Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sometimes I just don't have anything to say.

I had every intention of blogging on Tuesday, but had nothing to say, really. I made my very first lasagna on Monday, but didn't take photos of my cooking adventure, so that wouldn't be fun to write about. I even spent Saturday afternoon drinking around the world at Epcot with my friend Alyssa. Unfortunately, I didn't take one photo of us at Epcot. Not even one. What kind of blogger am I? 

We did take a photo later in the night and have to share it because I must say we are looking pretty pulled together for drinking all day in the Florida heat.

Then I went to write a post on Wednesday, but I just wasn't feelin' it.

Here we are on Thursday, and I still don't have anything very interesting to say to you all.

Last night, Jonathan and I booked our trip to Clearwater Beach to celebrate his birthday next weekend and since then I haven't really been able to think about anything else.

All I can do is think about getting out of town and basking in the sun all day drinking fruity drinks with my love.

I love our life together. Every weekend we seem to have something fun going on whether it's a birthday celebration, graduation, family gathering, wedding or baby shower. With all of that stuff going on, my recent roommate stress and Jonathan working his butt off recently, we are definitely in need of a few days away just the two of us.

Basically, what I'm saying is I don't have much to say this week and I'm well aware that this post is pretty pointless.

In the meantime, if we could just fast forward to next weekend, that would be great. 

Hope you're all having a fantastic week!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A few things I'm loving this week.

Hi all!

I know I've been a little MIA and I'm hoping to get back on track here soon. I was out of town for a long weekend to attend my grandmother's funeral and came back to what basically feels like a war zone in my house. I'm knee deep in major roommate drama and trying to deal with it has kind of consumed my time and energy this week.

I've owned my house for 3 years during which I've probably had 7 roommates/tenants and I've never had an issue until now. I don't have the energy to get into the messy details, but I'm disappointed and to be honest, I am really angry. Needless to say, I'm tired and so ready for this nightmare to be over.

Enough about that, though. I'm back and in the spirit of focusing on the good things, here are a few things that I'm loving this week:

This photo of Jonathan and I dancing at a wedding a few months ago...

 These quotes...

This photo of my siblings and I at my parents' house this week...

This text from Jonathan...

Getting to spend a few days with my adorable nephew...

I absolutely adore that little guy. He is by far the sweetest, most easy-going little baby I've ever been around. Just thinking of his cute face makes me smile.

I couldn't end this on a happier note than that. I hope you're all having a great week!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A different kind of grieving.

My Nana passed away on Monday morning.

I've been trying to figure out how to write about this and even considered not writing about it at all. To be honest, I'm feeling a little conflicted and I've been trying to figure out how to put that into words. The thing is, this is my space and I use writing to help me sort out my feelings, so I need to get it out and move forward from there.

I mentioned in a recent post that my Nana has been battling cancer on and off for several years and chose to stop receiving treatment. I was able to visit her a few weeks ago to say goodbye and Monday morning, her suffering finally stopped.

This is certainly not the first death of a loved one I've experienced, but it is certainly a different experience than the others. With the others, I didn't have the opportunity to say goodbye, to prepare myself for what was coming. I don't know if being able to say goodbye makes it any easier to cope, but I do know that I'm grieving in a very different way.

See, over the last few years, my Nana hasn't really been my Nana. Her health issues and circumstances really took a toll on her spirit. She distanced herself quite a bit from my family and I'll never forget calling her for a birthday a few years ago and being so sad after hearing her so grumpy. This wasn't the Nana I knew.

It's been strange the last several months, knowing this was coming any day. I know my dad and his siblings have been trying to prepare, to be there and still lead their daily lives knowing this was coming.

My dad and his siblings didn't have the best childhood. I know in the last few years especially, my dad's relationship with his mother was a little tense. See, my dad speaks his mind and he's always had her best interest at heart. She didn't always see it that way. I don't want my father to look back and wish  he had done anything differently. He tried his best to be there, to help, to reach out and speak up out of concern for her.

