We experienced the nicest day in Idaho in over 180 days on Easter. The Boise area actually broke a record from the 1800s about most consecutive days under 60 degrees. Even when it did start to creep into the upper 50s, intense wind always made it less pleasant to spend time in! You don’t know how APPRECIATED that sunshine was! Brynnley and I celebrated Easter with a beautiful brunch at my parents’ house and then spent as much time outside as we could.
On Saturday I had a girlfriend come over for a little brunch together while we watched the newest episodes of Love is Blind. I have to say, I am not a reality TV junkie. My TV is typically always just rewatching Friends and Gilmore Girls episodes on repeat. But there is something about the (totally ridiculous) Netflix show Love is Blind that always hooks me. My friend Nicole and I bond over our mutual love/hate relationship with the cringy show that we can’t look away from.
I’ve had a wheel of French Brie cheese in my fridge from Costco for a bit and I needed to find a use for it. Obviously I took to Pinterest and searched “brunch recipe with brie.” I found some really pretty crostinis with melted brie, apple butter and honey. Then I remembered a recent photo I’d seen from a restaurant that used shredded hard boiled egg on top of avocado toast and I immediately wanted to recreate that as well. I decided to just make both, using crostini as my base for a few different tiny toast varieties.
French baguettes are less than $2 at the grocery store. You can slice them into whatever thickness you want your toast, and lay them out on a lined baking sheet. I sprayed them with olive oil and popped in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes. Even if they don’t have quite as much of a golden glow as you’d like, I wouldn’t cook them longer than 10 minutes. They really crunch up. A few of mine were overcooked and we joked that we needed subtitles on our show because we couldn’t hear the words over the sound of our chewing!
For our tiny toast toppings, we had mashed avocado, sliced cherry tomatoes, shredded hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced apple, cherry jam, brie cheese, honey, balsamic vinegar, and everything but the bagel seasoning. I made one of each variety and went back for seconds! You have to try this brunch idea for your next girls get together. They were SO CUTE and tasty and it really wasn’t much effort to throw together.
I’m currently in the middle of two intriguing books. April is my turn to host book club, and I picked Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes. I loved Me Before You, which is a movie now if you aren’t interested in reading the book. As you know, I’m always in the middle of an audiobook and a physical book at the same time. Somone Else’s Shoes is my audiobook right now, which I usually listen to on 1.3x speed to get through it a little faster. Sometimes they just talk so slow! But the narrator is British and one of the characters has a THICK cockney accent which I already can’t understand so I have to put it back to normal speed. It’s so funny that she is speaking English, my native language, and it is still so difficult to grasp what she’s saying. Sometimes I’m listening in my car and I just giggle because it truly sounds like someone speaking a foreign language haha.
The physical book I’m reading right now is The Younger Wife, which my friend Rebecca sent to me in her birthday present for Brynnley which was so sweet! The next episodes of Love is Blind don’t come out until Friday so I should be able to get in a few more chapters tonight and tomorrow ;)
It’s almost time to pick out my seeds and plant my vegetable garden again! This will be my third spring/summer growing a little veggie patch in my backyard garden box and I’m excited for Brynnley to be old enough to come water it with me and watch everything grow. She will at least be able to share some fresh picked blackberries with me! Those are my mini updates for this spring so far, and I will leave you with some Easter cuteness until my next post. :)
Continuing my Medical Journey
One quick follow-up on my procedure and then I will return to this blog’s intended purpose: health & fitness!
At some point, the fun had to end. I checked into the hospital for a new procedure to continue improving the venous malformation on the left side of my face. We met with my surgeons once more to discuss the plan of attack. Dr. Milton Waner and Dr. Berenstein founded the Vascular Birthmark Institute and pioneered treatments and equipment that is now used all over the world. They are the best in the field, hence our travel across the country to see them.
I do like to include medical information about my procedures on the blog. Before my surgeries, I would Google and search for other people with similar circumstances. I would have loved to connect with others who have undergone similar treatments, but never had any luck. Maybe this will help someone doing the same! So just a quick break-down of the game-plan because it’s a pretty complex process (that will be *hopefully* completed by this time next year!)
- 2-3 more rounds of sclerotherapy with Dr. Berenstein, using Bleomycin injections into the remaining malformation.
- Laser treatments with Dr. Waner to attack surface veins and reduce the visible purple coloring.
- “Smoothing” the left side to decrease bulkiness and fill in depressions.
- Creating a more symmetrical smile! Medical technology is amazing. Dr. Waner and Dr. O use a procedure to re-animate the nerve and muscle function around the left side of my mouth to increase it’s movement. They will use a sensory nerve, artery and muscle from the area around my Achilles tendon, and implant it like an “extension cord” to create symmetry.
