Soda Talk

Who loves soda?  And who is strong enough and healthy enough to forego it?

assorted bottle and cans

I have had my ups and downs with it over the years.  I remember it being a treat when I was younger, then drinking it consistently as a teen.

I used to drink regular sodas…Pepsi, Coke (no I am not a die hard fan of either, I swap back and forth depending on my mood), Rootbeer (Barqs is my number one and Mug is my number two-I am not a fan of A&W) and Dr. Pepper.  My thoughts used to be, sugar is better for you than fake chemicals so I prefer regular soda over diet soda and prefer diabetes over cancer.

About 15 years ago, I switched to diet.  I decided my weight was too much of an issue to care about possibly getting diabetes or cancer and I just needed to watch my calories…..and giving up soda just wasn’t an option.

In the past 15 years, I have tried to give it up.  I have gone about nine months without a soda at one point.  One time, I even recall having a sip after a long while and disliking it.  Eventually, that feeling went away and I had another soda and was hooked.

I know that diabetes and cancer are real concerns drinking regular or diet soda.  I just can’t stop.  I have tried Zevia, sparkling flavored water, making my own sparkling water and adding rootbeer stevia and none of it measures up.  Zevia is the best soda option though.  It is made with stevia and erythritol and a lot of it does not even have caramel coloring.  If you can make the switch, I highly advise it.

For me, a nice refreshing fountain Coke Zero is amazing.  There is nothing like it.  Have you seen the commercial at the movie theater when they are pouring the soda in the cup of ice up close……ah it is so refreshing and gets me every time! Canned and bottle sodas don’t hold a torch to a good fountain soda.  Occasionally, the fountain will be over carbonated or too syrupy, but usually they are right on.  And my go-to for the past year or two is Coke Zero.

clear drinking glass filled with brown liquid and ice
Photo by on

I know I need to stop drinking soda or at least cut back.  I haven’t found the right alternative yet.  I know that cancer is a real risk consuming so many artificial chemicals and I know how terribly ugly cancer can be, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to quit just yet.  One day!

Share your soda stories with me….

Mommy and Me

My girl and I did our first ever Mommy and Me Disney trip for my birthday last month.

We have been to Disneyland dozens of times together.  We have gone as a family with my son and husband. We have included my brother-in-law with our entire family.  We have gone with a couple of friends and their families.  But this was our first Mommy and Me trip.  And I was actually in the park on my birthday for the first time ever!

We like going in groups and switching up who rides with who.  We like staying together as a large group or separating into two smaller groups and meeting back up for various rides.  But going with just the two of us allowed us to go where we wanted, when we wanted.  We didn’t have to check with each person and ask who wanted to go where.  We didn’t have to compromise or have anyone upset.  We didn’t have to eat when we weren’t ready to eat.  We got to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.  It was a different experience. One way wasn’t necessarily better or worse, just different.

Max Pass is still the only way to go.  Whether you have two people or fifteen, Max Pass is still the best option, even with the new daily rate of $15 per person.  Thankfully I bought the Max Pass option up front with my Annual Pass this last time.  We literally got every ride we wanted to do done in both Disneyland and California Adventure in 14 hours the first day.  We spent day two hitting up some of our favorites again and enjoying the parade and Animation Academy and checking out Downtown Disney and even enjoying the Christmas Caroling at the Grand Californian.  Day three was more of the same before we flew home that evening.

Being in the park for my actual birthday was fun.  Getting a pin on my true birthday was exciting.  For the first time, we rode in the double decker trolley on Main Street.  We sat upstairs in the front.  We waved as if we were princesses.  People smiled, laughed, recorded us.  Who cares?  It was fun and we will never see those people again.  It truly was a highlight of my day.

Holiday time in the parks is always amazing.  The decorations, the parade, the snow, they all make the season brighter.  We walked off the Winnie the Pooh ride and there literally were only two people in line to see Pooh, so we indulged.  We don’t typically get Pooh pics, but when there is no line, why not?

