National Healthy Lung Month

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm changing my tone today to write about something more serious than my normal Instagram update. October is National Healthy Lung Month, and Heather Von St. James has reached out to me to share some facts and information on how to keep your lungs safe from toxic substances.

Heather has experienced cancer first hand; eight years ago she was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a rare cancer that's primary risk factor is exposure to asbestos. Her exposure was caused by wearing her dad's work jacket that was covered in asbestos fibers. Occupational asbestos exposure is the most common risk factor of mesothelioma, but like Heather's case, it's also possible to be affected by secondhand exposure.

When diagnosed, Heather was given just 15 months to live. She's beaten the odds and is currently an eight-year mesothelioma cancer survivor. Heather now shares her story and works to raise awareness for mesothelioma causes.

A few facts about mesothelioma:
  • Every year approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma.
  • Asbestos insulation workers have the highest incidence rate of asbestos-related disease, however many other job occupations are likely exposed to asbestos. 
  • Those who smoke and are exposed to asbestos have a much higher chance of developing mesothelioma.
  • Asbestos fibers are invisible to the naked eye and easily inhaled without the exposed person realizing it. 
  • Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose because the early symptoms can be subtle. In most cases, symptoms won't appear until up to 30 to 40 years after the asbestos exposure has occurred. 
Learn more about the mesothelioma's causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Because avoiding asbestos is key to reducing the risk of health-related issues, here are a few tips on how to minimize your exposure to asbestos and what to do if you do come in contact with the fiber:
  • It's important to find out whether you work with asbestos. If you do it's extremely crucial to follow all workplace safety regulations. To reduce the risk of carrying the fibers home with you, it's best to shower and change out of your work clothes before going home. 
  • If you live in a home with asbestos, it's can be safer to leave the asbestos intact rather than removing it and breaking it up. There are experts trained in asbestos that can determine whether the asbestos is a risk to your health.
  • Before beginning any construction project in your home or elsewhere, call and asbestos sampling agency to make sure your renovations won't release any fibers into the air. 
Common asbestos locations include:
  • Attic and wall insulation
  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Roofing and siding shingles
  • Textured paint used on walls and ceilings
  • Oil and coal furnaces
  • Heat-resistant fabrics
  • Automobile clutches and brakes
For more information on asbestos and finding asbestos trained professionals please visit the EPA

Image via

Weekend Recap: Big Gay Ice Cream

Monday, October 20, 2014

My weekend kicked off with a hair appointment Friday after work.  The appointment ended up taking much longer than I expected (4 hours...), so I didn't make it home in time to watch Big Blue Madness. Big Blue Madness is the kick-off to basketball season and is a huge annual event for Big Blue Nation. It's normally our first chance to see the new team show off what they can do. It's also a huge recruiting event. This year was fun because Drake was also introduced as a player. Drake is obsessed with Kentucky Basketball, specifically Coach Cal, so it's fun to see him show up and support the team at events.

At first I was really upset that I was going to miss the show, but then I remembered I could pull up the broadcast on my WatchESPN app. Fortunately, my hair stylist encouraged me to watch the "practice" on my phone. I reached a new level of ridiculousness when I was watching Matthew Mitchell (the girl's basketball coach) sing Bruno Mars as the hair stylist was washing my hair.

I arrived home to the cutest gift in the world once I made it back from my hair appointment. Laura sent us a collection of food gifts from MOUTH, a company that specializes in finding handmade, small-batch food products. Our gift included the most delicious Chocolate Espresso Cookies, Peanut Brittle, a hazelnut spread, blackberry and blueberry jam, caramels, ginger syrup, bourbon-infused sugar, and a slate cheese board! I love, love, love it. The cookies are already dangerously close to being gone. Laura knows how much I love trying out new food, so it was a perfect gift. I'll probably steal the idea and use it on someone else.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and made my way down to Normandy Farms Bakery for an iced coffee and breakfast biscuit. Adam and I hung out at home for a bit before he headed off to Kiawah to golf. I watched about an episode and a half of Below Deck before convincing myself that I was a terribly lazy person and needed to get outside and enjoy the day.

I'm glad I found some motivation because Saturday was absolutely gorgeous. It really felt like Charleston was just bragging. I walked to the gym, worked out, and then just popped around downtown for a bit. I took a few snaps because I could believe how beautiful the sky looked. It was a perfect blue.

On my way back to our apartment, I popped in the cutest antique shop on Queen Street, Curiosity. The shop had all sorts of vintage vases, flatware, and decorative items. I could have spent a long time in there just staring. I did a little damage and left with a few vintage vases. I had been looking for single stem vases for floral photos so I think it was an okay purchase.

After running around downtown, I headed over the bridge and ran a few errands in Mount Pleasant. I'm the Matron (ew, old) of Honor in a wedding next weekend and needed to pick up a few things for the big day. I eventually made it home in time to meet Adam and get ready for the Kentucky/LSU game that night. 

We started the evening at home with some bourbon cocktails. I broke out the new ginger syrup and some Four Roses. The syrup was great; I mixed it with some soda water and it basically turned into ginger ale. 

