Category Archives: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Life, Work, and a Health Overhaul.

So…it’s been a while.

Life (read work) has taken over for the hubs and I. When we aren’t at work, we are doing work at home, and in the few moments we have to tear our eye balls aways from glowing computer screens (maybe while sleeping or shoveling food into our mouths), we think about work. May was just really busy for us both. Oftentimes, in those moments, I become stressed about everything I’m missing–friends, family, art, a walk in a park, blogging, FUN. I get all lost in, “I’m so busy. I’m so stressed and IT WILL NEVER END!!!” But it does end. It has ended. I’m home. Enjoying a cocktail of OJ and coconut water. The hubs made a roasted beet salad and honey, sesame glazed salmon for dinner, that we ate at the table like adults. We took Elphie for a nice walk before the sky broke open. And now, I’m writing again.

How do you live in the storm of work and still see through to the clouds parting (sun shining, birds chirping, etc)?

Like, for real. How do you do it? Does anyone actually do this??

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One thing I’m trying now is an eight-week health overhaul. It started when I read a blog post about a detox cleanse that made me want to try one. However, after discussing with friends, I decided a cleanse of protein shakes for meals was not really the way to go for me. Instead a more holistic–mind, body, soul–approach. My friend Emily (of wedding and pop up photography fame) came up with a plan/set of goals for herself (super rigorous and awesome) that I, with help from my buddy-and running enthusiast-John adapted for ourselves. Below is the full list, including the goals Emily outlined for herself and how I’ve adapted it for my life and my RA:

Emily–No alcohol, Sarah–same–this one is easy. I already limit my alcohol intake due to medications I’m on and I have to say, it is actually a lot less stressful not drinking than it is to think about, “How many drinks have I had this week? Is this beer really worth one of the two drinks I can have right now?” Also, even after a late night with friends, I wake up feeling just fantastic (instead of headachy and sluggish)

Emily–60 minutes of yoga a day, Sarah–20-30 minutes of yoga a day–I do a combination of what I remember from taking yoga classes, RA specific poses/stretches I found by surfing YouTube and core work a physical therapist taught me. This has changed my morning and all I did was take the time I was spending reading email on my phone in bed first thing and use it on yoga. So much better for the soul.

Emily–40 miles of running a week, Sarah–5 miles of running/walking per week–Here is where I have been struggling, not with the task but with finding the time. But I just have to do it. Aforementioned running enthusiast and friend John helped me come up with a run/walk program to ease me into running. I walk two minutes, run 30 seconds for eight sets for a total of 20 minutes (I can do about a mile and a half in this time right now). Slowly, like every week or so, I increase the running increment and decrease the walking increment until I am running the entire time. Still working on this one…

Emily–60+ ounces of water and green tea a day, Sarah–24oz of water per day plus green tea or OJ and coconut water–I gave up caffeine two years ago but green tea is so tasty and so good for you and doesn’t really have THAT much caffeine so I’ll have it once a week or so. But the water has made a huge difference. For real. I used to be one of those people who just didn’t drink things, not throughout the day, sometimes not even at meals. Very weird. Because now that I’m drinking water all the time, I feel really good. I’m sure the yoga and all this other stuff helps too, but on a very basic level, I can tell that water helped right away.

Emily–Oil pulling 1-2 times a day, Sarah–same. See my post on oil pulling. I love it.

Emily–Fish oil 1 time a day, Sarah–multi vitamin once per day–I eat a lot of fish and wasn’t sold on the whole fish burps thing so I started a multi-v. I’m sure I need all of that stuff. Oh, I also do chewable because, despite taking pills for most of my life, I’m really terrible at it.

Emily–Significantly reduce processed foods including sugars, Sarah–significantly reduce processed foods, especially sugars–I have a sugar addiction. I will eat cookies every day, multiple times a day then come home and have move cookies. I am an actual cookie monster and it just had to stop. It’s been two weeks and I have not had a single processed sugar item. I will tell you honestly that there have been days where the cravings were like, whoa. I mean. CRAZY. GIVE ME A COOKIE NOW OR I WILL STAB YOU feelings. But I have conquered them (for now). And while I may not ban sweets for life (I mean what’s Thanksgiving without pie crust?) I feel I am well on my way to kicking the habit. And most of my other meals have come from the organic produce section (of the fabulous new Mariano’s on Lawrence). I’ve also kept up with fruit for breakfast instead of–highly processed–cereal.

