Thursday, August 30, 2012

Strippers & Shenanigans

Talk about switching gears! Today's post isn't about random acts of kindness, unless you count "making it rain" on a stripper a random act of kindness. Before a new weekend with new adventures to be had begins, I want to tell you about the hilarious and wild night I had last weekend.
This quote really sums it up, but I'll fill you in on the details because they are that random.

I made plans to go out with my roommate, Natasha on Saturday night and after going downtown the night before with my sisters, I wasn't sure what I was in the mood for. We've only been out a few times together since she moved in a few months ago, but we've had a blast everytime. We decided to start the night off with a few drinks at Bar Louie then decide if we wanted to head downtown or what. This is how the rest of the night went:

We walk into the bar and I spot two guys I know from high school and two of their friends.
The guys immediately ordered us drinks and we all moved to a bigger table.
Natasha and I discuss 1. how much fun this is and 2. that we both agree one of the guys is really cute.
Natasha hits on a completely random guy sitting at the bar by filling out a Paper PickUp,
folding it into a paper airplane then throwing it at him. That's when I think it really hit me: I love this girl.
He obviously comes over and minutes later she needs my help getting rid of him.
After a few drinks, we all head over to a new bar down the street for more fun.
We find a really neat outdoor area of the bar to hang out. Because someone says this looked like a VIP area, suddenly we are coming up with celebrity look-a-likes for everyone. One of the guys becomes Rob Kardashian, another becomes
Kenny Chesney even though he really doesn't look a thing like him,
I become Carrie Underwood and Natasha becomes Taylor Swift.
A few drinks later, the guys gently break it to us that their plans were actually
to go to a strip club next.
I think they were afraid they would lose us for the night, but Natasha and I enthusiastically
announce that we've never been to one and we were totally down.
Next thing you know we're all in the car on our way.
Some ladies might walk into a strip club with a group of four guys and sit in the corner pouting.
Not us.
We get in, order drinks, Natasha starts buying the guys lapdances and I am asking Kenny Chesney to teach me how to go about putting money in the girls' panties and telling him "I want to make it rain!"
We were truly "just one of the guys" at the strip club and they loved it. It was so hilarious.

So basically, girls' night turned into quite an adventure and Natasha was all about it. I love having friends who are up for anything and just "go with it." Natasha is definitely this way. Our plans of having a girls' night went out the window and she hit it off with all the guys and loved every second. She doesn't get all wrapped up in what our "plan" is or get all weird about hanging out with people she doesn't know. I love it. She is spontaneous and fun and the next day we couldn't stop laughing about our wild night.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekend in Maine, Travel Woes & the Kindness of Strangers

Hi everyone! So maybe it has taken me about two weeks to get around to this, but I wanted to give you a quick rundown of my weekend trip to Maine earlier this month because some pretty awesome stuff happened.

Weekend in Maine
The reason for the trip: my cousin got married. The wedding was on Lake Sebago and my extended family all stayed in cabins around the lake for the weekend. It was so awesome walking outside our cabin and running into cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. The wedding was beautiful and the weekend was full of relaxation, campfires and quality time with my family. It was perfect.

While most of my family drove (all the way from Florida,) I couldn't quite take that much time off work, so I flew in Friday and came home (or attempted to, but I'll get to that shortly) Monday. The weather up there is gorgeous this time of year and I enjoyed every minute. A group of us even went for a run Sunday morning and I can't tell you how nice it was to run outside and not feel like you are melting! I couldn't find a kite to fly (one of my goals for the weekend), but my sister and I did the zipline across the lake, which was super fun!

1. Dad and I - 2. Mom and I twirling, of course
1. My siblings and I (missing a sister, though!) - 2. Lake Sebago
3. A really neat picture I took of my niece while blowing bubbles on the porch with the kids
1. My nephew Aidan and I - 2. My niece Alyssa and I
Obsessed with these beautiful children.
Travel Woes & the Kindness of Strangers
If you know me in real life, you know that I don't have the best luck with air travel. Now bad luck would be plane crashes and whatnot, so I wouldn't go that far, but I can't take one trip without missing a flight, getting stranded in a random city alone for the night or missing a connection. It never fails and it is never my fault. You'd think a girl with my air travel luck would always schedule non-stop flights, but when you are going on a super quick trip and trying to save money, sometimes you don't have much of a choice. After bad weather in Orlando almost caused me to miss my connection in Atlanta on the way up to Maine (I was that girl hauling ass through the airport at 3:30 to make it to my 3:30 pm flight), I figured the flights home would be smooth sailing. Boy, was I mistaken.