Every Disneyland trip makes new memories.  They are all special in their own way.  This one will be special because of the quality time I got with my teenage daughter.  We will remember riding the Jungle Cruise four times in three days, just because. We will remember acting like princesses on the trolley, just because.  We will remember Turtle Talk with Crush for her first time, just because.

Make memories.  Have fun.  Love on your kids.  And always remember, Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth.


Teen Anxiety is Here….

A young, thin, beautiful, acne-free 17 year-old-girl…independent study, Starbucks, Christian Youth Theater, Bayside youth group, driving, dancing, theater…..sounds like a perfect daughter, right?  WRONG!

My daughter is gorgeous. She works, goes to school, is involved in theater, goes to church, has friends, no boyfriend, no drugs.  BUT she struggles immensely.  She is in a constant battle on the inside.

She is not the only one.  Many teenagers, girls and boys, struggle with mental illnesses.  Anxiety and depression are huge and can be easily masked and unseen to the naked eye in many instances.  They smile, laugh, hang out with friends, text, converse on SnapChat and Instagram and appear to be your normal teen.  Inside, they feel they don’t measure up.  They struggle talking in person and to adults.  They are sad.  They are scared.  They don’t know how to act. They want to have that fancy car, and get straight A’s in their AP classes, have the perfect hair with their nails done sporting designer clothes, and fit in with Miss Popularity.  The competition is fierce.  The standards they feel they have to live up to are enormous.  And then bring in the bullying that is outrageous in our era and the suicide attempts and completions that are happening and our teens have it TOUGH!

My daughter uses a special blend of oils I created for her before extra stressful events.  We mix Stress-A-Way, Peace and Calming, Lavender, Bergamot, Harmony, Release, Vetiver, Surrender and maybe another one or two oils I will toss in from time to time. She is working on consistency of drinking Ningxia Red daily and a dose of Natural Calm magnesium each night.  We are encouraging a healthier diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables and less processed foods.  She wears a lava bead bracelet. She goes to therapy a few times a month to learn coping skills and ways to manage her depression and anxiety. We are encouraging 8-10 hours of sleep each night and some sweaty, heart pumping exercise most days of the week.  These things are hard for teens to fit in.  They want to drink Dutch Bros and eat Jack in the Box curly fries and stay up and gossip with their friends all night on Face Time.  Try encouraging more good and decreasing some of the not-so-good without saying NO to all the things that make them a silly teen.  As adults, we struggle with discipline for ourselves, eating right, exercising, budgeting, and so forth.  Kids are going to also.  Don’t expect perfection and don’t let them expect perfection from themselves either.

Being a nurse, I saw this in the Emergency Room a lot.  Being a mom of a teenaged girl, I see it daily.  Depression is real.  Anxiety is real.  Mental health is prevalent. Lift your kids up.  Talk positive light into them.  Tell them how amazing they are and all that they can accomplish but let them know you are there for them no matter what.  Hug them, even when they don’t want it. Ask what they are doing and with whom.  Be curious.  Be involved.  Be loving.  Be a friend but be a parent.  It’s our jobs to teach them and love them and to help them be the best version of themselves.

One final note to share with your loved ones….if you text “Home” to 741741 when you are feeling depressed, sad, or going through any kind of emotional crisis, a crisis worker will immediately text you back and continue to text with you. Yes, it works. I tried it and got an immediate response!



Jaw surgery recovery

Surgery Day-I guess surgery went well. I was in the OR for just about two hours for scheduled lower jaw surgery. Post op was worse than expected. I was in the recovery room for seven hours. Being a recovery room nurse, that’s long!  I wanted to stay the night about hour 5-6 because of my struggles. Doctors didn’t want me to (despite charging me an inpatient copay). When asked again to try to go home, I felt a bit more comfortable so went ahead with the discharge. I had TERRIBLE indigestion which I didn’t expect. I had a headache and nausea and minimal jaw pain. I was unable to completely empty my bladder so needed a catheter to empty it. I made my poor nurse work so much giving me med after med. I felt so bad. I vomited blood and bile after I got dressed to go home. Thankfully made the 45 minute commute home with no troubles. Got home and vomited again though. Thankful for the wonderful nursing staff and my caring, loving husband. To bed I go.

