Blessing and a Curse – Part 1

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how great I had back when I was younger…or even just in my 20s…you know, before I hit my 30s and everything caught up to me.   I feel like I have a lot to talk about w/my blessings/curses so we’ll make Part 1 – Skin, Part 2 – Hair, Part 3 – Weight.   Maybe I should have renamed this series:  Yearning for the Fountain of Youth.

Anyway, I’ve posted before how I’m a late bloomer – especially when it comes to my skin.  I had porcelain skin in high school.  While my friends were learning how to apply make-up and learning how to hide their flaws with said make-up, being BFFs w/Oxy,  and trying every “zit-zapper” drug store brand under the sun, I would bask in my extra minutes of sleep because I wouldn’t have to do any of the above.  I would just shower and go.  At night, I never really washed my face either (don’t judge!).  If I did, it would just be water.

I felt like I had to start taking care of my skin though (???  I don’t know why, I thought I was missing out on something).  So, I started the Clinique 3 step program.  However, I was not consistent at all.  I remember throwing out cleansers and such over a year later.  I never learned how to pick the right foundation or concealer shade and therefore, never learned how to apply it either. All I would wear was powder.  I wore other make-up, eventually, like eyeliner and lipstick/gloss/balm/etc., but nothing to hide flaws or even my skin tone with.  I had it good…REAL good.  I was blessed with porcelain skin.

Fast forward to when I was 19.  A friend of the family, who was pretty much my Aunt, commented on how beautiful my skin was.  At this time, I went back to Clinique and even added a scrub as my skin was starting to get obviously oily.  I told her what I was doing (although still not consistently) and she said to keep up with it.  I don’t know why I didn’t listen.  Always listen to those old family friend/aunts who give you advice when they have a right too (she was in her 50s and not a pore in sight!).

Fast forward again to when I was 25.  I finally moved out of my parents’ house (I stayed home for college…wasn’t allowed to dorm b/c I was a girl – that’s a whole other story).  I moved to downtown Jersey City to a BEAUTIFUL luxury 3 bedroom apartment w/2 of my friends.  My skin had a hard time adjusting to the water (I guess it was hard water?), my stress level went up because of being on “my own” (with roommates, but still), more bills than usual (I paid some when living at home w/parents to help them out) and stress at work and I had my first bought of breakouts.  I mean, serious HUGE pimples popped all over my face.

I had no idea what to do or how to handle it. I didn’t even want to go out w/my friends at times.  I didn’t want to go to work.  I didn’t want to go anywhere, but stay in my room.  I didn’t know how to fix it or hide it.  I didn’t want to see a dermatologist because I didn’t want them to put me on something that would bring all the dirt and what have to the surface (I heard horror stories of how people broke out more, at first, before they got better).  I was in mid-20s and finally coming / blooming into my own.  I didn’t realize being a late-bloomer also applied to my skin.  I felt like a kid going through puberty.  At least when you’re in high school, you have others to commiserate with.  I had no one.  The curse of having beautiful skin while everyone else suffered – I never took care of it or learned how to.

Eventually, my skin cleared up, but I now had battlewounds (aka acne scars) to show what I went through.  Fast forward again to 27 when I was pregnant with my first, Beans.  After the shock of it all, I took motherhood to the extreme where everything was about her.  I don’t regret that at all.  I do regret not taking care of myself.  I couldn’t find that balance.  I didn’t know how to make everything about her, but not forget about me either.   This happened for ALL of my girls.

Fast forward again to 3 years ago – early 30s.  I finally started to stare at myself when I looked in the mirror.  Before that, I would do everything so quickly just to make sure my hair wasn’t all over the place, my clothes weren’t inside out and my eyeliner wasn’t smeared/smearing.  What I found, scared (vain) me.  My pores had gotten big and visible.  There is no reversing that.

Starting last spring, I have tried to really take care of my skin.  I can’t undo the damage, but I can try to hinder anymore damage from happening or at least slow it down.  I’ve gotten good with washing my face 2x /day.  I’ve been trying different cleanser lines, but haven’t quite found one that works well – all the time.  Clinique still works for me, but I’m trying to find something that will control my crazy oily producing face.  I swear sometimes I feel like I can fry an egg on my face (sorry for that visual).  It doesn’t help that I now sweat easily (happened after pregnancy weight gain than I never lost).  I finally went to see a dermatologist and she happens to also have oily skin so she understands my woes.  She’s got me on some retinoid and trying Cetaphil’s new line for acne prone skin (wash and moisturizer).  I ran out of my Clinique Acne Solutions line (lower your volume if you’re going to click on that Clinique link) so it was good timing.  So far, so good, but the weather has also started to cooperate (read as:  not 100 degree hot) so we’ll have to see.

