Saturday, December 14, 2013

DIY Golden Animal Ornaments

This winter I've been gearing up for the Christmas season with a bit of decorating and crafting! One of my favorite crafts of Christmas time is creating the ornaments for the annual ornament exchange several of my girlfriends do! This year I opted to try something totally different from last time. I created little wintery scenes inside a plastic globe ornament. 

What you need: 
- Small animal figurines
- Gold acrylic craft paint 
- Large plastic globe ornaments that open in half vertically
- Winter Trees (sized to fit in the globes you choose) 
- White Glitter 
- Ribbon 
- Hotglue gun 

Here is how you make them:
1. Prep your little animals by painting them gold! This may take several coats and can be done with gold spray paint or a paintbrush and acrylic paint. Beware that this step takes a little time allowing the paint to dry between coats. 

2. Heat up the hot glue gun and choose which animals will go with which tree and approximately where you want them positioned. 

3. Hot glue the bottom of the tree and animals inside the ornaments. I chose to put a tree on one half of the ornament and the animal in the other, this allowed for best placement when closed.

4. After the animals and trees are secured carefully dump some white glitter in the bottom half of what will be the back of the ornament. (My glitter ended up sticking to the sides a bit, which is why I suggest trying to aim it towards the bottom of the backside) 

5. Close the ornament by attaching the front half (side with animal). I decided to add a drop of hot glue on the bottom seem of where the two halves meet to help them stay closed! 

6. Tip it upright and watch the glitter fill the scene like snow! 

7. Add ribbon or another type of attachment to hang the ornament! 

8. Hang on the tree and admire your pretty little winter scene! 

Merry Christmas! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

New Job, New House, New Life.

Hello friends,

It's been much too long since I've updated my blog. I really am sorry for not keeping you in the loop. So much has happened from the end of summer until now. I'll just give you the highlights.

Towards the end of summer I was contacted by a school in MA for a teaching interview. The interview went very well and several days later I was offered the job! (I couldn't believe it!) God really is good.

As you can imagine getting a teaching job so close to the start of school was pretty stressful. I whipped myself into full planning mode and tried to get everything ready before the kids started showing up.

The school I work at is Northbridge Middle School. I teach general music 5th-8th grade and I also instruct a choir after school. I LOVE MY JOB! Teaching is every bit as wonderful as I had hoped it would be. It is a ton of work, and there have been MANY challenges, but I find that at the end of the day I always feel happy. Happy to have a job, happy to have the power to impact the lives of young people, and just happy.

Now, I'm not trying to paint a one-sided picture here, like I said there have been many challenges. Without getting into too much detail I'll just mention several challenges. Classroom management, creating and implementing lesson plans, developing a curriculum, figuring out where to get resources, etc. are all things that have caused lots of stress and hard work. But as I said above, even with all the stress and headaches at the end of the day it seems worth it.

I feel like I've been doing a good job so far with teaching. I'm learning so much everyday. I've gotten some very nice feedback from administration- including teacher of the month! (I know, I was shocked too!) It feels so nice to have a supportive and helpful administration!

My classroom is coming together nicely. I'll post some more pictures very soon.

When the school year began I was living with my parents near Springfield, MA and driving a little over an hour to work every morning. This was not the most pleasant as you can imagine. I started looking for apartments a bit closer and found one that I loved in Worcester. (only 15-20 minutes away).

I moved into the apartment at the start of October and I am loving it. The apartment is finally starting to look like a real home- and I'm anxiously awaiting getting all my pictures hung up and finishing up a few final touches. I really enjoy the space and for the most part living by myself (with Maggie) has been great. I do however find it quite lonely. Especially since I'm brand new to the area and haven't really made friends yet.

I'll be sure to share more apartment pictures soon.

In addition to school I am still running Everyday Hello. I've taken somewhat of a break from it since I've been really focused on lessons, but today finally found the time to finish getting Christmas cards together and posted online. Check them out on my website or buy them at Etsy.

I'll try not to let as much time pass until the next time I post, but I can't promise anything. Hope you all are having a full happy fall. God Bless!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Provider

On this blog there are a lot of topics I generally don't discuss. I usually like to keep things happy and neutral. I focus on the hobbies I enjoy or events happening in my life, a pretty even-keel-appeal-to-everyone type of blog. Today I'm going to write about God. I know everyone in the world has a different opinion about this. I'm not trying to start any debates or make anyone feel uncomfortable- but since this is my blog- I am going to write a little bit about my faith!

So it's no secret to those of you who know me that life hasn't exactly been easy for me this year. I'm not saying that I have the worst life ever or anything like that, I just mean that I've had to deal with a lot of new challenges.

One challenge that I faced was recovering from my car accident. The physical healing process was a lot, but I think it was easier in comparison to the emotional struggles I faced. It was really hard to have my entire life ripped from me: the place I lived, my job, my friends, my extra activities, my daily routine, and even most of my physical mobility. During this time I prayed- a lot. (What else is there to do in the hospital anyway?) I can honestly say that God is the only reason I was able to make it through the first half of this year as well as I did. By God's grace I was able to have a very positive outlook on the situation. I'm not saying that I didn't have lows in my emotional journey, but considering all the stress and change I faced God really helped me get through it. He gave me people to visit me, friends to talk to, family to support me, nurses with good senses of humor, an experienced doctor, wonderful therapists to work with on recovery. He gave me strength when I needed it, lightheartedness in the face of depression, and flexibility in the face of change.

One verse that I read every single day was Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

These words of God always brought me comfort when I felt like my days were ticking away during recovery being wasted. I knew that God had promised he had a plan, and that it was meant to give me hope and a future!

I can't say exactly what he meant for the plan to be. I still am discovering God's plan for my life. But I can say that even though the situation wasn't ideal God has blessed me with some really great things since my accident. For example, had it not been for all the recovery time I may have never started Everyday Hello. I am truly grateful for this! Everyday Hello has been a huge blessing in my life since day one. I also have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my Mom, Ken, and Christopher. Even though at times this may not seem like a blessing ;P I know that I am cherishing these days I have with them. Also the accident gave me a unique chance to have some time on my hands to reconnect with friends. It may be simple, but I consider that a total blessing!

Even though the past months have been hard, God has been faithful to me! He kept his promises and was there with me every step of the way.

Another challenge I've been faced with recently is money. Post-college is never fun when it comes to money, but my accident added another layer of difficulty. Since February I haven't been able to work. I am finally now feeling up to having a part time job- but haven't found one yet. The only issue is that loan collectors don't care if you weren't able to work, or did't have a job, so bills started coming due. This month I was so stressed out about how I would be able to afford my loan payment and my car insurance. I continued praying and trusting in God for him to make a way. And thank God! He provided a way!

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all of your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Partway through this month I received my insurance bill. I knew the bill would be more than I had in my bank account. When I opened the bill I realized it was 66% lower this month! My mouth seriously gaped open as I read and reread the bill. I kept expecting to find an error. I held my breath as I logged online to pay- and there it was: the smallest car insurance bill I've ever had to pay in my life!! You could not wipe the smile off of my face that day. God is so good!

