Naturopath: First time for everything

I decided to see a naturopath.  After going to traditional doctors who wanted nothing more than to put me on an anti-depressant or some other medication to deaden my nerves – all things I wasn’t comfortable with.

Why naturopathy?

Naturopathy the hippy medicine. I have referred to it as such. I wasn’t sold on it. I’m not sure I am sold on it now. But it is worth on chance, right? Considering what Cymbalta did to me I didn’t want to do another medication to mess with my brain and all my other systems. I knew going in this meant I would be “prescribed” a specific diet and supplements. But let’s be real, a healthy diet, maybe some weight loss isn’t the worst thing in the world.   What I will admit is I found a naturopath who is also a licensed medical doctor.  This means she does have a full medical education as well as the ability to pair her naturopathic treatments with prescriptions if necessary. 

So a 30-minute first-time appointment turned into an hour long appointment plus blood tests.  Some of it was brand new information, some not.

List of conditions to address

Based on my medical history, she felt I am estrogen dominant. Meaning something is wrong with my estrogen receptors. She told me endometriosis is common in people who are estrogen dominant. That isn’t shocking since I know estrogen feeds endometriosis. She told me that the estrogen dominance problem isn’t cured after a hysterectomy. That does shock me. See, I’ve gone without estrogen before. I’m not a nice or fun person without estrogen. I’m moody and (to be honest) a little bitchy. Plus hot flashes from Hades. So going without, not on my list of things to do.

Then I have leaky gut. This theory is what led me to consider naturopathic medicine in the first place. The effects of leaky gut might be overstated in some cases. But I do believe if your gut is out of order it is easy for the rest of your body to slip into its own version of chaos.

Then the next hurdle to overcome is a cortisol (adrenal fatigue) issue. Because of my poor sleep over the last several years, my body is putting out cortisol when I wake up in the night. It should be waiting until morning when the alarm goes off.

Last but not least, she ordered blood tests to see if my thyroid and B12 levels were okay. She said she believes there could be issues with those two items as well because of my energy level and my weight gain.

 So week 1 action plan

For the leaky gut

Follow an anti-inflammatory diet.  So no gluten, corn, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, vegetable oils, fried foods, dairy.  Also, no hormone containing meat/fish/eggs/butter/dairy.  She said no red meat, but here is the thing…I won’t give up red meat the whole time. The whole time being 4 months!! But I will reduce down to once to twice a week. I can only eat certain fruits for now: kiwi, papaya, guava, grapefruit, apple, and all types of berries. 

 Add a lot of supplements
  1. Reduce inflammation – turmeric and fish oil with EPA.
  2.   Heal the gut – probiotic and prebiotic
  3. Help with sleep – magnesium citrate
 Counterbalance Estrogen Dominance & Adrenal Fatigue

The hormone that counteracts estrogen is progesterone. Tomorrow morning I will wake up and spit into a vial and send it off to the lab to see what my current levels are. Tomorrow night I start with the progesterone supplement along with the magnesium citrate. Between these two pills, I am supposed to get better sleep. Anyone who knows me knows I am all about getting better sleep!

 This better sleep will counteract what she believes to be my last problem – adrenal fatigue. Sleeping through the night will begin to even those levels out. It should give me the boost of cortisol when I wake up in the morning (when the alarm goes off – not at 2 am when I wake up for no reason).

Now wait and see

All in all, it sounds like a good plan. It makes sense based on all the research I’ve done. Her thoughts are I should feel better in a month. Here is hoping! I’ll keep you updated!

 
 

Rebrand

I’ve decided to do a little rebrand for Modern Belle Life but making her a little more modern. This is because so much has changed in my own life that I’ve gone through my own rebrand of sorts. 

Check out this rebrand

Modern Belle Life Rebrand Board

Looks different, right? Cleaner & fresher. Hope you like!

As I mentioned life has changed a bit over the last year.  Last we talked I mentioned I was working on a new project. That project and life have been what has kept me from writing as much.

My project

So the project was starting my own business. And I am happy to say, Ten Times Over has been born and is doing well. My baby uses all of my experience in targeted donor giving to help other companies give to their clients’ gifts that make the maximum impact.I have learned so much and have had the best time working with my amazing clients.

The Diagnosis

The same month Ten Times Over launched, I started seeing doctors for persistent pain in my back and hips. I started off at a spine doctor who told me it was hip bursitis referring pain in my back.   I received a steroid shot which ended up producing more pain than it cured. I then saw a series of other doctors and specialists. I had MRIs done.  Each appointment ended with the same message, “I cannot see any reason you are having the type or amount of pain you are having.”  During this time my pain began to spread and become more intense. I was finally referred to a rheumatologist.  After reviewing my MRIs & blood work, talking about symptoms, and a physical exam, I finally had an answer – fibromyalgia. 

