Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seriously...a diet?!

Okay, don't freak out...I'm not going on a "diet," per se. But now having a history of kidney stones, I have been put on a low-oxalate diet for pretty much the rest of my life. Just fabulous.

So, this is all pretty boring stuff. And to be honest, I didn't give it much thought until this morning when I felt a small nagging pain in my lower back. I know it's not another stone, but it did get me thinking; so I gave my lovely do-not-eat list a good once-over. I consume so much of these products on a daily basis...not good. I guess it's time to officially go on a "diet."

Here is a link to high-oxalate foods I'm supposed to avoid. Green beans, draft beer, strawberries, and cereals are all on the list. Awesome. Oh yeah, so is tofu...there goes my plan of becoming a vegetarian.

Oxalates are compounds found in many foods and may be one source that leads to the formation of kidney stones. According to, kidney stones develop when there is not enough fluid in urine to dilute mineral and acid buildup. Oxalic acid, the byproduct of ingested oxalates, is one factor that can become out of balance. High oxalate levels in urine and plasma may work to create calcium
oxalate, the substance that forms some kidney stones. Neutralizing the oxalate levels in your diet may help prevent problems with your kidneys and improve overall health.

My instructions:
  1. Limit your intake of high-oxalate foods. Cut down on green leafy vegetables, chocolate and caffeine drinks, such as soda or tea (not including green tea...thank goodness!). Brewed coffee is OK, but stay away from instant coffee mixes. Other foods to limit include cereals (dammit!), bran, nuts, black pepper, and soy sauce.

  2. Increase your intake of low-oxalate foods. Include lean meats (turkey meat...thank you!), green tea (morning ritual...thank you!), bananas, cherries, mushrooms, cauliflower, cabbage, and most berry fruits...but I have to stay away from strawberries. :(. Shifting your diet away from foods that contain high levels of oxalates is the best way to eliminate the acid from your body.

  3. Drink plenty of water each day (I'm a runner...duh). One factor in the formation of kidney stones is low levels of liquid in urine. Drinking water will counteract that problem and neutralize oxalate. Monitor your water intake to ensure you drink at least eight glasses or more of water daily.

  4. Add 2 cups of calcium-fortified orange juice to breakfast (luckily I already drink a glass of low acid juice every morning). Citrus juices contain citric acid and may neutralize some products in urine, including oxalic acid. Science has yet to prove this, but lists citrus juice as one alternative medicine for treatment of kidney stones.
For more information on this oh-so-interesting topic, visit

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wedding second career!

Too bad I wasn't working for Mahaffey during my wedding would have ROCKED!! It still did, in my opinion, so that's all that matters. :)

I have the incredible honor of being my sister Laura's Matron of Honor, and I've had so much fun being involved in all her planning. From dress shopping to venue hunting to photographer selecting to shower planning to designing save the dates, invitations, and other stationary...this time we've spent bonding, having fun, and just being silly with each other has been more rewarding than I ever could have imagined.

After Cary's sweet proposal!

We've gotten so close over the past few years, and I feel so blessed to call this beautiful woman my sister - just as I feel for our younger sis, Ashley. :) Family is truly the most precious gift from God, and I'm so grateful to finally understand the true meaning of that gift.

Her wedding is taking place at the absolutely stunning Heartwood Hall this June...and I'll be sure to post a few more blogs before and after the big day.

Check out her and Cary's FABULOUS wedding website:

Congratulations, sweet Sis!! I can't wait to stand beside you on your most special day! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bad Company Corrupts Good Character

Just a quickie post today...

This is a favorite verse of mine, and one that rings true more so now than ever. I like to consider myself a positive person, and I take pride in trying to find the good in everything. However, it's been very hard as of late, so I decided to post this as a reminder to remove myself from negative situations and people who try to put you there.

Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."
1 Corinthians 15:33

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Marathon Training: 20 miles...or not

So...Saturday was scheduled to be my longest run to-date: 20 miles.

I started out feeling good, though I had to deal with colder than normal temps and a slightly nagging knee pain. Oh yeah, and I was going to be running all 20 totally alone. I haven't run with music in over three years, so I didn't want to mess with my routine this far in. So off I went...

About six miles in, my left knee started screaming at me. Awesome. It's always been my right knee and/or hip giving me issues, while the left side never justified so much as a thought. I started walking for a few minutes to see if that helped, then tried to run a mile or two. Not so much. I pushed through the pain, knowing how stupid that was (side note: after the 2007 St. Jude Half Marathon, I had to take 8 months off from running due to completely screwing up my knee and IT band) and made it through 12 miles. Granted the last six were mostly a brisk walk, but I still marked it down as a solid 12.

After basically crawling up my driveway in pain, I completely broke down. About 1,000 thoughts ran through my did I get here again? Why did I even sign up for the marathon? Can I really do this? I'm so not enjoying running right now...wait, what did I just say?! Ugh, I hate this!

Then it hit me. I did this to myself!! I got so wrapped up in the amazing "runner's high" that many of us runners experience, and that's all I did. No cross training mixed in, if I stretched at all it was nowhere near enough, and my mindset was totally off.