Just an FYI though, I did like the Clinique line.  Right before I started using it again, I was breaking out around my jawline and cheek area…heat related?  I don’t know, but it cleared pretty much within a few days.  Cetaphil is looking like it’s working for me too, so far.  Maybe even comparable to Clinique or maybe it’s because I’m also using a retinoid.

I wish I had my old skin back, but at least now, I’m teaching my girls that it’s important to wash up every night – for now, I’m letting them just use a washcloth and water everynight…just to let them get into the habit of it.

What a blessing it was to have porcelain skin, but also a curse because I took it for granted and never took care of it and so never knew how to take care of it until later on in life… #firstworldproblems,Iknow

Stubborn Old Mule

You know when you need to do something and you hem and haw, but you still actually do it? Then, that same thing you need to do, and did, is forced on you by someone else by someone in authority (read as: suggested by a doctor) and you just outright don’t do it? No? I’m the only one? I think I’m making up for not being a rebellious kid/teeny bopper and rebelling now.

I finally found a doctor out here in the midwest to go to for my physicals and to complain to about whatever’s bothering me. One of the main things bothering me has been the return of my acid reflux. About 10/11 years ago, I was diagnosed with Esophagitis which basically means that I had little tears in my esophagitis (and stomach?) lining due to acid reflux. Just think of really harsh heartburn. Anyway, instead of sending me on my merry way to get an endoscopy, she tells me I need to lose weight.

*doinks*

Tell me something I don’t know, lady.

Apparently, shedding a few pounds will not only make me look good, but make me feel better and stop these refluxes from occurring. I told her I’ve been trying to lose weight and went back to working out in February. She was happy to hear that.

The thing is, which I didn’t tell her, I haven’t lost much at all. Some weeks, I am more intense than others and some weeks I take “off” due to heat, recovery or sheer laziness. Except for finally doing my Week 5 Day 3 20 minute run, I didn’t work out last week due to heat and laziness. Friday came along (aka Dr. appt) and I still haven’t worked out because, well, I think because something inside me doesn’t like being told what to do. I’m such a bugger, I know. Anyway, now she wants me to come back in 3 months to see my progress, etc.

This week has been a fail so far. I’m hoping I don’t wait until September to start working out with intensity again. I really have no excuse this week. The mornings have been nice and cool as I’m not waking up to 87 degree heat and humidity…I’ve recovered from our Chicago trip and sick puppy woes (trip to the vet earlier this week for our poor poopie pup). I really need to just get on with it. Work is a bit busy, but I should be ok if I can get my run in early enough.

So, here’s a bit of “run-spiration” from Pinterest…No nearby beaches by me anymore, but still a lot of cute summer clothes out there I’d love to sport…even just a tank top and shorts!

WW: 4th of July Weekend 2012

4th of July this year was HOT and on a Wednesday and HOT. I had a love/hate relationship with it. I loved it because WHOO-HOO! Got a break in the middle of the week. Hated it b/c OH NO! 2 Mondays! And it was HOT! Did I mention that already? It was in 100s ALL week and didn’t “cool” off to the upper 80s until Saturday afternoon.

Still, it was a great weekend. I was off Wednesday and Friday and our awesome friends from NJ came by to visit us! We toured them around our new neck of the woods (though it’s all cornfields once you go beyond a 5 mile radius). We also snuck in a trip to Chicago…perfect timing too as we celebrated our 5th Anniversary :)

Buddy’s 1st trip to the city…I couldn’t stop singing “hot times, buddy(summer) in the city” (you know you’re singing it now too).
Hot Times...Buddy in   the City

Our hotel was kid AND pet friendly – giving them all goodie bags and treats. They even had a kiddie hour where they had popcorn and lemonade set up for the kids along with board games and a Wii station too!

seeeesters
Untitled

And we had the “Palace Theater” lights as our view…
Palace Theater lights...view from our room
Palace Theater

Saturday, we ate a Filipino Restaurant. OH MY YUMNESS! How I’ve missed Filipino(unhealthy) food! We missed it so much, we had brunch there again on Sunday! I was so excited to eat I forgot the “before” pic. Here’s the after…I wish I had more room in my belly!
Untitled

There happened to be a street fest going on so we got to go check it out and the girls even got to go on a pony ride! Excuse me as I am ripping Shrimpie’s top…This must have been one of the times she let go and I had to quickly hold her up / tighter:
Shrimpie Pony Ride

Razz Pony Ride

Beans Pony Ride

Thankfully, it cooled off on Saturday and we got to celebrate our 5th Anniversary without sweating every second of just standing outdoors.

Razz & Beans at the Navy Pier w/Pirates and in front of the Ferris Wheel entrance (holy long line batman):
Ahoy Mateys!  ARGGGHHHHH!

