Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The day for giving thanks, spending quality time with family and feasting on yummy food is here!! To prepare for the excess food I'll be stuffing my face with, I did 4+ miles which will kick off the day with an extra bounce in my step (which could very well be a pulled muscle or cramp...LOL). After that, I did a solid hour of cleaning as I will be hosting Thanksgiving at my place this year and cooking! I'm very excited to have my parents over for dinner. It'll be nice for all of us to be together. To finish off the lovely dinner, I'm looking forward to eating my delicious pies (cran-raspberry and pumpkin cheesecake). :) YUM!

Tradition with my family is going around the dinner table and saying what you're grateful for. In addition to telling my family, I'll also tell the world. I am thankful for so many reasons this year. I am thankful for my husband, Ryan, who brings joy to my life each and every day. I am thankful for my dog Bailey who takes the good and the bad of everyone and still wants to be near you no matter what your 'baggage' may be. I am thankful for my and Ryan's family for all they have done to raise, support and teach us to be caring & honest people. I am thankful for my friends who are simply amazing people who challenge me to be a better person each day of knowing them. I am thankful for my job and thankful for my home. I am thankful for my health and thankful for LIFE!

With each passing day I take note that life is short and you've got to live it to its fullest. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today!  Have a happy & safe Thanksgiving! :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday Shopping

Bring on the Black Friday DEALS!!
So I am PUMPED about Black Friday!! This year I have decided that since we're financially able to, I want to get those closest to us amazing gifts. I know I purchase awesome gifts regularly (not to brag) but I really want to dazzle this year! Its true the holiday season is not about the gifts, but I want to see surprised and gleaming faces on those nearest to us. I want to produce excitement and happiness in our family & friends; and since that's a tall order, I'm going to need a little help from the Black Friday sales ads!!

This Friday will mark the fourth year in a row that I've woken up or just not gone to bed to get in line for some deals. I can recall one year waiting in line at Best Buy at 2am to get a television for my mom & dad. Then there was one year when we tried to go to the outlet malls in Williamsburg, but that did not end up working out. So instead, Ryan and I ventured to Target at 4am to wait for 2+ hours till they opened up. A LOT of hot chocolate (b/c I cannot stand coffee) was drank that morning!!  So yup, this year I think its going to be another late night or early morning. I can't wait to get the paper and develop a plan of attack on which retailers we should visit. I believe it's going to be a family affair too, which should make it even more fun!

While this may seem crazy to some, please know that I will walk away from a great deal if I feel my safety is in jeopardy! I cannot believe the lengths some will go to for a great deal, but I do have my standards. Nothing is worth getting trampled on!! If I can't find or get what I want on Black Friday, I'll just wait till Cyber Monday. But I'll update my blog with the steals I get as well as any horror stories I encounter!!

Happy Shopping! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

Not sure if the holiday season just hit me, but I have been in a terrific mood this week! I want to shout my happiness from the roof tops!!! I feel extremely blessed with the direction things are moving in my life and I feel great things are in store for those around me.

I am grateful for everything in my life. I have a wonderful husband who I thank God every day for, I have a loving family who drives me nuts A LOT but I LOVE and I have great friends who add so much humor and excitement to my life. I am very thankful for everything and everyone in my life. God has brought many opportunities to me this year and I hope to fulfill all that is wished of me.

But in addition to my good fortune, I see great things on the horizon for those around me. There are many people in my life who have good hearts, are passionate and hard working individuals and I feel great things are or about to be happening for them. And seeing others happy & it makes me happy! I like to focus on the positive things happening and I believe this holiday season has many miracles in store.

This week is Thanksgiving. And on that day I will once again be proclaiming my gratefulness of the wonderful things in my life, but tonight I want to share a bit of wisdom for those who feel like things may not be going as planned for them. This is a poem I keep running into and it holds a lot of power; it reminds me of why I can't be negative. Like the Law of Attraction states, we have the power to help create our own realities. And I believe in the power of positive thinking...

Don't Quit
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will
When the road your trudging seems all up hill
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh
When care is keeping you down a bit,
Rest-if you must, but don't you quit!

Life is queer with its twist and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
it seems to a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up.
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out.
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem worse you mustn't quit!

I'm wishing you a happy and positive holiday season. Here's to a bright and beautiful 2011! :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Healthy Eating Plan