About 20 minutes from landing in Baltimore to make my connecting flight to Orlando, the pilot came on saying because of thunderstorms in Baltimore, we'd have to make a pit stop in Philadelphia. At this point, it's already about 8 p.m. so things aren't looking great. I was actually getting in touch with my good friend from college, Theresa who lives in Philly and was actually a little excited to reunite for a night. Around 8:30 p.m. (the same time my flight was scheduled to leave Baltimore, the pilot comes on saying we are leaving Philly and heading to Baltimore. Most people on the plane were thrilled; I, was crossing my fingers my flight wouldn't leave without me. When we landed in Baltimore, a city where I know no one, the flight attendant broke the news that the flight to Orlando was long gone. I was stranded in Baltimore.

After an emotional goodbye to my sister, niece and nephew earlier in the day and a long afternoon of traveling, I completely lost it and broke down. While waiting for my baggage, crying to my mother on the phone about how AirTran's idea of helping out stranded customers was to give me a "discounted" hotel rate of $60, and coming to find out the hotel they partner with doesn't even offer a shuttle to the airport for my 6 a.m. flight, the most amazing thing happened.

A couple approached me and told me they'd really like to help me. The man walked with me into the airport office to speak to someone about the situation and try to get some other options and they tried to help me find a better hotel, with no luck. After spending an hour in the airport trying to figure something out, they decide to drive me to the hotel and at least try to get me a ride secured to the airport the next morning. When we get to the hotel, the woman at the front desk says they aren't the same hotel that AirTran partners with, so although they do have a shuttle, the room is $120 a night. I'm so exhausted and frustrated at this point, that I thank the couple profusely for their help, but that I am just going to pay the $120 and stay there. The couple leaves and the woman at the front desk tells me that because she feels awful about my experience, she'd like to offer me a generous discount, making the room $60 instead of $120. I was speechless and completely overwhelmed by all the kindness I had experienced in the last few hours.

I got to my room no longer feeling frustrated and angry, but feeling so grateful for being on the receiving end of these Random Acts of Kindness. I can't put into words how appreciative I was of these people. The funny thing is, I went into my trip with all these ideas of RAKs I can perform in the airport and in my travels, but I ended up being on the receiving end and not performing as many as I planned. I would have been a lot worse off that night without these nice people, so thank goodness for them. It's such proof to me that my mission is a good one. Good things come to those who do good and what you put out into the universe will come back to you at some point. The whole "Pay it Forward" idea has never been so apparent.

To sum it up, I had an absolutely wonderful weekend in Maine, a few low travel points and a ton of moments of complete happiness and appreciation for people in my life, family and random strangers.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

28 Days of Thanks: Mission Accomplished!

I've had so much fun over the past few weeks and have lots to fill you in on! I'll get to that, but in the midst of the crazy, I never got a chance to tell you all I completed my 28 Days of Thanks project. Since I updated you somewhere around the 14th day, I gave cards to my coworkers, my brother, my new roommate, my cousin, a few more of my girlfriends, another client, my dad, my grandfather and my aunt. A few thoughts now that I've completed the project:

Somewhere a little after the halfway mark, I stopped sending or handing out a card on a daily basis. This explains why I finished a little later than I originally should have. The reason I slowed down a bit has nothing to do with a lack of people to give the cards to, it was more to do with the logistics. This started when I went on my business trip a few weeks ago. Being out of town and working nonstop, it wasn't exactly feasible to get a card in the mail each day. I also never wanted my thank you note for the day to feel forced. The point of this was to reflect and practice thanks everyday, which I definitely did, but if I was in a situation where I couldn't take the time to write a thoughtful, honest message, I didn't want to force it. Soooo, it took me a bit longer than I originally intended, but I did it!

I have to say that my favorite part of this whole process was the reactions I got from everyone I gave a card to. It was nice to know that my note made an impact on each individual and even though it was such a simple gesture, I think it meant a lot to them.

While I don't necessarily intend to start another 28 Days of Thanks Kit, I know that reflecting daily and showing thanks to the people in my life will be more of a regular habit now. Writing a note each day never took more than a few minutes, so I want to make sure I take the time to do that for the people in my life more often.

This definitely has me motivated to come up with other simple and thoughtful ways to show thanks for the people in my life. If you have any good ideas, please share!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Happy Friday everyone! I'm flying to Boston this afternoon to spend a fun night in the city with my family, then headed to spend the rest of the weekend on a lake in Maine for my cousin's wedding. I absolutely cannot wait to get away for a few days and spend some quality time with my silly family!

Goals for the weekend:


Dance a ton

Fly a kite

Lots of Random Acts of Kindness during my airport travels

Take an obscene amount of pictures

Soak up every moment with my family

Cry happy tears (this is a given, especially since I'm going to a wedding!)

Go for a run around the lake on Sunday morning and enjoy the scenery

Close my eyes for a minute and really let the special moments sink in

I am soooo looking forward to this getaway and can't wait to fill you in when I get back. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why I Loved This Weekend

Happy Monday everyone!

I kicked off my Monday by landing my client an interview with The Wall Street Journal, so excuse my being overly excited about anything and everything. I was sick last week (boo), but thanks to my awesome doctor, I was back in action just in time to have an absolutely delightful weekend. Why, you ask?