Then my loan bill came: $157.00 - I had nowhere close to this much money! (Sad but true) I prayed and prayed that somehow God would provide a way for me to make this payment. This past weekend I had a garage sale. I had hoped to make enough at the sale to cover my loan payment for this month. The day was rainy, we didn't have many big ticket items, and even a few of our signs advertising the sale had been taken down by the electric company! When I sat down at the end of the day I held my breath while counting the money. I sighed when I realized we had made at least $200. I was so thankful God had provided. But his blessings didn't stop there! Not only did we make above $200, we made above $300, and above $400- that's right we made $500! I could not believe the huge blessing that had just been bestowed on me! God is so good and he provides for our needs. Now I'll have enough money to cover next month's bills as well, while I continue to look for a more permanent job.

Thank you Lord for being my provider. Thank you for blessing me in my times of need. God is good!

I hope today all of you can share in my excitement for the wonderful things God has been doing in my life. I'm praying for all of you that he blesses you today with the things you need!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Today is my 23rd birthday, and it's been such a great day. Instead of recapping the events of today with some pictures I'd like to take a moment to talk about this past year for me. I realized today when chatting on the phone with my Aunt Amber, that in these past 365(6) days I've gleaned years worth of life experience. As a brief recap let me just list some of the things that have happened.

Last year June 2012 I was just finishing up my senior year of college. That summer I moved to Massachusetts and spent the summer here working at a camp and also traveling a bit with friends and family. I also participated in the World Choir Games and had my last performance as a member of the MU Concert Choir. I completed my student teaching that fall, which was an amazing life changing experience. I met so many wonderful and inspirational people and I really got a better sense of myself as a teacher and future music educator. That December I graduated with a BA in Music Education, Magna Cum Laude from Mansfield University. During this time I lived in State College, PA with one of my best friend's Derek. While in State College I got involved with some community theater and after graduation I began substitute teaching in the district. In February of this year I was in a serious car accident which resulted in: totaling my car, 2 surgeries, 7 screws and 1 plate in my body, 1 week in a hospital, 2 weeks at a rehab center, and then moving back in with my family in MA for the remainder of this year. During this past year I was in a serious relationship that ended. Also in these past few months I managed to start my own online business and even achieve some profit from it thus far. I also have had my first experiences with applying and interviewing for full time teaching jobs. (I am sure I'm missing something... )

Looking back at the year of 22- I can't believe that this was all crammed into 365/6 days! It's amazing to me. I feel like I have grown so much as a human being, in this time. I have been able to take away some life lessons from this crazy past year of my life. I am so thankful to have these experiences and to be the person I am today. I am excited for what the next year of my life holds- which right now, I haven't even the slightest clue to where God might take me. I am trusting that this next year will be just as crazy and full as the last- I hope I will keep experiencing new things that will challenge me to grow and will help me strive to be even better than I am today.

One last thing: if anything, this past year has taught me the importance of relationships in my life. I want to give a special thank you to each and every family member and friend who had been here for me this past year. It has been amazing to receive such amazing support and friendship through all of these life changes. I only hope that I can be as good of a friend/family member to all of you as you have been to me. Thanks everyone! <3 nbsp="" p="">
Alright that's enough sappiness and reflection for now. Have a good night!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Extrinsic Motivation- (a trip to the dieting prize box)

Lately I've been posting mostly about dieting. I'm sorry to tell those of you who aren't diet and health enthusiasts that this post is also related to my diet! But never fear, today you are in luck because this method can be applied to help you reach a wide varieties of goals. Interested yet? Read on...

I have mentioned previously that before starting this intense diet program I was really worried that I wasn't going to stick with it. I did really want to lose the weight- but I knew in the past sometimes I'd choose the instant satisfaction of a hot yummy brownie over the eventual reward of weight loss and better health. I think to some extent all of us struggle with this concept. We have grown up in a society which constantly tells us to take instant gratification over long term gratification.

So somehow I needed to figure out how on earth I could break myself of this pattern of giving up my diet for an instant reward. What could I possibly tempt myself with that could help me say NO to that brownie?

Then my mind got going in teacher mode. In school, especially with younger children, getting them to learn and participate in your class is all about finding the right motivation. So you start with extrinsic motivators (motivation that comes from an external source). You offer stickers to the students whose behavior is excellent during class, you let the students who have turned in their homework all week take a trip to the prize box, or if the whole class remembers their recorders they get a class star that may eventually earn them a pizza party. --- In other words you bribe them. You find things that the students want and are interested in and you say if you do this ____ then you get this____. Child psychology tells us that extrinsic motivation does work well but that eventually as teachers we want the motivation to become intrinsic (motivation coming from the student). Instead of the student bringing their recorder to class to earn a star- they bring it to class because they want to play recorder.

So I decided all of us aren't really that much different than kids. When I diet- or do anything- I do much better with rewards along the way. So I created a plan for myself to go along with my diet and exercise program to essentially bribe myself to stay on the diet and not cheat! Just like in teaching I am hoping that after awhile my motivation for staying on the diet won't be because of prizes and rewards but because I will really be focused on being a healthier person- and eventually that will be enough to say no to a brownie- but for now? Let's be real, I need something a little more tangible to keep my eye on the prize and say no to all the yummy temptations along the way!

How did I manage to do this? Glad you asked. My mom and I developed a pretty complex rewards program to fit with our schedule on the diet! Here is what we came up with:

First we questioned what things should earn us rewards? 
Here are some of our ideas...
- Not cheating on the diet?
- Losing a set amount of weight?
- Exercising a certain number of days or a certain type of exercise?
- Drinking all of our water?

What we ended up going with: 
- Not cheating on the diet
- Exercising
(I'd recommend not setting a goal based on the # of pounds lost- because it's already frustrating enough when you don't lose weight while dieting- try to reward yourself for practicing healthier habits instead).

Next we questioned when should we receive the rewards? 
We took out a calendar and broke it down by cycle. We have both done this diet before and tried to remember which points in the diet do you start to feel extra pressure to cheat. Then from there we scheduled check points for the rewards- some only a few days apart- some a week apart or more. Our main concern was to keep these rewards frequent enough that it'd be easier to say no to the brownie because you knew that very soon you'd be earning a reward. 

The Timeline!

The days with a colored dot= A day that we would earn a reward for making it through. 

Example: on March 30th we earned a reward for making it through the first light blue dot (first 3 days).

The colored line represents which cycle you are in.

Light Green= Cleanse
Yellow= Cycle 1
Orange= Cycle 2
Pink= Cycle 3
(Cycle 4 isn't included since after cycle 3 you can repeat diet or proceed to cycle 4)

Of course then there's the dilemma of what the rewards would be...
We tried to come up with levels of rewards. Small, medium, and large. But the trick is the rewards need to be things that you really want, something you wouldn't just buy yourself in every day life, and rewards that have nothing to do with (bad) food! So we brainstormed rewards and here is what we ended coming up with:

Small Rewards ($1-$10): Examples: Craft Supplies, Makeup, Nail Polish, Summer Scarf, Sunglasses, New Jewelry, Hair Product, Movie on Demand, Thrift Store Purchase, Flip Flops, Flowers, Healthy Treat, New Small Plant, etc.

