Amanda Dorough | The Beautiful Journey


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Wrapping Up P-School

P-School aka Paramedic School aka the hardest year of my life thusfar, is officially over, well the school part at least.  I still have my internship to do, and my exit exam, and my national exam…. but that’s neither here no there.  The sense of freedom I feel now that class is over and there’s no more homework or clinicals is absolutely incredible. Incredible I tell you!

For those of you that are blissfully unaware of what this journey was like, well let me try to sum it up for you…

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Ok, maybe that’s being a little dramatic, but it was really, really hard.

I will also take this moment for a public education moment.  See ladies and gentlemen, there is a difference between an EMT and a Paramedic (I know, most of you are probably thinking mind blown right now).  I’ll forgive you for not knowing this fact considering most of the population as NO CLUE and I myself didn’t know there was a difference 5 years ago.  Yes they both work in an ambulance but the real difference comes in skill-level and training.  It took me exactly 1 semester (approx 150 hrs) to become an EMT (in Alaska EMT 1 in the entire country they’re called EMT-Basic).  As an EMT you can do basic life saving stuff and it’s all fine and dandy in many cases.  Paramedic’s on the other hand possess a scary amount of medical knowledge, can do some pretty insane procedures (surgical cricothyroidotomy anyone?), and deal with a ton of medications.  Also, when all is said and done a Paramedic degree is like 2000 hrs or something, and that’s on top of the EMT- Basic hours since you have to have that cert before even thinking of applying to Paramedic School.  So ya, there you have it in a nutshell, EMTs and Paramedics are different.

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Top: My EMT 1 Class, Fall Semester 2014; Bottom: My EMT 2 Class Spring Semester 2015. Alaska has 3 levels of EMTs before you get to Paramedic.

Ok, back to the topic at hand.  I can still remember the first day of Paramedic school last August vividly.  My class of 11 all showed up with our crisp new uniforms and blank notebooks ready to learn.  Fast forward 11 months later and our uniforms are tattered (I seriously have holes in my job skirt aka sweatshirt) and faded, we have dark circles under our eyes, and there are coffee stains on pretty much every piece of paper we deal with.

Paramedic school literally wrecks you.  But at the same time my medical knowledge base now compared to a year ago is insane.  It’s a pretty cool feeling when all of the cogs in your brain click and you suddenly understand why your body does the things it does.

While classroom time was like at least 75% of the program, those hours of lectures were also supplemented with clinicals.  During fall and spring semester we were in class 4 hrs a day M-Th then in the summer semester that changed to 8hr days M-W, leaving weekends, aka what everyone else calls break-time and uses to do fun things, like sleep for example, for us to get a crap-load of clinicals done, and by crapload I mean somewhere around 15 a semester.  I spent countless days riding around with different fire departments, but even more than that I spent what felt like endless hours in places like the Emergency Room, ICU, Cath Lab, OR, Pediatrics and my personal favorite (or not) OB.  Ya that’s right, if I could go through my entire career as a Paramedic and not have to birth any babies I would be OK with it.

Beyond that I think pictures speak the most words for me, so I’ll let some photos from this past year do the talking…

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The UAA Paramedic Program is split onto two campuses, Matsu, which is North of Anchorage, and Kenai, which is where I went. In September we all came together in Anchorage to get clinical orientations at the sites there. This picture was taken outside of a Anchorage Fire Department Station.

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In the fall we spent a lot of time going over airway skills. These pictures are from our “Airway Races” where each of our platoons (our class was broken into 3) completed against eachother.

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In the Fall we got custom shirts made for Breast Cancer Awareness month. I designed the graphic on the back so it was a pretty proud moment.

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In February the Matsu campus came down to work on Cardiac Mega Codes and ACLS with us.

Then summer semester is when things started to get really fun.  We’d been working on medical issues/treatment all year so we finally got to do some Trauma scenarios…

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Working some trauma scenarios in our vehicle simulator outside of the school.

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Learning some high angle rescue skills with the Nikiski Fire Department. This was before we were belayed to 60 ft in the air…

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While we are NOT “Ambulance Drivers” learning to drive the ambulance and get CEVO certified is still a necessary skill.

