Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oro di Oliva in Wauwatosa

Last Saturday, I stopped by Oro di Oliva in Wauwatosa to check it out and use my Groupon. We finally got to the point where we finished our olive oil and I was itching to use this Groupon up.


The store is located in downtown Wauwatosa, on Harwood Avenue. It's clean and simple inside. They also have a location in Whitefish Bay.

After taste testing about five different flavors, I picked out a Jalapeno flavored oil. It was $20 for the largest size of 350 mL and my Groupon was worth exactly $20, so that worked out perfectly. I really preferred that flavor to others and I knew Craig would enjoy it too. I figured it would be great on quinoa and pasta dishes this summer.

The description of the Jalapeno from their website: Whole Jalepenos are pressed with olives to make this unique oil. Wonderful peppery taste that adds a nice glow to food without leaving your mouth burning.

Oro de Oliva

I tested out some of their flavored balsamic vinegars. There were so many delicious flavors to choose from! One of my favorites was the pomegranate balsamic. It was so yummy! I am sure I will be back to get that sometime.

If you are looking for a nice gift for someone or a gift certificate, I definitely would recommend Oro di Oliva.

This post is my opinion and I was in no way compensated by Oro di Oliva.

Friday, April 27, 2012

IBD update

I went to the gastroenterologist yesterday and while that doesn't seem like something I would enjoy, I fully did (well because I wasn't having the dreaded colonoscopy). You see, my doctor is seriously one of the best I have been to in my life. No wonder he made Milwaukee magazine for being one of the top gastro docs in the area last year.


I guess this post is more of a journaling one vs. one that I expect readers to get too interested in, unless you have IBD of course.

Last year, I finally decided to change doctors. I got a recommendation from a co-worker for a great gastroenterologist who tended to explain in detail everything that was going on with the body. That is exactly what I needed and wanted out of my relationship with my doctor. Especially when it comes to something so important as my digestive health.


If you haven't found a doctor that you like yet, no matter what your health issues, switch!

My new doctor is consistent with his visits. He wasn't just pleasant and detailed with his explanations on the first visit. He actually seems to care and shows me that by answering my questions and spending time talking to me vs. rushing me out the door.

For example, I asked him the long term effects of being on omeprazole. It is one med I am constantly reading negative things about. He laid out those negative side effects, including being more susceptible to food borne illnesses and talked about the studies he has read about osteoporosis and those who were on omeprazole. He suggested that I try to go to an acid blocker that is more mild and take notes on how I feel. So, I'll be picking up some Zantac and Pepcid AC soon.


I hate to compare, but my old doctor and the hospital they were affiliated with had the doc sitting at a desk typing away about my condition. They rarely discussed much about changing my meds and didn't really answer my questions the way I had hoped they would.

My new doc explained what he saw during my colonoscopy and EGD last fall compared to what had been seen in the past. This visual learner appreciated seeing where I had issues in the past and where there were absolutely none this time!


Here is what my doctor recommended for my condition. As he said I probably already do most of these things, which is true:

-get lots of fiber as that will keep me from getting "backed up"
-try to control my stress, as I may have IBS that is prompting cramping and bowel troubles when I get stressed
-drink lots of fluids. 6-8 servings a day, which includes things like coffee, milk, lemonade, etc.
-eat a heart healthy diet
-experiment with Miralax. In the past, I was told not to. Now, I have been doing that on my own and realizing I don't need a full cap full of the dose every day. I can figure out what works best for me.
-lower my dosage of Asacol. I used to be on 6 pills but because my disease wasn't active last fall, I went down to 4 and now I can go down to 3. Doc says I may not have to be on a med like Asacol for the rest of my life!

Once I got to work, I bought my lunch. I was hoping for the salad bar, but alas it wasn't available. I had a black bean burger on whole wheat instead with a side of fruit. Gotta get that fiber in!


I started the book Living with Crohn's and Colitis on my ride into work and found this passage, which made me think of my doc visit that morning.

So glad I found a doctor that teaches!