Medium Reward ($11-$20): Manicures, Summer Shirt, Magazine Subscription, New Book, New Plants, Panera Lunch, Sandals, Shoes, etc. 

Large Reward ($21-$30+): New Decor, Purse, Dress, Massage, Live Theatre Tickets, Ikea Trip, Whitening Strips, Exercise Equipment, Antique Purchase, etc. 

(Obviously we could change our minds as long as we are within the price range) 

We also designed a handy dandy small chart (to the side) to keep track of the rewards we have earned so far. Color of dot corresponds to level of reward- and color of line at top corresponds to which cycle it is earned in. 

This schedule and rewards levels covered exactly how and when we'd be rewarded for NOT CHEATING on the diet. Newt we had to factor in how we would reward ourselves for exercise! 
Here is what we decided: Each day we should be exercising at least 30 minutes. It could be at the gym, at home, outside, whatever. For every day that we exercised 30 minutes we will receive 1 "token" so to speak. You may collect the exercise tokens up until the end of one of the cycles. Then at the end you can use them to "buy" a certain level prize. 

*you have 17 days to collect tokens 
*you may only collect up to one token per day 
*1 token is earned after 30 minutes of purposeful exercise

13 tokens= A Large Reward Level
11 tokens= A Medium Reward Level
8 tokens= A Small Reward Level
6-7 tokens= 2 extra tokens for next cycle 
1-5 tokens= 1 extra token for next cycle

*Any tokens earned above 13 may be applied to the next cycle! 
*If you end up in the middle of reward levels you must opt for the smaller level. (ex. 12 tokens is still only a medium level). 

Soooo- for each cycle you actually have the opportunity to earn 2 large rewards between not cheating and exercising! 

As we were coming up with this awesome plan- we started to become concerned about what would happen if we did cheat! We didn't want to make this rewards program soooooooo intense that if you cheated once you blew it for that entire cycle! So we decided to create the "oops claus". 

Let me explain: The Oops Claus

We as previous dieters recognize that it is sometimes hard to avoid all forms of cheating while dieting. Holidays, special events, and other circumstances do occasionally arise and we want to make it possible to feel like we can be successful on this diet. 

If a cheat does occur you must rank it from a level 1-3. 
1= small cheat (ex. extra serving of carbs, specialty coffee, type of meat not allowed, etc) 
2= medium cheat (ex. that yummy brownie, other desserts, etc)
3= large cheat (ex. entire meal cheat, etc)

Since my mom and I are doing this together we both help decide how much a specific cheat is worth. 
Once you have committed the crime- in order for it to be erased from your record you have to "pay for it" with exercise tokens. 

Level 1= 1 token
Level 2= 2 tokens
Level 3= 3 tokens

Since we didn't want to let ourselves start abusing this cheat erasing feature we created some stipulations. 

*During a Cycle (17 day period) you may only use up to 5 tokens or up to 3 instances of cheating whichever comes first. 

This way if someone has a special dinner to attend they could enjoy the meal and a dessert and be able to pay it off with exercise tokens. But wouldn't be allowed to cheat anymore that cycle without disqualifying from the end of cycle reward. 

Another thing to remember is that the exercise tokens you use to pay off the cheats may not be counted towards your final exercise token count of that cycle. So, if you used 5 tokens to pay off your cheats- you could only at most earn 12 more for an exercise reward and that is if you exercise EVERY DAY of that cycle!

That pretty much sums up our entire rewards program to go along with the 17 day diet! If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! 

Also I wanted to fill you in on how it's working...

We have been using this rewards program since March 27th and it's already April 25th! I can honestly say after a month of using this it is working like a freakin charm! I've managed to earn all of my rewards so far! And in the first cycle I only ended up with one cheat- a coffee at Dunkin- and I didn't feel bad because I knew I was exercising 30 minutes one day to make up for that treat. Plus I've managed to lose about 14 lbs so far! 

Since cycle 2 has started it's been a little harder to stay motivated and I've already had 2 level 1 cheats (this past weekend when I visited Mansfield). But looking back at that weekend I totally stayed on track with all of my food- I just decided to indulge in some beverages not included on the diet. And I really think, had I not been doing this program I totally would have fell prey to that whole "I'm on vacation it doesn't matter" mindset that so many of us use as an excuse to stuff our bodies with bad foods. 

I do really think this program is helping to change the way I'm dieting. I have been getting so much more exercise, I've been able to stick to my diet without serious or frequent cheating, and I'm getting some fun little things along the way!  

I can also feel myself getting stronger and developing more will power just for the sake of being healthier. I'm not saying that I'm totally ready to ditch my extrinsic motivators- but I'm thinking that I'm well on my way to being able to intrinsically motivate myself to live a healthier life! 

If you want any help in creating a program that suits you- let me know and I can help you think through all the details! And don't limit this approach just to sticking to a diet- it can really be applied to anything! Can't kick the awful habit of biting your nails? Set up a rewards system. Can't manage to force yourself to get in a practice room and practice? Set up a rewards system! Still procrastinating going through boxes in the basement? SET UP A REWARDS SYSTEM!! I'm telling you, it will work! 

Have an awesome day! I hope you can find some useable ideas for yourself in this post :) I'd love to hear your reactions to this crazy system my mom and I created! Thanks for reading! <3 p="">

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How I lost 13 lbs in 20 days

Hey all! I hope you are having a great day today. Right now I am loving the sunshine and warm weather outside. I feel like spring may finally be here! Today I wanted to write to you with more updates about my weight-loss journey. Last time I talked about a 3 day detox cleanse I tried, and I gave you tips and tricks about doing the cleanse, my results, and my overall review of doing the cleanse. This post today will offer you a similar format to review the completion of Cycle 1 of the 17 Day Diet. That's right, today is my first day on cycle 2- hooray carbs! (more on that later). In order to give you a better idea of what the 17 day diet is... check out this video about the diet covered by ABC News!! 

Now let's talk about my experience with this diet! 
For those of you who may not know, I did do the 17 day diet in it's entirety once before. I completed all 4 cycles and had lost a little over 20lbs! Needless to say when I found myself having gained a lot of weight during my past 2 years of college I finally decided I HAD to do something about it. I wasn't happy at all with how my body was. Not only was I a lot heavier than I wanted to be, but I certainly wasn't living a healthy lifestyle. So after some deliberation I decided to retackle this Diet for a second time to help me get some of this newly gained weight off- and fast! 

My Results: 
(These results are based off of my 3 Day Cleanse and Completing the First Cycle of the 17 day diet) 
aka 20 days of eating really healthy and getting regular exercise! 
Total Pounds Lost: 13.2
Total Inches off my body: 13.75
Total % if body weight lost: 7%

I added this picture below to show you the difference the weight-loss has already made in my face! :) Yay!

