A few phone pics to make up for my absence.

If anyone out there is still reading my blog, bless you.

There is no hiding the fact that I've been struggling with blogging on a regular basis. I have to log in and out of two different email accounts, I can't upload pics and have to wait for Brian's computer to be free... I could list all kinds of excuses, but it's all kind of beside the point.

Things have been pretty low key and quiet around here lately, so there just haven't been many things to talk about. When people blog about nothing, it's pretty painful to read. This pained feeling is likely what you are experiencing as you fight through this third paragraph.

I'll just move forward to my phone pictures, mkay?

This was my weather check on my phone Tuesday morning. Y'all, please think of this little picture the next time you want to complain about being a little bit chilly when it's a brisk 34 or so outside. When I got to my train stop, the trains were shut down because they couldn't handle the cold, so I was stuck outside for 45 minutes. A train finally came and took me my one stop to wait for my shuttle... where I waited for another 20 minutes. That would be over an hour, my friends, outside in the ZERO DEGREE WEATHER. I was numb I was so cold.

Over 50 inches of snow have fallen this winter. FIFTY. I was not bargaining for that when I made the big ole move to Boston. I snapped this on the way to work one morning, to show my parents how tall the snowbanks are getting. We're so lucky to live in a condo complex where snow removal is taken care of (sidenote: We're apartment hunting at the moment-- yaaaay!!-- and having a spot that takes care of snow removal is apparently a big deal. Whod've thunk it?), because on mornings like this, after our 3rd blizzard which hit Wednesday night, people not only have to shovel the foot of snow off of their driveways to move their cars, but they have to shovel through all of the EXTRA snow that the plows push onto their driveways off of the main roads.

I tell y'all, it's crazy.

My beautiful BFF Keegan is getting married in June and I have the lucky honor being a bridesmaid! We made the trek to David's Bridal on Saturday so I could be fitted for my dress (this is the dress, only Keegan picked a black dress with an apple red sash. So cute, but they didn't have the black in my size... hence the olive green dress... which I kinda like). I was the first bridesmaid to be fitted and told Keegan I'd send her a picture. Here it is!

The bridal salon is about 20 minutes away from the only outlet mall in Massachusetts, so of course we had to stop. Pre-losing weight, I was never a fan of Banana Republic because the clothes just never fit me right. On a whim, we stopped into the outlet store and JACKPOT! I found this sweater ($14.99 from $39.99) and the brown pants to match ($19.99 from $79). I've put myself on a bit of a budget, since we're getting things together to move and will have to buy furniture and such, so I really only went with the intention of looking for work outfits, which I found! I love this little outfit, and it's perfect for my office. Other than this, we came home with kitchen towels and hot chocolate mix from Williams-Sonoma, and Brian a new golf shirt from Izod. Anywho, I told my mom I'd send her a picture if I found anything cute-- she was a fan!

I snapped this today when I was leaving the grocery store. I was telling my mom about how bad the parking lots have been with all of the snow-- before the last storm, the news people were saying that there is literally nowhere left to clear the snow. My grocery store parking lot has literally lost half of the spots to stupid snow banks. If you look how tell the snow is compared to that truck, you'll have an idea. That's how it is all through all of the lots. Craziness.

Well, I'm off to bed for the night. We went to dinner at Brian's parents house and I have to admit, it wiped me out. Nights there are always full o' excitement, I tell you. I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and are gearing up for a fab work week! Total sarcasm intended on that "fab work week" part, but it seemed better than "dreading that tomorrow is Monday".

'Til later, my lovelies!

Oh, what a week it has been...

Oh, Friday, I have anticipated your arrival for four long days. Scratch that, three long days, and you could not have shown up any sooner.

To my lovely frequent readers, I have to apologize. I know that I've already fallen behind on my whole New Year's Goals thing with blogging, but I really don't have it in me to write a bunch of post-dated blogs, so I'm just going to roll with it and start fresh today!

Since it's been over a week since I last posted (other than my Dr. King post-- thank you for the sweet comments!), I'm going to go with the bullet format and bring everyone up to speed.

