Adina Mayo

Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

I know last week was Valentine's and you are probably chocolated out...however, that doesn't mean you can't treat yourself, paleo style.

Heavenly Organics Paleo Chocolate

I ordered these at Christmas and completely forgot about them until I found them cleaning up from the holiday. Ugh! I can't believe I forgot about chocolate! Especially, chocolate that has no refined sugar, sugar alcohol, rice syrup, and cane whatever...


I love these because here are the ingredients:
Raw Organic White Honey (Fair for Life Certified Ingredient), Unsweetened Organic Dark Chocolate (Fair for Life Certified Ingredient), Natural Peppermint Oil. (For the mint ones)

It doesn't get any simplier than that.

The outside chocolate shell is quite bitter but when eaten with the inside, they mix so well in your mouth that the bitterness goes away.
Now are they Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? No, but since I haven't had a Reese's in 3 years, my taste buds have changed so much that I don't care. They were delicious to me.

They are the perfect treat yo self Paleo treat that you don't have to bake or cook for yourself. Get some!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

This morning I was talking to my Chiropractor about my extreme shoulder issues. Insert eye roll here. Seriously, I feel like I'm taking 2 steps forward and 3 back. I was telling him how every time I do the shoulder physical therapy exercises I piss off my rhomboids and traps. Come on, cut a girl some slack. I just need a win!!!


I will say he agreed with my physical therapist that my problem is too much flexibility and not enough strength. If I start practicing proper posture, keep up with the trigger point exercises from last weeks post, and continue to strengthen, I should see some relief in 6 weeks.

So how does one practice proper posture?
How to Fix Your Posture

Well, I'm going to go back to my new BFF Tone and Tighten on YouTube. Seriously, subscribe to his channel!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

One of my goals for 2018 was finally sitting down with the Brush Lettering course I ordered in 2017 and learn how to do all the super fancy brush lettering you see all over Insta, Pinterest, and Bullet Journal fanatics.

I initially wanted to learn hand lettering for my bullet journal to be pretty. However, it turned into something to do while I was stuck in my chair (or the bear chair as #leohusband calls it) in pain and the distraction of a funny TV show was not enough to take my mind off of the hurt.

I do crochet and it's a great distraction, too great in fact. I tend to get sucked into my crochet project and forget to take breaks where I walk around. Even when I set timers I tend to usually turn the timer off with the intention of getting up when I reach the end of a row, and I hardly ever do.

Chronic Pain Crafts: Learning to do Brush Lettering

Brush lettering or hand lettering, whatever you want to call it, is beautiful. It harkens back to the days where handwriting meant something. Penmanship was a goal everyone wanted to obtain and get this, they practiced it and kept it up because there wasn't phones or cell phones or the internet. Even in the 1980s, where I grew up, long distance phone calls were still really expensive so people wrote to each other. *Gasp*


So if you have zero clues as to what I'm talking about here are some examples:

Get it now? I actually love that hand and brush lettering are becoming popular since they just don't teach cursive in school anymore. The last year I taught, 2014-2015, I actually had kids not be able to read my comments on their artwork because they couldn't read cursive. There will be a whole generation out there that won't be able to read historical documents because of this, and if you can't learn from history you are doomed to repeat it.

Again, this is why I'm excited that people actually seem to be into this.

So hand lettering vs brush lettering, what's the difference?

Hand lettering is usually done in pen and then you draw the weighted part of the letter on.

Brush lettering is done with a brush. You can get a refillable water pen and use watercolor paint or liquid ink in the chamber.

Or you can use a brush marker, like a Tombow Brush Pen, etc.

I have both, but for practice, I like my Tombows because they don't require clean up.

Now, where to learn...

As I said before I initially downloaded a practice sheet program from Random Olive. I did like it because it had weekly goals but it wasn't really doing it for me for some reason. I may go back and use it now since I'm a bit more used to the practice now.

I think I didn't like it because I'm visual. I need to see someone do it first. That's where Skillshare comes in. I love Skillshare and if you are into everything Internet you have probably heard it on YouTube ads or seen ads for it on Insta or Facebook.

If you are interested, use my link and get 2 Free Premium Months. Signing up under my link is no cost to you at all and helps a starving health blogger out. It's so worth it, not only did I learn hand lettering, but right now I'm also learning about Podcasting, WordPress, and Audacity. Remember how I was talking about crochet? They have that too. Thousands of classes!