Now some quick positives and negatives in my opinion...

I'll start with positive things first! 
1. You really do lose weight quickly.
2. You won't be starving.
3. The food you eat can taste really good.
4. There are no calories to count- points to add up- or specific meals you must eat. Just a simple list of foods and some general guidelines about serving size. 
5. The book is straight forward, easy to understand and easy to follow.

Now to the negatives:
1. I really miss eating Carbs! 
2. It takes incredible will power to really stick to the diet and not cheat.
3. The first two cycles do limit you on certain fruits and veggies, which is a bummer. (has to do with higher sugar, starch, and fat content.. so it makes sense)
4. No fruit after 2 pm... seriously? 
5. The time to prepare the food is higher than throwing a sandwich together for lunch. 

This all being said it is a highly effective dieting tool. I've never been disappointed with my results when really following this diet plan. I mean I can't really complain about losing 13 lbs! 

If you are considering doing the 17 day diet here are some tips and tricks to think about before you start and during your diet. 

Before you start: 
1. Buy the book- and read the first few chapters. Know what you are getting into before you start. 
2. Really evaluate your desire to lose weight. Yah almost everyone in America wants to lose a few pounds, but there is a huge difference in someone wanting to lose a few pounds to fit into a pair of jeans, and someone who is feeling totally fed up with themselves and ready to make a life change. (if you are closer to the latter example then this is the diet for you.) If you only are half-a** about losing the weight I wouldn't recommend this diet to you- you'll just waste your time. 
3. Weigh yourself! And take ALL of your measurements! I know it can be scary to face the hard numbers- but don't worry soon enough those numbers will get smaller- and it's important to know where you are starting from. 
4. Plan, Plan, Plan! Bust out a calendar and look at exactly where the cycles will fall. If you know you have a wedding to attend during cycle 2 and it will be impossible to not go off your diet- add an extra day or two to that cycle. 
5. Make an extensive shopping list and get all the food you will need for the first few days. If you live alone I'd suggest throwing away or locking up the foods in your house you can't have!
6. Talk to the people close to you and explain that you'll need their support in this diet. I'm not gonna lie- it's really hard not to cheat. But if you can manage to get your roommate to agree not to offer you cookies all the time it will help out immensely! 
7. If you struggle with not cheating on diets set up a rewards system for yourself at certain check points. (I'll do an entire post about the rewards program my mom and I created. But I know that without that reward system I made I probably would have cheated a lot and not done hardly any exercise!) ((make sure the rewards you set for yourself are NOT food!))

During the Diet: 
1. Plan out all the meals you are going to eat that day. It's helpful to plan ahead- it will be a lot less stress at mealtime and you can budget out your servings of the things you love. For me it's greek yogurt and fruit. I almost always eat my allotted two servings everyday! 
2. You know that pesky rule about not eating fruit or starches after 2 pm? If that's hard for you- then just ditch it. There isn't a lot of scientific proof to back up that rule. So if you feel like eating a cup of grapes after dinner will help you avoid the ice cream in the freezer then GO FOR IT! (I know I do...and I still lost plenty of weight). 
3. Get some exercise! During the first cycle he doesn't really harp on you to do a lot of strenuous exercise- but forming a habit of regular exercise in the first cycle will be WAY more helpful in the later cycles when it's more important to your success. This way instead of trying to start out exercising in cycle 3 doing intense cardio... you can just take your regular workouts that you are used to and ramp them up a bit. 
4. Stay strong! Really try so hard to not cheat on the diet. It's worth it to follow his rules- because the only person you are hurting when you cheat is yourself! 

After the Diet: 
1. Once you have made it through all 4 cycles- or have achieved a good amount of weight-loss you will most likely want to go back to eating whatever you want whenever you want. You can't do that! Remember how I said this is a lifestyle change? Yah, that means it's for life. Don't worry too much- he offers the 4th cycle as the plan that you should stick to in order to maintain your weight where it is. And that cycle does incorporate eating your favorite foods but helps you learn to restrict them. I am living proof that if after the diet you just stop caring again you'll put back on the weight plus some. So really think about how committed you can be to making a forever change before you start this diet. 

Where is my health journey headed now that I am done with cycle 1?
I'm so glad you asked. I am diving head first into cycle 2! Which means I can start eating some slower processing carbs(YAY) every other day! You can look forward to another health update in about 17 days. 

If you have any questions about the diet, please do not hesitate to ask! My results are pretty typical of what you can expect. I know many other people who have tried this diet and experienced similar success! Good luck! And please send me a comment or message if you are going to start. I'll be glad to cheer you on!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

3 Days- 9 Smoothies- 6lbs Gone!

Hello All!

I realize it's been awhile since I've really talked about anything other than my accident and my recovery. Knowing that you must be bored stiff with tales of me using a walker and having to sit all day I'm here to share another kind of post! A while ago I have allowed my blog to center around health and weight-loss and I'm thinking it's about to take a turn in that direction again. (Don't worry I'll still have posts about other things too!)

Today I want to give my own personal review of the: Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox Cleanse. This cleanse is 3 intense days of eating drinking mostly fruits and veggies. The entire time you only drink smoothies made out of specific ingredients. It's easy to follow, costs roughly $16 a day for food supplies, and provides the results it brags. Here is what the 3 days look like:
Now let's talk about my experience with this cleanse, the good and the bad. 

I'll start with positive things first! 
1. After only 3 days of following this cleanse I lost 6 lbs! I also lost 1 inch off my waist and 1.5 inches off my stomach. 
2. This diet introduced me to new foods and interesting combinations that I may use again.
3. Overall the smoothies were pretty good. (Breakfast was my favorite!)
4. I wasn't really hungry often while on this cleanse. The smoothies are filling and most days I didn't even have room for the snack smoothie!
5. Trying a new weight-loss technique can be fun and interesting.
6. It's really easy to make the smoothies and follow the straight forward recipes.
7. Even though your not consuming meat, carbs, or dairy I still had energy from the smoothies.
8. I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment when I finished all 3 days!

Now to the negatives:
1. After the first day was over I started to dread drinking the lunch smoothie because I knew I didn't really like it.
2. I felt kind of horrible during the cleanse (head aches, constipation, nausea, bloating, etc.)
3. I was only able to take one of the Ultra Detox Baths since it made me feel really sick afterward. (My mom took all 3 and she only felt nauseous one night)
4. Since the diet repeats exactly for 3 days the novelty wears off after the first day.
5. It was hard to locate the foods in the grocery store.
6. It was expensive to purchase all of the food for the diet- especially things like Almond Butter, Coconut Oil, and certain fruits.
7. You get really sick of drinking cold smoothies really fast. (You'll be surprised at how much you miss chewing)
8. If you are a coffee drinker or drink a lot of caffeine you can expect a pretty horrible withdrawal headache.  (this goes for most detox cleanses).

