Happy Read in the Bathtub Day!

I can't even begin to tell you how much a good bath can help. Whether it is mental sanity or pain relief, it sure makes a tough day better.

A few years ago, my neuroinflammation was so high I soaked in an Epsom salt ice bath every night for a year! It was severe, and my #longtimebff used to compare me to an Olympic athlete. 

Now I can soak in a warm Epsom salt bath, and it does help my muscles at least. It's a give and take. The cold helps my Adhesive Arachnoiditis, and the warmth helps my Ehlers-Danlos. Ugh, dammed if I do, dammed if I don't. LOL!

When I saw it was Read in the Bathtub Day, I got giddy. Covid has given me next to zero alone time, but I think I can scrape some alone time out tonight to finish a chapter in my current read, The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.

It is a fascinating look into how money works in our lives. When I'm done, I'm definitely putting my favorite quote to the calligraphy pen, especially since I'm being very budget-conscious in 2021.

What is on your nightstand right now? I'm always looking for a new good read!

I finished the Amelia Peabody series in 2020 and need a good new series to get hooked into!

Using Art to Cope

I'm thrilled to announce that I am offering art classes for adults. In the last five years, I have missed teaching art and I am happy to have found my way back to my passion, 

I came to this amazing decision after so many requests from the children of the parents I was teaching online at Outschool. So here we are! In the next few weeks, this blog will be making a transformation. I will still be covering chronic pain advice but through the lens of art, craft, and hobbies.

This amazing, and oftentimes, frustrating journey I have been on has shown me that art in any form helped me cope with my chronic pain. 

I want others to have the chance to see what art can do for them, whether it is physical, spiritual, or mental healing.

I am putting packages together for live in-person adult lessons via zoom. Nothing beats in person!

The major companies, skillshare, craftsy, etc., have you learn from pre-recorded videos. This atmosphere limits your ability to get instant feedback or have the instructor switch to a different way to teach if you aren't getting it.

Live lessons ensure that you are getting the instruction you need, instant help, and small positive group feedback helps you connect and learn with others that share your passion.

The first classes I will be offering will be Modern Calligraphy and Brush Lettering!

Check back soon for updates for class times and sign up!

10 Supplements to Try for Chronic Pain

It's no secret that I take a lot of supplements. When you have two diseases that have zero cure and are life long...you have to get creative. Lately, I've had a lot of people reach out to me asking advice for dealing with adheasive arachnoiditis. Several of you have asked what I take specifically. That list has changed over time for me and I will include it, but I want to focus on some basics to try. 10 Supplements to Try for Chronic Pain 1. Bovine Colostrum
Bovine Colostrum is a complex, nutrient dense fluid produced by cows after giving birth. It is loaded with immune, growth and tissue repair factors. Bovine Colostrum has remarkable muscular-skeletal repair and growth capabilities. Studies have shown that colostrum is the only natural source of two major growth factors. These growth factors have significant muscle and cartilage repair characteristics. While not a pain killer or an inflammation reducer, the two growth factors promote wound healing with practical implications for patients with chronic conditions. Colostral growth factors have multiple regenerative effects that extend to all structural body cells. Repair = Pain Relief 2. Taurine 3. Arginine 4. Glutemine and 5. Carnitine These amino acids play a pivotal role in pain management. Taking extra amino acids, on top of what you can get by eating protein, effects the three key pain modulating neurotransmitters, endorphin, serotonin, and GABA. Check out this article here from Practical Pain Management. 6. Curcumin with Black Pepper Turmeric's main active component, curcumin, is what gives the spice its yellow color. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential treatment for a number of health conditions, including reduced pain and inflammation. In order for curcumin to be absorbed by your body you need to take it with black pepper, so make sure your supplement has black pepper. 7. Michael's Naturopathic Recovery Zymes™ Proteolytic enzymes circulate throughout the body, supporting tissues and organs by digesting proteins left over from healing processes, such as immune system action. You have an increased need for enzymes due to aging and chronic pain. It also encourages recovery from muscular exertion, which is helpful because people with chronic pain often experience muscle atrophy and muscle death. 8. Ginseng 9. Ginger and 10. Ashwagandha These adaptogens are a select group of herbs that support the body's natural ability to deal with stress. They are called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to the specific needs of the body. This may be physical, chemical or biological needs. Adaptogens, relieve pain by suppressing inflammation in the body. Stress relief also contributes to lower pain levels.

Plantain Enchilada Casserole

We are deep into self quarantining or social distancing...whatever you want to call it. I'm calling it Introverts Delight.

I'm definitely tired of cooking three meals a day. It seems that my attitude just doesn't want to eat healthy lately. It didn't help that I went straight from a cruise, that took first place in the Best Cuisine category, to cooking at home when getting fresh produce is not really a thing. I'm not risking the grocery store and the closest pickup date was three weeks out when we got back.

Besides, quarantine calories don't count right?! LOL!


This past weekend we had a virtual hangout with #tomboybff and her husband. I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Oreo Brownies and after eating just one, I had reached the end of my "Quarantine Fun Eating."

I'm ready for salads and when I feel safe getting to the grocery store again, I will start a Whole 30.

Until then, I'm eating what we have and making it as relatively healthy as possible. That said, I am eating beans which are neither Whole 30 or Paleo. However, if I'm being honest, I just don't give a damn. Beans have amazing nutrients and as long as I take some activated charcoal and drink some ginger and fennel tea with it I don't get the 'awesome' side effects caused by them.