The class I used to learn my awesome new skills was Hand Lettering: 4 Easy Steps to Modern Calligraphy by Peggy Dean, The Pigeon Letters | Lettering & Illustration.
She had simple straightforward instruction and printables to help you practice. She starts with a pencil and pen and then takes you through to using a brush marker.

If you have thought about learning this new skill and especially if you are stuck in a chair or in bed this is a great way to work your brain. Learning something new speaks to the soul and that is one of the best medicines out there.

Monday, February 18, 2019

In January of 2017, I had enough of the pain I'd been in since July of 2015. My back surgeries made it worse. The epidural injections I had in pain management sent me to rock bottom. Lyrica showed me that there is a basement below rock bottom.

I decided on my own that I was going to get better because my only other option was not one I wanted to take.

My journey has been long and hard. Two steps forward, three steps back. I've done and tried just about everything in my quest to feel better, to have days without pain, to reclaim some of my life that I had lost.

About 20 months into that quest, I started seeing a clinical psychologist and it was the right decision, at the right time, with the right person.

Chronic Pain Treatment and You Are The Placebo

In our second session, she told me to read You are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza.

This book has changed my life and I haven't even been able to put it into practice yet.

I do not want to go into the book heavily because I honestly want you to read it. What I will tell you is this, the human brain is capable of amazing things. It can hurt you or heal you if you are open to it.
Dr. Dispenza goes over the history of the placebo, why placebos work, and documents several medical studies (not just one) to support his findings. He's appealing to the type of audience that needs to logically work out this concept of healing through your own brain. He also appeals to the spiritual side of an audience that may believe in miracles. I feel that he brings enough information for each camp of science vs spirituality to appeal to both.

Now, I will say that the language of this book can be daunting at times but don't let that discourage you enough where you put the book down and walk away.

When discussing some of the science behind his theories, he talks about quantum mechanics. I was in the groove for it, because I had just read What We Talk About When We Talk About God and that talks about science and quantum mechanics as well. Plus, I was totally into The Universe when it came on The History Channel back in the day. I'm such a nerd.
Stick with the book even if it is high minded!

Around the end of the book, and in conjunction with my psychologist visits, I had a real breakthrough. I actually felt joy. I was happy. Happy is the start of healing and it's such a wonderful start. Check out my 7 Steps for Learning to Live with Joy.

I wouldn't have had my breakthrough without this book and I hadn't even started his meditations. Which, by the way, I will start Thursday because that's when my current Headspace pack wraps up. I can't wait to see how much more I'm going to grow when doing his exercises, and that's exercises for your brain y'all!

If you have chronic pain or illness, this book, if put into practice will absolutely change your life. I feel like it should be required reading for every patient by every pain management doctor in the United States.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Need a hug in a bowl?

It's February and that usually means all things couples. Sticking with this month's theme here is a great recipe to cook together (but very easy to do solo too). This savory meatball soup is not only easy to prepare, it delicious.

As usual, I will have some chronic pain and illness warrior tips.
Paleo and Whole30 Butternut Squash Meatball Soup

Grab a buddy if you have one available.

1 large yellow onion coarsely chopped
4 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/4" half moons.
1 bag of frozen butternut squash
1 T of tomato paste
1 can of Rotel
1 4oz can of Green Chilies
4 cups of Chicken Bone Broth
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 lb of ground beef
1 lb of ground pork
1 egg
1 lime
1 bag of shredded coleslaw mix
1 cup of pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)

Meatball Spices
1T of cumin
1 t of granulated garlic
1/2 t of Mexican oregano
1/2 t of smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Make it!

If you have a buddy, have them prep the meatballs while you are chopping vegetables. Regardless, prep the Meatball Spices. In a small bowl whisk together the meatball spices and set aside. My Mother-in-law recently mentioned she couldn't find Mexican Oregano in Georgia so here is some if you can't find it in your store.

In a large sauce pot on med-high heat, warm about 2 T of avocado or olive oil until hot. While oil is heating coarsely chop the onion. Add the onion to the pot and stir occasionally while peeling and chopping the carrots. Add the carrots and the bag of butternut squash to the onions and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook vegetables until soft and then add in 1 T of tomato paste. Stir to coat the veggie in the tomato paste. Add in the Rotel and green chilies. Stir. Add in the chicken bone broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes.

While waiting for the soup to boil, prep the meatballs (or have your partner do it while you work on the soup).

Drain any excess liquid from the beef and pork and then pat dry. In a large bowl, using your hands mix together the beef, pork, egg, and spice mix. Form into 2-inch meatballs, just a smidge smaller than a golf ball. The meatballs make 2 servings, approx. 40 meatballs. We put 20 on a baking sheet covered in wax paper and froze them for a repeat meal later on.

