4/14th of a Doctor

Hello, CAC readers…are you still out there?

After a few months hiatus, I am back just to let you know what has been going on in this chiropractic student’s life now that I officially have 1 year under my belt (boy did that fly by quick!).

For starters, I am more in love with my profession than I could have possibly imagined just a short year ago. The community, the philosophy,  and the incredible things that chiropractic can do completely exceeded my expectations. As a science-minded person who followed holistic principles herself, I was intrigued by the approach to health that chiropractic offers that is much less invasive and is truer to the body’s natural functioning. What I have realized after undergoing a year of intense studying is that not only can chiropractic be classified by these things, but that it also works wonders!

For myself personally, I can tell you this. Before I was introduced to chiropractic, I had chronic lower back pain. All the way back in high school after playing years of soccer, to working long hours as a server in undergrad, I would commonly have to resort to various means to relieve the pain.

Now, with regular adjustments from a chiropractic student, I never experience any pain. And I have found that I haven’t been getting sick, my shoulders don’t ache after hours of sitting, and I can focus really well in class.

I even have an amazing story about my wrist after a boxing injury…but I’ll save that for another time.

Without going on too much about chiropractic like I could, I’ll get back to the life lessons I’ve learned over the past 3 months.

It’s never too early to start thinking about the future.

In one of my last classes of the quarter, instead of having a lecture about x-rays like usual, one of my professors sat down and said to take out a piece of paper (which usually means “oh sh*t, we’ve got a quiz). We numbered it 1-10, and then she began reading us questions to answer.

“When do you have to take your first boards?”

“How much will it cost?”

“How about the second, third, or fourth?”

“Where do you want to practice?”

“How much does it cost to get a license there?”

After a few more questions like this, she definitely got her point across. Things that seem so distant in the future and undeserving of our attention at this point are actually much, much closer than we think. & they are things that need to be planned now.

Oh crap.

*Immediately starts googling “best places to live”*

It’s not always selfish to think about yourself.

I have seen so many instances over this year where people sacrifice their happiness in order to a) please someone else, b) take the easy way out, or c) not make any severe changes to their lives.

I’m here to tell you that if something isn’t working in your life, change it. Do it a gracefully as you can, and always bear other’s feelings in mind. But your own happiness should always be at the top of your list.

Health is a puzzle, you have to look at a lot of things to find the cause. 

“Giovanni, age 42, presents with pain in his right upper quadrant that radiates to his right shoulder. He has a slight fever, blood pressure is normal.”

This quarter I had my first diagnosis class. We would get to look at various signs and symptoms of a fictitious person and try to diagnosis what their symptoms were. One of my favorite things as a child was doing puzzles. It’s been so fun for me to treat health and disease like a giant puzzle of the human body. Plus it makes me feel more and more like a doctor every day.

Warm weather year round isn’t as stellar as you think it would be.

I keep waiting for a day that I can wake up, throw on a cozy sweater, and have a comfortable walk with coffee to class. Still hasn’t happened! I survived my first Atlanta summer, but I am more than ready to ditch the degrees and add some layers.

House searching is hard.

But my roommates found a great one that we are going to make our home!

After I leave the beautiful Tybee Islands, I’m going to head back and get settled in before we start the next quarter. I’m ready for some visitors down here! *wink wink*

(Pics to come ASAP)

Cheers!

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3/14 of a Doctor

It was a bit of a rough quarter, ‘eh?

At least that’s what I should say being in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on holiday.

I’m back in action after deciding to focus more on class work and less on writing for the past three months. Good news is that I made it through the quarter standing on two feet, AND that I don’t have to think about bacteria, x-rays, or visceral organs for the next couple weeks.

Before I give my brain its much needed rest, I’ll give you the usual recap on what I learned this quarter. It might have given a few of us some thoughts of “why am I doing this to myself?”, but I honestly walked away with so much knowledge that is as interesting as it is important.

 

Just because someone says it’s going to be easy doesn’t mean you should take it lightly.

Back in the good ol’ soccer days, if we were going into a game with an anticipated win, my coach would always tell us “don’t play down to their level.” I should have kept this in mind after hearing that this past quarter was going to be easier than the last. I didn’t have the right mindset going in, and that ended up causing more stress than I needed. Bottom line is that you should go into anything/everything thinking that you’re going to put all your effort in…because you will (and you should).

