Back from the Beach

I’m back from the beach! It was such a blessing to be able to spend time with the people who make up my “happy place.” We had great weather and I took full advantage of it – spending the majority of my time lounging by the pool.

When we first arrived, I handed out my gifts so we get things started off on the right foot.

Are those glasses not the cutest? I bought them for all the girls from a local shop called Its Letter Perfect. I’m working on monogramming everything I own some stuff, so I’m slightly obsessed with this place.

If the mugs were not enough foreshadowing for you, I’ll just put it out there: We like to match.

It was much less cheesy when we were in diapers, but there are some habits that ‘cha can’t shake, my friends.

We ate too much, drank too much, and probably did too much of nothing (is that really possible while on vacation?) but it was exactly what I needed! I couldn’t have asked for a better 5 days! :)

Evaluating Your Life Plate

We live in a society where the most popular New Year’s Resolution is weight loss. Many people are so concerned with what they put on their plates, that other important things tend to fall by the wayside.

But speaking of keeping your plates healthy, I wanted to focus on a different kind of plate: your Life Plate.

I think of Life as a huge buffet busting at the seams with wonderful people, places, opportunities, and choices.

And like at you’re favorite Chinese lunch buffet, you have a choice as to what you put on your Life Plate.

You can choose to fill your plate with things that make you immediately happy, but end up leaving you feeling empty and tired.

You can lose all willpower and fill your plate with facades and lose sight of who you really are.

You can also choose to fill your plate with shoulds (things you think you should do, be, say, etc.) that ultimately end up making you feel anxious and overwhelmed.

Or, you could think of your Life Plate as a balancedhealthy plate filled with people and things that fuel you and make you feel your best. (Always remembering to save room for dessert ;) )

As 2012 comes to a close, I encourage you to take a look at your Life Plate. Is it full of junk, or is it full of things you need?

Like a huge serving of faith (whatever that looks like to you), a heaping helping of family and meaningful relationships, all heavily seasoned with compassion (for yourself and others), genuine relaxation, and FUN.

Think about it.

Let’s chat – What’s currently filling up your Life Plate? What could be dumped into the garbage disposal, and what could be added? 

Thanksgiving Came Early

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! 

I got lucky and was able to celebrate Thanksgiving a day early ;)

For yet another year in a row, my mother-in-law, Joni, hosted a perfectly executed Thanksgiving dinner. Joni is the Queen of Hosting, and I’m always in awe of how she remains so cool, calm and collected. If I had to have a clean house, look presentable, and have seven different dishes ready at the same time, I’d need a Xanax.

I’m also always so impressed by her little touches that make everything so festive.

It was a wonderful night!

So today, as I sit around relaxed and without a plan to call my own, I find myself eternally grateful for the awesome life I have.

I’m crazy about my husband, I adore my amazing family, I have the best friends, and I have my health. Really, there is nothing more I could possibly ask for.

Enjoy your day, folks! I hope it’s filled with love and tons of good food ;)

Let’s chat – Tell me something/someone you’re thankful for today!

Hosts with the Most(s)

We hosted our first holiday!

Cory and I successfully hosted our families yesterday for Easter brunch. In my world, it’s an accomplishment if I can time my Keurig coffee and oatmeal to be ready at the same time, so the idea of having to have five items in one oven come out ready at the same time made me nervous.

Thank God I have a husband who keeps his cool in the kitchen, and a mother who knows how to calm me the eff down.

We ate, drank mimosas, and chatted through the afternoon. I tried a bit of everything that we made, but didn’t eat nearly as much as I normally would have. I think I was too hopped up on making sure that no one was keeling over and vomiting from my cooking.

I’m glad to report that no such thing occurred. ;)

To be vague, things have gone on during the past few weeks that made me hypersensitive to the fact that I am truly blessed to have the life that I do. Being able to spend the day with my husband and our families made my heart swell.

*My mother doesn’t have the steadiest of hands while taking photos…

After our families left, Cory and I actually fell asleep watching the Master’s. Nevermind the fact that I fall asleep every time golf is on TV, but I was exhausted from the day! We only got up to eat and ended up going to bed quite early. It was perfect!

I hope you had a wonderful Easter, Passover, or spring-y Sunday! Whatever you were doing, I hope it was time well spent ;)

Let’s chat – Do you celebrate Easter or Passover? What did you do? If not – what was the best part of your Sunday?

 

Funk

I’ve got to be honest with you.

I’ve been in a funk to end all funks this week.

I won’t get into unflattering details, but the fact that it’s been raining for what seem like the last ten years is the icing on my funky cake.

I left work yesterday and it was pouring. You know when rain resembles a monsoon and there’s that terribly awkward moment of desperation in which you attempt to get in your car, close your umbrella and stay dry all at the same time?

That was my life yesterday. Not even my under garments stood a chance.

Just add it to the funk list.

Night class, traffic, more rain and some scary car trouble helped me sink deeper into my funky ‘tude.

And then I came home and got a call from my brother telling me he really liked an old blog post. If you don’t know, my younger brother is one of my favorite people on the planet.