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Extrication training with Central Emergency Services.  Nothing like using the jaws of life to make you feel like a bada**.  In this pic we’re all sitting in a van we cut the roof off.

So there you have it, like 10 of at least 1000 photos from the year, but I did say summary right?  If not we would be here all night!

Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, as I mentioned before I still have my internship left to do, so I’ll be spending 2 months this fall just outside of Houston, TX, putting all my paramedic skills to work and probably dying of heatstroke considering Alaska has ruined me forever.  Then afterwards I’ll come back to Soldotna, take all my final tests and hopefully find a job and actually have money again.  Hooray!

So there you have it, P-school in a very small nutshell.  Thanks for coming along for the ride with me everyone!


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That Time I Ran With the Reindeer

I’ve often spoken about how my love for history and all things travel was sparked and fueled by my fathers (and grandfathers) extensive collection of National Geographics.  The sites, the cultures, the experiences, all so different from my little corner of the world.  I was completely captivated.

One of the events that has always captivated me was the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona.  While I never actually had any spark of desire within me to run with the bulls myself, the concept was just so interesting.

Enter Alaska.

Every spring, around the start of the famous Ititarod, Anchorage celebrates Fur Rendezvous aka Fur Rondy.  Being as this is Alaska and we have a lot of great nature things to do but not many non-nature activities, I always keep my eye out for new and exciting opportunities. So, when I took a look at this years Fur Rondy schedule and noticed an event called “The Running of the Reindeer” I was immediately intrigued.  I did a little research and immediately knew I had to do it.  I mean, a three block dash, in the snow, being chased by reindeer, while wearing costumes, what could be better?!

I immediately recruited a couple friends to do it with me and then we officially faced our first challenge.  What would we wear?  We considered many different options.  Mario characters, animals, minions…. Eventually we decided on Where’s Waldo.  A fun, cheap, and easy option.

Now lets fast forward to race day.  It’s no secret that our winter here in Alaska has been less than steller.  It’s been warmer that normal and slightly dry.  They actually had to bring in snow to cover 4th Ave for the race and other events there (Including the most important event of them all, the Ititarod, which had it’s ceremonial start that same morning).

Although our winter had been warmer than usual, the race day was still fairly cold.  I’m actually pretty impressed that I managed to fit three layers of clothes underneath my striped Waldo shirt.  Thank goodness for stretchy fabric!

About 30 minutes before the dash was about to start everyone began congregating in the middle of the street and it became such a fun atmosphere.  People were dressed in all sorts of costumes and it became one big photo-op with all the different groups wanting to get pictures with eachother, whether they were people you knew or not.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many photos we were in that day.

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The dash itself happened in 4 heats: Men, Women, Groups, and Tourists.  We signed up for the group heat because we were originally going to have our guy-friend Skylar join us, but afterwards we were definitely wishing we had done the womens heat. Why? Because the group heat was HUGE.  Definitely the biggest of them all.

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We found more waldos!

When our time finally came to run we were pretty frozen from standing so long so we were ready to go.  Finally the announcer called for us to get ready, Hobo Jim started playing and song, and we were off.

Everything was great at first, but let me tell you, y’all, running in the snow is dang hard!  I probably made it 100 ft before I had to slow to a trot, but that’s ok because the reindeer were still nowhere in site (since our heat was soooooo large).  It actually got to the point where I thought I would finish the track before I even saw a reindeer so I slowed to a walk, and finally, about 2 blocks in the first reindeer came whizzing by, wedging itself quickly between me and my friend Leslie.  Soon there were reindeer all around.

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*I got these pictures off of Instagram.  I was obviously a little preoccupied during the dash

And then there was the last reindeer.  My empathetic side came out and I felt so bad for it.  It seemed scared and confused.  It would stop, turn around, run in circles.  By this point I had started jogging again and before I knew it this little scared reindeer was right in front of me… and then it stopped, and I bet you can guess what happened next.

Yep, I ran into a reindeer.

