Starting Over in Fitness & Conquering

When I first ventured into this Osteochondritis Dissecans double knee surgery journey, my biggest fear was losing my fitness and losing my muscle. I’ve been athletic my whole life and was proud of all that my body had done for me – many years of volleyball, 3 half marathons, countless hikes, bike rides, yoga classes, and miles walked.

From the beginning, I felt frustrated by my situation, that I had lost and was losing the ability to do anything I loved. After my first surgery, I took a yoga class and realized just how much I lost in my right leg and what was to come in my left. I was thrilled I could still do yoga but really sad that I was losing so much.

Since coming off my crutches a mere 3+ weeks ago, I’ve come to terms with starting over. I have very little muscle, laughable (to me) endurance, zero flexibility and most importantly, a very positive attitude.

You see, this time around, I know all surgeries are behind me. I know that I’m only moving forward, only getting better. I know that I’m lucky to be walking, running, biking, yoga-ing, living with little to no pain.

These surgeries may have taken away everything that I HAD built for myself in fitness and athletic ability but they’ve also given me the opportunity to rebuild it, better than before.

In middle school, high school and college, volleyball was my THING – my passion, my sport of choice. I’d built my body for quick changes of direction, explosive jumps to hit or block, low squats to pass the ball.

Now, my life and passions revolve a lot less around playing volleyball competitively. I still enjoy playing for fun but I’m not trying to win any high school or college club championships anymore. Now, I’m focusing my life on running, yoga, swimming, hiking – enjoying the playground that is Colorado. Activities that require different sets of strong muscles.

Post surgery, I have the opportunity to rebuild my body to best fit the activities I love to do now. I am starting from scratch, a fresh slate. I can learn to train my body more effectively, more efficiently than before. I can and will come back better than I was before.

Earlier this year, I chose PERSPECTIVE as my word for 2012. Reminding myself keep the situation in perspective has helped me keep a positive attitude, a ‘can do’ mentality this year. I could be pissed off that I’m so far behind where I was but I choose to keep it in perspective - I had 2 major surgeries but now, I have ‘new’ knees and the ability to conquer the world.

I choose to start over and conquer.

Wedding Wednesday: Dress Shopping & Finding THE Dress

**Wedding Wednesday is a feature on my blog documenting our wedding planning process – thoughts, reflections, ideas, milestones. Follow along as we plan a wedding in our home city of Cincinnati while we live in Denver.**


Part of me hesitates to post photos and my experience dress shopping – I won’t be posting photos of the dress I purchased but it feels strange to post photos of non-winning dresses – it feels vain. However, I do want to remember and chronicle my experience and this time in my life so photos and experience are blogged.

The main reason I scheduled my trip to Cincinnati was to look for and hopefully order a dress. I  gave myself 2 weeks ‘post-crutches’ to ensure that I’d feel comfortable walking and standing all day for dress shopping. 6 months is on the shorter side of the dress shopping timeline but given my surgeries, I didn’t have much of a choice.

I chose to dress shop in Cincinnati because it was important to me to share the experience with my mom and sisters (Trisha, Lexi) and because I figured if I bought my dress in Cincinnati, I won’t have to fool around with shipping or bringing it from Denver to Cincinnati.

I’d looked at a few bridal stores before coming to Cincinnati, called to see if I needed an appointment to try on dresses but really, had no idea what to expect.

Fortunately, Cincinnati has a well-known bridal district in a nearby suburb to where my family lives, the Reading Bridal District. It is a few block section of Reading dedicated to all things weddings – dress shops, alterations, lingerie, slips, shoes, flowers, photography, cake. You name it, there’s a store for it.

We started at Wendy’s Cincinnati Bride shortly after it opened, 10 a.m. We were immediately greeted by Barbara who was our consultant. She asked about my style, what I was looking for and soon told us to pick some dresses out. I ended up with 7 dresses in the fitting room with me.

Unsure what my style was, I had a wide range of dresses – straps, strapless, satin, lace, jeweled, plain.

The first dress I tried on, I LOVED instantly. It fit exactly perfect and looked incredible – it was going to be tough to keep an open mind about any dress after.

I tried on a few others but knew they weren’t my dress.

Ensuring I can dance…

Too shiny, to blingy

I (unknowingly) broke rule #1 of wedding dress shopping, as taught by Say Yes To The Dress, and fell in love with a dress outside of my budget. Dress #1 was $600 more expensive than my limit. Shoot.

Our consultant took down the dress name so if I wanted to come back and purchase the dress, I could do so easily.

