Monday, May 06, 2013

How To Eat Clean & Meal Plan

A lot has been going around about "clean eating", non-processed foods, gluten free, paleo etc. Luckily eating non-processed foods is not just another trend, its actually proven time and time again to be healthy for you and logically makes sense for your life. It's been easier for me to eat clean rather than just eat to lose weight...and I find I am at least maintaining my weight this way. Whenever I add exercise and cut out some of the heavier foods that are still clean but just too carby for me, then I lose weight too! Everyone is different though, so maybe carbs aren't your enemy like they are mine.

Growing up in Southern California means we are OBSESSED with our weight, health plans, being skinny, exercise, etc. Whenever I go back to the south with my love I am so happily surprised that my size 14 hour glass body is not just considered normal there, but I am smokin hot! However, whenever we try and tell his family and friends about how we normally eat they simply do not get it. They think we eat "organic" and that means we don't have meat and only raw vegetables. Its pretty hilarious. But really, what is clean eating? This really just means I know what all of the ingredients are that I am putting into my body, and I know that I am not eating a bunch of hidden sugar, hydrogenated oils, msg, and other weird junk my body cant process and serve NO nutritional value. I try and take it a step further and have organic when I can afford it so I am also avoiding all of the pesticides that sneak into our meat, dairy, fruits, and veggies too. Plus organic meat and dairy means the animals are treated more humanly, which is turn means I am not eating something that's been living in its own poop and eating grains, antibiotics, and junk its not supposed to. ALL of that goes into your body when you eat this kind of meat! I dont need to go on about this, there are plenty of documentaries (like Forks Over Knives which was a recent success), books, and blogs serving up this kind of information and safe alternatives.

Assuming you already subscribe to this, and are a working single woman or almost momma like me (21 days until we are home with our little buddy now!)...good luck trying to eat this way without help. I am so busy I don't have time to sit and make up recipes and crap. I hardly have time to even cook! I read about some of these women or recipes and laugh and how time consuming and hard to find the ingredients are. So that means I have had to get into a great routine in shopping and meal planning, its been working for months now and is so easy and now FUN I am excited to share. I was barely cooking for months because I was so burnt out, these last few weeks have been so fun getting back into the kitchen for real.

Steps To Clean Eating Success (for real people):

  1. Spend 15min/week pinning recipes
    1. I only get snippets to do this, 5min here and there. I have them all in one MAKE board.
    2. I also have a few blogs and websites with recipes I scour when I have a few free minutes, I pin the recipes I like to the same board so they are all in one spot when I am ready to plan
  2. Spend your 15min break at work choosing 4 clean and under 30min dinners from your pinterest, 1 freezer dinner, and 1 soup
    1. For example, a quick view of my pinterest board has been choosing:
      • Monday taco night
      • Tuesday whole wheat spaghetti with a sugar free marinara with sauteed portobello mushrooms and zucchini 
      • Wednesday: shrimp and roasted asparagus
      • Thursday: salmon and roasted tomatoes
      • Friday: Something fun! (see below)
      • Saturday: frozen chicken for a chicken bake
      • Sunday: wonton soup
    2. I put all of the ingredients I need into a standing grocery list I have in my phone. The staples are already in there, so I just have to delete last weeks recipe section and add the new things from this weeks menu. I also write what the names of my dishes are just like I have in #1
    3. The first 4 meals you obviously make the first 4 nights after the store when everything is still fresh. Fresh is best! 
    4. Frozen chicken serves great in many meals you could do over the weekend
    5. Soup is EASY and a great Sunday meal when I am feeling lazy, plus the leftovers = lunch on Monday
    6. Fridays are my favorite, I add cheese/sausage/wine to my list so on Friday I get a break from cooking and we have a little date at home (more on this amazing tradition another time!)
    1. See? Clean eating is easy when you just do incremental planning during the week. As I find great recipes I have this amazing repository of them just sitting there waiting for me to cook. It also makes trying new things mixed with old favorites easy. This week I am going to try and make my own bread for our Friday night tradition. 
It helps if you have a Trader Joe's, Sprouts/Henry's, or other all natural store nearby. I am obsessed with Trader Joe's but even all of their products aren't particularly clean or organic, but they do make it easy for me to whip up meals where I know all of the ingredients at least.

Other options are emeals where you can get a menu with a grocery list emailed to you every week, I did that for awhile but then decided I like choosing my own meals. Find what works for you, clean eating doesnt have to be difficult, time consuming, or icky. We eat delicious food every night of the week!

Good luck!



Friday, May 03, 2013

The Gift of Time.

As I get older and birthdays, Christmas, weddings, or even just Mothers Day get togethers become genuinely special because we so rarely force ourselves to get together (and I just LOVE my friends and family too much for words). I think especially after my momma was sick, every year we have to celebrate with her has become even more precious. 

As these events call for gifts to the person being celebrated or just to each other in general (e.g. Christmas) I realized lately I have been changing my gift giving style and methods. No longer do I spend time rushing around on the way to the event trying to find something suitable, unique, something they'll actually use instead of just putting on another shelf or in another drawer. Something they'll love and think of how much I love them when they see it. These are all well and good, and sometimes I do still find myself seeing something so perfect for someone on Etsy or at a vintage store I can't help but tie a bow on it and give it to them. But we already have so much stuff. There is no reason I need to continue to add to someones piles. Besides, what is it we really value anyway? Time. 

It started with my parents. They are so difficult to buy for because they already have so much stuff, and the new stuff they want is too expensive for a single gift. Plus, I know finances are tight so they never get to do fun things anymore like dinner out, the movies, etc. So I started buying Groupons for them as presents. Wine tasting on a yacht around Dana Point! Dinner out anywhere! Movie Tickets! Then I noticed my aunt and uncle never go out and do anything because of their kids, so my family started giving them dinner/movie certificates which included free babysitting from one of us. Now as boyfriends birthday comes up, I already started saving for premium seats at a Padres vs. Braves game (he LOVES the Braves). For people who don't ever get time together, and when they do its busy running errands or doing chores...time doing something fun together even as simple as a dinner out, can be such a treat. 

As our little bear prepares to arrive I haven't bought him a single toy. All of them were given to us (or borrowed. Besides second hand books, you can never have too many books. But even those you can get free from the library!). Even when I thought I'd have to buy him some toys I was going to just get a train set, cars and car mat, and blocks before calling it a day. That is PLENTY to keep a toddler entertained in the evenings. You know what we are spending our money on instead? Fun things together the week he is first here. Nothing too fancy and all activities we get a military discount on, the zoo, children's museum, and the kids area for a $3 baseball game downtown being most notable. Otherwise the beach, my parents backyard, and our pool seem like a perfect way to spend time together without overwhelming the little buddy. We just want to BE together outside...even a hike around the lagoon by our house would be sufficient. 

It's amazing how when you take your "I NEED MORE STUFF" glasses off, how much the world opens up. You are free not to care about all that junk anymore, and instead dig for the cool things we can fill our time with that are free in our neighborhood. We all work so much, sadly boyfriend can't help it and I will be cutting my hours once little buddy comes...but still. It makes time together even doing simple things, all the more precious.

So as Mother's Day comes up, I'd encourage you to think outside the box and find something to DO that you know she would love. My Momma doesn't even care what we do together, she just misses me all the time so something as simple as a coffee date would be good enough. And our mother's day event? A free picnic outside drinking and eating snacks in the sunshine with each other. 