This past weekend, I did a dance with the stomach bug that's been making the rounds (and I mean seriously making the rounds. People from Arkansas to Georgia to Texas are fighting this thing). Without going into detail, it was the worst 24 hours of my life. Friday I was great all day and then started feeling not so hot after work. I hadn't eaten much so i figured a good meal would help-- we ate supper and I figured I was fine. Saturday morning we woke up and headed to Brian's aunt and uncle's condo in upstate New Hampshire for the night, along with his two cousins, one of their girlfriends, a best friend, and the girlfriend's five college roommates. Yes, a grand total of 11 people in a two bedroom condo with ONE BATHROOM. There were beverages and snacks and such, although I'd started to feel bad again and only had two or three drinks, had completely stopped by 11pm, and headed to bed by 12.

Around 12:30 I woke up to the sound of yelling-- this is never a good sign. It turns out that someone had used too much toilet paper in the one toilet in the place. There was no plunger. About this time, I started to feel 10 times worse and panicked. After Googling "how to unclog a toilet without a plunger" (for your own future reference, NOTHING works), everyone went to bed. I thought that I would be fine and just take deep breaths and leave first thing in the morning, my virus had other plans. After FIVE trips outside in the knee-deep snow, I woke up Brian and told him we had to leave right that moment. I must have sounded beyond serious, because he stumbled out of bed in a haze, we loaded into the snow-covered Jeep, and I drove the hour and a half back to the condo. Worst. Night. Of. My. Life.

In good news, I'm feeling much better and think it was only this 24 hour bug going around, but regardless-- I thought I was dying.

I started training for my half marathon this week. It is terrifying and daunting and overwhelming and... yes, that's pretty much it. This was not my week of "OMG it feels A-MA-ZING to be running and training for such a big goal!" Nah, it was much more like "You've gotta be kidding me, you blankity-blank Dreadmill-- I have NOT only run 1.42 miles, my body is telling me I have for sure been running for three hours."

Yes, that has been my inner battle this week. Notice that I said inner-- it's a complete mental thing. My body feels like it could run for hours, but as soon as I start to think too much about my distance or a pain in my leg, etc., I want to quit because it's hard, y'all. When I hit that point, I've just made myself repeatedly think "If running were easy, more people would be doing it" and it works. Usually.

My challenge has really been that I finally looked up the course for my Zooma Half Marathon in April and it is ALL HILLS. I don't know how I missed this major detail, considering it's running through the HILL COUNTRY outside of Austin, TX, but I did. Tragic, my friends. I emailed my old trainer, who is a hardcore, avid runner, and told her that I'm pretty stressed, hoping that she would fill me with words of encouragement. Nope. Girlfriend basically told me that hills suck and that I'd better start working in inclines on my treadmill runs now (*cue nervous laughter from the girl who never runs for long distances at any incline. At all. Not even 1.0*). Add one more challenge to my already challenging runs. Ah well, as I said-- if running were easy, more people would do it, right?

If you're a runner, do you have any tips on how to work incline training into your routine? Any help is welcome!!

I gained 4.8lbs last week, which was a majority of water weight and has been eliminated this week (TMI? My apologies.) I learned the hard way that eating Chinese food the night before your weigh-in does not a good weigh-in number make. And that's all I have to say about that.

  • I made Brian Kraft Mac & Cheese to eat with his leftover Trader Joe's Orange Chicken last night (we're classy like that). I had two bites and it was wonderful. Okay, four bites. And two tiny squares of dark chocolate. After this and a mug of TJ's Creamy Tomato Soup (my heaven in a cup), my day was complete.
  • It is snowing. Again. The loveliness is starting to wear off a bit.
  • I have two windows open in my browser right now: The Best of Boston's Comfort Food and an article from Women's Health about the Healthiest Foods in the World. Ah, the struggle of my life.
That's about all that I can think to ramble on about for the time being. I hope y'all have a fabulous Friday and and a wonderful weekend!

'Til later, my lovelies.

***I'm also working on a couple of older posts, even though I said I wasn't going to,
so scroll back a couple of days if you're interested!***

The Daddy and The Leg.

The last time that I posted, my dad was about to have his spatial frame removed. Well, my friends, after two long years of a broken leg and 19 months in his spatial frame, we have gone from this:

to this!!:

NO CAST! NO FRAME! (forgive my daddy for the appearance-- the man had just been through surgery, although he'd totally disown me if he ever figured out how to find the blog address that I've emailed him Lord knows how many times...)

In all honesty and seriousness, the first time that I saw this picture, I bawled.

Once we found out the frame was coming off, it was a complete "not until" game. Not until he checks in for surgery will I believe that this is really coming off. Not until he sees Dr. Brinker... Not until I talk to him after surgery... Not until they discharge him and he's home will I believe that it's not only coming off but STAYING off. But it is.

