Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe – Allrecipes.com

These chocolate chip cookies were gooey and delicious – even I, Cookie Monster’s cookie-hating antithesis (there’s a childhood joke in there), LOVED these cookies. Will make again.

Ingredients
1 h – 12 servings – 298 cals

.5 cup butter, softened
.5 cup white sugar
1/4th cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cups semisweet chocolate chips
.5 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
White chocolate chips to taste.

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
Dissolve baking soda in hot water.
Add to batter along with salt.
Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts.
Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.

Adapted via Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe – Allrecipes.com

Spicy Shrimp Stacks: Modified from Pinterest

When I was craving sushi like whoa, this dish totally hit the spot. The best part? Everything is cooked! ❤

Spicy Shrimp Sushi Stacks
Prep Time:10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time:30 minutes
Servings: 4

Spicy shrimp sushi stacks with layers of sushi rice, cucumbers and avocado in addition to the spicy shrimp!

Ingredients
For the sushi rice:
1 cup uncooked short grained rice, well rinsed <–We used brown.
2 cups water
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

For the avocado and cucumber layer:
1 cup avocado, mashed
1 cup cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt to taste

For the spicy shrimp:
1/2 pound cooked shrimp, diced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sriracha

For the stacks:
4 teaspoons furikake

Directions
For the sushi rice:
Bring the rice and water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes, before letting it cool for a bit.

Gently fold the mixture of the rice vinegar, sugar and salt into the rice.

For the avocado and cucumber layer:
Mix everything.
For the spicy shrimp:
Mix everything.

For the stacks:
Place the rice into the stack guides, pat down lightly, top with the avocado and cucumber mixture, followed by the shrimp mixure
Option: Change the cooked shrimp with your favourite sushi meat like raw tuna, salmon, etc.

Option: Add a layer of diced mango!
Tip: Use an empty can of soup with both ends removed to stack the layers.
Tip: Use a greased 1 cup measuring cup to stack the layers in and then flip it onto the plate.

Note: Furikake is a Japanese style rice seasoning that typically contains toasted sesame seeds, salt and shredded toasted nori.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 397, Fat 15g (Saturated 2g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 123mg, Sodium 735mg, Carbs 47g (Fiber 2g, Sugars 3g), Protein 17g

via Spicy Shrimp Sushi Stacks – Closet Cooking

You can also make this as poke if you’re hungry and don’t give an eff about presentation. It’d also be good with some smoked salmon instead of shrimp, likely. Mm. Now I’m hungry again.

Grilled Duck & Peaches w/ Balsamic-Raspberry Drizzle

This duck dish… omg. It makes one feel like royalty among plebeians.

Ingredients

Protein
Whole duckling

Spice Rub (Equal Parts…)
Japanese 7 Spice
Chipotle Pepper Flakes
Coriander
Tumeric
Garlic Salt

Other Stuff
Ripe Peaches – 3 Peaches
Frozen Raspberries (No Sugar Added) Thawed – 1.5 Cups Raspberries
Water (1/8th a cup)
Balsamic Vinegar (A Dash)
Goat Cheese – To Taste
Arugula (we used whatever we had for it)- (3 Cups)

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill. Make it hot. 😀
  2. Using a mortar and pestle, grind spices, then rub on quartered duck.
  3. While the grill heats, quarter peaches. Puree raspberries with water and balsamic vinegar (to taste). Put bed of arugula on a plate, scatter with goat cheese.
  4. Cook duck on grill until it’s done. Flip every five until done.
  5. Towards end, put peaches cut-side down on the grill; about five minutes.
  6. Put duck and peaches on top of salad. Drizzle with raspberry-balsamic sauce. Serve.

Tasty, right?

Hypothyroid: One Month Since Starting T4-Only Treatment

I can’t believe how many small, tiny details of my life were negatively influenced by my under-active thyroid. Mayo Clinic covers a lot of them, but “dry skin” doesn’t even begin to address the small life annoyances that drove me crazy.

“Thinning hair” didn’t equate to the hair I was losing in the shower – my hair looked fine and had always been on the thin side–losing a few more strands, and then a few more, and then a few more, didn’t exactly raise any warning bells.

“I thought it was normal.” Over and over, I told myself this.

It wasn’t.

This little pill feels magical. Sure, I’m still tired first thing in the mornings and do seem to still have less energy than everyone else (might just need a higher dose), but I am functional. I am functional. I am not broken. ❤ It’s a touch rough, not being able to eat or drink anything of substance for an hour after taking my pill, but the benefits SO outweigh the drawbacks.