We then walked across the street to Bridal and Formal. It was a lot more hectic of a store but our consultant, Norma, directed us to dresses within my budget. Between the 5 of us (4 family, 1 consultant), we ended up with about 12+ dresses to try.

Rather than having my own changing room, all brides tried dresses in 1 common room. The room had about 10 ‘stations’ for girls to try dresses in front of the mirror. We weren’t able to take any photos in this room for obvious reasons – other girls changing in and out of dresses. In fact, no photos were allowed in the whole store unless I’d purchased the dress. Needless to say, I have no photos which means Bridal and Formal did not have my dress.

We girls needed a break from dress shopping and desperately needed fresh air so we walked up the street to a local bar for lunch. Foley’s was decent food, nothing to write home about, but I was very surprised that it wasn’t a bit more ‘girly’ or classy. I appreciated the casual atmosphere but for being in a bridal district, it was very much ‘neighborhood bar’ than ‘dress shopping lunch break.’

After lunch, we were ready to brave the stores again. This time we headed to David’s Bridal, outside of the bridal district. I know I want to use David’s Bridal for bridesmaid’s dresses since my girls are all over the country so I had my sisters peruse bridesmaid’s dresses while I scouted wedding dresses.

I found my dress at David’s Bridal. It was within my price point, contains all of the pieces I liked of previous dresses I’d tried on and made me feel great. I knew right away that the dress I had on was the one – doubly confirmed after seeing my mom’s and sister’s reactions.

I tried it on with a veil, with a hair piece and while holding a fake bouquet. I stood next to my sisters, wearing potential bridesmaid’s dresses.

Holy cow. This is REAL.

I got emotional – I saw myself walking down the aisle with my dad, him lifting my veil, meeting Alex at the end.

THIS is the dress I will get married in.

This is what I’ll be wearing as I commit my life to my best friend.

This is what I’ll dance our first dance in, celebrate my first night as a wife in.


We bought the dress and it should be delivered to the Cincinnati store 6-8 weeks before our wedding. I’ll be back in Cincinnati around that time to wrap up last-minute things for our wedding (menu, cupcake flavors, wedding band shopping, etc) so the timing will be perfect.

Leaving Cincinnati on Sunday, I had butterflies in my stomach. All of the big pieces are coming together – we have a photographer, hair/makeup, cake, ceremony and reception venues (and I’ve seen them both, now!). It’s so easy to envision the day, the happiness and love.

6 short months.

Wedding Wednesday: Whirlwind

**Wedding Wednesday is a feature on my blog documenting our wedding planning process – thoughts, reflections, ideas, milestones. Follow along as we plan a wedding in our home city of Cincinnati while we live in Denver.


Last week, I spent a few days in Cincinnati to meet with and take care of some wedding things. While we’re able to research and secure some wedding things online, it’s also important to have the face-to-face appointment time. Living in Denver makes this a bit challenging so I made the most of my trip and I crammed more into a 4 day period than I ever thought possible. 

First of all, I need to share my newest, favorite airport meal at the Denver Airport. I fly (pretty much only) Frontier, in the A terminal at DIA. Food options are okay – not a wide variety of healthy food. But on Wednesday afternoon, I found this website that details all of the restaurants and bars by terminal! Genius!

I stopped by the Mesa Verde Restaurant in the upper level of terminal A – I’d never been before but have had good success with finding paleo friendly food at Mexican restaurants. Mesa Verde was a winner! For $8, I built my own burrito bowl full of yummy goodness:

Lettuce, black beans (not paleo but still healthy so I eat them), shredded chicken, tomato salsa, hot salsa, jalapenos, cilantro, guacamole.

For all of my future flights out of the A terminal that require lunch or dinner, I’m hittin’ up Mesa Verde.

Then, my flight was delayed an hour so this happened:

On Thursday, I dropped my engagement ring off to be sized and took a peek at wedding bands through the same jeweler Alex used to design my ring. We think it’d be really cool to have all of our rings come from the same jeweler. They weren’t able to turn the ring around in before I left so I should be receiving it by certified mail sometime today. Since Thursday, I have mini moments of panic that I’ve misplaced or lost my ring since it’s not on my finger.

I also met with our reception venue, The Redmoor. Neither Alex or I had ever been in The Redmoor when we signed the contract so it was really neat to walk through and see the space we have to work with. The owner (and our coordinator) Mandie was so thorough in her tour and answered the many questions I had for her (food, drink, seating, decorations).

