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Food and Beauty Y’all

Donna and MelanieHello stranger. Well, you aren’t the stranger in this situation, but I totally am. That whole family/work/blogging balance thing? Yeah, well I’m doing ok in two of those areas and not so great in the other. Can you guess which one I’m failing at?

But here I am today, so let’s chat. Shall we?

This past weekend I escaped to Texas to visit my Dad and Donna. I haven’t seen them in over a year and it was high time that I got my tushie out there for a visit.

Conference season starts up in just a couple of weeks and it’s going to be a hectic few months coming up. So a trip to visit my family before the cyclone of conference season made good sense for my mental health.

It was an amazing weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with both of them, but you’ll only get to see Donna. Somehow my poor Father got left out of the photos. I’m not sure how that happened. I mean look at this…

BuddyI got a picture of their new puppy Buddy but didn’t get a picture of my own Dad. So ridiculous. But do you know what that means? I have to fly back out in a few months and get a picture with him. It’s the only right thing to do.

TacosBesides going to Texas to enjoy some family time, I also go there to basically inhale all food that I come across. Seriously, I throw calorie counting out the window when I go to Texas. What’s the point? Especially if you love Tex-Mex like I do. If I had to choose only one cuisine for the rest of my life, that would be it.

ChilaquilesYou can’t get food like this in Boston. Trust me, I’ve tried. Tex-Mex is best in Texas. So I ate my share plus yours in avocados, tortillas, pulled pork, shrimp tacos and just about anything else that had cilantro in it. I have no regrets.

chocolate signAnd if that wasn’t caloric enough, guess what else we did? We went on a chocolate tour of Dallas. You know that expression “everything is bigger in Texas”? Well, the same is true for chocolate tours…

Wine on TourWhen your chocolate tour starts with wine and champagne, you know you’ve chosen the right tour. A pretty perfect pairing if you ask me.

BakeryI thought the tour would be a bite here and a bite there, but that’s not how it turned out. Our first stop at a quaint little bakery had us chowing down on full sized chocolate croissants.

I was kind of worried that if our tour continued at that level of sampling that I wouldn’t be able to fit through the bus door by the end of the day.

Chocolate PurseThe rest of the stops were more reasonable in sample size, but still incredibly decadent. And some of the products were downright lovely. How sweet is this chocolate purse?

Chocolate HeelsAnd if that wasn’t cute enough, how about a pair of chocolate heels? The only heels guaranteed not to hurt your feet or give you blisters.

Chocolate CameraBut my favorite was this chocolate camera. So precious. I didn’t buy it because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to break that thing apart. It was too pretty.

Melanie Post Spa DayWhenever I visit Texas, I always get a facial with Donna. Here I am all cleansed and buffed, looking highly relaxed. It might have been the chocolate coma causing the relaxation part. But who cares? I felt like a million bucks.

That’s about all that’s new and exciting here. Other than my trip to Dallas, it’s been work, work, work. Which I still love, by the way. I guess that’s a good sign, right?

She Cracks Me Up

Smart WaterThis sort of looks like a “Peek In My Cart” post, doesn’t it? But this post isn’t about some crazy great deal I found at the store.

Nope, this cart full of Smart Water is a purchase to make up for a really dumb decision.

Do you remember that treadmill desk I purchased a couple of months ago? The one I said I could walk on all day long and not feel like I really did a workout? Well, let me tell you, I worked myself out. All the way to the emergency room.

You see, once I started using my treadmill desk, I kind of didn’t stop. From morning until the kids came home from school, that’s where I was. On the treadmill. Walking and working the day away. And let me tell you, I felt great. I was walking at a really slow pace continuously for hours while pounding out a ton of work.

I felt like Wonder Woman.

Or at least I did until a month ago when I woke up and couldn’t walk. No exaggeration. I could not get out of bed and walk. Every muscle from my lower back to the bottom of my right foot felt like it was locked into place. Completely seized.

Every time I tried to take a step it felt like daggers were being dragged up and down my legs. So off to the emergency room I went. I had no idea what was wrong. Maybe something coming back to haunt me from the car accident? That was my only logical guess.

But as it turned out, the culprit was walking too many miles on the treadmill. I guess going from 25 miles one week to 50 miles the next really made my body angry. That and dehydration. Who knew that two cups of coffee, a glass of water and two glasses of wine a day didn’t count as enough fluid intake. Sure felt like enough to me.

It’s funny how your body can have a different opinion than your mind. Because my body said enough of that crap lady, I quit.

It took two weeks of some serious drugs to calm my body down. That and a ton of water. Did you know that drinking water helps keep your muscles from going into spasm? Apparently wine does not offer that same benefit. Hence, the cart full of Smart Water per the doctor’s orders.

Once we got the pain under control and the muscles somewhat cooperating again, the doctor suggested I see the hospital affiliated chiropractor.

And at that suggestion, I was indignant. A chiropractor? That’s not even a real doctor, is it? Isn’t that dangerous? All I knew about chiropractors was that they were questionable. So many of my friends had conflicting opinions on whether or not chiropractors were effective or not. Some said they were miracle workers while others said they were quacks. Who was I to believe?

Well, let me tell you, when you are in enough back pain and the pain meds aren’t entirely cutting it, you’ll try anything once. Off to the chiropractor I went with much trepidation.

I was so nervous over that first visit. Surely she was going to crack my spine in half. Isn’t that what chiropractors do? And wouldn’t that hurt like hell? And when my chiropractor walked into the room to greet me, I really had my doubts. Here she was, this tiny little thing and she was going to crack my back? Good luck with that, I thought.

But as it turned out, there was no cracking involved whatsoever that first visit. Matter of fact, there would be no cracking (really, “adjusting”) until my eighth visit. Instead she manipulated my joints and muscles using her fingers. Pressing on nerves I didn’t know existed until she found them.

And boy did I see stars when she found what she was looking for. It’s amazing how pressing on one nerve can make you feel that same nerve travel the entire length of your leg right down to your toes. It was quite the education in human anatomy. Not entirely a comfortable lesson, I might add.

Those first visits were spent trying to get my muscles to play nice with the nerves and joints again. It took several visits, but by God that woman had me walking again without me wanting to cry. Sure, I still had some muscle/nerve issues that needed to be worked out because apparently I screwed up every muscle from my bum down to my ankle, but after every visit with the chiropractor I got better and better.

And as I mentioned earlier, it wasn’t until the eighth visit that she “cracked” me. I’m not sure why I was so afraid of that whole idea. I mean, I crack my own back regularly without even trying. But when the chiropractor did it, she did it in such a gentle way that it felt natural.

She started with my neck and worked her way down my spine and by the time she was done I felt almost normal again. Sure, it didn’t sound awesome hearing my body snap, crackle and pop, but I definitely felt more aligned. Or at least in better working order.

I’ve been seeing the chiropractor three times a week for a month now and I have to tell you, I’m not sure I’d be walking as well as I am if it wasn’t for that woman.  We still have a ways to go because I really did a number on my body, but visit by visit and week by week she is making my muscles, nerves and joints work again. And for that I am entirely grateful.

I am obviously not a doctor. And I’m not here to give you medical advice. But I did want to share my experience with you because I’m sure I’m not the only one who has doubts about chiropractors. And for my situation, it’s really helping.

So, I’m curious to hear if you’ve had any experiences with chiropractors? Was it helpful for you like it has been for me? Do you go on a regular basis or just when you feel like your body isn’t cooperating? Does your chiropractor do adjustments or does he/she use joint/muscle manipulation? I’d love to hear your experiences!