Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies = Best Thing Ever!

Today was finally my day off.  Let me tell you one thing, they are far and few of them lately. I had planned on being productive today, but decided I needed a 'me' day instead. I'm sure mid afternoon I'll get a motivation kick and get moving but for now....I bake!

I've been eyeing a large can of pumpkin puree that has been chilling in my cabinet the last few weeks. Today I decided to get a little Google happy and search for some amazing recipes and came across this fabulous one. I can tell you one thing...I'll be making this again...and again...and again. They are definitely a new favorite and highly recommend that is you're a pumpkin and chocolate fan you give them a try. Super easy, and delicious!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies (discovered at Pennies on a Platter

Yields: 18 small brownies


1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I added extra because I figure the more chocolate, the better)

Preheat over to 350 degrees (F). Line an 11" x 7" pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs and oil until smooth. Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and brown sugar.
Add to the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until passes toothpick test. Cool completely before cutting.

So chocolaty, so moist!

I did have to bake mine about 5 minutes longer than what the recipe stated, but I think that my oven needs to be calibrated so just keep an eye on yours. I guarantee that these won't last long and may show up at some holiday parties very soon!

Do you have a favorite pumpkin inspired recipe?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why I Love Fall

There is something about fall that I just love. Maybe it's because I live in the beautiful state of Michigan and this may be the most gorgeous season in this state.  I'm in the minority most of the time with this feeling, but I feel as though fall is a time to start anew. Maybe it's because I've always associated it with a new semester after a long, hot summer and a time to get back on track.

Here are a few of my favorite fall things:

  • Colorful, vibrant leaves (the warm hues are so beautiful)
  • Apple cider (with or without rum ;) and definitely with cinnamon added in )
  • Hay rides
  • Haunted houses
  • Spices (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove)
  • Halloween!
  • Pumpkin bread
  • Spiced lattes
  • Fall fashion (cozy sweaters, boots, scarves & hats)
  • The smell of fall (earthy smell)
  • Huge pumpkins
  • Fireplaces
  • Crunchy leaves
  • Fresh apples
  • Harvest time
  • Candles (especially ginger & sugar cookie ones)
  • Season of transition (fresh start)
  • Orchards
  • Warm, feel good meals
  • Hot tea (chai and milk is a favorite)
  • Less sweat (cooler weather is so much more better to run in)
  • Football (I love a good game)
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Costumes 
  • Changing hairstyles
  • Fall inspired decorations
  • Hot chocolate
  • Less skin
  • Extra blankets
  • Open windows in the house
  • Soups & Stew
  • Wine tasting & hard cider

What's your favorite fall thing? Any activities or traditions?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The more one sows, the greater the harvest. Our garden adventure!

This past year we finally hunkered down and took the time and effort to build a raised garden.  We had talked about it years before but never really had the time to do it. One Saturday we woke up and set out to begin building our garden before it got too late in the season (it was already the first weekend in June). We ran to Home Depot, bought more posts (8 foot) than we needed and somehow managed to squeeze them into the G6 and ventured home. We decided on the raised garden because our area is super low and is always wet (you can dig 6 inches down and hit water). We figured that the garden would like do much better if it was able to drain excess water away.

Several hours later, a few screws, curse words and 30 bags of soil...and we had a garden. Another trip to Meijer completed it with the purchase of a flat of plants.

Our "little", 8x8 foot garden that was about to grow into a beast.

Roma's like crazy. This plant had over 30 alone.
Love the little pickles. Too cute.
1st harvest!
Continuation of 1st harvest
Our final harvest. Lots of green tomatoes, but a frost was looming and we were heading out of town.

My attempts to storing extras and hoping that they ripen.  The rest are in paper bags with apples in hopes that they'll ripen sometime soon.
View from above.
Needless to say we got more than our money's worth and it was worth the time and effort. To be honest, it was much less work than expected and there is a certain pride and feeling of accomplishment at the end of the season seeing all that you produced. 