Later, I met with my friend Natalie who will be doing bridal party hair and makeup. Natlie has been a hair stylist for years and just recently launched her own event hair and makeup company, Rollers and Rouge.  I’m so excited to have Natalie do my and our hair and makeup – she’s supremely talented, super fun and easy to work with. I know she’ll make us look beautiful and natural.

On Saturday, I met with and booked our photographer, Jonathan Gibson. He’s shot my cousin’s wedding (and post-wedding bridal shoot!) and takes BEAUTIFUL photos. A few of his recent weddings were at The Redmoor, too. Like this one:

I want a photo like that!

Jonathan came highly recommended and I’m so excited that he’ll be shooting our wedding. Within the first minutes of meeting him, I knew he was our guy – professional, laid-back, easy to work with, finding out what Alex and I are like a couple and what we’re looking for in our photography. I put down the deposit before we left our meeting – photographer booked!

The last task on my wedding agenda was to wedding dress shop. And shop we did! Dress shopping will get its own post later today.

And to cap off my whirlwind trip in Cincinnati, my family got together to celebrate birthdays – my brother turned 25 on 2/21 and I’ll turn 26 on 3/7. Yes, we are the same age for 2 weeks each year. :) Irish twins!

Or so I thought was the last big event of my trip… Alex was sick on Sunday when he picked me up from the airport. Sick enough to warrant a trip to the ER on Sunday night. He was throwing up, hot, weak – we went to the ER when he passed out onto the bed after a shower and didn’t feel like he had the strength to move or get into the car. Coming from the guy who hates hospitals and rarely complains about sickness, I was scared.

We went to Rose Hospital’s ER and were immediately seen. Alex was treated for severe dehydration and a flu virus. Once they started the saline IV, he started to get his color and personality back – it was amazing to see the transformation!

He was discharged with no further diagnosis – just to rest, keep drinking fluids and take care of himself. He’s done just that – stayed home from work on Monday and Tuesday and is feeling back to himself today.

Whew! I’m finally feeling settled again, after last week’s whirlwind trip. I’m happy to be home and looking forward to visitors and birthday fun next week!

Foodie Pen Pals: February

What a week it’s been! From a jam-packed trip to Cincinnati (as in, out of the house from 830 a.m. – past midnight 4 days in a row) and ending with Sunday night spent in the ER with Alex, I’m finally getting my routine back and a chance to blog again!

Last month, I joined the Foodie Pen Pals group that Lindsay sets up – it’s a great way to ‘meet’ new friends on the internet and to get a fun care package!

This month, I was paired up with Ashley B. from Cincinnati, of all places. She was so sweet and offered to send me some local Cincinnati food that I may have been missing. And boy, did she deliver!

She checked out my blog and saw that I eat mostly paleo so she chose foods that fit into the paleo lifestyle. She sent:

  • Annie Chun’s Seaweed Snacks
  • Yogavive Apple Chips
  • Homemade (as in: Ashley made it) pickles from their cucumber garden this past summer
  • Mt. Carmel beer (local Cincinnati brand that Alex and I love!) 
  • Upcycled earrings
  • Coffee kozie

This was a great package to receive – very thoughtful and tasty!

I dug right into the seaweed snacks – they’re roasted with olive oil and sea salt.

I will definitely be buying these again. I bought 2 packages from Trader Joe’s when I was in Cincinnati last week for $0.99 each (Trader Joe’s brand). Hope I can find them as cheap out here!

I also gobbled up the Yogavive Apple Chips before I could snap a photo – oops!

These were a tasty, light and healthy treat that I’d definitely buy in the future. Each bag contains the equivalent of 5 full apples, air popped!

We haven’t tried the pickles yet – and even though pickles aren’t my thing, they are Alex’s favorite condiment. I’m also planning to give these a taste once we break into them – maybe it’s the pickle that changes my mind! (#twss?)

Now, these earrings that Ashley sent, she made. She works part-time at Starbucks while finishing up grad school and was seeing so many empty gift cards be thrown away when she had an idea – turn them into earrings!

They’re so cute! I wore them yesterday and got so many compliments – no one could tell they were old gift cards.

And lastly, this coffee kozie is so thoughtful. Since moving away from Ohio, I find myself wanting to buy everything Ohio when I see it. While in Cincinnati for Christmas last year, we stocked up on Ohio things – Christmas ornaments, fridge magnets, winter hats, etc. So this kozie was right up my ally.  

This has a set place in my purse already. Now, I just need to get myself to a coffee shop and take a drink to go!

