Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Weathering the Storm

Spring has come in like a lamb and is going out like a lion. These are just a few shots I took last night of the ominous clouds we had prior to the onslaught of storms last night. We spent the whole afternoon and evening watching the local weather channels and taking shelter in our bathroom while the tornadoes, literally, swirled around us. 

Luckily, we did not suffer any damage, nor injury, but the same can not be said about the communities around us. I worried about my friends, as I heard reports of damage in their hometowns, and they texted me to check on us. Not even five miles from where we live, people lost their lives.

Tonight is round 2, not predicted to be near as severe. But I just wanted to take a moment to remind everyone to be weather aware and respectful of mother nature. Don't think it can't happen to you, because anything can happen to anyone of us. 

Stay safe my friends.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Favorite Things: Mississippi University for Women Art Print

I believe many times over I have professed my love for my alma mater, Mississippi University for Women. I truly believe that was one of the best times of my life. Not that now isn't great, it is great, but in a totally different way. College was just a care free time in my life,  all I had to worry about was showing up for classes. I made my very best friends at MUW, that I really could not even begin to imagine my life without.  And every time I spend a little time on campus or in Columbus, Mississippi, it still feels like home.

I came across this print quite randomly, I believe I had just searched for Mississippi University for Women on pinterest, and it lead me to this artist's website. Linda Theobald does all sorts of detailed prints of Southern towns and college campuses. When I saw the print, I knew I had to buy it, and then I bought two more for my W girls (who loved it of course).

It has every single building on my small campus, and she got all the details just right. All the different dorms I stayed in, my favorite buildings, and my home away from dorm-the Education & Human Sciences building. 

I'm looking forward to getting this framed to display in our new home, which we are planning to buy this summer. It makes me nostalgic every time I see it.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Swampers 5k

Today was Swampers 5k, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  Adam and had to get up at 5:45 because the race was about an hour away. I was so anxious for the race last night and this morning. I don't even know why, there are so many running fears that I feel I have conquered. I don't get embarrassed running in public, I don't care if I finish last, and I know I can FINISH. When I first started this journey two years ago, my big fear is I would not be able to finish.

The last few work-outs I've had, I have consistently ran a half mile or more, that is without much of a warm up. I did nothing different this morning than I do when I work-out at home but after running a minute, I was hurting too much to go on. However, I have not been hard on myself about this, I am still hopeful.  This is what I have to work on to complete my goal:

1. Getting past my race anxiety, I think it is giving me a serious mental block! It really is all about my mindset.  I put so much pressure on myself, it is self-sabotage.

2. I need to get a really good warm-up routine, so I'm ready when the race starts. 

3. I start off running too fast during these events and burn out super quick.

I went and signed up for another 5k in two weeks from today, so I can try again. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

I finished the 5k in an hour (almost exactly), and third to last! I still felt accomplished because I remember when I couldn't even walk 1 mile, much less three. I just gotta keep going, going, going until I get there.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mile Marker 1

This little picture, taken from my iPhone, may say WALKING, but ignore that, because today I did not walk a mile. I ran a mile. I ran a mile for the first time since sometime last Spring. I kind of feel like a rockstar today.

It is funny because last week I could only run 0.6, and Monday when I tried to run, it was awful. I don't think I even ran 0.3, and I hated every step. I was so down on myself on Monday, feeling like it was impossible, that I could never get there. All my running hopes felt like pipe dreams.

How is it that lately nothing feels better than a good run but hardly anything feels worse than a bad run?

I tried again today because I know as long as I don't give up, I can one day get to where I want to be. So I set a goal to run at least 0.7, but I decided I would be pleased if I hit 0.6 again. But I got to 0.6 and then I thought, I can make it to 0.8. So I did. And then I thought, I can make it to a mile, I really want to make a mile. 

Sometimes I swear my shuffle featue on the iPhone knows just want I need. This is so cheesy to admit, but Catch my Breathe by Kelly Clarkson came on, which has always been a motivating song for me. It helped me get over the hump.

I'm so proud right now. I don't know what will happen at my 5k Saturday. My legs could give out, I may not be able to run a lick, or I may run further than I ever have before.

