Can you get mastitis when you're not nursing?

{via Pinterest}

Yes, you can.

Thought this post might be TMI, but in the spirit of breast cancer awareness month, I'm going to share my story. Consider this a public service announcement.

A few weeks ago, I had a low grade fever, chills and felt pretty crummy. Too busy to notice a gynormous breast cyst forming -- until it became extremely painful -- I had a vague recollection of having something similar when I was nursing over a decade ago. Could it be mastitis? Immediately I began obsessively searching for an answer online. It is in fact very rare for women to get mastitis when they are not nursing with a few exceptions, including nipple piecing. Not an issue for me.

I made an appointment to see my ob/gyn a few days later. When I called, I told the nurse what I suspected. My doctor took a look and grabbed my file. After studying my mammogram report, he asked the nurse and the office manager to dial up the surgeon's office across the street at the Piedmont Hospital to set up an appointment right away. Just to be on the safe side.

They were able to see me immediately, so I headed on over to the hospital. Of course I was in a total panic. OMG, I might have breast cancer.

This cute girl in a lab coat walks in to examine me. You know you're getting old when doctors look like they're 25. In any event, one young doctor followed by another cruised around with the ultrasound wand. The cyst was full of fluid. Phew. A course of antibiotics was prescribed. Convo with second doctor:

Me: How could I possibly have mastitis?
MD: You mentioned you do pilates. Do you work out a lot?
Me: Yes.
MD: Do you wear a supportive sports bra?
Me: Yes.
MD: Do you usually change out of it after your workout.
Me: Rarely.
MD: We often see cases of mastitis among athletic women -- I think she was referring to marathon runners and triathletes, but I'll include myself in that category anyway -- who wear supportive sports bras. The friction can irritate the nipple, bacteria can enter and find a nice cozy breeding ground for infection.
Me: I guess I should change out of my athletic ware immediately after working out.
MD: That would be a good idea. I'd like to see you in a week.

Thankfully, I've fully recovered.

While we're on the subject of sports and health, here's another question. Is it possible to have an ACL tear after falling during a tennis match without major pain or swelling? Without hearing a "pop?" Just feeling like your knee is unstable and could possibly buckle from underneath you? Can it be possible even after you see an orthopedist who takes an X-ray, does a physical exam and tells you everything looks good and you can resume your normal activities, including tennis?

Yes, it is. I will have knee surgery before the end of the year.

Bottom line: When your body is sending your brain signals like "this feels vaguely familiar" or "this just doesn't feel right." Listen to it. It's also best to take advice from someone you trust like your pilates instructor who tells you there's no way/no how to play tennis on an unstable knee. Having had surgery on both knees, she knows what she's talking about.

I'm considering burning all of my sports bras and becoming a coach potato. I will, however, continue to get my annual mammogram. You should too. Not sure if you need one? Check out the American Cancer Society's guidelines for early detection for breast cancer. I used to work there.

Hope this PSA is helpful.

West side story act one...

Earlier this month my friend Elizabeth F. and I headed over to the Westside Provisions District to check out a few new and old hot spots. The west side has become one of Atlanta's finest foodie and style destinations. New shops and restaurants are cropping up faster than I can keep up with.

First stop J. Crew. Bet you didn't know there's one over there. I'm a chronic returner. And I have a bad habit of letting rejects sit around my house for too long. J. Crew will accept way overdue returns for full credit. During our visit, the lovely sales staff gladly took a return of a purchase I made in May. No questions asked. Yet another opportunity for me to avoid Buckhead. Yay. Women's wear only.

Next stop -- the Preserving Place -- Atlanta's one-stop shop for DIY home food preservation. We were lucky to visit during opening week.

{Isn't she cute}

Owner Martha McMillan was the perfect Southern hostess. We sampled a variety of signature jams, condiments and pickles as we sipped lemon verbena (from Martha's garden, of course) infused water.  According to Martha, lemon verbena was Scarlett O'Hara's favorite herb. Interesting bit of trivia.

{Pretty blue glasses}

Southern chef Virginia Willis helped develop the recipes for the house-made signature and seasonal products prepared in the store's commercial kitchen. All made with ingredients from local farms. No sugar added. Our faves: sweet onion confit, hot peach and ginger jam and the ATL-1 steak sauce.

You can also buy supplies for making your own concoctions. Great place to pick up a hostess gift too.

 I was quite smitten with the space designed by Square Feet Studio. Loved the seating area...

Lighting fixtures...

Commercial kitchen...

And, the amazing front door...

Okay, I loved it all. Let's move on.

If you haven't been to Billy Reid, you're in for a real treat. Handsomely designed and styled to the nines. Smart looking -- picture Ralph Lauren classic, but more hip -- clothing, footwear and accessories for ladies and gents. Billy Reid partnered with Coach this season on a limited edition line of pebbled leather women's and men's accessories -- wallets, "satchels" and other accoutrement like this $600 Kentucky cocktail set.