While I was in Cincinnati last week, Ashley was so kind as to meet me for coffee at a local coffee shop. I love making new friends and the internet makes that so much easier – it was so coincidental that I was paired with a girl in Cincinnati and that I just happened to be traveling there last week. It was fun to put a face with a name/emails and learn about her, her garden, grad school and their hopeful plans to move to Denver.

For those of you who get paired with Ashley B in the future, you are one lucky duck! She’s a great foodie pen pal and a genuine, quality person to talk with!

Want to join? Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers.

If you’re interested in participating for March, just send  an email to and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)
-If you are a US or Canadian resident.

You must submit your information by March 4th as pairings will be emailed on March 5th!

Wedding Wednesday: So Much Wedding Planning!

**Wedding Wednesday is a feature on my blog documenting our wedding planning process – thoughts, reflections, ideas, milestones. Follow along as we plan a wedding in our home city of Cincinnati while we live in Denver.


I’m headed to Cincinnati tonight to spend 4 days taking care of wedding things. Since we’re living in Denver but getting married in Cincinnati, we haven’t been able to meet or see things in person before we make decisions and sign contracts. In fact, neither of us have seen our reception venue in real life yet!

This weekend, I’ve got a full schedule:

  • Meet with our reception venue (The Redmoor)
  • Meet with a potential photographer
  • Drop off my engagement ring to be sized
  • Take a peek at wedding band styles/costs with the jeweler who made my engagement ring
  • Meet with my wedding hair and makeup stylist and…
  • (Most importantly) DRESS SHOP

Alex and I spent a lot of time last night reviewing contracts (reception and photography) and menus (The Redmoor provides the food/catering), jotting down questions we have and opportunities for negotiation. 

We also reviewed costs: what we expect our total costs to be, compared that to our budget to figure out if we’re on track with our costs or if we should start saving even more. So far, so good.

After reading Julie’s post about Wedding Statistics, I am pretty proud that we expect to come in under the average for many of the categories – total budget, wedding dress, wedding bands and cake costs. Of course, we haven’t bought much of that yet (except for cake!).

I’m looking forward to checking a bunch of stuff off the ‘checklist’ and making big progress this weekend - we’re at just 6 months away from W-Day and have a lot left to do!

Fit (not Fat) Tuesday

Are you celebrating Fat Tuesday? The day before Ash Wednesday, the day before we’re ‘supposed’ to give up something important to you for Lent to teach us about sacrafice.

Traditionally, Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday has become a party day, an excuse to indulge in bad food and bad behavior as ‘one last hurrah’ before you abstain from drinking alcohol or eating candy or watching TV.

Today, my office has an abundance of King Cake floating around and co-workers are talking about their happy hour plans to celebrate Mardi Gras. 

I understand the tradition behind Fat Tuesday but instead, I’d rather celebrate Fit Tuesday.

Fit Tuesday means:

  • Not sholving cake into my mouth for an afternoon snack
  • Drinking bottles and bottles of water, not beer
  • Sticking to my paleo principles at dinner
  • Taking a walk at lunch and walking the dog after work to get my blood moving
  • Meeting Alex at the gym to try and play volleyball
  • Setting my alarm early to take a spin class tomorrow morning

The beauty of Fit Tuesday is that, really, it could be any day. Start living healthier today, not tomorrow.

I know not everyone agrees with this and some people really love the tradition of Mardi Gras. But for me, a day to celebrate and indulge in excess is to me, well, excessive. I’m not hatin’ on those who ARE enjoying King Cake and cocktails today by any means.

Instead of out-of-control eating and drinking today, I’ll be focusing on keeping my body moving, hydrated and nourished properly. What about you?

Your vote: Fat or Fit Tuesday?

Happy Birthday, George Washington! President's Day Pancakes with Chobani

Many of us have off school or work today for President’s Day / George Washington’s birthday. To celebrate, I decided to make pancakes.

Perfect for a lazy Monday morning. I wonder if George Washington ate pancakes for his birthday breakfast back in the day?

These pancakes are not paleo but since I made it myself and know what I’m putting into it and am using as whole foods/ingredients as possible, I’m okay with it.