That’s right, the reindeer didn’t run into me, I ran into it.  Poor little thing.  Fortunately neither of us were knocked over.  Also fortunately it was one of the reindeer without a rack.

By the time we reached the end of the track my lungs were on fire and I was seeing stars.  Of course the paramedic in me started to diagnose myself.  It was like everything I had learned in class about perfusion and ventilation was coming to life, and I didn’t want it to.

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After the dash.  Completely real emotions.  Feeling death.

In the end we all had a lot of fun. Would I do it again?  Possibly.  If I had a good group and good costumes to go along with it.  I will say it’s definitely a must-do at least once in your life.  You just can’t beat the experience!

 


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Dying Hair and the Unfortunate Event

As many of you know about 2 years ago I got involved in the world of product reviews. Over the course of this school year I kinda let all that take a backseat since my schedule is SO packed with all the paramedic-ing and learning and all that jazz.  You know, adulting.  Well, recently I started picking up products again, and one of the sites I do it through is Crowdtap.  I’ve had a lot of real winners these past couple months, but then came last week…

Let me back up a bit.  My hair color has never been fantastic.  It’s a kind of dull brown with more and more gray sprinkled in as I’ve gotten older (it still hurts to admit it!), so I’ve colored my hair for years.  Recently I got the opportunity to host a Garnier Olia party.  I was shipped a box of 7 different shades of Garnier Olia and the aim was to get a group of friends together and have a big ‘ole hair dying party.

So I did.

I couldn’t find 6 people (and lets be honest, finding one person to love every single shade that came in the box would have been a miracle, even living in a college residence hall like I do), but I did find 3!  I quickly reserved the red shade for myself and let the others pick from there.

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I must say I was a pretty big fan of the packaging, and especially the instructions.  They were a lot easier to read than the Loreal hair dye instructions I had used in the past.  I also liked that it didn’t make my scalp itch as I waited for it to set like other dyes do.

And that is where the liking stopped.

First of all the dye didn’t turn my hair a beautiful auburn like the box.  It turned my roots a fiery, unnatural red.  So much so that had my paramedic instructor told me it was verging on being out of dresscode.  On top of that the dye did not easily wash out either.  The night I colored it I stood in the shower for at least 30 minutes rinsing it and letting the color flow out so I thought I was good.  Two days later I washed my hair again and noted streams of red coloring flowing from my head.  Odd I thought, but again, I spent at least 30 minutes shampooing and rinsing it. I put on a white t-shirt when I got out off the shower and went on my merry way.

Bad idea.

The next day I took a look at the collar of my shirt (which was also new by the way) and it was stained red, FROM THE STUPID HAIR DYE.  I was so upset.  I immediately bleached it and thankfully the dye came out, but the point is it shouldn’t have happened in the first place!

Two of my other friends have also dyed their hair so far with the Garnier Olia I gave them.  As far as I know the one who dyed her hair black is happy with it, the one who went blonde however is not.  In fact the resulting color is so different than the one on the box that her mom immediately offered to pay for her to go the salon to get it fixed.

So the conclusion?  Garnier Olia is not a hair dye I will be using again or can stand behind unfortunately.  There are some good things about it I’ll admit, so if they can make some changes I would be willing to give it a second try, just not the way it is now.

 

  •  I received the product mentioned for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.


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Eye Candy: Homer, AK

Hello my name is Amanda and I’m a tired Paramedic student.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way… Recently I’ve been thinking more and more about how blessed I am to live in not only in Alaska, but on the Kenai Peninsula.  Guys, this place is really gorgeous!  Mountains, oceans, lakes, it’s never ending!  So, I thought I’d share some pictures today from my last trip to Homer, one of my favorite spots on the Peninsula, from when I visited at the end of last year.  It’s a small town without much to it, but it’s oh so beautiful.  While it’s fun to visit during the tourist season (the end of May to Labor Day Weekend) while everything on the Spit it open, there’s a certain magical quality of visiting Homer during it’s winter abandonment.

Homer Spit

Look across the Spit and Kachemak Bay.  The day, while freezing, couldn’t have been more perfect.

