Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Start of Something Good

I'm a little nervous to say everything I'm about to say because it is a little soon to be making bold statements about the new man in my life. I don't want to jinx myself because this whole thing is feeling too good to be true, but I just have to fill you in!

You might remember before the holiday I mentioned meeting a new man downtown after I ran the Tap n' Run. Last you heard, he brought me flowers, called me on the phone and we had a great time on our first date.

Despite me being at my parents' for a few days, we've managed to see quite a bit of each other since then. He lives in Lake Mary, which is about 40 minutes from my house. I drove out there last week for a movie night.

While at my parents' for Christmas, he called me every day to say hi and chat for a few minutes. What? Someone wants to hear my voice everyday? Someone who doesn't go days without contacting me? Someone who was counting down the days until I came home? Is this real life?

I showed him around my side of town last night and I'll be staying there tonight before hitting the road to Jacksonville in the morning. We've fallen into what feels like such a normal relationship so effortlessly. It just happens. There is nothing to analyze. No one is trying to play games. The feelings are mutual. There is a level of comfort that I haven't felt with someone in a long time. I think I've mistakenly said that before, but this...this feels comfortable. I can say what's on my mind whether it is too cheesy, too honest, or unreasonable without feeling like he is going to reject it.

I am totally surprised by this whole situation. I've never met someone in a bar setting that actually seemed like it could be a normal, viable relationship. I know it's so early to be saying all of this, but I can't help but feel giddy and optimistic. I don't know where this is going to go, but I feel really good about it right now!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Snapshots

Hello! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. The last few days have been absolutely wonderful. I feel relaxed and so completely blessed after being home for Christmas. I'm back at work for 2 days, then off to Jacksonville for a long weekend to see my cousin get married. I really want to update you on the man in my life because things are moving right along, but that will have to wait until tomorrow because I have too much to say. In the meantime, here are a few snapshots of my Christmas -

On Saturday, I spent the day at Disney with Taryn. She was in town for Christmas and Saturday was our only chance to see each other before I headed to my parents'. As always, we had an absolute blast.

Minnie Mouse ears were a must!
My mother and I schedule a day just for baking every Christmas. We did this on Sunday and as always, we had a wonderful day in the kitchen together.

I still had a bit of last minute shopping to do on Christmas Eve, so my brother, dad and I braved the crowds (which actually weren't too bad) to finish up. I told them it would absolutely make my day if they wore Santa hats out shopping with me and after putting up a bit of a fight, I walked out that morning and they were both wearing hats. This made me happier than you can imagine.
they are such good sports!

It just wouldn't be an occasion if I didn't get a family photo of Blake and I. This is my first Christmas with Blake and he was so adorable playing with all his new toys and playing in the piles of wrapping paper in the living room on Christmas morning. 
It's safe to estimate that I cried happy tears at least 5 times over the last 2 days. My parents always made Christmas so special growing up, making it less about the gifts and more about being together and appreciating the special time together. This is why I get emotional during the toast at dinner and why I love looking around the living room as we open gifts on Christmas morning. Our house is so filled with love and support. It is such a blessing.

Tell me...

What was your favorite Christmas moment this year?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Flowers & a Man Who Actually Called me on the Phone. Is This Real Life?

Hello world. I've been stuck in bed with a nasty cold all week, but yet somehow a lot has happened. This cold couldn't have come at a worse time. I still have Christmas gifts to buy, errands to run before my holiday trips and my workout schedule has been completely thrown off.

In the midst of all this, I absolutely need to post something here because things has taken an interesting turn in the last few days.

I met a really handsome guy downtown last weekend. If your single, you know that 9 times out of 10 when you meet a guy at a bar, the chances that (1) you'll actually hear from him and (2) that you'll actually want to get to know him outside of that environment, aren't very good. Nevermind the fact that you probably had a conversation about nothing at the bar and may not even remember it. Well this guy seemed a little different from the get-go. He bought me a beer and he asked about my job, my favorite books...not the typical "so, where are you from?" conversation most guys go with.

I was surprised to get a text from him Monday and even more surprised that he asked me out to dinner Tuesday night. Then something amazing happened. He picked up the phone and called me to make dinner plans. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to skip the weeks of awkward texting conversation that inevitably end up happening with guys I meet. I feel like so many guys (or maybe just the ones end up interested in) hide behind Facebook chat, texting...anything to avoid picking up the phone and talking like a normal human being. Getting an actual phone call from someone I had just met was such a treat!