This all being said I am still glad that I tried it. The results were highly effective and I felt so accomplished after completing it! I can't say though that I would repeat this exact detox cleanse again. Next time I think I'd be happier doing one that allows you to chew some of your food and that I could vary my food in hot or cold temperatures.

If you decide that you'd like to try this detox I'd totally support you! Here are a few tips that My mom and I picked up in the 3 days we did it.

1. The cost is estimated at $16 a day for food but it may be more if your grocery store only sells one size of some items like ground flax seed, or almond butter. That can really jack the price up so be ready for the shopping bill and bring some coupons!
2. When locating the food in the store I'd advise starting in the gluten free section. They had a lot of the things we needed to buy (didn't know this until the very end of our shopping trip, figures)
3. When buying the fruit and veggies try to make sure they will be ripe when you are starting the cleanse. I can promise you the smoothies will taste SO MUCH better with more ripe fruit- (example bananas will be much sweeter when ripe- which will make the smoothie much sweeter).
4. Do research ahead of time or bring your smartphone to look up how to tell when certain fruits or vegetables were ripe. This helped us out a lot in the store! I previously had no idea how to tell which avocado was ripe!
5. The Shopping list doesn't account for the snack smoothie you choose- so factor that in when buying foods. (I recommend the Breakfast one- also we were too full for the snack some days).
6. Do yourself a favor and don't go to super walmart for shopping- go to a real grocery store, your life will be so much easier in trying to find all of the weird things!

Smoothie Making: 
1. Storing the foods in the fridge will help the smoothie be colder.
2. Buying frozen berries or fruit can add a nice cold blast to the smoothies.
3. Adding ice to them helps make them colder and a little thicker (I suggest it)
4. You may want to tweak a smoothie recipe to your personal tastes. (ie. Lunch Smoothie we cut down on the amount of celery significantly the 2nd and 3rd day)
5. Peeling things like cucumber, apple, mango, etc will help cut out some bitterness in the smoothies.
6. When making the Dinner smoothie you might want to cut down a bit on the cayenne pepper! It was pretty spicy when made with the suggested amount!

Before & After:
1. Weigh yourself, take measurements of waist, stomach, and hips.
2. Do your research on detox cleanses and make sure you're ready for the commitment
3. Take the list and go shopping! (you make have to stop a few places)
1. Retake weight and measurements- and admire your success
2. Start thanking your lucky stars you can stop drinking smoothies for a while
3. Re introduce regular foods back into your body slowly! aka don't go binge on fast food otherwise you have totally defeated the purpose of your detox!

Where has my health journey gone since the end of this cleanse?
I'm so glad you asked. I have started the 17 day diet again! (click link to view previous post about it)
I am only about 4 days into the first cycle but it's going well. More health and diet updates to come!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Hello Everyone!

Sorry it's been awhile since I have written- I really have no good excuse except being distracted. I wanted to give everyone an update on my health and my life. Let's talk health first since that seems a bit more pressing.

Health Update:

I have been home from Rehab for about one month now.  For the past month I have been using a new brace but still always have my right leg out straight. Also I have not been allowed to put any weight down on my right leg, or bend past 90 degrees. As you can imagine this made for a month of a lot of sitting- I've watched more tv then I'd ever like to admit (but more on that later). At home I've been able to shower using a shower bench, venture outside of the house some via wheelchair, and get around the house using my walker. Leaving the house is really complicated since we have lots of stairs- but we make it happen when we need to. I've left for doctor's appointments, and some leisure activities too! (movies, church, shopping, dog walks). I appreciate my mom so much for all the help she gives me. There are still many things I cannot do on my own and her and the rest of my family have been helping a lot! Most of the time the responsibility does fall on my mom and I am eternally grateful for how willingly and readily she offers help. She jokes with me that I'll have to remember this when she gets old (I totally will!).

I just saw my new orthopedic surgeon yesterday- so I'll pass along what I found out. Here's what I know: My hip and knee are healing nicely, according to my new doc- the incisions look pretty small all things considered and the X-rays show a successful and nicely done surgery (phew!). My big timeline of healing is looking like 3-4 months for my knee and 6-9 months for my hip (That is what PA doctors told me). I found out from my MA doctor that I am now finally allowed to start bending my knee up to 40 degrees and applying small amounts of weight on my right leg! This is such great news and right on track with what we expected. He said in about 4 more weeks I'll most likely be able to bend my knee further, and be able to bend my hip past 90 degrees, as well as an increase in how much pressure my right leg can hold (depending on my progress in the next month- I might be looking at walking without a walker) -that's probably a little too hopeful, but hey, a girl can dream! In about 2 weeks I will be starting up physical therapy again, but in the mean time I am doing my own exercises at home. I also got the go ahead from my doctor to take off my brace now and then. He explained that at this point it is only acting as reinforcement and safety for if I fell. I am still wearing it almost all of the time but within the next few days I might try taking it off while I'm sitting or sleeping (all doctor approved).

Emotionally this week has been kind of rocky. I did just get all good news from my doctor, but since I am now starting to move my hip and knee more it makes me more acutely aware of my limitations. I don't know if that makes sense. What I mean is prior to trying to bend my knee I was able to imagine that when I finally would bend it that it would be able to bend 90 degrees with no problem. Now that I have bent it I know that it's physically impossible for me to actually bend my knee past 40 degrees(and even up to that 40 is hard). In other words I can no longer live in any state of denial or daydreams. I think once I get through this first week of the changes I'll get used to it, I'll even see improvements and progress and that in turn will inspire more positive feelings! Right now however I am in this emotional rollercoaster of feeling good, feeling scared, feeling frustrated, rinse and repeat. I am praying for God's peace in all of this. One verse I am focusing on is Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." This verse gives me a lot of comfort in knowing that God has my life in his hands- and even though I may feel weak or frustrated in the moment, I've got God on my side and he can see the bigger picture even when I can't.

Life Update:

As you can imagine with my leg being pretty much out of commission I don't really get out of the house that much. So I'd say 95% of my time every week is spent inside my house either on the couch, the recliner, or at the kitchen table. In this time I have wasted a lot of it watching tons of television and movies. I try to reassure myself that it's OK to be a little lazy with my time. I wasn't totally lazy with all my time: Since my accident I was inspired to start a small business! I'd go into all the details but it's a long story that I already typed up on another blog! I started an Etsy shop to sell handmade cards. So far I've only sold 2, but I haven't been open very long so I'm not losing hope yet. Check out the story of how I got started and read more about that project here. All of the cards ring up at less than $10 after shipping, I'd love it if some of you would look at my cards and consider buying one. I'm also opening it up to custom orders- since there's no form for it yet you can just email me or leave a comment for more info on that! The business has been an amazing outlet for my creativity and also took up a lot of time getting started. So far it's a fun adventure that I'm enjoying a lot!