We watched the Kentucky / LSU game at Kickin Chicken downtown with the alumni group and that's about all I have to say. That game was UGLY. I was hoping the team would have a better performance, but it didn't happen. The game sucked, but it was a still a fun night out on the town with friends. After Kickin Chicken we had some nightcaps at Burns Alley. We ended up staying out much later that I expected (almost closed the bar down), making for a rough Sunday morning.

After a lot of tossing and turning in bed Sunday morning, I eventually got up and started moving Sunday afternoon. We really needed some fresh air so Adam and I took a walk around South of Broad and grabbed lunch/dinner at Bull Street Gourmet.

After we ate, we saw that Big Gay Ice Cream was in town for a Southern Food Truck Tour. Big Gay Ice Cream in known for their fancy soft serve ice cream and fun attitude. They have a main location in NYC and are traveling for the next couple weeks to a few southern cities. The crowd was out for some gay ice cream; we waited about an hour before we made it up to the truck. 

Adam and I both ordered the Salty Pimp, vanilla soft-serve infused with dulce de leche and dipped in chocolate. It was awesome. The first few bites with the chocolate shell were delicious. We don't eat soft serve very often and it reminded us both of being kids in the summer. 

We had some happy bellies by the time we made it home. We ended the weekend with a frozen pizza and The Walking Dead. Ahh, the life. 

100 Happy Days: Week 9

Friday, October 17, 2014

// DAY 57

After exploring Charleston a bit on Friday, our group of Adam, his mom, step-dad, and I headed back to our apartment to end the night with a movie. I whipped up a quick cheese board for the crew. The board included: baguette from Brown's Court Bakery, Pumpkin and Cranberry Crisps from Trader Joes, homemade pickles, blueberries, brie cheese, and black pepper Parmigiano Reggiano. 

// DAY 58

This was our group cheering to a great night in Charleston once again. We're at one of my favorite little bars, Bin 152.

// DAY 59

October goal achieved: I made Alton Brown's soft pretzel recipe. I had a few mishaps (mainly from not having a kitchen scale), but I think the final product turned out pretty well. I would, however, like to remake the recipe before sharing with anyone outside of Adam. 

// DAY 60

Monday's snap was a picture of St. Philip on my walk home from the gym. I absolutely adore my walk to and from home nowadays; I'm routinely amazing by the gorgeous settings. 

// DAY 61

Tuesday night Adam and I went to go see Gone Girl. We both really enjoyed it. I had read the book, so I wasn't too surprised by anything, but Adam was blown away. The acting of both main characters was also really great. Probably wouldn't recommend Gone Girl for a first date movie, though. 

// DAY 62

My floral design homework from last week's class was to practice corsages and boutonnieres. This is a picture of some of my creations. These pieces are currently in my refrigerator if for some odd reason anyone needs a boutonniere this weekend. 

// DAY 63

In last night's class we made these beautiful centerpieces. I love arrangements that are a little less formal and maybe a little bit more wild, so this have been a favorite of mine. The beautiful magenta color of the spray roses is pretty hard to beat too.


Get to know me!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today's survey is stolen from Christina! Get to know some weird things about me.
1. What’s a nickname only your family calls you? My dad calls me Dooz. Short for Dooz-a-nator-monkey-lator or Monkey-lator-dooz-a-nator. Weird, I know.
2. What’s a weird habit of yours? I don't really like biting into things, so if it's an option I try and tear food apart. Please don't watch me eat wings, it's pretty disgusting.
3. Do you have any weird phobias? Semi-trucks freak me out. I wouldn't consider it a phobia, because I still drive by them, but I do get really uncomfortable and have to take deep breaths.
4. What’s a song you secretly LOVE to blast & belt out when you’re alone? Te Lo Agradezco, Pero No by Alejandro Sanz and Shakira. 
5. What’s one of your biggest pet peeves? When people block the sidewalk and I can't get around them. Check your surroundings!
6. What’s one of your nervous habits? I'm very twitchy when I'm nervous. It drives Adam batty, but I don't even notice it.
7. What side of the bed do you sleep on? Whichever side is closer to the door. Luckily in the last two places we've lived it has coincided with Adam's side.
8. What was your first stuffed animal & its name? Ahhh I can't remember the name, but I had a big stuffed brown bear from when I was little. I'm pretty sure it's name was something simple like Beary. 
9. What’s the drink you ALWAYS order at Starbucks? Iced Grande Americano and I add a little bit of non-fat milk. I always get excited when a barista remembers my order.
10. What’s the beauty rule you preach.. but never ACTUALLY practice? Actually doing my full skincare routine. On lazy nights, I'm lucky if I get through cleansing. 
11. Which way do you face in the shower? Away from the water.
12. Do you have any ‘weird’ body ‘skills’? I can't sit still, so I always end up sitting in really awkward positions with my legs crossed over in weird ways. I guess my hips are pretty flexible. 
13. What’s your favorite ‘comfort food’/food that’s ‘bad’ but you love to eat it anyways? Buttery noodles. It's not the most delicious dish, but it reminds me of comfort food I would have when sick as a little kid.
14. What’s a phrase or exclamation you always say? I tend to latch onto a phrase for a few months or until I've overused it. Lately, I've been saying "awky" a lot. I know, it's terrible. I totes shorten my words.
15. Time to sleep- what are you ACTUALLY wearing? Depends on how cold it is, but normally just underwear. I hate getting trapped in my clothes. 

Happy Hump Day!