Anyway, we met for dinner on Tuesday night and had a great time! Things that made me think I might like this one:

-when I walked up to meet him at the restaraunt, he shouted "You look beautiful!" I'm not one of those girls who needs to be told that all the time, but I've also dated too many people recently who couldn't even tell me they liked me, so it was nice to hear this from him.

-he brought me flowers. What? I haven't gotten flowers from a guy in years. We walked to his truck after dinner to get his jacket (which he made me wear because it was chilly and I was getting sick) and he pulled them out and handed them to me. It was sweet and thoughtful and not over-the-top cheesy. I didn't know how to react!

-I didn't feel like we were on a first date at all. The way he talked with me was like he had known me for a long time. It was comfortable and fun without the first date awkwardness that I am all too familiar with.

We ended the night with frozen yogurt and plans to see each other again tonight. I'm excited and pleasantly surprised by this whole situation.

I think I posted this quote on a blog post a while back, but it rings true for so many things in life including my relationships with people. I can't dwell on people who don't want to be in my life. I need to look forward and put my energy toward the people who want to be here.

I've had a tough time lately finally getting up the courage to speak my mind to people who haven't treated me fairly. I'm realizing when I stop putting my thoughts and energy toward people who don't deserve it from me, I make room for people to come in my life who do deserve my attention.

Unfortunately, this is a lesson I keep having to learn. I'll get it down eventually, but in the meantime, I'm excited to see what happens next. I just hope I'm feeling better in time for my date this evening!

Monday, December 17, 2012

"We Just Have to Beat the Girls Who Stopped for Ice Cream!"

Good morning! I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

As many others were, I was completely torn apart by the events that took place Friday in Newtown. I wish I could find the words to write something...anything on this. But I can't. Simply knowing that horrific tragedies like this happen on this planet is absolutely heartbreaking. Since I can't find the right words to say, before I get into the nonsense my weekend consisted of, I wanted to share this song with you all. It came on my country music playlist on Friday night while I was home and it gave me a little spark of hope...hope for better days ahead.

My weekend...

The highlight of my weekend was running participating in the Tap n' Run 4K in downtown Orlando on Saturday. For those of you unfamiliar with this race, the emphasis is less on running the 2.4 miles and more on drinking beer, wearing ridiculous costumes and inappropriate behavior. Instead of the typical water stops during a typical race, there were 3 beer stops along the course and at the end of the race, everyone gets a medal/beer opener and another beer at the finish line. I had an absolute blast!

I'd fill you in on every detail, but the few photos I took really highlight the best parts:

I loved that when you registered for this race online you could choose a nickname for your bib. I obviously went with Booze Clues, which is what I refer to as trying to figure out what happened the morning after a wild night.

I absolutely loved our team baseball shirts. So cute!

It was absolutely necessary to take a "baseball card" photo. I obviously don't know how you are supposed to stand, but that isn't really important.

Best friends stop in the middle of a race to get ice cream with you. We were maybe two minutes into the race when we ran by my favorite frozen yogurt place. We just had to run in and grab a snack for the race. It was so funny to hear people behind us cheering each other on saying "We just need to beat the girls who stopped for ice cream!"

This is probably the most serious photo Laura and I have ever taken together. We got way too much joy out of creeping people out with these mustaches throughout the night. We would hold put our staches on and stare at random people from across the bar until they very awkwardly caught our eyes. After being vicimized several times, one guy finally came up to us and told us we were making him really uncomfortable and left the bar. It was hilarious.

If you ever have a chance to particpate in something like this, you just have to. It's so much fun! For all the running I've been doing and the hard work I've put in lately, it was kinda nice to partipate in something like this where I didn't care about the actual running at all.

I do have to say that day drinking really isn't my thing. I get a headache and start feeling hungover before 8 p.m. Does this stop me? Not usually. However, when at midnight you are twirling and dancing to 80s music and realize you've been drinking since 3 p.m., it's time to go home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 on 12/12/12

In case you haven't been on Twitter or Facebook yet where everyone is telling us the date, it's 12/12/12. I've been sitting here thinking of fun things to do to mark the 12 miles tonight? drink 12 glasses of wine? Well, I can't quite run 5 miles without feeling like I might pass out and while 12 glasses of wine would be great, it would take me until the next repetitive date to recover from that hangover.

