Monday, January 27, 2014

A Belated Thanksgiving Dinner

Happy Monday!  I meant to have this post publish this morning but it just didn't happen.  I spent Thur and Fri in NJ at a MS Blogger Advisory Board summit sponsored by Novartis.  I can't wait to tell you all about it but I'm still recovering from the exhaustion all the fun!  Until then I will fill you in on my weekend.
Saturday I made homemade cranberry sauce for our immediate family belated Thanksgiving dinner.  Here is the thing. . . I really don't care for cranberry sauce and never eat it on Thanksgiving.  My family eats the canned stuff and I thought maybe I would like it if it was homemade.  I was wrong.  So wrong.  My first mistake was that I put WAY too much orange zest in it (who knew how flavorful a little zest is?!) and my second mistake was. . . well I didn't really have a second mistake besides the fact that I just didn't like it.  Oh well.  It was worth a try.

My mom's turkey dinner, on the other hand, was delicious!  We all ate and ate and ate some more.  It was so good and worth the extra long wait!  Oh and the best part is we all brought containers for leftovers so I've been eating well since!

Watch out folks. . . you may just see these two adorable kids America's Got Talent one of these days!  Peyton and Ella excused themselves from the table to play with these paper cups (who needs toys).  They made these towers and were very proud to show them off.  Oh and those poses are them saying "Ta da!"

Sunday I literally slept all day recovering from my NJ trip.  Then I went to dinner at my friend's house which was really nice.  All I had to do was bring the wine and she did all the cooking.  That is a good deal to me!

I came home and watched Sean and Catherine's wedding.  They are by far my favorite couple ever from the Bachelor/Bachelorette series and they were as cute as ever.  I'm so happy for them and I think there wedding was beautiful!

It just like that it was Monday and back to work.  Ugh!  Even my extra long weekends go by way too fast.  Only 28 days until President's Day Weekend! :)





 








Friday, January 24, 2014

Five On Friday


ONE

Have you endorsed me for "Best Kept Secret" in the 3rd annual WEGO Health Activist Awards? You can do so once a day!  Go here! Last time I checked I had 52 and I would love to reach 100.  Thanks!

TWO

Have you seen these adorable "MS Walk Beads" my mom is selling to fundraise for The Bean Team?  If you have a Pandora bracelet I think it would make a great addition!  Go here for more info on how to get yours!

THREE

SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, March 23rd!  I'm planning a "Trivia Night" MS Fundraiser.  This is my 6th year raising money for MS and I'm trying to get creative with different ways to raise money.  I think this will be such a fun event.  Find your smartest friends and create a team!  More info to come.  The event will likely be 5:30 to 8:30 (so y'all can get home early enough to start your work week well rested)!

FOUR

I'm currently in New Jersey for a "Blogger Summit" for MS Bloggers.  It is being sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceutical, who makes Gilenya which is the new oral treatment I'm on for MS.  {I love Gilenya by the way and I have a post coming soon with an update about how I'm doing on it.}

I can't wait to tell you all about my time here when I return.  It is so great to connect with other MS Bloggers!

FIVE


I bought this dry shampoo the other day.  It is a new Herbal Essences product and since I like several of there other products I had high hopes for this product.  I'm a dry shampoo lover but did not like this one AT ALL!  It goes on more wet than others I've used.  It smells good but has left my hard stiff and hard to manage even after brushing it.  I will not be buying it again and likely won't even finish the bottle.  I am sticking with Suave Dry Shampoo all the way.  LOVE it! (I really don't notice much of a difference between the gold and silver bottles and have used and like both).

P.S. Helpful hint: put dry shampoo on at night before you go to bed and when you wake in the morning it will be all dried in and you won't have any issue with the white powder!









Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beads For The Bean Team




My mom is selling "MS Walk Beads" for $20 as a fundraiser for The Bean Team for the Challenge Walk.  They are adorable and fit on Pandora bracelets or other similar bracelets.  The bangle bracelet pictured above is also for sale for $60.  It comes in small (which is what I have) and large. Please excuse the fact that the bracelet above is distorted. It is the shape of my wrist so it fits snug!

If you would like to order one please let me know or email my mom directly at dennisport112@aol.com and she will ship it to you for FREE (in the USA)!

My mom gave me my bracelet and bead after I completed the Challenge Walk last year.  I love that it is a constant reminder of that huge accomplishment.  Even if you don't do the Challenge Walk you may do the "MS walk" every day of your life so the bracelet would be great for anyone!  I also love that it is subtle and doesn't scream MS - not that I'm ashamed obviously but sometimes it is nice to have a more quiet reminder!

