Posted in Uncategorized

Coffee Alternatives

I’ve recently tried to cut out coffee after 1pm (ok, 2pm). I honestly don’t have a ton of issues with sleep, but I do know that I drink a ton of caffeine, so in the name of health and better habits I’ve recently tried out some better alternatives! Here are my thoughts:

Breakaway Coldbrew Matcha – (25mg caffeine per serving) This is so interesting because it’s cold brew and I’m always on team iced! I got this as a gift and I was not used to seeing cold brew matcha, I thought it was unique! Matcha is known to help stabilize blood sugar levels, so it’s a great choice for diabetics (or really anyone!). To get the full benefits, it’s best not to drink with milk (see their FAQ page); however, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative this is definitely a good one to try. I don’t mind the taste, though I do sweeten it with some honey!

Amazing Grass Green Superfood Effervescent Greens – (85mg caffeine per serving) Ok. I’m going to be totally transparent on this one, these do not taste good. If you are a baby about stuff tasting “healthy”, please scroll past. However, I really love these! I have purchased these a few times. No idea how I came across them but they are convenient to drop into water bottles. I definitely get a noticeable boost of energy with these and I like the way they make me feel. No jittery feeling. Also a plus for anything that has a serving of greens in it. Two thumbs up!

Liquid IV Energy Multiplier – (100mg caffeine per serving) I’m sure you’ve likely seen this brand all over Instragam. Truthfully, this was an impulse Costco buy that did not disappoint! The ginger-lemon flavor is actually quite good! I kept a few of these in my purse and at work for a quick and convenient alternative to afternoon coffee. Definitely will purchase again!

What are your afternoon pick-me-up faves?

Posted in Beauty, clean beauty

How Do I Choose…

If you have followed me for any length of time, you know I am a fan of Beautycounter of course. Naturally a makeup and skincare junkie I truly did love and use the products first, then thought dangit, why can’t I build a business too? So slowly but surely I have done that. Don’t let anyone tell you selling skincare and makeup is silly! The market for clean beauty is literally exploding! Beautycounter has really capitalized on a movement of not only clean ingredients but full transparency in sourcing and production etc. They really do set the standards high for clean beauty. Some months this Beautycounter business has brought me as much as my part-time job does working 29 hours a week, that’s pretty good in my book!

So let’s break down the cleansers Beautycounter offers and I’ll give you my two cents on each!

Countercontrol – This cleanser is one of my go-to’s right now, especially as the months start to heat up and my garage workouts get a little sweaty! It’s deep cleaning, foaming, gentle, not overdrying, and exfoliating. Honestly a little goes a long way so the tube lasts a long time. I really need one to live in my shower and one on my counter, it’s definitely a regular in my routine these days!

Countermatch – Countermatch is the longtime favorite in our lineup! It’s balancing and hydrating, soaks in quickly, and is brightening. I guarantee if you regularly use this line you will see your skin tone balance out and brighten. I used this line exclusively myself for the better part of last year and it’s so great! If your skin is combo/normal or on the dry side, this is a great line! It’s luxurious and will really leave your skin soft.

Countertime – This is our newest line for aging skin. Formulated with a safer alternative to retinol, bakuchiol. This cleanser is oil-based as opposed to our other cleansers, and it helps to maintain the integrity of the skin’s moisture barrier. My best tip is to really rub it into the skin and then use a damp washcloth to wipe it all off. Double cleansing can also help you achieve that clean feeling if you’re not used to oil-based cleansers!

Speaking of Double Cleansing…

…don’t count it out! Especially once you’ve established a full skincare routine! There are benefits, especially done at night!

The benefit of that double cleanse!

However you slice it, I do believe we’ve got a cleanser that is just right for YOU my friend! Let me give you a sample or loan you a whole regime kit if you’re local!

Posted in Cancer, colorectal cancer, rectal cancer

So is this…colon cancer or rectal cancer?

Gosh, I still so vividly remember sitting in my surgeon’s office at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I had already been diagnosed at my local hospital and had traveled to a larger center to get a second opinion. My initial staging showed that the tumor had grown through the rectal wall and jutted into my posterior vaginal wall. It was also detected in my lymph nodes. My first meeting with my surgeon entailed a very invasive physical examination and extensive conversations that included a lot of drawings. I wish I still had them!

After we had been in that meeting for quite some time, I asked, “So, is this colon cancer or rectal cancer?” I honestly did not know. The drawings got confusing. She replied, “The tumor is not located in your colon, it’s located in your rectum.” Hmmm. Not the answer I was hoping for. I guess none of this was the answer I was hoping for.