So instead, I'm celebrating with a list because the least I can do today is celebrate the things I'm really excited about. So here goes-- the 12 things I'm most excited about right now:

1. The Tap n' Run 4K this Saturday. I was planning on taking it seriously by skipping the beer stops along the course and trying to get a good time, but I changed my mind. I'm doing this for fun, so I need to make it fun. This means I will skip, dance, twirl and drink beer through the course and just enjoy the fun of it and not stress myself out about the time.

2. Finally having my house decorated for Christmas. I say finally because apparently December 9th is way too late to go out looking to buy a real tree, white Christmas lights and a tree stand. We had to go to several stores before we tracked down the lights and stand. WalMart was completely out of both and by the way the staff reacted to us asking for these things, you'd think we were looking for this stuff in April or something.

Anyway, this is my third Christmas in my house and while I've put up a tree every year, this is the first year I've had the house fully decorated. We have lights on the bushes outside, the porch window and the sliding glass door. There is a wreath on the door and garland up the stairway. There a little bell ornaments throughout the house and a holiday centerpiece on the kitchen table. A lot of this is thanks to my awesome roomie helping me decorate. We had a blast decorating. I just love her! We even got a real tree (another 1st for me)!

3. Reuniting with my friends from college. I haven't seen some of these girls since we graduated in 2008 and almost all of us we be together in Orlando for one night in January. I couldn't be more excited about this.

4. My best friend Laura moving in with me in February. I lived with Laura before I bought my house and we've only become better friends since then. I can't wait for her to join our happy home. There will so much baking and dancing going on!

5. Christmas baking with my mom. It's looking like we'll have our annual cookie baking day the Sunday before Christmas and I can't wait. I haven't figured out what to bake yet, but I know it is going to be an awesome day with my mom!

6. This little guy. Meet Ashton David, my beautiful new nephew. I can't wait to hold this little boy in my arms. I just need to get my butt up to Buffalo soon so I can meet him!

7. Jacksonville at the end of the month. My roomie is joining me in Jacksonville for my cousin's wedding just a few days after Christmas. They are getting married on the beach and I couldn't be happier for these two. I'm also excited to get some quality time in with my good friend Kendal who lives there as well.

8. My two younger sisters are moving closer. Right now, one of them lives about 30 minutes from me and the other lives with my parents about an hour away. This weekend, they are moving into their new apartment which is only about 20 minutes from my house! I am so happy to have them both closer.

9. Blake wearing a Santa hat. This makes me happier than it should, but he is just too cute. We will be taking a family photo that involves this hat at some point.

10. The state of my friendships. I have been a little down lately about my lack of success in the relationship department. I know I'll meet the right one eventually, but I can't help but feel a little sad/lonely sometimes. On the flip side, I think back to about 4 years ago when I moved back to Orlando after college and didn't have any close girlfriends. I've come a long way since then and can't say how thankful I've been lately for the group of very close girlfriends I have. It's something I never take for granted because I remember the time I would have given anything for a few really good girlfriends. I have those and they keep me sane, they keep me laughing, they dance with me in public and they are there for me no matter what. I am so overjoyed to have girls like this in my life.

11. Messy Twister. I don't know why I didn't think of this before (Thank you Pinterest), but it's brilliant. This will be happening in my house sometime in the next few months. I can't wait!

12. Life. I haven't completely been myself lately and I am worrying, stressing out about things and getting down on myself. the midst of all of this, I am fully aware of how blessed I am. I have faith that the things I am worrying about will work out in their own time and the struggles I feel like I am going through will make the good things to come so worth the wait. Despite the things I want to change/fix/find, I am so excited about the life I'm living. It's all about perspective, that's for sure!

Tell me...

What are you most excited about right now? Are you doing anything exciting to mark 12/12/12?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Random Thoughts #2

I already warned you that I have a lot to say this week. Unfortunately, I can't seem to pull a coherent post together. Do you ever have that problem? You have topics you want to write on and things you want to say, but you just can't seem to piece it all together. Instead, you end up rambling on about a variety of unrelated things. I've already done a post like this just recently, so I guess this is going to be a regular thing here on days I can't focus on one topic. So here goes...

Most importantly, I have a new nephew on his way into this world as we speak and I am esctatic! This is my sister's 3rd child and I cannot wait to get word that he has arrived. My sister lives way up in Buffalo so I can't be there to meet him which kinda stinks, but I am hoping to get up there sometime in the next few months to visit. I can't wait for that.

