Getting Some Sleep With Technogel

The evening hangs beneath the moon
A silver thread on darkened dune
With closing eyes and resting head
I know that sleep is coming soon

Upon my pillow, safe in bed
A thousand pictures fill my head
I cannot sleep, my mind’s a-flight
And yet my limbs seem made of lead

If there are noises in the night
A frightening shadow, flickering light
Then I surrender unto sleep
Where clouds of dream give second sight

What dreams may come, both dark and deep
Of flying wings and soaring leap
As I surrender unto sleep,
As I surrender unto sleep.

Sleep by Charles Anthony Silvestri

Leaving Pop Century to catch the Magic Express back to the airport to go home.

Leaving Pop Century to catch the Magic Express back to the airport to go home.

I’m still in denial that my trip to Disney is over.

I keep waking up wondering why there’s no bus outside my room ready to whisk me away to the Magic Kingdom and perplexed because no one in Houston refers to me as princess. I also have the strange urge to trade pins with shop owners but all I get are blank stares from the folks at Barnes and Noble when I show them my laynard and ask them if they have any “Cindy’s” to trade.

Also – there needs to be a fast pass at the grocery store check-out line on Sunday.

Just saying.

One thing that IS good about being home is getting back to sleep with my Technogel pillow.

technogel pillow without cover

technogel pillow without cover

For the last month or so I’ve been sleeping on a Anatomic Technogel pillow for side/back sleepers. (They also offer three other types of pillows as well as a pillow and collar for travel.)

Before that…for longer than I care to admit, I had been sleeping on this “pillow”.

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Very un-pillow looking, right?

Gee. I wonder why I wasn’t get a good night’s rest?

Weird. Doesn’t look very supportive, does it?

Sometimes you have to get to the point where you are almost never able to sleep to step away from the scenerio and see what  you are doing wrong. This pillow is all kinds of wrong. It was inexpensive…but not even worth the little money I spent on it.

Hand-in-Technogel

The secret to Technogel is their patented gel that molds itself to each person’s different body structure. Unlike foam or memory foam, Technogel doesn’t get warm from the heat your body generates while you sleep. In fact, it actually feels cool due to its because unique thermal properties.

With my old pillow, I used to squash and fold my pillow a billion times throughout the night to try to get it to support my neck.

me on pillow collage

My technogel with cover

With Technogel I just lie down and relax. My neck is supported and feels so comfortable whether I’m on my back or side (I switch positions fairly often during the night). It’s crazy what a difference it makes!

Technogel is extremely durable and lasts much longer than the average pillow on the market. Covered by a three-year warranty, Technogel pillows aren’t ones you have to replace often.

Take the pillow challenge!

Are you sleeping on a pillow that is past it’s expiration date? Take this simple test; fold your pillow in half and see if it springs back to its original shape. If not, it’s time to get a new one.

I’m not sure what the original shape of my old pillow was. But there was no “springing” action of any kind when I folded it. It kind of just sat there. So sad!

Getting a comfortable pillow that supports the way I sleep has been a crucial component to my fight with insomnia. As I mentioned in previous posts, I’ve started to change many things about my bedtime routine and behavior, the set-up of my room and the inclusion of items that help me sleep (and removal of things that don’t). In my first post, I shared information about the Dohm White Noise Maker that helps lull me to sleep by blocking irritating noises. (I hope it’s also helping the two lucky Still Living The Dream readers who recently won one to try themselves!) I can’t wait to hear how they are doing with it!

My new Technogel pillow is the second reason why I’m beginning to get a good night’s rest. While it’s disappointing (but understandable) that no one calls me princess since I got back from Disney, because of Technogel…at least I’m sleeping like one!

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Do you sleep like a princess? What kind of pillow do you use and are you happy with the support it provides? If not, you should be! To find out where you can purchase a Technogel pillow, visit their store locator .

I received a Technogel pillow to review. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. 

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Getting Relief From Spring Allergies (Giveaway)

Ah, Spring time in Houston….it can be a beautiful thing.

The sun is shining, the weather is nice (not too hot, not too cold) … perfect for enjoying the outdoors with my family.

Or is it?!

Unfortunately my favorite time of the year brings along some of the worst allergens and my big, beautiful Oak tree in my front yard is one of the biggest culprits!

I’ve suffered from them for as long as I’ve lived here. Getting them under control is on my life list and I’ve blogged about my experience with getting tested. For about a year and half I’ve been getting weekly shots in order to prevent suffering from symptoms related to allergies and I’m really happy to report that things are getting better. This spring has been less severe for me, but I still have some symptoms that cause me problems.