Enjoy your friends and family.



Sunday, April 28, 2013


Not sure what to title these anymore, I am writing now so far and few between that an entire update could have so many names. I do miss writing, but by the time I stop moving at the end of the day the last thing I want to be doing is sitting at the computer any longer. I think I will have much more to update once our little bear is here and I am in full momma mode.

I am proud to say his precious room is almost finished! Sadly we don't have a "before" picture when the time comes to do a comparison simply because there wasn't anything in there. Just my old dresser, boxes of our stuff we hadn't unpacked yet, and an ironing board. Literally, we had nothing for him. The bounty of donations and thrift store /cheap finds has been overwhelming. We have so many clothes and toys for him now its surreal. I am just putting the finishing touches on over the next 2 weeks and then am excited for the big reveal. Some of my girl friends said it best when they saw the progress last week "AWWWW and he's never had his own room or things before so he's going to walk in and it's just going to be so special for him!". Exactly. Boyfriend and I are buying our plane tickets this week, including one for little bear. We should all be home memorial day (eeeee!!!).

On weekends when we lazily wake up in the middle of the day, we find ourselves missing him. We know so much of our lazy time just between us will be gone, but adding him to mix for snuggling and laughing just seems so fitting. Contrary to what I thought about having kids (and what I can tell my friends still think)...having your babies around isn't like a chore. Its so much fun! And you dont get to see them all day while at work so every moment together is special and wonderful. And after everything hes been through, we just want to give him the world.

In other news, work has suddenly gotten better. Boyfriend laughs because it seems like every time I want to up and quit it will suddenly get better and I am fine again. Although this time, it's a significant change, they now have me doing training at least 1-2x a week on our various products to different internal groups. Often I am the key presenter and content organizer so its been using my best teaching skills in a really tangible way. I have been enjoying work now for 3 weeks and counting. Plus, last Friday I gave a HUGE presentation to almost the entire company about the site re-design we've done so far. Not only was I the key presenter, but I also organized the entire training, made notebooks for everyone with notes and screenshots to follow along with, followup activities, etc. Afterwards, a few co-workers encouraged me to shmooze with the CEO to see why they are hiring outside the company for a training manager job when I am clearly doing it already and made it known I wanted the position. I have a feeling its the HR lady with a stick up her ass overlooking me, so as soon as I got back to my desk, I set up a lunch for Monday with him. I am nervous! Secondly, I think after little bear comes and I am forced to cut my hours a little, I won't feel so chained to my desk all day there either.

Other wonderful and amazing things...

Meet Cherry, my new sweet whip (yeah I said whip).

Went camping with all my besties!!
Me and the bf hiking

The rest of the cute crew (including Picket laying down hehe)
We are trying to lay low from now until the little bear comes to save money. Three plane tickets, a rental car, new daycare, and 4 days of unpaid leave is expensive! We are both taking the first week off that he is with us to do some fun things all together and get him acclimated. I think on the agenda is the zoo, beach, USS Midway, getting acquainted at the new daycare, and swimming and BBQing with his new grandparents (who might die of excitement until he gets here). We didn't want to try and do too much since it might be overwhelming for him, but just enough that we aren't bored around the apartment all day. I had to put my Disneyland dreams aside until the fall when he'll be a little bigger, more settled, and it'll be less crowded- sigh.

Because of the saving money mode, we decided to do a whole lot of nothing this weekend. Literally, just slept a bunch, snuggled, read, caught up on sexy time of course, watched TV and got drunk at home. It was the first time either of us has spent the weekend not running errands, on a trip, or just busy in SO long we were quite content. Plus, boyfriend may have tried out his new migraine injection just for fun and ended up sick with side effects and an apparent allergy. Then I had to give him benedryl so he could breathe properly, but he passed out all day from those side effects too. It was like a bad movie but also pretty funny...he didn't even have a migraine, he had just gotten them from the doctor that day and was curious and bored so...yeah. This is the man I love.

And with that I shall bid you adieu. Time to bake some sweet treats for our amazing neighbor I shall have to write about another time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.



Tuesday, April 09, 2013

That One Time I Became A BALLER.

Remember when Jesus just kept on blessing us over and over again? To the point that I keep getting emotional and don't know how to process anything?

Well everything has been a bit of a mess lately financially. A bunch of our bills are all jumbled up because we've been so busy we've overlooked them, and then my car battery just wouldn't start one day so I've been carless for almost 2 weeks now which meant no groceries and behind on other important errands. Besides all of that we had to go out of town for boyfriends brothers wedding which was SO BUSY...therefore as usual I've been stressed out, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Between the bills and money confusion, car problems, and the crazy long exhausting weekend...I am DONE.

And then...randomly...boyfriends friend from work wants to sell us his BALLIN 2000 BMW for only $3000?! How is that real?! It has low mileage, no problems, and is in great condition?! How is that a real thing?! God doesn't provide just any car for us, but THIS?! The only issue is that it's a 2 door and only takes premium gas which isn't suitable for when little buddy comes, but we have boyfriends 4 door we can take for family adventures so I don't think he'll be in mine all the time anyway. Plus, between the train to work and writing off gas for my tutoring business expenses I think it will even out. I may even see if I can write off my car payments once I put a sticker on the car window marketing my business.

So this Saturday we are going to meet his friend at the bank and do all the necessary paperwork, I am already approved for the loan so it's pretty simple going forward. And then I get to drive my new sweet digs home!!!

Just when it seems like just too much...God is always providing in the sneakiest of ways!



Monday, April 01, 2013

Sweet Givings.

What a sweet weekend boyfriend and I had together. Well, Friday was a bit of a mess when I was running late to work so I was going to drive to the train...but then my old car wouldn't start. So with my injured foot I tried to run and catch the last train I can take to work...and missed it. By then I genuinely didn't have another way to get to work since boyfriend needs his truck and I needed to figure out what was wrong with it. Plus there was nothing going on at work anyway so I called in sick. It ended up being VERY needed as I cried in boyfriends arms later with the "what am I doing with my life? I am so unhappy!" speech that warrants it's own post for another time. I can't even tell you exactly what we did. I really wasn't feeling well mentally and think I really needed the day off. We put up some pictures around our place, my dad came by to try and help with the battery, I cleaned a bit. And otherwise I napped and read and tried to rest. I've been feeling so overwhelmed and frustrated was so needed. And we didn't realize how little we've seen of each other these last few weeks. 

Saturday we had a day full of errands and adventure together gathering our donations. First we got a big train table filled with train parts and pieces, a little wooden table and chairs, puzzles, games, and other goodies for our bear from my uncle. Then we drove wayyyyy down to pick up the bed which ended up coming with the box spring and a little head board and footer which were from my mom's friends brother growing up- perfect for my vintage preferences. After easter dinner this afternoon my mom popped the fancy Britax car seat we got from our cousins awhile ago into our trunk too, to which as you can see, Bella took to quite nicely ("finally you bitches got me a throne"-Bella). We still need to get organized and paint some of the furniture, but other then a few small things we are ready for our little buddy! Plus we still have more friends dropping off some toys, clothes, and books in the coming weeks. 

