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Moving Day.

July 12, 2010

Today is my fifth blogaversary.

In celebration of this milestone, I want to welcome you to Lemonade Life’s new home, now officially living at www.lemonadelife.com. I have been waiting 5 years to own this domain, and have been suffering with the stupid “lemonlemonade” URL for far too long. When it finally became available last week, I jumped at the chance to grab it. Big thanks to my friend and web designer, Erica, for working tirelessly through the weekend to get everything set up and raring to go for today! I could not have done it with out her.

To read the recent of my blogaversary post, you’ll have to click here.

Please update your blogroll and make sure to note the new URL when linking to me in the future. Thanks!

Wedding Countdown: The Trip to Oregon.

July 9, 2010

Ladies and gents, one year from today, I will be getting married to my best friend.

::Girly squeals of joy::

While I still have guest blog posts to go up because I am the ultimate FAIL when it comes to scheduling posts, I am sure you all want to hear about how our trip to Oregon went, don’t you? I certainly can’t let down my faithful readers.

After last week’s Roche, I hopped a plane early Wednesday morning westbound for Oregon. I arrived mid-afternoon after a brief layover in Dallas and was greeted at the airport by my lovely mother. Since the drive to my parent’s house passes the venue and because the weather was so lovely on Wednesday, we decided to make a quick stop to see the venue where we are getting married one year from today.

(!!!)

The weather was exactly what I hope it will be next year. The air smelled clean and fresh and the trees glowed with the sunlight. Our ceremony is taking place near a gazebo, and our reception under an enormous tent. There is a little patio with a bar and plenty of grassy areas for picture taken. Considering I had never seen it before and basically took a leap of faith that I would even like it, it was perfect.

Where the ceremony will take place

Erik arrived late on Wednesday night, but we were in full force with our wedding vendor appointments on Thursday and Friday. We met with two DJs, two photographers, a videographer, our wedding planner and the coordinator of our venue. On Saturday, we met with another photographer and on Monday morning, we met with another videographer.

Even with all those appointments, picking our vendors was very difficult, mostly because after meeting with the vendors and hearing more about the packages they offered, I was more disenchanted with what I was actually getting. It’s expensive to get married anywhere, and I was beginning to feel that I had made appointments with the most expensive vendors, even though they were highly recommended by everyone we talked with. On more than one occasion I was completely upset with my choices because it felt like I had made the appointments without really look at the prices! Although clearly there were more “affordable” options, at the end of the day, we also wanted to make sure we went with someone with an outstanding reputation and who would also work well and be familiar with our other vendors (namely our wedding planner, who would be in charge of all the vendors on the day of).

Our pick for a photographer is Paul Rich Studios. He was phenomenal during our meeting. Really spoke clearly and concisely about what he offered and how he would work with us, and he asked us a dozen questions about us and our plans for the day which made me feel like we were already his client. As someone who works in P.R. and deals with clients, this scores major bonus points! Plus, he’s just talented. Our videographer is Shields Films, owned by a guy named Travis, who was friendly and fun during our meeting. We felt he had the most natural style of filming and wouldn’t be too over the top or hokey. Perfect for capturing our day, which will hopefully not be over the top or hokey either!

We haven’t settled on a DJ yet, so stayed tuned on that front, but hopefully it will be settled soon.

All in all, a very productive trip. I’m not sure when I’ll be back to Oregon, so I’m glad we were able to get much of what we need to do done. Of course, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so there’s plenty still left to do!

Thing That Makes Me Happy: #63 and #64

July 8, 2010

I have thought about putting up “Shopping” as one of my 101 Things That Make Me Happy, but truth is, most of the time, shopping doesn’t make me happy. Shopping can actual make me pretty miserable, considering I’m plus-size and have a difficult time finding things that fit me properly. However, there are two stores in this world that never fail to bring a smile to my face!

#63: Powell’s Bookstore

Touted as the world’s largest independently owned bookstore, Powell’s Bookstore gives me the goosebumps. As a small child, I hated the store, because it was so big and overwhelming. Powell’s takes up an entire square city block in Portland, and is four stories tall. As an adult, it is still big and overwhelming, but it is glorious with all the books it carries. But you don’t even have to visit Oregon to shop at Powell’s. Powell’s books are also available to order online on their website. Their website also has a pretty nifty interview section with some top authors if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Since it’s a new and used bookstore, you can also sell your books at Powell’s (provided their massive stock doesn’t already have eleventy billion copies!). When I moved to the East Coast three years ago, I sold over $50 worth of books. Not enough to live off of, but it was a pretty sweet deal.

