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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Hi guys! Aren’t you glad it’s finally Friday. I haven’t linked up with Lauren over at From My Grey Desk in a while so I thought I would link up. I’ve got some good things going.

{ONE}

Because a good outfit makes any day better. And everyone loves a good bathroom pic.

{TWO}

Three-day weekend. No other words can describe how much I’m looking forward to an extra day off. Simply glorious!

{THREE}

I accidentally took a week off from working out. Between the engagement celebrations and finishing up a Google Analytics class, I’ve had very little time to get my butt outdoors for a good run or in the gym for some good cross training/strength training. Sometimes it’s just nice though…and needed.

{FOUR}

Let the wedding planning begin! I nearly fell out of my chair when I found out Wedding Wire has an app. Thank you, Lawd! My aniexity can subside a little bit. For an update: We have not decided on a date yet. I have a feeling things will be going pretty slow for a few weeks. In the mean time, I’m researching and hunting for good buys. I totally bought this dress last night. It’ll come in handy for any wedding celebrations in the future. Plus, Ruche is having a Labor Day sale. You may want to jump on that bandwagon. Nothing to be ashamed about there.

{FIVE}

Remember this guy?

Yesterday, he had his PET scan to find out if that evil tumor has shrunk. We won’t know the results for a few days. A lot of us are praying and sending good vibes so that Andrew can head into surgery soon to get that thing out of him. Keep him in your thoughts this coming week. We’re all sitting on pins and needles.

Just short and sweet for your Friday! Have a great day and a wonderful holiday weekend!

Last week, I received a comment from a friend of mine asking how I stay motivated to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle. I’ve spent the last year trying to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. I think it’s high time I share my thoughts with you on the matter.

Disclaimer! Please be advised: I’m not a doctor and what works for me may not work for you. Please consult your doctor before partaking in any physical regimen.

Last year for my birthday, I asked my parents for a gym membership to our local recreational center. I had recently visited the newly renovated space and the place looked promising for me to get back on track to a successful and healthy lifestyle. With a 3 month membership under my belt, I began going to the gym 3-4 times a week. My main gym machine was, of course, the treadmill. I couldn’t go wrong with air conditioning and individual televisions.

I focused on building my strength and simply working on enjoying my workouts. I knew that if my mindset wasn’t in the right place then my plans would diminish quickly. I noticed that I loved getting on the treadmill and just running. I remember the first time I ran over 2 miles without stopping. It was a little victory and I was on a serious high. I loved it.

That fall, I wanted to try something new. Nothing too drastic, I wanted to begin running outside. It was about this time that I began setting goals to run races. Luckily, my city offers a great bike/walking trail near my house. There were absolutely no excuses for me to not walk out the door and enjoy a good run. Those first few weeks were awful. My lungs burned, my legs felt like jell-o and my body was screaming at me. As those crummy days continued, I mentally talked myself up. I’d say, “Just get to the next light. Now just make it around that corner. Get yourself to that lamp post and you can have a sliver of that brownie at home.” It just worked for me. I wasn’t willing to give up.

Some weeks were always better or worse than others. At times, I would doubt myself. “You can’t do this! What are you doing? You’ll never be good at this!” I noticed that this whole lifestyle change wasn’t just a physical and healthy eating change. It was a mental game – a mental game that was going to test me. I’ll always have some of these thoughts, but the best way to escape those mental pitfalls is to simply prove yourself wrong. There’s always going to be people rooting against you. There’s always going to be someone better than you. It’s how you mentally strengthen yourself that proves you’re better than you give yourself credit. I was doing this for me.

No one else can make the change to be healthy and strong but you. I’m not looking to lose weight or be as skinny as possible. I want to be confident in my own skin and that means being strong.

A friend of mine was making this same change. He was eating better and losing weight. He also found a love in running and we both made the decision to sign up for our first 5K together. A great piece of advice would be to sign up for a race and make it your goal to complete it. I’m working on this for a 10K. If you pay and sign up for any race then you better work your patootie off to cross that finish line looking strong and confident. It’s one of the best motivational factors out there.

January arrived. I completed that 5K in 35 minutes. I ran the whole thing without stopping even when a gargantuan hill nearly took me out completely. I completed that thing and I was proud. That’s when I knew that something great had begun.

I continue to workout 4-5 days a week because I don’t want to start over. Years ago, I’d start some sort of workout regimen and a few weeks later I’d be perched on the couch with a hand down a bag of Cheetos. At the time, my mental state wasn’t where it needed to be.

I knew that I needed to start with the right fuel in my body. Well before I made the decision to make exercise a priority, I made the kitchen a priority. Moving out of my parents in January helped this tremendously. I was forced to visit the grocery store on a weekly basis. It became my decision to either pick out some apples or grab a tube of Pringles. That’s the beauty about making a change. It’s your decision. It’s as simple as making good choices. That’s it.

