~Today’s a better day, not as stuffy and not coughing as much. Does that mean I’m finally on the mend?! God I hope so -_-
Earlier this week I was okay enough to run errands around town before meeting some friends. In the middle of errand running, I decided to treat myself to a rare trip to Starbucks to try the elusive ‘medicine ball’, which is claimed to be the go-to drink to cold and flu sufferers. I first heard about the medicine ball from a friend of mine a few months ago and was curious to see if it really does make you feel better if you have a cold.
The medicine ball is comprised of Jade Citrus Mint green tea, Peach Tranquility herbal tea, hot water, steamed lemonade and honey. I was a little put off by the steamed lemonade part, it didn’t sound that appealing. I was glad to prove myself wrong when I tried it, it was actually pretty decent! You get pulled inbetween a battle of sweet and sour flavors from the honey and lemonade, and the slight bitterness of the green tea steps in to even things out. Glad to know the $4 Grande wasn’t disapointing. This once secret menu item has gained so much popularity that its now on its regular menu known as Honey Citrus Mint tea.
If you haven’t tried it before, I recommend you do and tell me what you think!
~Ever hear of the expression ‘I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired’? Well, that’s me. To a T. In every literal sense of the word For over a month (though it feels like much longer) I’ve been battling concurrent colds after recovering from pneumonia. Yeah, the big P.
The next few blog posts, which I’m calling my ‘Sickness Saga’, is basically me taking you on a guided tour through my troubled immune system and sharing with you a few interesting stories, facts, and interesting information I’ve been learning along the way. So be sure to keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all time and secure all belongings.
It all started on the morning of Saturday October 26th. I woke up not feeling the greatest; slightly warm (but not feverish) and overall crummy. I went to work and completed my shift like normal. The next day, however, I came down with a fever of 101 and feeling like I got hit by a bus. I had to cancel plans with my fiance and his family and instead make plans with my favorite recliner. I spent the remainder of the day binge watching Intervention, playing Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns, and sleeping. My fever went down to 99 on Monday the 28th, which made me think that I was starting to feel better, and went to work. I felt okay at work, but as soon as I got home, my body was breathing a sigh of relief. Fever came back around 100 and I shaking like a leaf. I would take a nap for an hour or two and when I woke up I was shaking so hard that it felt like someone forced me to do the ALS ice bucket challenge. When I got up I saw my reflection in my vanity mirror I freaked the f*ck out. My face was completely devoid of color. I knew then that this wasn’t an ordinary cold, this was a more formidable opponent.
I spent the next two days at Immediate Care trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me. I would take alternating doses of Tylenol and Ibuprofen that would lessen my fevers, but wouldn’t break them. And the waking up shaking and completely white after sleeping instance scared me enough to seek medical treatment. The doctor ran a series of lab tests, which would later come back normal, and gave me 1 gram (two 500mg tablets) of Tylenol when my fever was nearing 103.
I remember laying on the exam table in the fetal position crying, thinking I was going to die. I did the one thing you’re not supposed to do and Googled my symptoms and according to Dr. Google it could be anything from a common cold to meningitis. The doctor prescribed Doxycycline, an antibiotic used to treat upper respiratory infections, with the inclination that I could have either bronchitis or pneumonia. I would find out that it was the latter.
Around 1am on Halloween, I had woken up from what I thought was an okay night’s sleep shaking so violently that the head board on my bed was vibrating. It felt like there were tiny knives stabbing me in the muscles between my ribs and an elephant was sitting on my chest. And if I wasn’t already feeling sh*tty enough I began vomiting. Once my stomach calmed, I woke my mom and through an anxiety attack said that I needed to go to the hospital. She nodded and shuffled my whimpering sad self into the car on the way to the hospital. My dad met us there shortly after I arrived, eyes heavy with working a grueling night shift and now worrying about me. In triage they drew blood and gave me Ibuprofen and Zofran, an anti-nausea medication. Ironically the Zofran made me more nauseaous because I ended up swallowing the tablet instead of letting it completely dissolve under my tongue and it had a horrible bitter after taste. Once I was admitted into the ER, more tests were ran and more blood was taken (which I was getting sick of at that point since I had more blood taken in such a short time frame than I had in my entire 28 years of existance. Not to mention I’m terribly afraid of needles). After all was said and done, the ER doctor confirmed via my chest x-ray that I had pneumonia. I was actually relieved because I really did think I could have had meningitis with how persistant the fevers were. I was put on IV fluids and two different IV antibiotics, in which I cursed out my poor nurse when he placed my IV catheter. While receiving this treatment, my mom was happy to see color returning to my cheeks.
