Wednesday, September 30, 2009

1 more day!

I just got finished 12.5 hours in the ICU, so I apologize if this post is short (I work tomorrow too), but I wanted to update it before tomorrow since it will be OCTOBER 1ST--Day 1 of the 31-Day Yoga Challenge!!

October is going to rock.

I'll be kicking off the challenge immediately after work at Living Room Yoga in St. Petersburg, Fl. There is a "Yoga for Stress" class at 7:30, so I think I can make it! I'm not sure how this class will be, but it's the only thing being offered in this area and I wanted to start the challenge off in a formal setting (as opposed to home). And since my work is pretty stressful, I found it fitting:)


For the challenge/adventure/journey, I plan to stay completely open-minded and broaden my ideas of yoga. I am going to accomplish this through visiting other yoga studios and subsequently practicing with different teachers and styles. I feel this will also help me decide if there is one area of Yoga I enjoy most, which will be helpful for when I start a yoga teacher training program...

(see how I totally said "when," and not "if"...hmmmm?)

I've already picked out about 5 different yoga places in my area (Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater area), so I'm enthusiastic. I definitely also want to try Bikram!

Physically, I'll be interested in seeing what sorts of changes my body goes through. I definitely need to increase flexibility in my spine/hamstrings. For instance, I don't get very far when I forward fold, especially in a seating position. It is so uncomfortable for me. I know they say bend/hinge at the hip, but it just doesn't happen for me!! So this is an area I'll be keeping an eye on. I feel pretty good when it comes to strength and balance, but there is always room for improvement!

Emotionally, I'm hope to see a change in my mood and the way I react to people and situations. A more level-headed, mature, and calm feeling is what I'm after...

And I definitely plan on bringing Mirza along to one (or more, maybe???) yoga classes. He has never gone, but I honestly think he would totally enjoy it since he is a calm person in general. But we all get stressed with daily life and I know if he could get into it, he would benefit. He said he would go to a class, but I sense hesitation:):) He's open-minded and loves me, so I know he won't resist too much *muahahah*

Well, I'm off for the night. I want to get caught up on some television and reading. I see that my Clean Food by Terry Walter's book has arrived from Amazon, so I want to take a look at that.

And I also purchased a book for the 31-Day Yoga Challenge kick-off:

The Inner Tradition of Yoga: A Guide to Yoga Philosophy for the Contemporary Practitioner
by Michael Stone. I'm honestly not familiar with the author, but found it while browsing yesterday at Borders and thought it'd be a good way to start.

Check back tomorrow night for the first update!

For those who may be participating in the 31-Day Yoga Challenge, please leave a comment with your goals and how you plan to accomplish them. I feel that once you put your goals out there for others to see, it may hold you more accountable!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


First business...
If one more person enthusiastically tells me that a "cold front" is coming through over night, yet the high is still going to remain 85-90 all week, then I just might explode. No, it is not a cold front when your car reads this:

Until I'm able to go outside for a nice, leisurely walk without feeling like I hit a brick wall of fire, then it is still summer and cold fronts do not exist.

Since that business is taken care of...
The weirdest thing happened to me yesterday. After my post on the 31-Day Yoga Challenge, I took a drive to the library for some inspirational reading. As I am browsing the aisles, I do a double take at a woman on the computers. I realize it is the yoga instructor from my gym who used to teach on Sundays! For me, this was a total sign that I need to do the challenge. It was like the universe was opening up and saying, YES, YES, GOOD PLAN!! It's not like I live in a small town or anything, either. I also had a Bikram Yoga book in my hands at the time. Coincidence?

When I came home, I made a smoothie that consisted of:
-1 Stonyfield Farm Fat free vanilla yogurt
-handful of baby spinach
-about a cup of frozen organic mixed berries
-1 packet of Amazing Grass Meal
-ice cubes

!! It was so creamy, but went down smooth. Perfect amount of sweetness. And it kept me full for a surprisingly long time. When dinner time rolled around, I kept thinking to myself, "why am I not hungry?? What the heck did I even eat today!!?" Then I remembered the smoothie with the Amazing Grass product and everything made sense.

I have a few domestic things to take care of, but expect a post later on about my yoga goals for the 31-Day Yoga Challenge. I'm super excited, in case anyone hasn't caught on!!

Until then, I leave you with a delicious organic honeycrisp apple sitting on an apple shaped cutting board.

And I totally smashed my head on the cabinet trying to get a different angle<---loser.

Monday, September 28, 2009


For the month of October, I will be doing a 31-day Yoga "Challenge." This means, every single day, I will incorporate yoga into my day NO.MATTER.WHAT. I hesitate to call it a yoga "challenge" because that word creates a sense of negativity in my head, and this little project of mine is all about positivity, self-awareness, and HAPPINESS.

As some may or may not know, I love yoga! I've been doing it on and off for about 2 years. In the beginning, I did not "get it." Yes, it was fun and a great exercise, but I never understood what the hype was all about! For some odd reason, something clicked with me last summer and I started to understand and feel the true power of yoga physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are times when I go from practicing yoga 4 times per week and times when I may even go a week or two without it. Too inconsistent, in my opinion. But I always come back...