Few words of advice:
  • You're going to need a lot more soil than planned (we started with 20 bags...ended with upwards of 35).
  • Don't be hard on yourself. It's a learning experience and you'll catch on along the way.
  • Enjoy the little things. There's nothing like walking into your own backyard and snagging a snack that YOU grew.
  • Be ready for new "visitors". We had some animals (chipmunks maybe?) that loved our tomatoes and would take eat them daily. 
  • Have a easily accessible water source (we had to walk out there with a watering can for the 1st month or so...that's a workout in itself).
  • Water regularly. Our inconsistent watering led to our tomatoes cracking after heavy rains.
  • A flat of vegetables go a LONG way. We used only half of them and gave the rest to neighbors.
  • Be ready to be inundated with crazy amounts of veggies! 
  • Share with neighbors/co-workers.
  • ENJOY! I don't know if I'm biased, but I swear everything tasted 10 times better than any we buy in the stores (especially tomatoes). 
Do you garden? Any words of advice? What's your favorite thing to grow? 

While we're at it..any great green tomato recipes? Or how to ripen the? I've heard of placing them in a paper bag with apples (release of ethanol triggers ripening supposedly), but does it really work? 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sweet, Precious Sister

Several weeks ago I got a voicemail that certainly put a spin on my world.

Mom: Audrey (my sister) fell in a box & is now in the hospital and undergoing surgery. Call me.

My first thought was, "What?!" and confusion and wondering what in the world was going on. Box? Surgery? Fall? I could tell from my mom's tone that something was seriously amiss and that I needed to hightail it out of work and make the 2 hour drive home.

Husband and I rush downstate to the hospital and finally catch up on what's happening. At some point during the night my sister, Audrey, stumbled and fell into a cardboard box, yes a cardboard box. Most would think that this is no big deal, but because of the way that she fell it caused compartment syndrome which ultimately led to rhabdomyolysis. When she fell she became stuck and wasn't able to get out.  She wasn't found in that position until the next morning. She may have been in that position for 10 hours or so. Compartment syndrome is similar to what many earthquake victims suffer due to buildings collapsing and trapping them. Essentially, it's a crush type injury where the blood supply is cut off from a limb. The tissue and nerves are cut off from the blood supply which then can cause complete nerve damage and the injured tissue releases toxins that can cause kidney failure that can be acute or long-term.

To complicate things, my sister is not your average 27 year old. She's special needs with physical and mental disabilities. To make things more relatable, she's like a 18 month old. Non-verbal for the most part, incontinent, epileptic, and not always able to understand the why and how of things. We believe that she fell in the night and was simply unable to get out. I don't know if I would have myself, then you add in her massive amounts of medications to combat her seizures (which make her quite loopy) and she was so out of it that who knows what went on after the initial fall. We have monitors throughout our house to listen for her in the night (we're very in tune sleepers after comping with her seizures for years) and never heard a peep to make us believe that things were awry.

It's baffling how something as simple as this can change so many things. Freak accident. Who would ever think that a cardboard box would be capable of this? Not I. It's amazing how much this has changed our lives and surely more things to come.

As for now, she's been in the hospital for 3 weeks. In and out of the ICU because of complications, her fasciotomy surgery (to relieve the pressure that was in her leg) and on dialysis several times a week. Our biggest battle right now is her failing kidneys. We just want those to get working and we'll move on from there.  There has been some improvement of their function and I'm keeping my fingers crossed this week for even more.  As for her leg/calf/foot, we don't know the functionality of it yet. We've seen little movement, but it's hard to gauge what's really going on since she can't verbalize it and her pain tolerance is so high to begin with. We've been evaluating on winces, sighs and moans. There's blood flow so that's great. I'm hoping more than words can describe that she's able to keep function of it.

She has two cuts like this, but both of her's are quite a bit larger.
They are starting to close, but will likely needs skin grafts.
It's been a trying few weeks for everyone in my family. This accident has really made me take measure of how much we take for granted. It can be any moment where your life can be changed by something simple. I'm so grateful for the amazing family, my strong and tough parents, friends, and my amazingly supportive husband that have been there through all this. It's a roller coaster dealing with all the emotions, highs, lows and ups and downs that have accompanied this journey.  It's bound to be a long road to recovery, but we'll push through together, no matter what.

I'll tell you one thing my sister's one hell of a trooper. She's pushes through this and has been through so much already. My sweet, precious sister is certainly soft and sweet on the outside but has willpower as tough as nails. I hope she uses every bit of that to push through and get as healthy as she can be.