The name of many diseases are the name of the symptoms you’re showing, NOT the name of what causes them.

What does this mean? It means that for people with rheumatoid arthritis, or Alzheimer’s, or any of those chronic diseases that are plaguing America today, all the name tells you is what symptoms you are showing. It may be easiest, and may make you feel better quicker to try and treat the symptoms (as all medications do). It’s not, however, going to completely make that disease go away.

Many people hear that their disease is incurable, and that they’re going to battle it for the rest of their life. The thing to understand is that not everyone acquires those symptoms the same way, so they shouldn’t be treated the same way. Taking a medication to lower blood pressure may do that, but at what expense to other body systems? Plus, that medication is not going to react the same in one person as it will the next.

If you go back to the basics and look at things like diet, amount of sleep, time spent in the sun, etc. then you can often times reverse or relieve yourself of the symptoms, and more importantly regain all of your health. The body is constantly trying to maintain homeostasis and keep you alive, so if it has the right environment to do so, then it will. The body is self-organizing, self-maintaining and self-healing.

Digestion is the root of many problems.

Say that you follow the cleanest, most plant-based diet that you possibly can, you exercise and do yoga, and basically think you’re the picture of health.

If your body isn’t breaking down the food you consume and absorbing it properly, all of that effort is going to waste.

What we consume in our day to day lives literally gets turned into our skin, muscles, and organs. (This is why when we eat like crap, we feel like crap.) So if we aren’t absorbing all the the vitamins and minerals and nutrients we need, that’s when something in the body goes wrong. Breaking down food occurs in the stomach, and then we absorb everything in our small intestines. If either of those isn’t functioning well due to the stress being put onto it—whether that stress be from eating bad food, toxins from the environment, or mental stress—your body will start showing symptoms of disease.

Stress is a silent killer.

Today, people lead much much more stressful lives than in the past. This puts the body in a constant state of panic, and has seriously detrimental effects on the body.

A short book I found called “Unhealthy Anonymous” by Dr. Pete Sulak discusses all of the ways your body can be stressed, how it negatively effects the body, and gives you a 12 step “program” on how to prevent it.

If I could, I would make everyone I know sit down and read this book. I think it speaks volumes as to why we have the largest healthcare system in the world, yet the majority of America’s population is still sick.

As a side note, I’ve got a page long book list to read over a three week break (ambitious I know), so if you need any book suggestions just holler!

Side note number two: if it wasn’t already obvious, one of the classes I took this quarter was Basic Nutrition, and it further confirmed my love for the topic and desire to learn more. AKA you can expect lots of posts focused on this subject in the future.

I’ve got a busy but relaxing 2 weeks planned up here in Canada, and so with that I think I’ll go enjoy it.

Cheers!

H2O

If you’re into staying on top of the trends, you’ve likely seen the recent explosion of “fruit-infusion” water products lately. Bloggers, magazines and Instagramers everywhere are showing off their water bottles and pitchers that have a little capsule inside filled with colorful fruits and veggies.

Pretty? Yes.

But does stuffing produce into your water really give you benefits?

Some sites may claim that these fruit-infused waters are your “detox” secret; “guaranteed to make you drop pounds and shed belly fat” and “cleanse” your body…

I’m sorry to disappoint, but these claims are just slightly less than bogus. While you may be giving your body one of the most important things you need to survive (water, duh) you are not going to lose weight magically and become an instantly healthier person. Given the right environment, your body is capable of detoxing on it’s own,* and we should all know by now that the only way to lose weight is to consume less calories than you get rid of in a day.

So I may have burst your bubble on the guaranteed weight loss thing, but hold on a sec. & I’ll explain why I’m all for these fruit-infused waters. (I did say just slightly less than bogus, if you paid attention.)

No, you’re not getting all of the fiber and nutrients from the fruit and vegetables that you would be by consuming the entire fruit. However, with that said, some vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and electrolytes do leak out of the produce into the water to give you some benefits. Plus, the biggest perk in my opinion is the yummy taste that leaks along with them!

