Saturday, September 23, 2017

Healthy Yet Fiery Start To Autumn

I made this delicious vegetable dish today that I wanted to share with my readers.

It has chopped kale, broccoli, zucchini, roasted sweet potatoes, onions and peppers. I sauteed everything in a pan with a few squeezes of fresh lemon (i'm kind of on a lemon kick right now), and then topped with some sunflower seeds. I also added a bit of balsamic dressing afterwards and it was really tasty!

I was ready to snap a photo when I started to hear loud bangs, followed by people screaming outside. THIS was actually what was going on about a block away. A shed caught on fire somehow and it just escalated from there. Thankfully it seems like the fire department has things under control, so i'm back in the house, safe and sound. *breathe*

Saturday fire on Balfour St.

Back to my veggie bowl...

What are your favourite veggies for this season? :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

CMHA/Arts & Cultural Alliance: Healing The Creative Soul

Bill and I share a lot of "firsts" together and I wanted to post about attending our first art class together!  It was very therapeutic and a really great way to showcase our individual artistic talents.

Our community has a lot of excellent workshops that I didn't even know about and it seems like these events are very well-attended.  They even have ones geared for specific age demographics.

A wonderful resource for mental health: Canadian Mental Health Association

Click the link to see when the next workshop takes place: Arts & Cultural Alliance of Windsor

The teacher showing us what we would be painting

Having fun before class started
All supplies were provided too!

Okay so I started off following instructions, and then somehow I felt inspired to create my own piece of work and just rolled with it. No one minded and I received a lot of compliments afterwards.

My finished painting. 
Bill is quite the artist! Beautiful work. 

We have both of these paintings hung up upstairs in the hallway. :)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

9 Year Anniversary at La Contessa Ristorante

We had the most wonderfully romantic dinner last night at a new place on 780 Erie Street East that we've never been to before called  La Contessa Ristorante.

To be honest, it was not our first choice. We tried several other restaurants, but the wait times were too long. Strolling along, we saw the sign and popped our heads into La Contessa to view the menu. The restaurant looked elegant and a perfect place for us to have a quiet celebration.

As you can see, there is a lot of choices on the menu, depending on what you're in the mood for.

The staff were very attentive, prices were reasonable, and our meals were delicious! Oh and the excellent timing of water-refills was noted and very much appreciated, as Bill was quite thirsty after an earlier gig during the day! :)

We started out with a bruschetta appetizer. So flavourful!

Bill was a bit adventurous and had the Veal Saltimbocca (sauteed veal in a white wine sauce and topped with imported prosciutto and melted mozzarella cheese) which he absolutely loved!

I was a bit more conservative and had a large mixed green salad with grilled chicken and their homemade dressing.

For dessert, the moment my ears hear "we have tiramisu" that's it. Yes, I have been doing the dairy-free regime, but I splurged and had a few bites of this amazing dessert that perfectly finished off our meal.  So far this morning, I am not having any issues.

Although this was not our first choice last night, i'm happy that we dined here. It would certainly be a place that we would go back to on another special occasion and highly recommend to others.

Make sure to "like" La Contessa Ristorante on Facebook!

*All photos were taken by me. If you wish to use any of them, please contact me for permission. It's the right thing to do. :)

La Contessa Ristorante gets 4/4 Muse's! 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

9 Year Anniversary

Today is our 9 year anniversary! <3

What can I really say that hasn't already been said?

I never really thought that I would find someone who complemented me so well. Sure we may have disagreements and may approach situations differently, but we are always growing. We make mistakes and try to learn from them. We have no secrets from each other. We laugh more than cry together. We go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Your heart is bigger than anyone I have ever met and I don't think my family could have asked for a better future son-in-law. I couldn't imagine getting through so much heartache in the last while without your cheesy humour, support and logical mind. I appreciate and value all the countless hours, energy and love you have given me without hesitation.

Thank you for welcoming me into your family. It has been amazing to cultivate relationships that I never dreamed I would have in my life.

Considering my slight obsession with Sing Street, when I heard this song, I knew it would always be ours.  <3

I love you to pieces my sweet William and here's to many more blissful years together in love!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Not fooling us: Penn and Teller perform at Caesars Windsor

We went to see Penn & Teller at Caesars Windsor. Dating a performer, Friday/weekend outings are last minute because he is usually booked for gigs.

Anyhow, we caught a cool 80's band at Cosmo's before the show. My retro heart!! <3

Then it was off to see Penn & Teller. Getting mezzanine seats worked out because a. they were cheap and b. super comfy!

No photos or videos were allowed during the performance, so this was prior
to the show when people were just getting their seats.

