder to shoulder standing room only. It was an experience watching it all.

To top it off, we had a drunk guy that got lost on the elevator and the way to his condo and ended up knocking on our door. When the Murph opened the door the guy started heading inside thinking it was his condo and the Murph had to push him back out and close the door with the startled guy being very apologetic from the other side of the closed door.

Saturday we had to leave all the festivities behind (we'd had enough anyway) and headed back to Birmingham to get more stuff and to show the house. The Boy and Phantom came with us this trip.

Here's some photos of the crowds at the pool Friday evening. I'm sure Saturday was even more crowded at the pool and on the beach. I've never seen so many people and so much traffic as we were heading out Saturday morning.

There was a full moon as we were walking back to the condo from the pool area.

And that wasn't the only "full moon" I saw that evening at the pool!!

It should be back to family friendly normal down there by the time we get back.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fashion Friday - Swimsuits Edition 1

For fashion friday I'm wearing two of the swimsuits I am loving this summer. One was purchased this year and one was purchased last year for me by my husband. I love the new pink that Victoria's Secret has available this year called "date night pink" or date night red".  LOVE!! I also love the gold toggles on the first swimsuit. I have another swimsuit like it, but in leopard print that I will feature next week.

Swimsuit - Victoria's Secret Date Night Pink Here;  Sandals - Giuseppe Zanotti (old); Sunglasses - Louis Vuitton Here; Earrings - Erica Lyons; Hat - Cappelli (old but similar Here in turquoise

Swimsuit - Victoria's Secret (old, but similar style Here in Paisley ); On toes - China Glaze in Pink Voltage; Sandals - Giuseppe Zanotti (old)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why Green Smoothies?

I know I've done posts on this before, but I feel the need to do it again so click away now if your not interested in having more energy, glowing skin, reversing the aging process... well, you get the picture.

I started drinking green smoothies two years ago when I found out I had high levels of mercury and it was suggested that I start eating more cilantro. While I ate a small amount of cilantro in salsa and other mexican dishes, I felt I needed a way to get more of it in my system the fastest, least offensive way. About the same time the cilantro was recommended, I was reading about kale, how great it is and how everyone was putting it in their green smoothies. I decided those were the two ingredients I needed on a regular basis. I purchased a Vitamix which is GREAT! It blends everything up fast and very fine. Not like the blender I'm having to use now because the Vitamix is still in Birmingham. Temporarily!

I just can't tell you how much better I feel and how much better my skin looks since drinking these. I have one a day, 3 to 5 days a week. I add whatever fruits we have on hand, almost always a banana, cranberry juice, vanilla almond milk, protein powder, turmeric, cinnamon, flax seed (ground), sometimes walnuts, berries, pear, apple - whatever we have on hand. I usually add at least 2 or 3 fruits.

My husband thinks I over do it, but I'm always adding lots of things to it. It's a great way to get large amounts of greens and fruit, which I wouldn't do if it wasn't all blended together in smoothie form. I even added herbs last summer from our garden. Basil, mint and rosemary are particularly good. I add honey too since I like it a little more sweet and 2 handfuls of ice because it tastes much better cold. In the above smoothie, I even added a little avocado. I've added beets before, but they have a very strong taste. I felt like the cilantro and beets were battling out on my taste buds. Not good!! Healthy though!

Here's a list of most of the things I have added to my green smoothie and the health benefits of each. I always add Kale, Cilantro, Banana, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Protein Powder, Cranberry Juice and Honey. The other things are interchangeable.

Kale - Vitamin K, magnesium, iron, fiber, great detox food among other things. Read more about health benefits Here.

Cilantro - detoxing, binds with mercury and removes it from tissues, antibacterial, anti inflammatory

Banana - High in potassium, energy food

Walnuts- oleic acid, Omega 3.  Read the many health benefits Here.

Flax Seed- Omega 3's, fiber (better ground these babies good!)

Beets- Natural liver detox, cleanses the blood

Avocado - healthy fat, helps body absorb some nutrients, Vitamin E, lowers cholesterol

Cranberry Juice - good for kidney and bladder health although I use the diet version so I don't know how strong that is or if it has enough cranberry in it to do any good but it is the "water" for my smoothie so it isn't too thick.

Almond Milk - Vitamin E for skin health, Vitamin A for eye health, Vitamin D, more nutrients than regular dairy milk. I like the Vanilla unsweetened Almond Milk. Great in cereal too!

Protein Powder- amino acids for muscle repair and rebuild. Read more of the benefits Here.

Turmeric - anti-inflammatory, cancer fighting, heart health, anti-oxidant. GREAT stuff!

Cinnamon - regulates blood sugar, heart health. Read more benefits Here.

Berries - flavonoids and phytochemicals, help fight mental decline, heart health, diabetes

Pear- antioxidants, fight free radicals, heart health and makes a tasty green smoothie!

Apple-read the many benefits Here. My favorite health benefit of apples is quercetin - an antioxidant, anti inflammatory, also found to increase endurance and athletic performance. Quercetin is also  found in red wine so drink up!!

Basil- powerful antioxidant, anti-ageing benefits. Read more benefits Here.

Mint- soothes aches, pains and stomach problems, antiseptic and antibacterial, freshens breath

Rosemary- fights cancer, improves memory among many other things to many to list. Read more Here.

Honey- anti fungal, improves athletic performance, natural sweetener that makes smoothie taste great. Many more benefits Here.

Ginger Root - Soothes stomach, aids in digestion

Have I forgotten anything? What do you add to your green smoothies?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Best Way To Recover - Beach Time!

I've spent a lot of time here with my toes in the sand the past two days recovering from the triathlons I did Thursday and Saturday. Sure they were short, but I raced them as hard as I could as that was the plan to see where I am in my training, what I need to work on, etc (which is swimming and biking.) and I was a little sore.