What you are really getting from these drinks is an alternative to soda, gatorade, juice, or whatever other high-caloric drinks you may consume. Drinks such as these–although tasty–are giving you your days worth of sugar consumption, and plus it’s the worst kind of sugar…refined! Consuming an excess of refined sugars is linked to diseases such as Diabetes, Hypoglycemia, and Fatty liver disease, as well as other symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue and weight gain.

NO THANKS!

By drinking fruit-infused water, you are getting all the flavor (natural flavor, I might add) and none of the calories. In addition, you are making it so easy on yourself to get your body’s required water intake for the day!

Without getting too biochemical on ya, here’s what role water plays in your body:

Everyday through sweating, breathing, and using the loo, you lose about 2300 mL of water per day. That’s about 2/3 of a gallon! Through your metabolism, you only make about 200 mL of that back. If you do the math…that leaves you in charge of replacing 2100 mL of water through what you eat and drink during the day!

Obviously some foods are better than others when you think about replacing that H2O (hence the reason why it is suggested to ditch the chicken nuggets and pizza and fill up your plate with lots of fruits and veggies), but drinking water is the quickest and easiest way to reach that 2100 mL.

*Fun fact. 2100 mL = 8.75 cups, so that’s where the 8 glasses of water/day comes from!*

What is that water used for? You may have heard that the body is made up of about 75% of water, and I’m here to tell you that YUP, that’s true. The water in your body helps temperature regulation, metabolism, circulation of nutrients, digestion and excretion…I literally could go on and on.

A lack of water in the body therefore is what everyone coins as “dehydration.” There are a few different types of dehydration in the body, but with all of them comes an inability of your body to perform at it’s optimum level. Trust me–it’s not good, people.

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So, as the summer months are approaching fast, the need for adequate H2O consumption is going to increase along with the temperature. Go hop on Pinterest and check out all of the great fruit and veggie combos that you can infuse into your water, and you’ll have the easiest time sippin’ the water down while you’re soaking in the sun. Your body will thank you for it.

As always, I love love LOVE answering questions, so send them my way if you want to know where to buy the best water bottle, or what the earliest signs of dehydration are, or even if you want to know the next time I’m going to be in Ohio. (SOON😁)

Until the next post, cheers!

 

*Detox is a shortened word for detoxification which is the process of removing harmful byproducts from the cell that accumulate due to normal, necessary metabolic activities. We call these harmful byproducts “toxins”…therefore “detoxification”.

Top 5 Nutrition Myths

‘Tis the season for scholarship essay writing, and so of course it is the season for misreading requirements for said essays as well. (Maximum word limit is 500 words, Em, not the minimum word limit.)

1,400+ words later, and I have a brilliant essay that I can’t submit.

HELLO, Coffee Au Courant.

The topic I had to write about is near and dear to my heart, because what’s more important that the food you are fueling your body with, am I right? So I decided not to put my effort to waste & share an edited version with you.

As I’m sure you may be partially aware, the nutrition status of Americans is extremely detrimental and is, quite frankly, an epidemic. To get people on the path to wellness, many many things about our society’s food industry, as well as people’s attitude toward nutrition, needs to change. In my personal opinion, nutrition encompasses a wide aspect of wellness; mental health, relationships, sunlight, etc., not solely the food you put into your body. For the purpose of this essay blog post, however, I will focus strictly on food and its supplements, because I believe that it is a good starting point to getting people on the road to health.

To start these changes, the biggest thing is going to be education. There are countless numbers of books, magazine articles, and “Doctor” shows on television that all try to promote the most recent trend or newly “researched” information to the public. Every few years or so there is a brand-new scientifically proven trend that all of the celebrities are using that can supposedly put you on the fast track to health. High protein-low carb, low fat-high carb, Paleo diet, juice cleanse, the list goes on and on. It’s not a surprise that people get confused over what a good diet should consist of. That misinformation on top of the food industry issues such as inhumane meat production, the use of preservatives, and others, have made it nearly impossible for a person to construct a diet that fulfills their nutrition needs to the full extent.

When I open my chiropractic practice, nutrition is going to be a huge education topic that I will cover extensively with my patients. I think that along with chiropractic care, positive nutrition choices can drastically improve people’s lives. The first step to these improvements is going to be debunking some of the most popular myths that grace the pages of tabloids and grocery shelves.

