Friday, August 30, 2013

10 Months

Sweet Baby Boy,
You are 10 months old now. You're getting so big, so mature. Looking like a little lad now. You're not only crawling but trying to stand. Sometimes you use Clancy as a balance beam. You and that puppy are the best of friends.

This month, you went to visit your Uncle Jon and Aunt Sara in Indianapolis. They were so excited to see you, to hold you and to watch how much you have grown. I'm sure there will be many more visits like that to come. In fact your mommy told me there would be- Uncle Jon and Aunt Sara are wonderful people full of life and love, and Indianapolis is a cool city.

You also hung out at some of our softball games again. The season is over now so I won't get to see you on Thursday nights. I'll go back to my regular routine of visiting you on Saturday's after I exercise. I like watching you play with your toys. Since you're crawling now I think you have more fun with them, too. You like to pick one up, throw it down, crawl around and pick another one up.

I can hardly wait for you to speak. You're pretty quiet right now, although you do babble and giggle a lot. I'm just waiting for the day we can talk more.

Summer is coming to a close and your mommy has to go back to work. I know you will miss spending your entire day with her, but you get to do something really neat: go to daycare. And the best part is it's right in Grandma and Grandpa Carolin's neighborhood. Grandpa Carolin works at home now so if you get sick or need someone, he can come get you. So cool! And you get to meet other little ones and play all day and learn really cool things. My baby boy is gonna be so smart! And you still get to spend some of the week with Grandma Gumbel, which I know you love. How could you not? She's so sweet. Your grandparents adore you Ryan, all four of them. They absolutely love and cherish you. It's a beautiful thing to see their faces light up every time they see you.

Happy 10 months, my little king! I love you so much.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 9

Hi kids! I haven't lost anymore weight. In fact, I had gained a pound back over the weekend, but when I stepped on the scale this morning, I lost it again.

I think I have figured out the culprit for why I don't lose weight as fast.

It's a little thing called alcohol.

No, I don't drink every night. But I do drink a lot.... more than I should.... too much on weekends. Alcohol reduces the bodies ability to lose weight. It's also full of carbs and sugar. It also makes you crave food. So when you drink too much, it slows your process down of losing weight.


Now, drinking a lot does not make me a bad person, I realize. I'm 26 years old. But I do need to cut back.

In order to test my hypothesis, I am giving up alcohol for two and a half solid weeks (as of this past Monday- had a beer at the Tigers game and then that was it! Done!). That will be a smidge difficult considering this weekend is my best friend's bachelorette party, but less alcohol also means less money spent, which is one of my other anxieties right now. So all in all, it will probably be a good decision. I'm doing two and a half so I can fully report to you in two weeks about how my experiment is going.

I'm going to see if I lose more weight, how I feel, etc. If it works, then I know alcohol is playing a part in my journey. I won't cut it out completely for the rest of my life, but I will cut back.

Curious, have any of you run into this at all? Or have any more knowledge on the topic? I did a lot of research yesterday on it and will be doing my own research for the next two weeks! Not a sip of alcohol until September 12th- although I'll probably drag it a little longer since I don't usually drink during the week anyways.

Moving on, here are some things I am proud of recently:

  • I gave up pizza TWICE last week. Once when it was ordered for us at work (stuck to the lunch I brought!) and once at dinner at my favorite pizza place. Instead I ordered a turkey burger, no bun, with broccoli as my side. 
  • I get full faster now, and don't crave snacks or sweets as much during the day.
  • I can chest press 70 lbs.
  • I can do 20 minutes at a time on the elliptical. Before I could do about 4. I usually do some other things and then hop back on the elliptical for another 10 minutes before I leave to get a full 30 minutes in.
  • Pants are looser :)
  • I bike between 4-5 miles every time I'm at the gym unless I'm swimming.
  • I checked the website of the hotel where we are staying this weekend so that I could make sure they had exercise equipment.
  • Ordered off the skinnylicious menu at Cheesecake Factory.
  • Drink about 8 glasses of water a day
  • My maid of honor dress is too big and I had to have it taken in. My guess is I will lose a few more pounds still so it may need even more alterations a week or so before the wedding!
I think that about covers it for this week. Wish me luck on being alcohol free for 2.5 weeks!

PS- just for the fun of it, let's all listen to this song since it's sort of my theme song for right now.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I Got It Under Control.

Ellie Goulding released a newish album today, Halcyon Days. The album has cuts from her previous album Halyon as well as a few new songs. One of those songs is called Under Control.