One Month of Taking 25mg of Levothyroxine: The Difference

My hair is growing! There is far, far less hair clogging my drain in the shower. Also, it’s growing! It’s been essentially the same length since I cut it over a year ago; now, it’s shoulder-length! The downside is that I have to pluck my eyebrows more often, but I’ll take it!

My energy levels have evened out some; I’ve stopped waking up in the middle of the night, night, but it’s still less difficult to wake up in the morning. Now, I stay awake during every movie I try to watch after five p.m. Before, I used to fall asleep the moment a movie started playing.

Now, it doesn’t take all day to wake the hell up. For example, I awoke at eight a.m. this morning, and stayed awake. Even without coffee, by nine, I felt like a normal person. Previously, I would feel exhausted for hours (usually not feeling fully coherent until three or four in the afternoon).

No more unexplained bruises. I’ve stopped bruising constantly. I always had random, unexplained bruises all over my body, and no recollection of trauma. That has stopped. I’m not a banana anymore!

Lady perks: My period has gone back to the clockwork 28-days of my youth and is far more normal. Before taking my meds, it was bizarre — 31 days between cycles, 34, 37, and the last one, 62 (?!) – my periods were basically non-existent, way lighter than they should have been (contrary to the super-heavy-intense-pain that many women with hypothyroidism experience). The point? Not all symptoms will match the diagnosis exactly. The downside? Normal lady-time symptoms have come back with a vengeance, so that’s less pleasant, but again, I’ll take the energy thank you very much!

Fingernails: My fingernails have stopped breaking off. Literally the day I was diagnosed, my pinky toe nail just fell off. Yes, the whole thing. It didn’t hurt, just separated from the nail bed. It has since grown back in a single month!

My pedicure will LAST this time! My feet look like NORMAL FEET. No more disgusting, peeling, painful, cracked dry skin all over the soles of my feet; before this, I had no idea how everyone else had smooth, pink heels. Mine were dry, crusty, painful, and cracked, always. I just figured everyone else invested much more heavily in pedicures, or wore house shoes like my boyfriend. I haven’t done anything else to them, and the callouses and nastiness are wearing off, all on their own. I’m thrilled!

I have a chin again! My face seems thinner (could just be my imagination) and my chin is back to being pointy; for awhile there, it was rather puffy and unpleasant. This one could be my imagination, but I’ll take it!

Easier time exercising: I no longer feel HORRENDOUS after every bout of exercise. This weekend, we spent all day on a pontoon and I spent literal hours just swimming around. Sure, I was tired at the end of the day, but I didn’t feel like absolute death!

Fortunately, even before being diagnosed, I escaped some of the less fun gastrointestinal issues many people with hypothyroidism face, but I suspect a lot of that has to do with my pre-existing diet. We cook at home constantly, eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, which likely helped all along. Additionally, I have always avoided fried foods and generally don’t consume a ton of added sugar–just fruit (hurray for fiber and nutrients!) I’ve switched to black coffee instead of drinking sweet chai lattes in the morning, cut any lemonade I do drink with unsweetened black tea (Arnold Palmers for the win!), and drink soda water with lime instead of any sort of sugary beverage. With this in mind, I’m not implementing any of the super restrictive diets many of the hypothyroid books suggest. I’ll probably stick to mixed greens over kale and limit my cruciferous vegetables just in case, but generally, most doctors don’t think there is any benefit or credence to aiming for a “hypothyroid diet”. This may not be true for everyone, especially if your tummy is often upset, but for now, this works for me!

We’ll see how this continues – I suspect my dose is a touch low still, but I had blood drawn today to see if my TSH levels have gone back down to normal levels or not. I am just so absolutely relieved!

Shakshuka: Modified Recipe

This dish is one of our absolute FAVORITES. It is healthy and packed with flavor in the best way. Everyone should try it at least once! 😀

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
⅛ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1-2 teaspoons of chili powder
1-2 teaspoons of onion powder
1 (14-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes drained juice, coarsely chopped
2-4 Jalapenos
Bell Pepper OR can of Rotel (Level of heat is your preference)
Can of tomato paste
3 to 4 Cups of Spinach/Kale
¾ teaspoon salt, more as needed
¼ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
6 large eggs
Chopped cilantro (for serving)
Naan (for serving)

PREPARATION
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and optional bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Blend: Pour tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Throw it into a blender along with remaining spices, jalapenos, spinach or kale, can of rotel (drained) or bell pepper. Blend until smooth, then pour into skillet with onion and garlic.

4. Stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne.

5. Simmer until tomatoes/paste have thickened, about 10 minutes.z

6. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with naan.

You can also add goat cheese to this, and it is AMAZING.

Modified recipe from Shakshuka With Feta Recipe – NYT Cooking

Leftovers: Use as a pasta sauce over noodles of some kind or over eggs, any style.

Personal Protein Pot Recipe by Tasty

Personal Protein Pot
by Matthew Johnson
Print
Ingredients
for 1 serving

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup (60 mL) soy sauce
1 chicken breast
½ cup (85 g) quinoa
1 ½ cups (360 mL) chicken stock
½ cup (55 g) sliced carrot
½ cup (50 g) snap pea
½ cup (50 g) shredded red cabbage
½ cup (50 g) bell pepper, sliced
½ cup (75 g) broccoli floret
1 egg
salt, to taste
½ avocado, sliced
scallion, sliced, for garnish
toasted sesame seed, for garnish
Preparation
Under 30 min
In a small measuring cup, mix together the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, honey, and soy sauce. Whisk to combine.
Pour about 2 tablespoons of the sauce over the chicken in a small bowl and set the rest aside for serving. Toss the chicken in the sauce to coat.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small pot over medium heat. Cook the chicken until golden brown on one side, then flip and cook the other side until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (75°C), about 10 minutes total. Remove the chicken breast from the pan. Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice.
Add the quinoa and chicken stock to the same pot. Stir the quinoa and bring to a boil on high heat. Then, reduce the heat to low and place a strainer over the simmering quinoa.
To the strainer, add the carrot, snap peas, red cabbage, bell pepper, broccoli, and the egg. Sprinkle with salt.
Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the food from the heat, fluff the quinoa and add the chicken and veggies. Top with the sliced avocado and the cooked egg. Pour on the rest of the reserved sauce, and garnish with scallions and toasted sesame seeds.
Enjoy!

via Personal Protein Pot Recipe by Tasty

Grilled Salmon with Orzo, Feta, and Red Wine Vinaigrette recipe | Epicurious.com

YIELD
Serves 4

ACTIVE TIME
15 minutes

TOTAL TIME
35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  1. Orzo
    • 1 1/2 cups orzo
    • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 3 cups not packed)
    • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
    • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (see Kitchen Note)
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
    • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 ounces)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, for garnish
  2. Salmon
    • Four 5-ounce skinless salmon fillets
    • Olive oil, for coating the fish
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION

    1. Prepare an outdoor grill for medium- high cooking over direct heat.
    2. Meanwhile, make the orzo salad: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring often, for about 8 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the orzo in a sieve and set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, shallots, and garlic together. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    4. In a large bowl, toss the warm orzo, spinach, tomatoes, pine nuts, and basil with the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature.
    5. To cook the salmon: Coat the salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Oil the cooking grate. Place the salmon on the grill with the top right corner of each fillet facing the 2-o’clock position and cook for 4 minutes, without moving the salmon. (This will help give the salmon a good sear of nice grill marks and help it release from the grate.) Using a thin metal spatula, starting at the corner of each fillet nearest you, flip the fillets over. Grill for about 2 minutes, or until the fish is opaque with a slightly rosy center when flaked in the thickest part with the tip of a small knife. Remove from the grill.
    6. Mound the salad in the center of a large serving platter or four dinner plates. Sprinkle with the feta cheese. Top with the salmon, sprinkle with the chives, and serve.
Toasting Pine Nuts
To toast pine nuts, heat a dry medium skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts and cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and let cool.”

via Grilled Salmon with Orzo, Feta, and Red Wine Vinaigrette recipe | Epicurious.com

Hypothyroidism – First Week Taking T4-Only Medication (Levothyroxine)

Imagine listening to your favorite music; you set it to turn on the moment you awaken, excited about your favorite lyrics, how it makes you feel, the actions it inspires you to take.

Except the moment you open your eyes, an AIRHORN/MEGAPHONE/SIREN gets screeched directly into your ear.

SLEEP! It wails. SLEEP! SLEEP! YOU MUST SLEEP! SLEEP NOW! SLEEP FOREVER!