Life, Love, and Work

In addition, I have another niece who is absolutely precious. J has hung in with my crazy for over a year! Insane, right? I can’t even begin to understand why he stays sometimes. Who am I kidding? He is the lucky one! 😉 At my 8-5, I have received a promotion and now managing a team.  I never thought that would be easy but damn…sometimes I crave a day where I don’t have to meet or talk to anyone 🙂

The rush of starting a company and the lack of energy and pain-free days meant scaling back. But now I’m prioritizing a little bit more.  Doctors insist I have to do things that I enjoy, things that are relaxing. So I have a patio garden, I like my blogging and have missed it, I love to read, cook, and more. The things that do not require all of my physical energy and that help me mentally and emotional recharge. In addition to my normal posts, I’m going to share my FM journey. Hopefully, something I post will help someone else. 

 

 

Market Research

Direction in Life Modern Belle Life Life's purposeYesterday, I talked about how I was looking for my direction in life. I mentioned it was going to take a lot of time and research..as in market research.  Well, I don’t want this to be a one-way process – so now you have the opportunity to help me!  Because I know that’s really what you want to do…and yes I’m being sarcastic. 

But seriously I could use the help.  Market research is an important part of any planning.  If my idea is dumb, I would really rather know now than have to find out later after I’ve invested hours of time and energy into it. I promise the link is harmless – just takes you to go a google forms quiz I put together to gather information on demographics, products, and pricing. Very basic market research stuff but if I find I need more (assuming everyone responds favorably), then I’ll put something else out there. 

http://goo.gl/forms/bVGexBJT4ZPkIJZf2

Thank you in advance for all your help and support. Love ya!

Direction in Life

Direction in Life Modern Belle Life Life's purposeLately, I have been wondering about my direction in life. Not that work is terrible.  Granted, I don’t love every minute of every day, but I have actually dealt with worse environments…not that my other insane workplaces should be the measuring stick for a healthy workplace, but I digress. 

My Neon Sign

Recently, I sat through a church service that I am 99.9% sure was just for me.  After the reading of The Word and the first hymn, “Trust and Obey”, I felt like maybe, just maybe, I should start paying attention. By the time the sermon was over, JM looked at me and said, “Well I’m not sure why the rest of us even bothered to show up because that was obviously just for you.”  It’s one thing when you feel like it is something you should pay attention to, but when you boyfriend calls you out, then you can’t really deny it.

I’ve been contemplating what direction to go. Literally praying for something to make sense.  Which sadly for me, I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to signs, so I need giant neon flashing signs.  (Remember the post about “fix it, Jesus”…that’s how oblivious I am).  I’ve been trying to figure out what my passion is because well that’s the best place to find your direction in life, right?  

My next direction in life

Direction in Life Modern Belle Life Trust and ObeySo one night I had a dream about having my own business.  It wasn’t a huge business – it was something that I enjoyed and it made me happy. After talking to JM about it, he assured me I wasn’t completely stupid.  Of course, I take that with a grain of salt because what boyfriend would completely dash his girlfriend’s hopes and dreams! Okay, maybe I was being a tad overly dramatic, but you get my point.  So now, I need to figure out if this is something I can make a reality.  The amount of preparation and research to even find out if your idea if viable or not is crazy. 

This whole process will be a lesson in trust, obedience, and persistence. I have enough amazing women that are dear friends to know this path isn’t easy.  It’s full of hard work, a times self-doubt, and tough lessons. My hope is I can learn from this and hopefully find my direction in life. 

Have you made a leap of faith before? What kept you going when things got hard?

His New Job Gift

JM recently got a new job. He was super excited about it so I wanted to get him a new job gift.  Because he is in medical sales and basically spends 99% of his time in a car, it wasn’t as easy as buying something for the office.  We all know how much I get a kick out of gift baskets.  So I tried to put together a little gift basket he could find useful.  Hopefully, it inspires you a little.

Trying to buy a man (who happens to be very particular about things) a new job gift is NOT easy.  Thankfully JM is more than just slightly obsessed with the Baylor Bears so there was my starting point.  

I needed more than that, so I started thinking. In the course of a day, what could possibly happen?  Your phone could die. You could spill something from lunch on your shirt. The onions from the burger at lunch isn’t going to help make sales.  Medical sales = doctor’s offices and hospitals  = bacteria. 