My apartment isn’t filled with junk food or high-calorie snacks. The refrigerator is filled with fruits, veggies and lean meats. I substitute certain ingredients in recipes for unsweetened applesauce or greek yogurt. I reduce the amount of salt in marinades. I’m a big advocate of munching on some nuts, cheese or a piece of fruit for a snack instead of a candy bar or bag of Fritos. We eat chicken and ground turkey on a daily basis while red meat is a once a week sort of meal. Spices are my best friend. I hunt for recipes so we don’t get bored. It can be hard work, but the reward is so worth it.

It’s not like I don’t indulge. I indulge on a regular basis. The idea is moderation. You can indulge in anything that tickles your fancy, but only in moderation. I love chocolate. There was no way I was willing to give up chocolate. If you force yourself to give up what you love, you’ll end up crashing and losing your focus. To combat this, I buy really good, dark chocolate. The darker the better since it’s healthier for you. I buy Lindt or Ghirardelli dark chocolate bars. I like the 72% – 85% range. In one sitting, I’ll eat two squares. That’s half the serving and it’s plenty for me to get my sugar and chocolate fix. So whatever you indulge in, find a way to adjust your intake amount or find an alternative that’s equally satisfying without all the added processed and sugary ingredients.

In the end, motivation is simply a mental game. It’s getting rid of the little voice in your head that says you can’t do it. It’s about empowering yourself to want to do better. It’s about not settling and taking life into your own hands. It’s your life. Go out and live it.

If you haven’t heard the news, Joe and I are officially engaged! It’s the weirdest most exciting feeling.

I never wrote a post about how Joe and I met and fell head over heels for each other. I think it’s high time.

March 26, 2010 (Yes, I’m very good with dates)
It was a Friday night. A friend and I were bored and so bar hopping seemed like the perfect idea. We headed out to a bar I don’t remember and met up with a couple guys that my friend knew. We decided to switch to another bar in town called the Zen bar. Nothing fancy, just your typical bar. As soon as we walked in, the boys immediately went to the bar to grab a drink and settle in to watch some basketball. It was March Madness, of course.

A couple guys were standing around watching the game. The two guys we came in with started talking to them. One was Walter. The other was Joe. In this large group of 6, everyone was talking except Joe. He seemed pleasant and was always listening and laughing with the rest of us. I noticed he was wearing a UT baseball hat, grey shirt and shorts. I kept glancing at him and when there was a lull in the conversation I made my way over to him to introduce myself.

His sweet smile was enough for me. We chatted for a while as we drank some beer. No, Joe and I were not sober when we met. It certainly wasn’t the most romantic, but it doesn’t really matter does it?

By the end of the night, we had certainly familiarized ourselves with each other. There was some smoochin goin on, but we don’t need to delve too deep into that.

As we parted ways that evening, I told him to call/text me the next day. Looking back, I was pretty bold. Thank goodness he didn’t think I was a stage 5 clinger.

March 27, 2010
He didn’t call! Or text! The day ticked by with nothing from that man. Around 7 p.m. I made the decision to text him. Yeah, I was bold. I didn’t have anything to lose really. He texted back and I met up with him and his brother at a local bar in my college town. I think he wanted his brother there for a few reasons. 1. So if I was crazy Joe would have moral support and an excuse to dash the hell outta there. 2. Michael (to no knowledge of my own) is a talker. He can talk to anyone, unlike quiet Joe. He’s good to have around to avoid awkward silences.

Michael was a huge help that night. He kept the conversation going while Joe and I made googly eyes at each other. Each topic of conversation had me liking Joe more and more. They both liked me so much, I was invited back to Michael’s house. It was that butterflies-in-my-stomach, so-excited-where-this-could-go feeling. I ended up crawling into bed around 3 that morning. I had a permanent grin on my face for the next 24 hours.

The following week
Sunday came and Joe and I were on the phone with each other each night for the next week. We talked for hours on end only getting a few hours of sleep each night. I knew during that week we’d end up dating.

April 9, 2010
Joe took me to his parents lake house for the first time. It was there on the back porch that he asked me to be his girlfriend and make everything “official.” I obviously said yes. I’ll always remember his response after I said yes. He had been hunting for some wasp spray because he found a nest earlier in the day. As soon as I said yes, he immediately stood up and said, “Good cuz I gotta get some wasp killer.” So romantic he is.

If you are awesome at math then you’d know that he asked me two weeks to the day of meeting him. We were pretty quick about things, but he was quickly becoming my best friend.

Just something kinda funny: Walter, the guy Joe was with at the Zen bar, was present when two other friends of Walter’s met their future wives. We were the third couple. Poor Walter has a way of matching other people up and he can’t seem to snag his own chickadee.

August 25, 2012
We had plans to head off to the lake house for some good relaxation. I’ll be honest. I was a little disappointed when I learned that Joe’s parents were already out on the lake. We arrived at the house around 1 p.m. expecting them to come back within the hour. Joe’s dad’s coworker and his wife were in town and they were out on the water getting a grand tour. They didn’t get back until after 4 p.m. I started complaining how it was a waste of a day. I could be running errands or taking a nap. Jeez!

We ditched getting out on the water all together and instead made our way to dinner for some grub. After some okay Mexican food and goodbyes to his dad’s friends and Joe’s brother, we made our way back to the house to watch the sunset. It’s a little luxury that is greatly enjoyed every time we visit the lake house.

