Monthly Archives: June 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I’m in a really good mood. Just full of smiles and ready to tackle the day. And after reading lots o’ blogs this morning, I decided to take a cue from Ali and tell y’all why I’m so thankful for my life and the people in it. So, my friends, here’s Thankful Thursday, Samantha style.

I’m thankful for…

1.) Waking up early.

That’s right, people, I’m doing it! I got my booty out of bed at 6:30 this morning, which is a new record for me! Yesterday I was up and running six hilly miles at 7 a.m. and this morning I conquered four more slightly less hilly miles. My legs would curse me out if they had lips, but then immediately praise me for pushing through the tough spots.

2.) Writing as a career.

It’s just something I love to do and I’m so grateful for graduating with a degree in journalism and creative writing. I’m determined to put it to good use and am thankful that I’ve had so much support from people toward reaching my dreams.

Throwback to copy editing freshman year of college.

3.) My family.

My mom, dad, step-dad, step-mom, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters have all been completely supportive about my upcoming move to NYC (three days!). They’re confident that I’ll land a full-time magazine gig soon, which helps deter mental breakdowns.

4.) Running.

It’s been keeping me sane these last few months throughout the stress of graduating, finding work, moving, and planning my best friend’s wedding.

5.) Glee.

I’ve been rocking out to Glee during my runs lately and their tunes just put me in a good mood!

Total Gleek right here.

P.S. Have you seen “The Glee Project” yet? If not, go watch it online right now! I don’t really watch summer shows, but this one is definitely on my must-see list.

6.) My best friend.

I’m so excited for her wedding this Saturday!!! I’m going to miss her so much while she’s in Oklahoma and I’m in NYC, but I know that not even 1,700 miles can put a damper on our friendship.

7.) My boyfriend.

Dustin’s been really supportive and dealing with all of my craziness lately, listening to me vent and encouraging me to go after my dreams. He just officially finished college yesterday (yay!), I get to see him this weekend and I’m excited to see where this summer takes us.

Last summer's getaway to the Poconos.

8.) Chocolate.

I’ve been eating a little bit every day lately. It’s delicious and I love it.

9.) Mani/Pedi dates with my sister.

It’s a tradition of ours and it felt so good to catch up with my little sister last night while we got our nails done. I needed them done for the wedding anyway!

Fingers...

...and toes!

Off to work I go!

What are you thankful for today? 

Run Before the Sun

I’m a night owl. Completely, totally, 100 percent a night owl. Even when it comes to workouts. I have no problem staying up until three or four in the morning or working out at 11 p.m. But ask me to wake up at 5 a.m. for a morning run and there’s a 95 percent chance it isn’t going to happen.

At least I admit it.

But I’m trying to change. Whenever I bust out the five percent odds of me waking up early and getting in an early sweat session, I love it. I love starting my day with a workout because it makes me feel so accomplished and it’s something I don’t have to worry about for the rest of the day. I’m a type-A personality too, so it makes me really happy when I can cross something off my to-do list really early.

So how do I change? How can I drag my butt out of bed on a consistent basis? I’ve been slowly setting my alarm clock earlier and earlier. So far I’ve gotten up to waking up at 730 a.m. I know that’s sleeping in for a lot of people, but right now it’s not for me. However, I’m starting work next week and want to keep up morning workouts. So I need to get to like 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls and fast! Any advice?

I love sunsets, but I'm ready for a sunrise.

Along with my early morning goals, I’ve been doing my best to keep on track with healthy eats. Today I noticed I was obsessed with milk and blueberries! Weird combo, but it worked. For breakfast I had a bowl of Special K granola cereal with blueberries and one percent milk.

Blueberries drowning!

I loved it so much that I had the same thing for lunch.

I seriously craved blueberries throughout the day, so I nabbed a few handfuls out of the fresh package in the fridge.

One of the many reasons I love summer.

Multiply this handful by three and that’s how many times I visited the fridge. Yum.

I deviated from the cereal for dinner, but didn’t feel like cooking anything in this warm weather. So I fell back on the big dish of pasta salad we have left over from Scott’s graduation party. I poured myself a bowl and dug in!

Colorful.

This is the whole dish, not my bowl, I promise. But I was really diggin’ the combo in here: pasta, cucumbers, pepperoni, ham, cheese, tomatoes and some light Italian dressing. Another win in my book.