He’s funnier than all get out, and he’s always been ten times cooler than me. But’s okay – sometimes he spreads the love and makes me feel cool.

And just like that, without even knowing it, he helped start to pull me out of my funk.

And then I saw that one of my favorite bloggers ever, posted her first Totally Truthful Thursday video blog!  And whaddayaknow, that helped me take another huge step out of my funk.

And the fact that I’m going to spend the weekend with these two mugs makes my heart smile.

And the fact that I sucked up the last bit of my funk and laid it out on the treadmill for a 5-mile run this morning makes me feel pretty darn good, too :)

Have a happy, funk-free weekend!

Let’s chat – The last person to pay me a compliment was ______ and they said ________.

Almost the Weekend

Hello, hello!! How’s everyone’s morning going? Today is my Friday, so I’m feelin’ pretty good :) I’m traveling this weekend because my cousin is getting married!!

I love weddings, and I love being with this side of the family so much. We were babies at the last wedding – so clearly we’re due for another one ;)

———

Digital Diet Revisited

Wow! It looks like most of us are technology addicts to some degree ;) I stayed true to my “diet” last night; I went to stay at Cory’s and did not take my laptop. I always travel with Hank, my laptop. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the decision to leave my laptop at home took several minutes to make.

I need to blog.

I need to read blogs.

I need to check my email.

I need to tweet about something. (<– Newsflash: My life isn’t that interesting that I need to update the world every hour)

I need to check if my old college friend finally posted her wedding pictures to Facebook.

Should I? Shouldn’t I? Back and forth..back and forth…

When I left my apartment, I had the urge to tweet the fact that I was sans computer for the night, but I refrained.

I am, in a word, ridiculous.

I just thought it was absolutely insane how difficult it was for to semi-unplug for half a day, so I thought I’d share it with you ;)

Workout

This morning I was up and at ‘em and headed to the gym for a strength training session. Because I’m not a trainer or any kind of fitness professional, I feel weird posting my workouts when I just ad-lib them.

And to be honest, today I didn’t go in with a solid plan (that’s a mistake) so I just did a hodgepodge of moves.

Breakfast

I had my beloved PB and Nutella oats this morning :D

This really tastes like I’m eating a Reece’s peanut buttercup for breakfast – and I don’t hate it ;)

Okay friends, I’m off to day TWO of the new job! Once training is over I plan on filling you guys in on what I’m doing!

Let’s chat -

When was the last wedding you attended? Who was it for? My roommate from college got married in November and it was a beautiful wedding!

Would you rather have a small wedding on a tropical island, or a big wedding in your hometown? To get away would be nice, but I’d be so sad if all my family and friends weren’t there!

Easter Recap

Happy belated Easter, my friends! Whether you celebrate the day or not, I hope you had a great weekend :)

Mine was fantastic. It was filled with family, relaxation and a whole lotta food. It was wonderful! I think it’s perfectly acceptable to loosen the belt buckle and throw caution to the wind every now and then and just enjoy food. And that’s exactly what happened this weekend ;)

Don’t mind me. I’m a 23-year-old who still enjoys coloring eggs…

I’m also a 23-year-old who still gets excited about an Easter basket! :)

So.much.candy.

Money shot.

I think the Easter Bunny reads this blog and knows that I’m learning to bake ;)

Let me tell you something. Cory’s mom is the Hostess with the Mostest. She is the Detail Queen and I love it! I mean seriously. Look at the table settings she created.

Too cute right?

And the food was fabulous. I pulled the I’ll try a little bit of everything that’s on the table card.

Looking at this picture, I realize that this serving makes me seems quite anal. I’m swear I’m not a 5-year-old. I really don’t mind if my foods touch ;)

I also went to town on desserts. But let me just highlight my favorite. Enter: a ball of red velvet cake that was rolled in cheesecake, that was then rolled in graham cracker crumbs, that was then dipped in white chocolate. Heaven on a stick? I think so.

I’m certain I will be dreaming of these.

Cory didn’t want to keep a lot of the candy in our Easter basket, so guess who it came home with? This girl. Who has sticky fingers around sweets. I have to take precautionary measures when left alone with bags of candy.

I measure out serving sizes and put them in separate baggies so when I do want a little treat, I can grab and go.

Otherwise I will devour an entire bag of Starburst jellybeans in one sitting. And then I’ll try to convince myself that because they’re so tiny, they can’t possibly have any substantial caloric impact…

Let’s chat – What’s your favorite Easter candy? Starburst jellybeans. Duh.

The Whole Fam Damily

Goodness gracious! Is it raining where you are?! It’s nasty outside here in Northern VA. When I woke up this morning I told myself I would dedicate a good chunk of my day to writing a paper. But as I started reading journal articles (one of my least favorite things ever) I realized “Hey, this isn’t due for over a month. What the hell am I doing?”

So scratch the paper-writing agenda :) I’m cleaning, packing for this weekend and watching Modern Family. All very important things.