Emily–1 long dog walk a day, Sarah–1 dog walk a day–The hubs and I have thoroughly enjoyed this part. We do it together at the end of the night, when the sun has almost set and we reconnect. It’s nice outside, people are out with their dogs and our neighborhood feels like a community.

So that is what is keeping me sane these days. Anyone else want to join in on our challenge?

Weekly Obsessions-May 6

Fruit Salad

I’ve been reading and hearing so many things lately about going off grains and other inflammatory foods to help arthritis that I feel I need to give it a serious try. HOWEVER. That is super hard. So I’ve decided to eliminate grains slowly–one meal at a time. I started with breakfast. Normally I eat cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, however it has been relatively easy to swap that for fresh fruit. Once a week, I make a large fruit salad of sorts and then eat it over the course of the week. This week it includes

2 organic gala apples
2 kiwis
2 bananas
1 carton organic strawberries
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I follow the rule of the peel when it comes to organic vs. not. As we all know, organic can be pricey, however, to me, it seems so worth it not to ingest harmful chemicals. So, the rule of peel is buy organic fruit and veggies when you will eat the peel (apples, strawberries) and don’t splurge for organic when you remove it (kiwi, banana). The switch to this delicious fruit breakfast has actually been very easy. I feel refreshed and light, yet satisfied every morning. If you need a little more protein in your morning, like on an especially busy day or after a particularly light dinner the night before, you could always add a hard-boiled egg (on its own. not in the salad. hopefully that is obvious).

In fact, hard-boiled eggs are  another obsession this week. I’ve been hard-boiling a bunch at once and then keeping them in their carton in the fridge. I just pull one out when I need a snack or add them to a lunch salad for some protein. They are fantastic, easy and delicious.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

And my final obsession this week (surprise, surprise more food) is Honey Pie from Bang Bang. It is sweet and creamy with touches of lavender and salt. And their crust is always amazing. I’m savoring really really small pieces as it is also VERY sweet.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Weekly Obsessions-April 22

I had an obsession-free week last week, or rather it was all work. But I’m back! And this week I am waaaaaaay into…

1. Comfy Summer Shoes

Like these Naturalizers that make me feel like a 23 year old in both activity and appearance:

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And these Grasshoppers.

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For real, it’s like walking a gel mat. My friend with psoriatic arthritis turned me on to this brand and, girl, THANK YOU. Chicago street fests, here I come.

2.  This Pendleton Notebook 

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I spied a set of three of these adorable journals months ago at Foursided, one of my favorite stores in Chicago and also the location of my new gig (more on this later). When I purchased them back in January, they were added to my “Empty Notebooks” shelf, but I took this one out this week because my personal life was feeling a bit disorganized. At work, I fill up notebook upon notebook with, well, notes and lists. They keep me on task at work, so I figured I should do the same at home. Between the adoption, listing the condo for sale and hosting a whole slew of people, things are getting pretty crazy round here and I need a beautiful place to keep it all running smoothly. #heritageblanketpatternskeepmesane

3. Tuesdays

Tuesdays are my new Saturdays and I’m loving it. With my new gig as a Friday-Sunday shop girl at Foursided (remember how I love this store so much that I went to it on one of my first YoF excursions?) and my regular gig at the theater Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Tuesdays have become my day. I sleep in. I make a delicious breakfast and/or lunch. I organize my life in my Pendleton notebook. Yes, I occasionally succumb to doing neglected work for the theater. And sometimes I run house errands or go to the doctor, but mostly, I enjoy the sun streaming in through the kitchen windows, blog or write and catch up with the world. Tuesdays are my moment of zen in an over-scheduled, over-worked, kinda crazy week.

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What do ya’ll do to unwind on your day/days off? Provided you have them, right?

