Thursday, May 29, 2014


May has been so hectic, crazy, all over the place. It has been awesome, don’t get me wrong, and I had a lot of fun but it has left me exhausted. And I am sad, well sad-ish, to say that June will be equally chaotic. I think I only have enough energy in me for one more month of traveling and then I’m done. I am taking a traveling hiatus until September.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I love traveling. And E and I have had some amazing adventures these past months. It’s been awesome. But I am tired.

And I feel all out of sorts from the lack of routine.

And my body hates me for eating out so many times.

And the beers. So many awesome beers.

I regret nothing.

I just know that this cannot be the norm.

I need routine.

Morning workouts, Hugh Jass (aka huge ass) salads for lunch, consistent sleep, and lots of water.

I also need time to focus on my schoolwork.

And time to focus on unpacking.

And no, I don’t mean unpacking my suitcase although that needs to be done, too. No, I mean unpacking all of the boxes piled up in the living room and spare bedrooms just waiting to be opened and put away. We knew that with two vacations (well one is a work conference) almost back to back after the move in that it would be until mid-June before we had the time to dedicate to unpacking so I am not stressing out about the clutter I see every day. But I am getting anxious (in a good way) just to have some of my own stuff in the house. To make it our place, not just E’s place. You know?

And it is also time to focus back on my baby…my little baby garden.

Ok, ok. It’s a garden. It doesn’t require much of my time or effort but it is still something I need to take care of (and I enjoy doing so) and pretty soon it will be time to build up garden #2. July is right around the corner.

My point to all this….

Well, there really isn’t a point. I have been traveling a lot (awesome) but because of it I’m tired (not really awesome) but I am hopeful that soon enough things will settle down and life will start to feel normal again (awesome).

I look forward to future posts telling you about T25 (I re-started week 2 because I didn’t get much done while on vacation), maybe I'll start posting some recipes once I am cooking from the vegetable garden, and hopefully lots of fun beach/school/beer/travel/not traveling updates from me and my partner in crime. Next week we will be in Orlando and Tampa and Sunday I get to swim with the manatees. I am thinking this might end up being the highlight of my life. Even better than all the baby farm animals I got to hug in Georgia. I’m sooooo excited.

Until then I will leave you with some of my favorite pictures from our Philly/NJ/Delaware trip...

 We went to Dogifish Head - both the brewery and brewpub...

We recreated this photo~ the one on the left was from July of 2008!

Much needed (but never long enough) time with my best friend...

 Yards Brewery in Philly....


Catching up with one of my closest friends from high school...
Getting to spend time with high school buddies before (and after) the Phillies game

Getting Erick hooked on real fresh-baked soft pretzels... 

We ran the 'Rocky' steps (E actually has a video of me doing this) 

The Phillies lost but we got to witness history as Josh Beckett pitched a no-hitter

Lots of sleepy airplane photos...


And quite possibly my favorite photo of all time...

Love and hugs,


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Well That was Tough

Well folks, I did it.

I survived week one of T25.  Woo hoo!

It may not seem like much to most but for me it was a huge accomplishment.  

And along the way here is what I found…

Pride- This is the most intense workout I have done since surgery. I still am very limited when it comes to cardio endurance and core strength so to get in 6 pretty freaking intense workouts over 5 days was beyond amazing

Strength- Not only did I feel accomplished by completing the workouts I also realized how much strength I had started to gain back when I did burpees for the very first time since surgery. Burpees are the worst. I hated them before the surgery and after I was unable to do them. Until now. This is a good indication that I am ready to resume boot camp classes in the fall, if my schedule allows it

Determination- And not only was the workout tough, it wasn’t always easy fitting it in to my schedule either. Sunday morning I couldn’t work out because E’s BIL was sleeping in the living room (AKA my fitness room) and so I had to move my workout until the evening- AFTER I spent the day moving. I was exhausted and still pushed myself to get up and do it. That was both surprising and rewarding.

I love this program so far. It is intense, for sure. It is no joke. But it is short and I can fit it in most mornings before I get ready for work.
Super sweaty after my 'double down' (back to back workouts) this morning!

But what I really love is having weekly and daily goals again. I was starting to feel a bit aimless, a bit lost. I think that’s to be expected though. I spent like 18 months super focused on weight loss goals, then I spent almost a year focused on half marathons and that training schedule, then there was the triathlon, and then after that…nothing.