Razz and Beans at the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

Here we are in our room before heading out again:
07.07.07  - 5 year anniversary

Grabbing our grub w/Chaprille who drove out from NJ :)
Chaprille came from NJ and spent 4th of July / celebrated our anniversary w/us :)

Dessert – chocolate crepe w/ice cream:
Anniversary Dessert

Walking along Michigan Ave, we spotted our “anniversary” building:
Seven Seven Seven Michigan Ave... 07.07.07 Our Anniversary :)

So, of course, we had to pose in front of it.  Don’t mind my windblown bangs in the windy city…And no, we didn’t mean to match.  I only brought 1 tee b/c I thought it would be crazy hot like the previous days.  He only had this tee to match his sneakers (which he wore this night b/c of all the walking we were planning on doing.  Otherwise, he would just wear his sandals).

777 Michigan Ave - our anni :)

We didn’t take too many “touristy” type photos since we did a lot of that back in February when we went. We didn’t make it to they Skydeck like we had planned. The line was too long and we were supposed to come back, but dinner was so yum and filling that we wanted to walk a bit and then watched fireworks from the sidewalk as the Navy Pier was putting on a show. Sorry, no good fireworks pics here. We were on the sidewalk and had a sign in our view at times.

fireworks from Navy Pier - view from the sidwalk

It really cooled off at night and the Windy City proved why it is called that:
Razz & Beans "windy" city it is

Felt like our stay was too short, as always. Really starting to like Chi-town (though I’m not sure I like saying “Chi-town”…lol).

Join us for Wordful Wednesday by posting a link to your entry over at Angie’s:

WW: Mother’s Day Part 3 – To Jump or Not to Jump…

Um, well, my post has nothing to do with the 4th of July, but Happy Independence Day, anyway! Be safe as you celebrate ;)

Ok, so 1st part of this series is all about how I was on an adventure w/no knowledge of my destination. Part 2 was Training. Sorry it’s taken so long to finish this series…work’s been busy and we had guests and activities and etc…Anyway, here’s the finale…

Training finally concluded.  pDaddy and the girls were there and I was scheduled to be on the 3rd load.  There were 13 students that day and they only take up 2 or 3 at a time.  It was after 12pm.  All I had was coffee, Gatorade and a couple of Doritos that were in my truck.  pDaddy brought me a granola bar to help me from passing out.  I didn’t want to eat-eat until after I was done.

suiting up                                     thumbsup_papap_mobile

IMG_5137

It was almost, probably, over 90 degrees at this point.  It was my turn to suit up and to say I was sweating bullets is an under statement. Sure, the jumpsuit didn’t help, but I was already sweating before that.  Put my goggles and helmet on and my sweat was dripping into my goggles!  Don’t let that smile fool you.

Finally, it was our turn and I was told I would jump first since it was starting to get windy and they wanted the smaller ones done first so we don’t get blown too far off, just in case…and by “small”, it was relative.  Basically, they wanted the “shorties” to go first.  lol.  Anyway, I was a nervous wreck.

plane

Thoughts flooded my head…

What if I can’t hang on long enough onto that strut and fall off before  my Jump Master gives me the GO?  (I was told that was ok and just prepare to arch my back so I don’t swirl and twirl too much).

What if my parachute doesn’t meet the “Is it there?  Is it square?  Does it flare?” perfect scenario?  Will I remember all the things I’m supposed to do to handle the malfunction(s)?

What if I land wrong?  What if I lose radio signal w/the Jump Master on the ground that would help us check our chute’s mobility in the air and bring us in for landing?

So.Many.Thoughts.Rushing through my head.  I guess my Jump Master sensed it so he kept trying to talk to me about other stuff and would slip in a “You’ll be fine” every now and then…

That ascent to 3500 feet was the LONGEST ever.  I felt like we were never going to make it up there.  The more time that passed, the more I was ready to back out.

Finally, we reached altitude and the Jump Master yelled “DOOR” to which we had to respond “DOOR” – acknowledging that he was going to open it.

And there it was…

Open fields right underneath us.  How beautiful it all looked!

I said a quick prayer b/c I knew that any second, my JM (jump master) would give me the commands.  That he did…and what I feared was making me feel like I couldn’t do it

the next few paragraphs are commands and such, but I promise, more fun pics after :).

Command A – GET YOUR FEET OUT

I was given the command, but I couldn’t get my arm on the strut (you’re supposed to hold onto the strut as you get your feet out).  I couldn’t fight the wind.  I realized that I wasn’t pushing hard enough so on the 3rd try, I did it.  I pushed hard and got my hand on the strut and feet on the step.  End of Command A.

Command B – GET YOUR WHOLE BODY OUT  (aka the one that feels like FOREVER)

OMG

This meant I had to get both arms on the strut which also meant I had to turn my body (and feet) from rear facing to front facing and start making my way out onto the strut.