I feel so blessed. And have needed to remind myself when I get overwhelmed by all we have to do, the business I want to start tutoring, sorting out our finances and just everything that needs to be done- to stop and remember that God provides. He has provided for us abundantly during our entire relationship and attempt to get our sweet pea. It was always in His timing and plans that were better then ours. I worry about everything all day and today's Easter service helped remind me how generous God has been and will continue to be. Basically, I need to calm the fuck down. (Thats right, I talk about God and say fuck in the same paragraph. What of it?). And continue seeing where good things are happening in every seemingly dark place.

We are so excited! I think boyfriend might explode from happiness. And every time he talks to baby mama she continues to confirm that she wants us to have full custody. She's even planning her next job maneuver already based on us having him. 



Everything All The Time.

I feel like my life has become so stressful and overwhelming, exercise has become necessary for survival. I somehow injured the right side of my foot over the weekend and it refuses to get better so I tried to rest it a few days (it's seriously painful even while resting, let alone walking) but couldn't take it anymore and finally just went on the bike for 30min today. I could feel how down and gross I felt everyday this week even though I was still eating healthy and sleeping well. I can't function with my work life being so crazy busy everyday, everything we have to do for little buddy, and never getting to see my love. I've actually been kind of depressed lately.

What kind of life am I living? I work a corporate job I almost always hate, run errands, and clean all week alone. Then try and shove as much fun into the weekends as possible. How is this my life? What choices did I make to get here? It's rather dramatic of course, but still feels real. My job isn't that bad, it's just not my passion and I am working toward my career goals by applying for teaching and tutoring jobs so something is bound to come up. And there's no getting around the bf's work schedule just SUCKING and my life being full of chores and cleaning to support my man who works so damn much. Plus I am tired all the time from constantly being woken up by him coming home at 4:00am and not being able to go back to sleep.

So yes, I am fussy ALL the time. And yes, exercise relives my stress and rejuvenates my energy. Gives me something to do only for myself- for an entire hour. And lifts my mood so I don't want to punch people in the face all the time.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Wow, when God wants to give he really GIVES. I know I have been awfully "spiritual" lately but I am so overwhelmed with sweet things it's hard not to see how it's all being orchestrated for my family. Once you see how much life can beat the shit out of you, the other times when God colors it brightly for you become very clear.

My mom has been OVER THE MOON excited that we are finally really preparing for little bear (if she asks me one more time 'what should he call us?!' I swear to God). It looks like we'll be able to buy tickets in 2-3 weeks with the goal of going to get the little buddy at the end of April or early May. Although this may seem far away to some, when you are a couple on a budget and have NOTHING for a toddler to play with, torn apart bed pieces in his room from storage, nor daycare's a bit overwhelming. Mom has also been helping me project plan our needs and make a plan of attack. Lack of money for it all by the time he comes is concerning, as well as time since we are gone quite a few weekends and boyfriend and I still have opposite schedules.

But then we continued to be blessed the pants off of.

Mom offered to throw us a "Welcome Home Little Bear/Toddler Shower!" once he arrives since everyone will want to meet him anyway, and if they want to give gifts we can register for some of our direct needs. Boyfriend and I were already a little overwhelmed by this, "people want to throw a party for us and give us stuff?! What?". But then to top it off my aunt and uncle offered to let us borrow their amazing Thomas the Train table, the train set (the fancy ones at book stores and stuff!), clothes still too big for their second baby, books, legos, basically anything their oldest isn't using or playing with anymore but their baby won't be ready for for awhile. EVERYTHING PERFECT FOR LITTLE BEAR. Now literally all we need are some cute baskets for holding it all, sheets and a comforter, a lamp, mattress, and wall decor.Which is the cheap stuff I've had picked out for ages! It's like this giant weight has been lifted off of me. Between my exciting  upcoming new career endeavor that will give me more time and less stress for my family needs, and the pouring out of resources for our sweet pea...what is there to even worry about?

Still a lot to do. Still trying to balance it all until I can quit my job here. But until then, how blessed are we?!

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Fresh Start! (Something Exciting!)

So sadly it is no secret I haven't been thrilled with my job this last year. I don't hate it everyday and for a corporate America job it is definitely not that bad, but it is simply not what I am passionate about. And sitting in a cube all day no matter how much I decorate it and how many breaks I take is simply not my thing. I am creative, talkative, like to teach, and it's just simply not for me. Plus the lack of flexibility, commute, boyfriend's schedule, and BEING A MOM in the near future put on top. So I have my resume in for a teaching job I could get which would be great, and have another position that would still be in the technology corporate world but would be curriculum development which I prefer. But besides those two options I have a new business plan. One that is requiring bravery and heart. One that gets me equally nervous and excited at the same time.

After I've used up some vacation, and we have some money and the baby cake and sorted (so probably mid summer or the fall), I will be quitting my job or offering to do some part time contractor work for them and starting my own business tutoring!!!!! I KNOW!!!

I feel like it is perfect timing since little buddy will be coming and we are more financially stable, plus if it wasn't for my debt we could live off of his income and still have savings, so with daycare potentially being a HUGE chuck of our money even with the military's help, it seems silly to pay that when I can just watch him and do tutoring around boyfriends or family schedules to put towards my debt and spending money. I was so nervous to tell him about it and may have cried when he was so excited for me and said "let's do it baby!". To be secure financially and have the support meant so much. And I feel like this is setting me up for when we want to have more kids so I can still work part time.

I am beyond loved. I don't know how to deal.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Overwhelmed With Joy

I don't even know where to begin! We are so overwhelmed with joy and blessings beyond what we imagined its hard to even take it all in and attempt to write about it.

My love spent last week visiting little bear and working with baby mama to get the custody agreement signed.

Boyfriend was ecstatic the entire week with the bear. He sent me all these photos of them playing outside for hours and hours at his childhood home doing the things he did as a kid. One text was "I feel like all of my dreams are coming true! I am walking through the woods just talking with my son". I would get teary sometimes thinking of him treasuring every moment with the little love and how little bear must just be having the time of his life getting to spend time with his daddy. He's such a daddy's boy despite being raised by his mother. He wants to call him all the time and anything we give him he carries around well after we are gone and prizes above all else. Even with me! He's told his mom how much he loves me, his parents told me he treasures the books I give him, and he always likes to tell me about everything going on when we call. We love that little boy so much. It breaks our heart to hear the poor choices she makes for his life and how normal it seems to her due to her upbringing. His parents have been a big help but we also found out DHS was called on her by a stranger and random people of low quality character we don't know watch him during the week while she works. It's been painful to say the least.

However, God has been good to us.

By some miracle of God she agreed and signed (with a notary of course) that he could come stay with us until the fall and then she would have him for the school years and we'd have him for the breaks and summer until he was six and started kindergarten, once he turned six we would get him majority of the time from then on. It also included the money, child care when he's with her, and other important things that have been so so hard for us these last few years. She even finally agreed that if boyfriend is deployed or has to leave for military needs while little bear is with us, I will be the custodian until he/she makes arrangements otherwise. This was a big hurdle for us!

We have already been so joyful even about this progress and arrangement. Starting to get his room arranged and picked out what we want for it (once we have the money of course) has been so fun and exciting, after leaving it to sit sad and semi empty these last few months we finally feel like we can get started. Money has been tough, we want to fly out to get him ASAP but three plane tickets and a rental car is a lot of money plus even used car seats and some toys and such that we must have before he comes isn't cheap. But then today happened. Today when we thought we were already so blessed.