#64: Target

Who doesn’t love Target? No, really. I have never met a person who did not find at least some joy within the walls of Target. It has everything you could possibly need and want and more. From their cute little home decor section to their amazingly cheap yet durable t-shirts to their home goods section that carries every product in every line I can think of. I always seem to end up spending way more than I expected when I go to Target because there is just so much awesomeness inside. Seriously, it’s a good thing my closest Target is a thirty-five minute subway ride away or I’d be in big trouble!

My week of guest posts was interrupted by some faulty scheduling, so we’ll have a wedding update tomorrow and two more fun guest posts next week! Happy Thursday!

Guest Post: The Cookies.

July 7, 2010

I met Leighann last summer in Chicago while on business at BlogHer. She is a smart, active, passionate mom and although I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her daughter, I can already tell she is just darling. I have always been “loud and proud” with my diabetes, and it’s great to see other children following suit.

This past week we moved to a new house in a new neighborhood across town.

It has actually been about three months since we put our house on the market, sold it within a week, and quickly put an offer on this house. It was a “hurry up and wait” situation in many respects. As we waited those months for the move to actually happen, my husband, who likes to take the kids to various parks on the weekend, began taking our two kiddos to the neighborhood park less than a third of a mile from the new home.

He figured this would begin getting them used to their new surroundings. I was actually surprised that when we moved the kids never looked back. I thought they would miss the only house they’ve ever known, but they don’t. A few days ago the doorbell rang. It was a family from across the street. As we began talking the mother remarked that we looked familiar and then realized that she had met my husband and kids at the park a while back.

As if a light bulb went off in her head, her eyes got wide and she looked down at the plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies* in her outreached hand. She looked from me to Quinn and back again. As she opened her mouth, in apology I’m sure, I cut her off. “It’s fine. She can have cookies.”

Turns out that at the park Quinn did as she often does: she told her life story to the family. A story, which of course includes the fact that she has diabetes, needs insulin, and has a pump. She doesn’t tell this story to garner sympathy, but it’s just part of who she is.

Recently a teacher remarked, “Quinn has never met a stranger.” And then at our 504 Plan meeting another said that even though they keep it confidential, Quinn tells everyone anyway. I think this is a good thing. Maybe she helps demystify diabetes. Maybe she helps dissolve some misperceptions. Maybe she puts a different face on a condition that the general public usually sees as the Type 2 stereotype.

At the library one day she began talking to the octogenarian couple at the next table. When it was time to go I learned that she and the old man were talking diabetes and comparing how they test their blood sugars and get their insulin. They were incredibly impressed. I felt pride for her. I know a lot of people try to hide their diabetes from others, but not my Quinn.

Maybe she’ll become a diabetes advocate. Well, in addition to being a singer/ dancer (but not actor) in Hollywood when she grows up.

*She did in fact enjoy those cookies over the next few days.

Thanks, Leighann!

Guest Post: Diabetes On Your Wedding Day.

July 2, 2010

Today’s post is courtesy of Sysy Morales, a new blogger who just started up the Girl’s Guide to Diabetes. She offered to share a few words of wisdom as a newlywed with diabetes about how to handle diabetes during my wedding day. Considering a wedding day *without* diabetes is psychosis-inducing as it is (I am trying really hard to not be a bridezilla!), I jumped at the chance to find out how to make sure my diabetes doesn’t get in the way of the best day of my life. Take it away, Sysy!

Dear Allison (and any other diabetic girl about to get married),

Since you are getting hitched soon and I got married less than 2 years ago I thought it would be good to lay out a couple of tips about how to make the day go smoothly (diabetic speaking).

My own wedding was awesome. I loved that it was simple, fun, and that my Alex was the first person
to show up at the church!

Would I change anything about it? Umm…yes. One thing. I would have done some diabetes pre- wedding planning. I didn’t because honestly, it never came to mind. I was completely rapped up with being a bridezilla. Well not really but, I did turn into a big worrywart, concerning myself with every possible detail of the wedding and reception.

I almost forgot I was a diabetic. I danced my first dance with my new husband in 5 inch heels and blood sugar over 250. Instead of only holding back tears of joy I also found myself fighting tears of sheer pain in my feet. I don’t want this to happen to you.

So here are my tips for you and other girls about to walk down the isle. Things you want to take in consideration BEFORE you say “I do”.

• Before the wedding, recreate whatever your schedule will be the day of your wedding. Do it twice. You want to get up at the same time you plan on getting up on that special day and eat at the same time you’ll be eating that day and so forth. For example if you won’t be eating during your ceremony at say, 2pm, don’t eat on your test run day at 2pm. You want to get a feel for what to expect blood sugar wise.

