What’s the best thing about being an adult? Dessert First!

Yes, you all know it, being able to have the choice of eating dessert first is one of the best perks to being an adult. And you know one of the best desserts to eat first? Girl Scout Cookies! Combine these two things and the most wonderful chefs in Louisville and you have my kind of heaven, Girl Scouts of Kentuckana’s Desserts First.

I have attended this event over the years and always come away with a smile on my face and a belly full of deliciousness. This year all my dreams have come true and I was asked to be a judge. I did hesitate, just a little because I have never judged anything like this before and even gave them names of others that would be way better at this than me, but they still wanted me so here I am, an official Dessert First judge for 2015.

So what is Desserts First? It is a benefit for the Girl Scouts of Kentuckian, an organization that I love and does wonderful things for girls (and women). For the last 9 years this event has been going on and raising some needed funds for the council. This year’s event is encouraging the chef t to explore STEM with the  theme being, Technology of Cooking. How cool is that? I am super excited to see what the chefs come up with.

Not sure if you have picked up on my excitement about this event or not, but we are T-5 days away and I keep checking the weather forecast making sure mother nature will not be raining, snowing, sleeting, icing or anything else on my little tasting party.

So who is going to join me and a few other super cool people for this event? You can find out more info here.

Featured Image -- 679 2013-01-24 17.58.04

I also just found out that you can get BOGO (Buy One Get One) tickets to this event by visiting this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/girl-scouts-of-kentuckiana-desserts-first-2015-tickets-14946780222

I will be live instagraming and twittering from the event, follow me @ChristineInLou

As many of you know I am a co-leader of the #besttroopever, along with @ashleeats and we are in this together. That adds a little icing on my cake so be able to do this event with a co-leader and friend as well as being able to give back to such a wonderful organization.

Desserts First Graphic for Social Media

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Writers Workshop- A must

In October I started to take a writers workshop from a talented local writer that wanted to provide a fun learning environment to all skills levels. It was 8 weeks long and I can say it was AMAZING. I learned things that a normal classroom could not teach me. I learned spelling, grammar and structure matter but not until after you have written your shitty first draft. You learn that you have a voice and what is important is to get your story out. Fiction or non, we all have a story and sometimes we just need to get it on paper.

Not only did it help me to get my stories out, but I also met a group of wonderful people and got to learn about them though their writing. We now hold a special bond that is hard to obtain in the busy world. We all stopped to listen, understand and relate. We laughed, we cried, we supported.

The reason for this post? If you are in the Louisville area and want a great educational value you should check out this workshop. Angela (our leader) has created more workshops, due to popularity. I have already signed myself up for the memoir writing class that starts in January. I am counting down the days until it starts and have already blocked off my calendar. You can check out more at the website http://www.feettothefirewriters.com/ or go straight to the registration page https://www.eventbrite.com/e/feet-to-the-fire-writers-workshop-tickets-14558409595.

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My Story

I posted on FB and Instagram yesterday a picture of me reading at an open mic night and it got a lot of attention. If you are interested in reading the story that I wrote and read it is posted below. I am very proud of it, but also know it needs some work. I hope to only improve on it and my writing skills. I took at the wonderful writing workshop over the last two months that really helped me to develop as a writer. You can find out more information about it here:  http://www.feettothefirewriters.com/message

5 Senses

It is amazing, to me, how often people talk about all 5 senses and needing them to accomplish things. Do you remember playing “would you rather game” as a kid? You were asked would you rather be blind or deaf? I always picked deaf. To this day I cannot image a world where I could not see the beauty that it has to offer. Part of this answer might have been based on the fact that I knew what it was like not to have all of my hearing, as I had gone through 3 ear surgeries by the age of 8. But what about the other senses? We have touch, taste and smell, two of which are linked- taste and smell. What if you were to lose one of these senses?

At the wonderful age of 33 I learned what it was like not to have a sense of smell and in turn the sense of taste. Let me tell you it SUCKS. There is no other way to really say it, it SUCKS. Imagine not being able to smell anything; flowers, coffee brewing in the morning, your own body odor, the dog shit you stepped in, or again your own BO. I cannot say exactly when I lost my sense of smell, but it was like I blinked and it was gone. I thought, at first, that is was temporary. Like my allergies were just really bad and I needed some meds. This was my thought process for way longer than it should have been, but denial is always best, right?