Baby mama called to tell boyfriend she thinks we should have little bear full time and she will just have him for breaks and holidays going forward. She knows she can't provide for him like we can and never gets to see him with her schedule. Sweet Jesus. Is this for real? The same hour I got a reminder about the deal from my airlines credit card that I get two $99 companion tickets and a day of free club access if I buy one round trip ticket. They fly from here to boyfriends home town and the dates we want to go aren't blacked out. What the heck? When Jesus was whispering to our troubled hearts, "Be patient. Be patient" is this why? Did He hope her heart would turn like this? Did He know this month the money would work out? Are we being blessed the pants off of?

The tickets alone will still be around $700 so we need to save and sort that out and mom and I are going to make a plan for what we need from now until then for him and work on it since boyfriend works so much right now. And we need to get her to sign a new custody agreement while were there. But all of this to say, our baby is coming home in about a month and we don't have to give him back. I feel like I just adopted a child. We are so happy it's ridiculous!

I am going to be a mommy!

Monday, March 04, 2013

It's Been Awhile...

By the ever wonderful Kurt Halsey

I have wanted to come and pour out my heart, truly I have! And there isn't even an excuse of time since my love is still working evenings and mine are spent laying around watching British dramas and making Trader Joe's dinners. So there isn't a proper excuse other than the breadth of all I feel I'd have to say. And how draining it makes me feel. So I don't even begin.

However, my boss is running late so I am snatching away 15 minutes this morning so try and get back in the game. I miss writing. I miss the time. Hopefully this will kick start me back into the routine of it.

Things are very much the same. His work schedule is still really hard on us and I am still crying here and there throughout the week. Usually Sunday afternoon when he leaves and I know I won't see him again for 5 days, and Thursday evening when I go to bed alone again and just can't take it anymore. I don't think the time apart and alone is really as difficult as the weekends seem to be. We have Friday evening through Sunday afternoon together each week. We don't really want to see anyone else and there isn't enough time to go away for the weekend, take a day trip on Saturday (since he needs to stay on his sleep schedule) to do something, or even see other friends and family who miss us. The last two weekends have been bombarded with invitations to girls nights, boys nights, family nights, etc that we can't deny and want to attend...but then its hurts our time together. And the left behind person gets upset and lonely knowing their love is somewhere else. I know it's better then him being deployed or away in Brazil like last year- this I know. But our little time together is so pressured. And I just feel sad. This is not how it is supposed to be. You aren't supposed to be away from your love like this. It'd almost be easier if he worked away for weeks but then was HOME when he was home and we could be together. It'd be about the same. Except we wouldn't get to sleep next to each other for 3 hours at night. Which isn't very exciting.

So I finally broke down and decided to ask for a half day on Friday's from work. It's been a month and is only getting worse, not better, and I feel like I should take advantage of my flexible work environment while I can. Then at least we'd have Friday afternoons off together and could do things on the weekend if we liked and just the 5 hours more together AWAKE would make such a difference. I don't know why I feel so nervous to ask!

Furthermore, we want to do premarital counseling, some cool couples retreats the base offers and any regular doctors appointments or government hour errands I need to run don't get done unless I take a half day here and there. Why not just have this planned time?

In other news I am still moving my ass and loving my new fitness routine. I literally can't believe my energy levels and how good I feel. If anything it is really helping with the stress and need to stay moving and keep busy while dealing with this change in our lives. Even working out 4 days a week I have only lost 2.5lbs in the last few weeks, but weigh in and take new measurements again Wednesday and expect some more. I'll be honest, choosing non processed, lean proteins, low-carb foods is easier than I thought it'd be. This is the easiest "diet" I've ever been on, which is good since it's not really a diet. Just a life change that's been in the works for a number of years. Slowly but surely cutting out icky things until we've gotten here (except on special occasions and some meals so as not to starve myself of things I like and risk falling off the band wagon entirely). I also broke down and quit cooking full on meals and just get the Trader Joe's semi prepared meals. Their salads and wraps for lunches with a fresh avocado, and fresh marinated lean meats and vegetables for dinner. Throw in some protein shakes for breakfast, nuts, and fruit for snacks and that's pretty much all we eat. Literally our fridge is a pile of salads for each of us hehehe. My stress level from meal planning and preparing went from a 10 to ZERO. Plus our food budget somehow comes up less and less each week too. I even found goat cheese filled ravioli there one carby night for this cow milk allergic lady! I really want to lose a significant amount of weight to at least be where I was a few years ago, but slow and steady wins the race I suppose.

Currently MOVING: 4x/week. 2 miles a day, running 1/2 mile of it. Strength training 3x/week following the run/walk. Arms, chest/back, legs. Killing it.



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Roses Amongst Thorns.

I feel like God has been so sweet with us lately. I have noticed now in so many recent situations how frustrating or annoying they would have been, but how He provides these little glimmers amongst the clouds.

Like week 2 of my love working the night shift. We are both really struggling with it. He leaves before I come home from work and returns while I am sleeping at 2am. I go to work in the morning and he's sleeping- literally we don't get to see or talk to each other 5 days a week and its SO HARD. I literally teared up leaving for work today and find myself jealous of ALL the other guys whose wives don't work and stay up at night so they have the same schedules. (PS how is that real, why don't you bitches HAVE JOBS). Anyway, enough moaning- I know many other families and couples have it much worse. However, gosh does this make you thankful for the little things.

Like setting my alarm 15min earlier so I can just snuggle and kiss my sleeping boyfriend.

Sacrificing sleep for a 2am catch up and kiss.

Or today after a long busy day at work when I get a "Baby can you get my dry cleaning and bring it to me on base, I need it asap" text. To many people this would seem a hassle. And to top it off, when I arrived they said it wouldn't be ready for another hour. But oh no, what a joy. There was a fun street fair right outside of the dry cleaners I got to walk around and eat dinner at then I got to SEE and KISS and HUG my love and we were both AWAKE. It was 5 minutes of complete ecstasy.

I've noticed it in so many other places too.

Everyone on the train being rude? Look up and theres the beautiful sunset over the ocean rushing by.

Feeling a little lonely and ignored? Suddenly a lunch invite comes in from a co-worker wanting to catch up.

Out of money and paydays not for a few weeks? BOOM tax return hits.

Seriously, all of these have happened just in the last 2 weeks.

There is genuinely beauty everywhere if you just know where to look.

Be present.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Somedays you pack a healthy lunch for 2 days worth but accidentally eat it all in one lunch. Then feel like ralphing the rest of the afternoon.

This plus not getting enough sleep from your boyfriend having to work nights now...

Means you have 4 cookies for dinner and go to bed at 9pm.

Failure of a day.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Be: On the Move.

Something has come over me. I have become a healthy eating, exercising, move my ass everyday FIEND. I've always eaten healthier then most, especially with my bout of vegan/low grains for a year awhile back then weight watchers on and off, the dairy and red meat allergies, etc. My time in Slovakia and in the recent months of not being on a diet for the first time in 10 years was important for me at the same time. Sadly I've gained weight, which is to be expected for a year of not giving any fucks.

I've never really been into exercising though. Couldn't afford a gym membership, plus crazy schedules every few months made it difficult to get into a routine, have the energy to wake up early, find anything I actually liked enough to keep doing regularly. Now that I am an adult with a normal work schedule, money and time to meal plan, a gym right out the front door of our complex...I am riding this bandwagon and loving it. I will try not to post too much about my progress, (that's what my Facebook challenge group is for. Which I highly recommend as it keeps you accountable and motivated) but I just can't help but share some things. I hope they encourage and motivate you to. If my 200lb ass can get moving, you can too.