Day 1-Got an antibiotic stuck when trying to swallow it. Ugh!  Measured…can only open my mouth about 7mm. How did my doctor think I could swallow pills?  How did I even listen to him with my history of choking?  Insist on liquid meds cause I’m telling you that you can’t swallow well and crushed pills are nasty when mixed with water and syringed into your mouth. Syringing meds in is a lot of work. Drinking from a straw is so difficult. I resorted to a sippy cup to get small amounts of water in today. Stayed in bed all day. Have been taking norco, ibuprofen, antibiotic crushed up every 6-8 hours and icing about 20 hours a day. Pain isn’t too bad. Swelling is hideous.

Day 2-Woke up in the middle of the night and almost had a panic attack. My nose was plugged in one nostril. My neck is swollen. I got the gel capsule stuck in my throat and had a ton of phlegm. Bad experience!  I struggle sleeping at night. But take a couple naps during the day. I have mostly laid in bed and watched HGTV. Fasted for 60 hours from Wednesday night to Saturday morning. Started taking in calories today. Consumed: 4 ounces of coffee with heavy whipping cream and stevia; vegan chocolate shakeology with goat milk kefir and mct oil and collagen; bone broth; shot of Ningxia Red; a pickle juice Gut Shot. This will be my menu for the next few days. Keeping the nutrition and probiotics and fermented foods up for increased healing and nutrition. (for information on these products visit or email me directly at Being as healthy as possible is always a good thing. Being extra healthy when healing is even more important. Your body needs nutrients and protein to heal.