Colorectal Rectal Cancer Awareness

Since my diagnosis exactly 809 days ago, I’ve made a commitment that I’m not going to let the shame and embarrassment stop me from advocating for other young people. My name is Catherine and I am a colorectal rectal cancer survivor!

What’s the big deal you may ask? Well, actually, the cancers are in fact different.

In a nutshell, rectal cancers can sometimes be more difficult to treat because of the small nature of the area. Also, fun fact, your rectum does not have this protective layer your colon does (the serosa) so it’s easier for the tumor to break through and spread…just like it did in my body.

No matter how you slice it, colorectal cancer is on the rise as a whole. The treatments and procedures for them do differ slightly though.

Additionally, just the stigma of rectal cancer altogether. Who wants to talk about their bathroom issues? I get it, I do. It could just save your life though. I cannot stress enough that while I did realize something was going on, I also was floored to be diagnosed at stage 3C because I was still functioning well. I was living my life, working out, taking care of my kids. All with this monster growing inside of me.

Treatment options for colon and rectal cancer differ also. It’s common that rectal cancer surgery will be last. This is called neoadjuvant therapy! The chemotherapy and radiation aim to shrink the tumor to make surgery in such a delicate area easier. There are even watch and wait options that patients do now and avoid surgery altogether! This isn’t an option for more advanced rectal cancers typically but how great for some patients to avoid surgery altogether!

They are even continuing to research differences between cancers in the left side of the colon versus the right. It’s pretty amazing to think of the headway they’ve made in even the last decade with colorectal cancers.

Remember that colorectal cancer is preventable with regular screenings (if you are 45 or older) and paying attention to your body! I will not die of embarrassment! I don’t want you to either!

Posted in Cancer, colorectal cancer, Favorites, rectal cancer

Gifts for a Cancer Patient

On more than one occasion I’ve been asked for a recommendation on what to get a cancer patient. Someone’s mom, dad, brother, friend, teacher, aunt, cousin has been diagnosed with something that has just flipped their world upside down. I’ve also been on the receiving end of many thoughtful gifts during my own cancer journey. Without further ado here is my list of things I just generally love, was gifted during treatment or wished I was gifted during treatment!

Cute loungewear set – No way around it. A cancer diagnosis likely comes with having a lot of time to sit around while in the infusion chair or getting extra fuilds after IV chemo. A cute set in their favorite color is sure to make them smile. I received several pajama sets and sweats that are so comfy!

Manta Sleepwear Mask – oy vey! If you are going to get them anything I will highly suggest this mask! It is oh-so-comfy with little love pockets for your eyes and it filters out every last ounce of light. A must for the hospital stays. I wish I would’ve had one during my stay!! (I did have lots of earplugs on hand, hey, add that in with the mask!)

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen – My sister introduced me to this book and honestly, my sister and her chef husband are the main reason I ever ate anything out of it! It’s full of so much great information! Recipes are stuff you can make ahead and freeze for when you are on chemo weeks and just can’t stomach eating. I remember specifically eating leek soup and carrot soup. The mineral bone broth recipe is quite extensive but so very healing. Delivering a batch of mineral bone broth + a copy of the cookbook will be sure to lift their spirits. So very thoughtful!

No Cure for Being Human – While we are on the book front, this is another great one. Written by a stage IV cancer patient, Kate attempts to answer the question how do we move forward with a life we did not choose? Hard stuff. Important stuff. She is brilliant in everything she writes!

Worry Dolls – I was gifted some of these from a good friend and I thought it was so sweet. Honestly, I had never heard of the tradition before. According to legend, Guatemalan children tell their worries to the Worry Dolls, placing them under their pillow when they go to bed at night. By morning the dolls have gifted them with the wisdom and knowledge to eliminate their worries. The story of the worry doll is a local Mayan legend. It’s a unique gift, an unexpected treat sure to make them smile.

Ohyouresotough – This shop has the cutest funny cards and gifts for cancer patients. Seriously. Go check her out. She is funny and brilliant and support small bussinesses!

Additional ideas to consider: gift card for acupuncture (often helps with side effects of chemotherapy), starting a meal train (be sure to ask about any dietary restrictions, preferences etc.), a pretty journal with a pen, or what about a random snail mail letter letting them know you are thinking of them? I cannot make this up that a friends father clipped out comic strips for me and mailed them to me every week. Religiously. I never forgot it. I still have them.

If you click on any of the links above, I am going to receive a tiny commission. YOU, most of the time, will receive an offer, so it’s a win-win! The products I talk about on this platform are the ones I truly love!