The Plan:

Breakfast: I've replaced my morning hemp protein shake with Beach Body's Shakeology. I have a lot respect for this company since I personally know people who have found great success with their exercise and eating programs. It's a little expensive, but I budget for it each month and figure I am replacing an entire meal for $4 which isn't too bad. Plus the first month has a money back guarantee and they have a dairy free option I am loving (really difficult to find quality good tasting non-dairy protein shakes).

Benefits Already In A Week: My tummy problems have completely cleared up. My energy is through the roof. Less cravings and I am full until almost lunch. I like that if I want to eat a big breakfast I just swap this for another meal. I want to weigh myself but need to buy a scale to see if I've already lost in the first week. 

Last Week I Ate This For Lunch: Summer Salad

This Week I Am Eating This For Lunch: Quinoa Casserole (vegetarian)

We still love our low carb emeal dinners too!


Downloadable PDF

Train for a 5K: I am on week 2 of this 5K training plan. We are signed up for our 5K on April 4th which motivates me to get up every morning so I can make it through the race successfully in the coming weeks. I love that the plan is varied so I am only on the treadmill 2-3x/week and am at yoga or doing weights the other days. Keeps things fresh and I am already looking into what my next "plan" will be after the 4 weeks! Do I keep going? Switch it up? Try a different cross training class besides yoga? It's becoming oddly "fun".

Benefits Already In A Week: SO MUCH ENERGY. The first day of the week is tough, but I am still already awake a ready to go at 5:00am. I don't yawn through my day at work or fall asleep on the train ride home. I get so much more done after work because I have energy to do so and somehow am going to bed a titch later then when I wasn't exercising and still feel rejuvenated in the morning. This week compared to last week my interval running was already a tiny bit easier and my muscles aren't as sore today! Even on my "off days" I needed to be moving somehow, sitting around the house just wasn't appealing. My love and I walked around our village and got a donut to share and healthy burritos for lunch. At least 30min of walking even on my off days? Unheard of!

As the days go by I am becoming more and more aware of the habits I have created. Drinking more water. Packing my healthy snacks. Putting out my workout clothes before bed. Stretching throughout the day for my tired muscles. Finding motivational posters, workouts, meals on Pinterest. It's like this secret club I never knew existed! It's nice to have the boyfriend on my team. We do our meal planning together, encourage each other when we work out, and hold each other accountable for food we eat when out and about (but without being mean about it). I keep looking in the mirror waiting for my body to look as different as I feel. But we still have a long road ahead. A long but doable road I will be proud to look back on. 

Good Luck Friends.



Friday, February 08, 2013


Was surprised with my first ever tax return yesterday! Almost $1000. While most of it will ironically go to medical bills because my health "insurance" is horrible, there is a few hundred dollars left for myself. Tempted to spend it on things for the house we need or other "responsible" practical things...I've resisted. I am treating myself. I've needed new clothes forever so a new top and saucy dress (for valentines day at least) were in order. Plus some sushi tonight while my love works, and a massage and museum day this weekend.

I feel spoiled by myself today and am thankful for the stress relief.

How are you spoiling yourself this February?



Thursday, February 07, 2013

Be: In Every Moment.

Another blow to my tender little heart yesterday when my love slowly and quietly springs on me 
"So...I am working all night Friday. And...Sunday night I start the night shift until further notice" 

So yeah, yesterday and today have been emotional. The only "consolation" is that he may go to school mid March for another program and the nights would be over...but then he'd be half way across the country for 3 months and we might have to move somewhere else once he's done. I know it'll be alright, I know this is what I signed up for in falling for a military man, and I know I should be thankful he isn't in Brazil anymore. But only getting to see your best friend and love in the entire world before you go to work in the morning each day is rough. We cherish in few hours we get together at night as it is. 

However, this is not a post about my whiny heart. On the contrary. 

We are learning to live in the moment like never before. You never know how long you have to be with someone. We've felt this in the boyfriends time with his little bear, my time with my mom while she was sick, and now with each other over the last year. Finding we have to balance allowing our heart to hurt, while at the same time enjoying the precious time we do have in that very moment. He likes to pretend he isn't sad when saying good bye to little bear. Everyone else will be crying and he'll be cheering everyone up trying to remind us it won't be that long until he he'll be with him again. Trying to cover up any emotion, be the cheerful strong one for everyone else, not feel things. Meanwhile whenever something sad is happening or coming up I start to fret about it. It casts a shadow on every moment and time. Dread and sadness fill me up so I can't enjoy the moments I am having. He is practicing feeling things, and I am practicing not letting my feelings impair me from enjoying life. We aren't perfect. We are learning to balance. 

This new change in our time together is just another brick in this path toward the balance we are seeking. Making every dinner out, every hand held, every kiss, cuddle...all of it count. 

And now I'm all emotional again.

If you are going through this with someone you dearly love too, I wish you peace and perspective in your journey toward balance. I wonder if any of us ever get there? 



Monday, February 04, 2013

Currently Eating...

I have been on our 2013 healthy eating plan for 3 successful weeks now and am excited to share what is working. I haven't weighed myself yet, so I cant update that part. But I can say I feel good about what I am putting in my body, my energy during the work day is up, and I am feeling better about myself because I know I am actively working toward my health goals. Hoping to lose 30lbs in 2013 and make my choices life habits.


  • Hemp/almond milk/banana/peanut butter protein shake
  • The Zone chocolate and peanut butter protein bar and a banana
  • Eggs and veggie sausage
  • Multivitamin with B12 (oh man the energy!)
All worth getting up the 15 minutes earlier for! I am about to try a new protein shake that's also supposed to help with digestive issues, hunger control, and give you vitamins. We'll see how that goes.

The variety of soups have kept lunch fresh for 2 weeks, switching this week to some salads with quinoa and other vegetables just to change it up. Leftovers from dinner are also nice treats.

  • In season fruit! Currently loving peaches and pears, I just buy 5 and take them to work on Mondays so I have one for each day.
  • Nut packets from Trader Joe's, or a handful of almonds
  • Tuna. If I didn't have it with lunch, usually I am ready for it by about 3:00pm and my body loves the dose of protein to ward off the afternoon slump. 

  • emeals low carb dinners!
    • Seriously, this has been my best investment yet. There was a groupon to pay for this meal planning service and I am so thankful. Every Wednesday I get my week of dinner recipes that all take 30min or less to make, and a grocery list. We both work and don't get home until late but still wanted to save money and be healthy. This has RESCUED us.
    • They have a variety of meal plans to choose from if you aren't doing low carb. Mine ends up being kind of paleo since I don't do dairy automatically either, we are enjoying it thus far.
    • Some nights I opt out of the emeal because I want to cook something I enjoy to make and eat that's still healthy. Especially on the weekends.