But whatever happens on Saturday, all that matters is today I believe I can do this!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Currently: April 2014

Excited About: That I am approaching having lost 100 pounds since my surgery (not even 4 months out).  Adam's 30th birthday, my 28th birthday (how did that happen) weekend that we are spending in Nashville doing the 5k Foam Fest.

Watching: I hate myself for admitting this, but I spent all day yesterday watching that darn Lindsay Lohan Documentary on OWN. I don't even like Lindsay or  OWN, but it was oddly compelling. I'm also way into the Real Housewives of Orange County and the current season of Call the Midwife right now.

Listening To: I really love Lea Michelle's CD Louder, especially the songs Empty Hearted & Cue the Rain. Still Obsessed with the Showtunes station on Pandora. And how did I just discover the song You and I by Lady Gaga?

Reading: I recently finished reading Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly, which I loved because it was a historical look at Jesus's life and death. I learned a lot about the politics in Israel at the time, as well as Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. I also read Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris recently, not as good as Holidays on Ice, but pretty darn awesome. I'm currently reading 12 Years a Slave, the true story behind the movie. I'm also about to start reading Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts for book club.

Working On: I have been brainstorming and googling  projects like crazy that I can do with my group of kids during summer day treatment. Yes, it is that time of year you guys! Summers at work are always super hectic, but in a weird way I'm kind of looking forward to it. Or at least looking forward to getting it over with.

Loving: All this Springtime weather and the trees looking like popcorn. And being able to air out the apartment by keeping the windows open.  Unflavored protein powder in Orange Juice, I can't even taste it!

Recent Buys:  Torani Sugarfree Syrups in Coconut & Sea Salted Caramel, which I love to put in my protein shakes. Several cute pairs of Betsy Johnson earrings, even though I already have 20 something pairs already. Ohh, and I finally, finally bought a Mia Clarasonic facial cleaner, I swear my skin is glowing!

Thankful For: Quiet Nights In after having company last week, and Adam being out of town over the weekend. Getting into bed early most nights. Reading on my lunch break. My little commute to and from work, which gives me time to disconnect from work and clients and get in the home state of mind. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Weekend Report

These are the things I did on Easter weekend when I was home alone:

I used to order a pizza when I was home alone and eat it all by myself for dinner. Now it is a 1/2 cup of chili and a few new red box movies to entertain me on a Friday night.

I got to spring this lovely little house guest from the clink (A.K.A The Groomers). She was so excited, and thank goodness I have her to protect me from all the noise and boogymen in the apartment, that I only notice on nights that I'm home alone.

We went on several lovely, late night walks. Does she not look like the happiest pup ever in this picture?

I ran 0.6 miles of this, my goal was 0.7 miles,  but at least that is better than the half mile I ran the day before, it is all baby steps, I'll get there eventually. I'm hoping to run at least a mile in my first 5k of the year next weekend. 

I also went to a movie in an actual movie theater by myself on Saturday night. I knew Adam would never be game to see this, so it was nice to go alone, and just get lost in it. Every scene I swear could have been a frameable piece of art. Beautiful, funny, wonderful adventure of a movie. 

And I made turkey meatballs in the crock pot from this recipe! Delicious. I will be eating on these all week!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Love Book

I've always loved the Mean Girls movie, so I love this insider article on Who Did Everyone Sit with on The Cast of Mean Girls?

Ummm, is anyone else astonished by this theory on how Frozen, Tangled, and The Little Mermaid may all possibly be related? 

17 Best Bromances in Literature (Nick & Gatsby should have placed so much higher). 

These are some helpful tips on how to to look better in photographs.

Do you know the likelihood of surviving a zombie apocalypse has everything to do with the state you live in? This graphic shows how lucky or unlucky you might one day be. I should have never left California. 

9 Impossible Dreams to Never Give Up On (my favorite is free umbrellas everywhere you go).

Captain America's To-do List featuring events that he slept through and needs to catch up on is different in every country!

Every dress worn by the the winners of the Oscar for Actress of the Year. 

I'm obsessed with Tudor England! These Cosmopolitan "magazine covers" featuring the wives is genius. 