SPRING

I talked with VSP Vision Care optometrist, Dr. Jing Han, who is based in Folsom, California, at Healthy Eyes Optometry to find out how seasonal allergies can impact eyes and what people can do to help them through the Spring allergy season.

Jenn: What symptoms do most patients experience from allergies regarding eyes

Dr. Han: Symptoms include itching, watery eyes, swelling and redness. They are generally not dangerous to the eyes but can be extremely uncomfortable if left untreated. There are some bacterial infections that can be mistaken as an allergic reaction that are very dangerous, like pre-septal cellulitis and orbital cellulitis, which need immediate attention. This is why it is important to have your eyes checked by an optometrist in order to rule out any symptoms that could be a sign of a more serious condition.

Jenn: Is there anything that people should be mindful of when thinking about over-the-counter allergy remedies/treatments in relation to eye health?

Dr. Han: Although there are many over-the-counter irritation “relief” eye drops to choose from, not all are meant to serve as an allergy remedy. I love it when my patients just call or e-mail me to ask what over-the-counter remedies is best for them specially. My response typically is one or two different brands that you can get over-the-counter, but I also take that opportunity to let them know that there are prescription allergy eye drops that are usually more effective. Ask your optometrist before you start using any eye medications.

Jenn: What can we do to protect our eyes during allergy season this spring?

Dr. Han: Be mindful of what you may be allergic to and try to avoid those things, always wash your hands to remove allergens before handling contacts or touching near your eyes and wear sunglasses! Sunglasses provide a barrier from allergens while also blocking harmful UV light.

Personally, I don’t ever go outside without sunglasses on. My eyes have always been a bit sensitive to sunlight. Dr. Han said that light-colored eyes allow more light rays to reach the retina, because there is less pigment in the iris to absorb them. As a result people (like me) experience more brightness from the same amount of sunlight. Interesting!

daisy giveaway

Do you need a stylish way to protect your eyes during allergy season? A lucky Still Living The Dream reader can follow Dr. Han’s advice AND look great doing it with a free pair of designer sunglasses valued at $110.00! Just leave a comment about how you deal with seasonal allergies. A winner will be selected at random May 2, 2013, at 11:59 CST.

Want more chances to win? Just leave a separate comment for EACH that you do below!

  1. Follow Still Living The Dream on Pinterest
  2. Follow Still Living The Dream on Twitter
  3. Like Still Living The Dream on Facebook
  4. Tweet this: “I want to win a pair of $110 designer sunglasses to protect my eyes from allergens http://tinyurl.com/bwua8vl @VSPvisioncare @jpatrickcomm”
I did not receive any compensation for this post. I appreciate VSP Vision Care for providing valuable information about seasonal allergies and for providing a pair of sunglasses for a lucky Still Living The Dream reader. 
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Mamavation Monday – A Pledge

 

In my last post I talked about celebrating my weight loss successes in 2012. I’ve lost about 47 pounds since starting to eat healthfully and exercise regularly. It’s been quite a commitment and I’m proud of how far I’ve come, but I have more to loose and goals to meet in 2013.

I’ve found that if I set goals that are realistic and clearly defined, I’m more likely to meet them. But I can’t do it alone. I need tools and resources and a supportive community in order to be successful. This is especially true at this point in my journey. In the beginning, it was enough to just limit my calorie intake and eliminate things like soft drinks and fried foods from my diet. Then I started to exercise. I started walking, then running a little and adding Jazzercise classes to my weekly routine.

I’ve kind of hit a plateau recently and am struggling to continue losing weight. I’ve exhausted my expertise and need some additional help going forward. When I heard about the online Mamavation Sistahood community, I was immediately interested in joining.

The Sistahood is a community weight loss support group for moms in social media. Moms like me can learn and support one another in weight loss and fitness goals while learning to share healthy habits with their families. They have an online forum where moms can network and help each other and they sponsor challenges (I applied for the #iheartOmron Challenge and am crossing my fingers that I’m selected next month!).

I love that they accept women at all stages of the journey and encourage them to stay active by participating in weekly blog updates and a Monday night online TV chat show. It’s just the accountability I need mixed with the support I know is necessary in order to make healthy living a commitment for a lifetime.

