Breast Reconstruction: What Are My Options after an Unsuccessful Reconstructive Surgery?

Making the decision to undergo breast reconstruction surgery is a decision that is not taken lightly.

That’s why it breaks our hearts when we discover that there are women out there who are unhappy with their reconstructive results.

Over the past few months, we’ve heard from several ladies who want to know what their options are when their surgery doesn’t turn out as planned.

We thought our insight would be helpful to others who are facing the same problems as these courageous women.

Here are our answers to what your options are after an unsuccessful reconstructive surgery.

What Are My Reconstruction Options after a Failed Implant Reconstruction?

Question: Do you do reconstruction after ex-plants from a ruptured implant?

Answer: If you have had mastectomies, we will attempt to do reconstruction no matter what has happened, as long as you want it, and it’s medically safe to do so.

If your breast sustained damage from a ruptured implant placed for cosmetic reasons, we will still be happy to help you, but this might not be covered by your insurance.

I hope this helps.

See the full post here.

I’m Unhappy with My Reconstructive Result from Another Surgeon – Are You Able to Make It Look More Natural?

Question: Three years ago, I had a double mastectomy and am now cancer free.

My plastic surgeon did a terrible job with the reconstruction.

The left side implant is way off to the outer side and looks larger than the right side. The right side is way too far to the outside. There is zero cleavage.

Is there any way to reposition the implants more to the natural position of the breast?

I do not expect perfect, but don’t like looking like a botched job. Thank you.

Answer:  I’m glad to hear you have been cancer free and have your treatment for breast cancer behind you.

At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, it is part of our mission to help women move on with their lives after breast cancer. We focus our efforts on helping women get their bodies back together with permanent “natural results.”

I’m sorry you are disappointed with your reconstruction.

If you have had radiation, then it may be very hard to have your breasts match with implant reconstruction. If you have not had radiation, then perhaps your implants could be revised or adjusted for an improvement.

Unfortunately, these corrections are all too often temporary. It is possible that using your own fatty tissue would be a more permanent option without implants.

Sometimes it is hard to start over with another approach, but it may be necessary if you desire a more natural and permanent result.

If you would like more information about natural breast reconstruction with your own tissue, let me know.

See the full post here.

I Have Implants But They Feel Horrible and My Reconstruction Looks Terrible. Is There Any Hope after Reconstruction?

Question:  I have implants. I do not like them, they feel horrible, and my reconstruction looks terrible.

Is there any hope after reconstruction?

Answer:  Fortunately, your previous experiences with implants in all probability do not affect our ability to get you a satisfactory reconstruction using only your own tissue.

See the full post here.

Do you have breast reconstruction questions? Send us your questions here

5 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

reading

Summer…

The perfect time to relax poolside (or on the beach like us in Charleston) and catch up on some reading.

Not sure what to read?

No problem–we’ve got you covered.

Check out these 5 books we recommend you add to your summer reading list.

#1 – The Woman in the Window

 

the woman in the window

If you enjoy thriller novels, A.J. Finn’s book, The Woman in the Window, is a must-read for you this summer.

This book starts out with the main character, Anna Fox, spying on her neighbors from her Harlem townhouse.

Poor Anna suffers from agoraphobia and is house-bound.

While watching her neighbor, she believes she witnesses a crime.

Was she right? If so, what was the crime and who did it?

Read the book to find out!

See if it’s in your local library or order it here.

#2 – Girl, Wash Your Face

girl wash your face

As women, we tell ourselves a lot of lies.

For instance, you might have said to yourself…

  • “I’m not good enough.
  • “I’m not thin enough.
  • “I’m not a good parent.

If you have, this honest, yet light-hearted look into the lies we tell ourselves each day is a must-read.

Join author Rachel Hollis as she gives advice on how to get rid of a limiting mindset that destroys self-confidence and keeps you from moving forward.

See if it’s in your local library or order it here.

#3 – Little Women

little women

There’s nothing quite like revisiting the treasured classic Little Women.

In this epic tale, you’ll take a journey with the author Louisa May Alcott who tells the story of what it was like for her and her three sisters to grow up in Concord, Massachusetts, in the 1860s.

All in all, the story tells of how the sisters grow up, find love, and find their place in the world.

See if it’s in your local library or order it here.

#4 – Brave New World

brave new world

Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley, is based on a scientific empire that manufactures its citizens in the laboratory on a eugenic basis.

The story follows the fortunes of John, the illegitimate son of a senior governor, who has grown up in America, outside the new empire.