Plantain Enchilada Casserole

Serves 6 ● Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
4 large semi-ripe plantains
1 T of avocado or coconut oil
2 cans or bags of red enchilada sauce (I like Hatch Organic or Tres Latin Foods Red Enchilada Sauce)
3 cans of black beans
1 cup divided of Mexican Cheese Blend or Vegan Shredded Cheese
1 1/2t of cumin
1t smoked paprika
1t chili powder
1/2t garlic powder
1/2t onion powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1t of chipotle chili powder or cayenne (optional)
Diced sweet onion, cilantro, and guacamole/avodaco for toppings

Supplies:
Sharp chef knife
Cutting board
Parchment paper
2 baking sheets
Large saucepot
Cooking spray
13x9 casserole dish
Process:
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Run a sharp knife to 'score' the plantains to make removing the skin easier. Do not cut through the plantain. Gently remove the skins. Slice the plantain longwise into 5 thin slices. Tip: Make sure your chef's knife is super sharp.

2. Spray or brush the slices with avocado or coconut oil, salt and pepper to taste, and spread them out on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cook in the oven for 24 - 27 minutes, switching the sheets halfway through cooking.

3. While the plantains are cooking, prepare the beans. Add the beans to the saucepot with the spices and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

4. When the plantains are done, reduce the heat in the oven to 375°.

5. Layer in order: enchilada sauce, plantains, beans, and cheese in a greased casserole dish. Alternating layers twice.

6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.

7. Top with desired toppings and eat!

We paired ours with a Cuba Libre (the fancy name for a rum and coke) and fresh mint from my new apocalypse garden which I started from grocery store scraps. More on that later if I get some free time to blog again.

My free time has beena bit divided between my 7 month old puppy and entertaining #leohusband. Ha!


40 Things I've Learned -- Advice from a Chronic Pain Warrior

One of life's milestones has knocked on the door and I have opened it willingly. I turned 40 last week and while some regard 40 with a sense of dread, I'm excited.

I don't toot my own horn often but I look damn good.

I don't look 40.

I would like to thank my mom for telling me how to use moisturizer (specifically Roc), and Botox. If you want to look like this then I say start moisturizing heavily in your 20s, morning and night, wear sunscreen religiously and start with small Botox sessions maybe once a year in your 30s.

I am grateful that I don't look 40.

I started this list when I turned 30 on Facebook. I like to add to it every few years or so...with the brilliant information I have been forced to learn, usually the hard way...LMAO.

The last time I updated this I was 36. That means I haven't updated this list since I learned I herniated my L4/L5 the summer of 2015.

I hadn't my life-altering medical procedures of lumbar myelogram or back surgeries, plural.

My life was, hindsight is 20/20, less complicated and less painful (physically, emotionally, spiritually) than it is now. Oh how much I've grown and realized my trivial issues in the past are child's play with what I have to deal with now, physically and emotionally. HA! Let's just say No. 16 is so beyond true.

40 Things I've Learned -- Advice from a Chronic Pain Warrior

1. Moisturize
2. Mom's always right
3. When you're in your 30s don't dress like you did in your 20s
4. Go to college, it's waaay better than high school.
5. Learn something new every day, every week, every month, every year
6. Laughing is better than crying, but sometimes you do need to cry
7. Make mistakes, but learn something from them
8. Don't be passive aggressive with your friends
9. See the red flags and actually heed them
10. Use your power for good, not for evil
11. 100%, 100% with your significant other and...
12. Never be too tired for your significant other
13. Protect your brain: don't do drugs
14. Go outside, get some nature
15. Failing lets you appreciate your success
16. Life is hard; kick you in the teeth hard.
17. Say you can do it, believe it in your body and soul, and you can
18. Sleep
19. Me time
20. Call your family or "family"
21. Get a hobby, your kids don't count.
22. Thank God, literally, that it didn't work out
23. When there's nothing left have faith
24. Everyone has problems, be understanding
25. Get to know your parents as an adult, as a peer
26. Don't put yourself in a situation (if you can avoid it).
27. Don't let it fester but don't beat a dead horse
28. Dry your wet head in the winter
29. Fight for the one, no regrets
30. Go to the doctor
31. Watch what you put online
32. Wash your face before bed
33. Say I love you to the people you do love as often as possible. You never know when could be your last.
34. Get back on the horse. Who cares if you fell?
35. Be okay with letting go of the negative people in your life. Frienemies aren't worth your time and frustration--no matter if you have known them forever or not.
36. It is good to be hopeful and expectant but ALWAYS have a backup plan.

My new pearls of wisdom...

37. God is not a superhero who is going to fix your problems but He will mourn with you.
38. Iyengar Yoga is one of the most powerful, beneficial, and transforming things you can do for your body.
39. Get a dog.
40. Don't throw in the towel on your life until you've exhausted every single possible option.

2020 Bullet Journal

The long, or not so long-awaited 2020 Bullet Journal Layout!

LOL.

To tell the truth, I'm not nearly where I'd usually like to be in my bullet journal...having the entire front section done along with the first month. However, I've got January done and most of the important things laid out.

So boom!

Accomplished.

I got a beautiful bright orange bujo this year as a nod to my awesome new job VIPKid. I'm going with a grayscale theme inside to complement the outside. I'm also getting back to my early roots using some Zentangles and Tangram sketches.
I'm loving it so far because I can just pick it up and Zentangle when the moment strikes or when I'm waiting at the DMV...which I might be doing right now. Good times!

I'm also not going to track every damn little thing this year. I need to focus on what's important and as it turns out not everything is as important as I think. Just the basics:

Where is my pain at?
How do I feel?
What am I grateful for?
What do I need to do today? this week?
and...when the hell is my period going to start?

There you have it. I'll migrate the rest over when I get the chance but its low priority. Now back to today's To-Do List!

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Art Therapy