Thinking Out Loud: to tan or not to tan

Better late than never! Let’s get those Thursday Thoughts out there.

First things first:

Can we please bring back the high-waisted workout leotards? Can you imagine? Crossfit boxes would be forever changed.

My new apartment downtown is closest to a Jewel so I’ve started going there recently in the burbs to get used to shopping at any store that isn’t Trader Joe’s. It was tough but I powered through somehow. I’ve been trying to focus on those damn veggies lately because I know that this time of year I pretty much just want to roast potatoes, cover them in cheese and call it a veggie. So a veggie-fied week it was.

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The lootΒ included: sweet potatoes, white beans, coconut La Croix, bean sprouts, carrots, plain 2% greek yogurt, tuna, green beans, avocado, spaghetti squash, bananas, brussel sprouts and fingerling potatoes. But of course there are some things only TJ can provide so I swung by there afterwards.

The usual suspects: Ezekiel bread, British muffins, white bean basil hummus, soy creamer, chicken, pb pretzels and liquid stevia.unnamed (9)

Plus some new friends: coconut cream (not sure how I’m going to use this), garlic simmering sauce and coconut oil cooking spray.

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And some of the best nuts I’ve ever had. If I ever overdraft on my checking account it will because I can’t control myself around da nuts (that’s what she said). But seriously – those thai lime & chili cashews are killer.

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On the workout front, I started back up at a Crossfit box downtown (okay technically it’s not Crossfit because there’s not Olympic lifts but I’m not sure what else to call it. I’m sure the Crossfit police are out there monitoring the internet for every misuse of the word Crossfit so I guess I’ll just call it bootcamp).

We arrived to a seriously fun tabata workout. We started off with a sprint warm-up which reminded me of my old basketball days when I would get suuuuper competitive with everyone around me and try to win every time we had to run suicides. The workout then consisted of 20/10 work/rest increments of power balls, v-ups, broad jumps, rows and man makers or burpees (your choice – I chose burpees. Not because I have a death wish but because I didn’t understand what man makers are and I didn’t want to look like a fool).


Oh my gosh it was a BALL. The only downside: I’m STILL sore. I took a rest day Wednesday because I legitimately couldn’t think of a workout to do that wouldn’t make my body cry. That was one full-body workout. Oh, and broad jumps are my new favorite thing. If you need me I’ll be doing them in my kitchen.

I need your help. Thoughts and opinions, please. I have terrible, terrible skin. Acne on the face and eczema on the arms. Yep I’m just that blessed. With that being said it always hits its peak horrible-ness (I’m really going for a Pulitzer prize today, aren’t I?) this time of year and I’m just sick of it. I’m tired of wearing long sleeve shirts all winter. I’m tired of being embarrassed at the gym in tank tops. I’m sick of itching my arms constantly and wondering if I have any red patches on the back of my arms that I can’t see. I’m sick of lathering on six creams before bed. So, I’m seriously considering going to a tanning bed once a week or once every two weeks. I know, I know, CANCER BOX. But I also have spoken with a dozen people or so who say that, like anything in life, moderation is key. I even spoke to one woman who said her dermatologist recommended a tanning bed twice a month to help clear up her eczema. What are your thoughts of tanning beds to help skin problems like this? I would love to hear all opinions, but would appreciate personal experience and/or educated comments even more, thanks! I have no intention of becoming the next “Tan Mom” but I’d love to not hide my arms like an amish woman for the next five months.


I don’t know how much I talked about it last week but my mom’s knee surgery went well – she’s kicking butt (not literally, of course, with the new knee and all πŸ˜‰ ). I have no doubt in my mind that her 25-pound weight loss helped immensely. It makes me so proud to see her taking control of her health. This is EXACTLY why I want to be a personal trainer. I spent years and years with my fingers crossed, hoping my parents would get on board with eating healthy and being active. Once you know how amazing that kind of lifestyle is, you just want to go up to everyone who’s not doing those things and just shake them, saying YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW GREAT THIS FEELS! But you just can’t. The healthy living journey is something that people can only fully appreciate once they make the decision for themselves. There’s a little mental switch that needs to be flipped. So now that I’m seeing my parents fall in love with vegetables, cooking, and portion control, it makes my heart smile a little bit. Not to mention I want them to be around for a longgggg time, so this new lifestyle only helps. I can’t wait to be a certified personal trainer so I can help people who take that first step and decide they want a healthier lifestyle, and walk with them through their journey.


I’m going ham on that frittata, folks. Sometimes I want to share recipes because I have a mini panic attack that I haven’t shared one for awhile and, what kind of blogger would I be without sharing a good recipe every now and then? But this one is truly one of the best things I’ve ever come up with in the kitchen. I’m so proud. It’s like my little frittata baby.


I typed in Frittata Baby into google and all I got was a baby eating frittata.

I go into work for six hours without my phone and this is what I come out to. Friends, you are hysterical. Reading through a group text that you haven’t been a part of for half a day is basically the same as watching a 30-minute sitcom on TV, so thanks for that.