Love ya Audrey Lee! Get better soon!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I Love Social Media

There’s just something about the glow of the computer screen (or even the notification pop up box on my iPhone) that get’s me going.  Being one of the last of my friend’s to ever have a computer of my own has somehow led me into become an addict.  I love social media and it’s no surprise to most people who know me as I’m always checking in, catching up and passing it along.  It all started with Myspace, which then lead to Livejournal, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Blogger, Foursquare, Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, Pinterest, Empire Avenue, Spotify, Stumble Upon, Google Reader and lastly Google+ (and likely more that I’ve forgotten about or lost interest throughout time.

Here’s a few reasons why I love social media…
  1. Friendship/camaraderie/support: I can’t tell you how many amazing friends I’ve gained along the way. SM (social media) has just opened so many amazing doors that never would have happened before.  Through the blog world and Twitter I’ve fostered much friendship and support.  These people, many who I’ve never met in real life, have at times helped ignite the spark to get me moving and motivate me (especially with blog chats such as #fitblog and #fitstudio). 
  2. Keeping in Touch: Think about how much easier it has been to keep in touch with “in real life” (IRL) friends. Jobs, distance and lack of time sometimes get in the way, but with SM it’s been so much easier to keep in touch. It doesn’t replace face time, but it sure helps bridge those gaps at times.
  3. Free Stuff: I’ve gotten so much awesome free swag through social media, including: countless movies tickets, free food (cases of yogurt, protein bars/powder, samples galore), free clothes, credits to companies (Score Big, The Clymb), books, the list goes on. I mean, what’s not to like about free stuff…no complaints here! A strong social media presence can really increase your Klout score which increases your chances of Klout Perks which offers free samples/offers to people influential in certain topics.
  4. Info, info, INFO! The blog world is awesome.  I could get drawn into for hours and often do. Countless recipes, workout plans, travel ideas, craft tutorials, home projects, etc.  I was planning a vacation up north and Think Michigan Now (@thinkmichnow) was able to ask around and find some amazing information for me about the area I was traveling (special thanks to @lancehill).  Some of these were things that I likely would have not seen had it not been for SM. 
  5. Be the real you: Sometimes I think we can get wrapped up in our day to day life and the expectations that others have for ourselves. I think that for some SM allows them to unwind and be themselves without the pressure because the online world can offer a bit of a buffer.  It’s kind of an introverts getaway. It’s a place to bond and create links with others that are like minded. It allows you to speak your mind, get new perspectives and spread the word about topics that you are passionate about. 
  6. Opportunities: You never know what these friendships and connections can bring. Recently, my husband found and was offered a new job that has completely changed our lifestyle because of social media. A random post can lead to so much more than you ever imagined.  You just never know! 
Are you a social media addict? What’s your favorite thing about it?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm Officially a Warrior! Michigan Warrior Dash Recap

A couple weeks ago I had the awesome experience of Warrior Dash.  I had signed up for this 5k+ several months ago and had some reservations about it since I had never ran one before.  I’m by no means a natural when it comes to running so the thought of adding obstacles to a 3 mile run added a bit more worries to this race. I just have to say, I TOTALLY LOVED it. 

This event was a blast and I couldn’t have asked for a better 5k to break me into races.  And you know what, I think I finally understand what everyone means about the runner’s high and addiction of running races such as this.  I can’t wait to do it again and am super excited to see that they are already planning on coming back. 

The weather that day was great.  A bit on the hot side, but lots of sun and a slight breeze made it more bearable.  It was great to see that this event brought so much revenue into the Flint, MI, which it desperately needed.  The Warrior Dash brought in nearly 26,000 participating runners, and that's not including all the spectators!

Ryan and I were signed up for the noon leg.  We had originally signed up with some other friends, but unfortunately they weren’t able to make it.  We made our way to the front 25% of the line in order to try to avoid the backlog that we had heard about at the obstacles. For the first mile and half we ran together, but I was having issues with breathing since I was fighting an infection and could not breathe through my nose AT ALL so I encouraged Ry to go run ahead because I didn’t want to hold him back.  I needed to take a couple run/walk breaks to catch my breath between obstacles, which was disappointing, but I’m still pretty excited about the run.  I wish I had been able to trim my time down some, but I’ll take what I had.  Now I have another, more specific goal for next time.  I also met some great people along the way. Everyone was so supportive, friendly and really looking to have a great time.