I’ve started a list of goals for the first quarter 2013 and I hope that as a member of the Sistahood, I’ll reach them all and be motivated to continue adding to my list for the rest of the year:

  1. Participate in a 5K with my family by February 2013
  2. Take body measurements by January 7, 2013
  3. Sign up for and begin training for a 10K by March 2013
  4. Lose 10 pounds by February 15, 2013
  5. Run at least 2 times a week
  6. Take a Jazzercise class at least 3 times a week
  7. Blog weekly about my weight loss journey, my goals and tools that have helped me achieve success including healthy recipes

So I’m pledging to join the Sistahood. For me and my family. What about you? Do you have goals for 2013? Is getting healthy on your list? Join me!

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Celebrating Success in 2012 – Setting Goals for 2013

It’s New Year’s Eve and after a week of eating foods I shouldn’t (oh sugar cookies with frosting, how can you be so sweet and so evil at the same time?!) and less frequent workouts, I hit the gym early this morning. I have been feeling so bad about neglecting my healthy eating habits and not working out as much as I should lately. It felt good to get back to it with an hour of Jazzercise before the first of the year.

My New Year’s Resolution, for sure, is to continue on the road to good health that I started last July. I need to lose more weight and get in better physical shape but also work on my state of mind. When I stumble, I need to get back up…not beat myself up. And I want to set realistic goals and involve my family in more healthy adventures like participating in a 5K together.

And I need to celebrate my successes along the way.

That’s hard for me because I’m afraid of getting too comfortable and not being able to continue losing weight or maintain my weight loss when I finally reach my ultimate goal. I’ve lost weight before and gained in back. I don’t want it to be temporary this time.

A good start for me has been to surround myself with people who are supportive. Friends with similar good health/weight loss goals to eat and exercise with and online groups with folks who can answer a question, give advice or just lend support have been so helpful. I continue to seek out tools and resources that can help me along the way. And I want to share things I find with you so that if you are on a similar journey, you can find inspiration and be successful as well.

I’m looking forward to what 2013 will bring and what I can accomplish. But before that, I’m going to reflect on how far I’ve come. I carry this photo of me in my wallet. It was taken about a month or two before I started my journey last summer and when I was at my heaviest.

And this is me now.

Not there yet, but stronger then before and I’m progressing…which is a big thing. Will you join me? I hope so!

Happy New Year, friends.

Be safe and be happy and set goals for 2013.

But be sure to also celebrate a success from 2012 and feel good about yourself.

 

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Firefly 5K – We Did It!

My Couch to 5K running buddies and I got suited up and went to Reliant Stadium Saturday night for the Firefly Night 5K that we have been training for over the last eight weeks. I had a great time with my friends and accomplished my goal by running the entire race! It was a bit emotional to realize how far I’ve come along my road to good health since July.

Does this tutu make me look fast?!!

Now I’m ready for the next one!

 

What about you?

Have you accomplished a goal today? This week? This month?

No matter how big or how small, be sure to celebrate your success!

 

 

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NeriumAD Age-Defying Night Cream Review and Giveaway

Life List item #49 – Get on a skin care regimen.

I’ve  been blessed with pretty good facial skin, especially since I’ve never really done much to take care of it. As I age (gracefully, I hope!) I’ve become more aware that I’m pushing my luck vis a vis healthy skin. Then I turned 40 (almost two years ago) and wrinkles, discoloration and lines started to appear. UGH!

So I started looking for a product that would help. But there are SO many on the market – it overwhelmed me. And to be honest, I’m pretty lazy when it comes to primping. I can’t seem to “stay on” regimens that require several steps. So while I tried several products, I never stayed with one.

Then I heard about NeriumAD.

Relatively new on the market, NeriumAD Age-Defying Treatment was formulated after more than 10 years of scientific research and clinical testing by scientists and medical professionals for Nerium SkinCare, Inc.

I like the fact that the company uses “evidence-based” product development to insure safety and efficacy. And that the company’s Scientific Advisor, Robert A. Newman, has worked at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for the past 24 years as the Founder and Co-Director of the Pharmaceutical Development Center.

And people who use it, LOVE it. Look at this person’s results.

So I vowed to give it  the “old college try” for one month. After two weeks (for many people, results are seen much quicker) I noticed a difference in the way my skin both looked and felt. Lines have faded, my skin feels firmer and healthier and my color is more even.

The best part? It’s easy peasy to use. Just four or five squirts from the bottle (which lasts about one month) massaged into damp skin at night.

Done.

In the morning, I rinse off my face and then apply a light moisturizer with sun protection in it.