I also took Liz and Joey on a little photo shoot today. Joey is finally home for the wedding, and Liz was always sad that the two don’t have a lot of photos together…enter Sam! I whipped out my camera and met them at Liz’s parents house so we could take some engagement photos. I’m no professional, but I think they turned out pretty good! Here are a few of my faves:

Yay or nay?

On another random note, here’s a lovely little bruise that has developed on my inner left thigh from riding the mechanical bull on Saturday. It covers almost my whole thigh!

Yowza!

My doctor wasn’t kidding when he told me I bruise easily…good thing my dress covers it for the wedding!

I’m off to get some writing assignments finished before I head to bed early (before midnight…fingers crossed!), so I can wake up early!

Are you an early bird or night owl? What advice do you have for waking up early for a sweat session?

Bachelorette Party Shenanigans

Happy Monday! I had a whirlwind weekend filled with graduations and parties — grad parties, jack ‘n’ jill parties and last but not least, Liz’s bachelorette party!

The whole gang.

As you all know, I’m the maid of honor (MOH), so tackling this party was a big deal for me. I wanted to make it personal, fun and sexy without being too over the top. After all, I needed to keep my bride and her tastes in mind the whole time and I knew she wouldn’t want anything too insane.

Blinged out with Tess.

For starters, she really loved all of the bling the bridesmaids and I got her.

Sparkly.

And I made sure not to leave us out of the shiny fun.

Colorful.

We all got our own colors with our titles on the shot glass. Everyone felt special and it makes a great souvenir for the end of the night! Tess, one of the bridesmaids, also snagged these super cute cups for us that said, “What happens at the bachelorette party stays at the bachelorette party.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Kelly modeling the cup.

Liz wanted everyone to know that we were with her once we hit the town, so the girls and I made our own tank tops! I found a cute “Bride” tank top for Liz, but there wasn’t anything decently priced for us bridesmaids. Off to Wal-Mart we went, where we bought plain black tank tops for $3.00 and a package of iron-on letters for about $5.00

Time to get crafty.

It took me about an hour to make the whole thing and it came out really well! You can’t even tell I ironed it on!

Before the heat.

All done!

Cute, right?

The front.

Represent.

To kick off the festivities, we gathered at Liz’s apartment, munched on taco dip and had a few drinks. We didn’t go crazy with apartment decorations because Liz has to be moved out of her apartment this week, so decking everything out would’ve caused more of a hassle. Instead, we made sure that everyone looked very festive.

Cute sashes. Cute cat. Cute girls. Win!

We played a few games, including one where we asked Liz questions about Joey. If she answered correctly, she handed out a jello shot. If she answered wrong, she had to take it herself. Each jello shot was followed up with a shot of whipped cream, one of Liz’s favorite recent discoveries.

Yum.

She did a decent job of knowing the answers 😉

After some more chit-chat, games and opening of presents, our ride arrived.

Ridin' in style.

A limo picked us up and drove us to our destination in Syracuse: Daisy Dukes!

Our driver instinctively knew about our cowboy-ness.

Liz has always wanted to ride a mechanical bull, so I figured this party was the best opportunity to do so! Daisy Dukes has a great reputation, so we hopped in the limo and hit the road for the 45-minute trek.

We whipped out a dare card for Liz that had 19 challenges for her to complete throughout the night. They were a lot of fun, but we all agreed that some girls are crazy if they complete every dare listed!

We have a special friendship.

Once we were at Daisy Dukes, we all took a ride with the bull!

Liz.

Me.

Kelly.

Tess.

Nicole.

Then we danced and drank the night away! We made a pit stop at Denny’s for some late-night grub on the way home, then crashed all over Liz’s apartment for some much-needed sleep — the signs of a successful night!

Overall, I think the party was a great success. All of the girls said they had an amazing time and I know I had a lot of fun! I’m going to follow this up with another post about the planning process, but it wasn’t too stressful because I kept Liz’s tastes in mind the whole time 🙂

Have you ever thrown a bachelorette party? What fun stuff did you do? 

Graduation Day

My little brother, Scott, is graduating high school!