Lunch today was a Kashi meal. Have you ever had their frozen meals? They’re actually really good. I had the Pesto Pasta Primavera. 290 calories. That’s not too shabby for a pasta dish. Am I right?

Today we’re half way though the 30 Day Picture Challenge! Day 15 is – a picture of you and a family member

Family is a huge part of my life. My mom’s side of the family is rather large, loud and proud of who we are :) My mom has seven brothers. Six married, and that resulted in 11 grandchildren. I’m extremely blessed with such a great family.

This was taken at my Grandma’s 80th birthday party. It’s the most recent one I have of all of us (well, 3 are missing).

Let’s chat – What’s your family like? Big or small? Close or distant (location wise)?

Home-Cooked Heaven

For the third Saturday in a row, I hope you’re not up as early as I am ;) No worries though – it’s not school today. I am joining a volunteer program, and my training is today from…9 – 5. I’m really excited about this opportunity but I’m not doing cartwheels over the time-suck out of my Saturday :) More updates on the volunteer program at a later date!

Last night at my parent’s was fabulous! I love hanging out with my parents, I love being with Cory and I love eating home-cooked meals.It was a perfect Friday in my book :D (As always, it would have been even more perfect if my brother was there)

This was taken with a iPhone, so I apologize for the coloring. But when my Dad ASKED for Cory to take a picture of us, my jaw dropped. He hates pictures. My heart smiled because he was happy enough to want to have his photo taken. He’s such a muffin :)

My mom made the most fabulous salmon! Salmon is my favorite fish, so I was pretty excited about it :) She made some kind of lime rub for the salmon and it was so tasty. She may not be able to bake, but she makes up for it in her cooking ;)

And waddayaknow? There was a little truffle left back at Cory’s that I was able to snack on when we got back ;)

I hope you have a wonderful Saturday! Enjoy yourself!

Let’s chat: What did you have for dinner last night? Are you close with your parents? Do you like having relaxing nights in?

Saturday School

To say I’m bitter about having to spend seven and a half hours of my Saturday in a classroom would be a slight understatement. I know a good attitude is everything, so I’m trying my damnedest to turn it around before I step foot into the classroom.

That said, I shall stop focusing on my barely-there Saturday and share with you the delightful day I had yesterday and the fun plans I have for later tonight :D

I spent yesterday in the fine company of my parents. I really like my parents. As corny as it may sound, my mom is one of my best friends and I just like being with her :) We spent the day catching up on the latest Biggest Loser episode (I hate when the show turns to nasty-game-playing-mode), running errands and talking wedding.

Wedding planning can easily escalate from dreamy-town to crazy-town in the blink of an eye. Who will ride in which limo? Which chicken dish will we pick? What signature cocktail shall we have during the cocktail hour? Should the centerpieces be tall or short? Flowers or fruit? Should my mom wear blue? Yellow? Peach? What time should my hair and make-up crew arrive? How will the drinkers get home safely from the reception? Oh yeah – I’ll be MARRIED at the end of the day, right? ;)

Seriously, I’m not one to get all Bridezilla on anyone. I’m not nit-picky. I’m not needy or flashy. Napkin color doesn’t keep me up at night. Don’t get me wrong, I want the reception to be a epic. I want to look beautiful. I want everything to go according to plan. But as long as I’m married to Cory by 3:00 on August 6, 2011 – everything else will seem perfect :)

Besides going ga-ga for the wedding, we did manage to eat a fantastic taco dinner :D I took pictures, I swear! But I was a big dunce and left my camera at M & D’s. Rookie mistake.

Speaking of food: I believe that it makes my mother genuinely happy to see me with food. Eating food, holding food, buying food, etc. One perk of visiting my parents is that my mom tries to send me home with every item of food in the fridge (while my dad is like “WTF am I going to eat tomorrow?!) When I came home, it looked like I had gone on a mini-grocery shopping trip

Tortilla chips, a green pepper, bananas, an apple, trail mix, multi-grain wraps, spaghetti sauce, Mexican blend cheese, bagged salad, shampoo and conditioner annnd a can opener ;) Thank you, Mom!!

I used a good deal of last night’s dinner + my new “groceries” to make my lunch (a lunchbox shouldn’t be needed on a Saturdaaayy. That was me whining. Again. I’m sorry.) A taco salad with lettuce, red pepper, tomatoes, ground beef, and cheese. I packed a larabar and an apple to tide me over as well. I think  I’ll have to throw a snack in there as well.

Breakfast was PB&J oats and my workout was P90X’s Plyometrics :D

Tonight after class I’m headed to my cousin Mandy’s 21st birthday party!! I come from a huge family and we’re all very close, so I’m super excited that she’s back from college for the weekend so we can celebrate! :D

Okay, it’s off to class I go! I liken this experience to getting into a pool – you just gotta jump in and go for it and hope for the best (like, no wedgies or water up my nose) ;)

I need you – please leave me comments about your fun Saturday plans or things that are making you happy today! Thank God for my new iPhone – I’ll be checking comments throughout the day :)