It’s officially winter in Chicago. I broke out my blizzard parka yesterday and it was glorious. We also have legwarmers at lululemon now so I’m thinking it’s going to be a flashback to an 80s winter this year. It’s also the season of “I don’t need any more coffee in my body but damnit I really need to hold a cup of coffee to keep my fingers from falling off.”

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And finally, Β a quick story. I temporarily joinedΒ a gym in the suburbs three years ago via Groupon. It was an amazing bootcamp-style workout that my friend and I took advantage of when we were home on winter vacation from college. I could tell from the beginning that the owner was salty about us “Groupon-users” but he was always pretty kind and helpful so I chose to ignore it. On our last day, however, I’ll never forget how he went into a rant to the whole class as we were jumping rope about how Groupon users were taking advantage and not serious about the program. IN FRONT OF US. It was so random and completely inappropriate. 1) YOU are the one who put up an offer on Groupon. If you don’t want people to use it, don’t do it. 2) Why would you EVER say that kind of stuff in front of the people who did nothing wrong except buy a Groupon? At least wait until we’re gone to trash talk us. My friend and I were absolutely mortified and I’ve resented that gym ever since. Why am I telling you this? Because I’ve been on his listserv ever since so I’ve been getting 3+ years of fitness advice, workouts and recipes sent to me for free. And I just had to express the poetic justice in that. I know it’s immature but every time an email from him comes through I just feel this evil grin come onto my face. Free stuff for an advantageous Groupon user? Don’t mind if I do.



  • Tanning beds: GO!


  1. As another pale human being, I am also tempted to use tanning beds but I just don’t have a use for it. I’d rather be pale than have cancer. But in your case, I can see how the temptation is even worse. I would try this stuff:
    It’s all natural and was developed by a girl who wanted a solution to her eczema!

  2. I love TJ’s just as much as you! I’m such a nut person too. I go through them at an alarming rate. Because of that I can’t buy the bags from TJ’s because I will go through it in a snap. My parents will buy me nuts in bulk from Costco. Yes I am talking 3 lb. bags worth and I love it. It is a little more cost efficient too. I would highly suggest if you have a membership.

    As for the tanning bed, I will leave that up to more of an expert. I used to tan kind of a lot (guilty) but about a year ago I realized I could spend my money better, like pay for school, and stopped. I now rely on self tanners ha. I hope this helps your skin issues!

  3. Well, I don’t have eczema, so I can’t offer much of an educated opinion. Have you talked to your dermatologist about it? I assume if you have one, he/she knows about your eczema and could possibly give you an idea of the best options to help keep it under control, whether that be a tanning bed or something else. I get the moderation argument, but I don’t think many people would use that to justify asbestos exposure, cigarette smoking, or something else that’s likely to lead to cancer. If I were in your position, I’d try to get a professional opinion from someone who knows my background before making any decisions.

    Also, Trader Joe’s > Jewel. At my old apartment, Jewel was two blocks away and Trader Joe’s was two miles away. I still did almost all of my shopping at Trader Joe’s anyway and only bought what I ABSOLUTELY needed and couldn’t get at TJ’s at Jewel. I loathe Jewel haha πŸ˜›

    1. Haha tell us how you really feel about Jewel! Yeah I think TJ’s has spoiled us all. It’s just so wonderful and makes cooking easier for some reason. My dermatologist randomly up and moved to California while I was in college (didn’t tell his patients haha) so I haven’t seen one since. And to be honest I’d seen him since I was 13 and nothing he prescribed ever helped. It’s all just so frustrating.

  4. That video is amazing. I just sent it to all my coworkers. Also, Groupon-hating-gym-owner sounds like a douche. Finally, I’d go see your doctor about the eczema. I get it sometimes when I get really stressed out and my doctor prescribed a cream that fixes it right up. I’ve also heard coconut oil helps, but I’ve ever tried it.

  5. I am so glad you keep getting free things from the owner of the gym. He is ridiculous, first he has the groupon deal and than he gets mad when people actually use it. I don’t have eczema but my baby boy does, he gets medicated ointment, but I also use the Aveeno eczema bath on him and it makes his skin better. Maybe you want to try it lol. I am curious about the coconut cooking oil because I love coconut.

  6. Oh my gosh! That Groupon story is ridiculous! I actually really don’t like fitness stuff with Groupon for this reason. I bought one to Crunch awhile back and the membership guy harassed me nonstop. I kind of think that if you buy the Groupon you get what the Groupon is good for and that is it. Maybe you’ll come back and sign up and maybe you won’t but that is the gamble with Groupon.