What do you think? My photos aren’t as dramatic as the results shown above, but I can tell a difference.

Photos taken before I started using Nerium about a month ago are on the left, photos taken today are on the right.

While certainly not inexpensive, compared to other skin care products on the market, Nerium is competatively priced. A single bottles retail for $110.00 but customers who purchase Nerium on a monthly auto-ship basis can purchase the product for $80.00. The company originally considered selling this product in spas and dermatologist offices, but would have had to charge about $250-$300 a bottle. So they took a relationship marketing approach to selling Nerium (through brand partners) which helps keep the price point down for consumers.

A Giveaway!

Would you like to give Nerium a try? How about for free? One lucky Still Living The Dream reader will be chosen at random on November 12, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. CST to receive a complimentary bottle of NeriumAD, valued at $110.00.

All you have to do is leave a comment below about why you want to try Nerium.

Want more chances to win? I know you do! Leave a separate comment for each of the following you do below as well.

  1. Follow me on Pinterest
  2. Follow me on Twitter
  3. Like Still Living The Dream on Facebook
  4. Tweet this: “I want to win NeriumAD anti-aging skin care for healthy and young looking skin! @jpatrickcomm http://www.stilllivingthedream.com/2012/11/neriumad-age-defying-night-cream-review-and-giveaway.html”

I was given a complimentary bottle of Nerium for the purposes of this review but received no other compensation. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This giveaway is sponsored by Kimberly Simmons, NeriumAD Brand Partner. For more information about Nerium and how to order, visit  http://www.kimsimmons.nerium.com/. Kimberly will be holding a separate drawing (run entirely by her) for another free bottle of Nerium for Still Living The Dream readers who purchase a bottle from her by the end of November 2012. Be sure to tell her Jennifer sent you so you can be entered! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Will Be Brave….My Journey to Good Health.

Recently I posted this picture on Facebook along with this caption.

35 pounds. Gone.

And I got an outpouring of support from people who congratulated me, complimented me and asked me how I did it.

It’s been a journey I’ve been taking since July. It’s a journey I’m still on. I have more weight to lose and then I need to work on keeping it off. But as of today, I’ve lost 35 pounds. On my short frame of 4’10″, it’s pretty significant. And so I’m celebrating that success.

Part of my success has been through making healthier food choices and limiting my calorie/fat intake. I do this through Weight Watchers and I’ll talk more about that later. The other element has been exercise. For me, what has worked has been hitting the track to run/walk and doing Jazzercise.

I’ve been getting ready for a 5K run with my friends…using the Couch to 5K program. It’s been a great way to ease my body back into exercise and running. Before July I wasn’t moving much at all and could barely walk around the track at the YMCA. Today I’m able to run around it four times.

You start off by running just a minute or so at a time, alternating between running and walking. Slowly the amount of time you run increases. Yesterday I ran two 8 minute runs with 5 minute walks in between. Tomorrow I’ll be running 20 minutes at once.

An app on your smartphone tells you when to start running and start walking.

It started with a step and I continue my journey one step at a time. The most important thing is that I make my health and exercise a priority. Which often means doing it first thing in the morning before work and other responsibilities can take over. And sometimes…I just have to push other things aside and trust that it will all be there 30 minutes to an hour when I get back because my health is too important.

But it’s hard. And sometimes I struggle. And when my friends can’t join me on a run – sometimes I listen to music that inspires me and sometimes I let the moment and feelings take over and cry. I’ve come a long way but I have a long way to go and many steps to take. And sometimes it’s really overwhelming.

But I will be brave.

I was by just posting that picture of myself above in a workout tank and pants. My curves are still there…I’m not at my goal weight. But I’m making progress.

In upcoming posts I’ll be talking about more of what I’m doing including programs I’m involved with, recipes I’ve enjoyed, how I eat well while eating out, traveling and making good food choices, etc. Unless otherwise indicated, I don’t have any official affiliation with companies and programs mentioned in my posts. I’d love to hear about what you’d like to know, so give me a shout below with questions.

Will you share the journey with me?

 

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My Journey to Good Health

Do you love how I just kind of quickly mentioned that I’ve been on Weight Watchers and then moved on in yesterday’s post? Well, Life List #45: Get Healthy has actually been one of the most important goals in my life recently (and certainly more worthy of just one sentence on this blog) but I’ve been scared to say anything.

Isn’t that silly?

Deep breath….here goes.