The idea for the 31-day challenge came from Tina of Carrots 'n' Cake.
The last couple of days, I've really felt that yoga "urge" drawing me closer. To be honest, I cannot put my finger on why some days this urge exists and others it does not (probably hormones, hehe), but I'm looking for more with my yoga. In all honesty, for the past 8 months or so, I have seriously been looking into a yoga teacher training program. However, at the moment, all the programs in my area are over $2,000, so needless to say, it is not within my current budget!

I happened to stumble upon Tina's blog yesterday and saw that she did the same thing in March. Lightbulb!! Genius!! I was sitting in the bubble bath just moments before pondering what I could do to increase my yoga practice and give myself more accountability towards it. I then started to google "31-day yoga challenge" and I see others have done this as well throughout the blog-world.

The "rules"
On my days off, I need to do at least 30 minutes or more of yoga. For me, this is probably doable since all yoga classes are over one hour. Keeping in mind that some days my gym does not offer yoga, so I will need to do home-practice.
However, for the days that I am working, it gets a little trickier. For one, I work 12 hour shifts, which quickly turn into 13 from driving and getting/giving report to the oncoming nurse. On these days, I will be doing minimum 20 minutes of yoga at home, if there are not any late yoga classes offered on those days. With all the time I spend online reading blogs, facebook, etc., I think I can spare 20 minutes.
However, it is definitely going to be hard. Keep in mind, I am currently involved in rigorous Critical Care Internship that requires I work at the hospital, complete labs away from home, and tons of homework and computer modules. Challenge, yes. But beneficial, indeed!

What do I want to get out of this? What's the point?
Well, for one, I would like the whole month of October to not be just about the physical aspect of yoga, but the mental aspect, too. Let's call it a month of positivity! During this time, I will not only be doing yoga everyday, but also incorporating other things in my life that are positive, like reading certain books, trying new foods, anything that will inspire me. I'd also like a great way to reduce stress because I am sure most can imagine that working in the ICU is not a walk in the park.

October 1st is this Thursday!

My next post will be related to specific goals I have for the month of October related to yoga.
If anyone would like to join me in this challenge, you are more than welcome. Also, if you have any ideas, feel free! Please do comment though if you will be participating:)

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I have an announcement for tomorrow!!
Something exciting (no, I am not engaged or pregnant or anything remotely like that)...
Hope you all will read!
I need to sleep on it for more ideas though...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

justify the things you do

Today was so good.
Let's start with dinner! I made some lasagna spinach rolls up, inspired by this recipe, which I completely tweaked and made my own.

Mario Batali=hero! This sauce is great: all basic ingredients you can pronounce, short list, no preservatives or extra sugar. Just pure food.

My mixture included whole milk ricotta. Now, normally, I WOULD go ahead and use the part-skim variety, but then there are times when I just want something that is as close to the source as it can get. All of those fat free and low fat food items are much more handled and processed. That isn't to say I don't utilize them! Because I do! I actually buy fat-free organic milk and yogurt.

However, here is an interesting passage from Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food:

Page 153-154:

Very often food science's efforts to make traditional foods more nutritious make them much more complicated, but not necessarily any better for you. To make dairy products low fat, it's not enough to remove the fat. You then have to go to great lengths to preserve the body or creamy texture by working in all kinds of food additives. In the case of low-fat or skim milk, that usually means adding powdered milk. But powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol, which scientists believe is much worse for your arteries than ordinary cholesterol, so food makers sometimes compensate by adding antioxidants, further complicating what had been a simple one-ingredient whole food. Also, removing the fat makes it that much harder for your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins that are one of the reasons to drink milk in the first place.

But for this dish, I wanted something untouched, for the most part. It had ricotta cheese, a shredded cheese Italian blend, organic portabella mushrooms, and s/p. I used whole wheat lasagna, of course!

They were so cute! A before and after going in and out of the oven!

mmmm cheesy and bubbly..

On the side we enjoyed toasted Ezekial 7 grain bread. A bit on the expensive side, but worth it.

The rest are some random pictures we took before going out for dessert!

We knew exactly where to go for dessert!
Frida's Cafe and Bakery!

Stay tuned for an update in the AM about the jazz concert we attended!

it's all greek to me!

Not a whole lot to report on the ICU job front. I've basically been in awe by how sick people can get so quickly. Sepsis=scary! I'm also in awe by how quickly they can also turn around and get better all because of great care. I love it!

