Diving In.

This post won’t be a long one, just an update for this little blog. As I’ve shared before, this blog was to share plant-based life, try to live as long as possible, and largely to ‘practice’ writing in the hopes of writing a book one day. I’m not an overly tech driven person. I have tried to navigate this blog world the best I can, but frankly…. the tech part of doing this just sucks. I could pay someone to help figure it out, but I’m too cheap and too stubborn, and I’ve found over almost a year of sharing that no one wants to read about eating plants, or tofu, or kombacha, or skin care. They want to read the dirty, juicy, real-life stuff. My experience just in my own writing was that personal blog readership soared over skin care or vegan related blogs.

So, in January of this year, I decided to write a book. At first I thought I’d keep my blog going AND write a book. And have kids, and a husband, and four animals. And all of them still wanted food, and the humans expected clean laundry. Something had to give and my dream of writing a book won over dealing with the techy part of keeping this blog alive.

I read everything I could read about “how to write a book”. Listened to a zillion podcasts, and sooooo slowly, developed an idea for a story. I spent 2 months on character development, 2 weeks on an outline, and then once I thought I had the WHOLE THING figured out…. this new character popped into my brain last month and turned the entire process upside down. I reworked the whole story entirely, and fell in love with these fictional people in my head. It has to be as bizarre to read that as it is for me to type it.

My job now is to bring the story to life, and give it depth and soul and keep it riveting. Sometimes that part feels scary as hell. So….. that’s what’s going on over here. Every day. At least 1000 words, and if I get lucky, maybe more. I started the first draft last week. Gulp. Romantic fiction, not to be confused with sap, or smut. Life has sort of turned inside out and backwards and absolutely it feels like I’m doing what I’m meant to do (besides being a mama)…. an all-consuming, rewarding, fulfilling, purpose driven feeling I’ve never known before. Although, in the process my hair is living in a bun on my head and I don’t sleep because the ideas won’t shut off, and I ‘ve turned our dining room into what Steve refers to as a ‘war room’. The finished product may suck, and that’s okay. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I will share here occasionally, and will be looking for a few beta-readers if you’re interested at all. Thank you so much for the encouragement and kind words offered here and on Facebook, texts, emails. It has meant more than you could know, truly.

Beverly Brinkman

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Yo skin. That’s deep.

Back in 2014 I was in a dressing room in Target with my younger daughter, Emma, (who was 5 at the time) and she asked me “Mama, what is that black spot on your back?” I thought ‘What black spot?’ I turned and looked in the mirror to see what she was talking about, and sure enough, there was indeed a black spot on my right shoulder blade. Hmm. Should prob call the dermatologist about that.  I have fair, white skin, dotted with a million moles and freckles, and I’ve had my fair share of them removed over the last two decades. The dermatologist sends them to a lab, and sometimes the results come back as fine, sometimes dysplastic, which is a debatable term. Some doctors call dysplastic nevus ‘precancerous’, and some call them ‘atypical’.  Either way, it’s just a weird mole you gotta keep an eye on.  I’ve had maybe 40 or more of these removed in my life, so in You’ve Got Mail when Joe Fox says, “152 pockmarks from having 152 moles removed” … it hits a little close to home there, Tom.

Fast forward a couple nervous weeks later, I found out I had a melanoma.  At 40… Ummmm, say what?  But it was there, and very small, maybe half the size of a pencil eraser, or a green pea, shaped like a tiny black daisy.  It was surgically cut out, while I was awake, and I’m not going to lie, it hurt like hell.  The cut was deep, about 2″ long, through the muscle to the bone.  There were 3 layers of stitches – 26 in total, all for just this tiny dark spot.  A tiny dark spot that if left to grow… can kill you.

So let’s chat briefly about skin, and I’ll try to keep it interesting. I’m not a doctor obviously, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn once, and I’ve read a LOT about this dense subject.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t review the different types of skin cancers out there, and what you should be looking for. I’ll also review some other tips I use to try to slow down the aging process without using a ton of chemicals.

The Skinny. 

Basal Cell Carcinoma: Basal cell is the most common of skin cancers, and the least dangerous. They first appear like a pearlish, hard, flesh colored mole. They can sometimes be dark, or even pink, and may be scaly.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is the second most common form of skin cancer.  It is not generally life threatening, but it can be aggressive.  Squamous cell carcinoma starts out as a thick, red, scaly patch that may crust or bleed. These are usually found outside the body but can appear inside your mouth as well. Any rough patch that doesn’t clear in 2 months should be checked out.

Melanoma: The most serious form of skin cancer. Melanomas can look similar to moles, some develop inside of moles, causing the mole to change in appearance. Most are black and brown, two toned, and irregularly shaped. Melanoma is typically caused by UV exposure/sunburn, and more than 10,000 people a year die from the disease, just in the US alone.

Sidenote: because I love you, if you are using one of these I implore you to stop.  Yes, the light therapy is nice, and the nap is first rate… but grounding or earthing in the actual sun will do the same thing, and won’t kill you.  Look it up.  Promise.  **Indoor tanning beds are proven to cause cancer and have been classified into the highest cancer risk category by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research.

Dry Brushing Is LIFE      IMG_8306.jpg

Are you dry brushing? If not, get thee a brush and start TODAY… it is AMAZING!!  Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like: dry brushing your skin to stimulate lymphatic drainage, removing toxins from the body, boosts circulation, and…. (do you feel me on this one—->) can reduce cellulite!!  A good dry brush has hard, natural bristles- like a back scrubber for the bath only shorter, and you’ll use it dry.  Rub in a circular motion and toward your lymph nodes. I do this before every shower or bath, and at first I thought Uh… this brush is really hard! Now I look forward to it and it is literally one of my most favorite things in life.

After dry brushing, take a shower. Then… get out, and get your favorite lotion.  Throw it directly in the trash. Go to the kitchen. Get out the olive oil. Or almond oil. Rub it all over your bod. Yes, I’m serious. Olive oil has amazing antioxidant benefits and is super hydrating!  Humans have been using it well, since…. humans discovered olives. It works just like lotion, leaves you glowing and your skin hydrated, without a zillion chemicals.

And finally… water. You knew it was coming. Water is essential. Water is amazing. Yada yada- I’m sure you know all about water and 8 glasses a day. But…. also consider, it doesn’t happen overnight, your major organs get water before your skin.  Consistently drinking more water will hydrate your skin, and will also aid in hydrating your digestive system, gets things er, moving. Drinking more water will clear your face, help with circulation, and even helps to prevent wrinkles.

One last thing- eat plants. Still not telling you to give up meat and dairy and join me in the super amazing freedom I’ve found in eating only plants…. because I don’t want to freak you out. And I want you to keep reading my blogs. And I like our chats. One sided as they are. But… plants. I’m telling you, eating only plants will change your life. We’ll chat about that another time. For now, love on that beautiful skin of yours. See a dermatologist at least once a year.  I am happy to refer mine if you are in the Charlotte area.  Get some sun for vitamin D purposes.  Wear a mineral sunscreen.  Avoid parabens.  Avoid diet soda. Yeah I said it.

Emma spotted my skin cancer, and she likes to credit herself with saving her mama’s life. She did, in more ways than one… but that is another blog post entirely.

Love, B.

This is me.

I’m supposed to be writing a blog about myself. An introduction blog… I am not really sure where to start.  I like pina-coladas, and getting caught in the rain.  I’ve run a few marathons, climbed a few mountains, and been privileged enough to spend time in about a dozen countries.  I’ve learned to do some insane things I never thought I’d do.  I’ve loved big, and cried big. I’ve fallen and gotten back up too many times to count. I plan to use up my whole life, being truly alive, and aware, and in gratitude for the gift of it all. They say ladies don’t ever tell their age, but why??  You tell your age and someone says “Oh gosh I thought you were way older!”?  At least then you’d KNOW and could get your ass to a Rite Aid for some wrinkle cream and a box of hair color. Just kidding I don’t buy wrinkle cream at Rite Aid.  I buy it on Amazon like regular people, but I digress.  Not telling your age is for grandma’s. Which I am not.  I’m 45 and mostly loving it, except that I can’t see worth a damn anymore. 

I am a mom of two girls (my squirrels) who are my life and I will walk through any amount of fire necessary to ensure they grow up as smart and kind and well rounded as humans should be.  They are in to music and reading, and math is not their favorite thing in life. They love swimming, and dogs, and I make them eat vegetables and I speak to them as if they are small adults… and I pray everyday I don’t screw them up too much. Don’t all parents pray that? I set expectations for them and they generally follow what I ask. I am constantly in awe of them, and so excited to watch them grow, and just grateful for the opportunity to be their mama. I have been married 3 years to a very wonderful bald man whom I tease relentlessly about any number of topics, and he puts up with me. I suspect he shall grow tired of my antics at some point and I’ll find myself living in my parents basement wishing I hadn’t been such a smartass. Until then I’ll keep loving him fiercely.  I have made many mistakes in my life, choosing Steve was not one of them.  His competitiveness and corny jokes and snoring make me a better person. Plus, he needs me or he’d wear ugly shirts and white socks. 

People have been telling me my whole life I should write. My folks, friends, teachers, professors, husband(s)… and I’ve always laughed and said ‘someday’.  I suppose someday has finally arrived.  But here’s the thing: what if I suck at this?  It will be a closed chapter and it won’t be my fall back plan anymore.  So…. there’s that. Taking the leap of faith to make a living by WRITING??? That’s scarier to me than infertility, divorce, training for a marathon, melanoma, childbirth, dating as a single mom, starting a small company, dealing with droopy boobs, spider veins, and trying to find the marshmallows in a grocery store… COMBINED. Way scarier. It’s by far the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. Ever. Opening all your windows and closets and vulnerabilities to the world and offer to be judged? Have I lost my mind?  Yes, a little. 

For now… hi there. I’m Beverly.  Thanks for stopping by.