I took this recipe from the Chobani Kitchen and made some modifications using:


Whole Wheat Pancakes with Chobani

 Adapted from here

Ours made 11-12 pancakes

Ingredients (my modifications in bold)

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose Whole Wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 C (12oz) 12 oz or 2 individual cups Vanilla Strawberry 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 C milk Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1.4 c water
  • Non-stick spray


  1. Combine all dry ingredients
  2. Slightly whisk egg
  3. Mix egg, almond milk and yogurt together
  4. Pour wet ingredients onto dry ingredients and mix until smooth
  5. Spoon onto non-stick sprayed skillet
  6. Cook for a few minutes, flip when underside of the pancake is firm
  7. Cook again for a few minutes
  8. Remove from heat, top with syrup and enjoy!

I ran into a one issue with this recipe -

The recipe called for 1/2 cup or 12 oz of yogurt. However, 1 6-oz container is 1/2 cup. So I started with only 1 6-oz cup of strawberry yogurt and it was not enough. The batter was too thick, more like dough. So I added a second 6-oz cup of yogurt and some water (1/4 cup) to thin it out and it worked like a charm.

This pancake is heartier than a traditional pancake but it’s got staying power because of the whole wheat and yogurt. I expected it to have more of a strawberry/vanilla taste from the yogurt and milk but neither Alex or I could notice any significant taste difference from a ‘normal’ wheat pancake.

Since this batch made so many pancakes, I’ve Ziplocked and am freezing the 6 leftovers. They’ll make great on-the-go breakfasts when I’m in a pinch.

So today on Mr. George Washington’s birthday, I want to say thanks to him and all of our presidents. Thanks for all that you did and do for America and the world and setting the foundation for me to live in a free country.

Happy birthday, Mr. Washington.

Getting My Swaggar Back

Today, I’m back in Denver. It was a quick, whirlwind trip to Vegas but a fun and very educational one! I learned so much at the Ragan conference about using social media/blogging in a business capacity. Whether you’re trying to build your personal blog as a business,  utilizing social media/PR/communications for a company, I highly recommend getting on the Ragan email list. Invaluable information daily.

On Wednesday, I’d mentioned that my knee was hurting and I wasn’t doing myself any favors by walking in non-supportive shoes. Later that day and evening, I only made matters worse.

First of all, I looked up the distance between MGM Grand/The Signature at MGM Grand/Conference Center to see the distance. It took about 15-20 mins to walk from one end to the other and on Google Maps, it looks farther than I thought!

 Just walking to/from either end or from my room to the conference center was a workout.

Wednesday night, my coworker and I went out to dinner and decided to try Sugar Factory, across the street from the Bellagio fountains, hoping to see a Kardashian dining in her natural habitat. Unfortunately, we did not.

But we did walk more than a mile to the restaurant.

I think this is the most  I’ve walked at one time in (I think) the past 6 months, certainly in the last 3. And we weren’t done yet. After dinner, we walked through Planet Hollywood and hit up The Cosmopolitan hotel and found the cutest, girliest bar called The Chandelier.

Draped in hundreds of strands of glass bead curtains, the bar really did resemble a luxurious chandalier. We enjoyed an (overpriced) glass of wine before heading back to the hotel, by cab.

My knees and feet were TIRED and hurting at the end of the night. Today, my quads and calves are way sore.

How I Got My Swagger Back

On Wednesday, I was still limping a bit – I hadn’t been able to figure out how to walk properly. Similar to my first surgery, it took about a week of hobbling around like a peg legged pirate before I figure out how to stand up and walk correctly. After we got back to our hotel Wednesday night, I figure out how to walk again.

When I was limping, I had been walking more on my toes and front of my foot first. After we came back, I stood up straight and put my foot out, heel first. That was it! Striking my heel first removed the pressure I’d been putting on my graft while hobbling and instantly, the pain and soreness were almost completely gone.

 (hobbling vs. walking; gray spot is where my graft is)

Until yesterday, I was feeling really nervous about my knee and recovery – it was hurting more than my first surgery. Was something wrong? Was my graft not implanting correctly? What if they have to do another surgery to fix it? It’s been hard for me to remember that it’s ONLY been 1 week that I’ve been off my crutches and to adjust my expectations.

And just like last time, about 1 week after walking, I straightened my gait, literally, and the pain is gone.

I’m breathing easier today – I know nothing’s wrong and that I’m well on my way to a full recovery. I need to be sure I invest in supportive shoes and to remember to take it easy for a couple of weeks but despite that, I’ve got my swagger back.

Rookie Travel Mistakes

Whew! Vegas (and getting to Vegas!) is something else!

This is my first flight and business flight in many, many months. The last 6 months, I’ve been grounded because of surgery and I’m not flying to visit Alex anymore, so let’s just say that I’m a little rusty.