I was listening to the album at work today while powering through audits and e-mails, and when that song kicked in I stopped what I was doing to listen. It's not that it's a deeply emotional song or anything, but it does hit home for me. The simple words "I got it under control" are vital to my every day life.

Because sometimes, I don't feel like I have it under control. And when I do, it's like I'm on top of the world.

"It", of course, is referring to my sweet friend anxiety. This is a topic I write about a lot on this blog, mostly because it's something I know quite well and encounter nearly every day. Some days are worse than others. Some days I go by without feelings any anxiety. Other days I have a moment or two of panic and then get over it rather quickly.

Let me give you an example. Today I had a moment of panic about money. Christine's bachelorette party is this weekend and we're heading out of town. My bank account is not exactly at it's highest, but not at it's lowest either. Suddenly, I had a mini anxiety attack about whether or not I'd have enough money for the weekend AND be able to eat next week before I get paid next Friday. I will be fine, as long as nothing major happens (which is always a possibility), but I had it in my head for a minute that it wouldn't be okay, that I'd have to sell plasma or try to find a babysitting job for the next few nights to help get some cash in my pocket. No. I don't need to. I will be fine, so long as my car does not break down (which, again, is always a very large possibility, so I better knock on wood) and as long as I am careful about my spending. But in those few moments, it was like someone just told me the world was ending. I freaked. I had to walk outside, I was sweating and my eye was twitching, I checked my online bank account at least 30 times to make sure.

Another example- last week my boss came out of her office and said my name. I was already in the hallway so I met her halfway. She had this look of confusion/horror on her face. I asked her what was going on and she said "I just got a letter from (Insert our CEO's name here". She paused. In her 2 second pause, my body temperature rose about 100 degrees and my hands started shaking. In my warped little anxious head, she was going to say "and you're fired" next. That wasn't it AT ALL, but my mind immediately triggered bad news.

Things like that happen probably once a week. I am getting better. I can usually talk myself down after a few minutes. I know what I need to do to calm down, and I have gained some wisdom over the years in how to armor myself with what I need.

So for me to say "I got it under control" is a huge, freaking deal. It's a good day if I can say that. Heck, it's a good HOUR if I can say that.  So this new song from Ellie is going to become my mantra, so that I can remind myself that I got it under control. That I, like the song says, am breathing again.

The other interesting part of this song is that Ellie says "your love was never the missing key". She is right. In my last relationship, I sort of gave him the responsibility of taking my anxiety away- that if we broke up or I "lost him", I'd also lose a part of myself, and that he was the one that was holding me up. Wrong. I will not lie, my anxiety got worse when we broke up, but Ellie's words are correct. He was not the missing key. I am the only person who can control my life and my journey. No one else. I am the one who has it under control.

So thank you, Little Miss Ellie, for releasing a powerful song.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Recap

It was yet another busy, busy weekend for us girls. Seems to be a common theme with us- always on the go!

Friday night we did just kind of hang out, our usual crew, listening to music and chatting about life while sipping on beverages. It was a late night, but a fun and low key night.

Saturday morning I woke up at 6:30 AM to get ready for the Alzheimer's Walk in Downtown Detroit. I only got about 3 hours of sleep, so I had to peel my eyes open to be ready to hang out with coworkers and walk a mile. I drove down with my coworker and friend Lynn, and we met up with a couple other coworkers. The walk was cool, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say we felt good doing it. So many of our patients have Alzheimer's, and it was special for us to be an advocate for them through walking. The walk ended at Ford Field, and we were able to actually walk around on the field. A surreal feeling, when you're on the field you see how big it really is. I kept imagining how Taylor Swift must have felt at a sold out show there. Overwhelmed, I'm sure. My coworkers and I shared a lot of stories and laughs.

When I got home, Sam, Lauren and I went to our favorite breakfast place. Then I took a really deep nap (I woke up not knowing what day it was!), forced myself to work out, and came back to get ready. The three of us headed an hour up 75 to meet Lauren's friends for a bachelorette party. In a weird small world kind of way, one of our old college buddies/roommates, who we know as "Fitz" is also friends with the bride to be, so we reunited with her for the evening. It was a little awkward at first, considering Sam and I don't know the bachelorette, but we soon fit right in. The plan was to ride a party bus and go bar hopping. Honestly, the bus was the fun part of the evening. We blasted music and danced, laughing hysterically. We did stop at two bars- one was a low key bar full of dudes, and the other a more well known bar that was pretty much empty. But we had a great time. We got back to the house we were staying and all claimed a spot to crash for the night. I was with Fitz on the couch and the last thing I remember before drifting off into dreamland is her whispering "Hi, Megan" and me giggling.