Modern Belle Life New Job Gift Baylor

I am a big fan of making gift baskets…they make me happy. This one was a lot of fun because the Baylor theme gave me a lot of room to play. The “basket” was a small lunch cooler. Likelihood of him using it ever it almost zero…but he may prove me wrong one day. The rest was Baylor themed or things I thought he might need on the road.

  • Baylor car charger $4.50
  • Baylor dress socks $10
  • Baylor mouse pad $10
  • Green hardback Moleskin journal (gotta keep the notes from all the appointments somewhere!) $16
  • Shout wipes for the unexpected messes $6
  • Lint Roller so you’re always looking sharp $3
  • Gum to hide whatever you had for lunch $2
  • Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer because sick people $2
  • Pocket Memo Notebooks because when you are networking carrying around a large notebook isn’t an option 3/$3
  • Klennex because it’s spring in Texas and everyone’s allergies are going to kill us. $2

Modern Belle Life New Job Gift Baylor

So total comes out to around $75.  But again, my favorite things about gift baskets is how you can go as big or small as you want!  And let’s be real, this little lunch cooler was STUFFED!  I could have bought less and it been just as full. 

JM was a happy man with all his stuff.  The weekend I gave him the gift, he pulled the socks out and worn them to church on Sunday.  He got a kick out of showing them off at brunch after, too. 

Guess I should take that as a compliment, right?  

Disorganized and the Panic that Ensues

I’m literally paid to be organized.  I organize budgets, events, people, details, all day long. And I’m awesome at my job!  Thing is, when I come home…all those organization skills disappear. At home, I am disorganized AF.  My clothes pile up, dirty spilling out of the hamper, clean in a different hamper never folded. When I come home, you never know where something will end up. 

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Disorganized Modern Belle Life

My most recent victim is my badge for work. It’s kind of important. Gets me pretty much anywhere I need to go.  It’s how I get into the office in the morning.

The moment of panic comes, then I begin to retrace my steps. So I got home, I put my purse down.  Then I walked through the apartment, to the closet. I changed…which means I unclipped my badge in the closet.  What did I do after that?? Let me think about it. 

Can't Find Shit Modern Belle Life

After re-tracing steps through the living room, the bathroom, the closet, the bedroom, the dining room, and then back to the living room, I begin to lose faith I will find the missing badge.  I re-trace my steps again, just in case.  I text Jason to check his bag because maybe it got put in there for some reason.  Finally, I collapse onto the couch out of sheer exhaustion and lack of any further brain power.

Text Disorganized Modern Belle Life It was confirmed that the badge wasn’t in JM’s bag, but it obviously isn’t in my apartment either.  So I ask, “do you remember seeing my badge when I came in last night?”  The answer, of course, is no but then follows a long text of suggestions of places to look.  Which is great. Except, it’s a one bedroom apartment.  There aren’t that many places to look.  So if I’m not finding it, then it’s probably not anywhere that it would make sense of it to be. It’s going to be somewhere completely unexpected.  Which is probably why his last suggestion on the text was “fridge?”

I would love to say that I looked in the fridge and there was that little bastard, but sadly it was not…because I actually looked. badthingsgoodpeople

After lashing out, getting mad, talking to myself (out loud) about everything that I should be doing to avoid the losing things again.  “Pick a spot when you are walking in to drop those items, each item gets a spot.  Keep things in that spot because then you won’t lose your shit anymore.  Of course, you wouldn’t lose your shit if you were more on top of your game, or you were better at life. Why do I suck at life?!” Bargaining then begins.  “Please God, help me find my badge.  If you make that badge, magically appear, I’ll do anything.”  Extreme, maybe, but sadly this is exactly what happens.

Disorganized Modern Belle Life

And then…there is acceptance. The shit is gone, it isn’t coming back, the monster under the bed, snuck out last night and took it along with half my socks, that one belt I really liked, and that book I started to read but never finished. 

Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Blogging Vacation

I’m in need of a blogging vacation…so I’m taking one. 

I started this because it was fun and entertaining.  And I want to continue, but with my work schedule and the amount of energy that is taking, I don’t have the ability to focus and enjoy my blog. 🙁  But with my promotion becoming official on Friday and a huge event only 2 months away, rather than beat myself down, I figure a break could be nice. 

I’ll still be on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook sharing funnies and stuff about life. Hope to see you there until I come back!

5 Reasons to Carry a Pocket Knife

There are tons of reasons to carry a pocket knife.  I get it, women don’t usually carry pocket knives, it isn’t the most ladylike thing in the world.  But the thing is, I think more women should.  These nifty little items easily fit in your purse and have so many uses. If you don’t remember, I actually covered some of this already.