That was it...that was the day I decided to start singing a different tune. I immediately called OrthoMemphis and set up an appointment for physical therapy. The one good thing about meeting your extremely high insurance deductible? Everything else for the year is FREE!! :) I also started reading Marathoning the Hansons' Way, which follows the less-is-more plan (booya 20-miler!). We'll see how it goes!

Wish me luck...more to come on my training and PT experience!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fabulous Las Vegas with some fabulous co-workers!

What a wonderful job I have! Not only was I able to travel to fabulous Las Vegas for an exciting conference for our industry, but I was finally on a trip with some of my FAVORITE co-workers!

I arrived late Sunday afternoon and headed straight to my resort: the stunning Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas! Luckily the majority of the conference took place here, otherwise I probably would have been stuck somewhere like the Luxor (sorry, work peeps). My room wasn't ready upon check-in, so I decided to pick up all of our conference materials. The front desk then called to let me know it would be at least another 2 hours before I got into my room, so I made my way down the strip to the fabulous Fashion Show Mall...what's a trip to Vegas without shopping?! I did minimal damage, at least in my opinion (Brent begs to differ, I'm sure), ate a wonderful sushi lunch at hot spot Ra, and headed back to the hotel.

View from my terrace!

That night, I met up with my friends and co-workers, Cherie and Clint, who had been attending a different conference all day. We watched the spectacular Sirens of TI show in front of Treasure Island, then headed inside for a delicious meal at Isla Mexican Kitchen. If you've never been, it is a MUST. Their margaritas and guacamole selection are to die for!! After that, we waddled our way back to Cosmo for a few drinks at the exquisite Chandelier Bar. It was just after 11pm when I turned in...though it was after 1am my time!

Chandelier Bar at Cosmo

Monday kicked off with a run down the Las Vegas Strip. This is always a favorite to-do while in Vegas. Not only for the exercise, but for the excellent people-watching. If you go early enough (before 8am), you get the pleasure of seeing at least a dozen women doing their walk-of-shame back to a hotel, car, or wherever. It's quite awesome. Around 10am, I started manning our promo booth. That afternoon, a consultant and friend of mine and I had lunch at Blue Ribbon Sushi...the food was just okay, but the service was excellent! I would plan on going back, however, the prices were somewhat ridiculous. The rest of the afternoon was spent promoting our booth...

The whole premise of this conference was for Mahaffey to move into more of a marketing partner role vs. being an average vendor. In order to do that, I came up with an idea to host a video booth, where attendees and exhibitors could come and film a 1-2 minute video promoting their business and telling viewers what strategies they learned and were excited to bring back and implement within their own business. Mahaffey's name is attached to each video, which we called a Mahaffey EventCast (on a Mahaffey-branded YouTube channel), and our name was the talk of the tradeshow floor!

Monday night, the ladies attended the Event Solutions Spotlight Awards, which we were named a finalist for Rental Company of the Year. Though we didn't walk away with the top prize, we were happy for a rental partner of ours. The event itself was mediocre at best...we paid something like $150 per person and didn't even get so much as a light hors d'oeuvres selection!? We made up for it, though, with good company and a trip to the Cheesecake Factory!

Cherie, me, and Angela

Tuesday was a great day, kicked off with another nice run down the strip! It was a long day at the tradeshow, filming company after company, hearing what makes them stand out and their top takeaways from the conference. Mahaffey's Catersource Video Booth a great success!

As soon as the show ended, my super fun co-workers invited me to join them on "The Roller Coaster" at New York New York, which luckily happened to be directly in between both of our hotels. If you haven't ridden this coaster, it is a MUST do! SOOO much fun!

We loved it!!

After that, we all got ready and headed over to Lavo at the Palazzo...another Vegas to-do! I have eaten here twice before, though none of my friends had. Once again, it did not disappoint! Everything from the calamari to the flatbread pizza to the salmon to the incredible wine selection and more is just heavenly! Once we finished our amazing meal, the five of us (Cherie, Clint, Angela, Josh, and myself) made our way over by limo (the said cheaper mode of transportation) to MGM Grand, where we attended KA by Cirque du Soleil. Amazing doesn't even begin to describe this show! It was hands down the most acrobatic, entertaining show I've ever seen. What a treat to go to something so fun with such fun people! The night quickly faded into a blur...but what an exciting blur it was!! ;)

Love me some Angela! :)

The Mahaffey crew! :)


Wednesday was another long conference day...especially after only three hours sleep (so worth it, though!). A big thank you goes out to my friend coffee. Most of the group headed back to Memphis that afternoon, with the exception of Angela and myself. Once I wrapped up our booth and even filmed a marketing promo (more info on that to come soon!), I met up with Angela at Caesar's Palace for more shopping. Once again, I claim only minimal damage to my bank account. :) That night, we ordered some scrumptious room service and turned in early. It was back to Memphis on Thursday!

I sure do love Vegas, but it's always nice to return home. And this time, I was coming home with a new found respect and admiration for both my amazing co-workers and my job, which allows for incredible opportunities like this!