I’d prefer not to call it a “diet” because I’m going to try and not restrict myself from guilty pleasure (i.e. treats). But I’ve been traveling a little bit these last few weeks; which, as everyone knows, leads you to eat a lot more given all the “new” things you want to try. My biggest vice around the holidays are seasonal things. Like pumpkin and peppermint flavored chocolates, candies, ice cream, hot chocolate and other delectable items. However, since I know this time is coming up I have devised a plan (nothing new or original) to help me counteract the destructive and OH SO GOOD-treats! (Caz let’s be honest, simply not having them is NOT an option! Lol)
So here it goes…I’m going to eat healthy, fresh and, where possible, organic foods. I’ve been on this eating plan for a week and I’m already feelin the effects on my body. I have been eating items that is low in fat, low calories and low sodium (sodium is an important thing to check). Not very easy for someone who’s frugal like myself; grocery shopping took me nearly 2 hours. For breakfast I have been having a Nutrigrain bar or other granola bar along with a banana (extremely unusual for me, but that’s another story), for lunch I make this wrap concoction that I created (recipe later on), low fat fig newtons or fresh fruit and as a snack dark chocolate covered almonds in 100 calorie packs-seriously awesome. For dinners I have tried to keep in mind the health factor also. Having a lot of greens, salad or other fresh veggies and even when I go out to eat I consulted the nutrition guide online to make sure I wasn’t going over my goal.
How do I incorporate my treat? I include a small helping with fruit. For example, I have small cups of raspberries, blackberries with fat free whipped cream and I chopped up a miniature snickers bard into crumbles and garnish it. It’s very delicious, light and satisfying for my sweet craving. For seasonal treats I hope to be able to do the same, by incorporating smaller portions and add fruit. So this healthy eating plan is going to be around for awhile, may cost extra at the grocery store checkout but it’ll be worth it so I won’t have that extra weight weighing on my shoulders! Lol

Here’s the wrap recipe I was mentioning before, totally LOVE it:
I whole wheat flat bread, tortilla or pita (100 calories)
2 tablespoons of reduced fat hummus (I use Roasted Red Pepper) 70 calories
Spinach (as much as you want) 20 calories
Reduced fat Feta Cheese ¼ cup 55 calories
Banana Peppers-about five 2 calories
Turkey Pepperoni-about 8 slices 35 calories
*I like to add a little bit of yellow mustard for flavor, but you can add a little salad dressing/vinaigrette for additional flavor*  
Total: under 300 calories
You can add as much veggies as you want to this wrap!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Due Date Review

So I’m not sure if it’s because I’m married to Zach Galifianakis or what, but I LOVE Due Date. (The whole thing about being married to Zach Galifianakis is partly true. My husband, prior to shaving his beard, resembled him. In fact, that was an idea we had for his Halloween costume). But seriously, Due Date is a hilarious movie. Robert Downey Jr. plays a serious Peter Highman who is forced to hitch a ride with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) on a road trip in order to make it to his child’s birth on time.
The comical play off the serious Downey and the funny Galifianakis will have you rolling out of your seat with laughter. Phrases like “You better check yourself before you wreck yourself” or “Dad... You were like a father to me” along with Downey spitting in the dogs face just gives you a glimpse of the humor you’re dealing with.
Well, you tell me what you think…have you seen the movie? Would you give it a high score in the must see category?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Maryland House Hunting

This past weekend Ryan and I traveled to just outside Washington D.C. area, on the Maryland side, to help his parents pick out a place.
They currently live in the mid-west and are relocating back to the east coast (thankfully because the 6 hour drive to visit them is a bit much)! Anywho, we visited a couple houses for rent in the Frederick, Gaithersburg, Rockville area of Marlyand which is where my FIL need to be located for his job.
The first two places we saw were nice, a bit out dated though, but nice little homes. Both had appeal but weren’t the size or layout they wanted. The third and final place we visited was AWESOME! As soon as we drove up to the driveway I was like Jiminey Crickets. The home is a lovely old farmhouse (see photo).

The inside of the home spoke to its age but also to the character and charm of an old farm house. I was truly in love with it. Ryan, however, was a different story. He is a city boy who hates rural places, so this home didn’t speak to the accommodations he would want. But I adored the almost 2,000 square feet, four bedroom, two and a half baths home with the open layout and lots of natural light in every room. True to an older home, it needed some updating to attract a modern family, but for a rental you’d be hard press to find something with as many ‘pluses’ as this home. A bonus is that is has an interesting story! It used to be, quite some time ago, a school for boys. The agent told us that when we were walking through and its apparent with the fluorescent lighting in some rooms, a mud room with a very long coat rack to hang book bags and coats, the doors to show “off-limits” areas and the separate quarters for the master suite.

The out dated kitchen

Could use work but HUGE space!

Open floor plan from dinning room to living room

Lots of built in storage!

Ryan and I outside the home

Beautiful grand staircase at front of the home.

Gorgeous chandlier

More built in storage, original to the house.

The mudd room, example of how many boys it use to house!

I’m pretty excited to go up there and visit on the weekend. Its only a four hour drive and with the ample space it’ll be very comfortable staying there. I’m already envisioning Thanksgiving and Christmas there with both our families; the beautiful white snow on the ground overlooking the 22 acres of park behind the home.
Lovely, simply lovely…