Homer Spit

The beach felt absolutely abandoned.  It’s such a unreal feeling to have a place like this all to yourself.

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The iconic Salty Dawg Saloons’ lighthouse rising up from the Spit.

Homer Spit

So, in the afternoon, as we were leaving the Spit in search of food we looked to the left and saw a bunch of creatures floating in the slushy bay.  Upon closer look we found at least 50 sea otters relaxing and playing in the surf.  I’d never seen so many otters (my favorite animal) in one place!

Homer Spit

Summer, Spring, Winter, Fall, no matter the season eagles can always be found hanging around.

Homer Spit

So there’s this spot, up on the hill behind Homer, where you can get a great vantage point over the city and the bay.  The absolute best place to watch the sunset.

And finally, just a quick shot of us and our freezing selves.  The air temp was in the teens so with the wind and Lands End (at the far tip of the Spit) it had to have been close to 0 degrees!

Homer Spit

So there’s some eye candy and travel inspiration for the day.  If anyone wants to come visit let me know!

 


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My Quest for the Perfect Planner

My quest to find the perfect planner has been long on hard fought. If only it were as easy as picking up the first cute planner that sticks out to me and then successfully using it to manage all of life’s craziness.  For years I’ve tried and for years I’ve lost.

Thus far in my quest I have learned that:

– Filofax style planners don’t work for me
– Daily layout planners (ie. The Day Designer or Purposeful Planner) don’t work for me
– Planner with busy designs on the pages don’t work for me

Through trial and error, over the last 5 or so years I’ve learned the above facts.  I’ve always had good intentions but somehow, after a week or two of use, the planner would fall to the wayside.  Instead of collecting plans they collected dust.

And then came this school year.  Between the Paramedic Program, clinicals, work and volunteering for the fire department I can barely focus on the important things let alone try to keep my schedule straight.  A planner that worked became an absolute necessity and so my quest continued.

I started the year with the Purposeful Planner.  It had a lot of elements I liked, but as I mentioned above the layout just wasn’t right for me and to be honest it is quite large.  Most days it felt like I was carrying an extra text book, so I ruled it out quickly.  Next I attempted using the planner my college provided for free.  It wasn’t cute or anything but I thought hey, you can’t beat free so I might as well give it a chance right?  It wasn’t horrible, but the pages were filled with quotes and inspirational pictures which overtime began to overwhelm me, so I knew I needed to start looking for something different.

I took to the internet attempting to discover my perfect planner from other people’s reviews.  For a while I seriously considered getting the weekly edition of Emily Leys Simplified Planner, but after really looking through the page styles and focusing on the design, while it was visually appealing, I just knew it wouldn’t work for me in the long run, and $70 is a lot to shell out for something that isn’t going to work.

I tell you, the hunt was getting discouraging, and that’s when I found it, my perfect planner, the Erin Condren Life Planner.  I knew from first glance that it was a great product, but before I took the plunge and bought it I wanted to be sure of its greatness.  Over the next few days I spent a lot of time pouring over blogs and video reviews from people that had gotten Life Planners.  With the craziness of the semester weighing on me I couldn’t wait to long, so after a week I threw caution to the wind and ordered a Life Planner, and from the day it arrived I’ve loved it.  The page sizes are perfect, the spaces for each day are perfect, it’s just perfect for me and I can’t tell you how relieved I feel that my long hunt is finally over.

Erin Condren Life Planner

I do want to mention that the Life Planner comes in two versions, a vertical layout and a horizontal layout.  While most bloggers I’ve seen have the vertical layout and swear by it I went with the horizontal layout because I knew it would meet my needs (and my likes) better.  Obviously this preference isn’t the same for everyone and if you want to see examples of the vertical version I definitely recommend checking out her website.

Now what is it that I exactly like about this planner?  Well let’s see…

I like that the covers are interchangeable and able to be personalized.

I like that there is a pouch in the back of the planner to keep stickers and other miscellany in.

I like that there are pockets to keep loose papers and small notebooks in (I keep my May Designs budget book in it).