Me at Bloggy Boot Camp – September 15, 2012

Since July I’ve been on Weight Watchers and have lost 27.8 pounds so far. I’m about halfway to my goal weight but just now feel like I can really talk about it because, honestly – I’ve made several false attempts before this time.

Have you been there, too?

I’ve been working hard. Motivated by my mother’s heart attack earlier this year and my own weight and health issues, I decided I needed to get serious.

Seriously. I’m 4’10″. My body wasn’t happy about carrying 50 plus pounds of extra weight and it was screaming at me daily. My back hurt, my legs hurt, my knees hurt. And my blood work showed I was headed for some real problems down the not so distant road.

So by sticking to the Weight Watchers program, making good food choices and exercising three times a week (Jazzercise and a running program called Couch to 5K) I’ve managed to turn things around…but I still have a ways to go.

I’m really excited to share with you things that have worked for me so far. And I will…I promise! In my next several posts I plan to give you “the skinny” about resources that have helped me.

One of which is a fabulous friend I met at Bloggy Boot Camp last weekend in Dallas. She’s on a similar journey and we have so much in common, it’s scary. Wait ’til you meet her!

But first – did I tell you? I’ve lost 27.8 pounds, ya’ll!!!

 

Disclaimer – I have no official affiliation with any company or service mentioned in this post. 

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Boot Camp Day Five – A Bump in the Road

For those of you just joining in on my boot camp experience, I signed up for a one month boot camp class with a groupon deal I bought. I’m really, quite seriously, out of shape. I’m heavier then I’ve ever been and haven’t been doing much of anything vis a vis “exercise” lately.

With my friend, Patti, by my side and the promise of a scooter from my husband (you can read more about that here) I’m determined to finish out the month. By then I’m hoping I will have lighted a fire that will spark me to continue down the road to good health.

photo courtesy of flickr: veggiefrog

So this is week 3 and I usually go twice a week; on Tuesday and Thursday.

My partner-in-crime called Tuesday morning (which would have been day 5) at 4:30 a.m. to tell me she had a headache and wasn’t going. Dressed and ready to roll, it only took me 3 1/2 seconds to decide to go back to bed and skip it too.

The power of a work-out partner is strong, ya’ll!

Determined to get in 2 classes this week, I woke up early Wednesday and waited for Patti to pick me up. When she didn’t text me to say that she was on her way, I got worried. When she didn’t respond to my texts, I remembered that she had been to a concert the night before. Patti was sleeping soundly.

I was on my own. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it took a lot to get in my car and go there alone.

And I was proud.

For about two minutes. And then the hardest work out of my life started and I ceased to think straight anymore. We ran around the park track in formation and then did “slingshots” where the back person sprinted to the front. I had a hard time keeping up and at one point dropped out of formation. I felt like a failure but my trainer kept by my side and pushed me.

Then we did pull-ups and I discovered I have absolutely no upper body strength. Good to know. Tears trickled down my cheeks as I struggled to complete just two. My trainer pushed me to do four.

Then we did inverted push-ups and lunges and more running and bench kicks and more running. And at the end…we pushed monster truck tires across the pavement. I’ve never been so happy to see 6:00 a.m. in my life … time to go  home.

But I was proud.

Until I woke up this morning and my arms and calves hurt so much that all excuses aside, I just couldn’t go to boot camp today. I felt bad about skipping BUT then I remembered that they hurt because I was out there working and I should feel good about that. And I should listen to my body.

I’m going to take a walk today. And then I’m going to boot camp three times next week to make up for only going once this week.

I’m learning that road blocks aren’t always bad. As long as I make a new plan and keep moving forward.

 

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Boot Camp Day Four. Stairs.

Today we took it up a notch.

I didn’t realize it when I signed up for this gig, but every other week boot camp changes location to the outside of a building with stairs.

35 of them.

That we climbed. Many times.

Frontwards, backwards,  on all fours, running, jumping, hopping….

It was crazy and by the time we got to the backwards crab I thought I was going to have a breakdown.

After all the climbing plus the jumping jacks, basketball jumps, chair sits, etc. … I know I’m going to be sore tomorrow. And even though I told Patti repeatedly, “this sucks” and I called the trainer a bad name under my breath (which I now regret, he’s really a very nice fellow), I’m glad I went.

Because I’m moving upwards.

Literally and figuratively.

And someday I’ll be able to climb up up all 35 stairs backwards on all fours. (Hey you have your goals, I have mine, don’t judge!)

And that makes me feel good.

Have you done something good for yourself today? 

 

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