My flight yesterday left Denver at 445p… without me. Yep, that’s right. The flight was oversold and I’d volunteered to give up my seat if necessary, taking the next later flight to Vegas. I got as far as boarding and trying to find a spot for my bag when the gate agents called me back out to ask if I could take the next flight.

The gate agents with Frontier were the best – so friendly and quick in getting me rebooked on the next flight. And they hooked me up with Stretch Seating! As a previous top level frequent flier (in 2010, I flew 33 legs with Frontier), I’m a big fan of Stretch Seating. Look at all the room! Heaven for a tall person like me.

Easy flight, friendly flight attendants: 2 reasons of the many reasons I keep coming back to Frontier.

So instead of landing in Vegas at 6 p.m. PST, I landed at 8 p.m PST.

Here’s where the mistakes began:

- Not wearing supportive shoes: My knees were SORE last night because I hadn’t thought about (and don’t really have) supportivie shoes. Before, it didn’t matter but my knees are still recovering and can’t take all the pounding. I’m investing in better shoes this weekend.

- Not knowing which part of the hotel I’d booked: I didn’t realize just how insane Vegas is and how gigantic all of these buildings are. I knew I was booked in MGM Grand but it turns out, I’m in the Signature at MGM Grand…Very different. I tried to check in at MGM Grand and they sent me about a half a mile through the hotel/casino/food court to the very opposite side of the building to The Signature.

- Not printing off my hotel/conference registration: If I’d done that (like I usually do), I would have known my hotel and could have taken the taxi straight to the Signature.

- Not bringing a purse: Seriously?! I always use a backpack to hold my laptop/papers/pens/purse things when I travel. I also always pack a small purse so I can bring my wallet, phone, room key and chapstick with me in the evenings. This time, I completely forgot.

- Not bringing a toothbrush & toothpaste: I know my toothbrush is still on my bathroom counter in Denver. And I’d meant to pick up a travel size toothpaste on Tuesday but didn’t have time. So I’m using these instead:

- Not bringing a contact case: …Really, I just didn’t bring anything to Vegas! Using drinking glasses instead.

- Not bringing enough business cards: Grrr! I’m at a conference for work and didn’t bring as many business cards as I’d planned. Usually I have a stack in my backpack so I’ve always got them when I travel but I’d taken them out once I started using my backpack as my purse after surgery.

Rookie, rookie mistakes. Just like the rest of my life, I feel like I’m getting reaclimated and relearning how to get back into the swing of ‘real life’ things. None of these are trip-ruining, just inconvenient (and dumb!).

To get my blood flowing this morning, I did a series of sun salutations and yoga flows in my room. My knees are sore from walking so I didn’t want to do any fitness room cardio this morning. And my hotel room has more room than my apartment does – how can I not take advantage?!

(That’s a king sized bed that I had the BEST night’s sleep in. So soft, so warm and alllllll mine.)

Off to learn about social media, communicating and marketing! You can follow along on Twitter (@lgsmash); I’ll be using #ragansocmed to tag tweets about the conference.

Valentine's Day: Blood Donation and LAS VEGAS

I’m not a big fan of holidays that society tells us we  HAVE to give a gift. I like giving gifts when I see something that reminds me of a loved one – out of the blue – but when Retail America tells me I have to go all out and buy gifts or get dressed up for a fancy dinner to celebrate a certain day, I’m not down with that. To me, it loses the specialness of that given gift.

But there’s one gift I love to give regularly and giving it on Valentine’s Day would not make it any less special: Donating blood.

One whole blood donation can help save and enhance the lives of up to 3 patients. (Source)

Unfortunately when I showed up for my appointment this morning, I found out I’m unable to donate. Due to my surgeries and having a cadaver graft in both knees (DeNovo is a cartilage graft from a juvenile cadaver donor), I’m black listed from donating for 1  year after my last surgery date (December 28).

Major bummer – I haven’t been able to donate since a few months before my first surgery. As a girl who donated every 8 weeks to the day, most of the time, I am pretty disappointed that I’m out for the next year.

So instead, I’ll celebrate this crazy day of love by hopping on a plane to the most romantic spot I can think of: Las Vegas. Seriously.

I’m headed to Vegas tonight for the Ragan 5th Annual Social Media Conferecen for PR And Corporate Communications. I’m really excited – the conference agenda is packed with great social media insight and trends for marketers and it’s my first time in Vegas!

As a first-timer in Las Vegas – what are you ‘must see/must do’ suggestions? Vegas regular, Diana, has sent me quite a few suggestions to get started but I’d like to hear from you too!