• Enlist a diabetes helper for the day of your wedding. A family member or good friend will do a great job. Basically their task will be to remind you to test your blood sugar (like before you walk down the isle or before you cut the cake). It seems unnecessary but, trust me I test my sugar a lot and on my wedding day I was so excited and nervous I couldn’t even spell my name. This person could carry your meter around for you and just take it to you when the time for testing comes. It is also helpful if they bring you water or ask how you are feeling during the reception. I say this because I danced about in a fairyland with my new hubby and loved ones and forgot to eat or drink anything for hours-not to mention that I forgot to test my sugar!

• If you are the nervous type, anticipate blood sugar going upward. Adrenaline can really cause your sugar to skyrocket and a lot of girls experience rushes of adrenaline just before and during the ceremony. So, test more often and take deep breathes!

• If you are going to workout the day of your wedding or the day before, don’t make it a random workout. You should be doing this routine weeks before the wedding. Why? Exercise affects how much insulin you require and you don’t want any surprises during the wedding-like a sudden drop in glucose.

• Have a good pre-wedding meal. This is not the time to treat yourself to pancakes and maple syrup. If you want steady and predictable blood sugars you want to keep your pre-wedding meal low carb. This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself. Have a big egg omelet with cheese and tomato and spinach and heck-throw in bacon, too! It’s your wedding day! This is precisely why you want no bad surprises with glucose that day. The fewer carbs you eat the less insulin you give and the lower the margin of error you will have. This translates to less yo-yo-ing blood sugars that day.

• If you have a pump, make sure you have got it secure under your dress AND make sure you have a fresh and full supply of insulin in there. You don’t want it to start beeping in the middle of the ceremony because you ran out.

• Wear shoes you can walk in. Okay so this isn’t just for diabetics. Thing is, my sugar was high and I was already in uncomfortable shoes. End result? I painfully hobbled around the beach for the next couple of days while on my honeymoon.

• Last but not least…relax! The wonderful thing about good pre-wedding planning is when the day arrives you will have things under control. Instead of worrying about your sugar while saying your vows, you’ll look at Mr. Right and think of only happy thoughts.

Congratulations to Allison and any other fabulous diabetic fianceés! May your wedding be magical and your blood sugar right where you want it!

Brilliant advice! If you have any wedding advice for how to handle diabetes on my big day, feel free to share in the comments!

Thing That Makes Me Happy: #62

July 1, 2010

I’m in Oregon right now with my fiance, Erik, on mad dash across the Portland metro area in an attempt to secure a photographer, videographer and DJ for our wedding. But even though I’m on “vacation”, I can’t stop the momentum of “Things That Make Me Happy” considering I have a mere 3 months to finish my 101 item list! Since I’m in Oregon right now, I thought today would be the perfect opportunity to share a bit about what makes me so happy about Oregon.

#62: Oregon

I am not one of those people who moved across the country as soon as she could because she loathes where she comes from. I love where I come from. I could sing the praises of Oregon until the cows come home. When I tell people I’m from Oregon, a common response is, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to go there. I hear it’s beautiful!”

Well, my friend, it is. Here are some examples:

The Oregon Coast

A bit of Portland from the Portland Rose Gardens

Mt. Hood

Trees. We have a lot of these here.


Occasionally I actually hear from people who are going to be visiting Oregon and they ask me if I have any suggestions for them (actually, I generally don’t wait for people to ask, but in the hypothetical land of “Allison Minds Her Own Business,” this is what I would do). Here are my top things to do if you ever visit the City of Roses:

Allison’s Top Things To Do in Portland:
1. Powell’s Bookstore:

By far, this is my happy place. Land of books. They have an online store where you can purchase books at a ridiculous discount and it is lovely, but their story is even lovelier. Divided into “topical” rooms that are colored, you have the Blue Room for Literature, the Gold Room for Science Fiction and Fantasy, the Purple Room for History and other social sciences, and the Red Room for Travel/Spirituality/Health and other “improve yourself” subjects. Love, love, love. Considering it is located in Downtown Portland, there is no reasonable excuse any of you could have for not going. So there.

2. Multnomah Falls and the Gorge

Multnomah Falls (see the picture above) is gorgeous, and while a quintessential Oregon tourist stop, it is well worth the visit for the view, especially in late spring/early fall when the runoff water from Mt. Hood is at its highest. Multnomah Falls is actually forty-five minutes due east from Portland, but assuming you’ve rented a card, this should definitely be added to your sightseeing list.