I am loving that book and I recommend it highly!

This morning, I got my fluids in by trying a new coffee. I received a sample of Gevalia coffee and it smelled so yummy! It tasted great too, but would have been better if I had some half and half to add to it.


Hope this post was helpful for anyone with IBD or anyone who has a loved one with it! If you live in the Milwaukee area and are looking for a good gastroenterologist, e-mail me and I'll get you my doctor's information!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ups and downs

"Looking down" was the subject for today's here I am looking down while waiting to transfer to a second bus. Normally, I don't take two buses, I just take a freeway flyer and that is so much easier and relaxing! But, I have to take a different route when I am required to leave early for an appointment, which is what I had today.


Looking down again at my hungry cat. The problem is that it was about 4 hours before dinner time for Karma and when I come home at any time during the day, he scurries to the food bowl. Oh cats. They're so crazy and fun.


I drove the country roads to my husband's work this afternoon. We had a our health risk assessments and they went well. Both of us had very healthy numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. I did admit that I don't like my job and need a new one, because I do get too stressed over my current one. Not good to have the flight or fight response surging through my body. I know this and I am grateful that meditation helps me calm down.


Then it was off to my parents' house for dinner! Mom made a brownie that had blondies on the bottom. Yummy!


She also purchased this drink today and I was happy to try it. It was delicious! Didn't taste like soy at all.


I LOVE this picture I captured of my dad. He was trying almond milk for the first time and didn't love it. He said, "it tastes like nothing." I disagree because I love almond milk, especially in smoothies.


We had BLTs for dinner! I haven't had a BLT in ages and both Craig and I love them. I just don't love cooking the bacon because it grosses me out.


I hit the gym after and also got good news on my phone when I returned home. One of my goals for 2011 was to take a photography class, but I never got around to it. This spring, I tried to get into an Advanced Digital Photography class and it was full, so I put myself on the waiting list. I heard that I got into the class, so I look forward to refreshing my photography skills and learning manual mode again in a couple of weeks. I haven't taken a photography class since college.

The ups and downs for the day included:

-ups: a half day of work, going to two Targets (my happy place), visiting my husband's work, dinner with my parents and obviously, getting into that class.

-downs: not being approved for workmans' comp for various reasons. Stupid ankle. No more treatment on it unless it involves surgery. I'm done. I hate our health insurance in this country. So stupid.

Taking the icky bus. Rain.

Gotta go-there's a special on Costco on Rock Center I want to watch right now! Have a great night!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Today I learned...

...that it’s not fun to get to work and realize you left your well planned lunch out on the counter and ruined a perfectly good yogurt as a result.

But it is fun to get Subway, take a walk outside to get there and just get away from the office in general, especially on a Monday. Photo a Day (vegetable) was fulfilled with lots of veggies in my ham and cheese sub.


Organic apples always taste so much better than non-organic. These were the same price per pound as the apples I usually buy, so I really need to go to Outpost or other places that sell organic produce at a reasonable price.


German (well European) candy is so much better than American, especially because the German chocolate unexpectedly contained some rum! I felt so naughty eating it at work, but didn’t realize it had rum in it until after the fact. I was just looking at the Ritter Sport brand and didn’t notice the flavor.


A former co-worker of mine visited from Germany last week and she is always kind enough to think of us and bring some German candy, so I indulged a little today.

My favorite flavor of Milka-noisette!


I swear the Haribo gummy bears taste different too.


I learned a bit about Catherine the Great today while starting this biography on her. So many good books to read and so little time. I've decided I need to do less spending time on my iPhone on the bus and more time reading. I sometimes feel too tired for it though!

I read the book on my way home and literally gasped, as someone with my pretty rare maiden name was mentioned multiple times. It gives this geneaology geek something to look forward to researching. :)


While watching the news tonight, I learned something new. That resistance training does more for senior citizens' brains than meditating or cardio. Keep exercising mom and dad, especially by lifting weights in your Silver Sneakers classes! On that note, I'm going to lift some weights at the gym myself.

What did you learn today?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's been a good weekend! Productive and fun! How was yours?

We worked out Saturday morning and I biked for a half hour at a good resistance! I also lifted weights and walked. My ankle didn't bother me at all. Woo hoo!

After lounging around the house a while, I decided to go shopping at the mall and to some other places.

I haven't bought any clothes in a while, but I found a tank top and two shirts at the Gap--all for $20. My husband thinks the black and white top looks too much like my other "French girl" shirts but I disagree. I love these t-shirts from Gap. The material, cut and prints all are wonderful.

I also picked up a free Hand Relief at Aveda (with a coupon I got in the mail) and some foundation (back to using what has always worked for me--Double Wear in Sand) and received the gift from Estee Lauder with a cute chevron bag and makeup goodies.


gift with purchase-Estee Lauder

I ran to DSW to look for some flats, but had no luck. I then went to downtown Wauwatosa to Oro de Oliva (more on that later this week) and finally I popped in Outpost, a local co-op grocery store. Shopping at Outpost was so nice. I found quite a few things and it had me wishing we had one close by. But, then again, when Trader Joe's opens nearby in August, I'll probably be there every other weekend.

Back to Outpost--I spotted this DentaTreat and called Craig to see if he thought we should get it. Karma had inflamed gums and he also has tummy troubles (besides his lung being collapsed) and this sounded perfect. It's a powder we add to his wet food and I noticed it has acidophilus in it, which is great for his tummy. He's had it twice so far and seems to gobble it up.

Wysong DentaTreat

Once back home, I pulled this new spice out of the cabinet to add to the veggies I was roasting for dinner.

Penzey's Spice Ruth Ann's Muskego Ave Chicken and Fish Seasoning

Chopped up the broccoli and brussels sprouts for roasting!

broccoli and brussels sprouts

All done and fantastic! I swear that shopping at Outpost made me want to eat tons of veggies. :)

brussels sprouts and broccoli

To get full use out of the oven, I mixed up this package of muffin mix.

Simple Mornings Blueberry Streusel muffins

I had one fresh out of the oven and it was delicious, of course!

Later on, I watched a few episodes of Ted Talks on Netflix. One featuring Jamie Oliver and the other, Mark Bittman.


We ended the evening with the movie The Descendents. We watched about 3/4 of it before we went to bed and finished it today. It wasn't great, but not that bad either.

Today, I cleaned up around the house and then we drove downtown to the central library. I checked out these two books, which I probably won't start until later this week.

Crohns and Colitis book and The End of Overeating

Our next adventure included going to the downtown YMCA. It was such a nice facility. I loved the track. We walked three laps, which equaled 1/2 mile, did the elliptical and lifted weights. The weight machines were different than our Y, but we figured them out pretty quickly. We were hungry after and I really wanted a juice from Fresh juice bar. It was closed. :( I opted for some guacamole and chips from Qdoba, two bites of Craig's Culvers burger and a Snickers custard since I hadn't really indulged in sweets all weekend long.

Amazing Race is on, so I will end this super long post and go watch it. Good night!

Friday, April 20, 2012

New magazine and a visit to Taj Mahal

I received this new magazine called Experience Life in the mail yesterday and I am in love already. I won a subscription and I couldn't be more excited to have something fresh to read. I am quite the magazine collector, but I am determined to read these cover to cover and pass them onto my mom or health conscious co-worker.


I read a few articles while waiting for my smart husband to fix a server last night. We had to drive the forty minutes out to his work so he could fix it. Poor guy. That's when I am glad my job doesn't require such things.


I had physical therapy after work today and I got the clearance to have this be my last session! I biked for 8 minutes, used the rubberband to move my ankle to the right and then to the left, went up on my tip toes a bunch of times and I balanced pretty steadily for a while. I guess all of my resting this week paid off. Oh and she left me with the pain patch below, which I have to wear for six hours.

Since I stayed on my butt most of the week, I was ready to hit the gym after therapy! I was still very careful with my foot though and kept it safe by walking on the treadmill, lifting weights and balancing on the bosu. I can't wait for some longer gym sessions this weekend.


And because I was craving Indian food earlier this week, Craig suggested we go out for Indian food tonight and I can never pass up that opportunity! Did you think we really went to the Taj Mahal because of my title? I wish! That is one place I have always dreamed of traveling to. The restaurant we went to was called the Taj Mahal (local readers--it's in Hales Corners and always very good).

We shared a Mango Lassi. I let Craig drink most of it because I didn't want to get too full from the drink.



I got "the usual" which is Paneer Tikka Masala. The menu now calls it Paneer Butter Masala though and it was quite buttery tasting.


Yum! We can never get Indian food without ordering naan too. So good! If I was able to choose my last meal on earth, this would be it.


The night is still young so I'm going to sign off! I'll be back sometime over the weekend. Have a lovely Friday evening.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The travel bug

I have the itch to travel really badly right now. My husband knows this all too well! So, I redecorated my office a bit this morning by hanging up this map I got from the Sierra Club a while ago. It helps me focus on nice things while in my gray cubicle. Today, I dreamed of going on a hike in a national park (with my ankle brace on, of course). Maybe one in Utah like Zion. I also wrote my husband an e-mail with a link to an article about a new Mob museum that opened up in Vegas. The man loves anything with the mob, so I thought maybe this would get him excited about traveling to Vegas and then maybe onto some National Parks in Southwestern Utah.


Lunch was half of this Amy's vegetarian chili can. Amy's has been saving me this week because I haven't had time to prep lunches at night or in the morning. Loved the spice level in this. The tofu crumbles were delicious too.


I have been loving this Sugar Rose tinted lip treatment from Fresh. It's so moisturizing and provides the perfect bit of color.


Speaking of sugar, I listened to my favorite podcast ever at work today, Dishing Up Nutrition. They mentioned the 60 minutes special on sugar and were saying that they got all nerdy over the special, just like I did. I learned two interesting things from the episode I listened to:

-If you find yourself craving something sweet after you eat a meal, try taking 50 mg of zinc at bedtime.
-If you are craving chocolate, you could have a magnesium deficiency.

I definitely need to take their advice!

The April photo of the day subject was hair today. Here's my hair that needs a highlight and cut pretty badly again. I never seem to find a salon I totally love and I was a little disappoitned that my stylist didn't really thin out my hair during my last appointment. So, on a break at work, I went on the hunt for a new salon and I am drawn to Aveda ones, so that's what I searched for. I came up with a new salon that got great reviews and I promptly made an appointment. Two weeks from now can't come soon enough! My hair just gets so hard to dry when I have this much of it and I want to be brighter for summer.


I was craving something sweet in the afternoon, so I broke out this sample I received in the mail yesterday. It was tasty! Too bad I probably wouldn't buy it because of the artificial sweeteners.



Do you dream about traveling as much as I do? I guess it's just been so long since we went anywhere. We went to Florida in February 2011, so it's been too long since we got out of the state! If I had my way, I'd have a big trip planned every year. If Craig had his, he'd just go to his family's cabin and chill out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blogging mojo

I know I'm not the only one who has lost their blogging mojo lately and chosen to live life for what it is vs. writing about it. I keep reading about others just like me and then I don't feel so bad. Don't get me wrong, I love blogging, it's only that I am sometimes too tired to do it and choose to do other things.

So today will be a short post because I don't have a ton to say and because I guess I'd rather read blogs lately than write my own.

I had physical therapy yesterday and it went well. I have to pick up cotton balls with my toes, so that's interesting. It will strengthen the muscles in my foot. I also learned one new to me exercise and I got the ok to bike at the gym and do the elliptical if it's not painful. I was so excited to get some cardio in so I biked after my therapy and it felt great. The good news is that my ankle is no longer experiencing a dull aching pain like it did on Sunday night, which made it very hard to fall asleep.

I had this delicious tofu scramble for lunch and it tasted just like eggs. I would buy this again and it would have been the perfect thing for breakfast instead of lunch. I paired it with some broccoli and red peppers and an Oikos Key Lime greek yogurt.


I lay my outfits out the night before so I can act quickly in the morning. After seeing a co-worker post something about wearing red today for equal pay day on Facebook, I realized my shirt had to go from a planned turquoise one to a red one.

Can you believe that women are paid less than men and it's 2012? Come on society, be a little more forward thinking. It's a topic that has always gotten me going ever since I heard that women were paid less and I couldn't quite wrap my head around why or how. Like my husband said tonight, this isn't the 1800's. Even then, it wouldn't have been ok.

And like the guys I was eavesdropping on tonight said, "women are stupid for not asking for more money. They do all the work anyway." :)


I was hungry after meditating tonight and couldn't quite figure out what I wanted for dinner. I looked through the pantry, fridge and freezer and nothing looked appetizing. So, my husband got Taco Bell and I got vegetarian sushi at the grocery store. We needed a few food items there anyway and sushi was really the only thing that sounded good (besides Indian food and I am convinced someone could make a ton of money by opening up an Indian "fast" food joint).


Dessert was a blood orange Chobani while watching a PBS Secrets of the Dead episode about the Lost City of Z and Colonel Fawcett. We're history nerds, so if his story doesn't sound familiar, don't feel too bad.

Time to check out some of your lovely blogs and then get to bed early. Craig and I are both really tired today.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Arms & abs

Despite my injury, we went to the gym yesterday and I was determined to get my heart rate up by doing weights and abs. I was successful with my goal and happy to get moving, even if it wasn't by doing any cardio. I focused on my arms and abs since anything with my legs was pretty much not possible (except leg press with my good leg and one hip exercise).

I ate steel cut oats with berries while reading Whole Living before we went to the gym.


I snacked on some greek yogurt when we got home from the gym and then I had a big salad for lunch. I added broccoli, red peppers, tomatoes, cottage cheese and mozarella cheese to a bed of spinach. I mentioned my renewed love for cottage cheese in Friday's post. The other thing I've been doing lately is adding it to salads since it's something I discovered from our salad bar at work.


Topped it all with Green Goddess Annie's dressing. Not quite as good as just the "Goddess dressing" but it was still tasty.


Dessert was a Reese's egg. I hadn't had one this year, so I was tempted by the 70% off sale on them at Target this week.


Yesterday's photo a day challenge included capturing "how I was feeling." Instead of a semi-sad face portrait, Craig suggested I take a picture of my foot since I was feeling defeated with my injury. It was a nice day out and I couldn't be active. :(


While making dinner, I drank some Titanic Lakefront Brewery beer. It's been in our fridge since 2009, so it was about time to drink it. I tend to drink beer more when the temps get warm, but otherwise I am more of a wine girl.

Anyway, I figured it was also time to drink it since this weekend is the 100th anniversary of the sinking.

Titanic Pilsner beer, Lakefront Brewery


I cooked up some quinoa for us for dinner. I added tofu topped with soy sauce to my dish with roma tomatoes. Craig added chicken pieces to his.

Quinoa, tofu and roma tomatoes; beer

I've missed taking pictures with my Canon DSLR, so I got it out this weekend and will try to get back into using it more often instead of just for special occasions like vacations. Inevitability, I shot some cute pictures of the cats, so I'll share those. If you hate cats, I'm sorry. :)

Here's Karma, who is usually the one I take the most pictures of because he is usually the silly one.


The rest are of Tanzi, who was the comedian this weekend. He was biting his comb after Craig cut the cats' nails.

Tanzi and comb



cute kitty

I didn't go anywhere yesterday and felt pretty sleepy all day. We're going to get out of the house after lunch to head to Penzey's (free spice redemption, yay), Starbucks to get a free drink by handing in an empty bag and to Barnes and Noble to look around. I hope the storms that are supposed to come through this afternoon aren't too bad! They were really loud last night.