I’ve always loved eating out. I have such fond memories devouring meatballs and spaghetti off the children’s menu at east coast diners. As I grew older, my family celebrated honorable report cards, choir concerts, dance recitals and mini-milestones at what I thought were fine-dining establishments: Mandarin Yen or Shakey’s Pizza. Even in high school, after football games, we congregated at Davanni’s, Carbonni’s, Perkins or my all-time favorite, Taco Bell. Whatever happy (often made up) non-traditional holiday we celebrated was at a restaurant. Truth be told, my mom was a fine cook, we just enjoyed the hassle free, family or friend focused meal. My mother also cooked healthy dinners, so dining out included gorging on cheesy pizzas, fried rice dishes and creamy pastas. I know better now that eating out doesn’t mean I have to let go of all inhibitions and start “my diet tomorrow.” While it’s tempting to overdo it, I’ve learned a few tips to keep my diet clean while enjoying a night out for travel, on business or just for fun.
I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in the Fall of 2013. The news was shocking and sobering, especially considering I knew very few people who thrived with it. Scared beyond comprehension, filled with sleepless nights and worries dancing through my head, I thought I knew what that diagnosis meant. At the same time, publicity ramped up for Disney’s “Frozen,” but I didn’t pay attention. The movie opened Thanksgiving weekend and after the holidays, the world knew it was not only a box office hit, but the key to a young girl’s heart. I didn’t realize, it would be to mine, as well.
As the world was singing “Do you Want to Build a Snowman, ” I was anxiously awaiting my first set of scans after being diagnosed. My mind was filled with wildly ranging thoughts:
Was this the calm before the storm? Would the results show tremendous growth and I would only have a few months or years left?
If so, would my child really know me? Should we tell him or not?
Will my new treatments debilitate me? Will I feel like myself? Will I be myself?
I love bright lights and shimmery glitter. I love finding reasons to celebrate. And I love to be LOVED, which is why I absolutely cherish the holiday season. Beyond the parties, presents and dressed up people, what truly makes the holiday season special is the positivity that radiates. People come together to celebrate the season and enjoy each other. For all those celebrations and gift-giving events, we’re back with our fourth edition of the Pretty Wellness Healthy Holiday Gift Guide. Truly thoughtful gifts warm the hearts of both the giver and receiver. This is why I love sharing my favorite holiday gift ideas that promote wellness.
I’ve had cancer for over a decade. While there has been many roller coasters along the way, the first few weeks after a diagnosis were the most stressful and mentally draining. Through my cancer journey, like my business career, having role models and mentors were critical. I had many people look out for me and so I believe in doing the same. While I never wanted to be “Caryn with Cancer,” if my stories and learnings can help someone else find a little ease with this disease, then I want to share them all. When it comes to the initial diagnosis, unfortunately you can’t bury your head in the sand for long. You have to make several decisions in a short amount of time. Below are some tips that worked for me when it came to handling those first few weeks.
I used to be addicted to soda pop. As early as junior high, I saved my babysitting money to buy Diet Orange Sunkist. Fast-forward, this habit continued well into adulthood. At my former job, I ran into meetings double fisted with two Diet Dr. Peppers. I thought I needed the caffeine to replenish my energy and the sweet taste to satisfy my cravings. However, once I dived into researching all the detriments of a diet filled with chemicals in packaged foods and drinks, I quit soda immediately. I still missed the taste, though, so looked for alternatives. I tried to rationalize why buying fun, fizzy and hip drinks were right for me. Though when it came down to it, spring water provided the highest number of benefits including detoxification, hydration and skin beautification without any of the toxic “natural flavors.” So, to make it taste good, I started infusing different fruits and vegetables with my water. I love it so much that I recommended it as a substitute for sugary drinks when I appeared on The Dr. Oz Show.
In many areas of life, I believe we will all look and feel better if we eat more veggies…especially for our kids. While growing tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and carrots truly drives home the message to eat more vegetables…we always start out small and take baby steps. So, to celebrate spring and Earth Day we set out to create our own easy indoor herb garden. I’m lucky to have a creative friend that loves to rally around wellness activities. Together with her kids and my son, we made shopping and planting our own herb garden a fun, family activity.