Friday, January 28, 2011

Things I Love: Zella Workout Pants

Hey blog readers - I've decided I am going to start writing a "Things I Love" post now and then. I'm super picky about pretty much everything - food (though that's getting better), clothes, shoes, friends, etc. Just ask Jeff - this conversation is not uncommon in our house:

Jeff: Are/is those/that your new boots/shoes/pants/dress/recipe/etc?
Me: Yes. I don't like it/them.
Jeff: Gee, that's surprising.

Yep, I am pretty choosy. So when I find something I love, I REALLY love it, which is a victory worthy of sharing.

Today's installment of Things I Love: the athletic clothing brand Zella, exclusive of Nordstrom. I have been looking for the perfect long-length workout pants, and I've finally found them - the Zella Booty Pants! They are made of some of the softest material I've ever felt, and even though it's a stretchy, moisture-wicking material, they aren't shiny like spandex. They are long, with a slight flare at the bottom to go over my shoes. So many workout pants end up looking like high-waters on me, but not these! And best of all, they skim off at least 5 lbs from that pesky lower-body region that always needs firming. I swear, these pants will make it look like you live to do squats - they somehow lift and firm your booty while slimming your hips and thighs. Magical! I got them in black, but I am already eyeing the gray and navy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Jeff and I are so excited about our upcoming winter vacation - here we come MONTANA! Yep, the winter. It's gonna be COLD! In trying to decide where we wanted to take our big vacation of the year - which is also kinda sorta maybe our "Babymoon" (eeeek) - there were a few contenders. We considered Argentina, Vail, the Caribbean, and Montana. Lone Mountain Ranch, just outside Big Sky, Montana, was the big winner. It's a small resort without an alpine skiing mountain on the property - people come here just to cross-country ski, snowshoe, fly fish, and enjoy nature. And we plan to do all those things. We've never been cross-country skiing OR snowshoeing before, and we are excited to learn something new. If this place lives up to our expectations, we hope it will become a family vacation destination in the future - it looks beautiful in all seasons!

Here's our cabin in warmer temps:

Looking forward to seeing some bison in Yellowstone!

I think this is going to be a lot harder than it looks!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls - Hooray!

Today I posted an amazing recipe for cinnamon rolls on our cooking blog, Six Degrees of Supperation.

Check it out here and make some for yourself!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Healthy Skin Refresher

It's wintertime - not a season when you typically think about the dangers of the sun. But EVERY time you go outside, your skin is exposed to UV rays that can be harmful, even if it doesn't feel hot or sunny outside. I recently got 3 moles removed at my new dermatologist's office (see previous posts). I wasn't really worried, just anxious to hear the biopsy results, because all of these were moles my previous derm had been monitoring for months but decided not to remove. All 3 came back as dysplastic nevi, which is just a fancy way to say they are benign, atypical moles that require no further treatment at this time. But since I have had melanoma, it's important to get these atypical moles removed so we can be sure they aren't turning into something worse. Yay for good biopsy results - that was a great phone call to receive!

So, now seems like the perfect time to remind everyone how important it is to care for and protect your skin!

The #1 rule is: wear sunscreen EVERY day. So many daily face lotions contain sunscreen these days, it's easy to combine your daily moisturizing with sun protection. I personally had a really hard time finding a daily sunscreen that I like. To me, most lotions containing sunscreen seem thick, sticky, or have that distinct sunscreen smell. My dermatologist recently recommended a new daily sunscreen lotion to me, and I am really liking it so far. It's the Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 lotion - the winner of the Elle 2010 Genius Award for Skin. (I personally thought 46 is a super random SPF, but whatever). It is light, thin, and doesn't smell like you're going to the beach. It layers easily under my makeup without feeling greasy. And best of all, it's good for oily or acne-prone if heavier sunscreen lotions make you break out (like me), this one is your friend!

As a melanoma survivor, I have to be extra-careful about exposing my skin to harmful UV rays and monitoring my skin for any changes. At present, about 120,000 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are diagnosed each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The diagnosis of other skin cancers, such as basal and squamous cell, is even more common.