I pinned this on Pinterest today and actually said "oh shit" out loud at my desk because I was that overwhelmed by how wonderful and awful it was that I found this. Awful because my love for York Peppermint Patties is really intense and I don't think I have the self control to even make these. Good lord they look delightful.

Do you ever feel like negativity has become more common in this world than positivity? I come across too many people who don't know how to react to my attitude and I don't know how to respond. Some people even seem offended. What gives? Are there just too many bad things in the world getting people down and making them cynical?

I understand that it's easier to focus on the negative sometimes. It takes less energy to complain about things you aren't happy with than it is to find the bright side of that situation. I guess I just feel overwhelmed by this lately. Don't get me wrong. I have days that are not-so-great. But on those days, I certainly don't post "FML" Facebook updates or project my negativity onto others. That doesn't do any good. I don't spread happiness and positivity to people on a daily basis. Even I'm guilty of being pessimistic sometimes. But I catch myself. And I wish more people would catch themselves and turn their thought process around.  Maybe this needs it's own post. Maybe I need to blog about how you can cheer yourself up. I don't know.

Taylor Swift is coming to Orlando for two nights in April and I'm going to attempt to snag tickets on Friday morning at 10 a.m. Her shows sell out so fast so I usually don't even attempt to buy tickets. I've never seen her live and I know it would be amazing. If we are actually able to get tickets I am going to completely lose my mind. That's how excited I will be. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Has anyone else not even started their Christmas shopping? So many bloggers I follow said they were finished shopping Thanksgiving weekend. What? How did you do that? Thanksgiving weekend I went shopping and left the mall with two new sweaters, a sequin skirt and new aviators...all for myself. My dad totally judged me to my face. I just hadn't thought about what I wanted to get people yet and nothing jumped out at me. I need to get on this...

Speaking of Christmas, my coworker has Peppermint Kisses in her office. Why are these so delicious? I can't stop sneaking into her office to snag a few. It's getting out of hand. Have you tried these yet? If not, go pick yourself up a bag and proceed to eat the entire thing.

Is it frowned upon to tell your parents you want a flask for Christmas? I can't help but really, really want this one.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Speaking up, Sea World, Being Crafty and a Runaway Blake

Hello friends. I have a lot I want to say this week and I don't know where to start. I guess I'll start by telling you about my weekend and figure out the rest later this week.

Sometimes when I reflect on the weekend, it's hard to believe I crammed so many adventures, mishaps, awkward moments and good times into such a short time. This weekend was definitely one of those weekends.

Saturday I spent the day at Sea World with The Dog Whisperer, his roommate and a lady friend of his. I hadn't seen and hardly spoken to The Dog Whisperer in a few weeks so I was feeling a little anxious. We had a really fun day and got to hit up just about every attraction they have. The dolphin show is by far my favorite show there and everytime I see it I am completely overwhelmed by how amazing it is. I also cry tears of joy everytime I watch it and this time was no different. Did our whole group think it's weird and hilarious that I cry? I think so, but oh well. Sea World at Christmas makes me ridiculously happy. They have fake snow and do Christmas versions of some of the shows. We fed sting rays, which if you've never done is really awkward because they basically suck the food out of your hand. We also spent way too long in the game area of Sea World and The Dog Whisperer walked away with a creepy amount of small stuffed animal prizes. It was a really fun day.

While I had a really fun day, I have to say that The Dog Whisperer treated me like nothing more than a friend all day. Because he's been sending such mixed signals, I've already backed off quite a bit so if he just wants to be friends, that's cool. It would be nice though if he would just say so instead of leaving me to figure it out on my own. It's exhausting.

My goals for Sunday were simple: at least start to decorate the house for Christmas. I'm saving the Christmas tree for this weekend when my roomie and I can go pick one out and decorate together, but I wanted to get some lights up, get the Christmas candles out and finally pack up the fall decorations. As I tend to do, I got a little overzealous and decided I was also going to attempt to make one of those adorable yarn wreaths I see all over Pinterest.

I wouldn't describe myself as crafty, but I used to scrapbook a lot and I can pull off pretty basic DIY projects. The problem is, that no matter what I do, I always end up spending 3x as much on the supplies and the project takes about 2 hours longer than the tutorial says it should. This is why my crafting days are few and far between. The good news is that I'm pretty happy with the result.