An interesting blog that catalogs the interesting stories and lives of inhabitants of New York City.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Around the House

Just a Few Peaks of What's Going on Around the House Lately:

When we got home from Gatlinburg, I decided to put the gems we had mined together in a mason jar (told you I love them). I love how they look on our dresser in the bedroom, and I think it a creative, non-typical souvenir that we have now from our trip.

A few weeks ago, when Adam was out of town, I went on a major organizing spree. I try not to touch his office too much because it is his space. But I wanted to hang up some of the cards and stuff he had lying around his office, so I hung them on the back of the desk. Some of the cards are Valentine's and Anniversary cards I have given him through the years. The Dr. Who posters are ones I got for free, when I bought Adam a sonic screwdriver for Christmas. And the, "NEVER GIVE UP!" was from the niece of one of Adam's coworkers. Adam loves what I did with it. Now If I can only find a way to better organize all his little "desk ornaments."

When we first moved into this apartment, I bought the cutest little cupcake timer. It was adorable looking sitting on the stove. But from the first time I took it out of the box it didn't work (thanks, Wal-mart). But I kind of kept it there just cause I liked it. And we always had to remind ourselves to watch the clock while cooking, so we didn't burn our food since we had no timer. But I got this new one at a kitchen store and it actually works! Plus it is an owl, I like owls so much better than cupcakes anyway. Win-win.

I know I already shared a picture of this warmer on my instragram, but I have to share it again because I think this is my favorite designed scentsy warmer ever! It is just such a subtle, spring design. Plus the new Spring Scents are amazing. Atlas Ceder and Lemon Verbena are my favorite.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Weekend Report

(More Shots from Sloss Furnaces Located Here)

Our friend Luther, flew in from California, to visit us this weekend. We were so happy to have him, we have missed him a lot, and it has been fun to show him around the great state of Alabama. Adam picked him up at the Nashville airport Friday night, and we spent the evening hanging out at a local Sports Bar before going to see Captain America 2 (Hello, Chris Evans). I really, really enjoyed that movie. Captain America is my favorite superhero by far. So handsome! So Patriotic! So corruptible!

Saturday, we got up early to take Luther down to the bus station in Birmingham, so he could visit some friends elsewhere (he will be back with us in a few days). Before returning back home, Adam and I stopped off at Sloss Furnaces to walk around a bit.

Sloss Furnaces was a pig-iron blasting factory until 1971, and this basically lead to development of Birmingham as a metropolitan city. Sloss is the only previous blasting factory open to the public in the United States.  So even though I'm not typically into industrial sites, I felt it was worth a stop. I actually really enjoyed walking around taking pictures and checking out all the little nooks and crannies. Plus, it was just a beautiful day, and it felt so good to be walking around outside. We are finally leaving the winter behind.

Sloss has a haunted experience you can participate in during Halloween, I bet that is super creepy.

I spent the rest of the weekend reading, napping, working out, and watching movies-12 Years a Slave, August Osage County, & Frozen for the second time (Hi, I'm Olaf and I love warm hugs).  Now I'm just reciting my daily Sunday prayer: May the work week be swift and the next weekend drag on forever. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Gatlinburg (5 year anniversary trip): Part Two

On Saturday morning, I had planned for Adam and I to hike rainbow falls in Smokey Mountain National Park. The trail round trip was going to be 5.5 miles. I knew I could do this. The funny part is it never occurred to me it would be entirely uphill! Which is stupid of me, considering it is a mountain! But I still was determined to finish the challenge, plus coming back would be entirely downhill right?

I just recently finished reading the book Wild: From Lost to Found on The Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Which is about a young woman who chose to hike the Pacific Coast Trail to deal with some emotional issues in her life. ONE AMAZING BOOK.  So as I was huffing and puffing up those steep heights, I was pretending to be Cheryl! I mean if she can hike the entire PCT, surely I can hike a few miles.

But about 1.25 miles in, it started to rain, and we really didn't want to walk on the slippery rocks in the rain, so we packed it up and headed down. I guess it just gives us something to try again next time. 

Our original plan was to spend most of the day hiking, but I did some quick googling on my phone, and I decided it might be fun to do a little gem mining. Adam had never done this, but I remembered going gem mining as a little girl in Missouri. So it was nostalgic for me, and it is just a kind of silly activity for us to do together.