Bring the soup back up to a boil and carefully drop in 20 of the meatballs. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pot and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

While the meatballs cook prepare the lime and cilantro.

Cut off the two "pointy" ends of the lime and then cut into wedges. Wash and coarsely chop the cilantro. Get out the coleslaw mix and the pepitas.
When the soup is done, serve in bowls topped with the coleslaw mix, a sprinkle of pepitas, and garnish with cilantro and a lime wedge.

Serves 4. I'm going to adapt this for the instant pot so I will have an update out when I do!


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! As I mentioned last week, I used to hate Valentine's Day. However, after meeting #leohusband I have come around to love it just as much as the next sap. He used to be all things in charge of Valentine's because he loves to surprise me but since I've started working from home that has made surprises difficult. A couple of years ago I suggested that we switch back and forth each year as to who plans Valentine's. Type A personality, yours truly, of course I've already planned out our Valentine's....

You totally forgot to plan something for Valentine's didn't you?


Oh Snap!

I know some of you out there may be scrambling for ideas last minute to celebrate so without further ado, I'm going to dive in.

8 Last Minute Ideas for Valentine's Day

1. Forgot to Make Reservations???

Offer to Cook Dinner for your Spouse that night. Whichever partner does the cooking...let them take the night off if you didn't make dinner plans. Look up a recipe on Food Network or Pinterest, leave work early, stop at the grocery store and pick up the ingredients, and head home. I'm not assuming this one is just for the men to do the cooking because we have a couple bff where he is the main cook.

Most places have an oven so try my super simple Paleo and Whole30 Pork Chop Sheet Pan Dinner or my Sheet Pan Smoked Paprika Chicken

2. Picnic in Your Living Room

Pick up some to-go food from your favorite place, grab a blanket and a bottle of wine. Lay the blanket out in the living room and have an indoor picnic. No fireplace? Pick up a variety of candle sizes or a bunch of tea lights and float them in mason jars around the two of you. All of which you can get at WalMart or the dollar store. Just don't burn the place down! Safety first!

It's cute, intimate, and thoughtful.

3. Enough with the Chocolate, Ugh!

I'll clue you in on a teensy little fact, if I want chocolate, I'm a grown ass woman, I can get chocolate whenever I damn well please.

Our first Valentine's my husband got me a variety of cake pops which was awesome because it's something I'd never just go out and get for myself. So if you are going to go with yummy treats as your last minute gift, get something original. Stop at a bakery, not the grocery store, which will make it seem as you put more thought into what you are getting. Hell, even Starbucks has cake pops.
4. A Rose By Any Other Name

Did you know that flower's have meaning? Check out Wiki's Plant Symbolism chart and find something original and unique to describe your relationship and then head to a florist, an actual florist (or call around first to see if they have what you want) and pick it up on your way home.
If it's a new relationship then go with Daffodils since it means new begginings and tell them that. It will seem much more meaningful than the grocery store stock red roses, even if it's last minute. They'll never know.
Hot and spicy? Red Tulips for Passion
Your 40th Valentines together? Lavender for Devotion

You get the idea...see it's not hard to put a little thought into it!
5. Forgot to Book the Baby Sitter?

I'll be honest this one is for the ladies, usually because they end up being the caregiver, but I have ideas for Mr. Mom so hold on tight.

For the mom's: Get the kids involved in pampering Mom by just leaving her alone for an hour. After dinner, go draw her a bubble bath or bath bomb, whatever they are into. Light some candles and steer her into the bathroom. Let her know she gets a completely undisturbed hour or more, again whatever, to relax.

You take the kids and for Pete's sake don't let them near her.

For the Mr. Mom's: What do they love to do interrupted, other than that, because sexy time is probably happening anyway after your kids go to bed. Xbox? Reading? An hour of uninterrupted social media binging? Give it 5 minutes of thought and it will come to you.


6. Conquer That To Do

Is there something your significant other has been asking you to do for days, weeks, months or even years? Do it.

It may not seem like a gift but just getting something off their plate that they have been asking for, for eons, will show that you A. Care B. Listen and C. Give them peace of mind that they do not have to bother you about it anymore.

If #leohusband is reading this we have a ceiling fan and bidet attachment that have been sitting in our bedroom for over a year that needs installing. Hint Hint.


7. Adopt

Been thinking about getting a furry friend for a while?