I didn't really follow any specific tutorial because there are so many online and honestly, this is pretty easy to make. Wrapping the yarn around the wreath is really more of a two person job (it took me about 2 1/2 hours and it is not perfect by any means), but other than that, it's pretty self explanatory.

I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty exhausted and mentally checked out after the wreath was complete and I hadn't even gotten around to hanging any lights yet. This explains how I didn't notice Blake walking right out the front door somewhere between me trying to hang the wreath on the door and standing in my kitchen sink trying to hang Christmas lights in my front window (side note: you can't help but stop and laugh at yourself when you're using an ice cream scoop as a hammer for an hour before realizing you have a tool kit in the garage).

When I was finally finished, I realized I hadn't seen Blake in a while. He hadn't been feeling very well and I kinda figured he gave up on following this mad woman around the house and went to sleep on the couch. I walked through the house calling his name and he was no where to be found. I started to panic realizing he could have been gone for an hour or two at this point. I had been so wrapped up in what I was doing, I had no idea when he got out. I started freaking out, crying, calling his name and as I ran outside to look for him, my neighbor from a few houses down was walking up to the door with him.

I was so relieved and panic-stricken that I brought Blake inside and cried like a baby for a good 10 minutes. Before you judge my parenting, I am usually much more attentive. Blake is still a puppy, so I don't let him out of my sight most of the time. I honestly don't know how he got outside without me even realizing it and it really makes me worry about my mental health. He would've had to walk right past me to get outside when I had the door open for goodness sake! The good news is that thanks to my neighbor walking his dogs, Blake didn't go far and I didn't end up having to roam the streets hysterically looking for him.

So yeah, to summarize: Hot mess, party of one right here. I'll get it together soon, I'm sure. I do know that though I feel like I am kinda falling apart, it's making me say and do things that need to be done. I don't ever fall apart without coming out of it feeling better and more secure with myself. So, there's the bright side. Oh, and I'm sure you would all agree that succeeding in any DIY project can make you feel like you could take over the world, assuming you don't let your dog run away without you noticing in the process.

Holy cow that was long. Thanks for sticking around to read it if you did and I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Okay Thursday

Linking up for It's Okay Thursday!

It's okay that I ate a York peppermint pattie at 7 a.m. today. My sweet roommate left a box of them on my bed  this morning with a lovely little note. How could I resist?

It's okay that The Dog Whisperer has turned out to be a complete disappointment. I liked him, I tried to get to know him, but he seems to have completely checked out I don't have the energy to beg for someone's attention. I'm disappointed, but it'll be okay.

It's okay to be in a bit of a funk sometimes. I'll snap out of it soon, I'm sure.

It's okay to say what's on your mind and not worry about how the other person will react. I need to work on being more okay with this.

It's okay to be happy and independent on your own, but also able to admit that you can't wait to find someone to share your life with.

It's okay to walk back upstairs 3 times before leaving the house in the morning to make sure you unplugged the straightener, even though it turns off by itself anyway.

On that note, it's okay to have a slight serious case of OCD.

It's okay to be overly excited about signing up for the Tap n' Run 4K. An easy 2.5 mile race with beer waiting for me at the finish line? This is perfection beyond belief.

What's okay with you today? Link up!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend

Hello friends. I hope your Thanksgiving weekend was delightful. Mine was so delightful that I'm having a really tough time getting my shit together this week.

Thanksgiving weekend is always wonderful. Celebrating Thanksgiving with my family is always special, emotional and full of joy. The long weekend is like a little mini-vacation from work and it's so relaxing to spend a few days at my parents' house. I even volunteered to give the Thanksgiving toast before dinner and I am a little embarrassed to say I wasn't even halfway through it before I started sobbing. Maybe next year.

It was my intention to take lots of cute photos of my family on Thanksgiving, but that didn't work out as planned. My brother acted like the paparazzi was trying to snap photos of him without his consent, my sisters weren't much more cooperative, then I started baking away and didn't really think of it again. I can, however, always count on my child to suck it up for a photo session with his momma, so there's that.

So thankful for this little boy.
I baked my ass off for Thanksgiving this year. I don't bring many cooking skills to the table (yet!), so this is how I contribute to Thanksgiving. These are all super easy to make and I loved how they came out. I linked to the recipes so you can try them for yourself.

Pumpkin Streusel Pudding Cookies

Apple Snickerdoodle Cobbler

Peanut Butter Cookie Cups
Even Blake was exhausted from all the excitement. He absolutely loves weekends at my parents' much room to run and so many other friends to play with!