3. McMenanmin’s

On your way back from Multnomah Falls? Then stop by northwest born-and-bred brewery, McMenanmin’s Edgefield in Troutdale. Not up for a road trip? Then stop by any one of the dozen or so McMenamin’s hot spots in the Portland area. Up for pizza and beer while watching a move in the theater? Hit up the Baghdad theater on NE Hawthorne Blvd. Hawthorne is also decorated with funky shops that give a real eclectic, hippie feel to Portland. McMenamin’s will give a visitor a true taste of a Portland pub without being too difficult to find or out of the way.

4. Northwest 23rd

Not into hippies? No worries. On the other side of town (and about ten blocks from Powells) is Northwest 23rd, a tree-lined street filled with charming boutiques, a delicious deli with to-die for desserts and my favorite new age bookstore. Are you a fan of crepes? Head down a few blocks to Vivace, where their funky antique chairs complement their delicious sweet and savory crepes and, of course, a perfect cup of Portland coffee (just be warned – it can get crowded!).

5. Saturday Market

No trip to Portland is complete without a visit to Portland’s Saturday (and Sunday!) Market in downtown Portland, just across Front Avenue from the Willamette River. Open from spring until Christmas, the Saturday Market is home to hundreds of local artisans and craftspeople and some very yummy vendor food. My favorite thing to do there is get a bit of henna done, and I’ve also picked up some handmade jewelry. Performance artists and musicians also abound, so it’s perfect for browsing – both the goods and the people who visit!

If you are planning a visit to Oregon, please let me know! I would love to point out a few more specifics and get to know more about what you like to do.

Roche Diabetes Social Media Summit

June 30, 2010

I am sitting at Gate 10 in Terminal A at Orlando International Airport. I have just finished participating in the Roche Diabetes Social Media Summit, which is perhaps my favorite 24 hour period of the year. It’s like Christmas, Thanksgiving and a family reunion with people you actually like all combined into one. But honestly, I think it might even be better than that.

I have spent almost 10 years of my life participating in some form or another of the online diabetes community, and in a way, I really do consider my diabetes family to be a real true family. My experiences in the community started at a fairly young age, and I consider myself to be partially raised in the diabetes community. I know that bringing me together with my family once a year is not why Roche created the Summit, but it is perhaps the best unintended consequence they could have imagined.

Roche began with their presentation on what they accomplished this year, which included, amazingly enough, a new commercial for one of their meters that included real blood sugar readings of 192 mg/dl and 273 mg/dl from the real people with diabetes in the commercial. No actors! Score!

But overall, this year was different that last year. There was less emphasis on Roche, for one. We had two guest organizations come in, the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. The time we spent with them was nearly half the organized discussion portion of the entire day.The American Diabetes Association has long been victims of the wrath from people with type 1 diabetes. The ADA is seen as being many things including, but not limited to: “a professional organization,” “an organization focused on people with type 2,” “an organization that doesn’t spend enough money on research,” and “a fiscally irresponsible organization.” The ADA seemingly took our criticisms in stride, and like all good public relations (and I should know, this is what I do), they admitted where they faulted and continually replied that they appreciated our feedback and were working on improving what we were saying. No shutting us down or dismissing our thoughts. My only concern that came out our discussion with some of their practices, such as not emphasizing the needs of the adults with type 1, is that there didn’t seem to be much placed on timing.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators should have been a good segment, but it wasn’t. As you will no doubt hear from others who will blog about this event, the AADE portion was not what any of us imagined. We as people with diabetes and as bloggers are acutely aware of the devastating state of diabetes education in this country, with a shortage of CDEs and endos throughout the country. Unfortunately, the AADE is not responsible for certifying CDEs and thus our pleas for assistance in making becoming CDEs more feasible for those pursuing a second career fell of deaf ears. Even requests for petitioning assistance to the Board that does certify fell on deaf ears. Whether this was resistance to the ideas or resistance to the fact that it was bloggers who were so passionately requesting such an action, perhaps we’ll never know. But soon after, it became clear the AADE did not appreciate the expectations we had for the organization and the discussion quickly fell a part. It was disappointing to say the least, but a lesson I learned is that it is important to understand your opponent. The AADE should have understood where we might be coming from (and also who we are in general) and we should have been more well-read on who the AADE is and what they do prior to the event.

At the end of the evening, before dinner, we had our annual photoshoot. This year, we had ten more bloggers than last year, including 3 additional people with type 2 diabetes. It was exciting to have even more folks, but I know that as always, it is not perfect as many, many people who wanted to be there could not. You were all missed, but I think very well represented by the passionate and eloquent folks who did attend. I look forward to seeing how things continue to improve moving forward with the input from some of the brightest minds in the industry – us!

You can play “Guess the blogger” – although I’ll give you a hint: I’m smack dab in the middle

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