I love my Nana and always will. Dealing with the loss of a family member, no matter the circumstances, is heart breaking. It would be crazy to say that I don't feel sadness and a sense of loss.

I do.

It's just that I'm feeling so much sadness for my dad. I worry about him and how he is coping. I just want to hug him and have our whole family together because I know that will give him strength.

If I'm being completely honest with myself, I have to admit that personally, I feel an enormous sense of peace and relief.  I've been struggling with this all week because I don't want to come across insensitive or cold-hearted for feeling this way. I think when we lose someone we love, we feel like there is a certain way we are expected to react and a certain way to grieve, but I'm realizing it's okay to "live in joy."

Her suffering is over and I know she has finally found peace. I know my dad and his siblings will come together, move on together and begin to let go of any tension between them. We can all focus on the happy memories and reminisce about the times she made us laugh without realizing she was doing anything funny. We can focus on the joy she brought us, the memories, the card games we played. We can all start to heal and move on with her in our hearts.

I'm realizing it's okay to focus on this and to feel peace. I wholeheartedly believe my Nana is in a better place and it's okay to feel at peace, to feel relieved on her behalf.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Birthday Weekend Recap & My Birthday List

Happy Monday everyone! I have lots to tell you about after spending the weekend celebrating my 27th birthday and Mother's Day. It was a jam-packed weekend full of family and was just wonderful. As I do every year, I also have my annual birthday list to share!

First, let me tell you about Saturday. My birthday was on Sunday and not wanting to take away from Mother's Day celebrations, I decided to celebrate on Saturday. Instead of stressing myself out trying to plan a dinner and night out with friends and family, we decided to host a BBQ at Jonathan's house to celebrate my birthday. This way, whoever wanted to come could come and I wouldn't have to stress about making reservations and planning a night out. It was the perfect plan in my book. 

My parents, Jonathan's entire family, my siblings, my best friend, Taryn and tons of our friends showed up and it was such a blast. This was the first time our families were spending some time together and it was also Jonathan's first time meeting my best friend. Most importantly, our families hit it off perfectly and Jonathan and Taryn get along great. Having all of my favorite people in one place made me one happy girl. 

Jonathan gave me the absolute perfect gift...a key to his house. I've been spending most weekends there and have really come to consider it home. Giving me my own key was such a sweet gesture and I couldn't be happier with where we're at in our relationship.

So glad to have my momma there!
Best friend meets boyfriend.
After a long day of celebrating, we were ready for bed.
Sunday, after spending as long as possible snuggling Jonathan, I hit the rode for my parents' house for the day to celebrate Mother's Day. After going to lunch and getting in some quality time with my parents, I headed home to Jonathan's to enjoy the last bit of such a wonderful weekend. I couldn't be happier ending my birthday with a quiet night at home with my love.

And now, I bring you this year's birthday list. If you've been following along for a while, each year I come up with a different birthday list. My 25th birthday was a list of 25 lessons I've learned so far. For my 26th birthday, I came up with a birthday day bucket list. I kind of struggled coming up with a theme this year. I wanted to do 27 random acts of kindness, but didn't really get it planned out in time. I've been thinking a lot about how so many people my age freak out about getting older and it drives me nuts. I still feel so young and still feel like I have so much to learn and look forward to. Because of all this, I've decided to share a list of things I still need to learn. Here goes...I still don't know:

1.    How to dance (hey, just because I love to dance doesn’t mean I am good at it)
2.    My alcohol limits; when I need to stop drinking to avoid being a disaster
3.    CPR
4.    How to use a really nice camera
5.    How to go around making people smile all day and still pay my bills
6.    How to French or fishtail braid my own hair
7.    How to curl my own hair
8.    Okay, just how to do my hair in general
9.    The difference between hungry and bored
10.  How to leave the house without obsessively checking to make sure I turned off the straightener 
11.  How to cook eggs other than scrambled. Sunny side-up, omelets, over-easy, over-hard...I don't know how to do any of this successfully. 
12.  To speak my mind without worrying how people will react
13.  How to change a tire
14.  How to relax
15.  To have more patience 
16.  How to fold a fitted sheet 
17.  How to give a toast without crying
18.  How to argue without getting upset
19.  How to check my oil
20.  How to stop throwing a bunch of random crap in my purse. The other day I had two forks in my purse. Completely unnecessary. 
21.  How to get my dog and Jonathan's cat to get along
22.  How to get Blake more well-trained
23.  How to leave for work without driving back home to make sure I shut the garage door
24.  How to "do" my make up aside from the basic mascara and eye liner I wear most days
25.  How to pack more efficiently. I don't need 12 shirts for one weekend at Jonathan's, honestly.
26.  How to get mad. When I get mad, I just get sad and sometimes that doesn't help.
27.  How to do a cartwheel 
I've learned so much about myself and life in the last few years and I know there are still so many lessons to learn. I can't wait to see what wonderful things this year will bring. Cheers to 27 years!

Linking up with Sami for Weekend Shenanigans!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Celebrating mom.

With mother's day just a few days away, I wanted to take some time today and tell you some of the many reasons I absolutely adore my mother. Words can't do this wonderful woman justice, but I'm going to try anyway. Why is my momma so great? Let me tell you. 

She can fold a fitted sheet.How many people do you know that can do this? When I try, it ends up looking like I rolled the sheet up into a ball. This is truly a gift. We're also talking about a woman who after washing her sheets, will iron them before making the bed.

Her handwriting looks like a fancy font you would find online.

She can make anything fun. I asked for her help studying for a science test on the periodic table when I was younger. Somehow she managed to turn this into a giggle fest by coming up with funny ways for me to remember the elements. I remember taking the test a few days later and laughing as I remembered her silly way of helping me remember each answer. At the end of every semester of college, she would come for the day to help me move out of my dorm. I can’t think back on those days without laughing to myself. We would be giggling nonstop trying to carry way too many of my belongings at a time down to the car. We’d be in the elevator basically sitting in a pile of my clothes that we dropped because we couldn’t stop giggling. After a goofy day of packing the car, we’d grab Slurpees and snacks from the gas station and gossip and sing all the way home.

She has the patience of a saint. It’s remarkable, really. People would comment when my 4 siblings and I were kids on how she never yelled. I’m talking 5 kids all about a year apart and no yelling. It’s unheard of.

She reminds me to be who I am and never apologize for it.

Because of her, I know how to love and the importance of showing affection. My family overuses ‘I love you.’ We hug. We grew up with parents who are affectionate with each other. No relationship is perfect, but we’ve learned what love is just by growing up with our parents as the example. Because of them, I know how to love, I know how to show it and I know how important it is to make sure you the people you love know you love them.

She cries happy tears like it’s nobody’s business. People tease me for crying during Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, but I have just one thing to say to those people: I got it from my momma. She’s the lady crying in Hallmark trying to pick out a birthday card for her husband. She’s the one sobbing in the movie theatre during a Nicholas Sparks film. You all probably know that I think crying happy tears is one of the best feelings in the world and I’m sure my mother knows exactly where I’m coming from. 

She is my biggest fan. She motivates and inspires and she's there to listen when things don't go as planned. She shares in my joys as if they were her own and she feels my pain when life isn't fair. No matter what though, she is there cheering me on.

She’s optimistic. I’m an optimistic person, but my mom…she is the definition of optimism. My siblings and I used to laugh when talking about finding love and she would say, “You could walk outside today and meet the love of your life…” It’s actually kind of a family joke because she would say it so often. Then one day in December, I walked out the door and headed downtown and guess what happened? I met the love of my life. You called it, momma.

She would do absolutely anything for her children. I can’t speak for my siblings because we each have our own stories where mom has been our hero, but this woman helped me survive one of the scariest times of my life. When I got very sick a few years ago and spent a few weeks in the hospital, my mother dropped everything and moved into my house for a month to be there for me. I won’t get into all the details of that again, but I honestly don’t know how I would’ve survived that month without her. 

