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Why HPV screening is important and how to test at home

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This post is sponsored by Nurx, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Lately I’ve been listening to a podcast about disease, and it’s got me hyper aware of the importance of preventative maintenance for a variety of health issues. January is National Cervical Health Month, so I’m really excited to share with you some information about HPV and how Nurx is making it easier and super affordable to take charge of your health.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most commonly transmitted STI (sexually transmitted infection), with nearly 80 million Americans currently infected and 14 million newly infected each year. This next fact really blew my mind: a LOT of people are infected with HPV in their lives (80 percent of sexually active people!) but are unaware they have the virus. In a lot of these cases, the HPV will go away on its own but if it doesn’t, it can cause cancer in the nether regions, including cervical cancer (it causes 34,000 cervical cancer diagnoses each year).

Here’s why I love the HPV screening I’m about to share with you: nearly 25% of women without health insurance have not checked their risk for cervical cancer in the past 5 years. That number is 11% in the general population, so that means women in this country with less access to health care are TWICE AS LIKELY to have never had a screening. Nurx just introduced a Home HPV screening text. In the privacy of your own home, women can have the chance to make better decisions about their health.

Nurx’s Home HPV Screening test is affordable at $15 with insurance and $69 without insurance. The test kit, which is the same quality as a pap smear, checks for 14 strains of HPV that have a higher risk of leading to cervical cancer.  The test is really simple, too.

After visiting Nurx.com or downloading the Nurx app, you’ll answer a few questions about your house and the test will be shipped to your door. In the test is an extra long q-tip, plastic tube and bag, sticker with a barcode, and prepaid return envelope.

All you have to do is insert, circle around (if you know what I mean!), drop the swab in the tube, put the tube in the bag, and mail it in the pre-paid envelope. A few days after the medical team receives your sample, you’ll get your results from the Nurx medical team. If the results come back negative, you have a low risk of cervical cancer and don’t need another test for 3 years. If your results are positive, it doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. The Nurx medical team will work with you to figure out the next steps for you.

If you’re in the 30+ category with me (hello, welcome, want some tea?) guidelines advise to check the risk for cervical cancer with an HPV test every 5 years or a pap smear every 3 years. Nurx does offer a kit for you spring chickens aged 25-29 in case you want to check your risk for cervical cancer between pap smears.

This test is preventative screening, it’s not a treatment or replacement for doctors or health care, which is why I’m so glad that Nurx doesn’t just report back results and helps with the next steps.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, listening to that podcast about disease has made me so grateful to live in a time where there are so many preventative measures… and they come to the comfort of your own home, don’t judge your sweatpants with the holes, and allow you to take control of your health. What a time to be alive.

Visit the Nurx site to have an HPV screening test sent to you and celebrate National Cervical Health Month by making sure you know what’s going on.

 

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How to stop working when you work for yourself

This post is sponsored by POP SECRET® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

There are so many things that are wonderful and amazing about working for yourself. Unlimited earning potential, doing what you love 90% of the time (keeping it real), no need to request vacation days, and judgement free hours listening to podcasts while you work. One of the hardest parts is learning how to stop working when you work for yourself.

Some days I actively work for three hours and other days I work for 12+ hours, literally from the moment I wake up until I put my dying phone back on the charger late at night.

It’s super cool that I work for myself, but there’s no supervisor to remind me to take a day off, there’s no work computer to turn off and leave at the office. I work on the toilet, at stoplights, waiting to check out at the store, and even during traditional office hours sometimes. There is no built in “off” button to my work.

Here’s the crazy part, though: if I was the boss of anyone but myself, I would absolutely insist that they took time off. Not only that, but I can get way more done in five solid, focused hours of work than I can with ten hour days chasing the imaginary end zone.

There will always be more to do, new things to try and opportunities to grow. But to meet these opportunities, we have to be rested and excited and recharged. Easier said than done though, right?

Give yourself permission – LITERALLY write yourself a note excusing yourself from work – to stop working.

As I’m learning how to stop working, I’ve given myself permission to do the following things:

  1. Read a book just for the fun of reading a book.
  2. Make my favorite snack and relax with a podcast or a movie. 
    One of my all-time favorite snacks is popcorn, so keeping a box of POP SECRET® on hand is a no brainer. It’s super easy to keep a box in your Amazon cart at all times so that when you order… I don’t know, sheet suspenders or coffee syrup pumps or glass spray bottles, an essential time off snack pops up in the box. See what I did there? Pops up? 😉
  3. Take a nap.
    Set a timer, and take a 45-minute nap if your body is needing some rest. You have my permission to sleep while the world spins on.
  4. Get distracted without feeling bad.
    If I’m trying to work, social media can be the enemy. But if I’m actively NOT working, social media can be really fun. Don’t feel bad retweeting things on Twitter, watching all the Instagram stories, and pinning lots of things on Pinterest.
  5. Binge watch a few episodes of a TV show. 
    Get comfy, pop a bag of POP SECRET® and get swept away in a few episodes of a TV show. Some of my favorites are over on this post.
  6. Spend time enjoying your hobbies.
    I love putting stickers in my planner. Sometimes I spend a LOT of time looking through all of my stickers, wishing I had time to organize them or decorate my planner a little more… take that time! Whatever your hobbies are, use your not working time to invest in the things that make you feel happy.
  7. Reach out to your friends.
    A lot of my job is from my phone, so I tend to ignore any texts that come through while I’m working. That has resulted in almost 200 unread text messages. Take the time to respond to texts or send funny memes to people you love.
  8. Brain dump.
    If you find that it’s hard to not work, spend a minute brain dumping everything that you’re thinking of “to do” in your business. Set a timer for 2 minutes and. write down all the pressing things. Give yourself permission to do those when you start working again. It’s weird, but this exercise is really helpful for me. Getting things out of my head and onto paper helps me acknowledge them and save them for later.

You have my permission to stop because sometimes we just need someone to tell us that it’s okay.

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Cozy winter movie nights with WinCo pizza and Coca-Cola®

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #WinCoPizzaNight #CollectiveBias

Is it just me, or does it seem like the days go by faster once the sun starts setting earlier? Suddenly it’s “night time” at 4 pm and it’s hard for me to want to do ANYTHING once the sun goes down.

Pair that with being a newlywed whose husband takes on an overtime project and making dinner when he gets home + eating it + cleaning up after dinner is LITERALLY followed by pajamas and bed. Y’all, that has been our glamorous life. When people ask how married life is going for us we’re like IDK we really don’t see each other that often.

Luckily, we make time to try and get time to slow down. We’ve adjusted our language from not “having time” to not “making time,” because we have as many hours in the day as Beyonce, according to Pinterest. Anyway!

On my 101 in 1001 list is a goal to watch a bunch of movies Justen wants me to watch, one of them being A Christmas Story! We made time by picking up a WinCo pizza and Coca-Cola® (for him) and a Diet Coke (for me)!  Really, is there any better way to pair pizza than with Coca-Cola?!

WinCo (follow them on Facebook and Pinterest!) is an employee-owned company with consistently low prices. Their Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (ilovewinco) are full of behind the scenes and employee stories, which I LOVE. They limit their advertising, which helps them pass that savings on to their customers! Cozy nights in that don’t break the bank? Double win. The cozy night savings go even further. Save $1 when you buy any WinCo Pizza and (2) 2-Liter Coca-Cola Beverages (in-store coupon offer Ends 2/28/18)! We picked up a take and bake pizza at the deli and grabbed our Coca-Cola on our way to check out.

We popped in the pizza, got on our pajamas and queued up A Christmas Story. The pizza was done just in time, and thanks to our festive paper plates + cups, there were ZERO dishes to do afterwards! Which meant that we got to spend the rest of the night all cozied up, watching the movie.



Here’s the thing, y’all. It’s not about not having time. It’s not that we don’t have enough time to make memories or spend quality time or pause life, it’s that we don’t MAKE time to do those things.

If you live near a WinCo (check their site for store locations), pick up one of their deli pizzas (you can even get them HOT and READY TO GO!) grab a bottle of Coca-Cola and make time to have a night with someone you love.

Also – if you had a list of MUST WATCH movies for your spouse or best friend, what would be on them?

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A fear of missing out means you have to be prepared for anything

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MoreMomentsWithExcedrin #CollectiveBias

 

I’ve never been a person who has had headaches, but last year that all changed. I could be doing anything, driving, going on a walk, having coffee with a friend, and out of nowhere I would get a headache and feel like I needed to shut down.

It was around this same time that my boyfriend FIANCE had family in town. I don’t have a big family, but Justen does and they all got together to visit and see the out of town guests. By big family, I mean I actually sat trying to figure out who was married to whom and what kids belonged to which couple and how that baby was related to that other person’s great aunt.

 

The night of the get-together, I found myself with a splitting headache that came out of nowhere. One minute I was excited (and nervous, let’s be real!) about meeting Justen’s extended family, and the next minute I was cringing in pain and wondering if I was even going to be able to make it. Was it better to be there, cranky and in pain, or to not be there and leave Justen to having to answer questions about where I was?

What a crummy corner to be backed into, right?

 

Thankfully, there’s Excedrin® Extra Strength to provide fast,  in-the-moment relief so no important moments have to be sacrificed. For some people, Excedrin® Extra Strength helps relieve headaches in just 15 minutes. I was able to spend the evening trying to remember names and piece together a family tree without the distress of a headache. Excedrin® offers a variety of products for fast relief from a variety of headache types. It’s always important to check each product’s directions to make sure you’re being safe and allowing the product to work as effectively as possible.

As time has passed, my headaches related to that have become less frequent, but I never want to sacrifice important moments in life because of something like a headache or anything else that might pop up unexpectedly. I have a pretty severe case of FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. I’ve created this little FOMO Kit featuring  Excedrin® Extra Strength so that you won’t have to miss out when the unexpected happens.

What you’ll need for your FOMO Kit:

  • Body wipes & deodorant
    (just in case you have a randomly sweaty day)
  • Bobby pins & dry shampoo
    (because a day that starts as a great hair day doesn’t always end as one)
  • Chapstick
    (in case your lips hurt real bad. Sometimes I just HAVE to have chapstick)
  • Bandages
    (just in case you’re in need of some first aid)
  • Feminine products
    (a small stash of a few varieties because who knows what can hit when)
  • Excedrin® Extra Strength
    (headaches should not have you sitting on the sidelines)
  • Floss & mouth wash
    (for those post-meal moments when you’re terrified of smiling… or talking)

I picked up the Excedrin® Extra Strength at Walmart in the pain relief aisle, and while I was there I grabbed a bottle of Excedrin® PM Headache as well. Nothing like a late night headache to get in the way of the next day’s moments. With two pain fighters and a sleep aid, it’s a great product for night time headaches.

When in your life have you almost had to miss out on an important event because something unexpected snuck up on you? What would you add to your own personal FOMO kit?

 

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