I'll be honest, we were both not very impressed with this show. They started out strong with a fun inflatable bit, but then it went downhill fast. The performances we saw before at Caesars were much better choreographed. This felt sloppy and rushed at times. Lots of audience participation, but that didn't change our minds.

Teller was amusing, and his skill is definitely awesome, but again, something was missing. There were too many card tricks in the performance and a few tricks seemed to lack a logical ending. Staying optimistic for a kick-ass finish, we were let down with such a weak finale called the "Love Ritual" card trick that involved every patron, but sadly didn't end up working for everyone.

Penn also felt more vibrant in the past. Sure he's touring and probably exhausted, but "fool us" into thinking you're the life of the party on stage. That's your job. I felt his energy was lack-luster, despite his excessive talking. lol Seeing his weight loss in person was even more shocking than viewing photos of him online. I realize he slimmed down for health reasons, but I gotta say I miss jovial "chunky" Penn.

Highlights though were their new password prediction, the nail gun (one lady a short distance from us was yelling out loud because I think she was so freaked out!), their version of the light/heavy trick, the human blindfold and Teller's artistic shadow routine.

Once the show was done, the line up for the meet & greet was huge! It was very strange that Penn split up from Teller because that meant people would have to wait in-line twice. I'm not sure who had that bright idea. Although Bill did want to get their latest book signed, and also show them his foot-twisting trick, it just wasn't in the cards this time!

Taking Vileda for a spin: Easy Wring Spin Mop and Bucket System Review

I received a very large package recently in the mail, and to my surprise, it was the Vileda Easy Wring Spin Mop and Bucket System! I have been wanting to try this out for a while now, so it was like Vileda had peeked into our house and knew that our floors were definitely needing some TLC. 

*Please note that I received this complimentary product, in exchange for an honest review. 

To start off, we squeezed a little bit of dish-washing soap and filled the rest of the bucket up with water.

The design of the bucket is great. It has a built-in wringer that allows for hands-free wringing and the foot petal controls the level of moisture. Oh and don't worry, there is also a splash guard, so you don't get splashed!  

So now the mop head is interesting with its triangular head design. It gets into the nooks and crannies. The telescopic handle is very handy too, whether you want to adjust the height or extend your reach to a specific area in your home. One thing, when you are adjusting the handle, make sure to give it a little twist when you are ready to use it, otherwise the position won't hold. Another bonus is that the microfibre head is perfect to throw into the washer!

The only issue was that a strand of the mop actually fell off while cleaning (as you can see towards the end of the video with Bill mopping the stairs!) We had a good laugh about it, but hopefully that will not be a regular occurrence.

We tried the mop on our laminate tile floor in the kitchen, which worked well, and we also cleaned the living room/dining room area, which has a parkay type of flooring. I always like to test a small section first before, just in case! Plus, I tend to take a regular broom to sweep up any debris, or food crumbs first, since sometimes a mop itself really won't pick everything up, no matter what material it is made from.

There were no streaks and the floor was left clean and shiny.  The Vileda mop claims it is also suitable for wood, tile, laminate and linoleum flooring.

Short little video of my fiancé, Bill, mopping up the floors! ;)

Overall, cleaning the floors was a lot easier than just using a regular mop. Why? Mainly because of the nifty foot petal that allows for hands-free wringing! This is really a great feature. So if you are in the market for something that will make your cleaning regime a little bit easier, I would recommend the Vileda Easy Wring Spin Mop and Bucket System. With the holidays coming up, it would definitely make a great gift too!

Make sure to "like" them on Facebook for offers, coupons and to learn more about all their products.

Vileda Easy Wring Spin Mop and Bucket System gets 4/5 Muse's.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Weak Core Complexities

Hey everyone. I hope you are enjoying Labour Day weekend!  After the massive flood we had here in Windsor, it's nice to see the sun shining again.

I just wanted to give an update on my first visit to Physiofit last week. I had my initial consultation which went very well.  Catherine Norcia, a Registered Physiotherapist, Pelvic Floor & Vestibular Rehabilitation Specialist really helped to explain a lot of what is going on with my body.  We talked for quite a while going through my medical history, as she wanted to get a full picture of what has been going on. Then she did a full internal assessment, as well as external, which included assessing how I walk.  

I learned quite a few things, which will be helpful in my recovery, including that I have an anterior pelvic tilt and quite a bit of a hip sway when walking. I also have a very weak core and so that affects the spine, hips, pelvic region, etc...  I knew that staying in bed for long periods of time because of pain would take a toll on my body. However, we can work on strengthening my core, which will help in all areas.