So order yourself one, order for a friend or a family member and help The Bean Team raise some money for MS!  Win, win!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekend Recap (Body Worlds, Cook, Her and More)!

This was a pretty good weekend.  It went by way too fast but don't they all?!

When I left work on Friday I saw this beautiful sunset (I was parked on the top level of our garage so it was a great view)!

Also on Friday, I found out I was nominated for the "Best Kept Secret" in the 3rd Annual WEGO Health Activist Awards.  Please go here and endorse me.  Judges picks the winners but I would still really appreciate your support/endorsement!  Thanks!

On Saturday I went downtown for a blate to Body Worlds Vitals.  It was snowing, like REALLY snowing, and while it was pretty it was slippery!!!


I met up with Kate, Emily and Rachel for an afternoon of fun!  Of course we had to stop for a snowy photo!

This was my first time visiting a Body Worlds exhibit.  It was ok.  I think I had high expectations.  I am glad I went once but I don't think I would want/need to go again. {Above right: unhealthy lungs}
 
My favorite part of the whole exhibit was seeing healthy organs compared to unhealthy organs. On the left are "normal" lungs and on the right are the lungs of a smoker.  Gross!  I mean if that doesn't make a smoker want to quit I don't know what will!?

Top photo: liver on the left is a normal liver and liver on the right is a fatty liver from alcohol abuse.  Bottom photo: liver on the right is a liver with cirrhosis


So would you think we are really immature if we had the most fun when comparing penis size of the different cadavers?!  I can't believe I'm going to admit that.  Haha!  Hey it isn't our fault that the majority of the cadavers were male!  
 
After all of our giggling and inappropriate conversation at Body Worlds we went for a drink.  Good think we didn't drink before seeing the cadavers!  The bartender was a major jerk and I think after he offended us he realized that we didn't really like him.  Fortunately we had fun anyways!  Always fun to talking blogging with others that just "get it."  Love my blogging gals!

Saturday night I met up with one of my oldest friends, Kendall, for dinner.  We went to a new restaurant called Cook.  Kendall had actually been there 2 weeks earlier since her daughter's friend's father is the owner and she wanted to check it out.  I had received a giftcard for Christmas so I wanted to check it out too!

We had a great meal - truffle fries for an app which were so good, yummy red sangria and I got the fried chicken which was good.  The slaw was probably my favorite part of the meal but I think I got a just ok chicken breast (the woman at the table next to us had the same meal and her's looked so much better)!  It was still really good.  I would definitely recommend it.  Cool atmosphere, good service and best of all 2 hours of chatting with one of my BFFs.

On Sunday I worked (private practice) and since I always have time to kill between clients I went to see the movie "Her."  Have you seen it?  It was pretty depressing.  Good but depressing.  Joaquin Phoenix was excellent in it.  He was so emotional and believable.  It wasn't my fave of the movies I've seen recently but interesting subject matter and I can see why it was nominated.  I've now seen 5 out of the 9 "Best Picture" nominated movies for the Oscars.  Four more to go so hopefully I can see them all!

Three things that really bugged me about Joaquin's character: his moustache, how high he wore his pants and how much orange he wore.  Loved Amy Adams's character and her hair!

Oh and I may have consumed a coffee roll from DD, movie theatre popcorn and coke AND mac and cheese.  Gross!  I know!  But after a depressing movie I had to continue the unhealthy eating spree.  Don't worry.  I went to Whole Food and bought carrots, grapes and grape fruits so healthy eating tomorrow will happen!

On Sunday I also did a little shopping at Target and Barnes and Noble.  I picked up these 2 little Italy pocket guides.  Stacy and I are planning a trip for May (fingers crossed) and we plan to go to Cinque Terre and Venice.  While I like the internet for travel tips there is still something nice about having a book.  Can't wait to read these!  Any recommendations please let me know!

Oh and notice I am not talking about the Pats.  Whomp whomp.  Oh well.  Can't win 'em all!

This just may go down as one of the most random posts ever.  That is what weekends are all about though right?!  It was a fun one.

3 DAY WORK WEEK FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Thur I head to NJ for a conference (a fun one but more on that soon)!





  












Friday, January 17, 2014

Best Kept Secret


I've been nominated for the Best Kept Secret Award in the 3rd Annual WEGO Health Activist Awards!  I am SO honored and SO excited.  THANK YOU to whoever it was that nominated me.

I love that it is for the "Best Kept Secret" Award since my blog is a "small blog" and I've often wondered what I can do more people with MS (and other chronic illnesses) can find me.  Being nominated for this award is a great way to get exposure and connect with others with MS.