Make this Valentine's Special by bringing home a new buddy. Check the hours for local dog adoption shelters or events and go get a wonderful new addition to your family. It will be a Valentine's to remember for years. I remember as a child getting our family poodle on Valentine's when I was 6. That's a memory that will last and also benefit someone else, with fur.


8. Delay Celebrations

You can always postpone Valentine's to the weekend to give you more time, but make sure you get a card and plan something good!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Knots in your neck and shoulders, we all have them, and lately because I've been working on healing my rotator cuff injory, mine are really talking to me.

There was one night this past week where my traps were so tight and my knots so painful I couldn't even lower my shoulders. All I wanted to do was stab something into this spot of tension between my shoulder and neck.

I knew something had to give because I was not backing down on my shoulder physical therapy. Remember the "to the cloud" commercials? I always think that when I go to YouTube.

To the YouTube!

10 Things to Try for Knots in Your Neck and Shoulders

Seriously though, they have everything. Want to knit a hat? They've got it. Learn to prepare eel? They've got it. YouTube is amazing and it's no wonder Google owns it. For me it's the new Google, mostly because I learn visually, to watching a video is a sure fire way for me to make sure I've got something down.

I found this gem in a moment of despiration and after doing all the things listed in the video I actually did feel temporary relief. I also made a reflexology appointment, chiropractor, and acupuncture appointment. Did I say I was so over my shoulder pain because I sure as hell meant it. Anyway, this guy is brillant. Like his video, subscribe to his channel Tone and Tighten, and click the bell to get notified of his new videos. I can't wait to dig through his library to see what else he has.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I'm now in my third year of bullet journaling and loving it. It really has brought so much clarity to my life, my health, and my production.

One of my old students is doing one and texted me to ask what my favorite supplies are because I guess he was so over using highlighters.
I get it, you've invested your initial time into a bujo and realize you're hooked. Now you want to upgrade and invest in your supplies.

I'll be honest, you can sink quite a bit of money into one. I went crazy when I first got mine. I bought stamps, ink, markers, washi tape, stencils, etc...

The list could go on and on but by my third year, I know what I use on a consistent basis enough where I could actually give away some of my bujo planning items I used in the beginning. However, now that I actually have a desk and a place to journal, I may use some of those more tedious supplies again.

If you are looking to bullet journal on a budget check out 5 Ways to Bullet Journal on a Budget.
5 Favorite Bullet Journal Supplies

These are my go tos for bullet journaling every setup and on a daily basis.

1. Tombow Markers

Tombow's are beautiful markers that do not bleed through your bullet journal pages. They blend amazingly well and are self-cleaning. What do I mean about self-cleaning, well remember when you were a kid and someone used your yellow Crayola marker on something dark and it was ruined for life? Well, that is not going to happen with these.

2. Sakura Pigma Micron Pens

These pens come in a variety of nib sizes from super small to large bullet tip and brushes. They are permanent archival ink and have the blackest blacks I've ever seen in a pen. They also last a decent while if you take care of them.

3. Staedtler Fine Liners

These super fine markers come in a beautiful 36 color pack. I love these for doing detail drawing work in my bujo. These are for everyone but I definitely recommend them for anyone that likes to get creative in their bullet journal with designs and doodles.

4. Compass

There are a lot of stencils out there but I use this one for just about everything. It has a straight edge that I can use to keep my lines crisp. Makes circles look awesome from large to small. I also feel it gives you that professional touch to the overall look and feel of your journal.

5. Get a Weekly Layout Stencil

I know I get bogged down in trying to figure out dimensions, spaces, and dots. Sometimes it is tiring just figuring out what to put where and how to evenly space it. There are so many weekly layout stencils to choose from on Amazon and Etsy. Look around and find one that you like.

Monday, February 11, 2019

I am learning to really live with Joy and Gratitude because I honestly think it's going to help with my pain.

That sounds weird simply because I have always thought I have been happy but the truth of the matter is that I'm not.

I have been coming to this conclusion for a while now, and what really blows my mind is that I don't think I've ever been joyful and happy. I don't know how to live in joy.

Sure I've had joyous moments like getting accepted to grad school, meeting my husband, getting engaged, getting married. However, I don't actually live in joy. Joy in the good times and the bad.

My mom always told me when I was growing up the story of the wrecked car. You can be happy and have a wrecked car or you can be upset and have a wrecked car, but either way, you have a wrecked car.

I couldn't ever do it though. I have been a slave to my emotional state since, um, forever.