So without further ado, here are the top 5 Myths that YOU should not fall for.

Myth 1: It’s good to shop for Low Fat/Low Sugar/Low Salt products.
A topic that you will see a few times in this post is going to be problems with the labeling of food products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has something called a “Nutrient Content Claim” or NCC, that requires companies to label a food product in accordance to the levels of nutrients in the food in order to characterize it. An example of this might be a product labeled “Low Fat.” In order for a company to put this label on the packaging, the only requirement is that the level of fat falls below a certain line determined by the FDA. This is a problem because while it may be true that a food item may contain what is considered a low amount of fat, it could be giving the consumer high levels of sodium or sugar, or other things that can be considered harmful to their bodies. This is especially true because typically for the product to still taste good with such a low level of fat, more sugar or salt or preservatives must be added in. For that reason, I consider the labeling of foods to often time be very distracting from what is actually in the food. For your benefit I urge you to read the entire nutrition label, and not just the large, colorful claims on the front of the packaging when at the grocery store.

Myth 2: Supplements can replace food.
An industry that has grown exponentially, especially in the last few decades or so, has been the supplement industry. There is a common belief among the population that taking a handful of pills every day can magically solve your health problems and get them the nutrients you need. The “Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act” of 1994 is a law of Federal legislation which defines and regulates dietary supplements. The issue is that it allows dietary supplements to go largely unregulated by the FDA. There is little to no research done on their safety and efficiency. Because of this, many supplements have much higher levels of vitamins and minerals than the body actually needs. This is an issue because other than spending money on something your body will just excrete, too much of one thing can cause a toxicity in the body. Toxicities can cause a plethora of chronic diseases at the very least, and in extreme cases can be fatal. If you are one of those supplement takers, please do your research on the safety of the product (don’t buy it from that shady, under-the-radar website just because it’s cheap!). The truth of the matter is that a well-balanced diet full of plant products should meet all of your vitamin and mineral needs.

Myth 3: Popular diets work.
A reason that many people lean toward supplements and other diet pills is because they’re looking for a “quick fix.” Something that will allegedly “melt fat” and “shed pounds” quickly, and with little effort on their part. For that reason, people also gravitate toward extreme fad diets simply for the reason that some celebrity swears by it, and that what they can & can’t eat is completely written out for them. A large issue is that yes, you may lose a substantial amount of weight at the beginning, but it is usually only water weight. Once you start eating carbs again, or switch back to solid foods, you’ll just blow up like a balloon once again. THERE IS NO QUICK FIX. Losing weight will happen if you eat less calories than expend; it’s as simple as that. & If you have any questions at all about a particular diet, then please come and ask me about it!

Myth 4: It’s okay to eat GMO’s.
With the numerous science advancements in the United States comes advancements in the agricultural industry as well. Increasing population size means more food needs to be grown to feed everyone. To achieve this, scientists created ways of genetically modifying foods so that they could be grown larger, in larger quantities, and with resistance to many pesticides. (I won’t even get started into the meat industry, ya’ll. That deserves a post all in itself. Here I’m strictly talking about fruits and veggies.) A simple example of this is soy bean crops. They were genetically modified to be resistant to “Round Up”, so that the chemical could be sprayed to get rid of weeds without harming the crop. So, in a nut shell, scientists changed the DNA of the plant so that it could resist the chemical. After this, not only did consumers begin eating a modified plant, but they also started consuming loads of harmful chemicals that began being sprayed on the crop. This is now happening on such a large scale that essentially all store-bought produce are “mutants,” and are completely covered with chemical products that are dangerous to human health.
Another labeling issue that we see in grocery stores that furthers this problem is the use of the word “natural.” At this time, the FDA has no definition for the word natural, and so there are hardly any requirements or guidelines for a company to put that claim on their label. You can typically see if for foods that do not contain any added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances; the labeling for identifying GMO’s is not often seen. Are you okay with that? To get around this, you can visit local farmer’s markets and Whole Food stores in order to shop the most natural, local produce you can. At the very least, make sure you wash your store-bought fruits and vegetables extremely well before eating.