Some of the obstacles found at our event were:
  • Junkyard/tire run
  • Blackout (so hot in there!)
  • Raised nets to climb over (easiest if you roll)
  • Teetering traverse (balance beams of a sort)
  • Up and downs (jump over wall, climb under, etc.)
  • Logs to climb over in water
  • Peg climb
  • Rope climb
  • Tall net
  • Fire!
  • 2 mud pits (one was so deep/thick and smelled like poo and the end one was much thinner, but had to crawl low)
I have to commend them on a well put together and organized race.  It was so easy to register and get to where we needed.  The swag was pretty fun too! It was just a great day and so much fun to get down and dirty and spend time with great friends that we met up with after our race. If you never ran a race like this, I highly recommend it.  I know that I’m HOOKED!

The fun hats everyone got. This is before we've ran. Notice the white shirt!

And after. There was mud everywhere! 

I'm sad I missed his front flip into the mud!

The wash station.  Not that the mud really came off. My shirt was ridiculously dirty after 3 showers in that so I just dumped it.

My knees and shins got completely jacked up! Bruises and scratches everywhere, but it was worth it.
I like battle scars ;)

So many shoes were donated! I wonder how many pairs they have after all the races? All shoes get cleaned and donated to third world countries.

They had awesome, huge turkey legs for $6.  I was starving!

Two of my favorite college girls, Holly & Angie. I love them and it was so great to spend time with them.

This guy ran the whole race as the cardboard robot.  I can't imagine climbing nets with all that bulk.

Angie killed it! She beat all of us girls with her time. Nice job!

My favorites!

We spent a lot of time at the finish line watching people bomb the mud pit.

The question now is: What's next?  I need to find another challenge for myself to keep my running going.  I think I'm going to do a little web research tonight to look for another race to run. There is the Dirty Dog Dash in September in Pinckney, but I'm thinking that something local might be more feasible (less money and easier to get to). Maybe we'll do the Turkey Trot that is held every year in Detroit. Either way, we're at least signing up for something soon!  

How do you keep yourself going after reaching your first goal? Do you have any fun races/events planned? Have you ran anything similar to this?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Scorching Summer (Heatstroke & Heat Exhaustion Stories - Embarrassing)

I don’t know about you guys, but this heat is unbearable to me.  We’ve been finding any and every reason to get out of the house for a bit.  This has ranged from anything, such as staying at work longer, restaurants, coffee shops (as I sit in Starbucks currently sipping on a Tazo iced passion tea- - yum!) and the gym.  I never thought that I would be so excited to go to the gym just to escape our A/C free, sweatbox of a house.
I’m definitely one of these people that don’t fair well when it comes to heat.  I don’t think that I could ever handle living in a southern area where high temperatures and intense humidity are the norm.  I guess I am a Northern girl at heart.  I’ve already experienced my fair share of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Experience #1:

After a grueling, steamy day outside at the local fair and parade, my mom, aunt and I decided to hit up the local, large flea market.  At this events we had a tendency to meander our way around separately, checking out the stands we were interested in and meeting up an hour or so later. The last thing I remember is standing there and having the world close in on me and blacking out completely.  I woke up surrounded by tons of foreigners (this market had many Asian merchants/shoppers) speaking to me in their native tongue.  As if it wasn’t confusing enough passing out in a unfamiliar area, waking up to a bunch of strangers just brought it to a whole new level. I swear that I was there for half an hour or more completely out of sorts and no idea what really was going on. Finally, my family found me passed out on the floor with all these people surrounding spraying me with water.  It’s a funny sight to imagine now, but at the moment I was miserable.  It’s definitely something I would never want anyone else to experience.  The shivers, nausea, puking, dizziness and overall fatigue was terrible.    Needless to say, days later and lots of fluids and rest and I was back to normal.


Experience #2:

Every time I think about this story it makes me feel bad for Ryan (husband). We were on our first vacation that we had taken together as a couple and had only been dating several months.  We had spent the past day driving down to Florida (20+ hours), with not nearly enough sleep (certainly didn’t help)and had finally arrived at the hotel.  It was a super hot day and we hadn’t had much time to acclimate to the weather and I decided to take a hot shower.  I was in there several moments and BOOM! I was down and out.  Ryan rushed in to see what happened and I’m passed in the shower with my eyes rolled back in my head and a big cut on my knee from the fall down.  Poor boy didn’t know what was going on and thought he had a dead girlfriend (what a great way to start our first ever vacation together).  I finally came too and this time had a bit more of an idea what had happened. 