I could not believe how many gems we found while pan handling! Some big ones (my favorite being the red jasper) a fossilized plant, and even some shark teeth. We went inside, and they identified all our our gems for us.

After hiking and gem mining, we were ready to eat, so we found a restaurant, J.T. Hannah's Restaurant & Stockyards. I loved that the served my unsweet tea to me in a mason jar. I really adore mason jars (just like every other Southern girl).  I got the grilled chicken and baked beans, and Adam got some spaghetti & meatballs. I guess one positive of weight loss surgery is when I don't eat hardly any part of my food, Adam will finish it for me.

The next morning when we were leaving, I glanced up at the mountains to seem them frosted over. It was such a beautiful sight, that I made Adam stop the car, so I could jump out a take a picture. It was such a perfect ending to our trip.

I still can't believe we have been together for 5 years or have known each other half of each other lives. But I know soon we will be celebrating our 10th, 15th, & 20th anniversary. I just hope not too soon, since I'm not ready to be that old.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Three Month Surgiversary

Sunday morning, I had my most joyous day on my weight loss surgery journey. I stepped on the scale to find I weighed 299.8. For the first time in five years, I am under 300 lbs!  That means I've lost some 88 lbs. Yes, my starting weight was 387. I have thought long and hard about whether I wanted to post that number on the blog. It is an embarrassing, scary number and most people lie about their weight. But I just think I've spent a lifetime being ashamed of my weight, and I don't want to be that way anymore. I was/am obese, but that is not a character flaw, and I'm taking steps to change that now. I can't go back and change any of the mistakes I've made throughout my lifetime about my health & fitness. 

This month has been a really good month. Pompeii is starting to behave better and better. I have had a lot fewer incidents of getting sick, except for times when it has been my fault (eating too fast, not chewing well,  or taking an extra bite when I knew I was full). I've learned how to make eating choices on the fly if I have to (what to grab on a road trip, what I can eat in a restaurant). I'm still making some mistakes too, I got really addicted to Sonic Unsweet Tea for a while, before I remembered that tea has caffeine, which is a diuretic, and exactly what I didn't need when I'm working hard to get my fluids in. 

I did get some Uncaffinated peach tea packets to mix into water, which is hitting the spot. 

I still haven't had any hunger, but sometimes I feel "empty". Which I'm guessing is hunger, but since they have taken out the part of my stomach that produces the hunger hormone, the signal does not get sent to my brain. But I try to take note of that empty feeling and eat a wedge of cheese or something!  But for the most part, I don't even feel like eating, and I have to remind myself to sit down and be mindful of what I am eating.

I have officially lost a size in my clothing, and some of my staple clothing is starting to get baggy and long. I have one pair of pants that fit perfectly just a month ago, but now have gotten so long that I tripped at work because of them. In front of tons of people, hilarious and mortifying. I'm trying to decide whether it is worth it to alter them or just buy new clothing. I have a feeling I'm going to be constantly buying new clothes for a while. Not that I'm complaining, first world problems and all that jazz!

I've really kicked up my work out regimen this month, now that I'm over the bronchitis that dominated last month. I just completed C25K Week Three, and tomorrow I start week 4, which is 1/4th mile runs. I so want to dominate the Cotton Row in May, I swear I will run that thing start to finish even if it kills me. 

My accountability buddy Jana and I are even talking about doing the Disney world Princess Half Marathon in February, which seems ambitious since I haven't even ran an entire 5k yet, but I believe I can do it. I really do, even though I'm terrified. I once read this quote, "If it's both terrifying and amazing then you should definitely pursue it." So that is what I'm doing. Pursuing it.

Plus I really want to run as my favorite Princess, Belle! I mean check out this tutu!

I just think my weight loss has given me some new confidence to believe that I can do these things, and that my weight no longer has to hold me back. Although to be fair to myself, I should have never let it hold me back in the first place.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Wood Anniversary

Video Song is Woody Allen by Allo' Darlin.
Today is our 5 year anniversary, and I can't believe it. How can it be 5 years when it seems just yesterday we were getting engaged? But then again, a lot has happened in these last five years. We have moved, not once, not twice, but three times. We have traveled together to Washington D.C., San Francisco, Chicago, and Amsterdam.   Adam advanced at his job, I earned my master's degree. We have lost loved ones and one amazing dog.