I don't work again until Wednesday, but I have two labs in a row on Monday and Tueday.
Monday is apparently a lecture on diabetes and Tuesday will be the actual lab portion with stations. The CCIP instructors said the diabetic lecture is something we will not soon forget, as it is taught by someone who is quite enthusiastic, getting the crowd involved, etc. We'll see...;)

Mirza and I went out last night to a greek restaurant (we also went last Friday too!) and it was great as usual. We started with an appetizer of hummus with pita. The pita was warm and toasty, but soft. Last week we both got huge dinner plates, but yesterday decided to go for sandwiches.
Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera to photograph the deliciousness, but I got the portabella mushroom sandwich, which consisted of: portabella mushrooms, onions, red peppers, tomatoes, and A LOT of taziki sauce stuffed into a gorgeous pita bread! I LOVE taziki sauce. I also got a side of Mediterranean pasta salad.
Mirza got the same thing, but substitute the mushrooms for lamb souvlaki and the pasta salad with french fries!:)
I'm glad that I went with a vegetarian entree. I didn't feel weighed down by the meal like I would have if I had chosen chicken or french fries:/
We also talked about how if and when we finally get a chance to travel, we probably wouldn't even care about seeing all the famous landmarks, we'd only be interested in eating. Because really, who cares about the coliseum when you have amaaaaazing food!?

Schedule for today includes working on my endocrine modules, 11:30 yoga, cleaning, food shopping, and hanging out with Mirza. He teaches guitar all day Saturday, so it gives me time to catch up on this kind of stuff!!

I leave you with the ferocious Max!

Friday, September 18, 2009


CCIP is moving along quickly! We've finished the cardiac modules and are now doing hemodynamics. Luckily, my nursing program was excellent about teaching this, so it isn't completely foreign to me. Also, since we did have Sim Man at school, we had a lot of opportunities to look at monitors and waveforms, etc. That being said, I've been in tele the past year and did not need to know any of this information, so there is still a learning curve. Everyday I learn more and more, yet it seems the more I learn, the more I realize there is even more stuff to know *slaps forehead*...

The past two days were a definite learning experience! Halfway through the day on Wednesday, our assignment changed from 2:1 to 1:1. The 1:1 was originally admitted to the hospital for an elective takedown colostomy, ventral hernia repair, and ileostomy insertion. He then went septic and was transfered to us and subsequently went into respiratory distress and was placed on the vent. I won't get into the details of his history too greatly, but he needs dialysis 4 times per week. He became a 1:1 assignment because we started CRRT (Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy) on him.

The last few days have been good because I'm getting "used to" titrating drips, which is not something nurses do on the floors. For example, he was on neosynephrine because of his hypotension. As the ICU nurse, we have to increase or decrease the drug to effect the patient's blood pressure and get the numbers we want to see. I love this part of ICU nursing because I feel much more autonomous! He was also on an amiodarone, propofol, and heparin gtt (drip).

As for the CRRT, it was difficult figuring out the numbers and such, but I THINK I got the hang of it...

(our machines look way more modern than this. We use NxStage)

In other "exciting" news...they started a Monthly nursing journal club at work. Each month we will get together and choose one nursing journal research article to discuss. We had the first meeting yesterday to discuss logistics of the meetings, and we went over an article from Critical Care Nurse regarding Rapid Response Teams. Here's the article:

My ICU has had a RRT since 2004. I can't wait until I'm "competent" enough to be the one who carries the beeper and feel like a bad ass when I go up on the floor and help the nurses, haha!!

A long way to go...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Poor Taylor Swift!!! Kanye West sucks, for real.

Sunday dinner!

Man, so after all of my decorating (ha ha) today, I was feeling totally lazy. Mirza came over after the gym to see my apartment and he liked it. We almost ordered a pizza because I was, "waaaah, I don't want to go to the store!!" But I said, "No, we can't order pizza because then I will just feel dirty, disgusting, and guilty after..."

So, he left to go shower/practice and I headed to the store...

I decided to try THIS!!!

HOLY MOTHER, I am glad I did. I honestly didn't think the flavors would be so awesome, but everything just pops. Roasted veggies are...the bomb! yes, I said it, the bomb.

Roasted Vegetables on Creamy Polenta:

I used: 1/2 zucchini, 1/2 summer squash, 1/2 tomato, 1/4 red onion, 1/2 eggplant, 1 portobello mushroom cap, 1/2 red bell pepper...

And of course, I spruced mine up with some feta...because, you know, everything is betta' with feta!

Transforming my living room

So, for about the last year, I've lived in my lovely, but very blank and undecorated apartment. I never felt brave enough to buy any artwork for the walls, nothing ever felt right. Well, this weekend, I decided it was time for my apartment to stop feeling so cold. As I've heard Oprah say numerous times,"Your home should rise up and greet you." Cheesy, but I love Oprah.

This is the before picture taken last October when I moved in:

Everything has stayed that way pretty much for the entire year, except I had different pillows on the couch.

And this is what I did this weekend (I'm not done!):

New rug from Ross: $24.99!!

Pillows came as a set of two from Kohl's...were marked down from $39.99 to $17.99 TOTAL.
And the metal art was from Marshall's for $45 total!

Grand total for revamp: Less than $90...
I still need something on that far wall. I am thinking some sort of shelving and a mirror. We'll see...
Hey, I'm no interior designer, but it is definitely better than before.

Ok, here are a few experiments:

I definitely like the flower one more...