Will John be able to find a place in this new society?

Find out by reading the book!

See if it’s in your local library or order it here.

#5 – Yes Please

yes please

If you’re in need of a laugh, we highly recommend picking up a copy of Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please.

In this book, Amy shares comical and heartwarming stories about life, her time on SNL, and being a woman in show business.

Regardless of whether you know Amy from SNL or movies, she shares many stories that any woman (in show business or not) can relate to and connect with.

See if it’s in your local library or order it here.

What are your favorite books? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Tasty and Refreshing Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes

icecream sandwiches

I scream…

You scream…

We all scream for ice cream!

Satisfy your ice cream cravings with the following tasty and refreshing homemade ice cream sandwich recipes…

S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches

Smores icecream

Nobody should have to choose between eating a delicious bowl of ice cream or an ooey gooey s’more.

For that reason, we suggest combining the two classic summertime desserts into a s’mores ice cream sandwich.

Here’s how to make this yummy treat…

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces miniature marshmallows (about 4 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free milk
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons light-colored corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 8 graham crackers, halved crosswise

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Place marshmallows in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment coated with cooking spray. Broil 30 seconds or until golden brown and toasted. Cool.
  3. Combine half-and-half and granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Place yolks in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Gradually add hot half-and-half mixture to egg yolks, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  4. Return egg mixture to pan; cook over medium heat 6 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly and reaches 160°, stirring constantly.
  5. Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl set over a larger ice water-filled bowl. Let stand until cold, stirring occasionally. Place half-and-half mixture, marshmallows, and vanilla in a blender; process until smooth.
  6. Chill mixture 3 hours.
  7. Pour marshmallow mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. Line an 11 x 7-inch freezer-safe dish with plastic wrap, allowing wrap to extend over ends of dish; spread ice cream in bottom of dish.
  9. Freeze 3 hours or until firm and then enjoy!

Recipe Source: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/smores-ice-cream-sandwiches-0

Fruity Pebbles Ice Cream Sandwiches

fruity pebbles icecream

We firmly believe that the two most important meals of the day are breakfast and dessert!

So, why not mix these two mealtime staples together?

Indulge your sweet tooth with this sweet, cereal-coated ice cream sandwich.

Give it a try…

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 10 oz. bag marshmallows
  • 6 c. Fruity Pebbles cereal
  • 1 pt. vanilla ice cream

Directions:

  1. Grease a medium sheet pan.
  2. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Once completely melted, add marshmallows and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and quickly stir in Fruity Pebbles until well coated.
  3. Using wax paper or spatula, press mixture into sheet pan until about 1/2″ thick. Let cool at least 20 minutes.
  4. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, punch out 8 circles.
  5. Place 1 big scoop of vanilla ice cream in between two Fruity Pebble circles and press down. Repeat to make 3 more sandwiches.
  6. Freeze until ready to serve.

Recipe Source: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a47654/fruity-pebbles-ice-cream-sandwiches-recipe/

Blueberry Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches

blueberry icecream

Add fruit to your ice cream, and your dessert automatically becomes healthy, right?

We think so!

Get a full serving of antioxidant-rich blueberries when you give this delicious blueberry ice cream sandwich a try.

Here’s how it’s made…

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 5 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of ice water
  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • pinch of lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla ice cream

Directions:

  1. Sift flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Cube cold butter into small squares and place inside food processor.
  2. Pulse until butter is no larger than the size of a pea.
  3. Slowly stream ice water in the feeder, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough just slightly starts to hold together. If the dough is a bit too wet, meaning it sticks to your hands when you pick it up, you can dip your hands in some flour and give it a few good kneads.
  4. Divide the dough in two, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  5. Toss blueberries in lemon juice, zest and cornstarch and set aside.
  6. Preheat oven to 350° F and line the bottom of a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Dust a surface with flour and roll out one of the dough halves until it’s very thin but not too fragile.
  8. Use a round cutter (I used a 2.5″ biscuit cutter) and cut out 20 rounds
  9. Place 10 on the baking sheet and spoon a few blueberries onto each round.
  10. Cover the blueberries with the other 10 pie crust rounds and press down the edges. I like to use the end of a chopstick, dipped in flour. If the two crusts don’t stick, you can seal them with an egg wash.
  11. Once all the pie cookies are sealed, brush with an egg wash.
  12. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the pies are a nice golden brown.
  13. Cool on a wire rack for a few hours.
  14. Sandwich a small scoop of vanilla ice cream between two pie cookies.
  15. Serve immediately or keep covered in the freezer until ready to serve.

