That Next Cigarette Can Cost You a Leg

Lung Cancer. High Blood Pressure. Addiction. Asthma. Still Birth. This is what most people talk about when discussing the health effects of smoking.

It’s not often they tell you that you can lose a leg. But it’s a risk we need to talk about.

Smoking cigarettes can result in your arteries being blocked.

Poor circulation can result in less oxygen getting to your tissues.

Without proper oxygen, your tissues can slowly die, resulting in gangrene.

What happens next? You can lose a toe, a leg or another part of your body.

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Having low circulation is extremely painful physically and emotionally.

Recall that painful sensation when your leg fell asleep and it’s just starting to regain feeling– that horrible pain many associate with a million needles prickling your skin. Multiple that by ten. Now imagine that pain never going away. Each step feeling like you are stepping on shattered glass with a bare foot. Or a thousand small knives stabbing you.

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Once you start to develop gangrene it’s even more painful. The pain never stops. No position makes you feel better. No over-the-counter pain killer will make sleeping easier. Some doctors say that once your vascular disease reaches a certain point, even the strongest prescription medication won’t lessen the miserable pain.

With gangrene, parts of your body decompose. It smells like it too. Showers don’t help. Changing the dressing covering your dying flesh is painful, but only helps with the smell for a few minutes, hours if you’re lucky. Smoking constricts blood vessels to the point of strangulation. Your body can’t breath, and if left untreated, a day will quickly arrive when you won’t breath either.

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What’s next is an amputation. That’s if you’re lucky enough to have your cardiologist approve the anesthesia required for the surgery. If you have clogged arteries due to smoking, chances are you have heart issues as well. Chances are you won’t get approval for the surgery and you will need to resort to “making the patient as comfortable as possible” as you wait for your dead flesh to fall off on its own.

Please don’t smoke.

Easy Ham & Egg Sandwich with Pepper Jack Cheese

The other day, I made a super quick and easy breakfast that tasted great and kept everyone full for hours.

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Ham and Egg Sandwich with Pepper Jack Cheese (2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • Three slices of Virginia Honey Ham
  • Quarter to Half (to your taste) stick of Butter
  • Three Large Eggs
  • Two slices of Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Two slices of Rye Bread
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Sprinkle of Paprika
  • Sprinkle of Ground Black Pepper

Steps:

  1. Cut the ham into small pieces and put on a cold pan
  2. Slice up to a quarter stick of butter and put pieces around the pan
  3. Turn the pan on at medium heat
  4. Toast two slices of bread and put each slice on a separate plate
  5. (Optional) Spread some butter on each slice of bread
  6. Mix the ham on the pan
  7. Put one slice of cheese on each slice of bread
  8. Add the salt, paprika and pepper to the ham
  9. Break the eggs open directly over the pan and add the contents to the ham, throwing the shells away (gardening tip: you can add the shells to your compost if you have one)
  10. Gently mix everything on the pan just so the ham is entirely covered by eggs
  11. Put a lid on the pan
  12. Slice up some of your favorite fruit and put on each plate. I chose grapes and an orange!
  13. When bubbles start to form in the pan, take the lid off and use a spatula to split the contents in half. Gently flip each half over. Leave uncovered. Turn the burner off.
  14. In 30-60 seconds remove eggs from the pan and put over the cheese on each slice of bread
  15. Enjoy with a cup of your favorite tea or glass of milk!

Do Long Distance Relationships Make Sense?

Now that I am finally married to my partner of nearly four years, I can honestly answer the question…

DO LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS MAKE SENSE?

Relationships are always hard. They require compromise, understanding, patience, dedication and real, honest love. When you add separation due to physical distance to the mix, it only gets harder.

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Just a few decades ago, long distance couples had to send letters or postcards to each other as their primary means of communication. Imagine waiting a month, or more, to hear from the person you love. I can’t imagine the patience that would require. I hated dealing with the seven hour time distance when it came to calling my significant other on the phone or Skype.

If I had do it again though– I would.

The Huffington Post published a post a couple years ago about the benefits of being in a long distance relationship. In it, the author Grace Buchele says that being in a long distance relationship actually strengthened her relationship. People laughed at her, and people laughed at me too when I said that.

Being separated by distance makes you rely on non-physical means of communication. You know when your boyfriend doesn’t text you back for an hour because he’s at the gym or running an errand? Well imagine how you’d feel if he was in another country. Imagine not being able to see him for months.

Every word you exchange by text or in conversation matters so much more in a long distance relationship. If you write something rude out of frustration or a bad day, it’s a lot harder to apologize or make it up to your significant other when he/she lives far away from you.

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In a long distance relationship, you learn how to better communicate. There is no place for immature games in this type of relationship. You have to say what you want, need, think and feel in the most straightforward and thoughtful way possible. Your partner can’t read your body language over the phone or emails. If you are ever uncomfortable about something– you need to speak up! Throw your pride out the window and be honest.

The one great thing about a long distance relationship is that you both learn how to communicate with each other. Some couples are together for decades and have issues communicating. That needs to get resolved once you get separated by distance…or your relationship won’t last.

Watch the video below for some tips on effective communication.