It goes on and on until you either give into it (it stops the moment you shut your eyes) or you stagger through it (you know, so your life doesn’t collapse when you 1. get fired or 2. miss deadlines or 3. piss off all your friends/significant other, all of which matter more than the airhorn, though it still blares deafeningly most of the day.)

Though you know your favorite music is playing, you have no hope of hearing it, so unless your world is about to be set on fire by life responsibilities, you give in. Your eyelids flutter closed.

You go back to sleep. Again.

^ That’s the best way to describe the life I led with hypothyroidism.

tired
Teaching while the megaphone was blaring into my brain was super fun. ^ Accurate depiction of me as a teacher, yo.

It’s been four days since I started taking levothyroxine, a synthetic version of the T4 hormone my body is not producing nearly enough of.

Verdict? It is DEFINITELY making a difference.

Getting up in the morning has become a choice. I wake up, and though I am still sleepy, I am not groggy. I lay in bed and consider whether I should up and at ’em, or if I think my body needs more rest. I base it on the number of hours I slept the night before. I use logic. The airhorn dictating my life has gone mostly silent, or is at least much quieter. I can think through it.

Hypothyroid Reality: Getting up was not a choice before treatment.

I really tried everything. Every night, I’d think about all the amazing things I wanted to do–get up, do yoga, make a nutritious breakfast that I LOVE, spend time quietly reading and sipping coffee, get to work on my latest novel idea that I was excited about–but nothing roused me.

I could prep breakfast and my clothes, set my coffee maker to go off right as my alarm did so it would be waiting for me. I could make sure I was ready to go for whatever it was I was excited about doing. I could set my alarm across the room, or better yet, outside the room entirely. I prepared a self-talk speech to recite to myself the moment my alarm went off, bought nummy lotions to pamper myself in the morning if I woke up and functioned like a person as a reward. Hell, I even “practiced” getting up a few times at night by setting an alarm, putting my feet on the floor, stretching, getting out of bed and going downstairs in an attempt to make my muscle memory work in my favor.

Nothing worked. 

IMG_5428
Not whiskey; COFFEE!

Well, except for drinking an entire carafe of coffee at the first alarm, then going back to sleep for an hour. That helped… until it didn’t. Turns out, you build an immunity to drugs like caffeine. Shocking, I know.

Before, unless I would lose a job, a doctor’s appointment, or a friend over not showing up on time, my brain refused to let me get up until it was absolutely necessary or I finally felt somewhat awake.

I was never rested, but sometimes awake.

Today, I feel rested; I feel like a person. I feel like ME.

First Week Taking Synthetic T4: Differences

I wake up every morning and take my pill between 9:00 and 9:30 a.m., aiming for 9:30. I drink it with a full glass of water, and eat and drink nothing else for at least sixty minutes. These are the results:

Pros

1. I can actually wake up early and think clearly. I have a choice.
2. When I get a touch sleepy in the afternoons, it’s no longer debilitating (and it hasn’t happened yet today!)
3. I’m still sleepy at night; it still sometimes gets to the ‘groggy’ level, but that’s probably a good thing in the long run, but I no longer feel like puking if I stay up a touch later than my brain wants.
4. The vericose veins in my legs and in my hips have faded significantly! They’re still there but I’ll be curious to see if they go away entirely!

My boyfriend also says my voice is higher. Whether that’s a pro or a con is up for debate, but I’m sure it’ll help my lilting soprano tones! Early Mariah Carey, here I come!

Cons (If you can call them that.)

  1. I wake up at night more often, or at least, remember it.
  2. I have a much harder time going back to sleep once I wake up in the middle of the night.I think I wake up a lot anyway (as evidenced by sleep talking and having entire weird conversations with people I never remembered the next day) but my body would drag me back under so fast, I would have no recollection of it. Now, I wake up and spend some time looking at my ceiling or the back of my eyelids. I remind myself that this is a small price to pay for feeling like a person 80% of the time instead of 20%.

    And hey, if I’m awake for longer than half an hour in the middle of the night, there’s no reason I can’t get up and do all the things I haven’t been able to for so, so long! #optimism

    Fingers crossed this keeps getting better and better! I know my levels will need to be adjusted throughout my life, but it is SUCH a relief to feel like a person again!

Hypothyroidism Diagnosis: It’s actually not you all, it’s ME!

“Wonder Woman” may be a state of mind, but it helps TREMENDOUSLY to achieve such a state if you are also 100% healthy.

It turns out most people’s under-appreciated superpower is just being, you know, fully awake.

I have spent most of the past ten years of my life wondering just how the hell everyone else faked it so well. Turns out, it was actually hypothyroidism, working away steadily to destroy my lovely thyroid and sense of well-being.

I remember going to Africa at twenty-two years old (to volunteer at the Ephphatha School for the Deaf), and absolutely STRUGGLING to get up in the morning, long past the time the expected jet-lag should have passed. I was the first to bed, the last to rise, and remember earnestly asking another girl around my age, “How do you get up in the morning? You have so much energy!”

She looked at me and said, “Well, I’m in Africa–I’m just excited to be here and experience everything.”

Well, I was too. I wanted to have a good time. I wanted to experience everything she was, too, desperately wishing to lift the veil of fatigue plaguing me. The problem was obviously me.

Re-adjust your attitude, I told myself. And struggled.

Apparently the absolute inability to get myself out of bed in the morning (until I absolutely HAVE to) without going to extreme measures that burn out my adrenals isn’t normal.

I used to think that was just how I was: lacking.

In a former post, I wrote, “Emotional me wants to sleep in and lie around and do nothing and say nothing to anyone.” The fact that this was entirely contrary to the fiery bitch of my teenage-hood who’d stay up into the wee hours of the morning programming websites, get up three hours later (tired, but able to function), and still challenge whatever high school teacher I decided was wrong that day, didn’t raise enough alarms.

I went to the doctor, convinced something was wrong; they told my test results were normal, and sent me on my way.

Thus, early on, I accepted that my patronus was, in fact, a slug, and I was simply a horrendously lazy person. 

noonewasmoresurprised

I learned to cope.

I would drag myself out every day, plaster a fake smile on my face, and slog my way through endless, sticky webs of exhaustion while pretending everything was fine.

Whether that be the worst day of teaching or spending time with my dearest friends in the world or even traveling the world to the most exciting places I’d ever dreamed of, it didn’t matter.

I. just. couldn’t.

I thought it was everyone else; their desire to embody the brilliant, yet stunningly perfect “English Teacher Barbie” of my former Language Arts department (they looked fabulous every damned day, to my un-ending jealousy!) must’ve outweighed their exhaustion. They were just more passionate than me, better teachers than me, had better time-management skills than me.

Everyone else must just really, really, really love running or painting or under-water-basket-weaving or whatever else it was that lit the passion they’d pursue outside their work hours. They were simply more motivated than me, more into staying healthy, all-around just BETTER than me.

I told myself I was an introvert. Being around people just wore me down emotionally.I was just getting older; this is what maturity feels like. Or something.

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 3.42.15 PM

Meanwhile, I’d slog home and struggle to keep my eyes open during my thirty-minute commute. I’d stare helplessly at the pile of papers I needed to grade, the pile of books I had once been so passionate to read, the story ideas that burned in my soul, then tell myself I just had to try, go tiredly cook dinner, begrudgingly help with dishes, take my birds out, veg for an hour while hating my utter inability to motivate myself to ANYTHING productive, and go to sleep at eight or nine.

Only to wake up ten and a half hours later to do it all over again. Still exhausted.

I was Exhausted with a capital E and was done being an enthused celebrant of my own misery.

So, I forced myself to exercise.

It was not fun. 

I did yoga. I ran. I learned to cook and ate vegetables at every meal, limited my sugar and fried things, ate lean meats and learned what quinoa was, and worked hard to become the person I dreamed I could be. My better lifestyle choices (one of the HARDEST things I’ve ever worked to correct through the haze of exhaustion through which I lived my life), coupled with quitting teaching and finding a remote job made it so that my energy level was mostly tolerable.

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 4.05.01 PM
Every. single. night.

Sure, I still couldn’t get up very easily and often found myself longing for bed at two in the afternoon, and I frequently would tell people that I was “turning into a pumpkin” (as I called it) at night when I simply couldn’t stay awake any longer lest I become violently ill… but I was able to mitigate the effects reasonably well and felt relatively healthy.

And then, light.

A few weeks back, my boyfriend and I were in a rather unpleasant car accident. It turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me; they did a variety of blood tests, just as a precaution, and from there, scheduled a follow-up physical.  I’d told the doctor I was fine after the car accident, nothing else to report.

I’d lived with the fatigue for so long, it just felt normal.

Before the second physical, they mailed the test results to me; I noticed that my TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) was border-line high: 4.18 when the “normal” limit was 4.2. I remembered my mother had issues with her thyroid. I read a little about it and discovered I had almost all of the symptoms that MayoClinic lists. I read that normal test results don’t always actually mean your thyroid is normal; multiple doctors in books I’ve been reading recently state that the “normal” range most doctors use is too broad, that your TSH should be under 2.

So. I brought it up with my doctor; she felt my throat and told me I had a goiter, which was no surprise. I’d noticed it a few weeks earlier, complaining to my boyfriend (jokingly and hyperbolically) that I probably had cancer. Nope: It was just an enlarged thyroid. She set me up with an ultrasound and a follow-up blood test, which resulted in my diagnosis: I DEFINITELY have a very real issue with hypothyroidism.

Many people are sad to discover this, but me? I was absolutely elated.finally knew what was wrong with me–and even better, there’s treatment available.

IMG_6269
Time to ReCharge my life, since I already did my career!

I took my first levothyroxine pill today (25 mg I think?), which is synthetic T4 (one of two major hormones your thyroid produces) and, while there are many different treatments and diets (and knowing fully-well that this could just be the first of many treatments to reclaim myself), I am so absolutely full of hope.

And energy. Part of this is probably the placebo effect, but I didn’t crash this afternoon. I feel like my soul is fully present.

Before, every experience felt sticky and subdued behind a curtain of sluggish yuck. Today, I feel fully aware, as if the molasses coloring my vision has been Mr. Cleaned away and replaced with clarity.

One day down; the rest of my life to go!

Follow your feet home again.

I love to wander.

Drop me into a strange city, and I’ll meander through the streets, temporarily and deliberately lost, but enthralled.

I’ve found the most magical places that way; from a cozy Scottish tea cafe (where I took shelter from the pouring rain) to a secluded, rocky oasis next to the roaring sea, this is how my favorite memories are made.

IMG_6698Don’t get me wrong — the internet is a fabulous tool when people go a-journeying, yet I find the adventure loses something when you pull up to the latest, greatest “cultural experience” where “all the locals go.”

Traveling by way of TripAdvisor, you build an idea up inside your head, determine how it “should” be and what you “should” feel ahead of time, and then when things don’t go exactly the way you’d planned in your mind’s eye, you find yourself, more often than not, disappointed.

If you follow your feet, you place no expectations on a place, a feeling, a day. Instead, you befriend locals, sample food you feel drawn to, explore little-seen nooks and crannies based on your heart’s whim, taste beverages that come recommended or sound quirky.

Wandering frees you from expectations and opens you up to surprise and spontaneity, the ambrosia and nectar of life.

Some of my wanderings:

The amount of travel I’ve done over the past year(ish) is dizzying. New Orleans & Baton Rouge, Denver, Phoenix, St. Augustine, Asheville, Denver (Again), San Francisco, Los Angeles, and now Cascais & Lisbon in Portugal.

Ultimately, I sat still only long enough to move to the East Coast.

While I covet the novelty of travel, I crave a warm homecoming with fiery fierceness.

The balance of adventuring and nesting is where happiness lies for me. I travel for pleasure and treasure, then lovingly spirit my wander-found totems home.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 6.30.46 PM.png

I have a space that I can call my own, and it feels like me. The value of ‘home’ can never be measured.

There is something special about making one’s house a home, of turning the lights off on our porch and holing up in our “dark castle”, as my beau likes to call it. Sometimes, I bring treasures I find on my travels back with me; other times, I curate the treasures that remind me of beauty I’ve seen.

In retrospect, I think I may be a dragon.

I like to be a little silly with my decor; I spent my entire childhood dreaming of all the different colors my house would be and how lovely I would make it. I will never understand people who want their houses to look like bland replicas of magazine advertisements; then again, I find joy in whimsy and lore, and choose to surround myself with it.

Knowing a warm space exists in the world, a place where I’m allowed and encouraged to be entirely ‘me’, where my critters wait for my return, where I cook dinners with and for the people I love, where I can nestle down under a mermaid-and-pirate-inspired canopy filled with twinkle lights, where I have lovingly crafted, arranged, and collected my treasures, each one a symbol for something I love… yeah, I’m most definitely a dragon.

Today, I am thankful for my travels, yet moreso for my cozy home.