Another interesting discovery is that many people who have any kind of abdominal surgery can develop pelvic floor issues. This makes sense because this pain did correlate around the time when I had my gall bladder surgery. The muscles get weak and so if you're not aware of it, then those muscles become very inflexible and cause a lot of pain.  For me, I had so much going on physically and emotionally that my body just felt on fire.

I was given a few specific exercises to do until the next time we meet, so I have been diligently following the routine daily.

The plan is to do weekly pelvic floor physiotherapy WITH regular physiotherapy to build/strengthen my core. If I was only to do pelvic floor, it wouldn't address the other issues.  Ugh, my insurance is almost up for coverage, but I think this is definitely something that I need right now to get back on the path to recovery, and so once there is progress, I can spread out the visits more.

What do I like about Physiofit so far?

  • Cleanliness. The environment is very clean. I know to a lot of people that's not really the first thing that they look for, but considering how intimate sessions are with the internal work being done, I really appreciate the extra time they take to make sure everything is clean and sanitized.
  • Professionalism. The staff I have met so far are friendly and Catherine is so knowledgeable in her areas of study. I felt the assessment was extremely thorough compared to anything I have had prior with their bio-mechanical physiotherapy approach.
  • Engaging Communication. Ever go to an appointment and feel like you're talking to the wall? It's the most frustrating experience ever. Having someone who is aware of your limitations is awesome, as well as showing genuine compassion. It's great to have detailed explanations with verbal speech, visuals and written information. 
  • Flexibility. Extremely accommodating with scheduling sessions! 
  • Accountability. Giving me "homework" to do at home. I love this idea because it makes me accountable for healing as well.  If I don't do the work, I won't see the benefits.
  • Collaboration. I signed a form giving permission for Catherine to retrieve any medical documents from my family doctor that will better help with my treatment and provide updates. I really like this idea so everyone is in the loop.
At the end of the session, I received a goodie bag! As you can see with the photo, I was given brochures of all different services, including some muscle gel and lotion. 

All the services offered here

So that's where things are at the moment. My next session is on Tuesday, so i'll update again soon!

If you have any specific questions, you can always leave a comment or just send me a note by e-mail or Facebook.

As always, thank you for all the support!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

Awesome crowd today here in Windsor, Ontario for viewing the Solar Eclipse with Bill! Looking through the telescope was such a neat experience again.

Best part of the day though was seeing people sharing their glasses and cameras. No one was rude, everyone was just there to enjoy the eclipse. It was a great celebration of togetherness.

We also made the news! (45 second mark)

I think I got the best photo of an Eclipse today though. ;)

*license plate blurred out for privacy.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Kegel Dilemma: Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

For those of us who have chronically tight muscles, do kegels help or harm our condition? Common sense tells me that if you try and tighten an already restrictive area, it will cause more tension, but others stress that some that have tight pelvic muscles also have weak areas, in which kegels assist in strengthening the pelvic floor overall.

The pain that a lot of us with PFD have can be excruciating at times. It's like a rubber band is tied to your abdomen, hips and pelvis and it won't let go. It's still a mystery as to what causes this. Some professionals in various fields of study state sexual abuse or other traumatic stressful events can contribute because many hold onto the pain and tighten up as defense or safety mechanism, others say it's an abnormality at birth, physical trauma, and the list goes on and on. Whatever the reason(s) may be, I know that this condition is physically and mentally draining.

I have good days and bad days. We take for granted simple every day occurrences like having a normal bowel movement or just putting on pants! Until you are not able to do these things properly, it doesn't really enter your mind. I miss the days of being able to wear tights or even a bathing suit. I haven't gone swimming in years and I used to love being in the water. Anything too tight against me feels like a knife. Sometimes I catch myself staring a little too long at women who are wearing cute leggings. I'm not a creep, I swear, i'm just envious of your abilities to wear what I can't.

After going through a plethora of testing, my last MRI came back all clear and so my gastro doc said that I should try physiotherapy again because based on my symptoms, my muscles are probably not contracting properly and I need the "internal" work.  I am doing a number of other things, which I can discuss later in another blog.

I will say that finding someone who specializes in PFD here in Windsor, Ontario has been a struggle. I've scoured website after website and only found 2, one that I was previously going to but wanted to try another path and now a new place that was highly recommended called Physiofit.  I'm at a loss that if this is such a common condition, why aren't there more therapists offering the service in the area? Probably because most of us don't want to talk about it. When you have back/knee/leg pain, everyone gets it, but intimate areas, you kind of shy away from discussing. I get it, but maybe if we did talk more about this, we can educate others and reduce the number of misdiagnoses.  I know when I look up London and the surrounding areas, and even as far as Toronto, i'm floored with the number of options available for both men and women!