I was discharged around 6:30am and prescribed two oral antibiotics similar to the ones I received in the ER. After taking the antibiotics for a couple days I started feeling more like myself and almost back to normal once I finished them a week later. I was doing pretty well for about a week and a half when I got stuck with a head cold, which thankfully lasted only a couple of days with no fevers. And fast forward to today, where I’m currently on day 10 of cold #2. 😡
If you’ve made it this far, I commend you. I’m glad to know that this roller coaster riddled with disease hasn’t made you queasy yet.
Stay tuned to my upcoming posts in my Sickness Saga, where I learn about the benefits of bananas, Vitamin C and everything inbetween. Be well and take care of yourself ❤
~Last weekend my fiance and I checked out the Strawberry Festival, an annual event held in Long Grove, IL from June 21-23 (we went on the 21st since we both had the day off). It was about an hour drive from where I live, but thankfully traffic wasn’t bad. The main road took us on a detour that shuffled us to event parking by a local church. We walked a short way only to realize that neither of us had extra cash on us (the last $5 my fiance had was used for parking (though it was advertied as free parking, what a rip off!)). The woman at the entrance pointed us in the direction of the nearest ATM, where I withdrew enough money not only for entry for the two us ($5 per person) but also for spending.
Once inside the festival we were greeted by a band performing on the main stage and a group of people filing in and out of the shops adjacent to the stage. The festival sprawled across downtown Long Grove with several booths selling various strawberry flavored concoctions. One of the more unusal ones I saw was a stand selling strawberry flavored kettle corn, which I was tempted to try, but I chickened out. We walked several blocks down to explore the rest of the festival where we ended up at the Long Grove Coffee Company.
The Long Coffee Co. was cozy and reminicent of a traditional coffee shop one would see on TV. There were several small tables and even a shelf of old board games you could play. There was a wide selection of coffee, coffee blended drinks and tea to choose from, as well as a few pastries. I had a vanilla latte and a strawberry doughnut which my fiance and I split. Let me tell you, this was by far one of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had! It was a cake based doughnut (fun fact I actually prefer yeast based doughnuts) that was so light and fluffy even with chucks of strawberries baked into it, and coated with sugar but it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. It was so good that before we left I bought a half dozen doughnuts 🙂
Walking back on the main road to the majority of stalls at the festival we stopped at a stand from a company called Nectar of the Vine that was selling wine slushies. They came in packages where to make the slushy you combine the package with a bottle of wine (or other liquor you prefer) and equal parts water, blend and freeze for a few hours.
They had two flavors to sample, pomegrante and peach mango. I tried the pomegrante and my fiance tried the peach mango. After sampling we exchanged shots and tried the opposite flavors, both of which were delicious. After talking with the procuerer of the stand we parted ways and further into the festival. Before we left, however, I stoppped back and bought the pomegrante mix. The man had recognized us from earlier and gave me a deal: 2 mixes for $20 (each bag was $13 each)! Score! My second flavor I got was the peach mango.
The last stop, and perhaps my favorite, was a chocolatier that made everything you could possibly dip in chocolate or create with chocolate that could have easily put Willy Wonka out of business. I picked up a few chocolate dipped strawberries (the feature photo of this post) and a strip of chocolate covered bacon. The chocolate was so smooth and luckily didn’t melt on the car ride home! The strawberries were juicy and delicious.