The Moral of The Story:

Pay attention to the warning signs.  Stay hydrated and rested when temperatures skyrocket.  I had many of the signs of heat exhaustion, but dismissed them.  After dealing with this several times now, I’ve certainly become accustomed to learning what to expect and look for and most importantly LISTEN to what my body is telling me.  As much as I’d like to be out there and running and training for the upcoming Warrior Dash, I know that it’s not feasible in this weather. Instead I’ve improvised with gym sessions until the weather changes.

heat stroke jjg

Signs & symptoms of heat exhaustion and stroke can be found at the CDC website. If you’re active in the summer it’s worth a look and can save your life or another’s. 

Have you or someone you know ever had heat exhaustion or stroke? Do you like/dislike the heat?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Post-Holiday & Detox

What an insane Fourth of July weekend! This past weekend two of our closest friends got married! It was such a great time and my husband and I were both honored to be part of such a special day.  We’re so happy that these two have finally tied the knot and can’t wait for all the amazing times that we will share in the future (the groom is one of Ryan’s best college buddies and I’ve known the bride through high school and college).

The wedding was great (aside from the heat and humidity that had us dripping sweat during the ceremony and pictures –haha) . It was one of the first time in years (since our wedding in 2009) that we finally had most of our college friends together again.  It’s times like these that I cherish, especially now that it doesn’t seem to happen often enough.  I can’t wait for the day that we are all living closer together again.  I’m even more excited when we all have families that we can watch grow together. 

5 of the bridesmaids and the beautiful bride (there were 2 more girls).
The whole CMU gang!

The hubby & I, sweaty after busting a move or two on the dance floor

Loved the cupcakes at the rehearsal dinner.
Wedding wine basket we made for special occasions. I'm
pretty proud of how this turned out with handmade tags
and poems for each occasion (1st fight, anniversary, baby & Christmas).

The rest of our weekend was spent watching fireworks at Soaring Eagle Casino, which were amazing, like always and tubing down the Chippewa and getting entirely too much sun (ouch!).
Stunning Michigan sunset as we waited for fireworks.
Waiting on the hill for fireworks to start
The gorgeous Chippewa River. So great for a relaxing float.


The excess of pretty much everything (wine, sweets, fast foods, sun, etc.) this past weekend has me feeling a bit less that stellar.  I’m feeling just blah – no energy, dull, pants tighter syndrome, and just all over icky.  I’m planning on taking the next two weeks to hit it hard and really stick to eating well and treating my body right.

This includes:
  • Getting back into my running routine (especially important with Warrior Dash at the end of the month) – Ideally 3 times a week/3 miles each time. 
  • No fast food/eating out
  • Lots more veggies/fruit – I think my body forgot what those are.
  • No wine/beer/alcohol – My stomach has been so jacked up since I’ve had alcohol…it’s terrible.
  • Lots and lots and lots of water & very little caffeine – Definitely feel the need to flush my body of all the crap from the last week. 
  • Reduce sweets and salty foods
Do you have any tips to add? How do you get back to normal after an over-indulgent holiday? How are you feeling after the past weekend?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Running & Our Love/Hate Relationship

I have a confession: I hate running…but it’s an evolving relationship.


The thing is that it never used to be this way. Years of not running at all has completely changed my perspective on it.  Back in the day (early years of college when I had no real obligations) I used to run quite regularly.  I would go to the track and run 5 miles and not even blink an eye at it.  Now….not so much.

Recently I’ve started running again and it has been a struggle.  Apparently when you don’t do it for awhile…you lose it.  *sarcasm*

The thing is that I really want to love running again.  I love the feeling of getting out there and covering some good distance.  The feeling you get after a long run is phenomenal, even if it’s a rough one.  You feel accomplished and those endorphins get moving and suddenly your mood improves and energy replenishes.  And sometimes that alone time for yourself is essential: it gives you time to think and sometimes just completely check out of life and cruise on autopilot for awhile. Running just makes you feel more powerful. You feel your body growing stronger and tougher. Having the control in improving your body is a huge boost in itself.