After having a nice conversation over Facebook messaging with Physiofit, I was told the Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation program includes the following:

"Treatments are both internal and external to completely evaluate the pelvic floor muscles as well as the surrounding joints ( pelvis, back and hip) and other muscles (gluts, IT band etc.). She also evaluates the abdominal muscles as this can lead to causing more pain and tightening of the pelvic floor muscles and transversus (abdominal muscles) if the smaller muscles are not firing properly." 

I am hopeful they can help me and get my body to an optimal level. It will take time, I know this, but i'm curious for their full assessment. A silly goal, but one that I have hoped for is to be able to touch my toes without bending my knees.  Again, another thing that most people can do without hesitation, but for me, my body says "nope, sorry Mel, not going to happen." I try to challenge my mind, but it can be stubborn as a mule.

I am certainly learning more about my body than ever before, which is a good thing. The mind/body connection is strong. I know that movement is very important. Learning to live with limitations has been very difficult, as I used to be such a different person. I also want to gain weight because throughout this ordeal over the last while, my eating patterns have been complicated. There are so many "weight loss" programs but I never ever see anything for healthy weight gain for those who are petite like me.

Again, it seems like everyone has the answers for weight loss and we empathize, but the moment someone is approached asking how they can gain weight, you get the snickers and rolled eyes. We're cast aside because we don't have problems like those who are obese, we're not "real" women anyhow. Size 0's don't matter.  I don't go out my way to ostracize or belittle you, but you can do that to me?  I love how the shaming goes. I love the hypocrisy.

Such a disgraceful meme, but with a pretty awesome response:
From my experience, very few can suggest gradual weight gain that doesn't involve drinking enormous amounts of protein shakes and eating stacks of perogies and fattening high caloric foods. So you go from one extreme to the other, feeling just as miserable or even more so, adding on other health issues that go along with being overweight! Anyhow, I digress, but that is a topic which really aggravates me to no end.

With chronic conditions, we're very hypersensitive to a lot of sensations throughout our bodies. I can feel digestive distress far more than the average person and when I have spasms and no one else can feel them, it makes me wonder, is this all in my head? I try to shake that thought because no, it's not all in my head. Yes, stress exacerbates the symptoms, but my pain is damn real and it hurts.

I know that I wouldn't have gotten this far without the amazing support of my family, fiance and his mom, as well as the genuine friends who have stuck by me that I can now only count on my fingers. They are my guides and i'm grateful for them.

Cold Play - Fix You

So that's where we are on my health journey! I truly appreciate all the support. I will update again soon.

*Note: with pdf, you can have the opposite and experience very weak muscles, especially after child-birth. I am only discussing the condition as it applies to those who have chronic tightness

Monday, August 14, 2017

Caesars Windsor Presents: Tony Orlando

I love being able to see live shows and although I am pretty eclectic with my tastes in music (I can go from Abba to Apoptygma Berzerk in a heart beat), I won't deny though that there is something so comforting and romantic about the doo-wop era and all those golden oldies.

Being a Total Rewards Member has its perks (did I mention it's FREE to join up to reap the benefits?) because one of the best parts of being a member is the concert invites! Sometimes it will be one show, and other times I get lucky and get multiple offers! I was tickled pink when I was notified about tickets for Tony Orlando! This would be my second time seeing him at Caesars Windsor (first for Bill!), and so what a great week-night date idea. I like the fact that we don't know until we get to the box office what seats we're getting, although this time I was asked about my preference for either balcony or floor seats.

Even if you've never really heard much of Tony's music, it doesn't matter because the show is full of surprises! He is such a natural story-teller and has a way to engage his audience that you immediately feel connected. The couple he brought up on stage celebrating 60 years of marriage was so beautiful and inspiring, as he sang to them, his version of "You Are So Beautiful To Me." #marriagegoals

He also brought up this burly former wrestler who was just a character in himself, but the guy was a huge fan and they were having some fun banter back in forth on stage. "I tweeted you on Twitter and you never tweeted me back!" Hahaha...hilarious.

Tony is such a genuine soul, going through some extremely difficult times in his life and coming back stronger than ever. He really cares about his entire band, showcasing each member and their abundance of talents. The show lasted approximately 2 hours, which was really impressive. He was panting and sweating, plus losing his voice a little, but carried on like a true performer.

A great night with my babe and I hope Tony comes back again because he is worth seeing time and time again!

Stay connected on Facebook: Caesars Windsor

Find Tony on Facebook: Tony Orlando