    1. Agreed – I’ve had a similar issue with a chiropractor. He was so nice but it just made me feel awful that I was only coming in for the three visits and never planned on coming again haha. But hey, if you sign your business up for it you have to be ready for those consequences! Millionaires aren’t the ones using Groupon haha

  7. All I know about tanning beds is that you should not use them. The people that I know that have used them on any sort of regular basis have either leathery skin or had to have melanomas removed by the time they were 16. But I am not a dermatologist. I say get opinions and then try it a few times if you decide to go for it, and if it doesn’t help, stop. And wear sunscreen. Which seems counterintuitive but do it.
    Glad your mom is doing better!

  8. Good news about your mom! I understand where you’re coming from about trying to help change your family’s lifestyle for the better by implementing healthier habits. I had a tough time, especially, with my dad when I started to really get on the healthy eating front and making more meals for my parents and myself. But the greatest news is after all of these years of my mother and I both harping on him over and over again…he quit smoking about 1 year ago! That has by far been his biggest accomplishment to getting healthier and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

    As for the tanning…I’ve never heard of that actually. It’s weird because my mother gets random flair ups of eczema on her arms and legs occasionally with no explanation. And they don’t last long, so she hasn’t really done anything about it yet. My one recommendation is yes, please don’t’ toast yourself!

    And as for a random joke about toast….If you put french bread in the toaster, does that make it french toast?…

  9. I say nay on the tanning beds. I’ve never heard about it working for eczema, but even if it did, you’d only be fixing one problem and opening yourself up to a whole host of other problems. Not to mention things like wrinkles and premature aging. Blah. I have a cousin who was addicted to tanning when she was younger, and she literally looks like she’s in her 40’s now… when she’s younger than I am.

    Have you looked into potential food sensitivities or intolerances? Those have a tendency to show up on the skin.

    1. Good point about opening myself up to a host of other problems. Im curious about food sensitivities but i doubt thats it because it only occurs seasonally – but id still be interested to look into that for sure

  10. I think its so funny how people just love trader joes. Yes its a great place but I think it is very pricey. I was leaving the airport the other day and I ran into Qatar air flight attendants that came from Doho with checked luggages ( normally flight attendants carry on) and I asked if they have a long overnight and they said no these are empty to fill up at trader joes while we are here. I just had to laugh:)

  11. I have suffered from bad eczema on my arms since I was a kid. It especially flares up in change of seasons and sudden changes of temperature (eg traveling overseas).
    Over the years I tried all the expensive creams and washes. I went on every exclusion diet that existed for eczema. I trialled supplements and detoxes. I used prescription and non-prescription ointments and potions. Nothing seemed to make much difference. I refused to try tanning beds, because I live in Australia at the beach and get plenty of sun with my lifestyle as it is, without wanting the extra exposure to UV and the risks associated.

    I got some simple advice when I was 22 (I’m now 25) and it changed my life. After showering/bathing/swimming/sauna dry yourself quickly and IMMEDIATELY apply a plain moisturizer (no fancy scents or ingredients). I apply it in a fairly thick layer all over my arms. Even if I go to the beach I make sure I take moisturizer for when I get out of the water. Took about a month, and my eczema has been under control ever since.

    Good luck, I can completely empathize with your long sleeves at the gym dilemma!

  12. What a great grocery haul. I’ve become a huge lover of Ezekiel bread ever since finding out it about it years back. I have definitely found it to be more filling then others.

  13. My mom used to take me tanning when I was a kid back when no one thought it was bad for you. I don’t get near them now because I’m too scared. πŸ™‚
    Oh and that Shake It Off aerobics video is the best thing to ever happen to the internet. I loathed that song until it was paired with that video and now it’s the best thing ever. And legwarmers…I wear them all the time. Welcome to the dark side. πŸ™‚

  14. Nee naw nee naw CrossFit police!! Just joking!! πŸ˜›
    That’s awesome about your mum, just fantastic. I know how amazing it felt helping my mum go paleo and now her auto immune digestive disease has completely cleared! That’s why I am studying to be a health coach!
    David had really bad eczema and the only thing that cleared it up was eliminating gluten from his diet. It cleared the inflammation in his body. But whether or not you want to go down that route…
    Oh and I have to laugh about ‘British/English muffins’ – no one here eats them! In fact I see more american bloggers eating them than Brits!

  15. Laughing at your comment about the Crossfit police! There are a lot of gyms out there that are pretty much the exact same thing as CF but can’t call themselves that because they don’t pay annual CF dues. I’d still consider you a Crossfitter though! πŸ™‚

    Ugh girl, I feel your pain re: the bad skin. My skin is annoying too! I don’t have eczema so I don’t have any personal experience there, but as far as your breakouts go, I highly suggest trying tea tree oil! I use a few drops with an astringent every night and thankfully, it has been keeping breakouts at bay.

  16. Oh man that’s a tough question!! I have eczema on my hands this time of year, REALLY bad. They are always cracking and bleeding. I’m also ridiculously pale, but I’ve leaned to live with it. I used to tan ALL the freaking time, but have given it up. I think that perhaps once in a while it could be OK if it helps you mentally. Does that make sense?? Like..if it’s destroying your happiness and overall well being it may be beneficial to find something to help.

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