Sleepy boy.
Because my BFF Taryn was in Orlando visiting her family for Thanksgiving, I drive back to Orlando for Friday and Saturday to spend time with her, then went back to my parents' for Saturday night and Sunday. This resulted in my spending what felt like 80% of my weekend in the car, but it was totally worth it.

In less than 2 days, Taryn and I managed to squeeze in rasberry mojitos and banana pizza at Cafe Tu Tu Tango, meeting friends for a night on the town and a few hours of fun plus a photoshoot at Epcot. Best friend time is always good for the soul, even if we did get into a drunken argument about nothing on Friday night. When I get my hands on the rest of our photos from Epcot, I'll share them, but in the meantime, this is our time together in a nutshell.

As we typically do, we were running late to meet our friends downtown. I pulled up to the toll booth to find this guy parked there. I was obviously excited about the prospect of a random act of kindness falling into my lap and we couldn't really get around him, so I jumped out to help. He didn't understand English, was lost and didn't have any change, so we helped! I was so caught up in the moment, I didn't think for a second he could've thrown me into his car and driven away. Let's just say my dad wasn't thrilled...

"Every brunette needs a blonde best friend." This photo was taken at Epcot and we got the idea from this pin on Pinterest.
Yes we are almost wearing the same outfit. It wasn't planned, but we went with it anyway.
After dropping Taryn off at the airport and begging her not to leave....

Just causing a scene at the airport.
...I hit the road back to my parents' house to relax for the rest of the weekend. I spent Saturday night watching Elf with my momma and spent Sunday doing a little shopping with mom and dad. My weekend was the perfect combination of fun and relaxation/friend and family time. Thanksgiving was absolutely wonderful and now I'm psyched to get ready for Christmas.

I'm probably due to update you all on other life happenings, but I'll save that for later. Hope all is well in your world today!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gratitude Overload

"It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy."
I honestly don't know if there is a better feeling than the feeling I get when I arrive at my parents' house for a holiday. It's as if any stress, anxiety or concern I've been carrying around just falls off my shoulders as soon as I pull into the driveway. 

It's Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. I cried happy tears three times before I even got here today. I can't help it; I'm an emotional lady and I get overwhelmed easily when I start to think about all there is to be thankful for. There are so many things; big things like life in general and simple things like the banana pizza dessert at Cafe Tu Tu Tango. 

It honestly wouldn't be a celebration unless I presented an exhausting list to you, so here we go. 

Today I'm feeling thankful for:

  • Books
  • York peppermint patties
  • Finding a roommate this year who has become a very dear friend of mine
  • Blake. This little boy brings me so much joy.
  • Optimism
  • The smell of rain
  • My job
  • The not-so-great things in life, because they make the good stuff stand out so much more
  • Country music
  • How I feel driving home after a really good workout
  • Rainbows
  • Having people in my life who accept me completely
  • My quirkiness
  • Being part of such a fun, loving, supportive family
  • Tears of joy
  • Anyone who has come into my life and treated me unfairly or didn't appreciate who I am. Because those people left, it made room for the good ones
  • Songs that make me want to twirl
  • Unexpected morning phone calls from my mom
  • My health
  • The new Taylor Swift album
  • Pinterest. Where else could I find all the best cupcake recipes and inspirational quotes in one place?
  • The quote, “Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms.” This quote has helped me see the bright side in so many negative situations. 
  • My girlfriends
  • Knowing that one day I will look back and laugh at how confusing dating is to me right now
  • Blueberry vodka
  • Friendly customer service employees
  • How it feels to wake up in the morning with the sun shining through the windows

Life isn't perfect. Horrible things happen sometimes. I've been sick. My heart has been broken. I've experienced sadness. But, in all of those times, there has always been something, even something small, to be thankful for. Sometimes you have to search a little more than others for the good and that's okay. Those situations help you appreciate the small things. They make you realize how blessed you really are. We've all got to start seeing the perfection in less-than-perfect situations. 

For all those not-so-great situations, I feel like we get so many more days where the good is so overwhelming you don't know how you got to be so lucky. Those are the days when you go to count your blessings and you don't even know where to begin so you just close your eyes and thank God. 
That is me today; overwhelmed with gratitude. 
Tell me...
What are you feeling most thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bake, Exercise, Bake, Exercise, Repeat.