Months ago I signed up for Warrior Dash.  I figured that if I signed up for a race I’d have something to hold me accountable and would force me to get out there and start running again. Several weeks ago I started running again (should have started several months earlier, but oh well). The first few runs were rough…I was wheezing (thanks asthma) and endurance was zilch. After a few weeks though…that loving feeling is returning.  I’ve finally gotten to the point that I can actually run a 5k (not great timing and with a few stops/walks along the way, but I’m getting there). Those loving feelings that I used to associate with running are back! As for now, I’m focusing on improving my time and hoping to get to the point that I can continuously run a whole 3 miles without the need to stop.  I find that the days that I get out there and run I feel happier.  I’m not as harsh on myself (or others) and tend to be more productive. I’m hoping that this relationship is finally on the right track and that running and I can be best friends again.

Do you love/hate running? What were some things that helped you get back on track after a workout hiatus?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mango allergy: The fruit that destroyed my face (pics)

Several weeks ago I broke out in this terrible rash.  It progressively got worse so eventually I made my way to the Urgent Care to only be told that they thought it was cold sores. The thought that kept going through my mind was, “where in the world did I get this?!” and disappointment that I had somehow acquired this lifetime virus that just keeps on giving. Despite the fact that the doctor “thought” that it was cold sores (he wasn’t 100% confident in his diagnosis), part of me just didn’t believe it. It wasn’t the characteristic sores and wasn’t responding to treatment at all (antiviral tabs and creams) and it continued to spread. Also I started breaking out in hives in several other areas of my body (chest, wrist, cheeks, neck, leg, etc.).

After many painful and embarrassing days I finally figured out what was causing this horrendous itchy, painful, swollen blisters all over my lips, chin and even nose….MANGOES!

Taken from the Discovery Channel website:
Mango and poison ivy are both in the cashew family, and both contain a substance called urushiol (yu-roosh’-ee-all). It’s the poison in poison ivy, the cause of the blisters and itching. The mango contains much, much less of the irritant than poison ivy, but despite that, some very sensitive people can get a rash just from handling mango peel and being exposed to its sap. Luckily, more often than not, even sensitive people can enjoy the delectable fruit of the mango, provided someone else peels it for them.

After reading this it makes so much more sense.  The day before and day that I started getting these sores I had eaten mango and continued to eat it for days into the allergic reaction (I thought the vitamin C would help my immune system – silly me!?).  It wasn’t until weeks that after I had them again did it click that mangoes were what was causing the reactions. The good news? Lots of Benadryl and prescription strength hydrocortisone cream really halted the reaction that last time and knocked it out of my system very quickly.

The following are pictures of my reaction, and yes, they are gross and kind of embarrassing to show (work sucked with these – people gave dirty looks and it hurt so much to talk). I’m posting them because seeing and hearing other’s experience really helped me feel better about everything and I really think that it’s important that people learn about this potential reaction.
 photo (9)photo (5)photo (6)photo (7)

I just wanted to pass this information on because I had absolutely no clue that this existed. I’m severely allergic to poison ivy so it’s no surprise that I had such an intense reaction (the last time I swelled up much quicker and had my lips, mouth and throat swell a bit). I’m definitely thinking that a allergy test may be in order because they are chances of cross-sensitivity (cashews, pistachios, papaya, latex). Better safe than sorry. I’m sad I can’t eat one of my new favorite foods anymore (I’m leery about even eating the fruit after this last allergic reaction), but it’s just not worth it.

Anyone else out there have crazy allergies or reactions? How about to mango? Did you even know that this allergy existed?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Travel Bug Has Bitten

I have the travel bug itch. You know- that itch that can only be scratched by jumping in the car for a long ride or hopping a plane ride to somewhere far away and different than what your used to.I think this was all spurred by flipping through the photos of the trips we have taken over the years mixed with photos of all different resorts and beautiful places on StumbleUpon. There's just something about getting out of your norm and seeing other parts of the world and experiencing different cultures and environments.  It's refreshing and grounding.

Here’s a quick recap of some of the amazing places we have been:

All this has me on the search for the next place to visit.  With gas prices being so high and money being a bit tighter it’s likely to be a more local trip in the great state of Michigan (although I’m dying to go to Australia, Costa Rica and St. Lucia). I’d love to visit the west coast of the state since I’ve never really explored that area, or maybe a wine tasting trip to beautiful Traverse City.

Are you traveling the summer? Are you staying in state, visiting other states or even heading out of the country? What was the best vacation that you had?