Erin Condren Life Planner

I like that I have tons of space to record all my to-dos and plans for each day.

I like that there is a big notes section at the end of each week.

Erin Condren Life Planner

I like that there is a place to list goals for every month, and that the monthly view calendar is super spacious.

I like that each month is color coded.

I like that there are full note pages at the end of each month and even more at the back of the planner (in lined, graph and blank paper)

I like that there are pages of blank labels at the end of the planner so I can personalize them for my own needs

I like that it’s so easy to clip accessories to the planner (ie coil clips and the snap in dashboard)

My last like isn’t part of the planner itself, but I like that they slip a couple little extra goodies into the box, just because:)

Erin Condren Life Planner

I also recommend getting elastic bands for the planner. They’re definitely an “extra” and not necessarily needed, but I like that they keep my planner bundled together.  It also keeps the pages from getting bent when I shove it into my backpack, and the OCD person in me hates bent pages!

Erin Condren Life Planner

In the end I am so happy I found this planner and I know I will be using it for years to come.  Unlike many of my other posts this one wasn’t a result of product testing, this was just something that I found that I really liked and wanted to share with others.  I personally think anyone can benefit from using it but I also realize that just like in my case, different personalities require different planners, but if you’re looking at the Life Planner and like me thinking “that’s perfect!” I would say get it!  It’s definitely worth the money!

The good news is I also have a way to help you save a little money if you wanted to get one.  By following my link you will get $10 off your purchase.  I didn’t have one of these handy dandy offers when I bought mine so I would encourage you to take advantage of it!

*Get $10 off by clicking here*

(you will need to create an account right off the bat to take advantage of it just FYI)

Hope you all have a great day and happy planning!

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Currently

Well hello there, it’s been awhile.  Looking at the blog, the last time I wrote was in April, not because there hasn’t been anything to write about, but because writing takes energy and unfortunately that’s something I’m running a little short on these days.

To catch you up a bit, the school year ended at the end of April and instead of going back to Washington for the summer to visit family and friends I opted to stay in Alaska to work and save money.  While it was difficult to not go home, even for a visit, staying in Alaska really was the best decision.  I was able to work full time at the front desk and doing media work for the Residence Hall here at KPC and I was able to enjoy an Alaskan summer, which I must say really agrees with me.  It’s not to hot and not to cold and a whole bunch of beautiful.

The first week of May I finished my basic firefighter training with our local fire department and officially started pulling shifts as a volunteer in July.  While call volumes are usually light I feel like the experience I’ve gained these last couple months truly is invaluable, and it gets me even more excited for my future in EMS.

July held many adventures.  My parents came up for a visit and I spent the week showing them around the Kenai Peninsula.  They both loved it and I’m pretty sure my dad would have stayed if my mom would have let him.  I also splurged a bit and went whitewater rafting on 6 Mile Creek with friends.  It was frigid and exhilarating.  We tackled class III, IV and V rapids and only fell out once!

In July I also officially entered a new decade, 30.  It’s hard to believe my 20’s are behind me, and I’m sometimes sad to see the things I wanted but didn’t accomplish, but then I remember the incredible things I did do (graduate from college, move overseas, travel the world…) and I realize life isn’t so bad.  Now I can’t wait to see what my 30’s will hold.

Summer 2015

(Some pictures from summer.  Clockwise from left: Caines Head Hike, Seward; Fire Training;
Brown bear near Cooper Landing; In Seward with Mom & Dad; Misty day in Cooper Landing;
White water rafting; The View from Fort McGilvray on Caines Head; The 4 summer RA’s ready
to escape to Seward for Labor Day weekend; Fish & Chips with Mom and Dad in Homer;
We finished the Color Run!; Residence Hall hike to Juneau Falls)

 

That brings me to CURRENTLY…

Currently I am in my 5th week of the UAA Paramedic Program.  This week we are reviewing how to do IV’s and administer medications.  Tomorrow I leave bright and early for Anchorage to spend the day with our sister campus out of Mat-Su to do orientations for clinical sites in the city.  Then, come October, clinical season officially begins and the little sliver of life I have now officially disappears.