After the reality that my smell was not coming back anytime soon set in, I realized I was screwed. I was sick, and not in the way a regular doctor’s visit could fix. I was a 33 year old unemployed gal with no health insurance, despite my best efforts, that was visibly sick. Getting sick after every meal, stairs were my enemy, sleep was not happening, and my overall mind set was going downhill very fast. I remember talking to a childhood friend of mine who is a doctor and asking if she could help. At first she was hesitant (I don’t blame her for this) but when she saw me in person she took one look and said, how can I help? She told me in the 25+ years of knowing me, I had never looked so sick.

I also remember the time I had a complete breakdown while trying to pack for a Girl Scout camping trip. I was in my parent’s basement, trying my best to get the things I needed without asking for help, and my mother coming to help. Me snapping at her (for I am sure no good reason) and then I lost it. Full on sobbing breakdown because I felt helpless and frustrated. Mom looked at me and said “who are you? I want my Chrissy back, lets fix this”.

So what did I do? I waited (and waited) for the Affordable Care Act to take effect. And on February 1st, 2014 I got health insurance and an appointment with a very highly recommended ENT. I also visited my regular doctor to find out if I could do anything in the mean time. At that visit, she told me I had bronchitis and had for a while, so I got a shot that helped a little but not nearly enough. I also ended up coughing so hard one evening that I thought I’d broken a rib. I had to go to immediate care where I found out, that due to coughing so hard, my chest muscle had contracted and did not want to relax. Yeah, I know, strange.

Being sick for a long time does things to you. It puts thoughts into your head. I found myself thinking I was a lazy person. Was this really who I was, someone that sat on the couch all day and did nothing but play on the internet, watch trash TV, live in yoga pants and slowly gain weight? Was I fooling everyone with an act that I was always happy, healthy and active? I truly started to believe that was me- fat, lazy, and someone who needed to adjust their style of living to someone that needed disability insurance.

Finally the day of my appointment was here. I showed up with my shiny new Medicaid card in hand, ready to get some answers. So what did I find out? Nothing good, nothing good at all. My sinuses were 99.9% blocked and I have nasal polyps, something that has no cure. What the FUCK? No, really, what the FUCK does all this mean and what can be done about it. The good news was I was in the right place with the right doctor. The plan? Surgery and meds. Story of my life, it seems. I was basically going to have my sinus passages sucked clean and widened as much as possible. More thoughts went running though my snot filled head. Would this really fix the problem and if so, for how long? Would I be able to ride my bike again? Workout ever? Smell, oh and maybe breathe like a normal person again? The doctors answer? More than likely yes, but maybe not. What? Maybe? Maybe? Guess that was better than nothing, right? So I weighed my choices- breathing or not- I went for the breathing/surgery option and hoped it would work.

In March of 2014 I had surgery 1- yep #1. When I came out of the anesthesia, mom was waiting for me, with the good/bad news. Good news, the doc got most everything and could reduce the size of the polyps. The bad news- I have super small sinus cavities and he could only do so much with making them bigger and he could not get to my frontal sinus lobe because of a malfunction with the equipment so I would need another surgery. Yep, that is right, another surgery.

The doc said to heal for about a month, see what changed and then we would schedule the next surgery. In the month between the two I was opened to a whole new world. I could smell again, I could walk up stairs and life was going back to normal. April rolled around and surgery #2 to clean it all out. Success was right around the corner- that is what I was betting on anyway. Stay positive right?

#2 was a success and I was still breathing. My follow up appointments were all going well- except for one thing, I was told I had to be on Prednisone the rest of my life. The horrible, awful life saving wonderful drug that makes you a crazy person. So I traded lazy, non-smelling, non-tasting and barley breathing Christine for a crazy, breathing, active one. Not a bad trade, right?

It has been 6 months post-surgery and I would love to sit here and tell you that it worked 100% but that is not the truth. I have great days, good days and shitty days. Days where I can ride 20 miles and not look back and days where I get short of breath looking at my bike. Most of the time I smell and taste, but there are still the ones that I wake up and smell nothing.

So this is my life now, I still stay positive about it, most of the time. I am making life changes and trying to figure it all out. For the most part I take it one day at a time and live life the best I can.

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Fire Starters

My Girl Scout troop is going camping in a few weeks and I noticed our supply of fire starters the girls made about 4 years ago was running low. My girls love a good fire and you never know when you will need a little  bit of help starting it so I got to work on making some new ones. Usually I have the girls help with these sorts of projects, but we run out of days before the trip and they are still a bit young to be working with super hot wax. Maybe next time we need them, they can help.