Little bro-ha

I’m so proud of Scott, or as we affectionately call him, midge. He used to be much shorter than Justin and I, but then puberty hit and he sky-rocketed. Now he’s a good head taller than me, so the nickname doesn’t really hold true anymore, but old habits die hard.

He's a phenomenal musician.

Isn’t he a cutie?

I couldn’t be more proud of my little brother. He has a lot of determination and he’s unbelievably passionate. He plans to go to SUNY Cobleskill in the fall to study animal science with a focus on pre-veterinary medicine. His dream is to one day move to Alaska, be a vet and own a dog-sledding team. He’s been dog-sledding for three years now and absolutely loves it.

I love this picture.

Scott and I are nearly four years apart in age, but we have a bond like we’re twins. He’s one of my closest friends and we talk to each other about everything. I love him so much and I love watching him grow up into a mature young man. I can’t wait to see him rock it out at college!

In honor of my baby brother, here’s a little gallery of photos of him and I over the last few years…

June 2009.

Christmas 2009.

At Relay for Life in April 2010.

November 2010 -- He put this in the yearbook.

Christmas 2011.

April 2011.

May 2011.

Congratulations Scott, I love you!

Workout Clothes Rewind

A big virtual high-five goes out to anyone who did laundry this week! Why? Because this girl did it!

I always feel so accomplished after.

As you can see, I was in desperate need of some clothes-washing fun. Is it sad that the majority of my laundry is workout gear? The two piles on the left are workout tops and bottoms only…

Anyway, all of this laundry-washing prompted a debate inside of my head and I thought it would be fun to bring it onto the Internet. After all, you guys don’t know what’s bouncin’ around in the old noggin, and it’s a little one-sided, so it’s time to mix it up!

Do you re-wear workout clothes?

I’m not made of money, so I can say that I definitely do. When you’re an unemployed recent college graduate, you do whatever you can to save the dough. Plus I’m trying to be as money-conscious as possible before I move to the city in 10 days (!), where things get expensive fast.

But don’t worry, I’m not gross and never wash my clothes.

I’ve proven that already in the above picture! Basically, these are my guidelines:

  • If you barely sweat in it, re-wear it.
  • If it doesn’t smell awful, re-wear it.
  • Always wear sports bras at least twice before washing (explanation to come)
  • If it smells like a sweat-tastic workout, wash it.
  • Never wear underwear twice (see, I have boundaries!)

So let’s break it down with a little more explanation. If I barely sweat in the clothes, I’m sorry, but they’re not dirty enough for me to wash them. Laundry costs add up, especially when you have to pay at least $1.50 to wash and $1.50 to dry because washers and dryers are off-site. Not to mention workout gear is expensive and the more you wash it, the faster it wears out.

How do I tell if it’s ready for a wash? I simply smell it. If I have it right up in my nostrils and I don’t smell anything (or barely anything), I’ll re-wear it. But if I smell the sweat, I’ll wash it. I perform the sniff test after I’ve hung the clothes up to air out. There’s a good tip for ya: air out your workout gear. I hang them up instead of tossing them in with regular laundry. This way they’re less likely to be odor-rific.

This morning's gear ready to be hung.

I don’t think I need to explain the underwear guideline, but let’s look at the sports bra one. I always wear a sports bra at least twice before washing it. But I don’t wear them twice in a row; I have a pretty good rotation cycle going on so that each bra gets plenty of airing out time before its next use. Bras in general are expensive, but sports bras are extremely expensive. And just like any other workout gear, if you wash it a lot, it wears a lot faster. Cue the poor college graduate excuse again, and you really see why I don’t wash them after every use.

Lots o' bras.

I hope y’all don’t judge me and my clothes-wearing grossness. Is it even that gross? I know at least another handful of people who don’t wash their gym clothes after each session, so I can’t be the only one out there.

Tell me, what are your guidelines to re-wearing workout clothes? Do you wash them every single time or wait a little while? Should I have never told you my dirty little secret? 

Making Moves

Yesterday was an exhausting but productive day! I celebrated the first day of summer by meeting up with this lovely lady

Earlier this summer at Saranac Thursday.

Then packed up nearly her entire apartment and shoved it into a U-Haul U-Box. First I’m a painting pro, now I’m a packing expert! I’m tellin’ ya, I am quickly becoming the go-to girl for home projects 🙂

Stuffed.