The next morning Sam, Lauren and I headed out early so we could get back and enjoy a full Sunday. The second we swung open the car doors to head inside, we were met with our neighbor. She looked at me and told me she hit my car, which is almost always in the street. She was really upset, and rightfully so. The car was barely hit, it's a small dent, but she was most upset because we don't really know each other at all, so I think she felt badly that this is how we were meeting. She also just lost her husband a few months ago, and told me that he did everything for her so she's still learning how to do things on her own- driving included. I felt awful, the poor thing was crying and shaking as she kept apologizing to me. I assured her it was fine, I wasn't worried at all about the "damage", that it wasn't a big deal and that it happens- cuz it does- our next door neighbor also tapped my car once.

When I finally calmed her down, I headed back inside with every intent to take a small nap and then go work out. But plans changed, and we found ourselves driving to the brand new, Michigan's fist Cheesecake Factory. I have visited Cheesecake Factory in Nashville and Cleveland and always wondered why Michigan did not have one. We finally opened one a week ago in Novi. People were waiting for FIVE hours that first week! We got there and got a buzzer and were told the wait was about 70 minutes- which honestly, I didn't think was that bad. Especially because the restaurant is in a mall, so we could walk around and kill time, which we did. I got face wash from Lush (my new expensive obsession) and candles from Yankee candle. We headed back to Cheesecake's waiting area and were sitting for maybe 15-20 minutes when our buzzer went off. We were seated outside, which was fine by me since it was a gorgeous day. We were starving, since we waited so long and barely ate breakfast. It was now almost 2 pm. I ordered from their skinnylicious menu- chicken potstickers and white bean chicken chili. Both were delicious- I couldn't eat all the chili and had to bring half of it home. I also ordered a slice of wild blueberry cheesecake to go. I know, I shouldn't be eating cheesecake, but I wasn't about to go to Cheesecake Factory and NOT eat it! That's like, a sin.

When we got home I did take a little nap, and then went to the grocery store for a few things that I needed. I got back, had a chat with the girls, and then made cookies for my neighbor who hit my car, Lois. I also wrote her a little note, explaining she did not need to worry about the car and that she could stop by anytime. I walked over and handed her the cookies, to which she handed me two small loaves of zucchini bread and said she was about to come over and deliver it to me! Lois invited me to sit down and we chatted for a good 25-30 minutes, for the first time ever. It was so nice to get to know her, and I feel a little better about the whole situation and knowing that I have such a lovely neighbor. She said she watches our house a lot (not in a creepy way) to make sure we're all okay, especially if she knows we're out of town. It was very sweet conversation and I have decided I am adopting her as my grandmother.

After my heart to heart with Lois I came back home and watched the VMA's with the girls. My thoughts: I don't care about Lady GaGa anymore, Miley Cyrus should be locked up, Justin Timberlake is beyond incredible, Nsync reunion was the greatest thing I've ever seen, Jennifer Hudson's surprise appearance was my favorite moment, Bruno Mars singing Gorilla made my heart stop, and Katy Perry looks good. Oh, and Taylor Swift is the Queen Bee.

This is a new week full of activities. I have a Tigers game with my coworkers tonight, planning on making dinner and going to a movie with my roomies tomorrow, possibly Kelly Clarkson concert (if ticket prices go down) Wednesday, and Softball party Thursday. Busy busy! But I wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 8

Random Goodness


I hit my 10 pound mark. I am down 10 pounds. Actually, maybe even 11. It's coming off faster now, which I know won't last long and I'll hit a plateau soon, but for now I am enjoying it and SO happy to say that I have officially hit my 10 pound mark.

A lot of people have asked me how much weight I need to lose, or what my goal weight is. I would like to lose 115 lbs. I have a follow up with my doctor to get an accurate goal weight, but in my head, that's the number I need to lose. And I'm certainly not going to give up. I know it is going to be a long, long battle and that there will be ups and downs, but you better believe that when I hit 100 lbs, I'm having a party.

No workout log this week, I'll come back to that soon but I am changing some things up a little on the blog to keep you entertained.

In other news, I do want to say: once you start eating healthy, it becomes a habit. I no longer crave "Bad" foods. I ate Mcdonalds today because I was in a major hurry and felt sick after. I only crave sweets when I drink coffee, which I try not to do. I'd rather eat healthy than eat something fatty and full of calories.