Since I mentioned having lots of time- I'd be so happy to catch up with friends and family via text, phone calls, skype, facebook messages, or emails. Please get a hold of me if you want to talk! :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

10 Days in Rehab and Counting

After my accident on February 1st I spent about a week at the hospital. I included many details in my last blog post about the accident and the hospital stay. On February 7th I was moved from Geisinger Hospital to Healthsouth Rehab Center. In this post I'll dive into tons of details about my rehab process from the past week or so.

Luckily my sister was in town on Feb 7th and while I laid in my hospital bed she packed up all my flowers, balloons, and personal belongings onto a cart to be transferred from the hospital to the rehab center. I remember being really nervous about moving since it would be a brand new place where I knew no one! I kept feeling like I just would rather stay at the hospital because I had started to get used to the nurses, doctors, and basic routine. Now looking back- I am so glad I am not still at the hospital- but more on that later.

Derek (friend/roommate) also came into town to visit that day just in time to use his car to transport all of my things to rehab. Gabby was especially happy she didn't have to make the long trek back to the parking lot to get her car! While Derek was busy being a great friend- Gabby was busy being a great sister riding over with me on the shuttle bus. This was my first ever experience with using one of the wheelchair lifts on a bus- and for that matter riding on a bus in a wheelchair. I had flashbacks to an episode of the IT crowd where Roy pretends to be disabled to use the handicap bathroom (funniest ever).

Once we made it over to Healthsouth Rehab Center they unloaded me from the bus and signed me in. I remember thinking mostly how cold it was outside- but also how great it was to feel the outside air. By the time I got to my new room Derek and Gabby almost had everything unpacked for me! Several doctors and nurses came in and had me answer tons of questions, explained some things to me and had me sign a bunch of papers. When I moved into my room my roommate was out of the room in therapy- I was very curious to meet her. The biggest thing that was stressed to me by multiple nurses was that I was not the typical age of most of their patients. (This was them nicely telling me everyone here is old.) I'm not talking "old" like adults around my parents age- I'm talking well into the 70's and 80's. Speaking of the older generations, my roommate's name was Dorothy. She told me she was 70 years older than me at the age of 92 (although her daughter who was visiting later told me she was 94). Dorothy was very sweet but actually checked out of rehab the very next day to head to a nursing home. Since then I have been lucky enough to have the whole room to myself!

My first 24 hours here were a lot to adjust to. I didn't know the nurses or the doctors. I did however love some of the new tasks I was able to do while I was here. Firstly I was able to use a bathroom. Now for all of you with working body parts- please take a minute to thank God right now that you can use a toilet. At the hospital I was not lucky enough to have this luxury. During my hospital stay I basically was in bed 24 hours a day and was too weak to be able to walk- so I had to use a bed pan. You are welcome in advance for not getting into the details behind using a bed pan. I promise it would only give you nightmares and bad images if I told you. (On that note if you really can't live life without a personal account of how bed pans work- talk to me privately). So at rehab I had the assistance available to me to get up and use a real toilet!! I could have cried I was so happy the first time using it (and that was even with 2 people in the room helping me). Now that I have been here awhile and am able to navigate with a walker better I have been granted bathroom privileges(BRPs) meaning I can use the bathroom by myself. (You can't even imagine how happy I was the day I found out I had BRPs). Aside from finally being able to use a real toilet- the first morning I was here I was able to take a shower!! (Again- thank God right now that you have the ability to bathe yourself). The first time showering I had to have someone with me the whole time during the shower. My occupational therapist is very nice and luckily we get along well so it wasn't so bad having her assist me in the shower. Now I am pleased to report after one week I can shower almost entirely by myself. I have mastered putting a bag over my broken leg and taping over my stitches in my hip before a shower. I have enough mobility that I can physically take the shower by myself- and just need someone to come change my hip bandage when I'm done before I can get dressed.

So long story short rehab immediately provided me with the luxury of using a real bathroom for the shower and toilet purposes. Along with these amazing new privileges- my first full day there I got to experience physical therapy and occupational therapy. (More on that in just a moment).

The second evening there Gabby was still in town because of the snow! She got to sleepover with me now that my roommate was gone! During her time here we collected up a lot of the cards and gifts I had received and decorated the room. I felt so thankful to have received so many lovely get well cards, flowers, and gifts. I even got a batch of cards from my students at the middle school where I did my student teaching. (My cooperating teacher Molly dropped them off in person when she visited me with her whole family!) I thank God everyday for the amazing support I am getting. Every single thought and prayer has gone so far in helping with my recovery- including a fast healing and helping to keep my spirits up! I really appreciate all the different visitors who have stopped by. Thanks to my mom, Gabby, Derek, Sydney, Uncle Buddy, Sara R., Sam, Erin, Sarah T., and Molly. You all have been such an important part in making my days lovely!

While Gabby was visiting aside from decorating with some cards we decided to undertake some crafting in order to really spruce the place up! I got the idea to make a paper chain (loved making those as a kid) but I didn't have any construction paper to do it- that's when we thought of using magazines. Luckily I had a bunch of magazines in my possession, so we sifted through the pages looking for any bright and colorful ads. We then cut the paper into strips and stapled them into this chain. Gabby hung up the chain over my doorway area. Since then tons of nurses and doctors have complimented me on how nice my room looks!

After a few days had passed I was feeling a lot more comfortable with everything. I started to recognize the nurses, the doctors, and my therapists. Everyone here has been very nice to me. Like I mentioned above a lot of the nurses have told me they love my room because it's so bright and cheerful- and I can sense that some of the nurses really enjoy having a younger patient to work with. As time has passed I have really been enjoying my therapy sessions- both occupational and physical. Therapy usually takes up about 3 hours of the day. I find the time extremely rewarding since I am up and moving a bit more than all the other hours of the day, and I feel really accomplished when I am done at therapy because I know it is helping me get one step closer to recovery. 

Let's talk about occupational therapy first. Occupational therapy is a very valid and needed part of a full recovery. It reteaches you how to accomplish everyday tasks while dealing with your disability. For example: showering, using the toilet, transferring into a tub, getting out of bed, using a kitchen, standing and sitting, etc. During my occupational therapy time we practice a lot of different practical things. The other day I used my walker in the kitchen to make a cup of hot cocoa. I know it sounds simple- but think about all the implications of making cocoa while using a walker. #1 you can't carry anything while you walk since both hands are on the walker. #2 you need to get a mug, water or milk, spoon, hot cocoa packet and be able to access the microwave. #3 once you have made the cocoa you need to be able to get the mug to the desired location of where you will sit and drink it. You learn tons of little tricks pretty quickly (like using the counter tops to move things around a room) that really make life a lot easier. One very interesting thing Healthsouth provides is a practice apartment. It's a little area with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and washer and dryer made for the patients to practice daily tasks in. I found out from my therapist the other day that sometimes they use this apartment as a trial run location for a patient that they are on the fence about sending home. Another thing we focus on in OT is upper body strength. Arm strength is so important for me since I need to use my arms for almost everything now- including walking, sitting and standing, and not to mention all the normal tasks we use are arms for! My therapist Jamie has a whole routine worked out including free weights, stretchy bands, and an arm routine she stole from an insanity workout! 