Day 3-Finally showered today!  Hubby was happy. Swelling may be getting slightly better but still terrible. Bruising is worsening and looks horrendous. I was able to sip coffee from a coffee cup this morning. Lower lip and chin is numb. Occasionally I feel a little tingle so that’s a good sign. I was told it can take up to a year to get back what feeling you may have to the lower lip region. It is not uncommon to have some numbness forever, but am also told that even people with the continued numbness, would still have the surgery again if given the opportunity.  Had some pain in the middle of the night. Worse pain yet and it was about a 6/10. My kids and hubby keep making fun of how I sound when I try to talk. Speaking of that, the surgeon did tell me I would be able to talk…another lie. Doctors don’t always know best.
Day 4-Slowly improving today. It’s evening and I haven’t napped today and am trying to wait until bedtime for a pain pill. In all honesty, the pain isn’t that bad. But the difficulty drinking, the swelling (which is improving), the bruising (which seems to be worsening) and the trouble talking are the bad things. Still noticing increased tingling to lower lip and chin area which is good but is still a strange feeling when it spikes. I have gotten some school work (studying for my Masters in Nursing Education) done today and booked a trip to Disneyland for the Fall with my daughter. Today we watched A Dog’s Presence and yesterday The Shack. The day before I watched The Girl on The Train. I never spend this amount of time in front of a tv. My intake has been the same each day since the weekend, but I have increased my coffee intake to a full cup instead of just four ounces. Drinking without a straw is easier than with a straw but it is still a science on how to get the cup into my mouth without spilling it down the front of me. Day 5-Sleeping at night tends to be an issue for me even if I don’t nap during the day. I’m not sure why. No nap yestedsay or today. I took norco at 9pm last night and awoke shortly after midnight and again 2-3 more times before 6am. It’s really getting annoying. I ended up taking another norco just after 6am and sleeping peacefully until 9am.  I got some more school work done today and visited with a friend. Today I tried a little yogurt. That was interesting. I had to feed myself in front of the bathroom mirror with a child spoon that still could not fully enter my mouth! I made a mess. But it was a better way to take my pills. The syringing is getting ridiculous. Again, I say, insist on liquid medicine!  Aside from the norco I am also taking 600 mg ibuprofen and an antibiotic every six hours and a special mouthwash three times a day.  I have to use a child-sized toothbrush along with my child-sized spoon.  Hubby made me some keto broccoli soup today that was fantastic!  Such a nice change. And my son brought me an unsweetened iced passion green tea today too. Literally have been sipping on that 32 ounce drink for the past 7 hours and it’s only half gone. Drinking from a straw is hard.  Day 6-Today was pretty similar to yesterday. I studied a bit. I had some yogurt with my pills and some broccoli soup and my shakeology. I had my gut shot and my ningxia red shot as well. I iced just a couple times today. I won’t be icing after today. It was recommended to ice for the first 3-4 days. I stuck with it for a week. I am down to one norco a day. I will continue my ibuprofen until my antibiotics are complete and then I will stop that too. I have been rubbing multiple essential oils on my bruising. I tried a piece of chocolate today. Well, I tried two pieces, the first piece was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, it was right after my mouthwash and it tasted terrible. Here’s the inside of my mouth. This ridiculous plastic splint, the elastics, the braces, the surgical hooks and who knows what else is in there. But I still can’t open my mouth. Thankfully the pain isn’t too bad. Stay tuned for my first public outing tomorrow…….Day 7-It’s been one week since surgery!  I lost 9 pounds in that week. Today was my first day out of the house. People definitely struggled understanding me a lot. I got to meet up with some friends which was nice….not being able to share in some of the chips and salsa totally sucked though. Pain honestly is fairly minimal but their is soreness and the issue talking is an ordeal. The bruising is still there but I was able to cover it somewhat with makeup today. There is still some swelling as well but I am done icing!  I finally had a bowel movement today.  Had to take some miralax stuff for three days for that to happen. Was out and about for a full eight hours today. A little extra tired from it so will be trying to get extra sleep tonight!Day 8-Very uneventful day. I think I overdid it yesterday as I have had no energy or desire to do anything today. Tried to nap and couldn’t. Tried to do school work and got nothing accomplished. Couldn’t find anything to watch on TV. Did my daily 30 minutes outside. Drank all my daily liquid nutrients I strive for each day. Sat around the house and wasted the time away unfortunately. My husband tells me I am terrible at relaxing. I don’t mind sitting around but want to watch a movie, or do school work or knit a blanket (no I don’t know how to knit) or something productive while relaxing. Lol!  Oh well. Chin is tingly and numb still. Hard to maneuver a spoon and straw into lower lip that is also still numb. Every time I close my mouth I feel like drool is coming out the sides of my mouth. For the most part, I don’t think it is but it sure feels that way. Alright back to doing nothing for me.Day 9-The pain in my chin is so odd. It’s not typical pain. It’s kind of constant tingling. It’s very annoying and uncomfortable. I tracked my food today and actually got 1250 calories of liquid (and no I didn’t go buy a McDonalds large shake).  I had 55% fat, 25% protein and 20% carbs. A little high on the carbs for me but I am a little limited in the food department. Spent about 4-5 hours out and about today, movie and church though so not really active while out. Not being able to sing in worship tonight was not fun for me. I have resorted to melting a few squares of chocolate and then putting the chocolate spoon in my mouth. Yes I am officially a chocolate addict. Swelling is resoving fairly well. Bruising is improving and easier to cover but here’s a chest shot, it’s still very bruised!Day 10-Nothing really new today. Still having that chin tingling that is super uncomfortable. I notice it more in the evening time. I am able to take my ibuprofen and antibiotic by just swallowing the pill now but am only getting them in 2-3 times a day instead of 4.  I can open my mouth about 15mm. That’s double what it was a week ago. Just as a reference my teenager daughter can open her mouth 45mm. Yawning is very uncomfortable.  The right side of my jaw is a bit more tender than the left, it seems to maybe catch or something. I see my doctor in five days so will see what he has to say. Day 13-Yea I skipped a few days. Not much has been different. My two little stitches came out today. They just kind of flaked off. I had one on either side of my cheek. They were barely noticable anyway. My chin is still nonstop tingling. It’s very annoying. I constantly feel as if I have drool running down my chin, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. This plastic splint on my upper teeth is always in the way. Yesterday I attempted some finely ground turkey. Managed it using my toddler spoon but had a major allergic reaction afterward. Had been noticing some symptoms over the past year when I have eaten chicken or turkey. Guess those are both out of my food line up from here out. Seeing an allergist for it next week. It was quite a scary experience. Havent lost any additional weight this week. My calories and macros have been close to what they typically are on a regular basis which likely means back to my ever so slow weight loss regimen. Some of my tools I used the first week are below.  A syringe with extra long tubing, a thick bendable straw, a tiny toddler spoon-those were lifesavers. Not picured, my toddler sized toothbrush….Day 19- I saw my surgeon on day 15. I got the plastic splint removed from my mouth! Thank goodness! Still need to wear elastics but that’s not a very big deal. It was strange talking after the splint was removed for a day or two. Talking still doesn’t seem quite right four days later but nearly 100%. I still have very bad low lip and chin tingling and shooting pain. I can’t stand it. My doctor prescribed neurontin to help with it but, so far, it’s not helping!  I have managed to eat ground beef now which is good for me since I try to follow a lower carb diet. I still have a small bit of bruising on my lower chest. I have some stitches inside my cheeks that I just started noticing since they removed the splint and  they are annoying. Overall, recovery is going well. I haven’t lost any additional weight since my initial 9 pound lost in week one. 