Currently I am also working 20 hours a week for the school (in IT again & also doing media work for the ResHall) as well as pulling RA duties at the Residence Hall + training and the occasional shift with the fire department.  I’ve never been so glued to my planner in my life, but without it I would be totally lost.  I am busy, very, very busy.  Busier than I’ve ever been in my life, but thankfully I’ve staked out a few days in October, between clinicals where I have nothing planned.  I call these my “vacation from life”days and I am protecting them like a mama bear protects her cubs.  I’m going to sleep in, maybe watch some Netflix, or gasp, read a book for fun!  I guess we’ll see.  They’re still a few weeks away haha.

But, as busy as life is I’m incredible thankful for everything I have.  Right now it is a lot of work but I know in the end it will be so worth it.  I can’t say when the next time I’ll update the blog is, it may be to say “Horray! I’ve finished the paramedic program!” or it could be a lot sooner.  I guess we’ll see, but in the mean time any prayers for strength and the endurance to make it through this semester and the year are greatly appreciated!
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RAs

Our 2015/2016 RA Team
(P.S. Part of my job this summer was to design these shirts.  What do you think?)


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Purex Powershot + Dial Miracle Oil Reviews

I have two products I’m really excited to share with you today!  A few months ago I joined Purex Insiders and since then they have given me a couple of great products to test out.  Normally I would dedicate separate posts to each one, but things have been so busy lately, so today you’re getting a 2 for 1!

First up is…

the Purex Powershot

When I moved into the ResHall here at KPC last summer I switched over to the pods style detergent for laundry.  They were light, easy and best of all not messy.

One of my least favorite things about doing laundry is the messiness of measuring and pouring the detergent.  I always end up getting it on the floor or on my hands.  It’s an unnecessary nuisance.

Enter the Purex Powershot and it’s pretty genius if I do say so myself.  The bottle is actually so smart it measures the super concentrated solution itself, no measuring and no mess involved.  See, there is a self contained measuring unit in the neck of the bottle that perfectly measures each dose and stops any extra from coming out.  It’s the simplicity of pods without the price tag, something a poor college student like myself can definitely appreciate!  Since the solution is so concentrated the bottle is also fairly small, making it much easier to carry to the other side of the ResHall each time I have to do Laundry, a great added bonus!

The only downside I’ve discovered is that I haven’t been able to find it in any of the stores around Soldotna/Kenai.  I’m going into Anchorage in a couple weeks and hopefully I’ll be able to find it there!

Purex Powershot

next is…

Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty picky with my soaps and body wash.  It needs to clean well, not dry out my skin and most of all smell good.

I first heard of Marula when I was in Africa a few years ago as a plant used to flavor many beverages, and even more specifically to make a special type of beer.  So when I saw that this body wash was infused with Marula Oil I didn’t know quite what to expect.  I didn’t know Marula could even be used beyond drinks, so naturally I searched it.  That’s how I learned that the same people who have been making drinks from the marula plants have also made moisturizing lotions using the oil from the marula nut for generations.  Interesting.

So I went ahead and gave the body wash a try.  Remember how I said smell was one of the most important factors to me?  Well this body wash smells amazing.  There’s nothing else I can compare it to, it’s just a rich and exotic scent.  As for moisturizing, my skin had been terribly dry this winter, what I had been using just wasn’t working.  Now my skin is soft and moisturized.  I can’t say the effect it will have on everyone, but’s it’s definitely made a difference in my skin over the last couple weeks and I would definitely recommend it.

Dial Miracle Oil Bodywash

 

I received the above products for free for testing and review purposes from Purex and Dial.  All opinions are 100% my own.


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Catching Up

Hi all, how’s it going?  Long time no blog.  2015 thus far has been by far the busiest year of my life, it doesn’t look like things will slow down anytime soon and you know what?  I’m OK with that.

So let’s do a little catching up shall we?