I didn’t do it all by myself though. Liz’s fabulous family friends, Janet and Walt, let us use their truck so Liz’s mom could drive the U-Box. And I had these two knuckleheads nearby to carry all of the heavy stuff downstairs.

Liz's brother Michael.

Joey's brother George. Clearly I took these 2 pix from Facebook.

Manly, huh? They did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself. And I give myself a little pat on the back for making so much stuff fit in this little box! I wish I had taken a picture, but the dimensions were 5X7X8. Five feet long, seven feet wide and eight feet tall. That’s not a lot of space for a girl who’s been acquiring stuff in one apartment for three years. But we made it work and squeezed about 96 percent of her stuff into every nook and cranny.

Source.

The rest of the day consisted of running a quick two miles, picking up some last-minute stuff for the bachelorette party this weekend (!) and hanging out with Michael and George to end the evening. A pretty good day, indeed. Oh, I also enjoyed a delicious black raspberry milkshake the other day.

Sluuuuuurp.

If you haven’t had one of these, indulge and slurp it down! It’s so good!

Now it’s Wednesday (happy hump day) and it’s raining…on my one day off. Oh well, I suppose it allows me to be more productive. Time for a doctor’s appointment!

How did you celebrate the official start of summer? Any last-minute bachelorette party tips? 

Why I Relay

Happy Monday! I had a looong weekend and am finally playing catch up! But the great news is that Relay for Life was AWESOME and we raised over $75,400 for the American Cancer Society! My mom’s team did an amazing job and raised just over $3,400! What an amazing weekend spent beating cancer 🙂

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.

For those of you who don’t know, community Relays last 24 hours, which was a completely new experience for me because college Relays are 12 hours long. The whole day was fantastic and I really enjoyed walking around the track and participating in all of the fundraisers. I ended up completing 15 miles of walking in 11 hours, along with a few games of Kan Jam and an hour of Zumba (Fun Fact: I went to school and worked at the gym with the daughter of the guy who invented Kan Jam). It was scorching out, so I’m happy with the level of activity I had going on. I also had some delicious eats!

An apple a day...

Needed some dairy.

More fruit!

And the one that stole the show…

Pulled pork!

There was a tad too much barbecue sauce for my taste, but I still gobbled it right up.

Nom nom nom.

I also split a funnel cake with strawberry glaze with my sister, but forgot to snap a photo before we dug in. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you it both looked and tasted delicious. Multiple apples and packets of string cheese were consumed, and I had breakfast outside of the Relay, too. Yum!

Why I Relay

Instead of detailing every single thing that went down, I thought I would tell you about why exactly I Relay every year and then include some photos that I took at Saturday’s Relay. If you have any questions afterward, feel free to e-mail me or ask in the comments!

First and foremost, I Relay for my mom. My mom was diagnosed with muscle invasive bladder cancer when I was a freshman in college, and let me tell you, nothing hits you quite like hearing that your mother has cancer. After all, it’s MY MOM. I still remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with when she called and gave me the news.

My brother Justin and mom.

I remember breaking down multiple times throughout my mom’s battle, terrified that I was going to lose her. Even just typing this now makes me cry. Cancer is such a terrifying thing — it rips control away from the person dealing with it and turns their own body against them. My mom was literally fighting for her life every single day and I am so proud of her for the strength she showed through such a difficult time.

Luckily, I also remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with when my mom called and told me that she was officially in remission! I was in the dining hall with my roommate, Meghan, who was there for me every step of the way and we were lovingly dubbed “Relay Roomies” ever since our freshman year.

Love my roomie.

I also Relay for the many other people in my life who have been affected by cancer and survived. Liz’s dad conquered lymphoma when I was a young girl, a faculty member I was close with at my school, Jay Button, beat stomach cancer, and one of my cinema and screen studies professors, Amy Shore, was diagnosed with melanoma multiple times and sent it packing each time. These people are all a symbol of hope and they remind us every day that cancer can be beaten.

It's always there.

I Relay in honor of those we have lost to cancer. Right after my mom was declared in remission, Meghan’s aunt passed away. It was unbelievably cruel to experience so many emotions on either end of the spectrum. Each year Meghan and I team up and Relay to celebrate my mom’s life and to fight back against cancer for her aunt. If we don’t fight, cancer wins.