  • A cookie a day keeps the doctor away...
    • We had these leftover cookies from a dinner party a few weeks ago. These big delicious oatmeal raisin ones I just salivated over. I decided one night to just let myself have one. Then the next day after eating healthy all day, I had another. Then I noticed they were each under 200 calories. Now it's just become my thing! There are literally oodles of snacks and treats in the office right now and I have bypassed them all because I am so excited about my after-work cookie tonight. I only have ONE (or whatever the serving size is if they are small) and always after eating healthy ALL day. I count it in my calories for the day too. Amazing what a little sweet incentive will do.
    • Tonight I don't get a cookie because mom's making us home made mashed potatoes. Sometimes I switch up my treats but try and keep them in moderation. 
  • Weekends are for eating...
    • Ok thats not true, but I do find myself having a hard time sticking perfectly to my almost zero carb plan during the weekends. So the weekends are for relaxing. I have my drinks, pizza, toast with breakfast, french fries at the bar, and only on the weekends. However, I find myself watching my portions, sharing the french fries, moderately drinking, making healthy pizza with goat cheese and whole wheat crust at home instead of ordering in, etc. So even though I am adding the carbs on the weekends, they are still healthy choices overall.
I haven't been perfect. Some nights we got fish tacos. One night we didn't get home until 8:00pm so Taco Bell was the only option we had energy for. But I am still watching my portions and choices in every situation I can. 

  • Signing up for a coupon worth of exercise classes or a 5K dramatically increases your will to move your ass. We signed up for a run with all our friends in April and have started training for it today! I am following a plan I found on, but you can always use Couch to 5K to get moving. I also bought a pack of yoga classes I'll be incorporating into my training schedule too.
  • Walking during lunch breaks is a nice addition to a work schedule if you are too rushed during the morning and evening. I am lucky and get to walk to the train for work a few days a week, plus will take strolls during the work day so I don't want to kill myself. Every bit helps.
What's working for you? 




I think we've moved past our first few weeks of "growing pains" between us. I am learning not to take things so seriously and he is learning to be more sensitive with me. We haven't had even a minor disagreement in quite awhile and are settling into our routines and time with each other. It's been so so sweet. I've noticed this  shift come over both of us. It's crept up unknowingly and I didn't realize it until this weekend when someone asked how our place is coming along. To be honest, it's about the same. Couch. Small TV. Coffee table. Dining set we rarely use because we like to snuggle and eat together. My old bedroom furniture. Mostly this is due to finances and knowing we'll have more money coming up so we wanted to wait until we could afford the nicer things. I've had my eye on some great pieces at our local consignment shops that I am excited to add to our place when we are ready...but at the same time...we are just really content. We would rather spend $80 on a fun sushi dinner out together, making up for missed dates and adventures, then buy a side table we don't really miss as it is. The lamp is on the floor and it's fine.

Saturday night (after spending $80 on sushi...ahem) we decided to spend the night in to save money. I made us home made pizza dancing around in the kitchen all silly, we got drunk at home on spiked sweet tea, and snuggled up watching movies until we fell asleep. Staying home on a Saturday night cooking and watching movies used to be a once in awhile thing for me. I wasn't happy being home when I knew there was fun things happening a few steps out the door without me. I imagined a time when I had more money and friends and could do more things on the weekends. Suddenly, here we are. Perfectly happy (if not outright ecstatic as seen in my dancing around the kitchen so junky pop music) relaxing at home and enjoying the infinite time with my love. Glad to be out of "the game" of trying to find a man, get a free drink, get some attention, etc. Instead of dressing up in my sexy dresses with heels and makeup, I am home being loved in a little house dress. No make up. Hair up. Flour all over. Happy as a clam.

Still not entirely fulfilled with my job right now. Still frustrated with the long commute and lack of time with my love during the week. Our apartment is a DISASTER and it's driving me crazy. But I am still content. And am choosing to enjoy where I am with my career right now. We don't need no stinking side tables, cable TV, or fancy bedspreads! We are happy just the way things are.



Monday, January 28, 2013

Survival Sex.

More on our Vegas weekend family extravaganza to come, but for now to revel in our favorite part of the weekend: the hot post Vegas club hotel sex.

Being in a committed relationship (when your significant other is actually HERE now and not across the world) and living together changes your sex life. It's weird. We've fallen into this pattern of "Survival Sex". After being a part and hot n' bothered for a year, I rightly assumed we'd be doing it ALL the time once we were together. I forgot that we get up at 5:00 AM everyday and didn't realize the daily struggle to have life and time together done by bed time every night. Furthermore, I spent quite a few days a bit upset that boyfriend was "too tired" to do it and thought something was wrong with me. However, now our week nights as we fall into bed (usually at 9:00pm like two old people I might add) we either snuggle for a few minutes before going to sleep in our separate sides of the bed, or we have our survival sex. We call it survival sex because really, you are just doing it to survive. Don't want to be grumpy and irritable all day from lack of boning, so you have some good quick easy missionary survival sex before passing out. But the weekends. OH THE WEEKENDS. The weekends I am surprised we even get anything else done.

A weekend in Vegas was no different. Except this time we were dressed up and drunk in the beautiful club at the Bellagio where we kind of got to pretend we had just met that night. I seduced him and got the " you wanna get out of here?", we stumbled back to the tram where somehow the gods gave us our own car so we could feel each other up the entire way back to our room, and proceeded to have hot heels on, dress pushed up, pressed against the window Vegas sex. But as a bonus its with my committed boyfriend so it's not awkward and no fear of diseases or babies!!!!

After a weekend of two nights at the club and a hotel room all to ourselves, our bodies are thankful for the work week where we can go back to survival sex...or just passing out at 9:00pm. I love my life.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Whole Heart.

The last 2 days have been rough. With my love getting so much crap from his work guys about the whole strip club debacle, he's been irritable and seems angry and frustrated with me. Then to top it off I have been so sick of crazy baby mama always texting him to talk, like they are best friends or something? She's telling him about who she's dating, random life things she's excited about, etc. It might be a little different if she didn't JUST tell him last month that she's STILL in love with him and had a temper tantrum when she found out we were planning on getting married. It's all just so inappropriate and disrespectful to me, and furthermore WEIRD between the two of them. He say's its just until the court papers are signed and then he won't have to be so friendly with her anymore...but it's been like this since we've been together. Can't they just be civil without being this weird friend thing?

Besides her he has these other girls always calling him when their boyfriends are breaking up with them, is making friends with groups of girls at the bar when I am not around, etc. To say I am tired of it would be an understatement.

All of that pent up. All of it sulking around in my heart. I just bottled it up and tried to forget about it, not let it bother me, move on. But of course as soon as he asked me what's wrong I exploded everywhere. Then when we snuggled up in bed later even more came tumbling out. Everything about his frustration over the Vegas and strip club issue, why the other women bother me, why it feels like I still don't trust him when I get upset about it, how I am afraid our issues are "too big" and am scared we won't make it sometimes, even the little issue of the help I need around the house. Even that I haven't wanted to mention because I didn't want to be nagging. All of it tumbled out between us in the dark of our little room. With Bella snoring on the floor beside us.

The sweetest moment was when we were talking about the other girls bothering me, and how sometimes I get worried our issues are too much and we won't make it (I don't have context of what's 'normal' in a relationship or not, who does?). All he said was, "You are the only girl I've ever loved with my whole heart..." and proceeded to tell me he's NEVER had concerns or worries about us. He KNOWS we are going to be together forever. That even though we are having some growing pains of just moving in together and everything in our lives changing, we love each other and always work it out. I don't know why I hold back talking to him about things, there's always some reason or another I rationalize. But then when we finally do talk about whatever it is, he takes everything in stride. Works to identify exactly what I am upset about and how he could do better. Reminds me how loved I am.That it will be ok. We will work it out. Helps that we also got to seal the deal in with a few rounds of sexy time too. It's been awhile since we've been able to because his hip is bothering him a lot after falling down some stairs, it's been hard on us so I hopped him up on ibprofun and we managed to make it through without him keeling over in pain.