Myth 5: Diet sodas are a good alternative.
Many people see the word “diet” on a label and assume that it is a healthy alternative. This is absolutely not true, and is especially not in the case of diet sodas. To make a beverage considered “diet,” it typically means that the caffeine is taken out, and an artificial sweetener is used instead of sugar. The artificial sweeteners used are aspartame or sucralose, both of which have many negative side effects with their consumption. They have a more intense sweet taste than traditional forms of sugar, and over time this can dull the senses to natural sugars found in fruits. One of the biggest problems is that they cause sugar cravings later in the day, which tempt people to consume more calories than they typically would which leads to the weight gain they are trying to avoid. A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that more obese adults drink diet soda than healthy-weight individuals. Do yourself a favor, and leave the soda behind, but especially the diet soda. (A better alternative is to drink water with a few slices of lemon, cucumber & a few mint leaves added in…guys I’m seriously obsessed!).

If you’ve made it this far, props to you! I was up on my high horse for that one for sure. In my (humble) opinion, nothing is more important than eating foods that allow your body to function as efficiently as possible.

This past weekend I decided to take a trip up to Ohio, and I surprised the good majority of my family and friends. I love surprises! It gave me some good motivation to keep getting on with the rest of this quarter’s classes, and I got to introduce my guy to the family. Gotta love when your worlds start to collide!

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I hope you all have a fantastic week, and that you make conscious decisions about your nutrition. Cheers!

 

“You Are Here”

 

I’ve got a major case of the Monday blues today.

It’s the first day of a new quarter and I’m feeling under the weather and extremely unmotivated.

(I’d much rather be back on the beach with my favorite people–if I’m being honest.)

HELP!

My initial plans of hopping out of bed, paying good attention in class & getting back on my workout grind had to be put to the side. It was replaced with a much more relaxed (& admittedly grumpy) day, a heap of fruits and veggies, and my body weight in water.

On days like this, I try to remember not to get too worried about falling behind, or letting myself down. This is where I’m at today, tomorrow will be better.

IMG_4074“You are here.”

It’s kind of comforting knowing that I just need to be my best self today, and that means a nap in the morning AND afternoon are very welcome.

Sorry for such a scattered post, but you better believe I’ll be back on my A game next week! Cheers to you–I hope you were your best self today.

2/14 of a Doctor

Whew!

A tougher quarter under my belt & a current view of the tides rolling up white sandy beaches…no complaints over here!

As I promised in my post-first quarter post (which you can read here), I’m going to take the opportunity to share a few things I learned this quarter. Some on purpose, some on accident, but all worthwhile tidbits that maybe you’ll like to read.

1. Find your plan of attack and stick with it.
For some reason I started losing some motivation to study when I had several exams right after each other throughout the quarter–go figure, right? When you’re doing the same task over and over again (especially involving cramming knowledge into your noggin’) it can become something you dread. To combat this, I would try to make myself a plan to follow for both studying and extra curricular activities. I’d study for 3 hours & then go out to dinner with friends, or exercise, or watch an episode of Arrested Development. I’d also make an effort to study for things way before their due date. High five(!) since I’m slowly but surely getting over my tendency to procrastinate.

2. I love GA winters.
A “snow day” for just a rainy, overcast day in December, & an average temperature in the mid 70’s for March? This is the life, ya’ll!

3. There can be some funky stuff going on with your spine.
& I learned all about it! What can happen when your spine is out of alignment, and how that can affect the rest of your body. If one vertebrae in your neck is misaligned, why you might have shooting pain in your fingers. The most exciting part to me is that I’m also learning how to determine where the subluxation is. Up next…how to fix it!

4. Mental health above everything else
Yes, striving to get good grades is pretty much what I have done my whole life. But now that I am trying to cram in such a large amount of information in just 10 weeks, I’m realizing to just do my best & focus just as much energy on making sure I’m happy.

5. My posture sucks.
& yours probably does too if you sit at a desk for extended periods of time. Bad posture can translate into a plethora of issues, shoulder pain/tension being one of the most common. Do yourself a favor and make a conscious effort to sit up tall and pull your shoulder blades together while you’re sitting at a table or desk.

