Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's Cheer

Image courtesy of Anthropologie

Season's Greetings! As many of you may know, I had my surgery a week ago yesterday and it was a huge success! Since then I have been walking, sitting, driving, and bending with ease (comparatively) and my road to recovery just gets smoother every day. I'm thoroughly enjoying my return to functioning life and I'm looking forward to a busy week packed with Hanukkah parties, a bridal shower, and New Year's Eve in Las Vegas! So, while I probably won't post again until 2010, I'm moving into the new year with great spirits and you can expect to hear a lot more from me soon! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I never would have imagined I could be so excited about having a surgery! As I mentioned before, my surgery has been set for December 21st and I have idly been counting down the days. My parents and I had the faint hope that maybe I could be squeezed in on the 14th or 15th (the doctor only operates on Mondays and Tuesdays), yet each time we called to check on my status, the scheduling ladies had the same response: "Sorry, no changes. If something opens up we'll let you know." Because I'm on blood thinners, I need at least 5 days notice before the surgery to tend to my medications, so as yesterday and today rolled by, I finally resigned myself to the fact that surgery could come no sooner than the 21st.

Until now.

The scheduling ladies just called and said Wednesday, December 16th is available and I'm on the schedule! FIVE DAYS sooner than expected! FIVE DAYS from today! And absolutely right on time. I know 5 days doesn't sound like much, and if I had to wait those extra 5 days I would, without complaint. But cutting 5 days from my sentence feels like adding a year onto my life right at this moment! I've been on my back for eight weeks - yes, EIGHT WEEKS! I can barely remember what it feels like to sit down at a table to eat a meal, let alone sleep comfortably on my stomach (or at all, for that matter) or stand up for longer than 10 minutes. I am ecstatic that my surgery and the rest of my life are only 5 days away.

And, as an added bonus, I'll be able to attend my brother's holiday party on the 19th in an upright position instead of chaining myself to the couch for the night. Oh happy day!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Illustrated Gift Tags

My good friend, Brooke, is a very talented fashion illustrator and she features her work on her blog and Etsy page. Her most recent product is available just in time for the holidays - lovely, illustrated holiday gift tags!

Also, be sure to check out her Fabulous Tags and Lined Lady Tags! Keep up the great work, Brooke!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hippo Discoveries

In the spirit of loving all things hippo, and as a reminder that this blog is not, in fact, just a platform to keep people updated on my injury/illness status, I'm going to share some lovely hippo art that I've recently discovered!

This first find, adorable hippo greeting cards titled "The Cavorting Hippo," is from Vancouver-based illustrator Rebekah Joy Plett. I'm in love with the line drawing of the hippo beside all of the cards! This pack can be purchased at Rebekah's Etsy shop and 10% of the profits go to a local children's organization. I plan on purchasing a pack to frame and put up in my studio!

The other interesting hippo art I found is from my own employer, Anthropologie! This Flip-Flop Hippo is made entirely from rubber sandals that have washed up on the shores on Kenya and it sells for a whopping $298! I'm not sure I'd use it to decorate my own house, but I'm thrilled that the creators chose to feature my beloved hippo.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Incredible Future of Technology

Hi Everyone! I know I haven't written in a while, but I've been home from the hospital since the day after my last post and I finally have a surgery date - December 21 - so I know when I'll finally be able to join the real world again!! I haven't been writing because I feel like I haven't had much to say - my pain is still pretty much the same as it's been for the past 6 weeks and I've been working on building a tolerance so that I can stand and walk for longer periods of time. Most of my time is still spent lying on my back, but now I get to go out on little field trips so I can go shopping for an hour or pick up my brother from the airport (riding in the backseat, lying down, of course). I've been busy knitting hats and scarves (pretty much all I know how to knit), watching lots of TV, and re-reading Harry Potter for the billionth time, so I'm keeping pretty positive and happy for the most part. However, the reason for this post was not to ramble on about myself, it was to share a very interesting video that I discovered about the future of technology.

This video features the genius Pranav Mistry as he demos and discusses his latest invention, SixthSense technology. It is absolutely astounding! In my wildest dreams I never could have foreseen technology becoming this interactive and accessible. And, though I've always dreamed that I could capture a picture with just the blink of an eye, I never thought we'd come this close... Imagine how this technology could change the world!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Update Take 2: My Hospital Adventure

Wow, I didn't realize how long it had been since I last updated everyone on my condition! A LOT has changed, and not so much for the better, so let me get you caught up... After I last wrote, I got an MRI that night and learned that I have a HUGE herniation in my S1 disc - and I mean HUGE! All of the doctors who have looked at it agree that it is enormous and most recommended surgery to most successfully correct the problem. When I first heard this news, I was pretty upset, especially since I'm young, active, and have every intention of using my spinal cord and its discs for a long time to come! However, the next day I went to meet with the orthopedic surgeon and he explained to me (via a slew of comical metaphors) what exactly will take place in the procedure and how it will relieve my pain: It is a microscopic discectomy where they make a very small incision in my back, remove the part of the disc that is pressing on my nerves, and then sew a single internal stitch, leaving barely a mark on my skin. It's an outpatient surgery that takes only 45 minutes and the relief is said to be so instant that I can do backflips out of hospital! So, after hearing all of the details and weighing my options (wait for several more weeks, or maybe months, in extreme pain, and hope that the disc heals itself OR get this quick fix surgery) I opted for the surgery and scheduled it for Tuesday, November 10, 2 weeks from the date that I met with the surgeon. I would have scheduled the surgery for the day after I met the surgeon if I could have, but he was leaving town and couldn't fit me in that quickly, so I grudgingly accepted that I'd have to lie around for another 2 weeks (remember, I'd already been on my back for over a week at this point). In the meantime, I scheduled an epidural injection in an attempt to shrink the disc and hopefully find some relief, even if it was just temporary...

Wednesday, October 28, the day after I met with the surgeon, I had my epidural. I woke up that morning in a tremendous amount of pain. I couldn't stand long enough to put toothpaste on my toothbrush, and I was losing tolerance for the pain and my inactivity. I went into the procedure with high hopes that things would be different on the other end, but I was definitely not prepared for the injection. They sedated me as soon as I got on the table, so for about 30 seconds I was doing great, and then the shots started and I have never felt that much pain in my life. All of the pain I'd been feeling already was intensified as they were sticking needles right into my tender nerves and my body just freaked out. When they were done with the injections (I don't know how many shots there were, it felt like at least 5) I was shaking uncontrollably and hyperventilating and I was pretty much a wreck, but they gave me some more drugs and laid me down until I could recover from the shock of the pain and then, miraculously, I felt nothing! I could sit up straight and I could stand with no pain and I thought, maybe that was worth it after all! And then about an hour later the numbing medicine wore off and the pain meds wore off and I was in the same pain I'd been in when I woke up and my spirits sank. With epidural injections it can take up to 10 days for the steroids to have their full effect, and so I waited, still on my back, still unable to stand, sit or walk, hoping with each new day that the relief would come... and it never did. I could move around a little better than the days leading up to the procedure, but I still couldn't walk for more than 3 minutes and I still couldn't sit at the dinner table to eat my meals. However, my surgery was scheduled and I had a date to look forward to when I knew I'd feel relief.

Wednesday morning, with less than a week to go before surgery, I woke up with a strange pain in my right shoulder, chest, and ribs. I thought I had just slept funny and tried icing my shoulder, hoping the soreness would go away. Instead, as seems to be the trend with my body lately, it got progressively worse throughout the day. By Wednesday night when I was trying to go to bed, my chest felt constricted and I was having trouble taking deep breaths. I thought if I could just fall asleep, maybe I'd wake up and feel better, but I couldn't fall asleep. By 3am I was really starting to get aggravated and I had already had a fit of hyperventilating, so I woke my parents and told them I was worried about the new pains and the breathing issue. They tried to calm me down, thinking maybe it was just a panic attack and I was anxious about the upcoming surgery, but after another hour we finally decided it was time to go to the hospital, so at 4am on Thursday morning, I took a trip to the ER.

At the hospital they ran a bunch of tests and told me it was probably nothing, but I was still in pain and having trouble breathing. They tried giving me pain meds to make me comfortable but nothing was working. They gave me morphine three times and it had no effect on me! So we waited as they poked at me and scanned me and finally, they diagnosed me: I have several small blood clots all over my lungs - pulmonary embolisms! Now things are pretty serious. I was admitted to the hospital and they finally found a pain medicine that I react to. The first day they drew my blood every two hours to check its thickness, and now my right arm could embarrass a junkie. Since blood clots are much more serious than herniated discs, the surgery that I was so looking forward to has been pushed back at least 30 days. I'm on two blood thinners, benadryl (because the pain meds make me itch), and stool softener (because I haven't pooed since I've been in the hospital... in case you were curious). But really, after the initial shock of the diagnosis and learning that I'd need to stay in the hospital for almost a week, things are not so bad. Once we put the blood clots into perspective I realized how lucky it was that I came to the ER. Had I gone to surgery as planned, with no one knowing about the clots, there could have been terrible complications. Now I just need to treat one health problem at a time and keep trying to get back on my feet!

The hospital itself hasn't been so bad, either. I have a nice big private room and someone from my family is here almost all time. We hooked up our Wii to my TV and we've been playing everything from Family Feud and Trivial Pursuit to Mario Kart. My cousin decorated the room with pictures and I've gotten some beautiful flowers that brighten the room and all of the nurses comment on how great it smells in here! I've got my computer with me so I can watch movies and play games, and there's a whole staff of people waiting on me at the press of a button to bring me food or ice or medicine as I need it! Things could be worse! haha... I'm supposed to be discharged tomorrow, pending the results of a few more tests. Other than that, I'm back to taking this one day at a time...

So that's the update, sorry I couldn't give you happier news but I'm in good spirits so you shouldn't worry about me! Thanks for all the well wishes! I hope you're all happy and healthy!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Hello blogging world, it's time for a major update! I have been suffering from a back injury, what is thought to be a bulging or herniated disc, for well over a month and a half. For the most part, I've been able to function despite the pain which pinches my sciatic nerve running down my left buttock and leg, but about a week ago things took a major downward spiral and since last Sunday I've been flat on my back 24/7. I have visited several doctors, including a physical therapist, my family doctor, and even a rolfer, yet I have found little relief. Today I'm going to see someone about an MRI and the possibility of epidural injections in my spine, which seems to be the next logical step and hopefully it will get me back on my feet. Needless to say, I'm going crazy just lying here. I've watched just about every episode of Law & Order ever aired, and every other crappy thing on TV. I can't sit up, so I haven't eaten a meal at a table in over a week, let alone do something productive like read, draw, or knit - it's even been difficult for me to use my computer because the position is so uncomfortable (which explains the lack of blogging). I'm anxious to get back to work, seeing as all of my positions are fairly recent and this feels like a terrible reflection of my dedication to call in "sick" so frequently. I have my Romeo and an ice pack by my side for comfort, but my patience is running very thin and apparently my only option is wait for this thing to run its course and heal itself. I hope you're all doing well, and for anyone who has ever experienced this before, I feel your pain (quite literally).

Wish me luck in my recovery and in the meantime, check out this awesome faux Polaroid program, Poladroid, and admire the handsomeness that is my Romeo!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Baby Bliss

I was searching for some knitting patterns today when I stumbled across Lillebarn's Etsy shop where I found the most amazingly adorable knits for babies. Now I just need to find a baby to make one of these hats for! Try to resist this deliciousness!:

Lilliebarn also has a blog! Check it out to find out how you can get your hands on some of these precious knits.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall Frenzy

Fall is in the air and I'm officially feeling swept away! There's the excitement of baseball and Halloween and winter clothes on the horizon, and I'm in love with it all. I'm going to make yummy fall treats tonight and kick back with some warm cider, even though it's not exactly cold here in Arizona! Here are some deliciously wonderful fall pictures that are guaranteed to get you in the spirit of the season!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I have very good reason to believe that the Apple Store near me (Scottsdale Quarter) is magic. I went in there on Friday with my ipod, which wouldn't sync or charge when plugged in to my computer, and when I brought it to the counter at the Apple store, it miraculously worked! Sure, it might have just been my computer or maybe the USB port I was using, but all the same, it didn't work before I entered the store, and it worked perfectly once I walked inside... And then my computer wouldn't work. Since Saturday, my screen has been black and I was convinced that my logic board had died (again!) and I had to wait until Monday night to see a Genius at the Apple store. Well, what do you know?! - When i brought it to the counter, it turned on without a hitch and was running flawlessly! I mean, one time could have been a coincidence, but twice in 3 days? Please, I know magic when I see it! This little story also explains why I haven't updated in a few days, but now that all of my electronics are working properly again, I can resume with my daily (or weekly) updates.

Today is a very exciting day for me. It's officially my first day at Anthropologie! I had a training session on Sunday where I met some of my new co-workers and learned the rules and ideals of the company, but today I actually get to work the sales floor! On Sunday my trainer summarized working at Anthro as mostly playing dress up with adults. I get to help women find outfits that not only look good but also make them feel good... and the clothes are awesome. I'll still be doing freelance work on the side, but it is comforting to know that I'll also be getting regular paychecks.

Tomorrow I have my first real day at the Children's Museum of Phoenix, as well. I'm starting an internship there in the Development department where I'll be learning all about the inner workings of a non-profit organization, as well as learning how to budget and write grants. I went on an in-depth tour of the museum yesterday and I was completely blown away. The museum is housed in the old Monroe Elementary School Building, originally built in 1913, where Jackson Pollock was once a student. The building is now a historical landmark, so the museum needs to abide by very strict rules when installing exhibits and restoring the building. There are at least a dozen spacious rooms that are still unused because they are not up to code yet, but there are plans and ideas for new exhibits once the rooms are ready. The museum has only been open for a little over a year, so it is in a constant state of renovation and reinvention, but none of that is noticeable because the active exhibits are so incredible. There is a "marketplace" that puts Easy-Bake Ovens and Fisher Price Kitchen Sets to shame. Kids can shop for foods (all fake, of course) in the market, go through the grocery check out, and then move into the next room where they can prepare meals on a variety of play ovens, including a brick stove! There's also a Noodle Forest with over 4,000 hanging foam noodles (like the ones for the pool), a Grand Ball Room with ramps and traps to watch chain reactions, and they're building a 3-story Climber from recycled materials! I can't wait to start working in this playful and energetic environment!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book Reviews and Book Club

I'm so sorry for the week+ blogging hiatus! I wish I had some elaborate story to excuse my absence, but unfortunately it was just laziness and a lack of motivation that kept me away from the keyboard. But no worries, I'm back on track now, and ready to implement a few new things to the blog, starting with a book review. As many of you may know, I'm an avid reader and I love sharing my reading experiences with friends, so I've decided to include regular book reviews of what I'm reading, be it fiction, non-fiction, classic, contemporary, adult, children's... you get the idea.

I've just finished two books in the last few weeks and they'll be my first two reviews: Ayn Rand's classic The Fountainhead and The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik.

I was never assigned The Fountainhead in any of my high school or college English classes, so I recently decided to pick it up on my own and see what all the fuss was about. It was immediately obvious that this book is not for light readers, both because of its bulk (750+ pages) and its author, Ayn Rand, who is known for her complex philosophical writing. The Fountainhead, originally published in 1943, follows the careers of four men: Peter Keating, Ellsworth Toohey, Gail Wynand and Howard Roark and their various experiences and perceptions of "success."

It took me a while (probably a few hundred pages) to really get into the text, and initially I found all of the characters utterly unlikable. Rand writes with a heavy philosophical hand, and the text and characters are very elitist, to the extent that the reader feels alienated and often insulted by the book's attitude about "the masses," aka non-socialites. However, as I continued reading, I could not help but admire Rand for her obvious brilliance and ability to break down the complexity of Objectivism and make it accessible to the layman. Ultimately, I found myself being drawn into this world that I couldn't quite identify with, and was unsure I wanted to identify with, and yet I was still intrigued to learn more about it. Perhaps that's what makes this book really remarkable. Most great novels are "great" because they allow the reader to connect with the characters and subject matter, thus aligning the reader with a particular character in hopes for his/her success (or failure, depending on the character). The Fountainhead encouraged me to read on despite my own beliefs and to open my mind to other theories about the ego, altruism, selfishness, and power. I most certainly don't agree with all of the philosophy The Fountainhead preaches, yet I can honestly say that it has made an indelible impact and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for some deep thinking and lots of reading.

After finishing The Fountainhead, I desperately needed to read something less intellectual and more fun, so I picked up Lorna Landvik's The View from Mount Joy and found it more than satisfactory. In a nutshell, Mount Joy is about how life doesn't always turn out as planned, but it can be pretty great anyway. Joe Andreson, the main character, is one of the most genuinely likable (and real!) characters I've read in a long time. A star athlete in high school, Joe has aspirations of playing pro hockey and dating the head cheerleader, Kristi Casey, yet when more than a few curveballs are thrown his way, he learns to deal with the unexpected (and sometimes tragic) with grace and dignity. Kristi, meanwhile, is a character we've all seen before - the manipulative pretty girl who knows how to get what she wants (think Reese Witherspoon in Election, or, more current, Quinn Fabray from TV's Glee). And yet, though we know her well, she is still surprising and entertaining, proving that Landvik can make even the most unlikable characters in this book of lovable people kind of, well, likable. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a light, enjoyable read. You'll laugh, you'll cry (I did), and you'll leave feeling satisfied.

I'm currently reading One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus, and if anyone would like to read along, I'd love to hear your comments and opinions! It can be like an unofficial book club, and I can include your comments in my review, or you can post them after I write the review. I'll even tag each post (at the bottom) with the title "book club" so that you can search for all relevant posts. Also, if you have any suggestions on books you'd like to read/think I should read/review, I'd love to know about them!

Alright, I think this post is lengthy enough. I'll continue with the updates tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jello Mold!

Here is the fabulous (and delicious!) jello mold I made for Rosh Hashanah! My mom had an old jello mold that was 8" around, but I thought it was a little small so I went looking for another mold... we went to 4 stores (FOUR!) and the only mold I found was a brain shaped mold for Halloween! Apparently jello isn't as in demand as it used to be! Anyway, I ended up using the mold we already had and everything turned out wonderfully, as you can see below.

Brunch Hashanah was a huge success and we got to eat the leftovers for a few days, too!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Card Creations

As promised, here is the final product for Lexy's business card. We decided that this photo is very representative of Lexy's work (she's been taking jumping pictures for longer than I can remember!) and it features a family (our friend Emylee and her husband, baby, parents and friends) and the beach and sunset... I mean, really, what more could you ask for in a picture except for a flying baby? Oh wait, there's one of those, too! So overall, the shot was perfect and we're both very excited to see how they look after printing. Here are some of the other concepts I presented:

It was really a lot of fun playing with her photography and getting to design a creative card, as opposed to some of the more business-y work I've been doing lately.

I also threw together a quick real estate ad for my parents yesterday:

So it was a busy day with a lot of designing and no growth in my bank account, but I get favors and freebies from my parents and Lexy all the time, so it was nice to be able to help them out.

Now I'm off to tackle my next challenge: a jello mold for Rosh Hashanah! Wish me luck! Shana Tova!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Phenomenal Photos

The gorgeous work featured above comes courtesy of my best friend, Lexy Popa. I've spent the day creating a business card for her and admiring her beautiful photographs. I won't post any of the concepts just yet, but keep an eye out for the finished product and runner-up ideas, and in the meantime, check out more of Lexy's work on her website!