Hi everyone! I'm sure you're all anxiously counting down until you finish work for the week and busy preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones. My week so far has consisted of lots of baking and working out everyday in preparation for the over-indulging I plan to do on Thursday am already doing. For example, run 5 miles and get a good arm workout in on Monday night = it is totally acceptable to eat 5 pumpkin struesel pudding cookies fresh out of the oven.

I'm still thinking up my Thanksgiving day blog post, but in the hopes of distracting myself from the fact that I still have to make it through one more day at work, today I'm sharing what I'm most looking forward to on this Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Baking in my parents' kitchen on Thanksgiving day. The house is so alive with conversation and laughter and my parents are so adorable cooking dinner together.
  • Going for a run on Thanksgiving morning through my parents' neighborhood. I rarely run outside, mostly because it's usually dark out when I get around to working out and it's just more convenient for me to run on the treadmill at the gym. My parents live out in the country and with the beautiful weather we've been having, I can't wait to wake up on Thursday morning and get a nice outdoors run in!
  • Family time. It's not very often my siblings and I are at my parents' house at the same time since we all have different schedules. It'll be nice to all be together...we always have such a good time.
  • Relaxation. I've mentioned before how terrible I am at truly taking time out to relax. When I am at my own house, there is always something else I feel I should be doing. Thanksgiving at my parents' house really forces me to relax, read, take an afternoon nap on the patio...things I don't make time for on a regular basis.
  • Celebrating. Life is so full of ups and downs and I feel like my family has seen so many of these recently and in the last few years. I've really come to look forward to soaking in the joy that is Thanksgiving day and really take time to celebrate the things we are thankful for.
  • Seeing my best friend. My best friend Taryn will be in Orlando for Thanksgiving and even though I'll be at my parents, I am driving back to Orlando to spend Friday with her because I can't have her so close and not see her at all. There's been a lot going on in our lives since I last saw her in October, so I can't wait to have some time with her.
Thanksgiving has really become my favorite holiday. I love everything about this day and can't wait to celebrate!

Tell me...

What are you looking forward to most?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Random Thoughts

Happy Wednesday! This post comes to you from my office where men are tearing apart the roof and it sounds as if someone is moments away from falling through the ceiling and landing on my lap. I obviously can't concentrate, so I'm blogging. One of the many reasons I love blogging is that it doesn't require concentration. I don't need to pick one thing to write about and stick to it. I don't even have to make sense. So today I bring you the thoughts that are going through my head right meow.

I heard an ad on the radio this morning announcing that a local mall is opening at midnight on Black Friday. I love to shop almost as much as I love getting a really good deal on something, but I can't help but feel sad that shopping is starting to overshadow Thanksgiving day. Every year it seems the stores start opening earlier and earlier and more people spend Thanksgiving day waiting in lines and fighting crowds than sitting around the table with family celebrating all they are thankful for.

My nana has been fighting cancer on and off for a few years. She is now refusing treatment and I'm going to visit her today. I haven't seen her in quite some time and I'm feeling a little anxious. I really just want to hug her and tell her I love her, and I'm just hoping I don't completely fall apart. I'll also be seeing my aunts and uncles I haven't seen in a long time. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.

Dating The Dog Whisperer makes me feel like I am in stop and go traffic. You know the feeling, when you think the traffic jam has finally cleared up and you start to cruise, only to come to a dead stop in 1/2 a mile. That's how I'm feeling. Whenever I see him, it's like we are cruising down the highway and things feel like they are going so great, then we say our goodbyes and it feels as though we are at a complete standstill until the next time I see him. I'm not saying this is a terrible thing because we are taking it slow and blah, blah, blah. It is what it is but it's new territory for this impatient girl.

Speaking of boys, I can't help but think they are so cute banding together during the month of November for No Shave November. I can't help but notice the irony: it's cute when the men in your life decide to dedicate a month to not shaving, but if us ladies decide to avoid shaving for a month, we've "let ourselves go." Trust me, I am not an advocate of going more than a day without shaving my legs nevermind a whole month, but still, I'm entertained by this.

I'm truly starting to believe children have a better grasp on life than anyone else. They are brutally honest and so genuinely optimistic. I'm loving these two kids' quotes:

Anyway, I hope you're all having a lovely day.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's Okay Thursday

I wish I had more to say today, but since I don't...I'm linking up for "It's Okay Thursday."

It's okay to become esctatic over simple things like getting your first holiday cup at Starbucks.