Messages to Heaven.

But we also Relay to remember those who have passed away from cancer. The co-founder of Colleges Against Cancer at Oswego State is Ginny St. Onge, a dear friend of mine whom I’ve known since I was a young freshman in college. She is one of the nicest, smartest and kindest women that I’ve ever met — all qualities that she got from her mother, Nancy St. Onge. Ginny founded CAC in honor of Nancy, who battled with breast cancer for six years. Sadly, Nancy passed away in October 2010. However, she did not lose her battle to cancer. Cancer was never able to steal her spirit, her smile, or her hope. It couldn’t take away the love that she shared with everyone.

Sending off our loving words.

We always honor those who are no longer with us at Relay and are reminded that they are with us, in spirit, every single day.

We love you.

Always in our hearts.

I Relay to fight back with everyone else who wants to beat cancer. There are so many people I don’t know personally who are battling or have battled cancer, and my heart goes out to them every day. Julie’s mom beat breast cancer and Caitlin’s neighbor, Tonya, is currently fighting an inoperable brain cancer. If you think about it, everyone you know knows someone who has been affected by cancer. I Relay because I can’t wait for the day when people don’t have to constantly hear the words “you have cancer” or “my special someone has cancer.”

Celebrate life.

Finally, I Relay because without events like these, my loved ones may not have had the resources they needed to fight cancer and stay in my life. I can’t imagine living a life without my mother in it and I’m so grateful each and every day that I still get to see my mom’s beautiful smile.

These people are why we Relay.

If you haven’t participated in a Relay for Life yet, I strongly encourage you to at least check it out. We’re at the peak of community Relay season now, so look for one and consider joining. You don’t have to stay for the full 24 hours, but think about going and seeing what it’s all about. I promise, it’s not all about being sad and crying. In fact, most of the time everyone’s smiling and laughing! You get to decorate your campsite to try to win cool prizes…

Before we decorated.

After!

And you can enter raffles to win sweet basket prizes…

"Day at the beach" basket.

"Margaritaville" basket!

"Life's a picnic" -- my mom made the quilt!

And they always have live bands and entertainment going on throughout the day. Plus a bunch of teams sell delicious eats!

That about sums it up for me. I hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend!

Are you participating in a Relay for Life this year? Have you ever? What did you think? 

Painting Like a Pro

First of all, thank you so much for your great comments and advice concerning my last post about getting back on track with food! It feels good to know I’m not the only one who has slip-ups here and there, plus y’all have some great tips!

I do want to clarify quickly though that I am not binge-eating when I talk about getting off track. I still eat proper portion sizes, I just haven’t made the best decisions when choosing which meals I’m going to have. For example, instead of having an adequate lunch during the last two weeks, I’d eat something super-small, be starving later, and go for whatever craving I saw first. Either way, I just thought I’d clear that up quickly because I’m proud of the portion control I’ve been able to instill in myself when it comes to indulgences. I fully believe in an “everything in moderation” policy when it comes to food, I just needed to scale back to proper moderation.

In other news, today has been a great Friday! I kicked things off with a delicious breakfast.

Rather tasty breakfast.

For some reason I was craving eggs today, but the thought of two didn’t sound appetizing. Weird, right? I went with it though and cooked up one egg to enjoy alongside a whole wheat English muffin (small smear of Smart Balance buttery spread) and a huge orange. Yum!

I perused the blog-o-sphere while I waited for my stomach to digest my breakfast, then laced up my sneaks and headed out for the run. The weather was perfect – not too hot or cold — because a thunderstorm was making its way into town. I love running right before and after a rain storm. The weather just always feels perfect to me.

Anyway, my run was phenomenal! I had my Garmin on but decided to ignore it after I hit the one-mile mark. My body felt amazing, my legs were fresh and my breathing was in a great pattern. I didn’t want to do anything to screw it up, so I just kept movin’ and groovin’ to the music pumping through my earbuds. I didn’t focus on running fast, I just wanted to run!

This run felt great.

I ended up completing 4.2 miles. I would’ve liked to hit five miles, and I know my body was up for it, but well, nature called. I couldn’t wait any longer, so I took a short cut home. I was a little slower than I usually am on my runs, but like I said, I just wanted to keep moving and didn’t focus on time at all. I felt so great afterward!