Also, my asthma was acting up and I had some trouble breathing. The race Thursday I was really having a hard time breathing even though I had done my inhaler before the race. Saturday it wasn't as bad, but my throat and lungs were sore from the breathing struggle on Thursday. I was very surprised because I haven't had a problem in a long time. I'm thinking it may be the humidity causing it.

After the race on Saturday, I went to the gym and did some time on the spin bike and did upper body weights and on Sunday I did lower body weights, but no long run. Monday I actually swam in the ocean for a few minutes until my imagination started working over time and I imagined big, menacing fish with large teeth sneaking up behind me.

Totally creeps me out!

I don't know how to work through that fear. I never think about it during a race since there are so many people in the water with me. Okay, maybe I do think about it a little, but it doesn't stop me or creep me out or anything and during Ironman Florida and Gulf Coast half we swam straight out about 1/2 mile into the ocean and back. Once during Gulf Coast I tried new goggles during race day and they kept filling up with water and I couldn't see a thing. I totally got off course and didn't know where I was or which way to go and had to keep stopping to pour the water out of my goggles and try to spot a buoy and get back on course.

Now THAT was creepy!!

Anyway, Monday I swam. For about 5 minutes. In the ocean. Hey, you have to start somewhere!

I also did upper body weights, the elliptical and a mile 1/2 run. My legs felt tight, but I'm hoping by Wednesday they will be back to normal for my next run. Tuesdays for me are biking days.

The cats have settled in nicely and are getting along somewhat despite all the Murph's worries. I reasurred him that I had a plan and it is working. Phantom the bad cat has his "territory" in the guest bedroom. This is where his litter box is and where he gets fed and sleeps. We close him in there at night and when we leave the condo.

Ed and Cadence have their own litter box in the half bathroom and get fed in the kitchen. They can go anywhere in the condo except Phantom's room. Cadence can go in there sometimes if Phantom allows it, but it's not a good idea for Ed to go in there. That would be kitty suicide!

Their nightly routine is chilling out to some nice jazz. Last night I got this video of their typical evening.

We'll probably have to take Phantom with us when we go back to Birmingham for a few days. He has to have heart meds everyday and the Boy has started his summer "job". He was one of the few computer students who was selected to help some professors with a research project this summer. It is such an honor for him and he is so excited. He gets so focused on these things that I'm afraid Phantom might get neglected and his meds forgotten.

The Boy did a really great job taking care of him a couple of weeks ago when we went to Birmingham to get the other two cats and more stuff, but he was finished with classes and not working yet. Now I think the cat would be too much so he'll have to go with us. He's a pretty good traveler when he's in the cat carrier and not lowering windows with his paw.

Besides he'll get his jazz fix all the way back.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Two Triathlons And A Birthday

This week I raced in two short sprint triathlons and celebrated my "25th" birthday. Okay, well maybe double that number and subtract two to get my real age, but what's a number, right? I feel better and am stronger now than I ever was in my twenties.

Let me tell you I had the best birthday I've ever had and I mean EVER! How could it not be good when I'm at the beach with my wonderful husband, all my cats, on a gorgeous day, racing in a triathlon and eating cake afterward.


On Thursday evening I raced in the Portofino Sunset Series triathlon and this morning I raced in the Pensacola Beach triathlon. Both races are sprints meaning short and fast as opposed to long and slower.

Portofino Sunset Series Triathlon - Thursday Evening

Team MPI, a multisport coaching organization, puts on a series of super short sprint races at Portofino Island Resort in Pensacola Beach. They do around 6 to 8 of these from April until August or September. The maximum number of participants is around 60, but there were only about 25 of us last Thursday.

It is a perfect race for beginners who have never done a triathlon or for racers looking for a fast workout. The swim is 300 yds in the Santa Rosa Sound, 7.5 mile bike ride and 1.5 mile run. All fast and flat. It was a lot of fun. I did the race as my cardio for the day instead of my usual "brick" indoor workout at the gym.

It's time to get outside now!

After the race, the Murph and I had dinner and then birthday cake. The Murph told me he wasn't going to eat any of it but changed his mind after he saw me shoveling spoonfuls of it in my mouth. We got the cake at Walmart during our grocery shopping expedition and he was telling the cashier that it was a "one person cake".  I thought he meant me since I was the only one who was going to eat it, but now I'm not so sure who that "one person" was since he was the one who finished it off the other day before I could get another piece of it!

He even ate the other rose! This size cake clearly isn't big enough for the Murph and I.

 Pensacola Beach Triathlon - Saturday morning

This morning I raced in the Pensacola Beach triathlon which was much bigger, but also great for beginners since the swim is only 400 yds and was also in the Santa Rosa Sound behind the restaurant, Flounders instead of being in ocean waters which can sometimes be a little rough.

Transition area for the bikes was across the street from Flounders in the Casino Beach parking lot. The bike was 10 miles heading east going a little past Portofino Island Resort and back. The run was a little over 3 miles.

Pictures in the transition area.

Pictures behind Flounders Restaurant.

The run from Flounders back across the street to Casino Beach was a little tricky since I was running barefoot. I noticed when I got out of the water that the smart people had left flip flops over there to run back in. Oh well, they might not have stumped a toe, but I'm pretty sure it slowed them down!

I'm fumbling around in transition trying to get my running shoes on. I need to work on this!

I placed second in my age group. See the first place finisher in the middle? She looks fast! Four minutes faster than me! She did the race in less than an hour. No way could I have done that at this point. It's too early in training for me!

Overall, I was very happy with my times in both races especially considering my lack of swim training and time on my tri bike.

Right now I'm tired, happy and a year older!