It wasn’t long after the triathlon that I was separated, then divorced, and then had surgery and wasn’t able to do anything. And after I was cleared to work out again I slowly got back into it only to have another surgery and further residual fitness setbacks. Since I was cleared a second time to work out again, 6 weeks ago, I have been traveling and traveling and packing and moving. Just all over the place. So I am beyond ready for some structure and focus again.

This week, and then again in two weeks, I will be traveling. But this time I am planning on setting myself up for success and bringing both my laptop and T25 DVDs and will try to stick to the training plan, as best I can, as outlined. Not necessarily because I feel that I need to but more so because I want to. I do better with a bit of structure, some goals, and time to focus on my fitness and strength.  

Just like everything else in my life, it is all about balance.

Don’t think for a single minute that this re-established focus means no more beers…that will never happen.

I shudder at the idea ;)

Have you tried T25 or any of the Beach Body programs? What are/were you thoughts?

Love and hugs,


Monday, May 19, 2014

My (hopefully) Green Thumb

I love, love, love my little garden.  It is a raised bed garden, just 4’ by 4’, and I used the square foot gardening method to plant.

Planting Day 5/8/2014

I am a total novice and am learning as I go along but I have to say I am getting really excited at the prospect of being able to successfully grow, and then eat, any of it. It hasn’t even been two weeks but I am seeing signs of life as I have a few baby tomatoes and peppers forming. 
One week later- 5/15/2014


When I bought the plants from the nursery (I didn’t start any of these from seeds) I asked the woman working whether or not I should stake them as I planted. She told me not to worry about it right away but after only a week a few of my pepper plants had doubled in size so this weekend I went out and got some wooden stakes and some tomato cages. I couldn’t hold off any longer.

*On a side note, after reading up on what plants needed to be staked most gardeners seemed to recommend staking when you plant so as to not damage any roots doing so later. Duly noted for next time. Hopefully I didn’t maim anything too badly.

Anywho, on this go around we planted onions, basil, Japanese eggplant, cucumbers (one of which I think is dead- it was pretty jacked up when I planted it), peppers, tomatoes, cantaloupe and watermelon. Sometime in July we are going to build a second raised bed and come August plant our fall crops; beets, carrots, lettuce, Swiss chard, and peas. With these vegetables I am going to direct seed, instead of buying germinated plants, as all of these crops do well through direct seeding- from what I’ve read.

And if our first garden is completely harvested by September we will plant some broccoli and brussel sprouts in that one.

Another thing gardening related that I am really excited about is composting. We just got a pretty decent sized (37 gallon) compost bin. Well, decent sized for us and our soon to be two small beds. I am really looking forward to have some of my own compost ready to be used on the next go around. Not only will it save me money (I bought a TON of mushroom compost for my current garden) but it is also a great way to ‘reuse’ the plethora of food scraps I would typically throw out. We already have a nice base of yard clippings and food scraps to start with so I am pretty excited.

This garden brings me so much joy already that I can’t imagine what it will be like when I am actually harvesting and preparing my own organic fruits and veggies. I think it is going to be pretty dang awesome.

Do you garden? Any gardening tips or tricks you’d like to share?

Love and hugs,


Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Story Not My Photo

I have a confession to make.

I sometimes get a bit caught up in someone else’s drama when I really have no reason or right to be involved.

Let me explain.

Controversial topics/discussions can bring out the best and worst of humanity. And for some reason, on some days, I just love to read about what everyone has to say. Case in point: the whole Brooke v Shape magazine story. I read what seems like every blog, article, and media post about this story. Because I love Brooke, she is awesome.

But then, then sometimes I would do something quite idiotic and read everyone’s comments on said posts.

Which is frustrating as hell when you are completely on one person’s side and think their opinion is valid and right and get annoyed when others don’t see it that same way. Logical, right?

I know better that I should just back away from the comments. But no, like a moth to the flame I am drawn to them. Even when I am getting more flustered and angered and disappointed, I still read.

But in the midst of all the extremely positive supportive words (thankfully most comments are) and extremely negative and hateful words there always seems to be at least one comment that is neutral. And thought- provoking. And brings light to another issue not being discussed.

In this case it seems like we are viewing this topic as if there are only two sides.