After a long stretch, a quick shower and getting ready for work, it was time for lunch!

An odd mix, but it works.

I had two pieces of leftover grilled chicken from last night’s dinner, a large banana and a bag of 15 pretzels. I ended up being full after the chicken and banana, so I saved the pretzels and noshed on them later in the day (hence the plastic baggie). I also ate an apple, which snuck by photography.

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go went. I’ve been working for Liz’s aunt the last two weeks to help get their house ready to sell. Which basically means I have become a painting pro. I painted their downstairs bathroom and am working on their upstairs bathroom. They had some pretty funky wallpaper in each room beforehand, so it’s taking awhile to make sure everything’s pretty. Not to toot my own horn, but the first bathroom came out pretty spiffy!

Sally loves sea shells down by the sea shore...

They were going for a beach theme. Cute, right?

Mellow yellow.

If anyone needs a room painted, I’m your girl 😉

This is what the upstairs bathroom looked like before I started finished putting two coats of white primer on it.

Yucky brown.

And this is me after a long day of painting.

Hot, sweaty mess.

The lighting in this whole room is funky right now, but I can assure you that this room is now obnoxiously white! Don’t worry, it’ll be green after.

Did you know that painting can be an awesome workout? I’ve done a ton of calf raises in the last week, not to mention squats and plenty of work with my arms raised above my head. I was constantly moving every day for four to six hours at a time. Feel the burn!

Speaking of moving around for long spurts of time, tomorrow is another Relay for Life! I’m participating in the community Relay at a local high school track with my whole family. I’ve never been a part of a community Relay, only the ones at my college, so this will be interesting! I have to be there at 9 a.m. and will be there until noon on Sunday (yes, over 24 hours of walking), so I probably won’t be able to post. I’m walking for a cure, baby!

All of the fam except brother Justin at Relay 2010.

I will make sure to update you on the event though, as well as give you the full story about why Relay is so important to me. If you feel moved to donate to the American Cancer Society (for a tax-deductible donation), please feel free to access my mom’s fundraising page. I don’t have my own set up for this Relay because I raised $526 for my other Relay for Life and well, I think I’ve tapped everyone out this year. But if you’re feeling generous, my whole family really appreciates it! Fighting cancer is really important to all of us.

With my college roomie Meghan at Relay 2009.

Have a great weekend!

What unconventional workouts do you love? Have you participated in a Relay for Life this year, or ever? 

Getting Back on Track with Food

Whenever I would train a client back at college, they would almost always ask me for tips about what to eat. At least, those who were serious about reaching their goals did. My answer?

“You can’t out-train bad nutrition.”

You can work out all you want, but if you don’t have proper nutrition to go with it, you’re not going to reach healthy results.

I know this, yet sometimes I fall off the wagon.

For the past two weeks, I haven’t been eating all that great. It’s not that I couldn’t, I just took the easy route and ate whatever was lying around. If it was already sitting there, I’d grab it and go. No point in cooking then, right?

Wrong.

I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks. Even though I haven’t been making the best decisions food-wise, I’ve been aware of each choice I made. Each bowl of ice cream I had, each handful of Hershey Kisses I munched on and each time I went out with friends for drinks and appetizers at a bar or restaurant, I recognized exactly what I was doing. I told myself, “I’m moving and don’t know when I’m going to see these people again so I need to enjoy it!”

While my excuse makes sense, that doesn’t mean I have to sabotage my diet. And when I say diet, it simply means the foods I choose to put in my body. I’m not a believer in the generic definition that is associated with “diet.” Instead, I believe that a healthy diet is simply a way of living. I eat fruits and vegetables because they make me look and feel great, while greasy foods make me feel lethargic and disgusting afterward (not to mention they make my skin break out like crazy).

I’ve also learned that I really need to plan out my meals. When I grab food on a whim is when I’m in trouble simply because I don’t like to cook. Don’t get me wrong, I can cook, I just hate doing it. It bores me to tears, so I avoid it whenever possible (I’m so lucky that Dustin is a great cook). I also need to avoid snacking at night. I’m really good about the food I put in my body throughout the whole day, especially when I plan things out. But when it’s nighttime and I don’t have anything going on, I start munching. And it’s never on anything healthy.