Joe suggested we go down to the dock and watch the sunset there. I didn’t mind. I wanted some new pictures of the sunset from other angles then my typical up-at-the-house photo. Once we got down there, we started taking some pictures. As I was snapping away for some great photos, Joe was mysteriously behind me.

This is how the conversation went:

Joe: “Hey. I know what I want for my birthday.”
Amber: “Oh yeah? What’s that?”
Joe: “You’re going to have to turn around.”
Amber: *turns around* AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

And I have no idea what he said after that…

Probably something on the lines of “Will you marry me?”

I was shaking like a leaf and my stomach was doing flips. Not so great when I’ve just eaten my weight in chips and salsa. No upchuck though. And I teared up a little, but I didn’t cry. I think I was more concerned about throwing up. Ha!

Back tracking a little…

I was expecting him to propose some time after the first week in October. My dad is visiting the first week in October and I know Joe had been meaning to have the talk with my dad. Joe knew that I knew that and so he was a tricky little devil. He spoke to my family last week and everything else was pretty much a breeze.

I really had no idea he was doing it until he told me to turn around. I was expecting him to say he wants the newest MLB playstation game or some crazy electronic I can pick up at Best Buy. I never noticed the ring box bulging from his pocket or any little hints that would suggest something was about to happen. He certainly surprised me.

It was seriously the perfect proposal. He chose a place we both love and frequent. A place that has brought us closer and a place that will evidently be in our future. Plus, no one else will ever be engaged on that specific spot and dock. His parents plan to retire there, so that house will have a special place in our hearts for a while.

I don’t like to get all mushy on this here bloggity, but today is a very important day. Today is Joe’s birthday.

I’m unable to spend the day with him due to a full day of work and a full evening of class. Boo! I hope this little post makes up for something.

To Joseph,

Last week, I was driving home from class late at night and was thinking of you. I was looking forward to seeing you that night just like every other night. I love that home is with you. We may not live in the perfect home nor have the perfect things, but I like the way I feel when I think about coming home to you each night. It’s a blessing I take to my heart.

One night last week, I came home, plopped down on the bed and began venting about my day. You’re my perfect listener and my favorite conversationalist. You state your opinion and usually have a slick, funny remark to boot.

I still remember the first time I met you. It was during March Madness and you and Walter were sitting at the bar watching the game. The guys we came with that night started up a conversation with Walter. You listened intently in the back of the group as I glanced in your direction. Not knowing then what would happen years later, I’m very glad I made the first move to talk to the boy that was quietly observing.

I still remember the time you asked me to be your girlfriend. We were at your parents lake house. As soon as I said yes, you said, “Good. I gotta go grab something for these wasps.” So romantic. Just lookin out for my best interest I must say.

I still remember the time we watched Lost together. You were a huge fan and I was behind a season. We watched them together snuggled up on the couch. The series finale of Lost was the first time I ever saw you cry. It was sweet, but I laughed.

I still remember all those times that I injured myself — from seriously sliced fingers to bruises and scrapes. You’ve learned quick that I’m accident prone. Thanks for always protecting me.

I’ll always remember that time you took me down to your parents lake house dock at sunset. Then you proposed to spend the rest of your life with me. Me! Best. Day. Ever.

Happy Birthday babe. I’m looking forward to many more birthdays with you.

I love you. I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life with you.

Forever yours.

Fridays Letters!

I’m dedicating this post to only one thing. Well, one thing that’s a feline – a feline that is notoriously good at bugging the bejeesus out of me. Without further ado, my letters to Apollo.

Dear Apollo,

Must you announce yourself every time you enter a room? You are not King of England or King of anything really and yet you insist on making your presence known even at midnight when I’m nearing my glorious deep sleep.

Speaking of sleeping. I’ll continue to wake you up when you’re curled up on the couch or under the desk because you deprive me of my own sleep. If haters gonna hate, join em.

Let’s have a discussion on food. Oh food. I’m aware it’s quite amazing; however I would think that keeping it in your bowl would be more beneficial to you. As you swallow your food without chewing, you end up spitting food in every direction. Why do I continue to step on your hard food all the way on the other side of the kitchen?

Oh floors! You should be writing apologetic letters to the carpet and floor, Apollo. You take them for granted as you fling litter on them as well as excrement, food and spit up.

Please heed my advice when I tell you your life and ours would be a lot better off if you shook the litter pebbles off your feet before you exited the litter box. Weekly floor cleaning can get quite old and you are the only culprit.

I know what you’re doing.

You’re plotting to kill us. I found this by the windowsill the other day.

1. How did you get a Pinterest account?

2. You aren’t fooling anyone.

You’ve got the “burying bodies” part down pat. Staring contests? More like staring death traps. Kneading and lightening speed? We should call you Superman in the kitchen (ya know? kneading bread. get it?).

Don’t think we’re not on to you.

Just watch your back, Apollo. We’ve got connections to the vets office. FYI.

Linking up today. Do it with me?