7 Steps for Learning to Live with Joy

I've completed You Are The Placebo and am clued into the fact that to get out of pain I have to literally become a completely different person. Living in negativity for my entire life got me here, I turned on genes that are damaging by being addicted to stress and when tragedy struck, pain.

That's right.


You know how I truly figured this out in the last week?!? I honestly have been doing so well with my pain and working on transitioning to my new positive self that I totally sabotaged this direction by thinking that #leohusband is secretly having an affair everytime he works late.

How insane is that?


I'm doing better in my consistency and my positivity that my brain simply said no I need stress like a crack whore on the street.

I want to bitch slap my conscious brain so hard.

Honestly though, how do you live each day in joy?

Well, this is what has worked for me.

1. Happy Memories

I like to first conjure up a moment of pure joy. Oftentimes I picture me walking down the aisle toward my soon to be husband. As soon as I came out I peeked around the corner because I just couldn't wait to see him. We locked eyes and it took my breath away.

I can feel the overwhelming happiness enter my chest and almost explode out of my limbs. Everything is affected and I feel my energy change. I feel lighter.

2. Joy for All Occasions

I know what you are thinking, how can I be joyful all the damn time? Well, it's a choice. I had a ton of stuff planned to do today. In fact, I even had this post completely written out and somehow deleated it. After one choice word, I reached inside and pulled up some joy. I was able to recover and not go into Disterville USA. The old me (literally a few days ago) would have bemoaned the rest of the day losing all that good writing.

So I turned to laundry, and I know what you are thinking, seriously Adina, how does laundry bring you joy?

A. First go watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (which is a joy bringer in and of itself)
B. It feels good to pour love into and thank my clothes

3. Breathe and Step Back

Part of this journey of learning to pull those joyful feelings up throughout the day is forgiving yourself when you fail. Be flexible with your emotions and don't feel guilty for a slip back into negativity. I've spent the last 30+ years being negative, this is going to be a long process. For instance, the day I had my breakthough I ended up driving almost 200 miles around my city.


There's nothing like a little road rage to put you new positive, joyful, mindset like terrible traffic. When someone cut me off I felt that negativity and anger fill me and then I took a breath and pulled up that joy. I told myself that I actually had plenty of time to get where I'm going but the person ahead of me might not. I didn't berate myself for my slip.

4. Know your Triggers

Learning to live with joy everyday is also about knowing your triggers. Too much on my plate is mine. I feel overwhelmed and that leads to stress. Negative people could be one as well, or surrounding yourself with drama...sorry Handmaid's Tale you are just going to have to be put on the back burner.


5. Immerse Yourself in Happiness

On that note, drive into fun and happiness. Start a family game night or spend time with entertainment that makes you laugh. We've started watching Brooklyn 99 and it's one of the funniest shows I've ever watched. You know the old addage about The Laughing Cure where the man healed himself from cancer by immersing himself in comedies. Then try it for you.


6. Practice

So let's recap. To live in joy remember one of your happiest moments. Feel that feeling. Then try in 5 minutes to bring up that feeling without the memory. Practice throughout the day. If you don't succeed the first time then repeat the memory or try a different one and start again. Practice bringing up the joy throughout the day, especially if it's a task you don't want to do. Try bringing up the joy first. I find it amazing for my energy level as well as my ability to do more throughout the day.


7. Bring Someone on your Journey

Tell friends and family, journey's are always more fun when shared with others. You are changing into a new, more positive person. Who do you want to bring on this journey? It will benefit the both of you more than you know.


Tell me about your Joy Journey in the comments!

Friday, February 8, 2019

For some reason last week was all about the last minute dinners. I meal planned but didn't prep because my prepping buddy was gone on a business trip...needless to say #leohusband didn't help me either.

So I was stuck scrambling as per usual to come up with a healthy, last-minute meal that was Paleo and Whole30 compliant.
Paleo and Whole30 Tex Mex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4


4 sweet potatoes
1 lb of Paleo/Whole30 Compliant Chorizo
1/2 a yellow or white onion, whatever you have on hand, coursely diced
1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can of green chilies
1 avocado diced
1 bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 400 for one hour.

20 minutes before the potatoes are done.

Put a large skillet on the stove on medium heat.

Split open the casings on the chorizo and brown the meat. While the meat is browning, dice the onion.

When the meat is cooked through drain some of the grease off by tilting the pan and using a spoon. Add the onion and saute with the chorizo until the onion is translucent. Add in the tomatoes and chilies. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook everything together on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced.

Take the potatoes out of the oven. Split open and stuff with the skillet mixture. Top with avocado and cilantro.

Quick and easy! Enjoy!

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