So much was going through my mind that I can’t even remember parts of it.  I just know that I did have a bit of a hard time making my way there.  I was holding onto for dear life – literally.  I was making my way over and almost started grabbing the strut wrong – just like they told us not to do (by wrapping wrist around it).  I don’t know how long it took me to make my way over and I know I didn’t fully make it all the way, but I did end up under the mark for where my head was supposed to be (basically, you need to look up at the wing and make sure you are under an orange dot…picture of the plane and where orange dots are in previous post on this).  I don’t know how long my feet were off the step before I turned to look for my JM to give me the next command.

COMMAND C – DOT (aka GO aka thumbs up).

All I know is I finally looked and he gave me the GO.  I looked up at the mark above my head, took a few deep breaths, let go and arched my back as best as I could.

I almost forgot to count 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 – which is when I was supposed to check for my parachute to be deployed and check for malfunctions.

I finally got back to the moment and checked my chute and put my hands in the toggles (handles) so I could steer and do my mobility checks.  Just then, the JM on the radio came in…

Ok Stephanie.  Let’s do some checks.  Right 360.  Left 360. Flare.

And I did it.

Once that was done he stayed quiet except when he would need to bring me on course so I didn’t drift too far off.

I looked down and just marveled at how beautiful it was.  Granted, it was all farmland and most of the crops were still not in sprout mode so a lot of the land was still brown, but it was still beautiful  none the less.  Simply, AMAZING.

plane and me

AIRBORNE

22

I had mixed feelings b/c I wanted to stay up and float around a lot longer up there, but the straps around my legs were starting to dig in and hurt…then there was a point where I thought I was starting to feel nauseous…probably from nerves or not eating or both.  Next thing I know, he was bringing me in for landing…time for my descent.
descent

and my landing…
Flare Flare Flare
LANDING

5

Pictures prove that I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  I landed softly with a little roll like we were taught to do.  I looked up and saw my class, instructors and pDaddy and my girls.  I heard the cheers from everyone, but none sounded sweeter than my girls.

GO MOMMY!
MOooooooooooooooM!
YEAH MOMMY!

done
WHOOOO!

My Cheerleaders:
CHEERLEADERS
2 Saturdays in a row where my girls cheered me on (the previous weekend, I ran 5k).  How magnificent is that?

One of the instructors helped me w/my Chute and I walked back, still smiling, giving the thumbs up signs and just in awe of everything that just happened.  What a rush!

Holy crap.  I did it!  And I landed safely!  And OMG!!! I JUMPED OFF A PLANE!!!  WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

Now, will I jump again?

If you asked me that day, I would have given an emphatic YES!

That Sunday, YES.

As days go on, hmmmm….I really do hate that walking and moving up the strut part and fighting the winds and umm…hmmm…so my answer, MAYBE, MAYBE NOT.  BUT, I’ve done this once in my life and I’m happy about that.

Cross this off my Bucket List!

(now do I add free fall solo on there?  hmmmmmmm  that does mean I would need to do this about 7-8 more times so hmmmm)

 

~~~~~~~~to see other WW entries, checkout Angie’s blog and link up!~~~~~~~~~~~

 

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Gotcha…

Finally did it.  Week 5 Day 3 (aka the 20 minute run) is elusive no more!

I slept early last night…well, I tried.  I fell asleep around 11:30 only to wake up an hour later then got back to sleep around 1-ish.  Ever since I wrote my post yesterday w/that challenge to myself, I’ve been psyching myself out to do this 20 minute run and I must’ve subconciously been thinking about waking up early to do it b/c I actually woke up before my alarm (5:30…my alarm’s set for 5:50).   Of course, I kept going back to sleep so I actually didn’t get out of the door until almost 7:15 and OFF I finally went!

Beautiful morning – cool and breezy…partly cloudy in the low 70s.  Perfect.

I surprised myself and did relatively ok with the whole thing.  It was the last 5 or 6 minutes that hurt because I had to go up-hill for about 3 minutes before going back down.  Plus, my right sock was slipping off and so I was getting my first blister (not counting one from years ago 08?  09?).

I’m glad I challenged myself.  I’m glad I got out there.  It’s 8am.  I feel great.  I need to just eat well and keep up this momentum and that should keep me on the bandwagon again :)

According to my Garmin (not counting warm up and cool down), here’s my Week 5 Day 3 breakdown!
Time:  20:00.77
Distance: 1.7 miles
Avg. Heartrate: 174
Calories:  196

Warmup
Time: 5:01.49
Distance: .27
Avg. Heartrate: 130
Calories: 33

Cooldown (stopped too early):
Time: 3:36.78
Distance: .09 (I was walking back and forth the same block. Does GPS get all messed up?)
Avg. Heartrate: 151
Calories: 29