What’s with that anyway? Sometimes on a Tuesday, I’m like, “Why do we all work so hard and so much when sitting here in the sun, thinking or writing or talking to someone else is so satisfying?” Does all the work allow me to appreciate this moment more? Or does the fleeting nature of this moment make me resent how hard I work?

But them I’m like, “But I help make art happen. And I bring theater to kids who might not have it otherwise. And I cut out tons of little rain drops to make a cute window display for April.” And that’s cool.

Year of Fun is Back!

Hi Hi Hi! It has been a looooong 6 months since the Year of Fun ended on September 24, 2013. I think I needed that time to recover. Seriously. It was such an undertaking, but now Year of Fun is back complete with a necessary makeover! Check her out.

People kept asking me if Year of Fun would continue beyond the original year. My answer was always “Yes.” I was just never sure what that looked like. Finally, I figured it out. It’s a–and I’m not sure how I feel about this term–“lifestyle blog.” Really, that just means I’m going to keep blogging about FUN and how it fits into my life. That will most likely take the shape of new home ownership, adoption, stuff I like, travel and staying active with RA. Over these long winter months, I’ve been working a TON. The hubs and I bought a house! Future location here: Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAnd our home study was officially approved! We’ve been spending as much time as possible with this little lady:photo-3

And these young men:

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And, of course, I’ve been plotting this return to the interwebs. As always, let me know if you have any fun things you think I should try. Otherwise, I’ll hope you’ll come back for more in the coming days/weeks (not day. There will not be posts every day).

Year of Fun is on Facebook and Instagram (@sarahmslight) You can even check out our online adoption profile on the header at the top of this page.

Day 365: Wow

Here we are. Day 365. I’m getting it in just under the wire. What a good, relaxing day I’ve had.

I started out doing some work from home, looking out at the alley view I wrote about on Day 3. Then I took a three mile walk (Day 235) with Elphie (Day 18)! We went to sit by the lake (Day 21) for a minute or two before heading back home (Day 93). Then I may have done a little online shopping (Day 28), reading (Day 112) and adoption paperwork (Day 348) before the hubs (Day 175) came home from work. Then we got ready and went out for a little celebration at Lady Gregory’s (Day 27) with friends (Day 172).

I added all these post links in to show that in one day, I have done at least 11 things that I consider fun. (And this doesn’t even include all of the Instagraming that happened tonight). As I continue to reflect on the year, I realize that this is one of the best things to come out of it–both appreciating all the good, and yes fun, in things I already do and going out of my way to ensure each day includes something fun. It has been an amazing year of highs and lows (mostly highs) and I cannot wait to see how this blog, these activities, and the support of amazing people continue to impact my life.

It was suggested to me this evening that I change the name of the blog to “Life of Fun.” That’s a good idea because that is how I intend to live. I hope, at the very least, I have made some people smile or laugh. I hope some have seen the best in their lives. I hope that maybe a few who also suffer from some kind of disease have found comfort in our shared experience. And maybe just a couple of people have found inspiration here. If not, then at least I helped myself by becoming proactive about my struggles.

Thank you thank you to everyone who reads this. Every comment, text, Facebook post or like. Every follow. It has meant something to me. Thank you. To my friends who tonight shared with me their favorite posts from throughout the year–I can’t believe you all remember posts that far back! Thank you. To far away friends who have been just as supportive as local ones. Thank you. A special thank you to to Emily who has been such vocal advocate of my continuing on this journey. Thank you. To my family for their unyielding love and open encouragement. Thank you. A special thank you to my mom for printing every post and putting it in a binder for my grandmother to read since she does not have a computer. Thank you. To the hubs, who has not minded when I put anything and everything on the internet, who has cared for me in my worst time and who has constantly encouraged me and reminded what doing a Year of Fun is all about. Thank you.

My gosh. Now I’m getting sad. The Year is over, but the blog and fun continues. Here are some pics from throughout the day and dinner with celebratory people!

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Also, the hubs made this amazing poster with the text from the “What is a Year of Fun?” post and pictures from special moments throughout the year. It has found a home in our hallway. I love it! 20130925-000839.jpg

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