Physical Therapy is also a very crucial part in my recovery. This therapy kind of explains itself. I work on building muscle and regaining motion and other physical tasks. Usually we start the routine on a raised mat where I work on leg exercises with my good leg. I have to strengthen this leg while laying down since I can't put any weight on my right leg. Recently we have added a few motions with my right leg on the mat. After the mat we work in the bars. They remind me of ballet bars although I'm certainly not using them like that. I stand in between the bars and can use them for balance or to workout my arms. Usually I work on right leg mobility while I'm in the bars area since gravity is helpful in getting that leg to move. We also practice walking using a walker- and increase the distance a little bit each time. Another feat I face during physical therapy is climbing the stairs. In fact my first day of therapy, my therapist, Chelsea said "we are going to try and climb the stairs." I think I almost fainted when she said that to me- and we did try that day- unsuccessfully. Chelsea seems to constantly be asking me to do the impossible in therapy. For example Day 1: climbing those stairs, Day 2: Moving my right leg, etc. One thing I really wanted to talk about is my Day 2 challenge. I stood between the bars and she said "OK, I want you to mover your right leg out to the side." I tried to move it- and nothing. This was the first time I experienced my body rejecting an instruction from my brain. I seriously tried as hard as I could to swing that right leg out using my hip muscles- but no movement came. I felt so sad and shocked. It's an incredibly frustrating experience to not be able to invoke motion in one of your limbs. This happened again when she wanted me to lift my leg forward. I explained the situation and we adapted by using my toes and foot to kind of inch my leg in either direction- but I felt totally defeated! After a few days however my hip muscles were starting to heal more and were able to lift my leg a bit. So now I can do those movements without needing my toes to come to the rescue. I did however have another frustrating experience when we added new mat exercises. She wanted me to do right leg lifts. (laying down lift my right leg up). I tried 15 times very hard to make this happen and it wouldn't budge. Again it's super frustrating but I need to trust with time my leg will heal and I will regain full muscle strength and mobility. I challenge all of you reading to really consider the frustration you might feel if you couldn't move a limb, like physically could not make it happen. I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to permanently lose mobility of a limb! I feel for all those people who have and now can understand a fraction of the frustration and sadness that comes with that limitation. Speaking of limitations I did master going up and down the stairs, unfortunately I have to do it on my bum- using the scooch method. Essentially I scooch up the steps backwards on my bum up onto a stool then a chair and finally into standing position. It's kind of silly, but at least I can do it by myself! 

Everyday I feel as though I am getting a little bit better. My knee and hip are starting to heal up pretty well, but I am sure that I will have huge battle scars from this experience. If you check out the picture above you can see the insane swelling in my right leg. It pretty much is still that swollen- and I am anxious for it to return to it's normal size (see left leg). Aside from swelling and scarring I am trying to treat the rest of my body as normally as possible. I am eating a regular-ish diet- although I am craving better foods and more fresh fruits and vegetables and coffee!!! I am showering everyday and some days I will even spend the time to blow dry my hair or put makeup on because I feel more like myself- and it takes up some of that daunting free time! My clothes here don't really feel like 'me' but at least I am comfy. My sister went out and bought me some loose shorts and comfy t-shirts to wear while I recover.

Aside from therapy and returning to normalcy, another big help in my recovery is due to me learning how to use adaptive tools. As I mentioned before I use a walker and wheelchair to get around. But so many small tasks can't be done without the help of these tools to the left. Let me break down what these tools help me do from top to bottom. The very top tool helps me put my socks on. You pull the sock over the plastic part and slip your foot in. Next you pull on the cords to yank the plastic part back leaving the sock on your foot. Using this tool is the only way I can get a sock on my right foot since I can't bend more than 90 degrees forward. The next tool down is a grabber. You might imagine a short person using one to reach a high shelf- but this tool helps for so much more. Since I can't bend over I use it to take off my right sock or put anything on my lower body (i.e. undies, shorts, pants, etc). I have to loop the grabber around the shorts then place it on my right leg first- once I manage to get the shorts up to my knee I can reach with my hands to do the rest. I also use the grabber to help me reach things that are far away- like covers at the bottom of the bed, or my book that's out of my reach. Another super useful tool is the third one down- which I affectionately call my dog leash. It actually is a leash with metal in it. The open loop at the bottom and the leash all the way up is stiff. I can use this to loop onto my right foot and pick up my leg. I have to use this tool a lot! I need it to get out of bed, out of a wheelchair, to go to the bathroom, and for so much more. The dog leash and the grabber are by far my most useful tools. And lastly we have the metal shoe horn. It works like a regular shoe horn it's just ridiculously long so I don't have to bend to reach my right foot. That concludes all my adaptive tools I have mastered using. 

One of the last things I wanted to show you was my room! Here is where I have been living since February 7th- and I'll be here until the 19th! Then I'll be packing up all my things and heading to Massachusetts to tackle my next task- living in the real world! 

Thanks for sticking it out until the end of this post. I know it was long, but now you understand so much more of what my life in rehab has been like. Obviously I didn't talk about everything that happened- I didn't even get into medications, free time, and other stories- so if you want to know more of the details just give me a call. One thing I can definitely say is that I feel this experience changing me. I have this total new perspective and I can feel it seeping into each area of my life. I thank God every day for taking care of me and having my back. Without God's love, strength, healing and support I would be no where. I pray God blesses you all as much as he's blessed me and more! 

*Stay tuned for more posts soon* 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 1st

The past 2 weeks have been- possibly the longest 2 weeks of my life. As I'm sure many of you have heard by now I was in a car crash on February 1st. Now I don't know how many people really know the entire true story of what happened- since usually as word gets around it's hard to keep it accurate. So I wanted to go on the record and give you a run down of my life for the past 2 weeks (this will take more than one post).

That Friday morning I was driving to work- a substitute job at a middle school about 20 minutes from my apartment. I am very familiar with the route I was driving and the roads themselves weren't even bad that day. I left as usual and drove over the mountain to get into state college. I came around a curve and noticed some ice and snow ahead so I put my breaks on. (Maybe I wasn't supposed to do that- but I can never keep it straight about how you should drive on ice). My car started to swerve out of control into the other lane. Another car was coming so I decided my only option was to try and swerve back towards my side and avoid the collision with another car. My car did avoid the other cars on the road but did not avoid hitting a tree! It's pretty thick forest along that road and going off to the side of the road means hitting trees. To this day I am still thankful that my car did not hit any other cars or injure anyone but myself- in this account I was very lucky.

The crash was bad- and the impact from it destroyed a lot of the front of the car. As you can see in these pictures the damage was pretty extensive. Derek (my roommate/friend) who went to gather my belongings from my car later on- took these pictures and told me that the engine had started to protrude up into the dash area of the front seats, especially on the passenger side.