Recipe of the week: Summer Salad

Serves 4-5 People. You can double it in a bigger bowl if you would like.
Prep time- 5-10 minutes if using frozen chicken strips

1 bag spring mix lettuce
6-8 strawberries sliced in half
feta cheese (or blue cheese)
handful of cashews
10-12 strips of grilled chicken (I used the frozen strips and zapped them for a quicker meal, but you could buy fresh meat, cook it and cut it into strips)

Let chicken cool a little before adding to salad.

I used Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing.

Emotional Journey
So I've sort of told the story of what kick started this whole weight loss journey, but I haven't talked much about the emotional journey. This is the tough part. This is the part that I kept (or tried to keep) hidden, the part that  a lot of people don't know.

Obviously my weight has been an issue for a while so we don't need to go all the way back to the start. But I can tell you that I have suffered off and on with food addiction issues since I was 16 years old. It goes hand in hand with my anxiety, and when the anxiety peaks, so does the food addiction. For the most part, though, I've had the food addiction under control for the past two years or so. I mean, I would still relapse sometimes, but it wasn't anything like it used to be.

When my heart was broken in March, I went back to some of my old ways. Nothing like it used to be, but my anxiety peaked, which led to ditching the diet I was on at the time and basically saying "Screw it, no one wants to love me anyways". That was the attitude I had from March until July. That it didn't matter what I weighed or what I looked like because I was just going to keep getting my heart broken. So I stopped caring and trying. I was sad. I tried my best to hide it because I didn't want people to think that I was weak or being too dramatic. But most mornings, I had to force myself out of bed. I thank God that Sam and Lauren were here because if they weren't, I may have never left my house.

So yeah. I was sad, very sad, which led to me not giving two shoots what I looked like or put in my body. I was tired, I was angry and I was hurt. So when those headaches came on and it kickstarted this weight loss journey, it also kickstarted my emotional journey of getting me better. Healing.

I can tell you that since I have started working out and eating right, I feel better physically and emotionally. I look forward to my days now. I feel happier and more pleasant, and not like I'm going to snap someone's neck at any given moment, which is how I was feeling before. I know. Scary.

People have commented on my weight loss, that I look smaller or my pants look bigger. But Paula, sweet Paula who helped me to start this journey, is the one who noticed my eyes. She said, and I qoute "Your eyes don't look so dark and sad anymore". She hit it spot on, and she barely even knows me nor does she have any idea the funk that I was in before she came along. I wouldn't be doing this without her.

Life is good right now, kids. I'm not going to give up and I'm certainly not ever going to let a stupid childish man cause me to go into one of those funks ever again.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Weekend Recap

What a fabulous weekend I had!

Friday I got out of work a little early, ran home and changed, and then met up with the young adult group from my church to go to the Tigers game. We piled into cars and headed Downtown. The game wasn't that great (we lost, and played horribly) but we still had fun and I was in good company. I love going to games, the atmosphere is just fun and I love being downtown.

Saturday morning I got a really good workout in, stopped at the grocery store, and then headed home for an afternoon of relaxing. It was an absolutely beautiful day weather wise, plus the Woodward Dream Cruise was happening, so I was truly in my happy place just sitting outside, and then curling up for a nap with the windows open and hearing all the music and people down the street. Eventually, we had people over for grilling and drinks. We walked around a little bit, and played Rockband. (The best video game ever). We laughed, ate delicious food, and enjoyed a beautiful summer evening. I didn't go to bed until 4 am. Party like a rockstar!

Sunday I headed over to my parents house to check on my dad who had not been feeling well. Spent a little time with them, came back home and watched Dawson's Creek. I fell asleep at one point during the show, and when I finally opened my eyes and mustered up energy, I made dinner for Sam and I, our usual Sunday night ritual. (That will change when youth group starts back up again!) I made a salad  and a wrap (recipe coming in this week's weight loss Wednesday). After dinner I was craving something sweet, so I convinced Sam to walk to Downtown Birmingham and get frozen yogurt with me. My fro yo of choice? Chocolate/Vanilla twist, Reese's peanut butter cups, peanuts, and peanut butter sauce. I know that seems a bit much for someone on a diet, but hey. I burned it off in the 2.5 mile walk there and back. :)

After our frozen yogurt outing, Lauren was back home from the Tiger's game and we all collapsed into our usual seats and popped in Silver Linings Playbook. We couldn't make it through the whole movie, though. I had only gotten about 4 hours of sleep on Saturday. I needed my sleep!

So yes, a beautiful weekend. The weather was perfect, the company was glorious and I was giddy and happy. It's a new week, full of meetings and trainings. Let's get through it!

PS: 40 days until the wedding! I got my shoes, so next step is dress alterations which I am doing this week.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Take a look at this screenshot from a Facebook status I posted on Friday.

Status reads: I lost 9 lbs so far. I am feeling better than ever, and when I looked in the mirror today I smiled. My muscles are stronger and my tummy is smaller. I have a long, long, long way to go but I'm so proud of myself and happy with how things are going.

There are 63 likes on this status and 13 comments. This is, by far, the most amount of "likes" I have ever received on a status. Some are from people I don't even talk to anymore. I was completely overwhelmed by the support I received from my facebook pals. I had no idea that a simple status I posted after a workout at the gym would turn into my most popular facebook post ever.

I am not posting about it here to gloat about how many friends I have. Rather, to tell the people who clicked that little thumbs up sign: thank you. I am so grateful. I cannot do this without the support of my family and friends. The responses to this status assured me I am in the right direction and that I have friends behind me.

The support made me emotional, nostalgic, grateful, happy, and loved. I know this all seems silly to some. It's just a facebook status. But to me, it means the world. God puts people in your life for a reason, and every single person who liked that status have made an impact on my life. Keep reading below to find out how, exactly.

And now you can give me a big eye roll, because I am going to address the people that liked this status. I told you I was nostalgic. This blog post may be aggravating to some, but I have to let this stuff out.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Six Things You Should Know About Me

I've been tagged by Dee to participate in this blog meme. It's a fun one, and she had good questions.

1. How did your blog come to be? I was about to start my year of volunteer service. I decided I'd keep a blog to share my stories and lessons. That was 4 years ago now, so obviously the blog has a lot more to it than that year. But it does seem to come up a lot :)

2. What is your ultimate dream? Move to Nashville, write songs, drink a lot of iced coffee.
3. What's one important lesson you learned in life? Even when it seems like your world is crashing in, there is always hope. You just can't give up. Keep on moving. Keep trying.

4. If you could be anyone else for a day, who would you choose to be? Kelly Clarkson. So that I could have her voice, her bubbly personality and her bravery. So I could know what it feels like to hear your songs on the radio and your fans singing them back to you at a concert.

5. What do you love about yourself? I care about people A LOT. Immediately. When someone is introduced to me, they pretty much become part of my circle. That's why if I don't like someone it's pretty shocking, because I like everyone for the most part. But yeah, I care about people a lot, sometimes more than I care about myself which has not always been the best thing.

6. You wake up one morning and you're 16 again. How would you live life differently? Study harder. Take school a little more seriously. Stay away from fast food. Exercise. Try not to get caught up in drama.
I tag:
Choose any six of these questions!
1. What is your favorite movie quote and why?
2. Who was your first best friend? Are you still friends with them?
3. It's back to school time. What was the best year you had in school? What made it so great?
4. Is there special something you do every day (journal, Skype someone, take a walk, etc)? What is it?
5. How do you get blog ideas?
6. Has anybody famous ever followed or mentioned you on twitter or another social media site?
7. Do you do any volunteer work? If so, where?
8. Describe your perfect Sunday.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 7. Inspiration Post!

Following in the footsteps of my friend Dee, I have decided to make today's post about someone else. This will give you and me both a break from reading about my workout logs and tips.

Today I have an exciting post. I  want to introduce you to Patrick Tullio. Patrick is a radio personality on Detroit's 98.7 Amp Radio. He's also a fellow WMU Grad and all around great guy. For the past several months I have been noticing his weight loss journey posts on Facebook. I always stop to read them because it's obvious how hard he is working. He's been very successful on his journey (read below to see how much weight he has lost!) and is one of the people that has inspired me to start my own journey. On the days I don't want to work out, I see Patrick's post about how many miles he did, and off I go to the gym. He's a huge inspiration, and I don't know if he even realizes it!

I wanted to share his story with you so that you can be inspired as well.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? 
My name is Patrick Tullio and I am a local radio personality here in Detroit. I am on a journey to lose weight for not only my physical health but also my mental health.

What moment or event started your weight loss journey?
What started my journey was when I got out of the shower one night and looked in the mirror and just started crying and asking myself how did I let myself go like this? And I just knew from there I needed to change my ways!

What was your starting weight? What weight are you at now?
No comment but I will tell you in the 5 months since I have started this journey I have lost 102 lbs!

What would you say is the most important factor in your weight loss? Changed eating habits? Exercise? Changed thinking? Something else?
At the time it was a girlfriend who was really pushing me but still loved me for who I was but knew I didn’t love myself. That pushed me to eat healthier and to exercise. I started off slow by only walking 2.5 miles then 3 then 4 now I average 7-9 miles  a day 7 days a week.

Are there any obstacles you had to overcome to begin exercising / keep exercising? 
Well I played hockey for 15 years so I knew I had the strength to get up and go but I had to overcome the lack of will power. I had to change my sleeping habits and stop being lazy! I just needed to get off that couch!

What’s your favorite exercise?
Without a doubt its walking I could and do walk for miles!

 How do you deal with boredom in your exercise program? 
I walk outside! There is new scenery every day, you may walk the same paths and routes but you see new things every day and new people and it really keeps things from becoming mundane.

What are 3 of your best eating or dieting tips you would like to share? 
Don’t worry about taking things out of your die.... don’t sacrifice anything. I still put ranch on my salad… I still dress up my brown rice with dressing, its all about portions and a lifestyle change. Make healthier choices and don’t be afraid to fall off failure is only a fact when you give up. Everyone gets knocked down, the question is: Will you get back up? Try not to eat right before you go to bed… if you have to then just have a banana or a glass of milk or a spoonful of peanut butter.

Any final words of advice?
Don’t be afraid to fail like I said before failure is only a fact when you give up. Everyone gets knocked down, the question is: Will you get back up? And I know it may seem like a dark time but just remember the brightest stars need the darkest skies so shine on!

Thank you to Patrick for being so willing to answer these questions for me, and for inspiring me to work harder and get a kick start on my weight loss journey. On your down days, remember that you have motivated people like me to get into shape and get healthy. I wouldn't be 7 weeks into my journey without you!

Follow Patrick on Twitter :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

weekend recap: bridal shower!

Ladies and Gents, I am tired.

This past weekend was BUSY. It the bridal shower for my best friend Christine, who is getting married to the love of her life on September 28th.  I am the maid of honor (and only bridesmaid! such an honor), so I helped play hostess for the shower.

I spent most of Saturday at Paul (the groom to be)'s aunts house. We, along with Paul's grandma, prepared as much food as possible, made little pretzel candies, cleaned, and decorated the tables. It took us about 5 hours but we got a lot done, enough to feel confident for Sunday. By the time I left it was 3pm, so I ran a few of my errands and then headed home to take a quick nap. When I woke up, my tummy was grumbling (didn't eat much during the day- working too much!) so I grabbed Olga's, one of my favorite places to go. Came back home and got a text from my sister that she and some of her friends were in the area. They stopped over, and I walked with them to the downtown area of my city to grab some frozen yogurt. It was good to catch up with them, her friends are also close family friends (I even lived with one of them for a year) so we had a lot to chat about. When I came back from our fro yo outing, my roommate Sam was home along with our friend Krystin. We giggled, talked, and giggled some more. Eventually our friend David also stopped over, with a Little Caesars Hot and Ready in hand. More giggling ensued, before my body told me it was time for bed.

Sunday was the big day of the shower. I got to the house a little early so I could make my famous punch. I stood by my sweet friend Christine as we greeted guests, pointed out the gift table, and mingled. I noted that Christine got a lot of the same questions, over and over. "Are you ready?" "Is your dress in?" "Are you getting excited?". I wanted to take a tally. Eventually we sat down and enjoyed a meal of delicious salads, rolls, and fruit salad. Christine and Paul opened their gifts (and got so much newlywed swag), we ate mini key lime tarts, sipped coffee, took pictures, and soon the day was over, just as quickly as it began. But it was fun, it was joyous and happy, it was sweet. I loved seeing the smile on Christine's face and I enjoyed getting to know their family and friends a little bit better. Everyone was so sweet, including me in conversations and thanking me for my help.

I didn't  bother changing out of my dress when I finally got home on Sunday. Instead, I made a stop at Kroger to buy some stuff for Sunday night dinner. I knew Lauren wasn't going to be home, so I bought Sam her favorite flowers (sunflowers) and cooked dinner for the two of us- teriyaki marinated chicken, sautéed squash and zucchini, and red skin potatoes. It was delicious, if I do say so myself, and I had enough leftover to eat again tonight for dinner when I volunteer at Gilda's Club.

Sam and I watched A Cinderella Story and the Teen choice awards last night, like we were 16 year old girls. Sometimes you just have to do that, ya know? Sobbed during Lea Michelle's acceptance speech. (Who didn't?) Eventually Lauren came home and the three of us chatted and sat in the dark for a while, giggling. I was still wearing my dress from the shower at 10 pm. I almost slept in it. Hey, it was comfy!

Although it was a go go go weekend and I was barely even home, I enjoyed it. I am surrounded by love and by good people. I have reasons to smile and be grateful. I am blessed.

Christine and Paul at the shower. Aren't they cute?

Christine and I looking happy happy!

A different angle of Christine and I

Our fabulous table decorations. I'm proud of us!

Wedding Countdown: 47 days! I still have to get my shoes, get my dress altered, and finish my speech. Plus we have the bachelorette party over Labor Day weekend.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 6

So guys, I've lost a total of 6 lbs since I've started dieting! I can't tell quite yet, although I do think my face is smaller and I see it on my sides. My trainer has encouraged me to do more core work do tighten my stomach muscles because he also thinks I'm losing it on my sides. He also had me step on the BMI scale and it's a little smaller than it was when I started! YEEEEEEEEE.

I can't wait until I can say I've lost 10 lbs. I know that day is coming soon, and that things will only get better from there.

I do feel a lot better now that I am on 4,000 IU of vitamin d. My energy level is much, much higher. I don't feel like going to sleep at my desk anymore. Just have to make sure I take it.

Workout Log
Thursday, 8/1 I knew I'd have a double header for softball that night, so I skipped my morning workout. I'm never really sure how many calories I burn at softball. I'm the catcher, so I don't do a lot of running around in the field but I certainly get up and down a lot. Myfitnesspal says an hour of slow pitch softball burns 900 calories, but there's no way that's true. I'd say about 300.
Friday, 8/2 Woke up and got my swim in! I finally felt confident as my eyes have been okay (just dry). Felt good to be back in the pool again.
Saturday, 8/3 Woke up early on a Saturday and had an amazing workout, one of the best I've had. I was at the gym for an hour and a 1/2. Biked 4.5 miles, did over 1,000 steps on the nustep, and walked a mile.
Sunday 8/4 I had a night of drinking Saturday  I had a late night Saturday, so there was no getting me up and to the gym even if you paid me.
Monday 8/5 Zumba! I had to miss it the past two weeks so I was ready to get back in. It's tough to come back into it though- you kinda forget how hard it is.
Tuesday 8/6 Had one of those mornings where waking up to go to the gym was the LAST thing I wanted to do. Forced myself and got a good bike ride in. Still putting Couch to 5k on hold until my shin splint issue is resolved.
Wednesday 8/7 Swim day! I had a weird night of sleep. I had a medication change and my body is getting used to it, so I have a little tummy ache and was pretty lethargic. Swimming was a challenge, but I still got 40 minutes in.

Other Things
  • I go out to a sit down restaurant probably 2-3 times a week. I know to some even that is a lot, but hey, I'm young. I like to go out. Anyways, I've found a trick and that trick is called google. Google the menu ahead of time. Figure out what you can eat without splurging on your diet.
    • Example: Red Robin has an amazing app for the iphone where you can customize your meal to figure out how many calories your meal is before you order it. My meal, which was a grilled chicken sandwich in a lettuce wrap with guacamole and a side of fruit, was only 250 calories and it was delicious! My normal meal there, a turkey burger with fries, is 1,012 calories. And that's without the side of ranch I'd usually get.
  • My friend Jenn introduced me to a world of smoothies. I've never really "got" smoothies or understood how people could drink them as a meal. But on Friday she brought me to Beyond Juice and my world may have changed! The smoothies are delicious, and filling, good for breakfast. I think I am going to try one at my gym.
  • Don't starve yourself. Eat healthy snacks in between meals. this has been one of the hardest lessons I've learned.
  • Being on your girl time and dieting is a very tough combo. You feel awful and lazy, and you want to eat everything. Push through it.
I think that's it for now. I haven't been home the past few Sunday's to cook my Sunday meal, and I won't be there this week either. But I'm still looking for new recipes!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday Tunes: Civil Wars + Jill and Kate

The Civil Wars are a fascinating band. To bring you up to speed, they are a male/female singer-songwriter duo who met in Nashville back in 2008. Their first studio, full length album was released in 2011, and they won two Grammy's for that album. Their songs have been featured on Grey's Anatomy and they were the opening act for Adele on her national tour. They partnered up with Taylor Swift for a song off The Hunger Games soundtrack, which they also won a Grammy for. They are very folky sounding, known for their use of instruments and raw vocals.

The fascinating thing is that the two have been in a tiff for a while. Neither have said the real reason, just using the whole "creative differences" line. In fact, they weren't speaking while making the album that was released today, and still aren't speaking. Joy has said they likely won't tour for this album because of the fight between them. Joy has been more vocal where John Paul seems to have gone into hiding.

Guys, something went down. And although we don't know what it was, it was big. And this album portrays the hurt, sadness, and even anger that both have felt.

It's like Fleetwood Mac all over again.

Here are my four favorite tracks from this self titled album. It's one that you really need to put on and listen to, full length, but I'll give you some snippets.

The One That Got Away

Devils Backbone

From This Valley

Oh Henry

Also, the lovely ladies Jill and Kate released a live album today. It's pretty awesome, especially because their commentary is in it as well, and they are giddy and excited in between each song. The album truly shows off their powerful vocals.  These two gals are mega talented and super sweet. They are so good to their fans and so passionate about music. Check out this live album if you want to hear some great music. Here's two tunes I particularly enjoy:

Burn It Down

My Love

Great day for singer songwriters!

Civil Wars on iTunes
Jill and Kate on Itunes

Monday, August 5, 2013

may you always have enough peace and love

At least once a week, the topic of me doing a year of service comes up in conversation. Either I'm talking about a Sister of Mercy, a roommate, a student I taught, or a restaurant I loved in Downtown Detroit.

I've written about Mercy Volunteer Corps numerous times on this blog, and blogged about it while I was serving.

But last night, after telling my mom that I had picked up the new group form the airport and got them settled into their house, she asked me "and why did they choose to do a year of service?". Her question took me off guard. My (along with my former roommates Dave and Nate) conversation with the three ladies was more about where they are from and where they will be working, plus giving them tips and tricks to living in Detroit. But I failed to really ask them what their motivation was for being here, for deciding to go this route. I can sort of piece together why, based on our conversation, but we didn't go deep into that topic.

And it's probably the most important topic.

Like anything, you get out of MVC what you want to put into it. So your motivation for committing to doing a year of volunteer work, living in a city you don't know with people you've never met, and making only $100 a month- is pretty darn important.

Then I started to think- shoot. Why did I do a year of service? And here is how my thought process went after that.

Usually when people ask me that, I give my blanket answer. I was getting ready to graduate from college. I couldn't find a job. I was googling something at 4 am in regards to Mercy and found Mercy Volunteer Corps. It sounded like a good idea. I liked Mercy, I liked volunteering. Sounded great to me.

And that did actually happen, but why did I actually decide YES, let's do this. I had other options. I could have moved back home with Mom and Dad and spent my summer searching for a job. My uncle had offered for me to come down to Tennessee and stay with them for a while, look for jobs in Nashville (my dream city) and help with his kids. I could have found a few part time jobs in my college town while I looked for a "real job" and stayed on the west side of the state. But something made me apply to Mercy Volunteer Corps instead. And a few months later, there I was at orientation, meeting my roommates for the first time.

I was the first and only Mercy Volunteer to be placed in their hometown. I rarely went downtown back then, though, and knew very little about Detroit. But the site where I wanted to work was in Detroit (Cristo Rey High School), and so I ended up there. With my parents just 30 minutes away.

All of this was fate. For some reason I applied. For some reason I was placed in Detroit. My year with MVC was probably the best year of my life. It's hard to explain what happens to a person when they are living a simple lifestyle, have three amazing roommates and are surrounded by compassionate, loving people. But it sure changes you. Some of my coworkers now will complain about their young adult children, and my go to answer is "they should do a year of service". Seriously. It should be like a requirement. Because it changes you. But only if you want to be changed. You have to be open to change, to seeing new things.

And maybe that, my friends, is why I chose to do it. Maybe I was ready for a change. I had spent my four years of college struggling- with anxiety, food issues, drinking, fighting with "friends", etc. I think I was looking for a change, something to ground me again and make me see the world a little brighter.

MVC exceeded my expectations. The program changed me, that's for darn sure. I had a better relationship with both myself and God when the year wrapped up. I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. I took my spirituality seriously. I learned how to save and how to live simply. But most importantly, I think that's the year that taught me to love. To love myself and to love life. To give love and how to show love.

Thank you, Mercy Volunteer Corps, for not only changing my life, but for continuing to change others.

To the newbies: Welcome to Detroit. It's a beautiful city, despite what you hear on the news. Give us a chance, jump right in. Embrace the new experiences.  May you learn to love.

PS: The blog title for this post is taken from the song Peace and Love by Blessid Union of Souls, which reminds me much of my year with MVC.