Most, if not all, footwear is handmade in Italy. Clever display of shoes, shirts and ties on cake stands and serving trays. Don't you agree?

I was quite taken by the shop's design. Enough pics, though. You'll have to go see it for yourself.

Ravenous, we headed to the West Egg Cafe for lunch. Had never been, so I was psyched to check it out. West Egg is owned and operated by our friends Jennifer and Ben Johnson who also own The General Muir. See my review in an earlier post. Square Feet Studio designed both fabulous restaurant spaces.


So hungry, I forgot to take pics of our food. EF had the sweetcorn pancakes. You can never go wrong with flavored butter and sugar bacon.

Our last stop -- from the owners of Holeman & Finch -- H&F Bread Co. Off the beaten track on Ellsworth Industrial Blvd., the bakery is stocked with fresh breads, pastries and other yummy stuff. Most notably the bacon caramel popcorn. Trust me. Get some. EF says it is a well-received hostess gift. The Bloody Mary mix is next on my list to try.

Sadly, it was time to head back to Decatur before school let out.

So much more to see and taste. Stay tuned for act two.

May the force be with you...

The long anticipated launch of Skylanders SWAP Force  hit retail and e-commerce stores Sunday. Lucky for me and our Skylanders friends, we got to demo the game before it went public -- compliments of Activision.

Kids from far and wide came to get in on the action.

Our little friend JL was perhaps the biggest Skylanders fan at the party. He had been crossing off the days on his calendar until the October 13 game release. He was pretty psyched when his parents told him he was invited. Up at the crack of dawn, he threw on his Skylanders duds and eagerly awaited the party. Definitely won the award for best dressed.

Others brought their own Skylanders characters like neighbor JF.

The Skylanders truck pulled up to the mophead household Friday afternoon for three hours of swashbuckling fun. It goes without saying the kids were super excited when it arrived.

{The swap force truck arrives!}


{A peak inside.}

{Our game truck coach -- Coby -- did a great job with crowd control while he set up the truck.}

{Cute, right}

{Truck open for business.}

{All hell breaks loose.}

Let the games begin...

Later, things got interesting when the big kids took over. JL's dad was first at the helm. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

The moms were in too...

While other Moms enjoyed some tasty cocktails and snacks inside the house...

Needless to say, a good time was had by all...

Special thanks to Coby and our photographer Alisa Lewis...

To my little friend TZ who forwent his turn many times. His patience paid off when he was the first guest to receive a coveted Skylanders character.

And, a huge thank you to Activision for sponsoring the party.

Now go out and buy the game for your little Skylanders fan. It comes in every platform imaginable.


noun -- a flat piece of metal for protection and often ornamentation, around a keyhole, door handle or light switch.

A few years ago I bought this original water color and its partner from artist Holly Ward Bimba's Esty shop Golly Bard. I was drawn to the colors, shapes and shadows. As an art student, Holly spent a summer in Italy where she fell in love with old world doors, knockers and escutcheons. She found them mysterious and made her curious about what was beyond reach and hidden from view. They are mysterious, don't you agree?

{Escutcheon Collection No. 6}

BTW, Holly has a fabulous blog and sells her beautiful line of fabrics, including escutcheon and keys, on spoonflower.

I made the purchase shortly after we finished our renovation during which I was knee deep in selecting door hardware. As the saying goes, they don't make 'em like they used to. The old 1920s doors that remain in our house have the original brass plated key holes and keys. The plates are covered with layers of paint though. I guess I could have them stripped, but that's never gonna make it to my "to do" list. While our new door hardware is nice, it's not nearly as unique or charming. 

A recent trip to Rosemary beach piqued my fascination with door hardware again. We stayed in a house designed by Atlanta's Kay Douglas. Kay owns South of Market -- a store I love, but the furniture and fixtures are scaled to fit spaces much, much larger than mine. The house is what I'll call industrial chic (more on it in an upcoming post). Each door had a decorative pivoting key hole escutcheon. Although they are faux -- no keyhole behind the pivoting cover. A nice touch nonetheless. 

Some that are decorative, as well as functional. From the UK, of course.


Love these from Collier Webb:

I discovered these pivoting escutcheon in Alys Beach. Lovely patina. I was certainly tempted to go inside.

As a sneak peak of my upcoming post on Alys -- check out this edgy hardware. The Moorish star opening gives you a small glimpse of what's inside. You'll have to check back later to see.

 {courtyard gate Fonville Press}

With locks and keys on my mind, I was thrilled to find this adorable leather coin purse (key chain within) on sale now at Comes in other colors too. Cute, right.

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