  1. Open a wine bottle. Ever buy a bottle of wine to get home and realize you don’t have a wine opener?  I have –  usually involved me buying a bottle that was consumed in a park or something unplanned. Never hurts to be prepared!
  2. Open a can.  So my can opener broke a couple weeks ago. I, of course, forgot this fact until I had stuff on the stove and a can of crushed tomatoes I needed into. After thinking through options, I realized my handy dandy knife can easily get it opened for me.

3. Food Prep or Service. You’ll want to clean the knife first, but if you need something sliced or chopped in a pinch it can handle it. Or…if you are attending a family birthday party at a park and the people hosting forget a knife, you can now serve the cake. Some people aren’t planners so improvisation is a must.

4. Sharpen your lip or eye pencil. I realize it won’t be the prettiest and smoothest sharpening job, but hey when you need makeup, does that really matter? You can always smooth it out once you find that damn pencil sharpener that you somehow never use but you never can find. 

5. Carry all those really heavy grocery bags. I haven’t tried this yet, but holy moly this seems awesome!  If you are like me, I refuse to make two trips so this is super handy!

Modern Belle Life Pocket Knife

Maybe I changed your mind, maybe not. If you ever find yourself with a pocket knife in a situation without a solution – google that shit. Seriously, there are hundreds of uses. Don’t believe me?  There is literally a website of 101 uses

Better than Sex Chicken and Dumplings

So the boyfriend LOVES when I cook. Even when I consider the meal a disaster (remember the New Year’s dinner meal??), the man loves every bite. And luckily, based on the fact that he goes back for seconds…sometimes thirds, he actually means it and isn’t just trying to blow smoke. Upon making my chicken and dumplings I received the best compliment ever regarding cooking, “These chicken and dumplings are as good as your sex…maybe better.”  While I normally would be insulted by the slight issued to my skills…nevermind, I’m not going to lie.  Who am I kidding? I’m awesome and I know it so I didn’t phase me. But that kind of compliment means I should share this recipe, which really isn’t all that special but apparently renders men helpless (and by helpless, I mean so full they are completely helpless and useless for the rest of the evening). 

Modern Belle Life Chicken and DumplingsLet’s start out with the trinity plus one – carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Chop the first three and throw in a pot with olive oil or a little bit of butter.  I use pre-peeled baby carrots and do a rough chop on them.  Once the carrots are tender enough to stick a fork through we add the garlic. 

 

Modern Belle Life Chicken and DumplingsAdd the garlic and that’s when your house will start to smell SO good!  Give everything a good stir for a minute, enough time for the garlic to start softening. 

The best thing about this chicken and dumplings is how quick and easy it is.  No boiling chicken in a pot!  I hate boiling chicken. It makes the chicken tough in my opinion.  To save time (and even better, have more tender chicken) get a juicy, rotisserie chicken from the store.  Already cooked with tons of yummy flavor.   While the veggies are cooking, tear the chicken apart into bite size pieces.  

Just when you think it couldn’t smell more delicious…we dump in the seasonings. Toss in the sage, thyme, oregano, marjoram, salt, and pepper.  My measurements below are estimates, I just taste test until I like the taste of everything. Stir it all together and breath in. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what delicious smells like.   Give it a minute or two. 

Modern Belle Life Chicken and Dumplings

Now you can drop the chicken in the pot.  Pour in your chicken stock.  Put the temp on low-medium and let it cook for a little.  How long is up to you, I usually like to give it 20 minutes or more – give everything time to absorb all the flavors.   Everything is cooked so at this point you can move forward to the dumplings if you want. 

Now is a great time to taste the broth and make sure that you are happy with the seasoning.  Stirring after you add the dumplings can be difficult if you are trying not to ruin the soft fluffiness of the dumplings.

Modern Belle Life Chicken and Dumplings

Now, you can go at dumplings one of two ways.  You can make your own OR you can cut your time in half and use the biscuit shortcut. I have never found a foolproof dumpling recipe, and I found a great brand of biscuits that come without all the unhealthy stuff, so I use the shortcut. Tear the biscuits into small bite size pieces. And I mean small! Once you drop them in the stock it will double in size. Drop them in the stock with everything else. I don’t know what it is about those biscuits but they seem to thicken up the stock just enough.

Modern Belle Life Chicken and Dumplings

Give it 10 minutes or so. If you are wondering if they are done, remove a dumpling and cut into it.  the inside will be fluffy and cooked despite the soft gooey outside. Once they are cooked, you are ready to eat!