So I’m turning to you guys for support and advice. What are some of your food traps? And how do you avoid them? Any tips on how to beat mine? 

Continuing with my recent theme of change, I jump started my day with a yummy breakfast to help get me back on track. For breakfast, I gnawed on half of a banana and then slurped down a bowl of Special K corn flakes with one percent milk and the other half of that banana.

Yum.

I worked straight through lunch today because I was painting at work (oops), but made sure to grab a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread once I got home. I was craving something else after the sandwich, but instead of reaching for my mom’s basket of Hershey Kisses like I usually do, I peeled an orange and gobbled that up instead.

I wish I lived in Florida just for the fresh oranges.

My mom whipped up a delicious dinner a few hours later — chicken salad! Mine was filled with lettuce, cucumbers, egg, grilled barbecue chicken, a small amount of cheddar cheese (my weakness) and a drizzle of Italian dressing.

Delicious.

So good and an excellent, light summer meal! The only thing it was missing was some fresh tomato.

The only hard part right now about planning out my meals is that I don’t have access to things that I normally eat, like Greek yogurt, almond milk, oats and my daily creation of smoothies. Don’t get me wrong, my family still eats pretty healthy, but they don’t have some of the staples that I usually shop for. I would go buy them myself, but I’m trying to save money before I move. I’m very grateful that my parents are feeding me for free!

Regardless, I’m determined to get back on track!

What tips do you have for me? And has anyone else fallen off the wagon lately? 

Thank You from the Bride

For every wedding, the bride always says “thank you” in some way to her maid of honor and bridesmaids. Some plan an outing for everyone to go on together and others give gifts. Some wait until right before the wedding and others do it earlier. I received my thank you from Liz at the bridal shower and was instantly brought to tears.

Thanks a lot, Liz.

First, each of us received a thank you note that had a poem and hand-written note inside. I’m not going to share the note for privacy reasons, but here’s the beautiful poem she included.

When I walk down the aisle

On the day I say, “I do”

I’ll put my flowers in your hands

And I’ll be proud to stand next to you.

You’ll be the one who is by my side

On this very special day,

You’ll hold my strength in your heart

Because you stand for me in so many ways.

You have walked with me many times before,

And I am blessed to have you here now.

I treasure the honor of having you by my side

On the day that I say my vows.

Maid of Honor is not only a symbol

But a statement of loyalty and trust.

It gives new meaning to the bond

And the devotion we have between us.

So cute and heartwarming, right? I cried like a baby before I even got to the more personal stuff.

She also gave me cute little gifts that either matched my personality or would be necessary for the wedding day.

Swag.

  1. Kleenex — Because I’ve already proven that I’ll bawl like a baby at the wedding.
  2. Johnson’s body care “Melt Away Stress” Lavendar & Chamomile Lotion — Is she saying I have dry skin? I think it’s because she’s aware of how much stress I’ve been under lately.
  3. Mini Notebook — for the journalistic notes I’m always taking.
  4. Handmade blue makeup bag with my name embroidered on it — her mom made these for all of us! Super cute.

But the one that stole the show…

Shiny.

A high heel bottle opener! Shoes are my weakness and the same goes for Liz. She told me she saw the bottle opener and simply couldn’t leave the store without buying it. Obviously! Isn’t it adorable?

I'm going to be so fancy opening up bottles.

I'm in love.

If anyone could walk out of the store without this, I give them major props. It’s going to be put to good use once I’m officially moved into my new apartment 🙂

As a maid of honor, I just want to say that these gifts meant a lot to me. The actual presents were very nice and thoughtful, and I love that parts of it fit my personality rather than just a generic gift, but the note was the best part. It meant the world to me to have Liz recognize and actually thank me for the work that I’ve put into her special day. After all, weddings are a lot of work! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved every minute of this process and I’m glad I’m so involved with everything, but it truly meant so much to have her thank me for my efforts. She not only thanked me for my work, but reminisced on all of the good times we’ve had and everything we’ve been through together. Sometimes a little recognition is the best gift.

I truly have the best friend in the world and I cannot wait to stand next to her while she marries such an amazing guy.

Are you in any weddings this summer? What are some of the best gifts you’ve gotten from a bride?