By this point, he's an old pro at the hospital stays and doctors appointments. As I was panicking from a thousand miles away and sending out prayer requests, I was receiving picture messages like this:

gangsta, fo sho.

Always the comedian. Whether it was for my sake or due to the pain meds, his humor was still in tact. My mom called about 9:30 to let me know that they'd taken him back, and by 9:40 she called back and said that they were done and he was in recovery. Y'all, that is mind blowing. They removed that frame plus the pins in under ten minutes. My mom called around lunchtime to tell me that she was with him and although groggy, he was awake and with it. She put him on the phone and I asked how he was feeling. His response? "It's a boy!" And then he fell asleep.

In all honesty and sincerity, it is overwhelming to think of how far he's come and how strong he's been. When my Grandpa, his daddy, called later that night, he told him that he's his hero. My grandpa is not a tender, sentimental kind of guy, so for my dad to hear that from him was huge. Every single person who I've shared his story with can only admire his strength and determination and patience. Dr. Brinker is a genius and a Godsend-- he saved my dad's leg. The doctor that my dad saw prior to finding Dr. Brinker said that there was an infection in the bone and that nothing could help to save it, that he was going to lose his leg. To go from hearing that to seeing this:

is beyond all of our wildest and most hopeful dreams.

There is still a lot to be done. He's on crutches until next Monday, the 31st, and is 150% non-weight bearing on this leg. There's no cast or anything now, just a bunch of really really tightly wrapped gauze and bandages, as you can see. When they go back on the 31st, they'll set up the plan for his recovery. He has months and months of rehab ahead of him, which he's prepared for and has been anticipating and anxious to start for a really long time. He is strong and determined and I feel like things are downhill from here on out. If he can endure what he has for the last two years, the effort that it takes to get his body back will be a snap.

I basically have to agree with my grandpa on this one. My daddy is indeed, without a doubt, my hero as well.

For Dr. King.

Before I was a "grown up," I took holidays like today for granted. I never really acknowledged what the reason for the vacation day from school/work was, opting instead to sleep in and catch up on my shopping and TV marathons.

Today, for some reason, has really struck something inside of me.

As I'm sure many, if not most, people know, today is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. I don't know many specific details about the man. I couldn't tell you where he was born, the names of each of his children, in what field he earned his doctorate, and so on. What I do know is that throughout my entire childhood, into young adulthood and even more so today, I have always been aware of how amazing and inspiring of a man that he was. The Civil Rights movement has always fascinated me, and in my eyes, Dr. King spearheaded and was the heart of the movement.

He took the risks and faced the challenges that so many others were too afraid to attempt. Where might we be today if these risks had not been taken? That is a scary thought to ponder.

He sparked interest and dedication in the idea that minorities were just as equal deserved every opportunity that non-minorities did. Where might we be today if the idea of equality amongst people, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, ancestry, had never been approached, had never been fought for, had never been the life or death focus of so many movers and shakers who were determined to break the trend of discrimination?

He stuck to his guns and did not back down from His Dream despite the views of his naysayers, the countless death threats and taunts of people who swore that different races would never be considered as one. Where might we be today if people had not heard his speeches and felt the stirring in their own hearts to make a difference, to stand up with Dr. King and become one of the movers and shakers who have made the changes in our history that have brought us to where we are?

While America has certainly made leaps and bounds of changes in the area of equality and justice and fair rights, hostility and hate still thrives. While this makes me sad, I'm also proud to know that so many people have made enormous sacrifices to bring us to where we stand now. While Dr. King was not the single heartbeat of the Civil Rights movement, he had the power and soul in his words that moved people to join him and to fight for their rights and take a stand... and that is amazing.

It's a wonderful thing that today, his birthday, has been observed in honor of his work and of his individual person for the past twenty-five years. I hope that people might take a moment from their day, as lovely as a break in the workweek is, and think about why we have today off. Regardless of the color of someone's skin, I firmly believe that other changes and advances have been made in regards to equality, due in large part to Martin Luther King. The desire to make changes in the world and the belief that these changes are achievable was only sparked by Dr. King. Prior to his influence, people might not have felt that there was a fighting chance that things would ever change... but they did. He gave people hope and now, forty-seven YEARS after he made his "I Have A Dream" speech, his dream has come true.