She is why I write, read, bake, dance and talk about rainbows and sunshine. I got a fair share of my qualities from my dad, but I certainly get my passion for reading and writing from her. She's why I can act silly and "dance like no one is watching." She's why I try to spread happiness and positivity on a daily basis. She's why I cry happy tears several times a day. I get all of these qualities from her and I'm so thankful for them. 

I could go on and on talking about how great my mom is, but I will leave it at this:

Everyday I become a little bit more like my mother...and I couldn't be prouder. 

Happy Mother's Day big sunshine! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cuatro de Mayo

It feels great to say I'm not suffering from the slightest hangover today. Our Cinco de Mayo involved a trip to the flea market, an afternoon bike ride and tacos for dinner at Jonathan's parents' house. I was happily in bed by 9 p.m. while Jonathan played poker with the guys.

Our Cuatro de Mayo, however, was full of dancing, bubbles, tequila and beer bongs. Jonathan's friend threw a huge party and we had an absolute blast!

I made oh, about 4 dozen of these babies, Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies and they were a huge hit. I'll admit to having one of these for breakfast on Saturday morning. They were that good. The recipe is super simple, too!

Reason #1,458 why my boyfriend is way cooler than me...he has all this super fancy DJ equipment so he was in charge of providing the music all day. This didn't stop me from visiting him at the DJ table every now and then to steal a kiss or two. This also didn't stop some other girl from hanging around him all day, but that is a story for later on. 

My sisters were there, too! I was so happy they came out and we had a blast dancing and drinking together all day long. 

Jonathan set up his bubble machine by the DJ booth which obviously made it my favorite spot of the day. Why are bubbles so exciting? I'll never understand but if you can't tell from the photo above, they make me so absolutely happy.

Oh, so that girl that wouldn't leave my handsome boyfriend alone all day? I'm really not the jealous type, but I couldn't help but notice that every time I looked over there, she was standing around the DJ table, either dancing or talking to Jonathan. I don't worry about him at all, but in my drunken state, I was a little annoyed by her. This led me to start requesting Jonathan play songs like "Move bitch" by Ludacris in the hopes she would take a hint. I know, so classy. 

Anyway, you can blame this behavior on the multiple margaritas, beers and my participation in this...
Bongzilla. It's as scary as it sounds.
It was another absolutely perfect weekend and I'm already counting down to the next one. My best friend Taryn will be in town just in time to celebrate my 27th birthday. My birthday is on Sunday, but we're hosting a big birthday BBQ at Jonathan's house on Saturday. I can't wait!

Finally linking up with Sami for Weekend Shenanigans!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Fitness Wish List

I know it's only been 2 days since I posted about getting back on track with fitness and healthy eating, but I'm already feeling super pumped about it again. Thank goodness!

I typically stick with getting my workout in at a gym, aside from the occasional outdoor run, which I'd like to do more of if I can stand the Florida heat. I would like to have the option of doing more workouts at home and incorporating more outdoor activities into my fitness routine. This has me developing quite the fitness wish list including the following:

Ader Vinyl Kettlebell Set

I used my parents' kettle bell set while staying at their house for Christmas last year and loved the workout. These would be great for the days I don't have time to make it to the gym. I could even bring one or two to Jonathan's for the weekends I stay there so I don't slack off completely while I'm there.

Mantis Orchid 26" Women's Full-Suspension Mountain Bike
I never considered getting a bike until a few months ago when Jonathan and I rode bikes to the farmers market one morning. It would be a great activity for us to do together and a great workout for days I don't go to the gym and don't feel up to running outdoors.

When I saw this on Pinterest a few months ago, I was psyched. I'm a little obsessive, so I am nervous about bringing my key with my when I go for a run or take Blake for a walk. I hate having to carry anything with me, so this is the perfect solution.

Tone Fitness Speed Jump Rope
I honestly can't remember the last time I used a jump rope...probably middle school if I had to guess. I see people jumping rope at the gym sometimes and think it would be fun to switch things up like this. Again, this would be great for workouts at home.

It feels to good to be excited about my fitness routine again. Switching things up by adding these products to the mix should help me stay interested, too.

I'm wondering...

What are your favorite fitness products?