The sun is officially out here in Navarre, FL and that means a suntan is calling my name. I will catch you readers on the flip side! Cheers.

 

 

Spring Cleaning

One of the perks of being a fresh Georgia peach is that my winter ended approx. a week and a half ago. The temps are increasing daily, and I already got an awkward tan line across my shins from studying outside in yoga pants. (Praise the coffee gods for easily tanned skin!) If I was being completely honest, it makes me want to stick my tongue out at you northerners and taunt you with a little “nanny nanny boo boo” for this southern weather I’m spoiled with.

What does this mean for me? For one, I’m scheduling outdoor activities much more often. But another one of the tasks that I decided to tackle this weekend was to try and shove spring/summer clothes into my already crammed full closet.

Not fun.

A little spring cleaning through my collection of clothes was more than necessary for me. Since you readers in Ohio and other northern states won’t be seeing spring for at least a few more weeks, I thought I might give you a few guidelines that I tried to follow to help you when your spring cleaning finally comes around.

-1. (This is a pre-step) You’re going to make 3 piles; 1 pile to try and be sold at Plato’s Closet, 1 pile to be donated, and 1 pile to be thrown out.

  1. Start taking the winter clothes out from your closet. Anything that can be used as a light jacket throughout spring can stay. (ex: I left in a few flannels and a couple light sweaters to wear on those chillier days.)
    ->  If you never wore it this winter, it’s going. No ifs, ands, or “but I can wear it at this very specific event that’s never going to happen!” (An argument I use with myself often). If it’s in flawless shape, and you bought it recently, put it in the Plato’s Closet pile.
    ->  If you wore it, but it got dingy or stretched out, use your best judgement to put it in either the donate or throw away pile.
  2. Now start bringing out your warm weather clothes from storage because it’s time for a FASHION SHOW! WOOO!…but in all seriousness, I recommend trying every single thing on.
    ->  If it doesn’t fit well at this very moment, analyze the quality and put it in the appropriate pile. Promising yourself that you’ll drop those extra pounds you gained this winter, or promising to get it hemmed/tailored…don’t count on yourself! All those things sound great, but more often than not life gets in the way, and those promises fall to the side.

3. Go through your accessories like scarves, shoes and jewelry. If they’ve been bought in the past couple years & aren’t worn thin, tarnished or faded, take that stuff to Plato’s closet and try to sell it.

Here’s some advice on Plato’s closet. If you haven’t bought it in the last couple years–don’t even try to take it in. I have taken countless bags of clothing in, only to have 1 or 2 items maybe accepted. Once I started cycling through my clothing faster, I was able to take still “in style” clothes in and had a much higher amount of articles bought from me.

Also, pay attention to what season of clothes they are accepting. Save all that winter clothing you just put in piles for the end of next fall. You’ll have a much better chance of Plato’s buying them from you. As for all the leftovers, I recommend finding a church or donation center where the clothes can be given to those in need without having to be purchased.

So there you have it! My attempt at bringing my closet from completely crammed, to only moderately overcrowded. The process of converting to a minimalist style is a slow one indeed.

 

A weekend off from a demanding schedule meant that I could finally get around to exploring another part of Atlanta yesterday evening. A triple date at Ponce City Market turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered. Located in the Old Fourth Ward, a large old building was transformed into a trendy and captivating place to spend an evening, with  enough restaurants, cafes and shops to prove decision-making to be a difficult task.
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We started with a drink from Biltong Bar, which offered a list of mixed drinks and craft beer that could be ordered to-go and walked around the market with. To follow was a tasty burger and double fried french fries from H&F Burger, complete with either bacon, a fried egg, or avocado on top (I went with the fried egg and YUM). One of my favorite parts was the housemade ketchup and mustard…definitely on my list of things to try making myself this spring.  Although I was way too stuffed, a few people decided to top the night off with a sweet treat from Honeysuckle Gelato.


I highly recommend a trip to the market to anyone in the Atlanta area. It would be perfect for a coffee & shopping trip, a quick stop for brunch after a walk along the beltline, or a romantic date night. I’ll be sure to keep my eyes open for any events they might be having in the future.

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I hope you are all fortunate enough to have a forecast that looks as sunny as mine this week! Make the most of it, & cheers.