I love WEGO Health and you may remember I spoke on one of their health activist panels last July.

Now will you take a moment and ENDORSE ME?  It would mean so much to me and it is really easy.  Just click on the purple square that says "Endorse Jodi" and then fill out your name and email. I promise WEGO won't bug you with any emails!


For those of you on pinterest would you do me another favor?  Would you pin this image (vertical photos show up better on pinterest)?  I would REALLY appreciate it!

THANK YOU EVERYONE!  This made my week (and it hasn't been the greatest of weeks as you may know from my previous post)!  I promise to be back with more posts next week.

P.S. You can view all the nominees here.  My friend Marla is also nominated for an award (thankfully a different one so we don't have to compete)! Ha! Vote for her too!









Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Heavy Heart

I haven't really felt like blogging lately.  I'm exhausted.  All of the time.  Thanks MS fatigue.  But more significantly I have a heavy heart and a lot on my mind right now.  There has just been so much sadness in my little bubble.  So I just thought I would post about a few things that have been on my mind and ask that you all pray for these people and their families.

  • On Sunday night there was a tragic accident in my hometown.  A brother and sister just 7 and 8 years old, were killed after accidentally trapping themselves in a hope chest.  My heart breaks for their family and the entire community.  If you have a hope chest in your home PLEASE check to make sure it can be unlocked from the inside.  Many were recalled years ago and you can have the locks replaced for free.  For more information about this story go here.
  • My friend's daughter is in dance class with this 6 year old girl Kayley and she has a 3 year old little brother.  Their mother died of cancer on Nov 12th and then 2 months to the day later their father died on Jan 12th from a heart attack.  He had started this fundraising page for his children after his wife died and now he is gone too.  I really believe he couldn't died of a broken heart?  It is just so sad.  Now my heart breaks for these adorable children who will grow up without their parents. 
  •  The day after Christmas Matthew was at his cousin's house trying out their new zip line when the tree it was attached to cracked and fell on top of him.  He sustained a brain injury and doctors have said he is unlikely to ever recover from his present unconscious state.  MRI last week confirmed severe damage to all areas of his brain and brain stem.  He will need to be on life support forever.  The family is faced with a very difficult decision.  At this time they are asking everyone to pray for a miracle!  Matthew was in my friend's daughter's class last year and I spent time with them this weekend.  They tell me that Matthew is the sweetest boy and they too, along with everyone in Hanover (and all over the world for that matter) are praying for a miracle.  You can see his Caring Bridge page here.
  •  My very close friend went for a "routine" mammogram recently.  Soon after she received a call from the doctor that they wanted her to come back for a biopsy.  She had the biopsy and is now waiting for the results.  She tells me not to worry since the doctors didn't seemed worried but I just can't helped it.  I'm wishing she didn't live so far away so I could be with her while she waits.  But I can't so all I can do is pray for GOOD NEWS!  I have all my fingers and toes crossed too.  {I say routine in quotes due to the fact that she is at the age that if you have a family history of breast cancer they do recommend a mammogram.}


Sorry for the depressing post but this is what is on my mind right now.   I'm just keeping it real.  I can't blog about happy things or trivial things right now.  So I ask you to pray for these people and their families.  It just may help!

I promise to be back soon with fun stuff!  Despite all the sadness I did have a good weekend!

Thanks for reading.  Sometimes it helps just to unload it all by typing it out.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Blogger Wine Tasting at The Urban Grape


Last month The Urban Grape hosted a wine tasting for Boston Bloggers.  It was at the store in the South End but they also have a store in Chestnut Hill.  There were about 20 people there which was the prefect size for a personalized wine tasting!


How cool are these lights?  The vibe in this place is so cool.  I love it!


This place is different from any other place I've been.  The owners came up with a genius way to help people find wines they like.  All the wines have a number from 1 to 10 depending on the "body" of the wine.  They refer to this as "Progressive Shelving."  So if you like a light white wine you can go in and look at the area with the ones.  Then you can pick a wine from any country and most likely you will like it.  Pretty cool right?!


All the wines are displayed on these awesome shelves and you can't help but want one of each!  Another thing that is great about this shop is that they sell wine you and I can afford.  It isn't a snobby wine shop that you should feel intimidated to go into.  It is wine priced for "regular" people.  I love that.  Oh and you won't find Yellow Tail or Barefoot Wine here (not that I don't like those if I'm being completely honest).  Much more unique finds at Urban Grape.