Saturday I spent the morning pampering myself and it was just lovely. I got my highlights touched up and eyebrows done and ran a few errands. I'm headed to Boston/Maine this weekend for a wedding, so it was nice to be out and about getting what I needed for the trip. I followed this up with a really fun dinner with my two girlfriends.

Sunday I had the pleasure of spending the day with my parents, brother and one of my sisters in Orlando. We all had things we needed to pick up for our trip, so we set out on a shopping adventure. My dad and brother aren't the biggest fans of day-long shopping trips, but they hung in there! We took a break for lunch at one of my favorite little restaurants in downtown Winter Garden, but other than that we shopped until we dropped! I am a little obsessed with some of my purchases. So much so, that I need to share them with you.

Nike Lunar Forever running shoes.
I can't wait to run in these tonight!

This shirt from Forever 21.

Eurostep Women's Adrift Boat Shoes.
These are so cute and so comfortable.

Fast Track by China Glaze.
Sundays with my family are absolutely delightful. It doesn't matter what we're doing, the day is always full of love, positivity and lots and lots of laughter. Spending the day with them Sunday left me feeling so giddy and grateful.

And this weekend we're off to spend Friday night in Boston and the rest of the weekend will be spent on a lake in Maine for my cousin's wedding. Should be a blast!

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back on the Fitness Train

I've fallen off the fitness wagon so many times this year it's hard to tell if I was ever really on it! The good news: I'm back and hanging on for dear life. I don't know how it got to the point where I was eating whatever I wanted and had ZERO motivation to go to the gym, but those days are long gone.

Here's what I've been doing to make sure it stays this way:

Committing to run a 5K (two, actually) in the next few months. I've always done best when I have a deadline or goal in mind. I'm not looking to win first place or anything, but I want to go into these runs feeling confident that I can at least run the whole thing (ideally without fainting at the finish line). I'll be running the 14th Annual Miracle Miles 5K with some friends in September and obviously The Color Run in December. Having these on the calendar is helping me stay motivated.

Splurging on workout gear. This may sound silly, but I've learned that I will use anything as an excuse to avoid working out. I've never been one to have a drawer full of exercise clothes; I've always had a few basics (capris, pants, a few workout shirts) and made those work. The problem: a few workouts a week and I was out of clean clothes before I had a chance to catch up on laundry. I've been stocking up on running shorts, tanks and socks to be sure I never have that excuse. I'm making sure to buy things I will feel comfortable running a few miles in so I have no excuse to leave the gym early.

Being more flexible. I used to think the only way I was going to go to the gym was if I went straight from work. I convinced myself that going home first, I would severely decrease my chances of working out because I wouldn't be motivated to leave the house once I got there. This worked fine until Blake came into the picture in January. Being the puppy that he is, I've tried to be overly cautious about leaving him in his crate too long. That, and I feel like a terrible mother if he is stuck in there longer than absolutely necessary.

I would go to the gym straight from work and give myself one hour to work out before I rushed home to Blake. One hour? That isn't nearly enough time to get in a decent workout no matter how hard I tried to convince myself otherwise. By the time I was done with arms/shoulders or back/chest, I hardly had enough time to get in 30 minutes of cardio before I was rushing home. All of this made me look at working out as such an inconvenience. Now, I go straight home after work to take Blake out, feed him and let him run around for a bit, then go to the gym. Once I'm there, I don't feel so rushed and therefore have a MUCH better attitude about the whole thing.

Can't find the source for this one

Getting out of my own way. Exercise has always been one area in my life where I don't project my positive attitude. Talk to me about any other area in my life and I'm all "I can do anything," "the sky's the limit," "anything is possible if you really want it." In the gym, I've always been more like, "I am running 1 mile. 1 mile, that's it." I can't tell you how many times my workout buddy, Chad (Scott's best friend), has told me to get out of my own way. He was right. He's always told me to get on the treadmill and run until I can't anymore, rather than setting a specific distance for myself. Giving myself a limit before I even get on the treadmill is doung just that-- limiting me.

These days, I run until I can't anymore and while that still isn't very far, I know it will get better because I'm getting out of my own way. Some days I even run until I can't anymore, then get on the elliptical for a few minutes to switch it up. It's amazing how changing the way you think about something makes such a difference.

Staying busy. I've always been happier when life is busy. Spending more time at the gym each night is bringing more control into other areas of life. I don't do well with down time at home. I either sit around watching television or snack, usually both. I also end up feeling down or lonely and overthinking things which is never good. With my new routine, I've been taking Blake for a walk before or after the gym instead of sitting around doing nothing at home. When I am finally home around 9, since I don't have much time before bed and I have more energy, I eat something quick and healthy for dinner and get things done around the house. Busy is good. It doesn't leave time for sitting in front of the TV, snacking or being lazy.

Needless to say, I'm psyched to be back on track! I'm
determined to keep it this way.

What are your secrets for staying motivated?