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NOLA Adventures

It’s been about a week since I left New Orleans. I’m getting settled back into my usual routine of work and home life. I wrote previously that I hoped the trip would allow me to get to know my new co-workers and I’m happy to report that it did. They truly are a great bunch! Here are just a few characters I got to know and love.
The first individual (no names) is who I’d like the call the “crazy” one. This guy was the most interesting person I’ve met in a long time. His overly flamboyant personality kept me laughing the whole weekend. Even on the first day when we just arrived to the hotel from the airport his desperate search for a hair salon because he needed to get his hair cut and products to style it for the tradeshow. It could have also been the HUGE luggage he was towing around with seventeen (that’s right 17) outfits picked out for the four day trip! Bet your bottom I complemented him on every single one of them. LOL But seriously, he’s a great guy; someone I really enjoyed getting to know.
The next chick (yes, I said chick) was a lot of fun to hang out with. I had met her briefly before, but really got to know better with this trip. Often when I don’t know someone well, I tend to do ’20 questions’ to try and pick up conversation and learn more about him/her. It helps avoid the awkward silence in a conversation, which I’m not a fan of.  Anywho, she is a really cool cat. A great dancing partner at The Beach off of Bourbon Street when I had a few glasses of wine! J Plus, she’s a real down to earth, honest person who I can see hanging out with in the future.
The last but certainly not the least was the one I deemed “running the show.” She helped orchestrate the entire event from start to finish. For seven entire days she was in New Orleans getting everything ready for the event, during the event and after the event. Through other projects I have worked with her a quite a bit, but I got to know her on a personal level through this trip. She is a really kind person and the ultimate task master. I spent a great deal of time with her including the best sushi meal I’ve ever had!! (see photo below)

So yup, my trip was pretty much awesome. I missed my husband and the puppy a bunch but really enjoyed going back to New Orleans and learning more about my new co-workers!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New Orleans Trip

I find myself in New Orleans for the second time this year. Both trips were for work purposes. The first trip was to attend and work at the National Apartment Association Conference (NAA) for my previous job and now I am attending/working the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conference & Expo.

My first trip was an absolute BLAST. Two really good friends (and co-workers) of mine attended as well, which made the work portion and "free" time a LOT of fun.

Its hard for me not to compare this trip to my previous one. Same location (even the same convention center) and it's for work purposes at a tradeshow/conference. There are plenty of good stories that came from the first trip, including Bourbon Street bars, Margarittaville and cab rides.  Everyone knows or has heard of Bourbon Street. I can tell you, everything you've heard is true! Bourbon Street is a unique place; don't get me wrong-had a great time-but there was women flashing their chests and lots of drunk people. Besides being a regular at Fat Catz Bar, one of my biggest memories of that place was when my friend, Amanda, stepped in a disgusting puddle. Did not smell or feel like water, that's for sure! (Eeek!) A bouncer at the bar next to the puddle offered to wash it off for her; however, in his generous state he decided to pick up my other friend Meredith, yes PICK her up, and carry her into the bar! He placed her right in the middle of an empty dance floor with us trickling behind. We quickly thanked him and left. Awkward! :) 

Anywho, seeing as this trip is with a different company and all new people, I'm hoping to get to know my co-workers a little better. So far the trip has been great! Really getting to know the crew that I'm working with and they are all super nice and very welcoming. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mission: Bartowski

I am pleased to announce that I not only took this mission, but I received accommodations from my general! J
About a month ago my husband started a Netflix account.  With that account he started ordering DVDs of the television show Chuck.  We had never watched this show previously, so I’m not sure where his sudden interest in it came from, but we started watching it one disk at a time. Over a period of one week we were watching two disks (about 4 episodes per disk) and craved more CHUCK time. It became clear that we were required to purchase the season DVDs to watch it at the rate we needed. (You would think the word ‘needed’ seems a bit harsh, we don’t NEED to watch it at that pace; but let me tell you, I’m not kidding when I said we craved Chuck!) So we’ve gone through the first, second and indeed the third season of Chuck in just a few short weeks. The fourth season is now on as well as airing this fall on Monday nights 8:00pm EST. We have caught up to speed on all of the episodes and I must say….I am in LOVE!
Ryan has even nicknamed our Chihuahua-Bailey Bartowski!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Unknown Spin Injury

I am an avid “spinner.” I love to take spin classes at the local YMCA and do on regular bases. I have turned many friends onto the beloved hobby due to the extreme work-out in which the sweat resembles that of high intensity running. However, one MAJOR injury that many may not know about? Butt pain!
That’s right, you heard me correctly. If you are a regular in spin classes, at least once a week, then this injury will not happen as frequently (I guess your butt develops some sort of callus that exempts you from the pain). But if you take off a week or two, or like myself a couple months, you’ll be in a world of pain your first spin class back!
I went to my first spin class on Tuesday after a two month hiatus and let me tell you, my tuckus HURTS! Yesterday the pain was immense, especially when I went to sit down. But even today I feel stings of pain when I walk or do stairs. The seats themselves don’t look malicious but sit on them for 10 minutes and begin to feel the discomfort. I tried for the first 15 minutes of my class to situate differently to avoid the aches, but it simply wasn’t possible. Like I said, if you get into a routine the soreness seems to dissipate over time and you don’t feel it. However, take time off and BAM you’re right back to a tender tooshie!
Moral of my story? The unknown spin injury of butt pain is not enjoyable. So if you plan on partaking in this hobby, be sure to make it a regular habit. I plan on going next Tuesday!