Another great thing is that you actually get to know each other. So many relationships these days are purely physical. Or even worse– when in person, one person is constantly on his/her phone and not paying attention. Conversations on the phone or Skype tend to lead to getting to know more about your partner’s past, family, goals and hobbies.

So many people I know are frustrated with the dating scene in the States. I hear complaints about dating being too casual, people not knowing how to communicate or people simply not taking dating seriously.

Long distance relationships make sense when both partners take each other seriously, are willing to communicate and stay faithful to each other. Finding true love is hard. Dating in person or over a long distance is also hard. So when you find someone you love, fight for it.

The results are beautiful.

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I’m Terrified of Birds but I Love Them

There’s something about birds that terrifies me. It started when I was a kid. We read an excerpt from Daphne du Maurier’s “The Birds” in school and that same week I caught a few of the worst minutes of Alfred Hitchcock’s film when I went to see what my dad was watching on tv.

How terrifying can the story really be? Read for yourself:

“As he jumped the stile he heard the whir of wings. A black-backed gull dived down at him from the sky, missed, swerved in flight, and rose to dive again. In a moment it was joined by others, six, seven, a dozen, black-backed and herring mixed. Nat dropped his hoe. The hoe was useless. Covering his head with his arms, he ran toward the cottage. They kept coming at him from the air, silent save for the beating wings. The terrible, fluttering wings. He could feel the blood on his hands, his wrists, his neck. Each stab of a swooping beak tore his flesh. If only he could keep them from his eyes. Nothing else mattered. He must keep them from his eyes. They had not learned yet how to cling to a shoulder, how to rip clothing, how to dive in mass upon the head, upon the body. But with each dive, with each attack, they became bolder. And they had no thought for themselves. When they dived low and missed, they crashed, bruised and broken, on the ground. As Nat ran he stumbled, kicking their spent bodies in front of him.”
-Daphne du Maurier

Growing up, we had a variety of pets at home– dogs, cats, fish, lizard, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and even birds. We must have had at least a dozen parakeets throughout my childhood. I was friends with of our first two parakeets, named Romeo and Juliet. It’s when my younger sister got her favorite parakeet named Cleo that my life officially changed forever. My sister knew I had a small discomfort with birds that I was working on. Unfortunately that did not stop her from letting Cleo out of the cage whenever I was in the room. It was as if Cleo could sense my fear too, because she’d always fly toward me! I had to hide under tables and literally run away from her through the entire house at times.

I really do feel like birds can feel my fear. I’ve had to cross the street to avoid flocks of pigeons in the city. I’ll occasionally try to cough loudly in an attempt to discreetly scare birds on the street away from me without people realizing I’m too scared to share the sidewalk with a bird.

I’m not the only one. Lucille Ball, one of my favorite actresses ever, had a fear of birds. Rumor has it that she refused to stay anywhere with birds incorporated into the decor. According to Teen.com, One Direction’s Niall Horan has ornithophobia because a pigeon attacked him while using the bathroom. Scarlett Johansson is afraid of birds too. According to Page Six, Johansson says it runs in her family.

Former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe had to deal with birds on her season, and I felt her pain as I watched!

Still, with my fear of birds, I love them! I love any clothing or decorations with birds. I find them to be beautiful. My sister created a graphic art dedication to pigeons a few years ago (click here to check it out) and while I pretended to not like it at the time, I secretly loved it!

While out buying some fabric for an upcoming project, I found myself adding prints with birds to my cart. My mom asked me what I planned to do with it. I don’t know yet, but I’m excited to see what the finished product will look like!

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I don’t understand my irrational love for bird fashion, but I will continue to enjoy them as long as they don’t come to life one day like Chuckie.

Delicious Breakfast Fruit Bowl with Flax and Chia Seeds

Today I introduced my husband to flax and chia seeds. To his surprise, he actually liked the breakfast fruit bowl I made each of us on this sunny winter morning. He doesn’t like grapes or blackberries much– so I snuck those in too!

The entire bowl is just under 270 calories and kept us full and energized for several hours.

Here’s the simple and quick recipe:

  • Banana – 3/4 of a whole banana
  • Blackberries – 1/4 cup
  • Black Seedless Grapes – 1/2 cup
  • Golden Delicious Apple – 1/2 an apple
  • Chia Seeds – 1.5 teaspoons
  • Flax Seeds – 2 teaspoons
  • Lemon Juice – 2 teaspoons

Tip : Cut the apple in small cubes and toss in lemon juice before adding into the bowl. The lemon juice prevents the apple from browning.

  1. Put apple pieces and grapes into a bowl
  2. Slice the banana and add on top of the apple and grapes
  3. Add the blackberries
  4. Sprinkle Chia and Flax seeds over the fruit
  5. Enjoy with great company!

My husband doesn’t drink milk. Seeing as chia seeds are a good source of calcium, it’s a great addition to fruit in the morning or shakes after a workout. Chia seeds also have a lot of potassium and antioxidants. Potassium is important for muscle strength, metabolism, blood pressure, as well as heart and kidney health. Since it helps with stress, chia is a perfect addition to any meal before I make my husband go shopping with me!

Flaxseed is great for stabilizing blood sugar and could help lower cholesterol. There’s nothing worse than craving sweets or an unhealthy snack a couple hours after breakfast!