I have to do some of my own research to see how using the tissue from my leg will affect my running. Another option is using a cadaver. Yes, creepy. Don’t think about it too hard, that’s what I tell myself ;)
Last week I had the first Bleomycin treatment. Cross one procedure off of the list!
Needles make me squeem. When my anesthesiologist began prepping my HAND for the IV, I just shouted “WHAT are you doing?!”
I *politely* requested he use the underneath of my elbow (<— does that body part have a name? I’ve never had to refer to the “underside of my elbow” before..)
I woke up feeling alright. No major pain or nausea, and I was able to go home later that night after recovering in the pediatric unit. A Sex & the City marathon was playing (how appropriate!) and my parents brought me a peanut butter smoothie to fill my empty belly.
I just have to say a public THANK YOU to my amazing supportive parents. Two of the most caring and generous people, I am blessed to call Mom & Dad. I love you so much :)
During our week in the city, we balanced Healthy Choices and Happy Choices. The latter would be splurges on ice cream, cocktails, and special dinners because…..well, because WE CAN.
My parents and I are all glad to be home and return to normal, healthy home-cooking. One saving grace was staying at an apartment with a kitchen. We didn’t have to rely on restaurants for ALL meals and snacks (although stocking a kitchen in Manhattan is still pretty damn pricey).
We packed a fruit and hummus picnic to take to the always-gorgeous Bryant Park:
Obviously the water is mine ;)
We made pretty parfaits to fuel our walk through Central Park with yogurt, banana slices, apple chunks, and a crumbled Toasted Nuts & Cranberry Luna bar.
We made a Whole Foods stop for movie snacks, where I picked out some delicious “Cacao Blueberry Raison Coconut Almond” clusters. Should be pretty easy to recreate…every ingredient is in the title. :)
Can’t finish this New York recap without mentioning the 9/11 Memorial Museum. By Friday, I was feeling good enough to trek down to the newly-opened museum. It is located underground, directly below the sights of the twin towers. Several layers include actual architecture from the buildings, thrashed fire engines, video and audio clips, and thousands of pictures from the day that our nation will never forget.
And that concludes this New York trip. Tomorrow morning we reunite with LA Fitness. Can’t wait to get sweaty again :) I shall bring you many recipes and workouts soon!
Sunshine // Springtime
Let’s finish up with my weekend adventures, shall we? After our day zip lining through the trees, Chelsea & I headed towards sunshine.
Am I sick of Sedona yet?
Ha, not in the slightest. Every time is different! The Devil’s Bridge picnic, the Valentine’s Day hikes, the solo adventure.
Our mission was to absorb as much sun as possible. Chelsea calls herself a “ghost” and my skin is about 43 shades lighter than my summer self. Thank goodness for GORGEOUS blue skies, BRIGHT shining sun, and TONS of friendly people out. You just couldn’t help but be happy on a day like this. You just couldn’t.
We packed a bag with essentials like sunscreen, cameras and (clean) snacks. The trail isn’t too hard, just follow Bell Rock Pathway until you reach the base of the hill and start climbin’! There were people sun tanning, people doing yoga, people having photo shoots. We had a picnic :)
Our clean picnic – almonds & pistachios. Apples. And my current addiction, Quest Bars.
When you’re following a clean diet, you get a little desperate for something sweet and desserty. Quest Nutrition is getting creative with their bars to use in recipes with other clean ingredients, and I can’t wait to try this Pumpkin Pie recipe. I even follow the brand on Facebook & posted this picture with #Onaquest hashtag to enter into a Quest Bar Photo contest. Loyal customer right here!
Working on our tans ;) This is our kind of spring break! We might have gotten a little too much sun and some aloe vera was necessary but I wasn’t ready to go back home just yet. Heading to Phoenix was like an obstacle course with the crazy tumbleweeds across the highway that were sticking to everyone’s grill. Welcome to the desert.
I got a personal tour by Miss Chelsea of ASU & I’m a fan. Everyone wants what they don’t have, though right? Come from a snowy climate and you’ll be immediately attracted to the heat. Come from the desert an you’ll be fascinated with the white mountains.
When in Phoenix..?
Our hiking wasn’t even done yet. Sunday morning began with a short hike up A mountain to get the overview of campus and Tempe. This is where I ran my first marathon so I have a special attachment to this city! Seeing the Tempe Town Lake reminded me of running the last quarter-mile, crossing the bridge and seeing my family. Good memories :)
After a few hours by the pool with a pretty fruit salad I was back on the highway with my iced coffee and my country mix CD. I’ve driven more miles in the past week than I have in my whole life ;) and I’m loving it!
This song……..change “Ford” to “Honda” and it’s like he’s singing about me. Love me some EYB!
And spring break is just getting started. Happy Wednesday! (Also known as “Chest & Triceps” day. Ha!) :)