In my heart of hearts, in an ideal and perfect world, everyone would be created equal and, even more importantly, be treated and viewed equally. While I don't agree with all views, I am not one to pass judgment and believe that people should be treated as the individuals that they are, regardless of any differences that they might have that may set them apart from others. If I had lived in the time of Dr. King, I have no doubt in my mind that I would have been influenced by his words and felt compelled to join him in his marches and his movements to fight for what is right.

While I'm not a mama yet, I will without a doubt make sure that my future babies know why they have this particular day off from school, and how important it is to remember that the chances that they and their friends and classmates may have is due in part to the dedication and sacrifices of amazingly strong people from the past.

So, to wrap it up, thank you, Dr. King, for all that you did, for all that your words have continued to do, and for the ultimate sacrifice that one can give. Although you were not able to physically see your dreams come true, so many people worked in your honor to make sure that all will be created equal. And, slowly but surely, equality is being achieved.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Perhaps I'll do a snow dance...

source: boston.com

So I don't know if you heard or not, but Boston recently got A LOT of snow. Like enough to basically shutdown Logan Airport and keep me from getting back to Boston on TWO rescheduled flights.

As much as the majority of Boston hemmed and hawed and complained about the snow... I was majorly regretting that I'd missed it. One of my favorite parts about living in New England is the fact that from December through February (and sometimes earlier/later), the ground is almost guaranteed to be covered in that gorgeous white stuff.

Snow has been my most favorite thing for as long as I can remember. Once the weather hit 55 in Texas, I had out my knit cap and scarf, ready to face the balmy breeze of our winter. On the rare occasion that we would have our ice storms or *gasp* even a bit of snow, my brother and I would wholeheartedly play in that ice until we could no more. When the weatherman would predict winter weather (FACT: Texas weatherpeople are the most undependable of all weatherpeople), I wouldn't sleep, waking up all throughout the night to peek out of our living room window, hoping wishing and praying that the ground would be covered. Strongly as a result of this disappointment (and among many other things, duh), I decided to move to Boston.

For as long as I live, I'll never forget my first real snowstorm.

I had a final exam on campus for my Backgrounds to Literature class (we started with the Bible and worked our way through the Greek classics. It was, in three words, a long semester). It had lightly started to snow when I arrived, outfitted in my cute peacoat and FLATS, but by the time we were midway through the exam, my professor looked outside and announced that it looked "like the apocalypse out there". Gee, Dr. Blessington-- thanks for that. By the time I handed in my exam, there was a full-on blizzard outside with a good 3-4 inches already on the ground. Let's just say that many inches are taller than my flats stood. I traipsed through the snow (no hat) to my train stop and waited... and waited and waited. An hour later, my train still had not come, so I walked to the next stop on that track. When a train finally came, two businessmen were about to crowd on but looked down at my feet and said "She needs on a train NOW". (Looking back, this might have been my one and only encounter with frostbite.) After a three and a half hour commute home on public transportation, I finally made my way to my apartment through a stinking winter wonderland. It was beautiful, magical, exciting... seriously.

It is as if God has felt my sadness at having missed the last storm because tomorrow, my friends, comes round 2!! They're projecting 10-15 inches for my area and I'm just about beside myself with excitement. Since I live an hour away from work, I'm praying for my own little snow day tomorrow. I plan to curl up in my pajamas in my big, warm bed with one of my new books, and a pot of taco soup simmering away on the stove. I won't know the status of work until late tonight/early tomorrow, but can we all do a little snow dance in hopes that this 25 year old can have her own little personal snow day tomorrow? Thanks in advance.

***On a more personal note, my dad is heading to Houston today for his final round of cat scans on his leg. After a day full of doctors appointments, he meets with his surgeon at 9am tomorrow to find out if the bones have completely healed or if he'll be needing an additional surgery to insert a rod into his leg. Any prayers and good wishes that anyone may have would be so, so appreciated. It has now been 26 months since he first broke the two bones, and 18 months since the frame was put on his leg. My dad is such a get-up-and-go kind of person, and having this frame on his leg for two years has taken a toll on him, both mentally and physically. As a family, we're all so beyond ready for his leg to be healed and strong, and for the frame to come off and for the intensive rehab that we know is next to begin. There aren't many people that could have handled being in his situation for so long, but he's done it and now it's time for him to have a break! Again, prayers and positive thoughts would be so appreciated :)

'Til later, my lovelies!

A simple Saturday? Yes, please!

Father of the Bride Part II is on TBS right now. It's so old that it's all distorted because it's not in HD, but I love it so much I can't stop watching it.

This weekend is shaping up to be quite fab, I have to admit.

Brian found out earlier this week that he's being promoted to a different department at work, which is fabulous and exciting for him. He gave his notice to his current managers yesterday and they were basically fighting over trying to keep him in his current department with a promotion-- yes y'all-- he's THAT good. In all honesty though, he's been in this position for over a year and it's just not the kind of challenging work that he's looking for, so it was definitely time for a change. I think it was a validation for him though, to know that his managers really appreciate him and know how good they have it with an employee who works as hard as he does.

SO, in honor of Brian's Big Week, we went out to dinner last night at a little Italian restaurant near us called Rustic Kitchen. We always drive past it and have always wanted to stop in, but this time we actually had a reason to celebrate and make a night of it. After ordering a delish glass of sangria and Brian a drink, we put in an order for an appetizer of Italian spring rolls- "sweet Italian sausage spring rolls with provolone fondue and marinara"-- um, have mercy and count me in PRONTO. So we chatted and waited, I momentarily lost my promise ring (all is good, it was found), we people watched, waited, ate some bread, waited... and then our dinners came. Y'all, I was kind of fuming. I knew that I had to weigh-in this morning, so I ordered a great salad for dinner, knowing that I would indulge a bit in my appetizer. EXCEPT IT DIDN'T COME.

At first I let my like, hungry monster inside get really mad and pouted. Yes, I pouted over food. Once I realized how ridiculous I was being, I had to take a couple of deep breaths (man was I hungry for that sausage and fondue though...), enjoy my salad... and head to Pinkberry afterwards. All was well and tasty.

This morning I was up and at the gym by 7:30 to get in a run and an hour of spin, headed to Weight Watchers (down 3.2 this week!), picked up coffee and breakfast and made it home. My goal this weekend is to clean and get all of my Christmas stuff 100% taken down and stored away, so we have to run by Target to get actual storage containers for my ornaments and such. Other than that, it's supposed to snow on and off today, so our plan is to run our few errands, stop by the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner, and proceed to watch football, eat snacks, and cook a good supper. After so much constant running and going the past few weeks, I'm ready for the little break.

Oh, and because I love myself and my boy, we will be making these for dinner tomorrow night:

Ree Drummond, you Pioneer Woman, you... you make my heart sing.

'Til later, my lovelies!!

Bah humbug to January, indeed.

I think that the January slump is upon me.

Today was the first time that I have worked out since last Friday morning. It was a sad, sad sight. I did 20 minutes on the arc trainer, then tried to run a 5k and legitimately couldn't get through 10 minutes. It was like every possible ache and pain that I could feel, I did-- my knees, my back, my shins. So I went back to the arc trainer to finish out the most pathetic 45 minute workout that I've had in awhile. The good news? I went back to the gym. The bad news? It almost felt like a pointless workout and that's just never fun at all.

It's so frustrating because I ran the entire time that I was home in Texas over Christmas, like 3 miles a day. And it felt good. Not easy, but good. I think the big was that I was running outside. While time doesn't exactly fly by, it certainly feels like it goes quicker than when I'm on the treadmill. Unfortunately, with me leaving for work while it's still dark and leaving work after it's dark, there are zero options for me to run outside right now. On top of the darkness, it's in the 20s in the morning and I like my warm PJs at home more than frostbite on a road, thankyouverymuch. It's just such a mind game because I know that my body is physically capable to run and train, but when I'm stuck working out on equipment inside, I just can't get past this mental block. Ugh to that.

Also, I have been extra moody today because as of Monday I recommitted to the Weight Watchers Points+ program. Let me tell you, although I have followed this program for the past year and have seen fabulous results, after basically being off of it for over a month, it is NOT easy to start fresh and eat healthy again. While I didn't go crazy over the holidays, I did let myself indulge. I promised myself that I would not go home and torture myself over wanting but not allowing some of my favorite foods that I rarely get a chance to eat. Combined with the running everyday and lots of socializing, I maintained for two weeks and then gained 2 pounds at last Friday's weigh in. I was okay with it, mainly because I knew I had managed myself the best that I could in my situation, and I knew what I had to do to get it back off.

However, now that I've been actually writing my food and points down and having to manage things again, it's HARD to get back into a routine. I already feel a difference in my body with cutting out fast foods and snacky stuff like chips and cookies, which I openly allowed myself before/around/over the holidays. Good difference or not, I'm still fighting that phase where you're craving the goodies that you let yourself have.

(Just a sidenote: This is not going to be a WW blog, all about my cravings and food and weight loss. Participating in WW is a big part of my life and my routine though, so I will obviously document my struggles/accomplishments on occasion. Off my soapbox :) )

I'm feeling bummy, so that's all for today.

'Til later, my lovelies!

So many languages in the world and a smile speaks them all.

A smile can be worth a thousand words. A thousand words that can remain unspoken; that someone could not verbalize but felt in their heart; that someone might not have even known that they needed to experience before the smile shared with them even occurred.

A smile can make a terrible day worthwhile; a sad day worth toughing out. A smile can be private or beaming; flirtatious or sincere; mischievous or kind; wicked or reassuring.

While a smile from someone near and dear to you is always nice, sort of like a secret handshake, a reassurance that this friend, family member, love, etc. is still on your side and in on the game with you, a smile from a stranger is entirely different.

To smile at a stranger is to take a risk. In the .005 seconds that it takes for you to decide if your mouth will greet someone or disregard them, thoughts race through your mind: "Will they smile back? Will they dismiss my cute frown-turned-upside-down? Will they wonder why on earth this random person is smiling at them? Oh, I'm being silly... just look up for goodness sa- Ah. They smiled back. It was definitely my friendly non-frown."

People of Yankeeland are so very different than the people of my country (Texas, obviously). They're often cold and abrupt, far too busy and important to pause and offer up a smile to an unsuspecting passerby. Regardless, I've stayed true to my word (and vows to my Mama) and have not let my South escape me. Whether I'm hurrying down the street, waiting in line at the grocery store, sorting out issues with people at work (y'all, I even smile on the phone. Believe me, you can hear a smile in someone's voice just as clearly as an aggravated frown), I always smile. I like to think that maybe, just maybe, it might bring a little bright moment to someone's day.

Today was a long, rough, endless day for me. When I finally made my way to a seat on my shuttle that takes me to the train (a lovely commute, indeed), I looked up to see a fellow rider boarding. As tired as I was, I dutifully looked up, our eyes met, and I smiled. Her eyes opened a bit wider as she perhaps contemplated the surprise at what I, this stranger, had just done.

And then she smiled back.

Right there in those two seconds stood the reason that I always make an effort to smile and anyone and everyone. Today I was the person who unknowingly needed a little smile. I teared up the tiniest bit as I felt in that moment that my efforts are not always lost on those who have better things to do than smile at a stranger.

I'm all about the giving, but as nice as it is to offer a smile, they're still always awfully nice to receive.

Two posts in one day? It must still be early in '11...

I have a Christmas post with pictures from my trip home all in the works, it's just not quite done yet.

Brian and I drove to a house his friends rented on New Year's Eve and somehow made it back to Boston by 11am on New Year's Day. I have a handful pictures, and there are stories that I will not be sharing, due to the fact that I'd like to keep my job. Again, this is not ready.

Because I'm such a phenomenal blogger, I'll simply cover and share what's up with me as of late.

*I'm obsessed with a wrap that I ordered at Au Bon Pain and have taken to making on my own-- a La Tortilla Factory 100 calorie wrap, 2 tbsp red pepper hummus, lots of spring mix greens, kalamata olives, and sliced grape tomatoes. It is the bomb.

*While in Texas for Christmas, my flight back to Boston was cancelled twice, which meant an extended vacation for me. As lovely as it was to have more time with my family, there's only so much sci-fi TV that I can handle watching with my dad.

*I had a fabulous Christmas and received, among lots of other things...

a Polar heart rate monitor
the cutest apron ever

this little book which I can't wait to jump into

these pretty little things
And lots more. It was a very blessed and happy Christmas for my family, indeed. Gifts or no gifts, it was perfect just being home with my family and animals and relaxing and eating... a lot. I may have had Chick-fil-a three times and enough queso to fill my boots. Ah, home.

*Tonight is the first date night that Brian and I have had since I've been back in Boston. We're going to our most favorite restaurant, Not Your Average Joe's, and to see True Grit, where I just might sneak in a little Christmas candy and order popcorn. Nothing beats movie popcorn, my friends...

*Crate & Barrell's Christmas clearance sale. Seriously. Brian has been instructed to put my debit card on lockdown. It's just so darn tempting...

*Valentine's Day is my next favorite holiday that's coming up!! People may get all Negative Nancy and say that it's just a greeting card holiday, that there's no point in it at all... ll of the pink and hearts and sweet, mushy stuff-- sign me up! And if someone will buy me these cookie cutters, I'll make you Cupid sugar cookies to your little heart's content. Seriously.

*This goes against everything that my Weight Watchin' body is telling me, but I've heard so many things about the Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark that I just might bite the bullet and order some. It's on sale, and how on earth could you beat the goodness that is peppermint and chocolate melted together? You just can't.

Well, I've typed my way to lunchtime, so I'm off to enjoy my wrap. And an orange. Do I wish that a big ole bag of Cheetos would be joining me? Obviously, but I'll just act like that little desire/craving/need isn't there. Hello, hormones-- so nice to see you again.

'Til later, my lovelies!

A new year, a new day... a few days late.

It's not a great sign of things to come when your New Year's Resolution is to blog every day of 2011 and you don't start until January 4th. In my defense, things have been all kinds of crazy lately in my neck of the woods, so y'all will have to just be patient with me for a bit.

Considering the fact that I've never been all that hot in keeping up with resolutions, I've opted this year to instead stick to making and (hopefully) achieving goals. As most good bloggers do, before I list my goals I must reflect on my past-- I'm all about the reflection.

Looking back, 2010 was a heck of a year...

My relationship with my family strengthened and proved that it will always be there, no matter what we may face or how far apart we may be.

My love for Brian deepened as we moved in together and realized that we really do complement each other, through tears and tiffs and smiles and celebrations.

I graduated from college student to working girl and settled in at a good fresh-out-of-college job.

My cooking skills flourished as I made supper every night for me and Brian, wading outside of my food comfort zones and trying so many new foods and recipes. The processed foods have slowly lessened in my diet (minus the occasional Cheetos and Godiva... a girl can only give up so much), and the fast food stops have drastically decreased (again, minus the occasional bean burrito. Oh Taco Bell, you sing the song in my heart...).

The world of repaying student loans fell upon me and I learned how to budget my money and walk the fine line between "I NEED that" and "I WANT that" (so not all that easy when you're getting your first real world checks straight into your bank account, but so worth it in the end). I've laughed a lot and I've cried a lot; I've made new friends and weeded through my old.

For the first time in my life, I ran completely on purpose, out of pure happiness and enjoyment, not force or due to being chased. I ran a lot. I ran and I liked it. I ran RACES and fell in love.

After indulging in one too many football dips and bowls of pasta, I joined Weight Watchers and lost right at 40 pounds (sidenote: I'm not flaunting the number but I'm darn proud of myself, so the amount lost stays). It's amazing what losing 40 pounds can do, other than get you fabulous new clothes. Silly aches and pains are gone (seriously, I'm only 25 with all of the moaning and groaning and creaking of an old lady), getting winded is no longer an issue, I cross my legs like the skinny girls. Being thinner may not be everything, but it sure does feel good.

As fabulous as 2010 was, I'm feeling really optimistic about the kind of year that 2011 may play out to be. There are lots of things kind of juggling around right now which I'll share as I know more, but I'll just say that it's looking like exciting things could be on the horizon for me/us.

And now for The Goals of 2011-- The Year of Me
  1. Continue staying focused on the new Weight Watchers Points+ program. Stay willing to be open to new foods, recipes, and advice until I reach my goal.
  2. Reach goal.
  3. Run the Zooma Half Marathon in Austin, TX on April 16, 2011. I'm running in Texas because there's no way I'd cross that first official half finish line without my family there to see me do it.
  4. Blog daily.
  5. Read at least one book each month.
  6. Go on a random weekend trip with Brian, just because.
  7. Plan a vacation for just me and Brian, not to see family or go with friends.
  8. Fly home to see my family more often, even if it's just for a weekend.
  9. Run as many smaller races as I can manage-- 5ks, 10ks, half marathons...
  10. Be a better friend. Whether it's mailing cards just to say hi or making sure to return phone calls, be a better friend.
  11. Work on researching my family ancestry. I'm all kinds of interested, and I think this would be such a neat project.

Well friends, there you have it. Since I'm vowing to blog once a day from here on out, you'll be able to keep track on my progress (or failures). I'm looking forward to seeing what this year has in store for me, my family, and my friends, and I'll be anxious to report back to y'all.
Keep me on my toes!

'Til later, my lovelies.