It's okay that I was too cozy to get out of bed at 5:30 this morning to get to the gym. I'll go later...or tomorrow.

It's okay that I'm having a tough time holding off on listening to Christmas music. I know it's a little early for all that but I can't help it!

It's okay to let yourself be sad sometimes. The important thing is to leave some room for hope.

It's okay for dating to make you feel like you need therapy.

It's okay that I've had a really hard time focusing at work lately. I'll snap out of it eventually.

It's okay to reference Friends episodes on a daily basis.

It's okay to wish your parents lived even closer than they do because sometimes, you just need your parents.
It's okay to wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and wish you weren't in bed alone.
It's okay to be completely obsessed with your girlfriends. Good friends are hard to come by, so I can't help but be obsessed with the ones I have.

It's okay that I started writing this post at 10:00 this morning and I'm just now finishing.

What is okay with you today? Link up!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Happy Weekend with a Side of Anxiety

Happy Monday!

Am I the only one who feels strangely energized thanks to daylight savings time? I woke up at 7 a.m. (which would have been 8 a.m.) on Sunday morning feeling like I had slept for days. The sun was shining through the windows and the birds were chirping. I felt like I was brand new. I woke up and immediately went for a 3.5 mile run outside which I would normally be in no rush to do. I even felt the same way this morning despite the fact that it's Monday. I don't know if it's because I'm well-rested, or that I haven't had enough to eat, or that I've had too much coffee, but my heart is racing and I feel way too energized to be sitting at my desk all day.

My weekend was lovely, although I can't say it was too wild and crazy. Saturday morning, Natasha and I participated in the Paws for Peace walk, which raised money for Harbor House, a domestic violence shelter, to build a pet shelter for domestic violence victims. The weather was beautiful and we were able to bring Blake, which was so nice. From there, we continued the walking and chatting and ended up walking several miles exploring the area and checking out the scenery. We ended the afternoon with brunch and mimosas, then frozen yogurt at one of my favorite places. I have to get cheesy for a minute and say how awesome it is to have a friend you can do anything with. It was such a nice day.

I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing and taking care of a few errands. Sometimes you just need some time to yourself. It was nice and I'm glad I was able to get a good run in on Sunday. I recently discovered that I am down 10 lbs from August when I started working out again. This is exciting, but I'm even more excited that I am increasing my distance and continuously improving when it comes to my workouts.

If I'm being honest, I'm feeling a bit of anxiety in addition to all this energy. I had to cut a fun night out short on Friday because I started having intense back pain that is all too familiar. It's a kidney stone kind of pain and unfortunately, I know it all too well. I'm going to see my doctor Wednesday and praying that it isn't what I think it is. I'm thinking if I send good thoughts out into the universe, I will learn that the back pain is just a fluke. So yeah, no kidney stones for this girl. No way!

Long story short, even the most positive people have negative thoughts. The trick is, and I need to remind of myself of this, to not let our negative thoughts overshadow positive thoughts. Our positive thoughts have to beat out the negative ones. So, I'm feeling anxious about a few things, but now that I've gotten it out there, it's time for the positive thoughts to take over.

If I do find out I have kidney stones again, I am lucky to have a great doctor on my side who will help me take care of it.

If I do find out I have kidney stones again, I can rest easy knowing I have been through much, much worse and like I say everytime I get kidney stones, "This too shall pass."

I am lucky to have a good friend who when I looked at her on Friday night saying I was in too much pain, she rushed me home and took such good care of me. 

That was a lot of information for a Monday. Whew! I feel better, though I still feel like my heart might beat out of my chest. More coffee?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Snapshots

Good morning! It's 10 a.m. on Halloween and I already have a tummy ache from eating too much candy corn. Is that going to stop me? Nope.

I have Blake at work with me today for our Halloween potluck and we are heading over to The Dog Whisperer's house later this evening to hand out candy and enjoy the beautiful fall weather we are having. I'm a happy girl.

Since I should really get to work since we'll be slacking off most of the are a few of my Halloween snapshots so far.

My bumblebee costume. I wore this downtown Saturday night. Today I'm just rocking the wings and antenna since it's a little chilly today and my boss probably wouldn't appreciate this outfit too much.
Blake is a Wide Retriever today. I can't get over how adorable this is
and he doesn't seem to mind the shirt too much! 
Pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting
 made from scratch by yours truly :) You can find the recipe here.
I absolutely cannot wait to spend the evening with some wonderful people in my life. I hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween!