Saturday, September 29, 2018

Review: Robin by David Itzkoff

I chose to read this biography of Robin Williams because for some reason I've loved him my entire life. I used to watch Mrs. Doubtfire every day for years.. and Any movie he was in,  I would see. Hook, Flubber, What Dreams May Come, Dead Poets Society, Patch Adams. You name it, I've seen it. 

The book Robin by David Itzkoff starts out giving a full detail of what Robin went through in childhood. I enjoyed learning so much about his childhood and getting an idea of where his personality came from. 
It goes through every stage of his life. With real-life stories from friends that he grew up with or knew from school. You will recognize some big names of Robin Williams circle of friends from school. 

Getting further into the book,  you start to see just how brilliant Robin truly was. His mind works so differently than I would have ever imagined,  and to read about these brilliant things he could come up with right on the spot was just fascinating. I always knew he was talented, but just reading about it makes it seem so much more incredible. 
There are even geat tidbits about his show Mork and Mindy. I never watched that TV show until I read this documentary. It's really cool to learn about all that happened off-screen.

The book also goes into Robins older age and his mental illness that led to his Suicide. I'm glad they include the good, bad and ugly parts of his life. I believe it will continue to bring awareness to mental illness and the ways it can affect the thoughts and lives of those who suffer from it.  

I enjoyed reading about Robin's personal life along with his career.  There is so much that I learned about him that I didn't know. It was enjoyable to reminisce from all the roles he played in,  and just see what it took for him to create those characters. 
I truly recommend this book to any aspiring actor, comedian,  or anyone who was just as obsessed with Robin Williams, as I am. I thought everything was tastefully put together,  and well written. I hope you read it and let me know how you like it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

3 Talks to have with your children to prepare them for Real life

There are some things every kid needs to learn before they become an adult. I think being a parent is so hard to make sure you fully prepare your child for life,  but it's so important to do all we can to make these cookies children into capable adults.  No matter how awkward the conversation is.

Growing up,  I was the youngest of the family. I was the last to hear about everything. My parents taught my older siblings all about everything they needed to know about life,  but when it came time to teach me,  they had already been there, done that. So I had to figure a lot out on my own. I had friends who didn't learn anything from their parents either. When you don't take responsibility to teach your kid about what to expect, your kids will end up unhappy and lost. Trying to figure things out on your own is hard!

So I thought I'd make it a little easier on all those parents out there trying to prepare their kids to be independent,  happy adults. Here are a few personal suggestions that I think all kids should know to be able to have a head start on life. 

1. Birds and Bees Talk

Obviously, this is so important. But did you know a lot of parents just expect their kids to learn about it in school? In my home state of Utah, most people are very conservative. Most parents don't have this talk with their kids because the main religion here (LDS) expects no sex before marriage. Reasonable. But, if you don't talk to your kids about sex,  it causes many problems. I wish I could tell you some stories about idiot LDS kids who knew nothing about sex, and got pregnant or were convinced they were pregnant even though they didn't have sex. 
Anyway, just have the damn talk with your kids. It's good for them. 

2. Expectation vs. Reality

I know no one talks to their kids about this,  because everyone I know has an expectation problem. Kids grow up watching perfect princess movies where the girl and guy get married and they live "happily ever after". Then these kids grow up, get married... get divorced because they aren't living happily ever after. 
I hope to teach my kids about Expectation vs. Reality. Telling them that yes there are really great things about life and you should try to enjoy every minute of it. But there is no such thing as "happily ever after". Married people fight,  work sucks like 80% of the time, people aren't always nice. So go in remembering these things,  and find the good out of it all. We make our own happiness.  It's not just handed to us. 

3. Find Yourself Before You Get Married

I really wish someone had told me to find myself before getting married. I didn't think about it,  I just jumped into marriage,  then jumped into having babies. Now I'm here with my wonderful family,  but I can't enjoy it as much because my mind is always wondering who I am without these things. 
As an individual. What makes me happy, what am I passionate about? 
It's hard to answer these questions when I can barely get 5 minutes to myself.

If you teach your kids to know who they are and be able to answer these questions before they get married,  they will be able to find much more personal happiness in life. 

To me,  these are some of the most important things our children can learn. I think children who are able to find this stuff out early on, will be able to be more responsible, happier adults with more fulfilling lives. 

Do you have any other suggestions that you think would go with this list? Please feel free to comment!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Celebrate the 100 days of Holidays! Part 1

Have you ever heard of the 100 days of holidays? Probably not. My husband and I came up with it after hearing the phrase on TV. They used It as 100 days of holiday movies. We adapted it to our own events. 
Starting September 22nd is the beginning of 100 days of holidays for us. It helps us take full advantage of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas activities and events.
This doesn't mean we're celebrating something every day,  but rather, we're counting down the 100 days until new year's day. So we're taking advantage of our last 99 days of the year!

My husband and I love to celebrate every holiday we possibly can.  It gives us an excuse to celebrate, or look forward to something since we rarely go out on dates,  and vacations are few and far between. So I thought id share this long list of things we love to do for the 100 days of holidays. Some are kid-friendly since are not so much. 

Kick it off with Oktoberfest: 

we celebrate by having German beer and bratwurst. We may go to the Oktoberfest event if we're really feeling festive. 

Outdoor photo shoot with fall colors:

I consider myself a photographer. Fall is my absolute favorite time to take photos because of the colors. It's a great time of year to get family photos done,  or even just go outside and get some cute pictures of the kids playing. 

Halloween movies:

My hubby and I are also crazy about Halloween so we make a list of movies we have to watch for the month of October. we try to watch as many as we can on Friday and Saturday nights until Halloween. This is our list so far. I'll probably add to it
The Shinning
Hocus Pocus 
Trick or treat
Halloween/ or slasher movies
Braindead, Dead alive (my favorite movie of all time but it's so hard to find)
Sleepy Hollow

Corn maze with kids:

Always a fun activity. I always liked the Haunted corn mazes but I don't do those now that my kids come.

Haunted house:

J and I try to go to a haunted house a year. Doesn't always happen,  but I love going to them. 

Pumpkin Patch:

Last year we took the kids to Peterson Farms, they have all kinds of fun kids activities. My kids loved it, so we're making it a tradition to go every year to pick out our pumpkins

Carve pumpkins:

I'm so excited,  last year my youngest wasn't old enough to understand how to carve pumpkins. Now she is! Catching pumpkins was not favorable as a kid. 

Make tape ghost display:
My husband J and I make a special Halloween decision every year for the front of our house. This year we are trying out those tape ghosts that are all over Pinterest.
I'll let you know how it turns out!

Pick out/make Halloween costumes:

I love finding my kids costumes. Dressing up is the best.  My oldest wants to be Plankton from Spongebob this year.. not sure if I'll be able to find a costume like that so I'm going to have to get creative!

Celebrate my kids birthdays:

Along with our love for Halloween,  we accidentally ended up with two kids with birthdays in October.  So our October gets crazy. But I am excited to celebrate their birthdays soon!

Witch Fest:

This has been a tradition for J and I since our first year dating. We go to Gardener Village which decorates with different witches around the grounds. They also have this AMAZING chocolate shop that sells caramel apples. Their caramel is heavenly. We always go to Gardener Village for their caramel apples. 

Halloween party:

We don't throw a Halloween party because of all the other crazy birthdays and traditions we have,  but we always hope to go to one so I always include it on my list

Set up Halloween display:
We love to be the scary house on the street. We keep getting better and better decor every year. I hope our tape ghosts goes as planned. They will make a great addition to our yard haunt 

Meet the witch:

This has been a tradition for me since I was born. My grandmother dresses up as a witch on Halloween to scare all the little kiddies. She lets family come over in the afternoon so we can visit and eat my grandpa's homemade chili and root beer. Homemade root beer is the best! My kids get to do this tradition as well because my grandparents are still alive and kicking. 


I will always take my kids trick-or-treating. I loved it as a kid,  so I wasn't my kids to experience it as well. I kind of don't like a trunk or treats even though I get the idea of it. It's just not the same experience.


J hates Thanksgiving. He just doesn't like a holiday based around food that has been made by other people (its an OCD thing). We take turns on which side of the family we celebrate with. I think this year we're celebrating with his side. 

Black Friday Shopping:

J and his brother have been going Black Friday shopping for years before I met him. So I got to jump in on that tradition. It's not always my favorite thing. I am not a night owl anymore. But it's kind of fun to experience all the crowds,  and feeling like you're getting a good deal. This year I'll probably do most of my Black Friday shopping online. 

I will stop here for now. I will separate this into two posts because Christmas has an even bigger list of things we do. So stay tuned,  I'll post the next list in November. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Best Shows to Watch Now! Fall 2018

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I don't talk about this much,  but I am a TV and movie connoisseur. I spend many hours watching TV shows and movies with my husband. That's kind of our thing,  especially now that we have kids and can't go out as often. So I thought I would help you all out by giving you some suggestions on TV shows you need to start watching right now!

So what are the best shows to be watching you ask?

1. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime TV)

This show is based in the 50's and is about the life Miriam "Midge" Maisel. Midge goes through a big life change suddenly,  and finds herself drunk, onstage at a comedy club. She is a potty mouth and gets herself into some trouble. The comedy club owner (played by Rosie O'Donnell) takes Midge under her wing to help her become a great comedian. 

My husband actually watched the whole first season without me because I just didn't care to add another show to my big list. Finally, a few weeks of him asking me to give it a shot,  I did. It's so hard not to watch. I'm addicted. This show makes me feel inspired to be a comedian.. and I've had no desire to be a comedian ever! Try it out,  you won't be disappointed!

2. The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)

Based on a book written by Margaret Atwood. Set in a near future offered id a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian and theocratic state that has replaced the United States of America. Because of dangerously low reproduction rates, Handmaid's are assigned to bear children for elite couples that have trouble conceiving. 

I am definitely addicted to this show. It's hard to watch at times but it is so well written and the acting is phenomenal!

3. Ozark (Netflix)

Marty Byrde (played by Jason Bateman) is a financial planner who gets into some trouble and has to move his family from Chicago, to the Ozarks. There he must launder 500 million in 5 years for a Mexican drug lord.

This usually wouldn't be my type of show,  but my husband begged me to watch it with him. I don't regret it one bit! 
Season 2 just came out and I'm trying to watch it as slow as possible so I doubt have to wait another whole year for this show!

4. American Horror Story (on FX)

A Horror based TV show that has a different story every season, but some of the sa.e actors. Lady Gaga is even in one season. 
From Haunted houses, evil witches, and killer clowns,  this show has it all. 
It's currently on Season 8 which is about the Apocalypse. A few survivors are held up in a bunker, but with all the Hell they go through,  they start to wonder if it's worth staying or taking their chances in the apocalyptic wasteland.

I've been following this show since Season 1 and I think they do a great job. I do like some seasons better than others, but I'm kind of a horror freak so I love to watch this show. If you want to start this series I suggest binge-watching from season 1. It's so good!

5. Better Call Saul (on AMC)

A spin-off prequel from Breaking Bad. 
Jimmy McGill grew up as a con artist, only to become a small-time lawyer. This is the story of how Jimmy McGill becomes Saul Goodman,  a lawyer for criminals, and drug dealers. 

It's fun to watch the crossover that makes Jimmy into Saul, and how Breaking Bad ties into it. Bob Odenkirk does a fantastic job. 

There are many other shows I could add to this list but right now,  these are my favorite!

My husband and I are able to watch these shows because we have an Amazon Prime subscription and we also bought the Amazon Fire TV. With that setup,  you can get Amazon TV shows and movies,  and if you have subscriptions to Hulu or Netflix,  you can get that on the Amazon Fire TV as well! I love the variety of shows I get to watch!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tips on How To Keep Sick Germs from Spreading

If you are reading this. I assume you or a family member are sick with a cold, flu,  or another contagious bug. One of the worst things every winter is not just about getting sick. But once you're finally starting to feel better, someone else in your household gets sick! It feels like an eternity just to get rid of one simple sickness in your home. 

I have lived with my OCD husband for 7 years,  and over those years he has shown me how he keeps his sickness contained without spreading his sick germs to anyone else. I can testify that these tips actually do work. Having 2 kids and myself in the house,  we are really great at keeping everyone in the house healthy,  even if someone brings home a sickness.
So be considerate and read these tips on how to not get others sick. 

1. Wash Your Hands!

Can you count to 30? Good.. do that when washing your hands. It will kill the germs on your hands! It's also good to wash your hands after blowing your nose, before touching any food, and also before handling small children. Trust me,  it's super annoying, and your hands will be super dry,  but it's better than having sick kids or a sick whiny husband!

2. Watch where you breath

Yes, I'm serious. I had a nasty cold when my youngest was almost 2 months old. I literally would turn my head away to breath out so I wouldn't get her sick.. and it worked!

 If you're sick, don't breath on other peoples food, or close to their face. That's the easiest way to get someone else sick. 

3. Don't share toiletries

Toothpaste, mouthwash,  floss.. ask of these things can spread your germs to whomever you're sharing with. So if someone in your house is sick,  go get them their own toiletries to keep those germs to themselves. 

4. Sanitize Everything

Do you know how many surfaces you touch? Door handles, phone, remotes, couch, counters, clothes, kids stuff.. when you're sick,  your touching all of these surfaces and leaving behind your sickness for the next person to touch.  The best thing you can do for your household is to sanitize all surfaces after a bad sick day.
My baby girl had the flu this last weekend and I was not going to have anyone else in my house catch it. If they did, that would mean so much more laundry, cleaning up vomit, and husband OCD problems. So after her bad flu day, I put the kids to bed and sanitized everything I knew we would touch.. and guess what... no one caught it!

5. Change your clothes

If you are a parent dealing with a sick child,  And you have other children in the house, this is an important thing to not spread sick germs around. Germs can get on any surface,  including fabric. So if you change your shirt a few times in a day,  you can keep those germs contained better. 

Although I may sound crazy with some of these,  they actually do work. My husband makes a huge deal of people being sick and I get so tired of it, I have to follow these steps just to keep myself and my husband sane. 
Good luck keeping those sick germs contained!
If you have any other suggestions, please comment to help others out!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Caring for a Demented Loved One: Unfiltered Real-life Struggles

Beautiful Mind blog is lucky enough to feature this article written by Jamie Cheng. You can check out more information  about her here. The article she wrote is very interesting. It gives you insight into a world that not everyone knows about,  but some have to go through. Please read,  and let her know your thoughts on the subject by commenting!

Many people see that it isn’t a big deal or something that should be recognized. Instead, it is a duty as a daughter or son to take care of our parents, no matter what obstacles may come our way.

But, people have never seen what happens behind closed doors; the unsaid expectation of filial piety discounts the actual grit that we have to undergo which goes unseen.

This is an unfiltered real-life struggle of a caregiver for a demented loved one.

Struggling with Dementia

I’ve always understood Dementia as forgetfulness or finding it hard to recall something in short-term. Dementia is more than that – beyond loss of memory, beyond difficulty in remembering.

Dementia entails several symptoms that can affect one’s quality of life, and also the caregiver’s too.

A few early signs of Dementia are:
memory problems, particularly remembering recent events
increasing confusion
reduced concentration
personality or behaviour changes
apathy and withdrawal or depression
loss of ability to do everyday tasks

As time passes, these signs get more severe and obvious even to the less observant individuals. It is always good to be aware and take note of the signs early in the process to intervene as soon as possible.

Why does one get Dementia?

Dementia is the result when one’s brain is attacked by diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, introduction of Lewy Bodies in the brain, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease, etc.
Source: Dementia Care Central

The causes of dementia can be categorized into four classifications – cerebrovascular, infection-related, toxic and metabolic, and traumatic.

Cerebrovascular Causes

Cerebrovascular causes refers to the blood vessels of the brain. Cerebrovascular causes of dementia are strokes – ischemic or hemorrhagic. The former is by blockage and the latter is due to rupturing of a blood vessel.

Infection-related Causes

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a…

Wait, what is that?

Also known as “mad-cow disease”, this infection attacks the brain and causes a result of a hastened progressive degenerative form of dementia. They are basically harmful proteins that reforms or, deforms the existing healthy proteins in your brain to another shape.

This would eventually lead to the brain developing tiny holes – like a sponge – eventually leading to the entire brain enveloped by this devastating protein. Thus, the entire body goes downhill, and death follows.

Oh… damn.

Toxic and Metabolic Causes

Alcohol – toxic liquid to the body – can cause vitamin b1 deficiency that is a cofactor of the Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. This syndrome comes along with memory loss and cognitive deterioration.

Traumatic Causes

Traumatic causes of dementia would be from the more severe cases of hits and bumps on the head. Head trauma can result in amnesia for the more severe cases, emotional changes when the part of the brain in control of emotions and self-control is injured, and cognitive ability decline when the parts of the brain in-charged of executive functions is affected.

Stats on Depressed and Overworked Caregivers of Demented Loved Ones

A study in 2003 shows that 32% of caregivers of demented loved ones reported to have 6 or more symptoms of depression, with majority of them being younger individuals in USA.

32% might seem like it’s a small number but that literally means it’s more than 1/3 the sample size!

Pictograph of the number of caregivers depressed in the study in 2003 (32% depressed).
Made by Jamie Cheng

In the growing population of 4 million people in America, exceeding 70% of dementia-diagnosed individuals are cared for by their own family members. Numbers puffs up to 40 to 79 hours a week for caregiving to their beloved yet hard-to-handle family member.

The average number of working hours for a full-time working adult is only 40 hours. Yet, a full-time caregiver’s minimum hours of caregiving exceeds the 40-hour mark.

Another study that is more recent done in 2017 shows that 14.9% of caregivers were diagnosed with clinical depression.
The severity of depression in their numbers are as follows:
Mild depression: 43.2%
Moderate depression: 20.3%
Moderate-severe depression: 6.8%
Severe depression: 3.6%

A Short Case Study

During my course in pursuit of my higher certificate for Therapy Assistant, I got to hear the life stories and manifestos of my colleagues whose ages were similar to my parents (I’m 21 this year and my parents are around 50+).

One of them in particular shared about what made her change her job from a high-paying luxury handbags sales person to an inspiring humbling therapy assistant.

It was filial piety and love for her mum who suffers from severe dementia.

Driven to be the best daughter no matter what obstacles may come her way, she laid it all down and became a student again at the age of 46 to know the right way of caregiving and therapy for her mum.

She shared about the throes of taking care of her mum which includes giving her all and tending to her needs, yet having her own dear mum forgetting who she is. Or having the need to ensure that her mum is coaxed during the evenings when the sundown syndrome is at its peak – every single day.

I can imagine doing this for a day but every day – that’s an entirely different story.

I’m glad that she is able to handle all of the stress with the help and support from her husband and sister.

Advice to All Caregivers of Demented Family Members

1) Be open to get help
You don’t have and shouldn’t do this alone. Be strong and self-aware. Find reliable and trusted support from other family members, friends, or even professional help.

2) Don’t be too hard on yourself
Taking care of a loved one with dementia is a 24/7 job – like 7-11. A robot that works continuously would breakdown eventually, what more a human body?
When you feel like you need a break, find a way. Don’t feel bad about it. You need to take care of yourself to ensure your loved one is taken care of to the best as well.

3) Break out of the mundane
Although it is known that people suffering from dementia would prefer to not be constantly introduced to new things, why not try reminiscing by going to a familiar place, eating food that he/she can vividly remember?
To us, it may seem like a sudden change but to them, it’s like the warm spot of water that snugs them back into comforting and happy memories.

Author: Jamie Cheng
“Now, it’s Our Goal.”

Jamie Cheng is a health enthusiast with a background in nutrition, health and wellness. She doesn't just write sentences, she creates stories that sell. She's notorious for helping health businesses accelerate in leads and sales with laser-sharp website copy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

5 Tips to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

One benefit of being married to someone with OCD, is they hate being sick so they avoid it at ALL costs. 
We just went on a trip with my husband parents and siblings,  and all the kids. It was a lot of fun. But every time we have a get together with family,  someone always gets sick. My husband and I are usually the ones who avoid the sickness. He has figured out what it takes to avoid getting sick. 

So,  I'm here to teach you all about what my husband has taught me over the years to avoid getting sick. 

1. Don't touch your eyes

Did you know if you rub your eyes with your hands,  your pretty much putting all the germs you have touched right into your eyes? That is a sure fire way to get yourself sick.

2. Wash your hands after touching anything that others have touched. 

This seems pretty basic. But if you are one of those people that barely wash their hands in the bathroom,  then you are going to get sick a hell of a lot more than others who actually use the 30-second rule with washing. 

3. Try to stay a few feet away from people who are sick

Colds and the flu are airborne. Which means you can catch it just by being a little too close to a sick person. Usually, if a person with cold coughs, or sneezes, little germ droplets come out. If you are close to them when it happens,  you will most likely breath in those germs and catch their sickness. Pretty gross right? 
My hubby pretty much holds his breath of he walks past someone who recently sneezed or coughed.

If someone in your home or work is sick, get those handy little sanitizer wipes to clean off your keyboard,  mouse,  door handles, your phone (phones carry the most disgusting germs so you should sanitize them often anyway)
Getting hand sanitizer is also great if you don't want to wash your hands every 2 seconds. Hand sanitizer usually works best after washing hands though. 

5. Touching your mouth or face with unclean hands.

This kind of goes with the first two, but like I said before YOUR HANDS ARE DISGUSTING! When you touch your mouth, you're just putting sickness right into your body.

I have a bad habit of putting my finger on my lips.. and that is why I get sick a little more often than my husband. So be aware of your bad hand habits and you might avoid catching a cold!

Well, there you go. These are all simple tasks if all you do is constantly think about how disgusting everything is. Good luck this flu season! 

If you do end up getting sick,  come read my other article "How to keep your Sickness Contained.

What Super Power would You Have?

This month I've already watched a ton of horror,  magical, and mythical movies. I love to make the most of the Halloween season by en...