Modern Belle Life Chicken and Dumplings

Yep, that folks, is happiness in a bowl!  It’s the perfect comfort food for when you want something warm and tasty. Hopefully, your guy doesn’t say it is better than sex…surely everyone else’s guy is smarter than that. 

Chicken and Dumplings
Serves 8
Delicious Chicken and Dumplings sure to satisfy you and your loved ones
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 2 cups of baby peeled carrots
  3. 3 stalks of celery
  4. 3/4 medium onion
  5. 3 garlic cloves
  6. 1 tbsp thyme
  7. 1 tbsp salt
  8. 1 tbsp pepper
  9. 1 tbsp oregano
  10. 1 tbsp marjoram
  11. 1/2 tbsp sage
  12. 1 small rotisserie chicken
  13. 1 can of raw biscuit dough
  14. 48 oz chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Chop the carrots, celery, and onion and toss into stock pot with olive oil. Stir occasionally to ensure everything is cooking evenly. Cook until the carrots are tender.
  2. Chop the garlic and add to pot. Let cook for additional 2 minutes. Add more olive oil or butter if needed.
  3. Add all the seasonings into the pot. Stir and let it cook for 2 minutes or so.
  4. Tear the meat from the chicken into small bite-sized pieces. Add to the stock pot. Stir and let the seasonings cover the chicken for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock. Let cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Tear the biscuits into small pieces no larger than a quarter. Remember the dough swells as it cooks. Toss into the stock pot. Let cook for 10 minutes or until dough is cooking through.
Notes
  1. If needed, you can add water to the stock before you add the biscuits. If you do make sure you stir everything before you drop the dough in.
  2. You can easily raw chicken in this recipe as well. After you add the chicken stock (or if you are using a whole chicken, you can use water which will make a great stock of your own) you drop in the raw chicken and let it cook for 20-30 minutes (or until the largest piece is cooked through). Then remove from the pot and shred into small bite sized pieces and return to the pot and add in your dumplings to cook.
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Yoga Rocks: 5 reasons to try it now

Modern Belle Life Yoga RocksYoga rocks.  Seriously…it is greatness.  I tried it for a month on a Groupon about 3 years ago and fell in love.  But at the time, my wallet couldn’t handle a month of practice and I was about to be out of town for 2 weeks so I stopped. So when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do to start taking care of myself, came up with 5 reasons to give it another go.

1. Yoga rocks for your body.  It stretches, strengths, tightens, and tones.  There aren’t that many types of exercise that can do all those things in a short amount of time.  90% of my day I am sitting – I sit in the car, I sit at my desk, I sit during meetings, I get home and sit on the couch. That’s a lot of sitting. My body is screaming for some stretching.  Tonight I did a stretch that made my hip flexors scream…but in a good way (THANK GOODNESS for sticky mats – had my foot or knee moved at all I would have been in a bad way). Vinyasa yoga flows from position to position some relaxing, but a lot of them can be really challenging, engaging muscles and making you really strengthen and tone your muscles.

2. Yoga rocks to release tension. I am not a fan of myself on video, however, I am tempted to do a quick video to show off what the instructor had us do in the first 5 minutes of class tonight. We used a yoga block to massage the neck and shoulders and holy moly! It was amazing! I love anything that releases all the pent up tension in my body that collects and stews and ends up bringing my shoulders up around my ears and causing migraines.

3. Yoga rocks for the mind. I am an overthinker. It is a true blessing there isn’t a real thought bubble above my head telling all my thoughts…it would (probably bore everyone to death) but also never stop the endless scrolling of text trying to keep up with my stream of consciousness. Yoga is about being present – nothing thinking about anything other than putting your body in the right position and holding it, managing your breath correctly, and listening to your body’s feedback on where to release tension. That quieting of the mind is so valuable to me.

4. Yoga rocks for the spirit. I’m not a hippy…not even close. But I do think that yoga is good for your spirit. Everyone comes into a studio with a positive mind and instructors give encouragement to focus on that positivity and a spirit of love for yourself, others in the room and the world at large. In a world that is rushed and not always very “lovey”, being in an environment that is so encouraging and nurturing is a wonderful recharge for the spirit and calms the frazzled nerves.

5. Yoga rocks as being a motivator. When you start doing anything healthy, it makes you want to be healthy in other areas of your life. Taking in good energy during class makes you want to avoid negativity. Taking care of your body through a yoga practice makes you want to give your body healthy fuel in food and drink. Calming your mind gives you the opportunity to refocus during the day and stop the cycle of anxiety.  It motivates you to a healthier life in so many areas.

Have you tried yoga? Would you be interested in short 1-2 minute videos showing a pose or trick I learned that could help stretch or release some tension?