I think I spent a total of $4 on this project and plenty of supplies left over to make more. When I realized I needed to make the fire started, I started looking for candles at yard sales. I hit the jackpot and got a grocery bag full of good ones for $2. I had also saved a cardboard egg carton to use and started collecting my dryer lint. Dryer lint is a great aid in fire starting. Next I hit up the Dollar Store for a cheep pan and ladle spending a total of $2.

I put the pan on the stove, set the heat to about medium and added the candles. While I waited for them to melt I added the dryer lint to each little egg cup in the carton. Just enough to cover the bottom, you really do not need a lot. I also set the egg carton on an old cookie sheet I had, just in case the hot wax leaked out the bottom. Once the wax was good a melted I ladled it into the egg carton- the wax is super hot at the time, so be really careful. Turns out the cookie sheet was a good idea as some wax did seep out the bottom. Once I was all done filling the egg carton, I took it outside, still on the cookie sheet to dry and harden fully. I then tore them apart and sealed them in a container. I now have 12 awesome fire starters that should last a little while. See pics below of my process.

HOW TO MAKE A Fire starter

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Life back to normal, or normal for me

Another NuLu Fest is in the books (for the most part) and my life might calm down for a bit. If you know me, you know my life never really calms down, and that is okay with me. I go go go most of the time. But who knows, maybe this fall, I will stop and enjoy the pumpkins a little more before all the stilly cold white stuff buries us all under.

I love fall. The beautiful colors, the smell of outdoor fire pits, Halloween, pumpkins, soup, and boots. It is hard to pinpoint my favorite thing about fall. Pumpkins make me smile and I have the most fabulous boot collection. I also love my sweaters and back porch sitting around my fire pit. If I had my way fall would be a year round thing. Maybe the BF will build me a fall room? Is that a thing? I will have to go and search Pinterest.
What are your favorite things about fall?

Cutest pumpkin in the patch

Nephews first pumpkin picking in 2012

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Shin Splints

I have them and I am not happy about it. I about cried my eyes out on my run the other day and not do not want to run today because I don’t want to risk the pain. I am in the process of looking for new shoes and hope that helps. I am also reading up on how to prevent them but any advise is welcome.

Again I am not a running, I am a girl who loves to ride her bike and needs to get back in shape to race it. Running is part of that process. What do you do for shin splints?

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Nephew Loves his Bike

Yesterday I was hanging out with my family for brunch and the best thing happened, my 2 yo nephew asked me to go ride bikes with him. It went something like “Chrissy outside bike”, I of course said yes. His reaction? A really loud yeah. Love that kid. As a side note the BF an I gave him the bike for his birthday. Best gift ever? I think so.

Here is a little video of us on bikes his mother was smart enough to get.

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Girl Scout Racing Rally

It that time of year for me- Girl Scout time. This will be my 5th year of being a Girl Scout leader to the #besttroopever and I am so excited to be hanging out with the girls again as well as the other leaders that I get to learn from and plan really cool stuff. Speaking of really cool stuff that we are planning. Check out our event in November: The Girl Scout Racing Rally. It is like a Pinewood Derby (okay it IS one but we can’t call it that) but ours will be 1000x time better because again we are #thebesttroopever.

If you know of a Girl Scout troop in the Kentuckiana area let them know about this super cool event.

Questions? Let me know.

Girl Scout Racing Rally Flier

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NuLu Fest is my life (right now)

If you are friends with me on Facebook you are probably sick of me talking about NuLu Fest already and all’s I can tell you is it is only going to be more of the same. NuLu Fest is very near and dear to me. I am the event manager this year but beyond that, it was the first major event that I was hand to help plan 6 years ago. A person challenged me to take it on, telling me that I was just the person could do it and make it great. I have been involved in 5 out of 6 years and can say with full confidence it is one hell of a great festival.  I talk to people about it all the time and most of them say to me (without even knowing that it is something I help plan) it is their favorite festival. Ah the things that make me happy.

This years festival is on September 27, we will have lots of beer, bourbon, wine, food and fun. Bring the kids for the most amazing Louisville Family Fun Kids Corner and some great live music. I’ll be there all day so come say HI!


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Things on my run

Today I ran, something new for me (for the most part). I am not a runner I am a cyclist but I have learned that I need the cardio that comes from running to help me improve on my cycling. So today I ran and learned a few things on my run.

1) Calories matter, I did not have enough to late me

2) My legs were not awesome (probably from the 20 mine ride yesterday).

3) Water matters

4) Music is important

5) I have a really pretty neighborhood

6) Hills suck on a run and a ride

7) I get faster the longer I go

8) The shoes you wear make a BIG difference. Time for some new running shoes for me.

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