The owners, TJ and Hadley, are the sweetest.  Not only are they business partners but they are married.  You have to really like your spouse to work with them right!?  They are the opposite of wine snobs.  They are laid back and fun yet super knowledgeable at the same time.  Such a great combo! 



Rachel and I both had such a nice time.  We each bought a bottle of wine (and believe it or not I still have mine. . . saving it for a special occasion)!



Urban Grape does free tastings in their stores all the time.  You can go in and taste and figure out "your number" so you'll always know what to buy!  Check out more info about the wines in the tasting machine here.

So if you are bored this winter and need something fun to do indoors head over to Urban Grape!  Go here to see more info on their free tastings at both locations.

I know I'll be heading back there next time I need to buy a unique bottle of wine or a gift!

Thanks TJ and Hadley for hosting us!

P.S.  They sell craft beer and other stuff too!  



The tasting was free but all opinions are my own!





Sunday, January 5, 2014

My MS T-Shirt Quilt

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I am IN LOVE with my new custom made MS T-Shirt Quilt!!!!!

Sometimes it is necessary to give ourselves gifts and that is just what I did this Christmas.  Well actually it was a "5 Year Anniversary" gift (as in 5 years since my MS diagnosis which was in Sept) but I actually received it closer to Christmas so it was a combined Anniversary and Christmas gift to myself!

For the past 5 years I have saved each and every shirt I have received at MS events.  I had Boston Walk shirts, Challenge Walk shirts, and custom made "The Bean Team" shirts.  I also had a Fashion Plates shirt, a MuckFest MS shirt and a MS Climb To The Top shirt.  These shirts were worn for walking, volunteering and raising money for MS.  There were a lot of them.

I decided they had been stuffed in a drawer long enough.  It was time to have them made into a beautiful quilt.  Upon mentioning this idea to a friend at work she told me her sister was a quilter.  While she does it as a "hobby" she really should be considered a professional quilter.  Her work is amazing.  I was so happy to have someone local make my quilt and it was even better that I "knew" her.

Kristin met with me and took notes of my vision.  I showed her which shirts were the most important and which ones she could chop up.  I told her I wanted a freestyle look rather than a uniform look.  I like when the pieces are different sizes - adds more character.

Kristin was so great to work with.  She emailed me pictures to update me along the way.  When it came time to choose the border fabric and the back fabric she sent me some samples.  I gave her feedback of what I liked and didn't like and we narrowed it down after several emails.  I LOVE the paisley.  It is so much more beautiful in person but it has so many colors in it that are in the quilt.  It goes perfectly.

I really wish these pictures could do this quilt justice.  It is amazing.  The work is exceptional and everyone I have shown has been so impressed.  My quilt makes quite the statement.  To me it tells a thousand stories and holds countless memories.

I am so happy to have all of these shirts in a quilt rather than in a drawer.  I know it will always be a special piece in my MS journey.  I think it sums up the last 5 years in the best way possible!

Have you ever made or hired someone to make a T-Shirt quilt?

If you are interested in hiring Kristin let me know and I will give you her contact info!  I couldn't give her any higher of a recommendation.  She is so talented and sweet!













Saturday, January 4, 2014

Snowy Boston

You may have heard that Boston got some snow.  A lot of snow actually.  Not as much as the big storm we got last February but enough to cancel school and require a lot of shoveling!  In case you didn't know I dislike snow.  A lot.  But I was getting cabin fever and decided to venture out in the freezing cold temps to take some photos while the snow still looks pretty!  Oh and did I mention that it has been in the single digits?  Yeah we are talking REALLY cold.
 
Public Garden (aka my favorite spot in Boston)



Make Way For Ducklings









Boston Common




 Frog Pond




Beacon Hill








Charles Street


Some observations from my afternoon. . .

-It felt surprisingly warm in the sun considering how cold it actually was.
-Maybe the fact that I had on several layers of clothing helped!
-I only saw 2 snowmen and they were not as good as the one I made last winter!
-I want to live in Beacon Hill.
-I love the way the snow looks blue from reflecting off the sky.
-The Public Garden pond is frozen and there were a lot of people walking on it.
-There were a lot of people out doing stuff - sledding, skating, running, walking. . .

This is highly likely to be the one and only time I venture out into the city this entire winter.  So please enjoy the overload of photos above.  If you need me the rest of the winter I will be hibernating in my bed under many blankets!

Hope you are having a great weekend!

P.S. All of these photos except for the 2 selfies are taken with my camera.  They are all unedited.  The color of the sky was actually that blue!  One of my 2014 goals is to get back to using my camera more.  I love my iPhone and will still use that too but my camera needs to come out more than it did in 2013.