Let me start with work, or what I refer to as my 3 jobs, yes you read that right 3 jobs and no that doesn’t include being a student.  As many of you know I was offered an RA (Resident Advisor) position in the KPC Residence Hall for the spring semester.  It is SO much work, more than I ever imagined but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  We have a total of 6 RA’s right now and we rotate duty days every week.  If my duty night falls on I week day I’m only on for 12 hours (8pm to 8am) but if it falls on a weekend that shift turns into 24 hours, and those 24 hours usually drag on.  Not being allowed to leave the ResHall during a shift can be both a blessing and a curse.  For some reason I always run out of something I need right at the moment I can’t go to the store, go figure.  But at the same time, not having the opportunity to run away, in theory should give me more time to get things done, although instead of doing homework I usually find myself on Netflix like your average 20 something… oops.

Aside from all the RA-ing I find myself doing, I also work at the helpdesk in my schools IT department (the same job I had last semester) aka job #2, as well as spending several hours a week doing media work for the ResHall (updating the website, taking pictures, making flyers, posting to facebook) aka job #3.  When you do the math all of this essentially equals up to a full-time job, which yes, after many years of being in the workforce and working full-time I am used to, but tack that on to being a full-time student and things start to get tricky.

Which brings me to that whole student thing.  I’m taking 13 credits this semester, nothing compared to the 18 credits I usually took a semester in college the first time around, but when you’re used to not having homework, like ever, it feels like a whole, whole lot.  My EMT 2 class officially starts tomorrow, meaning Monday-Friday I now have no downtime, but wait it gets even more complicated!  More one that in a minute but first let me make a quick caveat because…

I’m now not only a certified EMT in Alaska, I’m a Nationally Certified EMT (NREMT)!  Most of my classmates took the test back in December right after we finished EMT-I but, because I went back to WA for Christmas I had to delay my test a little bit.  I originally was going to take it in January right after I got back but I put it off and put it off and put it off.  You know how that goes.  I finally scheduled the test and took it in my schools learning center last Monday.  To be honest when I finished I was convinced I had failed.  It’s the type of test that can have more than one right answer and you have to choose which one is the best.  It was stinking hard to say the least but the next day I got my results back and I had passed!  That was a huge load off of my shoulders and I couldn’t be more excited.

Ok now back to why life is getting even more complicated.  When I first got back to school in January I saw signs posted around the ResHall that Central Emergency Services (CES) our local fire and rescue department was looking for volunteers.  I went back and forth on whether I wanted to apply for it because with everything else going on I didn’t know if I would be able to handle it too.  I decided to go to the informational meeting they held at the beginning of February just to check it out and I left that meeting wanting to be a volunteer more than anything.  I put in my application and last Thursday had my physical agility test and interview.  I found out Monday that I got a position and start fire training sometime next month!  If I wasn’t already busy enough right?  But gosh, to be able to start working now in a position I want to be my career will be amazing.  I can’t wait!

So there we are, all caught up.  This coming week is spring break, and while I wish I was going somewhere fun and exotic, I’ll instead be working full-time.  My friend Kirsten and I have a couple of day trips planned around the area, but with an arctic blast heading our way it’s looking like spring break will be chilly indeed!EMT

 Horray! I’m an EMT!

Met. Redoubt

A view of Mt. Redoubt from the school.  It was tough leaving Mt. Rainier behind but Redoubt is pretty stinking beautiful.  You would never guess there’s the whole Cook Inlet between us.

Extras

They’re going to be filming a big budget Hollywood movie in Whittier over the next couple months so we headed up to Anchorage a couple Sunday’s ago in the ResHall van to try our luck at becoming extras for the movie.  Fingers crossed!

Moulage

Kirsten and I got a chance to volunteer to be victims in the final drill for a recent CERT class last weekend.  The moulage person didn’t show up so we got to do our own.  Considering the tools we had were very limited I was pretty proud of what I did.  I even got a piece of “shrapnel” to stick out of my forehead.  So much fun!