After the crash happened I didn't really notice how bad the crash had been. I know that sounds strange, but I was in such shock and pain that most of my thoughts were focused on worrying about my own well being- not really worrying about the car. That being said- when the police officer showed up at the hospital with his report on the accident it prompted a lot more tests to be done on my body for internal and other serious injuries that may have occurred.

Now that the smoke has settled from the accident we have been able to work through all the details with my insurance company and seem to be getting back a fair amount of money for the car. In case you couldn't guess, my car (named Angie) is totaled. I was so looking forward to many more years of driving her, but I am glad that at least I should be getting enough money to get another car of somewhat similar caliber.

Enough about my car- let's talk about what happened to me. As I said earlier the crash was pretty bad- I hit a tree, head on, and the airbags did deploy. When the crash happened I was in total shock and pain. I remember crawling out of the car and onto the snowy hard ground. I wish I could say that I was fine and responded with logic and calmness- but I didn't. I basically felt like I was going crazy. I kept saying "Oh my God" over and over again while shaking and crying.

A seriously good samaritan named Nicole, stopped to help. She rushed over and started asking all the right questions. She asked about my pain, and if I had blacked out, and tons of other questions. She had another passer-by call 911 to report the accident as she helped me limp into her car. She grabbed my purse and then drove me to the hospital. In the car i called the middle school I was supposed to be subbing at and my mother. When I finally reached the E.R. I was in a lot of pain. My right knee was killing me, and skin was protruding from a hole in my jeans. My left hip and my nose also hurt a lot- and I had just about cleaned up my bloody mouth by the time we got inside.

Once i was admitted to the E.R. I felt really alone and scared. I didn't know anything about how intense these injuries were- and on top of it no one gave me any pain medicine! (for a really long time). I ended up having some X-rays and a C.T. scan done. (yes I had to drink the horrible radioactive fluid). It wasn't until after the C.T. Scan that we found out the total news of my injuries. My right patella (knee cap) was broken- with a pretty big whole in my knee down to the joint- letting air in (huge risk of infection) and my right hip was fractured. The news of a broken hip came as a huge shock since my right hip didn't even hurt at all!

All afternoon there was discussion of when and where the surgeries might take place. At this point I was at Mt. Nittany Hospital and they knew the knee would have to be operated on at least to clean it out and stitch it up. After waiting all morning and part of the afternoon they gave the word to ship me to a different hospital with doctors who specialize in hip injuries to get a more solid second opinion on the hip and the knee. I was so thankful to have my friends Sydney and Derek there for the afternoon- I am not sure if I could have done that entire morning all by myself.

Later- I took a hour and a half ride to Geisinger Hospital in Danville, PA. At this point my mom was already on her way to PA to come to the rescue.When I reached the new hospital I was notified that I would be admitted in the trauma department since my accident had been so severe. This is more urgent than an E.R. and came with some interesting details. When I got there about 10-15 doctors, nurses, and interns, poured over my body to examine every inch of it. I felt slightly humiliated when they removed my socks and hospital gown and just about everyone saw everything. I got over the physical embarrassment quickly but didn't adjust well to so many people acting crazy and running a million tests on me at one time. My knee at this point still was killing me- and had been bandaged up a little. While I was in the Trauma department my knee got a pretty good cleaning and new bandages- however it also got more painful X-rays and another C.T. scan. On top of all of this for the entire day I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything- not even water- because of the uncertainty of when my knee would be operated on! I hated not being able to drink water and at one point my blood pressure and pulse dropped dangerously low from being dehydrated. (That's when I finally got hooked up to Saline).

That entire first day is still pretty clear in my mind- and I remember the relief I felt when I was finally in a hospital room and my mother arrived. By this point I had some pain relief, but was still dying from not being able to drink any water. I somewhat remember drifting off to sleep that first night, being totally drained and stripped of any molecule of energy I might have had left.

The next morning my knee was operated on- they cleaned it out thoroughly and stitched it up. The recovery after this surgery was rough and I had to take a lot of pain killers before it even felt muted. The weekend included some really lovely visitors and a lot of recovery- just in time for my second surgery on Monday.

Monday (Feb 4) the doctors went in and operated on my knee and hip adding a screw to my knee and plate to my hip- to hold everything together. Waking up from this surgery was brutal- and again the with-holding of water was unbearable! Most of the nurses at the hospital were wonderful and very kind during this rough recovery process. We had a horrible and very scarring experience with one nurse on a night shift that I never wish to repeat in my whole entire life. (Don't worry- Mom reported it). Other than the one nurse we had some issues with the rest were so king to me. Their gentleness and patience I would count as a major contributing factor towards my recovery.

My mother was also my rock during this whole process- she held my hand (literally) through the entire process and I certainly would not have been able to get through that first week without her help. She is the best mother in the world- and I am ready to fight anyone who would disagree.

After about 4 very intense days of recovery it was finally time for me to leave the hospital and go to rehab. (which is where I am now!) I will get into all the ins and outs of rehab another day.

But for now you should know- my knee and hip are healing well. Both have a combination of staples and stitches- which you can see in my knee pictured below!

I am not able to bend my knee at all since the surgery on the knee was so extensive. Instead of a cast the doctors put my right leg in an immobilizer. It can come off but is supposed to stay on all day and night. My hip I just have a bandage on but when leaving the hospital they gave me some hip motion limitations in order to allow for it to heal fully. I am not allowed to bend my body forward more than a 90 degree angle because of my hip (this one is the hardest rule to follow).  

Aside from my right knee and hip- my other injuries are minimal. Most just include bruising or scratches and will heal on their own. One nasty bruise that I am thankful for is on my left hip (pictured below). This bruise is the proof that I was wearing my seat belt- and the reminder that it most likely saved my life!
There are a few bruises however that I really hate- and I find totally unnecessary. During my hospital stay I was pricked in about 10 different location for IVs multiple times. I also had IVs moved and ended up having 4 IVs total- and blood drawn from my arms everyday. This resulted in a lot of pain and tons of bruising on my arms!! (the picture below doesn't even do the amount of arm bruising justice).

One totally lovely thing about this entire experience has been the amount of love and support I have felt from everyone. I feel so overwhelmed by love because I never once have experienced people from every stage of my life all supporting me in one endeavor before. People from my childhood in Utica have reached out to me- all the way up to my most recent acquaintances in State college- my students and my cast of Legally Blonde- all of them reached out to love and support me through this time. I feel so blessed to have so many amazing people thinking of me and praying for my healing. I know it is by God's glory and power that my healing has been going so well so far. And everyday I praise him for sparing my life in the car accident and thank him for placing angels in that car with me to protect my life! 
I have so much more to tell you all- but for now I'll leave it at that. Hopefully you better understand my accident- my injuries- my surgeries- and my week long hospital stay. Thank you so much if you have been thinking or praying for me at all during this time. Every single person who has reached out to me- I feel nothing but love and gratitude for them. If you have any questions about anything don't hesitate to ask! And in the mean time- I pray God will bless you and keep you safe!
P.S. Happy Valentine's Day