Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tummy Time

Over the past year, i've been through a lot of emotional stress with the loss of two of the people i loved most in the world, my father and my grandmother.
Because of this, i've chalked up any maladies I've had to these events.

Last week, though, i discovered something pretty interesting. After many hours researching online, and a few home tests (no i haven't been to the doctor yet, in fear that their first response will be to prescribe me some medicine, instead of finding the root of the problem), I discovered that I, along with approximately 90% of Americans, have low acid level in my stomach.

All of the below will be a very simplified version of what i've discovered.

How did I know?

Basically, my symptoms continued getting worse. They were simple, but unnerving ones. I lost any appetite, my stomach lining felt irritated, and I felt nauseous pretty regularly.

Upon first research, i actually thought I had too much acid in my stomach... until i found out that low acid level and high acid level actually produce similar symptoms.

There are a couple of home tests you can do to figure out your acid level.

Easiest: When you have a stomach ache (i am talking about your stomach here, not intestines) drink a tablespoon of lemon juice. If it makes your stomach pain go away, you have low acid level. If your stomach pain gets worse, you have a high acid level.

Moderately easy: First thing in the morning, before anything else goes in your body, drink a concoction of 1/4 tsp of Baking Soda mixed with 6 to 8 oz of cold water.
Now pay attention to the clock for 5 min.
Normal acid level reaction: belch in about 2 to 3 min.
High acid level reaction: early and repeated belching.
Low acid level reaction: belching after 3 minutes.
Repeat this for 3 days to get the best results.

How did I figure out my acid level?
Both days I did this, it took me more than 5 min to burp.
I didn't even try the third day.

What does this mean?

Simplified: when your stomach doesn't produce enough acid, it doesn't digest your food properly, and you don't absorb all of the needed nutrients. It leaves you feeling heavy, tired, and overall unwell.

I'm still in the process of figuring out how to fight this, and as of now, I have found the below website to be the most helpful.


I just downed my first glass of apple cider vinegar and warm water... not as tasty as you would want a morning drink, but feel free to go ahead and use this time to research all of the Pros of apple cider vinegar. (hint: there are A LOT)

Of everything, i think the "don't over hydrate" section will be the hardest for me.

Have you ever experienced anything like this? Or had any experience fighting with your stomach's acid levels?

Let me know!

(and side note for those who worry: if my symptoms continue to get worse over the next couple of weeks, don't fret, i'll be making a doctor's appointment.)

Friday, September 26, 2014

89 Days! Bright Star

This week we are watching a film, that upon first watching, I was moved to silence. I only managed to mumble to Jayson that I had to go to bed, and there I went and wept.

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
         Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
         Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
         Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
         Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
         Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
         Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

John Keats, Bright Star

Monday, September 15, 2014

100 Days! Update

Today marks the start of the 100 day countdown to our
London trip!
(it also marks the 101 day countdown to Christmas... so start your shopping lists now, folks!)

At this point, we are focusing on what we NEED for the trip.

So here we go:

The first step is for me to start the process of updating my passport to actually have my married name attached to it. This is our main focus for the week.

We will finalize our phone usage decisions (this one has a whole blog post of it's own).

We will confirm that we know which point & shoot camera we really want to buy (last time i bought one was maybe 2007...), and decide when and how we would like to get it.

Take a look at our luggage... do we need a new one?

And, slowly but surely, we need to start a collection of winter clothes for our trip. We are packing light, so they need to be very specific items that we hand-pick ourselves (please don't buy or send us any winter clothes, if you are a person that normally does so)

**I bought my winter coat yesterday, as ASOS was having a one day sale!!!**

I think that's it. Let me know if you have any other suggestions of things we should start looking at now.

Friday, September 12, 2014

103 Days! Bookshops

While we are in London there are a few bookshops i definitely want to visit.

The first one, unfortunately, doesn't even exist anymore. So i guess i will settle with just standing on the pavement in front of it.

Have you ever read 84 Charing Cross Road (or seen the movie)?

I picked it up while i was working at Barnes & Noble, and fell IN LOVE with the story of the pen pal relationship between the author, Helene Hanff, and the lovely bookshop in London that carried the unique titles she couldn't get her hands on in
New York City.

Eventually, i lent my copy to a man named Elvis. He lost it, but repaid me with one of his watercolors in a very nice picture frame.

For a little Edwardian beauty, I am desperate to visit
Daunt Books - Marylebone.

(Photo from travelinhappiness.com)

I was informed by the ever reliable Wikipedia, that it is "alleged to be the first custom build bookshop in the world"!

Even more importantly they specialize in Travel Books which is one of my most favorite kind (my collection has their own small bookshelf in my house). I think it would be quite alright if i bought just one book here...

If you can't make it to London, you can simply visit their website for a virtual tour!

The last bookshop coincides with our weekly movie,
Notting Hill.

Unfortunately, The Travel Bookshop closed in 2011 due to financial difficulties... which means by not making time to see it in 2008, i missed out on it all together... :(
(i was actually just around the corner from it, but didn't realize!)

BUT another owner purchased the shop and turned it into The Notting Hill Bookshop!

I am very excited to visit it because i feel like when people around the world think of an independent bookshop...they must slightly imagine this one, right?

If you click right... HERE ... you will find a link to an article talking about the closing of the shop, and i must admit... i teared up a little, even now.

Don't get me wrong, i am more than fine to visit any bookshop i come across; but for wallet-size reason, i'm not sure that's a great idea. :)

Do you have any favorite London bookshop memories?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

105 Days!

"Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life;
for there is in London all that life can afford."

- Samual Johnson

Monday, September 8, 2014

107 days! the London Bookshop Map App

I think the most amazing and beautiful thing i have come across in my research for our London trip has been the London Bookshop Map app.

 This app has every independent bookshop in London listed, and allow you to easily find a shop by either "specialism" or location.

Below I have an example of shop that is near the hotel we're staying in on Christmas night.

This app also features something extraordinary in it's "tell me a story" section. It randomly generates short stories (some that don't particularly make sense... okay a lot that don't), and then logs them here:


Here is one example of a story within the app:

I forgot to screen capture my favorite story created this morning; so here is the text from the Tumblr:

A successful artist, under a pseudonym, decides to ‘kill’ his creative alter ego to start a new life as a family man. Warriors and priests fight for power while people are dying.

I am so excited to use this app while in London, as during my first go round I didn't step foot in an actual bookstore the whole time i was there (i know, hard for me to believe too). Well... i mean i did go into Waterstones, but does that really count when you have so many independent shops there?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

113 Days! London Bus Tour

As I mentioned before, on Christmas Day London transportation is nearly non-existent.

On Boxing Day things pick up again, but not fully.
Apparently, Tube service is limited.

Since I am not quite sure what that will mean, and don't want it to interrupt our plans, Jayson and I have decided to go super tourist for our first full day,
and go on a hop on, hop off bus tour!

When I studied in London, that was one of the first activities they had us go on, and I loved it! It felt like such a good introduction to the town because I saw a little bit of everything. Sure, it spun my head around, trying to figure out exactly where I was in the city; but it gave me a taste of the town I was about to spend the next few weeks exploring.

Since Jayson and I have a lot less time than I had when I studied there, I want him to experience as much of the magic as possible.

Right now, I have plans for us to use The Original Bus Tour, but I have heard good things about Big Bus Tours.

I found this website, to help me sort through some of the decision making:

It looks like The Original London Tour offers discounts to a few other popular site seeing locations when you buy them at the same time as your bus tour tickets. Always a perk!

Have you ever been on either? Do you have a preference?

Original Bus Tour Map (click here)

Big Bus Tour Map (click here)