I don't think I can say it enough, I love the life we have created together. Growing up the message you get is that marriage is hard, and we don't have the perfect marriage by far. But I wouldn't call it hard as much as an adventure.

Sometimes I'm tired and get get irritable, and snap at Adam for no reason at all, because when I'm tired everything he says drives me crazy. Sometimes he can be negative and complains about stuff I have my heart set on doing, and it hurts my feelings. Sometimes when we argue, we say stuff just to push each other buttons, both trying to "win." Sometimes I'm stubborn and can't admit my faults, sometimes he just can't let the argument go. And one time we had a fight so big, so epic that honestly started over a Kentucky Fried Chicken Biscuit.

But sometimes I surprise Adam, and even though he claims to hate surprises, it makes his day. Sometimes he sends me such sweet emails that I put them in a special folder, just to read when I'm in an awful mood. Sometimes when my leg is hurting, he waits on me, and never complains about doing it. Sometimes I do his "chores," just so he can sleep in a little bit in the morning. Sometimes the best time we have together is when we stay home catching up on our favorite shows.

Adam has been in my life since I was 14 years old. We have watched each grow up. Witnessed most of each others triumphs and nearly all of the epic failures. One of my favorite singer/song writers, Lori Mckenna, wrote the song How Romantic is That. In the song there is a verse that says, "And that boy that I loved may not have been my hero but the same can't be said of the man he became."

That is how I feel exactly.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gatlinburg (5 year anniversary trip): Part One

We had such a wonderful anniversary trip over this last weekend. I have already mentioned that we chose to go to Gatlinburg because it was on a vacation there 6 years ago, that Adam asked me to marry him. And I said, "No Way, Jose!" Just kidding, I said, "Ok."

We were super lucky to be able to rent the exact same cabin we stayed at, that has the exact same porch, where he proposed to me! It felt so nostalgic and romantic to be there all over again.

We arrived late Thursday night and the absolute first thing we did was run out to the porch and jump in the hot tub. The porch at night is pretty secluded, so it felt amazing to be all alone in the mountains.

When we woke up the next morning, we decided to grab some breakfast. Breakfast is definitely my most favorite meal to eat out for, it always makes a great start to the day. We went to the Little House of Pancakes. We ate there 6 years ago too! I'm pretty sure last time I pigged out on banana pancakes like it was no one's business. This time I just took a bite of everything, which was quite enough for me! This place does truly have the best pancakes in the world, and if there is one thing in this world I know about, its pancakes.

Adam and I seriously love mini-golf, so we decided to go check out David Crockett's mini-golf after breakfast. This was a really great course with fun, creative holes and decorations. They had two courses, and we played both. Adam and I tend to get really competitive about mini-golf. I have never beaten Adam at mini-golf, and this game was no exception. But I only lost by about 2 points, and I manged to get two hole in ones. So I think that is progress. I take comfort in the fact that although he is the mini golf champion in the family, I am the reigning Mario Kart Queen.

After mini-golf, we headed downtown. I really wanted to do something cheesy, so we decided to go to the Ripley's Mirror Maze! I have never done a fun house or anything like it. It was surprisingly fun and surprisingly difficult. I was walking into mirrors almost constantly.  We paid an extra dollar to get the 3D glasses, which made it even more crazy.

We also managed to squeeze in a little shopping this trip. One of my favorite parts of shopping was at the Village, which is just a series of specialty shops that look real old wordly. My very favorite one was The Spice and Tea Exchange. They had tons and tons of teas, and you guessed it, spices! I bought a whole bunch of spices I can used to flavor my grilled chicken! I even got a pizza spice. I can't wait to try them all.

When we got back to the cabin that night, we curled up on the couch, by the fireplace, and I got to share one of my all time favorite movies, The Sound of Music with Adam. It just felt really special to watch it with him, and he didn't hate it, so that is a win-win.