We see one side of the coin being:

·         Shame on mainstream media for making me feel like my body is flawed/gross/unacceptable/disgusting/unattractive

And the flipside:

·         Shame on those fighting mainstream media for telling me what is and is not beautiful and cutting me down for not agreeing with them

But what about this point? The one that a lot of folks seem to be missing:

·         Why is either side fighting to continue associating beauty with outward appearances???

Why in 2014 are we still fighting over body image and body perception and body shame?

Why are we not advocating for beauty being kindness, warmth, lovingness, caring, strength, generosity, grace, friendship, loyalty, intelligence, courage, tenacity?

When will we all recognize the importance of being a good person over being a good looking person?

I want people to read my story and be inspired. Or encouraged. Or motivated. Or hopeful.

Rather than someone see my picture and feel that way.

Or not.

And then fight about it. And fight about what I stand for as a human being because of some idea they have conjured up.

All based off of a stupid picture that could never capture anything close to the essence that makes me the BEAUTIFUL person that I am.

So, if you ask me- Brooke is beautiful. And I have always felt that way.

But not because she is thin or fit or because she has long hair or because she looks great in a bikini. But because she is kind and funny and strong and loving and supportive and a million other things that make her a great person and a great friend.

To me, there will always be three groups caught up in this issue; those fighting to keep the beauty industry thriving, those fighting against the ideals that industry perpetuates, and those trying to step away from both.

I have been a part of the first two groups as both a willing participant and not.

But I would much rather be a part of the last. Helping to move beyond the notion that personal beauty is something we can quantify by weight, height, and measurements or something we can capture with a camera lens. But more so beauty being a quality one possesses because of their actions and behaviors.

That seems like a kinder, gentler, more loving world.  A world where comments about a photograph might not be quite as hurtful or brash.

Yeah, call me a hippie (I totally know I am) but really? Wouldn’t you want to live in this world?

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to Tell My Story

I rarely, rarely ever try to push my weight loss story out into mainstream media.

Just like I don’t really do much of anything to promote my blog, I do even less to promote my story.

Not sure why but I think it’s a mix of laziness, not having enough free time to spend trying to promote and grow the blog, and also- it’s just not really me. I say this because I just blog for fun. I like the social aspect and camaraderie that blogging brings to my life. And that’s really all that I want out of it. It’s an outlet for me to speak my mind, to work through struggles, share my happiness, and amazingly enough it has helped create so many new friendships, and rekindled some old, along the way. It’s been quite the whirlwind adventure.

But today, I saw on FB my friend Ashley posting that she submitted her story to Shape magazine to be part of the spread that will be featuring Brooke’s story. If you heard the piece on the Today Show (or caught wind of it on E!) you know that they will be featuring Brooke and five others in a piece showcasing the realities of extreme weight loss. And for some reason I decided I wanted to submit my story too.

I quickly pulled together an email and sent it along with some pictures.

I wasn’t really sure what to write or how I could differentiate myself from the probably thousands of others submitting their story. I knew I didn’t really have a ‘hook’ or something super amazing wonderful to help sell myself so I just told my story, as briefly as possible, and included what I thought made my story different and why it would be important to share.

So, without further ado- here is what I sent to Shape magazine.

Title: My Not Quite Brooke-ish Weight Loss Story

First off, let me say that I love Brooke Birmingham, she is a friend of mine, and I hold her story and everything she stands for in the highest regard. I am proud to know her.

My story, however, is a bit different.

I, too, lost a substantial amount of weight (130 lbs.) and it happened over the course of about 2.5 years. Part of that time was spent as a Weight Watchers member but towards the end of my weight loss I found that the program just didn't work for me anymore.

I found most of my success in weight loss through mindful eating, food journaling, monitoring my hunger scale/hunger cues, and being more active- novel concepts, I know.

At my known heaviest, 286 lbs., I knew this wouldn't work for me if I turned to extreme diet and exercise as I had tried unsuccessfully many times before. This time it had to be different. So I started doing the only thing I could do- walk. I walked and walked and walked. And it hurt. At almost 300 lbs. the act of just walking a mile or two took a huge toll on my body. But I stuck with it. After time I moved from walking, to lifting weights, to boxing, to yoga, to Nia, to Pilates, to cycling, to running. The evolution took me from hardcore couch potato to half marathoner and even triathlete. This transformation led me to do things I never dreamt were possible

I also started changing how I ate. Looking back now, I know the choices I made then in my early days of weight loss were still not the healthiest but they were way better than how I used to eat and they were what got me focused on eating differently (less processed, more whole foods, fuel for my body) and over time led me to where I am today.

So, essentially when you boil it all down- Brooke and I did have similar journeys. Mine however, did result in me having skin removal surgery around my abdomen. Although I often say that this surgery was for medical reasons (which is true- my doctors pushed me to get it for 2 years due to health issues it was causing) I would be lying if I did not say that part of me did it for cosmetic reasons as well. I worked really hard, I literally worked my butt off and lost a whole human’s (a healthy 5' 5" female) worth of weight, and to have skin issues was hard to deal with. No one wants to have to tuck their loose skin into their size 6 jeans. No one wants to have to lift up their loose skin to clean themselves- not when they have worked so hard to move past those days. So, after much encouragement from my doctors, family and friends I had the surgery last December (I have a ton of pre and post-surgery pictures) and have been really happy with my decision since.

I think that my story shows a different side of weight loss than Brooke's- it shows what life is like if you opt, like I did, to have surgery. I think this is also an important side to show because a lot of people battling through extreme obesity will be faced with making this tough decision once they have lost all the weight. I think that is important to show all sides of the 'After' because none of them are easy.

I called this my quasi- Before/After photo
After my first triathlon
I just had to submit this picture with a baby sheep...because who doesn't love baby animals???

I wasn’t really sure what to write. How do you accurately (and briefly) sum up a huge, life-changing process, and everything that has occurred both mentally and physically because of it, in an email? I have been writing about my story and my progress for over three years now and I still can’t figure out the best way to ‘tell’ my story.

Ultimately it boils down to this…

I used to be really fat. I lost a lot of weight by taking care of myself the way I should have all along. And because of this everything in my life has changed for the better.

The end.

Love and hugs,

Monday, May 12, 2014

Go Big or Go Home

When I made the decision to train for a half marathon, just mere months after running my very first mile, I was completely stepping outside of my comfort zone. Growing up I was not a runner and even after losing over 100 lbs. (at that point) I still wasn’t super comfortable running. Training for a half marathon was a HUGE undertaking.

So was steeping into a boxing studio when I weighed 260 pounds, having never boxed a day in my life, and having the physical endurance of a ground slug. It challenged me more than anything ever had before. It pushed me to the point where I thought I would collapse and die right there from sheer exhaustion.

And when I started taking Nia, Pilates, bikram yoga, qi gong, tai chi classes while I was still 100 pounds overweight having never tried any of those activities before, I knew that something had changed inside me. I had become a person who loved trying new things, loved being challenged, and loved feeling accomplished.

All of those things brought me to where I am today. Cycling, hiking, swimming, running, yoga’ing, boot camping, and dancing through life healthy and fit. All because somewhere inside I found the courage to take a chance, to not let my fear or shame talk me out of not trying something new.

I found a moment where I stopped giving a fudge and just did it.

And what I learned about myself is that I love, love, love group fitness classes and also that I do really well when I have a set training plan –like when I trained for half marathons or when I had a personal trainer guiding me.

But now, here I am almost six months post-surgery and I just feel a bit aimless. I am not training for anything, there are no group fitness classes during the summer at the university that fit around my work schedule, and my personal trainer has moved away.

I am doing the best I can, for the most part, just doing gym stuff on my own but it’s not really cutting it. I need more. I need to be pushed. I need a plan. I need to set some goals and start working to get myself back to where I was before the surgery fitness-wise.

So this weekend, after talking with a friend of mine from high school (thanks, Amy) and then conferring with E, I decided to do something radical and completely outside my comfort zone. Something that might possibly kill me. Ok, it probably won't kill me. I have a feeling though that there will be alot of swearing and acting like I’m about to die.

Over the weekend I decided to buy the Focus T25 program from Beachbody. I know their fitness programs work. I have tons of friends that swear by them. I know that this program will totally help get me back into fighting shape as long as I stick with it, following along as faithfully as I can. I am a bit nervous as I will be traveling to Philadelphia (6 days) and then not even a week later Orlando/Tampa (6 days) then a couple weeks later Savannah (also six days) – basically I will be away from home for 18 of the 42 days after the program is delivered. It’s going to be tough.

My goal is going to be to stick to the routine of T25 5 times a week, which is what the plan dictates, or every day that I am home on travel weeks. I am not sure I will be able to get through the first session in five weeks, because of all the travel, but I am going to do my best.

I also plan on running more, hopefully short runs in the morning after I do T25, and still getting in some gym time after work for weights, start yoga back up 1-2 times a week, and hopefully riding again on the weekends I am home. We’ll see. It probably seems like a lofty goal but I think now is the time to set some lofty goals.

I am definitely in need for some serious ass-kicking.

Bring it on, T25!

Have you ever tried Focus T25 or any other Beachbody programs? What are your thoughts?

Love and hugs-

Friday, May 9, 2014

Five Things Friday

1)      I have become obsessed with tea. Erick’s sister bought me this tea infuser travel mug so now in addition to just bagged teas I can have loose leaf tea as well. I think you could even use coarsely ground coffee too but I have yet to try it. Anywho, I was really loving drinking tea every day and I even took advantage of a Groupon for 3 month subscription to Steepster (which is like a tea of the month club) which was awesome. Then last week, I found this herbal green tea kit on Uncommon Goods (is that not the best website ever?) and just had to get it. It is all loose leaf teas (three types of green tea) and herbs (nine different ones like hibiscus and lavender) allowing you to make your own herbal tea blends. It is awesome! Making my own blend is definitely the most exciting thing happening in my life at 730a every morning. Lol!

2)      I planted, or I guess I should say we planted, our first garden last night. If you follow me on FB, which I am pretty sure all six of you reading do, then you already saw the pictures. But I am just so excited that I wanted to share them again. Of course, now the hard part begins. The waiting. 50 days is the soonest anything will be ready to pick. Well, except the basil. That could probably be picked now. But we are looking 50-60 days for cucumbers and Japanese eggplant all the way up to 88 days for cantaloupe. The plan is to build a second container and plant the fall crops sometime in early July. We spaced this first container off to the right so that way we would have room for a second. I don’t know why (probably because I am a huge dork- which is totally fine by me) but I am super excited over the idea of bringing our homegrown organic veggies to share with the family over 4th of July weekend. Here’s to hoping the weather cooperates and that I don’t have a black thumb. I would make for one bad hippie if I couldn’t even raise a small 4’x4’ garden. Lol!

      I made makrers using shells I collected at the beach a few weeks ago. I was planning on using rocks but I didn't have any on hand. I did, however, have seashells so voila!


3)      Tonight is the last Hot Glass Cold Brew of the season and I am quite sad. This is definitely one of my favorite Pensacola events. It’s a mix of live music, free food and free (local) beer, and glass blowing demos. Oh, and the artists with gallery/shop space all have food and beer/wine for passersby to enjoy while talking with them about their work. Some are painters, sculptors, glass blowers, potters, and there is even a guy with a 3D printer that does demos. It’s really cool, very informative and tons of fun.

4)      I love spring/summer time. I am definitely a warm weather person and love, love, love the sunshine. I am happy it is finally starting to warm up (although we have like rain forecasted every day for the foreseeable future) and I am feeling quite optimistic that this is going to be an amazing summer. Maybe even the best one yet. One of my favorite things about warmer weather is the food. Not just grilling and BBQs and eating outdoors but all the yummy fruits and veggies that come into season. I am a sucker for corn on the cob, rainier cherries, jersey tomatoes, asparagus, watermelon (all the melon, actually), strawberries, etc., the list could go on for days. And one of my favorite warm weather foods to make is cold pasta salad. It reminds me of my childhood. Except I don’t use mayo, or much pasta, and load mine up with whatever fresh veggies I have on hand. I wish I was a good recipe builder person. I would love to be the blogger that shares all sorts of yummy recipes but I am a fly-by-my-pants kind of cook. It’s why I don’t like baking. I am almost always successful just throwing stuff together and having it turn out. The big downside being that I never can make the same dish twice. Lol. But I digress. Lately I have been making some version of this pasta salad dish for me and E (and even made a heartier version of it for Easter dinner) and it is awesome. So I thought I would share.

Spring Time Pasta Salad (to the best of my recollection)

·         1 cup dry whole wheat orzo

·         ½ bunch of trimmed and chopped fresh asparagus

·         ½ English cucumber, quartered and chopped

·         1 small bag (maybe 3 oz) fresh peas – you could totally use frozen here too

·         A few sprigs of fresh mint

·         2 lemons

·         Dijon mustard

·         Red wine vinegar

·         Olive oil

·         Salt & Pepper

Step 1- prepare the orzo according to package

Step 2- as the pasta is cooking, prep/chop veggies

Step 3- when there is about 3-4 minutes left on the past add in the asparagus and peas to cook them

Step 4- drain pasta and cooked veggies and rinse under cold water

Step 5- add to a large bowl with mint and chopped cucumber

Step 6- make dressing by mixing together the juice of 2 lemons, approximately 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard (you can add this in gradually in case you aren’t a mustard fan- or omit it completely), 1 tablespoon of vinegar, about ¼ cup of olive oil (I use just enough to cut some of the acidity and make a ‘creamy’ dressing) and some salt and pepper. Honestly, I do the dressing all by taste. You could totally swap out for store bought dressing.

Step 7- add dressing to pasta/veggies, mix well, and refrigerate for 30 minutes+

Step 8- enjoy!
So much green, so much yumminess!

I love pasta salad. We have made a similar recipe but used quinoa pasta (for you gluten-freers) instead of orzo and added chickpeas. That was awesome too. I love to make what I call a ‘greek’ version of this with cucumber, tomatoes, green onion, Kalamata olives, chickpeas, bell pepper and spinach but E does not eat most of those things so I reserve that recipe for family or work potlucks. Lol!

5)      Wow! These past few days social media has really gotten it right! I know I talked earlier this week about my girl Brooke and her story about Shape magazine having gone viral. I never thought that what happened last week would have led to watching her on both Good Morning America and the Today Show. How awesome is that? This morning, during her piece on the Today Show, the world was informed that Shape Magazine (whose editor at large was on as well) would be rectifying this mess by featuring Brooke (as well as some others) in a magazine spread about the realities of extreme weight loss. Right on! I think that is a really important topic and it isn’t often shared…other than from bloggers who of course talk openly about it and share tons (sometimes too many, points finger at self) pictures about where their journey has led them. I know I held nothing back when it came to my skin removal surgery and showing pictures all the time. And I know the before pictures were a gleaming harsh reality of what losing a whole adult human beings (a healthy 5’ 5” woman, in my case) worth of weight looks like. And I wasn’t ashamed, or even hesitant to share, because I agree with Brooke- it is nothing to be ashamed of. That being said, I am also not ashamed that I had the skin removal surgery after. It was for both cosmetic and medical reasons. And yes, sometimes a part of me feels a bit vain. But most days I am beyond happy I had the surgery and I would do it again in a heartbeat. That being said, I am still not planning on having surgery to remove excess skin on my arms or legs nor do I plan on having a breast job- which is another common post weight loss surgery. But I don’t blame or judge anyone for doing so. I think we all have to make the decisions that are best for us as individuals.  And I am happy for any positive exposure stories like Brooke's gets. The more people know, the more they are exposed to it, the more stories like hers (or mine) become the norm. And hopefully this leads to less discussions over whether or not any person should put a shirt on and more discussions about how awesome it is seeing strong, happy, proud, and inspirational women in mainstream media- regardless of the circumstance that led them there.

Well, that’s about it for me this Friday. I hope you have a happy, healthy and amazing weekend!

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I found my inspiration this morning when I came across this post from Fit and Free With Emily. I loved it so I totally stole this idea. Here is what I am up to currently…

Thinking…that I need to come up with some ideas or topics to write about. I have been so uninspired lately when it comes to writing. Is it because all of my energy is being poured into other outlets? I am starting to think so.

Feeling…relaxed. Or maybe tired. Some days I can’t tell the difference. I would like to believe though that I am just finally beginning to relax and calm down after a whirlwind few weeks at work and it feels nice.

Watching…I don’t watch much TV. Lately it has only been on to watch the NHL playoffs and now that the Flyers are out- I am not as concerned. However, while watching hockey Saturday night E and I stumbled across this TV show called ‘My Cat from Hell’ and ended up watching it for hours. Lo and behold, it’s on Netflix so we have taken to watching it nightly. I don’t know why. We don’t have cats. I am a dog person. This show actually reaffirms how much of a dog person I really am. But regardless, we keep watching.

Excited…to be flying home in TWO WEEKS! E and I are headed north to Philly on 5/21 to spend the weekend with friends and family. I am beyond excited. This will be E’s first trip to Philly so I am definitely going to take him to all the touristy places (yes, we will run up the art museum steps) and of course hit some breweries, go to a Phillies game and eat all the food! He has been told to bring his stretchy pants ;)

Missing…my friends. I am super excited to see my BFF in 2 weeks when I am home but seeing her but once (maybe twice) a year is sucky. Also, I miss my dogs. Every day. It hasn’t gotten easier. I still cry over them all the time. I hear they are doing great; they have a big yard to play in and two little girls that love them to pieces. That makes me happy. Really happy. But I still miss them.


Reading…right now I am in the middle of reading two books- ‘Divergent’, because I liked the movie so much and am a sucker for series’, and ‘All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space’ because I am in the beginning stages of building my own raised bed vegetable/fruit garden.

Wondering…if I missed my true calling and in actuality I should be an animal farmer, not an analyst. I had the absolute best time out at the farm Sunday. I wish I lived closer. I knew that I had a big soft spot for pretty much all living creatures but now I wish I had some alpaca and sheep of my own.


Working…I am so lucky to have a really great job with awesome coworkers- it’s a blessing for sure. I am also very lucky to have great benefits (an insane amount of annual leave) and perks (6 credits hours free per semester). I also have the pleasure of working with the bf, even though we work in different departments and our jobs rarely intersect. It’s still nice having him around. When I moved to Pensacola I didn’t think this job would amount to much, as I only thought I would be here for a year. Man, was I wrong. The stars aligned for me here at UWF, for oh so many reasons. I am thankful.

Stressed…a few weeks ago I was SUPER stressed. Work was the most chaotic it had ever been, finals were quickly approaching, it was rough. But thankfully my awesome bf planned an uber relaxing weekend including a beach trip and a couple’s massage. It was nice. Exactly what the doctor ordered. And now that work has calmed down and finals are now behind me I am back to life as normal, which is pretty stress free.


Proud…I am sure you have probably heard the news all over social media about my friend Brooke (*last time I checked her blog site was down due to the overwhelming volume of site traffic)  and how she stood up to Shape magazine. The skinny is that Brooke was asked to be featured online as a success story (because the girl lost freaking 172 lbs) she agreed, was interviewed and submitted before and after photos and that was that. Until she was told that Shape does not publish bikini photos (HA! Yeah, right- I didn’t buy it either) after they reviewed the photos she submitted and requested a photo with her covered up. Here’s the thing- extreme weight loss is extreme. It takes a big toll on your body. I know, mine was a war zone after losing 130 lbs. Brooke did it the right way- slow loss through small changes, exercise, and eating good whole foods. Because of this, Brooke has been able to maintain her loss (for almost a year now) but even when we do everything ‘right’ our bodies can only change so much. Brooke, just like me, was left with lots of loose skin. But you know what, she owns it. She is confident in her skin. She took a photo last summer in a bikini (this photo inspired me to buy/wear my first one last June) and she looks great. That is the same photo she submitted to Shape magazine online, the same photo that gave me courage to show my skin, the same photo that said ‘you know what world- this is me and I am freaking beautiful’, the same photo that showed the world what weight loss can sometimes look like, and it was the one they said NO to. Too bad for them because Brooke is awesome. People needed to see her, hear her story. And thankfully, because Brooke had the courage to say no, millions of people have. Yesterday she was the #1 story on Yahoo, she was on Buzzfeed, E! online, and Cosmo to name a few. Today she found out she would be headed to NY to be on the Today Show. All because she stood up for herself. Which is awesome! Good for you Brooke, you are beyond deserving of all of this!


Wanting…to be outside. ALL. THE. TIME. Spring is here, which means we are probably days away from summer here in FL, and I just want to be outside all the time. This week instead of going to the gym I am spending my evenings doing yardwork. Mainly because it is time I get to spend out in the sun, doing work that I love, but also because it is a necessity. Trying to get my garden built and planted before the weekend hits. Because the weekend is meant for the beach J

Wishing...I had brought an alpaca home with me from GA. I like to tease Erick that I am going to create a Kickstarter project to fund my alpaca/sheep/goat farm. One day…..


Eating…I ate the best veggie burger EVER while up in Atlanta. E and I went to Grindhouse Burgers TWICE (Friday and Sunday) because they were just that good. If the alapaca farm doesn’t pan out I am seriously thinking about seeing if I could franchise a Grindhouse and open it up here in Pensacola.