Overall I enjoyed the Strawberry Festival more than I thought I would. It was through Facebook that I found the festival and learned from the guy at Nectar of the Vine that Long Grove also hosts a chocolate festival and an apple festival in the fall (which I hope to attend) 😀
I’ve come out of my self impossed hiatus and have returned to blogging and farmer’s markets. I took 2018 off to focus on some personal and financial stuff, but I’m back! Last weekend I went to the Frankfort Country Market and had a wonderful time, which there will be a subsequent blog post about it. And this coming Memorial Day weekend my fiance (I’m engaged now! <3) and I are going back to Frankfort Country Market.
~I’ve made a Twitter account for the blog! I’ve linked my posts there so you can enjoy them anywhere! I’ll also be posting exclusive content there once market season starts up again, so I encourage everyone to please follow me!
~Can you believe that Christmas is only a couple of days away?! Good thing I finished all my Christmas shopping lol. But if you didn’t, I have a place where you’ll find the perfect gift: Christkindlmarket in downtown Naperville (or Chicago, but Naperville is closer for me). I’ve been wanting to go to Christkindlmarket for years (the one in Chicago), and when I found out that Naperville is its suburban home, my desire to go intensified.
Friends of mine that had gone before advised that I go in the middle of the week because the weekends are chaotic. As advised I went this past Thursday around 12:30, and even then it was crowded. I found a parking garage a few blocks from the Naper Settlement (where they held the market) and my best shot of getting a semi-decent parking spot was on the 5th floor roof.
When I got to the market, I was overwhelmed by the astounding number of ornaments that were sold in nearly every stand. They were beautiful and delicately painted, ones that would look great on any tree. The first stand I went to was, of course, an ornament stand. Hailing from Germany and Poland, these beauties came in all shapes and sizes, boasting a different winter or holiday theme painted onto them. I didn’t go for the traditional hanging ones, but rather a flock of adorable clip on birds. I have birds (parakeets) of my own so naturally I would gravitate toward those. I can’t remember the individual price of the birds but the box containing 4 were $30. Now my little flock is nestled on the branches of our Christmas tree at home 🙂
After purchasing the bird ornaments I made a lap around the market scoping out the different stalls and deciding what I would want to eat. Nearly every market-goer was holding a red decorative mug filled with some of the richest hot chocolate I’ve ever had. To go with my hot cocoa I picked up some caramel coated cashews to munch on as I continued through the market.
I stumbled upon a stand that was a purveyor of wares made from alpaca wool. I was looking for something to match the alpaca wool hat I purchased at the Frankfort market over the summer, and I found a pair of gloves, the ones with the fingertips cut off that could also be worn as mittens, with a similar brown and white striped pattern for $25, which is very reasonable for something wool woven. The man running the stand hails from Alberta, Canada works with families in Peru and Ecuador that raise the alpacas for the wool. Support local businesses/family run operations!
After I picked up a few smaller ornaments and a gift for a friend of mine, I finished the day eating pierogi and potato pancakes. In my Happy Hanukkah! post I briefly spoke of eating them traditionally with sour cream and apple sauce, but at the Austrian Lodge the serve their pancakes 3 ways: plain, with sour cream and apple sauce, or with sour cream and smoked salmon. I opted for plain, which were deliciously crispy, but I’m biased and prefer my mom’s recipe. The pierogi at Tata’s Pierogi were plump and tender, filled with your traditional meat or potato & cheese, and a little more on the exotic side with spinach and feta. Spinach and feta isn’t exactly exotic, but I don’t see a lot of those in Polish cooking.
Overall, I absolutely fell in love with Christkindlmarket. I would for sure go again, either to Naperville or I may be brave enough and fight traffic to visit the one in Chicago.
~While I am not Jewish (I happen to be Catholic), I still feel it’s important to highlight and respect other cultures’ traditions, especially around the holidays and in this time of worldly strife.
Hanukkah, also know as the Festival of Lights, started today at sunset and lasts for 8 days, representing the 8 days the sacred oil lit the menorah in the Temple, which was supposed to only last one day.
Because of this oil, many foods eaten during this time are cooked in oil. One of my personal favorites are latkas, or potato pancakes. Traditionally, these tasty creations are served with sour cream or apple sauce, but I like them with ketchup (although apple sauce would be delicious).
To my Jewish readers and readers of other faiths: HAPPY HANUKKAH!