After all of that I woke up this morning feeling so refreshed. Like this burden I've been carrying around has been lifted. The sky is clearer. My heart is lighter.

I feel inspired to continue working on being more open with him. The results are always so sweet. Why do we hold on to things? I know I am afraid of being rejected, but he's never done that to me. So why do I continue to cling on to things that are hurting me, why can't I learn?

Tomorrow after work we are off to Vegas for a surprise family reunion for my cousin being deployed in a few weeks. Plus my love has never been, so we can party it up and are glad to spend so much time together this weekend. PLUS he gets to meet my crazy Aunt's who I also haven't seen in a good minute.

Love is challenging everything you ever thought you knew about yourself. In a good way.



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How Is This A Real Argument?

Please explain to me how this is a real argument? Girlfriend isn't comfortable with boyfriend going to a STRIP CLUB in VEGAS for farewell party for a friend from work, friends from work all give boyfriend a bunch of shit about it, somehow it's girlfriends fault?

Why am I now getting the sarcastic comments, cold shoulder, and meanness? He say's he's not angry with me, but the asshole is still very present and hurtful. I would guess he is just angry and doesn't realize he is taking it out on me like this.

Oh the growing pains of moving in together!

We are having so much fun most days, but moments like these are so exhausting.

How dare my boyfriend and future husband even think it appropriate to ask me if it's okay he go to a strip club? Where has our society fallen to when someone thinks this kind of behavior is perfectly acceptable? Furthermore, how dare I be the "bitch" in the situation by saying "Oh ya know, yeah I do have an issue with you all going to look at naked women dancing while in the backrooms the guys are getting blow jobs and taking the prostitutes home with them. Weird huh." I AM NOT IN THE WRONG HERE. Unfortunately, my love works with all macho boys with confidence issues (Marines) who tease the crap out of each other about anything and have wives who apparently "don't care" which makes the situation worse. But why does it have to be my fault? Why can't he be the one who says "Sorry guys, I'm not into that kind of thing" because HE knows its not okay either. Why do the women have to be the scapegoats and "bitches" here when really it's a morality issue.

What's worse is this is one of MANY upcoming "let's go to the strip club" events my boyfriend now has to work around. His brothers bachelor party, his own bachelor party, etc. It's weird because I don't care as much if they were to go see a sexy show with some boobies or if someone surprised him with a stripper for his bachelor party or something, but a strip club? In Vegas? How am I supposed to ever be on board with that? And why is it expected of me to be?

Luckily, he is taking the heat from work and standing his ground. I am reminding him that OUR family (being us and little buddy, plus any future kiddos someday), we do whatever we feel is right and whatever we want to. If people want to judge us and give us crap, then so be it. I am trying to be prayerful as well, I have moments of weakness when I want to give in "FINE JUST GO" but I know I will be upset. And I know it's wrong. And I know it's not the kind of example I want to give my children. 

So we march on...



Monday, January 21, 2013

The End of an Era.

Well a lot happened in the last year. Besides, moving back home from Europe, starting a new job in an entirely new field, then moving in with the boyfriend, I also managed to gain 15+ pounds. FIFTEEN POUNDS. That's a lot when I am already considered "overweight" to begin with and am only 5'5. I won't bore you with how I am combating this weight gain with my sweet new healthy eating and exercise plans, instead let us tell the tale of when I realized I need to dispose with half of my wardrobe. It includes a crying fit in front of the bf so get ready for this ride.

We were going out last Saturday afternoon to the bar and I wanted to wear something cute and nice, maybe even a little saucy. When I put on one of my favorite sexy yet casual dresses the boyfriend looks at me and says, "baby, you are going to wear THAT?" and proceeded to show me how my ass was practically hanging out the back of it. I didn't freak out yet, just put on a different "looser" dress that's still a little sexy. Turned around in the mirror, SAME EFFECT. So obviously the only answer was to take off everything, get back in bed, and start crying and pouting.

Oh it was terrible, I had a good cry and the bf sweetly just stroked my back and hair and told me I am being silly and shouldn't complain about my awesome ass getting bigger. Jesus also talked to me a bit and reminded me of everything that's happened this year, 15lbs isn't that much, I am doing better with my diet, but more importantly...why are all my clothes WHORE clothes? Suddenly I realized! I am trying to stuff my 27 year old- practically married self into tiny dresses I've had since I was 23 and trying to land a man. A handful of them I can wear with leggings as cute tops now, but really I need to do another purge. It's time to grow up. No more running around in tiny dresses from my college days, I am a grown ass woman with a booty and boobies that need to be somewhat covered up on a regular basis. Plus, with the baby coming in about a month I can't be flouncing around with everything hanging out all the time.

Therefore, next pay check I will be officially purging some of the too tiny dresses, and filling up my closet with some ADULT WOMAN casual wear replacements.

I knew 2013 was going to be a big year.


Oh hey boobies.
You are too old to be flashing around anymore!
Oh you should see my ass hanging out the back of THIS.


Shows off my curves without everything hanging out everywhere- I say win!



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Do: Chicken & Pasta Dinner Party

Another successful dinner party completed! This was the "meet the long distance boyfriend" event, and I am happy to say all went well. Everyone liked my love (of course), and at least we got drunk. I put the menu together myself and was pretty proud of the results, so I wanted to share in case you have a dinner party or want something to bring to a party in the future. As a bonus, everyone loved it and it was dairy free for me, vegetarian, can be made gluten free for others (which I happened to do for a friend with allergies), and even your Paleo friends will be satisfied. 

The Appetizers
I wasn't particularly creative here, just did a sausage and brie plate with a baguette. Plus some pita crackers with hummus and two Trader Joe's warm appetizer bites. I kept this part simple so I could focus on getting everything else out and ready on time for the party. 

The Entrees

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Pasta
This is originally from Bon Appetit, which means FANCY, but I got it from the Smitten Kitchen blog here. A super easy and fresh tasting side dish or main entree for your vegetarian friends. A huge hit!

Roast Chicken
So I just went for it here, it was a last minute addition when my brother told me he had gone Paleo and I realized...pasta wasn't really enough for everyone anyway. Good thing is, roasting a chicken is SO SO easy and kind of fool proof. Plus everyone is impressed. I followed my memory mixed with the Barefoot Contessas recipe here. However, I don't coat my bird with butter like she does, I use olive oil instead.

There was also a fresh salad I topped with avocado for everyone as well.

The Dessert
Apple pie and berry pie. NO I did not make them myself, keeping with my "keep it simple" theme, my focus was on the main entrees so I cut corners in the appetizer and dessert area. However, I did get yummy more expensive pies from Trader Joe's, instead of just any ol brand from the grocery store. Verdict? Delicious. 

Order of Operations
2 hours before party: put together and chicken and begin cooking
1 hour before party: cook pasta, will be done before party time so you can just cover with foil.
.5 hour before party: remove chicken and cover to keep warm. Turn the oven to your warm appetizer temperature needs and put in. Put together and out the cheese plate, hummus dips, plates and utensils, bottle opener, etc.
Guests Arrive: let everyone arrive then unwrap and leave out the delicious food! Cut up avocado for the salad at this time. After dinner, turn the oven on to 200 and put the pies in to warm for 10 minutes.
Perfect order. Perfect party.