Recipe Source: https://honestlyyum.com/13887/blueberry-pie-ice-cream-sandwiches/

What is your favorite type of ice cream sandwich? Share with us in the comments below!

3 Common Questions about Breast Reconstruction Pain and Discomfort

After breast reconstruction surgery, patients are bound to experience some sort of recovery pain or discomfort.

This mild pain often leads patients to ask questions such as…

  • How long will the pain last?
  • Is my pain normal?
  • Should I call my doctor?

At the time, a person’s pain or discomfort might seem unusual or scary…and the last thing we want is for patients to worry.

For that reason, we’ve decided to put together the answers to a few of our most common pain-related questions.

Find out what our surgeons and staff have to say about the following concerns…

What Are Your Suggestions for Muscle Spasms after Breast Reconstruction?

Question: I had breast reconstruction on my left breast in 2006. I have had muscle spasms in it ever since. Recently they have gotten bad again.

Any suggestions?

Answer: I’m sorry you are having problems with your reconstruction.

You didn’t mention if you were reconstructed with an implant or with your own tissue, so I will answer as if you are reconstructed with an implant. Please let me know if I have assumed wrongly.

There are several potential reasons why you could have spasms.

If the implant was placed under the pectoralis chest muscle, it can lead to pains in the pectoralis muscle or other muscles, as the muscle is no longer functioning in precisely the way it was designed to. Most people tolerate the implants well, but there is no question some have more problems than others.

The muscle can also sometimes separate from attachments to the chest wall over time, which could cause changes in symptoms.

Additionally, if you are radiated, this could potentially cause additional problems, as the muscle may be less flexible.

View the full post here.

I’m Having Pain after My Last Latissimus Flap/Implant Reconstruction. What Can I Do Now?

Question: I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and had a mastectomy on my left side followed by chemo.

In 2014, my mammogram began showing tumors and I would have an ultrasound every time. This caused panic attacks and I choose to have my right breast removed because the type of cancer I had was Stage 4 Aggressive.

In April 2015, I had a bilateral latissimus flat and received implants. Now I am experiencing pain across my back where I was cut and my chest gets uncomfortably tight.

The site of the drainage tube is swollen and doesn’t feel good. I stopped seeing my reconstruction doctor because he did things I was not informed of. I am worried because I do not know what is going on anymore.

Could you please advise me as to what might be going on or what to do?

Answer: I’m sorry you are continuing to have problems, but you are not alone.

I can’t speak about your situation specifically because I haven’t examined you, but here are some thoughts in general about patients with symptoms like yours.

There is no question that many people with implants describe symptoms such as yours. Often, there is no discernible reason why they should feel discomfort, but they do. Nonetheless, many of them feel relief when the implants are removed. This does not mean that you would or should, it is just an observation.

The latissimus flap can be done with or without dividing the nerve that makes it contract. I have known some patients with latissimus flaps done without dividing the nerve to have discomfort associated with the muscle contracting. Some have experienced relief when the nerve was subsequently divided. Obviously, I don’t know if this is your situation or not.

Sometimes people have complex, persistent pain after surgery or injury which is out of all proportion to what would be expected. This can be difficult to treat but thankfully is rare.

When evaluating a patient with symptoms like yours, we usually start with a careful history and physical evaluation.

Sometimes, especially if we have concerns about implant rupture, fluid collections, infection, etc., we then get an MRI and/or CT scan. Following the complete evaluation, we then decide together how to proceed.

View the full post here.

Are These Normal Problems to Have 2 Years after a Breast Reduction?

Question: I had a breast reduction over two years ago. It still feels like I have scar tissue in some areas and nipple tends to be a little sore at times.

Is that normal?

Answer: No, that’s not normal, and I’m sorry you’re having to endure it.

I can’t tell what is going on by your description, but it’s possible that you have some residual dead fat in your breasts which has not been resorbed.

An MRI scan would be the best way to determine this.

It’s also possible that you have pain for no discernible reason, which is unusual, but it happens from time to time. That doesn’t mean it can’t be treated, however, as pain therapists can be very effective in helping manage that type of pain.

View the full post here.

Do you have breast reconstruction questions? Send us your questions here!

5 Fun Charleston Summer Activities to Add to Your Calendar

Charleston bridge

Between the sandy beaches, beautiful parks, and a hopping downtown area, Charleston is the perfect place to have fun.

For that reason, we thought we’d share some of our favorite events that are happening this summer.

Add these activities to your calendar and, you’ll be sure to plan a summer you’ll remember for a lifetime!

Keep reading to discover what we recommend…

Party at the Point – June 15, 22, and 29

party on the beach at sunset

Charleston’s premiere Happy Hour concert series will be taking place for the next 3 Friday events–June 15, 22, and 29. The event will be hosted from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

This fun beachfront event features live music, food, and drinks.

The best part…Party at the Point is a family-friendly activity so be sure to bring the kiddos if you desire.

Admission is $8. Kids 12 and under get in FREE!

Find out more about the event here.

July 4 Fireworks – July 4

fireworks

Feeling patriotic, enjoy a good old-fashioned 4th of July celebration, or simply like sparkly things?

If your answer is yes to any of the questions above, then be sure to join us for 4th of July fireworks!

Every year fireworks celebrations are hosted all over Charleston. Here are a few of our favorite spots…

4th of July Blast at Patriots Point

Enjoy a professional fireworks display and shoreside party with a beach music band at Patriots Point.

Location: 40 Patriots Point Rd, Mt. Pleasant, SC

Fourth of July Fireworks on Folly Beach

Gather for a dazzling fireworks show at Folly Beach County Park, on the west end of the island.

Location: Folly Beach County Park

Take part in the Uncle Sam Jam + Fireworks Show

The Mount Pleasant Pier sets the perfect stage for a 4th of July celebration, featuring fireworks, great views, and groovy music at the Uncle Sam Jam.

Location: Mount Pleasant Pier, 71 Harry Hallman Boulevard

Rum Dinner – July 26

rum in a tasting glass

Charleston’s love of rum comes from the big Caribbean influence in the Lowcountry.

Enjoy a spirited evening at Circa 1886 where chef Collins will share info on how rum from the West Indies and Caribbean islands has influenced Lowcountry cooking.

There will be plenty of delicious dishes to eat as well!

Find out more about the event here.

Take a Trip to the Beach – ALL SUMMER

waves splashing on the beach

One of the best things about Charleston is the beaches–and boy, do we have a lot of them!

Whether you enjoy exciting water activities like wakeboarding and surfing or prefer to go for a leisurely swim, we have a beach for you.

Here are some of our favorite spots to check out…

  • Folly Beach
  • Sullivan’s Island
  • Isle of Palms
  • Kiawah Island
  • Bull Island

Enjoy Charleston Cuisine – ALL SUMMER

beautiful pork dinner

Hot, cold, rain, or shine–all weather is good eating weather.

Between shopping in Charleston’s finest boutiques and taking a stroll through the historic city, we hope you’ll find the time to eat at some of our favorite restaurants.

Here’s what we recommend…

Classic Southern Comfort Foods:

Fresh Seafood:

Steak Houses:

What is your favorite summertime Charleston event? Let us know in the comments below! 

How to Help a Loved One Cope: 5 Common Breast Cancer Diagnosis Emotions

happy face balls with different emotions

After a breast cancer diagnosis, there are 5 common emotions people usually experience.

These emotions include…

  • Shock
  • Confusion
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Anger

If you have a friend or family member who’s recently been diagnosed, it can be difficult to help her navigate these emotions.

After all, what can you say or do to truly make someone feel better after receiving this type of news.

Unfortunately, not everything you say/do will make someone’s battle with breast cancer easier.

However, choosing carefully how you respond to these common emotions can give a loved one the support and encouragement she needs.

Keep reading to discover our tips for helping your loved one cope with the following 5 emotions.

Emotion #1: Shock

Nobody expects to leave a doctor’s appointment with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Therefore, it’s likely that your loved ones will leave an appointment feeling shocked or at a loss for words about the news they received.

When someone is in a shocked state, it’s often best to…

  • Sit quietly with your loved one. Let her do the talking if she wants to.
  • Provide support. Give your friend/family member the time to process the diagnosis while you help out with other things, like taking care of kids or cleaning the house.
  • Help your loved one feel safe and secure. While in a shocked state, things can become overwhelming very quickly. Remind your loved one that she is safe and that you will be there to provide comfort and support.

Emotion #2 – Confusion

Chalkboard question mark

No one deserves to get cancer.

For this reason, your loved one might be confused, wondering “How could this happen?” or “Why me?”

During this emotional time, it’s vital to…

  • Remind your loved one that she didn’t do anything to deserve this. It may sound silly at first, but it’s always a good reminder that sometimes bad things happen in life for no good reason.
  • Help your loved one put the puzzle pieces together. It’s possible that your loved one ended up with cancer for no logical reason. However, it’s also possible that she was genetically predisposed to breast cancer. Having a better understanding of why your loved one developed cancer might help bring some peace into her life. Uncovering a family member who also had cancer and won her battle might bring comfort to your loved one.
  • Be a listening ear when your loved one asks questions. You might not know all the answers, but providing a listening ear to your friend/family member who has so many questions is a great outlet for her.

Emotion #3 – Sadness

A sudden cancer diagnosis can easily bring up feelings of sadness.

After all, your loved one might have to leave work, cancel a vacation, miss family events, etc., in order to get treatment.

In order to help a friend/family member who is feeling sadness, we recommend that you…

  • Make yourself available. Be willing to sit quietly with a friend, go out for coffee, or pick up your phone to chat with your loved one. Simply being available when the person you care about is experiencing grief is very important.
  • Send your loved one an uplifting card. It’s amazing how much a simple card with a thoughtful message can do. Grab a pen, a piece of paper, and remind your loved one about how much you care for her.
  • Grab a box of tissues. One of the best ways to release pent-up sadness is a good, old-fashioned cry session. Make the time to sit with your friend, uncover the reasons behind her grief, and allow yourself to be vulnerable and share in her grief.

Emotion #4 – Fear

elderly woman looking worried

Thanks to donations, research, and hardworking volunteers, doctors, and scientists, the prognosis for many breast cancer patients is wonderful.

That being said, a breast cancer diagnosis often makes people think the worst, which causes a lot of fear.

When a loved one with a new breast cancer diagnosis is feeling fearful, it’s a good idea to…

  • Talk about her diagnosis. After testing, most doctors can determine if a person has a good prognosis or not. If your loved one has a good prognosis, remind her that she is strong and able to win her cancer battle.
  • Put action steps in place. Fear often occurs because someone feels she is losing control. With permission of her doctor, help your loved one gain back control with a special cancer-fighting diet plan, supplement plan, etc. Having a little control can help the one you love ward off feelings of fear.
  • Hit the books. Fear of the unknown is a very scary thing. In order to help your loved one curb this type of fear, get educated together. Read about breast cancer. Go with your loved one to doctor’s appointments. Ask questions. Every piece of info you get can help put both you and your loved ones worries to rest.

Emotion #5 – Anger

Finally, it’s likely that your loved one will feel anger–and she has every right to feel that way!

While anger is usually an emotion we try to avoid, experiencing it can actually help with the healing process. In fact, anger is a motivating emotion!

If your loved one is angry at her cancer diagnosis, there’s a good change that she’s going to be more motivated to conquer her battle.

To help your loved one express her anger, we suggest you…

  • Set aside time to let your loved one share her honest thoughts. We often have to hide our true emotions so we don’t upset people. This is why letting your friend/family member be real and honest with you about her diagnosis–even if it means screaming, crying, swearing, etc.–is very helpful.
  • Offer constructive ways to release anger. It’s important to remind your friend/family member that there are healthy ways of releasing anger. Let her know it’s ok to hit her pillows, scream at the top of her lungs, do some kickboxing, etc., to channel her inner feelings.
  • Provide support. Sometimes anger causes people to say things or do things that don’t make sense. For instance, your loved one might blame a doctor for her cancer diagnosis. As long as no one is being harmed, stand by your friend’s side and just agree. Once the anger blows over, she’ll realize that not everything she said or did was right. However, in the midst of being angry, your friend doesn’t need an argument, she just needs to know that you have her back.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we encourage you to share it on Facebook with your friends and family!

5 Ways to Take the Stress out of Your Morning Routine

morning coffee

Morning routines are stressful.

Between getting your kids dressed, fed, and ready for school...

Getting yourself showered and ready for your big meeting…

Or Suzy melting down because she wanted to wear the purple dress, not the green one…

…simply making it past 10 a.m. without ripping your hair out may seem like an accomplishment.

If you’re someone who can relate, we have good news for you.

There are strategies you can put in place to relieve morning routine stress–and we are going to share them with you right now!

Keep reading to discover 5 strategies for taking the stress out of your morning routine.

Strategy #1 – Get Your Morning Prep Work Done the Night Before

evening prep work making lunches

Getting ready in the morning is a lot of work.

That work is only multiplied if you have kids that you need to get out the door in the morning, too.

In order to cut down on the morning chaos, we recommend you do as much as you can in the evening to prepare yourself for the following morning.

This may include…

  • Adopting a nighttime bath/shower routine so people are squeaky clean when they wake in the morning.
  • Packing school lunches before you go to bed so they are ready in the morning.
  • Laying out both your clothes and your kids’ clothing the night before.

Think about every task that eats up your time and causes stress in the morning. Then, see if you can fit it into a more relaxed evening routine.

Strategy #2 – Set Aside 15 Minutes of Meditation Time

Starting your day in the right frame of mind will help set the tone for your entire day.

For this reason, we recommend you spend 15 minutes each morning meditating.

There are many ways to meditate.

For instance…

  • If you’re religious, you might spend 15 minutes in prayer or reading scriptures.
  • If you need to relax and find peace, you might try deep breathing exercises.
  • If you love to exercise, 15 minutes of yoga might be what you need.

Tip: If you have kids, be sure to set an alarm and meditate before they wake up in the morning!

Strategy #3 – Avoid Rush-Hour Traffic

rush-hour traffic

Two words…road rage!

If you have a long commute in a trafficky area, you know how stressful getting to work every day can be.

There’s not much that can be done in terms of clearing the highways.

However, if it’s possible, you might want to think about timing your drive into work so you miss rush-hour traffic.

Your first option is to get to work early if you’re able to do so.

Talk with your boss to see if it’s possible to adjust your hours so you can come in early, and then leave early.

The second option is to leave for work after rush hour.

If you’re able to do some of your work virtually, you might be able to make a deal with your employer to work through rush-hour traffic from home, and then come into the office a little later in the morning.

Strategy #4 – Don’t Check Email Until You Get to Work

We’ve all made the mistake of opening our emails before getting to work only to find a nasty email from the boss or a client.

This type of negativity before your workday even begins can easily put a damper on your morning routine.

For that reason, make it a rule that you don’t read emails before you get to work.

Strategy #5 – Prepare an Evening Game Plan

evening game plan for next day

It’s hard enough to make it through a morning routine.

Therefore, there’s no reason to add extra stress into your morning by wondering…

  • What do I need to make for dinner?
  • What kid has sports practice today?
  • Who’s in charge of carpool?

Before you go to bed, have all your evening plans for the next day mapped out and formulate your plan to handle your after-work routine.

To reduce stress even further, try prepping meals in advance so they are ready to cook when you get home, or map out your carpool routine for optimal time management purposes.

How do you make your morning routine less stressful? Let us know your suggestions in the comments below!

Celebrate National Sunscreen Day: 3 Tips for Protecting Your Skin from Sun Damage

protect sundamage

National Sunscreen Day–celebrated on May 27–is just a few days away.

It may seem like a silly holiday, but for over 70 years, sunscreen has been saving lives and protecting people from skin cancer.

For that reason alone, we think National Sunscreen Day is definitely worth celebrating–and we hope you’ll join us!

To get the party started, below are a few tips on how to protect your skin from sun damage.

Keep reading to check out our recommendations…

Sun Protection Tip #1 – Wear Sunscreen

sunscreen on the beach

We thought we’d start with the most obvious and overlooked sun protection tip–wear sunscreen.

Here’s the science behind why it’s so important…

The inorganic chemicals in sunscreen, including minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, block the sun’s harmful rays.

The sunscreen ingredients do this by blocking UV lights the same way white paint reflects light.

When the UV lights are blocked, they can’t penetrate your skin causing burns, cell mutations, or even worse, cancer.

Apply one coat of sunscreen every few hours, and your skin will stay protected.

Tip: The skin on your face is very delicate, so it burns easily. For that reason, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your face. If you’re worried about putting greasy sunscreen on your face, look for facial sunscreen that’s made specifically for facial skin.

Aside from applying sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and a hat can help protect your skin.

Sun Protection Tip #2 – Wear a Swim Shirt

boy in a swim shirt kissing a dolphin

People often get sunburns while swimming in pools, lakes, or oceans.

There are two reasons this happens.

The first reason is that people feel nice and cool in water so they don’t realize they are starting to burn.

The second reason is that the sun reflects off the water’s surface. These reflective rays increase the skin’s exposure to harmful rays, resulting in sunburns.

The best way to protect against getting burned while in the water is to wear a swim shirt.

These special water-safe shirts can be found in any sporting goods or swimwear store. And, they can cost as little as $20–a worthy investment!

Aside from protecting you from the sun, these shirts are designed to keep you nice and cool.

Look cool and stay cool with a sun shirt!

Sun Protection Tip #3 – Limit Your Time in the Sun

sun umbrella to stay out of the sun

Moderation is key when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun.

You can easily limit your time in the sun by…

  • Going inside for a break every few hours.
  • Sitting under an umbrella while at the beach or lake.
  • Scouting out covered pavilions for outdoor lunch breaks.

We personally recommend that you take a break every 2 hours for optimal protection.

Tip: If you notice your skin starting to turn pink, be sure to put on a cover-up, reapply sunscreen, or take an extended break inside to prevent getting a sunburn.

Aside from following these 3 important sun protection tips, we also recommend that you have a dermatologist check your skin once a year for any unusual bumps, marks, rashes, or moles.

Your doctor will be able to keep an eye on worrisome skin issues and provide you with additional strategies for protecting yourself against skin cancer.

How do you keep your skin safe while in the sun? Share your strategies with us in the comments below!

 

3 Recipes That Transform a Salad from Dull to Delicious

beautiful salad tossed with water

One of the best ways to get a full serving of veggies and nutritious vitamins is to eat a salad.

The only issue is, chowing down on lettuce leaves doesn’t always sound appetizing.If you’re not a salad lover–or you’re tired of the same old salad with ranch dressing–we have good news for you.

There are many things you can do to turn a boring salad into a flavor-packed meal.

Keep reading to discover three tasty salad recipes that will tickle your taste buds.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad

spinach salad

If you love fresh Mediterranean flavors, this salad recipe made with…

  • Vitamin-rich spinach leaves
  • Heart-healthy quinoa
  • Zesty, delicious dried tomatoes

… is for you!

Here’s how it’s made…

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander
  • ⅓ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach or arugula
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

Lemon dressing

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. To cook the quinoa: Combine the rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes, reducing heat as time goes on to maintain a gentle simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, which gives it time to fluff up.
  2. To prepare the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt, and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
  3. To toast the almonds: Warm ¼ teaspoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat until simmering. Add the almonds and a dash of salt and cook, stirring frequently (beware, these burn quickly!), until they are golden and fragrant. Transfer the toasted almonds to a medium-sized serving bowl to cool.
  4. Once the quinoa is done cooking, fluff it with a fork and then transfer it into your serving bowl. Drizzle all of the dressing on top and toss to combine. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and wait a few more minutes to add the spinach so it doesn’t wilt completely. Toss again, season to taste with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Recipe Source: https://cookieandkate.com/2016/sun-dried-tomato-spinach-quinoa-salad-recipe/

Greek Broccoli Salad

greek broccoli salad

Defy the laws of traditional salad-making ways with this leafless, Greek broccoli salad recipe.

We love this salad because it’s…

  • Easy to make.
  • Filled with nutritious broccoli florets.
  • Always a hit at potluck dinners, picnics, and family meals.

Here’s how it’s made…

Ingredients:

Broccoli salad

  • 1 large head of tightly packed broccoli (about 1¼ pounds), florets removed and sliced into small, bite-sized pieces
  • ⅓ cup roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped shallot or red onion
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese or thinly sliced Kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized serving bowl, toss together the broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot or red onion, feta or olives, and almonds.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until emulsified.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well.

Recipe Source: https://www.copymethat.com/r/FF8CoZO/greek-broccoli-salad/

Chicken Avocado Caprese Salad

chicken avocado caprese salad

When it comes to building a hearty salad that will keep you full and energized, this recipe is a real winner.

Complete with…

  • Protein-packed chicken
  • The healthy fat of an avocado
  • Decadent fresh mozzarella cheese

…this salad ensures that everyone in your family can leave the dinner table with full tummies and satisfied taste buds.

Here’s the recipe…

Ingredients:

Marinade/Dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Salad

  • 4 chicken thigh fillets, skin removed (no bone)
  • 5 cups romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup mini mozzarella / bocconcini cheese balls
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Whisk marinade ingredients together to combine. Place chicken into a shallow dish; pour 4 tablespoons of the dressing/marinade onto the chicken and stir around to evenly coat chicken. Reserve the untouched marinade to use as a dressing.
  • Heat about one teaspoon of oil in a large grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat and grill or sear chicken fillets on each side until golden, crispy, and cooked through. Once chicken is cooked, set aside and allow to rest.
  • Slice chicken into strips and prepare salad with lettuce, avocado slices, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and chicken.
  • Top with basil strips; drizzle with the remaining dressing; season with salt and pepper; serve.

Recipe source: https://cafedelites.com/chicken-avocado-caprese-salad/

Do you have a favorite salad recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!

5 Ways to Celebrate Mom on Mother’s Day

mom and daughter on a park bench

Moms are amazing.

Between juggling sleepless nights, full-time jobs, and keeping up with household chores, it’s hard to wrap our minds around how much they do every day to ensure everyone is healthy, happy, and provided for.

It’s no surprise that moms sacrifice a lot for their families–a sacrifice that we believe should be repaid with a month-long stay on a private island far away from laundry, crying kids, and boo-boos.

But, we know that a private island vacation isn’t in the budget for most families.

That’s why we came up with a handful of things you can do to celebrate mom and honor her this Mother’s Day that are both fun and affordable.

Keep reading to discover how to treat mom on her special day this month…

Serve Breakfast in Bed

breakfast in bed

Breakfast in bed is a classic way to treat mom on Mother’s Day.

After all, who doesn’t like to wake up to the smell of hot coffee and fresh bacon after a morning of sleeping in?

This year, pull out all the stops.

Make a delicious fruit salad, whip up your world famous omelet or stack of pancakes, and splurge for the flavored coffee creamer.

Aside from making breakfast, ensure that someone is awake to take care of small children or pets in the morning so mom doesn’t have to.

And finally, to top it all off, pick up a pretty bouquet of mom’s favorite flowers.

Then, wrangle up all your family members and surprise mom with a gourmet breakfast.

Clean the House

Just because you see mom happily rocking out to her MP3 player while scrubbing toilets on a Saturday morning doesn’t mean she’s actually happy about cleaning up after everyone.

Doing chores like washing dishes, folding laundry, and scrubbing toilets stinks…literally!

And, just as the kids in your house deserve a break to watch Saturday morning cartoons, mom also deserves a break to read a book, watch her favorite TV show, or go to her yoga class.

This Mother’s Day, make it your mission to help out around the house.

Let the kids take a turn cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming the living room.

Better yet, surprise mom with a chore chart that assigns chores to every family member for the entire year.

Many hands make light work. And, mom definitely deserves a little extra help!

To get you started, check out this post on homemade cleaner recipes!

Take Mom Out to a Show

ballet

First and foremost, we want to give a shout-out to all of those brave moms who have had to sit through Barney on Ice, a Raffi concert, or The Wiggles Live for the sake of your children.

They really should hand out margaritas and gold medals for moms who attend those types of events.

In honor of all those hours sitting through various renditions of “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands,” we think it’s only fair that you treat mom to a show that she actually wants to sit through.

This Mother’s Day, snag some tickets for mom to go see her favorite opera, a live show, a concert, or a movie she’s been dying to see.

Tip: If you have kids that don’t sit nicely through live shows, hire a babysitter and take your significant other out for a night on the town.

Cook a Delicious Family Meal

The saying “A mom’s job is never done” is very true.

After a long day of working or caring for kids, it’s usually mom’s job to make dinner.

Between picky eaters and the pressure to make a meal everyone will enjoy, this chore isn’t always a fun one.

This Mother’s Day, take over kitchen duty and have your kids help you prepare a delicious family meal so mom doesn’t have to.

Mom gets a break, the kids will learn valuable kitchen skills, and the entire family will have the opportunity to enjoy a nice meal together–a win-win for everyone!

Here are a few quick and easy meal recipes to get you started!

Tip: To kick this gift up a notch, consider making a book of meal coupons for mom that she can use any time she needs a break and doesn’t want to cook.

Send Mom for a Day at the Spa

towels and candles at the spa

You know what they say…“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Perhaps this Mother’s Day, all mom needs is a little time away to relax and recuperate from the chaos of home life. And, what better way to “get away” than to spend a day being pampered at the spa?

This year, treat mom to a variety of calming spa treatments.

After a day of being pampered with mani-pedi, a facial cleanse, and a massage, we have no doubt that she’ll come home rested and ready to resume her motherly duties.

The best part…many spas advertise special discounts in honor of Mother’s Day. Keep an eye out for these specials, or call and inquire about Mother’s Day packages.

Find a good deal, and you’ll be able to give mom a much-needed break without breaking the bank!