Since my ordeal with melanoma, I've turned into a big skin care advocate. I made sure all my friends were getting regular checks at the dermatologist, and I am pretty sure NONE of my friends or family members who previously tanned have set foot in a tanning bed since! So thanks for listening to me reiterate for the millionth time how important healthy skin is...and for goodness sake, go put on your sunscreen!

For good advice on how to check your own skin, read this article. For more in-depth discussion of moles and their potential to develop into melanoma, check this out.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

30 Before 30 Update

A couple months ago, I started my 30 Before 30 List (see a few blog posts down). Since then, I've marked a couple things off my list. Yay for making progress!

I think this update is a good "starting off the new year" blog post. Here are the things I've accomplished so far and the things I'll be working on next:

#1 - I actually went ahead and replaced #1 on my list with a new goal. The previous goal - learn to ride a road bike and maybe enter some races - just wasn't doing it for me. Not that I am ruling out ever riding a road bike, but I realized that I wasn't setting this goal for ME - I was doing it entirely for Jeff. I've never really had any particular desire to do road biking, but since Jeff is now into it, I thought I should learn so I could share in his hobbies. But...I really don't love biking (not yet anyway). I like running, and doing spinning classes, and other fitness-related I'll be sticking to those for the immediate future.

So my new #1 on the list is: Establish myself with a set of doctors I trust and feel comfortable with. I'm well on my way to completing this one. It may seem a strange goal, but I really think it's important to have doctors that you can really trust. I recently switched primary care physicians because I felt like my previous guy was always rushing through my appointments and not listening to me. Plus he was one of those people who says your full name all the time, which really creeps me out. As in: "Hey, Jillian, what can we do for you today, Jillian, how have you been feeling, Jillian?" I'm sure he's a good doctor, but no thanks. The jury is still out on whether I really like my new primary care physician or not...I've only seen her once.

I also recently (as in today) switched dermatologists. As you all probably know, I had melanoma a couple years ago and have since been a frequenter of my derm's office. He's a good guy and I am sure a wonderful doctor...after all, he did find the melanoma and likely saved my life. However, I felt he was too conservative. He liked to "watch" my moles to see if they changed rather than just biopsy them and get them off me. I also felt that he was uncomfortable, shy, and awkward doing detailed exams. I am sure this was just a professional courtesy for privacy protocols, but still. If it's going to save me from cancer, I will gladly stand nude under bright lights, jump through hoops (not nude, preferably), and generally lose all modesty. So I found a new derm, saw her for the first time today, and love her! She was very thorough, and operates under the theory that you should just cut off any suspicious moles rather than watch/wait. So I got 3 cut off today...yay! It makes me feel healthier just to have them removed, which I know is weird, but oh well.

I also have a new OBGYN who I've been seeing for over a year now, and I love her as well. I went on the search for a doctor I'd feel comfortable going through pregnancy and delivering a baby with, and she is fabulous.

#4 - Learn to cook more vegetarian dishes. My in-laws got me an awesome Christmas gift: cooking lessons at a great vegetarian restaurant (that also happens to be part of a very serene Hare Krishna temple) called Kalachandji's. Jeff and I love this place, and I am looking forward to learning some new cooking methods from them.

Here's a pic of the restaurant's beautiful courtyard. I recommend it to anyone wanting to try something new.

Photo by John Noeding Photography

#8 - Find a brand/style of jeans that really fits my body. I found a few pairs of jeans at Off 5th Ave - brands Joe's Jeans and Paige Denim - that I really love. Some are skinny jeans that I can tuck into boots, and I even got a pair of black jeans (technically jeggings, but I HATE that word)! They all fit me better than any jeans I've had in a while, though I often still have the problem that if the jeans fit in the thighs, they are too big in the waist. Alas, it's just my body type!

#14 - Finish the book I started writing about my grandparents' lives. I finished up the book after researching, writing, and editing it for almost a year (I was pretty lax about it for a while, oops)! I love how it turned out, and all my family members on my mom's side got them as gifts for Christmas. Here's a pic:

#13 & 27 - Visit a new city, and Take a cold weather vacation. I might just get to accomplish two in one. Jeff and I are planning a vacation for later this winter. We are currently tossing around the idea of going to Colorado or Montana to learn how to snowshoe and cross-country ski!