Drinking…while at Grindhouse I was able to try for the first time the Hell or High Watermelon from 21st Amendment out in SF. Erick was out there last fall and had some at the brewery (lucky!) and I was so jealous. So, when we walked into the burger joint only to see they had it we both freaked out. We had a couple both times we were there. We also made a trip by a liquor store and bought up their entire stock. I will be enjoying this all summer long! I have to note here that normally my go-to summer beer is the Abita Strawberry Harvest- this is sooooo much better!

Loving…I am totally loving life right now. I really have not a single complaint. The weather is great, I am planting a garden, I am moving in with the bf, I still have a week off until summer term begins, I live in one of the most amazing cities (our World of Beer has a kitchen now!) and I get to go on so many crazy adventures. I am happy. And I am completely head over heels in love. With my life J

Love and hugs,

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Yep, I Know...

I know it's been awhile since I've posted, especially on a topic other than the Mother's Day Healthy Living Challenge which is wrapping up this week. 

I know, I'm a terrible blogger. 

Good thing no one pays me to do this. I'd probably be fired by now. 

I just go through phases. My motivation to write ebbs and flows. This is clearly an ebb. 

But now that I have a few hours to spare as we make our way home from Atlanta I figured maybe I should take some time and write. 

Are you wondering what I've been up to? The short answer- life.

The longer answer - enjoying life and all the adventures while at the same time riding through chaos of work, the end of a semester, surviving a horrific flood unscathed, and traveling all over the place! 

April took me to the west coast, Anaheim specifically, for 8 days. Then the day after I came back to Florida I left for a weekend in Georgia. The following weekend was spent with Erick and his family celebrating Easter. Then a weekend spent both relaxing (beach and massages) and stressing out (finals and a memorial service). That brings us up to this weekend, the first weekend in May. E and I took off from work Friday to drive to Atlanta to see Arcade Fire, which was an amazing concert. We also hit up a few breweries, ate some amazing food, rode the SkyView (which is the Ferris wheel that used to be in Pensacola - the first and only one I've ever been on) and this morning took a trip to a farm so I could play with a bunch of teeny tiny animals.

E and I have definitely mastered the art of packing our weekends full- it's pretty awesome. We are home, aside from a short trip to E's mom's for Mother's Day, for a couple weeks and then we are off to Philly for 6 days! A week after Philly I am heading to Orlando for a work conference to which E will fly down and meet me. Then he and I will head over to Tampa for a long weekend. We are catching a Rays game with a Weezer concert after, hitting up some breweries (of course) and then swimming with some manatees. 3 weeks after Tampa is Fitbloggin' and what will probably (hopefully) be my last trip until September. 

Don't get me wrong- I love traveling. I love going on adventures and experiencing new things. But I also love the beautiful beach I so thankfully live very close to (in case you didn't know Pensacola is one of the nicest beaches in the continental US) and I plan on spending my weekends this summer being a beach bum, BBQing, riding bikes, and enjoying my city. 

Oh and of course, taking summer classes. A year into my second grad degree and I think I have mastered the art of being a grad student slash full-time employee. I'm actually quite good at it. I took two courses this term and received A's in both :)

Oh and moving...over the next month I'll be slowly moving from my apartment downtown into a house.

With a roommate. 

Yep, me and this guy.

The one who takes a 30 minute detour to stop at a donut shop that sells vegan donuts. Then takes an hour detour to go to an animal farm because he knows nothing would make me happier.

This is the same guy that drove with me to Jacksonville to see the Mowgli's in concert since I would be in CA when their tour passed through Pensacola.

This is the same guy that flew me to Nashville for my birthday to take me to a Preds game. Drove to New Orleans to watch MY friend run a half marathon. Met me at the airport (with a sign) when my flight arrived at 11p even though my car was in the parking garage. Buys me kale jewelry. Drives 6 hours to watch the Phillies in spring training. Cheers for the Flyers. Eats vegan baked goods. Plans picnics. Thinks it's imperative we stop at every trader Joe's we come across to buy cookies. And dances with me whenever 'our song' (we have a few) comes on. 

And I couldn't be happier.

Can't you tell???

Now that you are all caught up with my are you? What's new in your world? 

Love and hugs,