January 2019-I am a year and a half out from surgery.  The first month or so sucked!  The neurontin sucked too and made my mood terrible, I had to stop it within a couple of weeks.  The shooting pains slowly subsided.  The majority of the numbness improved but has not resolved.  I still have numbness on my front six lower teeth, gums and chin.  I can feel pressure and sometimes I can tell sharp from soft but not always and not in all spots.  I ended up needing a root canal post surgery.  I was told this can happen with sometimes with the jaw shift.  I ended up with numerous cavities after wearing braces for three years as well, unrelated to the surgery, but still.

All in all, I do not think I would have surgery again if I knew then what I know now.

Feel free to message me should you have any questions and you are contemplating this this surgery…..VFn95YklTKarEkHy8PVT1Q.jpg

Sunday Night Blues

Sunday night is upon us…..

Who else is prepping for the work week?

Getting clothes ready, lunch made, dinners prepped for the week, setting the alarm?


I feel ya!  I am working hard to retire from the corporate world in my early 40’s so that I can live my life by design….so I can travel when I want to, get up at my leisure each morning, take a two hour massage appointment mid day on a Tuesday if I choose, etc.

WHY should we work so hard for someone else to live THE GOOD LIFE?  I don’t mind hard work, but I would much rather work hard for MYSELF to live the good life!

BeachBody is giving me that opportunity!  I get paid to improve my own health, help others live healthier and play on social media!  HELLO!  YES PLEASE!  SIGN ME UP!  That is what I said just a few short months ago when I was presented with this amazing opportunity.  And now I am making extra money each month and NOT living paycheck to paycheck.  I am working out at least 5 times a week instead of 2.  I have far more energy.  This LIFE BY DESIGN has been such a blessing.  I have met lots of like-minded people and am making new, amazing friendships and I get RECOGNIZED for the people I help each month!

AND….I get to travel!  I have not traveled much in my first 40 years of life but plan to change that in the next 40!  I have not even had the opportunity to travel for work until now!  Nashville, here I come!!!!  So excited for my first BeachBody Summit – get to meet coaches in person, workout with celebrity trainers, buy workout apparel and the new CIZE dance workout and FIXATE cookbook before everyone else!  SO EXCITED for this amazing opportunity!

Despite having the Sunday Night Blues, I have much to be thankful for and look forward to!  Blessed Beyond Measure!  Thank you Jesus!