After hosting so many of these things major themes are coming out.
1. Keep it Simple.
Choose what to spend time, money, and extra effort on. In the other areas just get pre-put together items.

2. Paper is your friend.
SO GLAD we did paper and plastic this time! If it was a formal sit down dinner, of course I wouldn't. But in this instance our clean up today is going to be a breeze, which is perfect because I am exhausted.

3. Timing is everything.
As you saw, I timed everything out beforehand so I knew when I needed to wake up that day, how much time I had to clean, go to the store, and what time I HAD to start cooking so boyfriend had to finish up the cleaning. Planning and timing are important for meals with multiple moving parts.

Hope this helps with your dinner party adventures too!



Thursday, January 17, 2013


Love is so sweet.
Honestly, I just love having my man around. I can't believe how nervous I was for him to come and us to be together. Most of me knew it was going to be okay, but the nagging in the back of my head and the weird looks and comments from friends, strangers, and family about our situation left me often considering- maybe we ARE crazy? But gosh do we love life. Every moment together, even when we are fighting or just sitting and watching a movie feels special to me. Being able to check things off of my "do with bf" list every week. It's just such a special time, we feel like newlyweds. 

But boy does living with the man you love challenge you. Not in the way you would think, and the way I thought when people said living together is hard. It's not in the "don't leave your dishes in the sink!" way. That stuff we are figuring out and it never escalates  But in the way that...I am learning so much about myself already that I never noticed or knew before. Frustrating things I need to change in my life. Twice this week, and once in Mississippi I had one too many drinks and insulted my friend or the bfand then the bf accidentally. They both knew that I didn't mean to be so rude, and love me anyway, but bf called me out both times. And I have some serious issues with filtering things I say while drinking. I cried my eyes out both times because I felt so horrible. And hurting the people you love the most is heartbreaking to say the least. The bf told me straight up, "Sometimes I just don't think you filter what you say and realize it's going to hurt people". Damn. 

So I am taking the next steps ASAP. Firstly, limiting the amount of alcohol I drink for awhile. Half because of this and half because I want to lose some weight (more on that later). I am going to try and always stop at two except for special occasions when more might be necessary, such as a long evening event. I am also trying to be more aware of what I say, my tone, when I say things, etc. Apparently sometimes it's not what I say, but how I say it that hurts people or has pegged me as kind of a bitch. Finally, and most importantly as I feel rather overwhelmed by this personality change overload...I am praying. I learned long ago the only real way to make changes is to give it up and actively ask Jesus to do things in your life for you. I want to try and ask Him in the mornings and of course in the moment when I am struggling. If you aren't spiritual like this I understand, but even meditating when you are in tough situations is proven to make all the difference so I am not a crazy person here.

I also want to work on how I react to these situations. I was so upset every time I got called out for being a jerk. Although this is sadly a natural reaction, really I should have responded with a self-realization and change on my part. Not a cry fest and "I'm such a horrible person wahhhh" night. I am doing better now. Even writing this I am thankful for the exposure to the change I need to make in my life.Thankful to the moments when my love sweetly points out something I may want to work on. Thankful to God that these are the reasons he gives us other people so live and love so closely with. To make us into better people. 

I love that I now have a new years resolution that ISN'T about my weight and health. Of course that is a big one too since I gained about 15lbs last year, but I am tired of my outside being my biggest focus. I am thankful for something my inside gets to tackle for awhile. To top it off, I am also feeling drawn to doing some volunteer work with the bf. We both love kids and are really good with them, plus after so much practice in odd and potentially unusual situations, we could do a lot of good things for others and our hearts by doing a little service somewhere. So it would appear 2013 is about making over my inside a bit. Being more loving in what I say and do. And in turn being more loving to my body in what I give and do not give it. Looks like I have some work ahead of me.



Monday, January 14, 2013

Home for Keeps.

It's been much too long. Two weeks without writing leaves me itching every morning at work to shove my to do list to the corner and open this sweet blank page to attempt to express how much my life has changed in just the two weeks.

Quickly, a recap of our Mississippi to San Diego adventure. It was sweet to spend time with his family and the baby while I was there. He was able to mostly finalize a custody agreement with crazy baby mama (included plenty of crying and confessions from her on still "loving" him...awkward), but in order to do so, he had to leave me with his Dad and the baby at his house for an entire afternoon. Then the next day did it again to try and get the babies bed from her. So by the time we got to leave to start our trip, we were READY. Not ready to say good bye to little bear, but definitely ready to leave boring Tupelo, being around family ALL the time, and wanted to just spend some time together alone. We get to go get the little buddy at the end of next month or so, which we realized was better anyway. Time to get his room together and sort out day care for while he's here. It was hard to say good bye, especially since I could see he already has some security and attachment issues...not to mention not being on a schedule AT ALL which was baffling to this teacher/nanny. I will be glad when I can be a proper step mommy to him for awhile. We left and drove the entire 24 hours straight to Phoenix. I may have driven for like...6 of it. I was a horrible girlfriend and bf was pretty fussy with me toward the end. In my defense I felt like I was going to throw up most of the trip AND we drove through the night so I hadn't really slept and wanted to kill myself. We made it through! Mostly we were fine with just a few fussy moments as expected.

Afternoons of snuggling

Wearing Daddy's hat on the way to Nana and Papa's
When I gave him his Christmas present which I hear he has now worn out.

This one, KILLS ME.
However, something sweet but challenging happened on the last 2 hours from Tucson to Phoenix. Something I think required my love to be a little sleep deprived. And us to have so much alone time and empty space to fill. The something being: He told me everything he's never told anyone. And from someone in the Marines that's a BIG deal. Just imagine the things Marines have done and seen. The things that give them nightmares. The things that aren't supposed to traumatize them so they don't tell anyone that they do. Those things. All of it. Every last detail, every last emotion, everything. A few details he couldn't tell me since they were classified such as where and what the mission was for, but otherwise it was the first time he had ever been so honest with anyone. Afterwards and even over the next few days he would ask me things like, "So are you sure? With all of those things I told you, you aren't scared to be with me now?". How could he be any further from the truth. If anything, the honesty and trust he had finally built with me after over a year so he could tell me meant more than the content. I explained this and it's sweet to see him believe me now. I promised I would never tell anyone what he said, and I won't. But my love has gone through more than I ever thought.

Being with a military man is challenging in so many ways that are difficult to explain to anyone else not in this situation. We are trying to get together with some of his work friends and their wives so I can have some support and relationships with women I can relate to. Especially since he'll probably be deployed in September (Thank God not February like we originally thought!). I think I will be ok, but having women who feel the same things and I do and can talk about it I think will mean so much. They even have a new club they started which I might join! Most of these women don't work (in fact, everyone in his shop are married and all of their wives DON'T work. It's weird.) so they have time to plan and organize cute things which I will gladly take advantage of!

And so my dear friends, after this long while of being without my love. Being single and frustrated for so long before that. Being so hurt along the way. I am so so SO happy now. Content. Joyful every morning when I get my wake up kiss and cuddle. When I get to cook for him and hug him. When we come home and miss each other after working all day and just want to sit on the couch and snuggle and catch up. I am beyond blessed. And while our love and relationship is so sweet, it has also already challenged me in ways I never imagined. More on that to come.