RA board

Every month the RA’s have to make a new educational bulletin board in our quad.  This was my board for February.  I think it turned out fairly well:)


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It’s 2015, It’s Time to Shine

I’ve always loved new years.  The anticipation of what a sparkly new year can bring is exhilarating. It’s a time when people focus on what the coming year could bring and resolve to make the changes that they’ve been putting off in their life, but, lets be honest folks, how many of those resolutions stick?  Ya you may do great at going to the gym for a month but then the old excuses creep back in and somehow it’s not as important anymore.

Ok, yes, when I say lets be honest, if I’m really honest, I’m talking about myself.  I suck at resolutions, there you have it.  I suck at them, that’s why two years ago, as 2012 transitioned into 2013 I choose to stop making resolutions for the coming year and instead to choose a word I wanted to personify it, to saturate and define the coming 365 days.  Last year I chose the word JOY.  2013 had been rough for me and more than anything I wanted 2014 to be filled with pure happiness, special moments and joy filled memories and it was, it really was.

When it came time to pick a word for 2015 I had trouble and ended up sitting on it for a few weeks.  It’s not that I couldn’t find a word, it’s that there were so many in contention.  In the end I selected a word that I felt like all the others could branch out of, 2015 is the year where I want to SHINE.

Shine

Contrary to how the phrase may sound I have no desire to be in the spotlight. Instead I want to radiate light, to bring happiness and joy to those around me and to SHINE the light of Christ. The other side of the coin is that I hope to fill my life with light.  Things that edify, people that bring joy and moments of wonder.  I made the board above to reflect my heart and hopes (photos from Pinterest).  Pure light, sparkle and color make me so happy and I hope that the coming year is filled with it.

At the end of this I want to issue a challenge as well.  If you’re like me and suck at resolutions, it’s not to late!  Pick a word that you want to define your year and do your darndest to live it out!

So here we go 2015, it’s time to SHINE!

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
– Nelson Mandela

 


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Here’s to 2014, Looking Back At This Last Year

Oh what the difference a year can make.  2013 was not a good year and by the end I was feeling terribly discouraged.  As I looked ahead to 2014 I had hope, hope that good things would happen and determination to make them so.  Now, as I reflect upon this last year I can confidently say it was everything I wanted and so much more.  I would even go so far as to say it was one of the best years of my life.

That’s funny for me to say considering the year contained one of the worst months of my life.  You see, March was not good to me.  It started out with terrible cement burns on my legs that made just moving a horrible chore and ended with a highly publisized controversy in relation to the organization I worked for that caused immense heartbreak for me and my co-workers.  Thankfully, when you hit the bottom there is nowhere you can go but up and give each blessing, big or small, that much more significance, and let me say, the rest of 2014 was full of them.

2014

In May after months of prayer and research I made the decision to apply to go back to school to finally become a paramedic.  It was a scary move for me and one I didn’t fully trust for another 2 months, but it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life.

At the end of June I once again headed to Tijuana, Mexico with my church to build homes for those in need and once I got home I was in full planning mode for the transition from full time employee to full time student.  At the end of July I officially gave my two weeks notice at World Vision and leaving was definitely bittersweet.  While working in a call center is not my calling in life (I actually hate talking on the phone) I couldn’t have worked for a better organization and my co-workers made each day so special.

2014

Mid- August brought the big move.  I loaded up my new car (Praise the Lord!  One of those blessings I was talking about earlier) and began the journey north to Alaska.

I got the incredible chance to spend the first half of the trip on the Alaska ferry traveling from Bellingham, WA to Haines, AK.  I saw sights I never imagined I would lay eyes on.  The inside passage is so gorgeous (when it’s sunny) and met so many great people.  The remaining drive to Soldotna was long and lonely but provided perfect time to think and reflect. In case you were wondering, Yukon territory really is as empty as you would imagine, go figure, but as soon as I pulled into the school after 3 days driving I knew I was home.

2014

This last semester I was given best friends, got to go on incredible adventures and laughed more than I had in 28 years.  I couldn’t feel more blessed.

2014

Now, as the year wraps up and I’ve officially got the first step in my pursuance of becoming a paramedic finished (EMT 1, hooray!) I eagerly look forward to what this next year will bring, and I remember that no matter what happens that God is good!

Happy New Year Everyone!  Here’s to 2015!

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