Friday, January 30, 2015

A Few Things on Friday

Happy Friday! Believe it or not, I'm showing up here for the third time this week and I'm feeling pretty good about it! There were a few weeks in a row last year where I actually posted on Fridays and even stuck to a format of sorts. I changed it up week-to-week sometimes sharing a quote, some of my favorite online reads from the week and random things that happened to be on my mind. In an attempt to bring this back, today I'm sharing a quick rundown of this week.

Highlights of my Week

  • Getting my new Polar FT4 heart rate monitor. I'd never considered using a heart rate monitor while I workout before but after trying out a free session at Orange Theory Fitness last weekend, I realized how helpful they are to ensure I'm getting the most out of my workouts. I really enjoyed my experience at OTF and loved how they provide heart rate monitors and the workout is designed around keeping you in the target zone you need to be in to maximize the results of your workout. I couldn't quite justify signing up for a membership as the prices were way out of my league, but the next day I ordered myself a Polar FT4 so I could start paying attention to my heart rate and learn what workouts are most effective for me. I've used it twice this week and I'm absolutely loving it- super easy to use and really helpful!

  • Attending my first volunteer training session at Ronald McDonald House. Before I can start volunteering on a regular basis with RMH, I have to complete two 2-hour volunteer shadow sessions and 2 training sessions at the house. I completed my first session last night and I loved checking one of these off my list and learning the ins and outs of how the house runs. It feels good to be making progress on this and I'm looking forward to becoming more involved.
Favorite Online Reads
Favorite Meal 

This Cilantro Lime Shrimp recipe from SkinnyTaste. This was actually the only dinner I cooked this week as we've rarely been home for dinner in the last few days but it is one of my favorite quick and healthy dinners to make. 

This Made Me Giggle

I'm looking forward to a relaxing night at home tonight with my man after a hectic week for both of us. I'm planning on starting my Saturday with some writing and bible study homework and making sure I get a workout in before we head out for the afternoon to visit family. We're having one of my very best friends and her boyfriend over on Sunday to watch the Super Bowl (Go Pats) with us and I am super excited! It's going to be a good one! Wishing you all a happy weekend, too! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bon's Book Club: Wonder

I love to read but every now and then, I go through periods where I forget how much I enjoy it and I'll go months at a time without picking up my Kindle. Then I'll find a book I want to read and get hooked all over again reading book after book until I don't know what to read next.

I've been on top of my reading game in the last few months and in an effort to keep this up, I'm excited to participate in Bon's Book Club. I'm always looking for book suggestions and I love the discussion aspect. 

January's book was Wonder by R.J Palacio and while this isn't normally something I would pick out on my own, I really enjoyed it! Before I get to my thoughts, here's a short description from the author's website:

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

What I really enjoyed about this book was seeing how Auggie's confidence and bravery changed so dramatically. When his mother first brings him to visit the school and on his first day, he does his best to look down, to hide himself and avoid getting strange looks and reactions as much as he possibly can. As the story develops, you can't help but notice how little by little, he is more comfortable and confident and by the end of the book - well, he is basically a different kid than he was his first day.

I loved how Palacio changed the point of view so often! I got so much more out of the story by getting to see the perspective of these other characters, especially Auggie's sister, Via. She always was and still is Auggie's "protector" but by reading her point of view, you get a glimpse into her own challenges and struggles.

I think we can all use a reminder to be more compassionate and kind and I love that so many characters in this book are a great example of that. If you have younger children, I highly recommend this book for them. It's an easy read, the chapters are short and the lesson is one we can all benefit from.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wedding Weekend in Cancun

I can't remember ever feeling so completely relaxed and happy after a vacation as I did when we returned home from spending 4 days in Cancun last Tuesday. The main reason for the trip was to be there for 3 days of Indian wedding festivities as one of my very best friends from college was getting married. I'm so so thankful we were able to make the trip for the wedding and the timing honestly couldn't have been better for us to get away for a few days and relax. With the hectic holiday season and stressful personal struggles over the past few months, I feel like we needed this getaway more than other vacations in the past. 

We stayed at the Moon Palace All Inclusive Resort and it was amazing. The food, drinks, service, rooms -- everything was great! I know not all inclusive resorts are as great as they sound, but this one absolutely is. 

Neither of us had been to an Indian wedding before and didn't really know what to expect aside from the fact that there were 3 days of events scheduled. First of all, these guys know how to throw a party. Every night was basically its own wedding reception - the decor, the music, the lights - every element was so elaborate. Not only was it a three-day celebration, but each night the party went until 5 a.m. 

Note: When I say the party went until 5 a.m., I do not mean we went until 5 a.m. I just can't hang like that and I am thoroughly impressed that the rest of the group could do that three nights in a row - especially the bride! Don't get me wrong - we had a blast! I just knew I'd never make it outside the next day to soak up some sunshine if we stayed out all night. I just don't recover that quickly.

Here's a photo of me and the beautiful bride! Monique, you were the most beautiful bride and I'm so thankful I finally got to meet your family and celebrate with all of you. I'm so happy for you and wish you loads of joy and happiness in your marriage!

When we weren't attending wedding events, we spent our time enjoying mimosas and breakfast in bed, lounging by the pool, visiting the spa for pedicures and just relaxing. I started and finished Amy Poehler's Yes Please while sipping margaritas by the pool and enjoyed every second of time with my handsome husband. It was glorious. 

I'm going to stop now and let the photos speak for themselves because I'm quickly convincing myself we need to go back as soon as possible. 

But seriously, can we go back now?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mine & Ours: 2015 Resolutions

Hola! We're home from Cancun and I can't wait to share our fun with all of you later this week. For now, though, I'm sharing some of our resolutions for 2015.

Obviously one of my New Year's resolutions was not to be on time (it should have been) seeing how I'm finally posting this and January is almost over. I'm going to go ahead and say it's better this way because I can give an update on how we are doing almost a month into the year.

I'm pretty sporadic when it comes to making New Year's resolutions. In 2011, I think I made a list of vague goals, I'm pretty sure I completely skipped out on resolutions in 2012 and 2013 and in 2014, my only resolution was to be less frantic than the year before. To be fair, I think I did accomplish that one - I slowed down a bit and didn't over commit to things.

This year, I knew I wanted to not only make some resolutions for myself, but that I wanted to make my resolutions as specific as possible. I was glad to hear Jonathan wanted to do the same so a few days before New Year's Eve, we took a break from all our party prepping and we sat down together to discuss and write down our resolutions. We helped each other define exactly what we wanted to accomplish and how we would do it. What I love is that once we decided on our individual resolutions, we came up with some resolutions for us as a couple.


(one) Complete my volunteer training for Ronald McDonald House by March 1 so I can begin volunteering there at least once a month

I have been wanting to get involved with an organization and volunteer on a regular basis for a while, but I haven't made it a priority to go through the process involved. I coordinated a volunteer event with Ronald McDonald House for our team at work last year and decided then that I wanted to get involved on my own. I've already attended the volunteer orientation, but have two attend 2 training sessions and 2 shadow sessions before I can get on the schedule to volunteer on a consistent basis. I already have my first session scheduled for next week and I'm planning on knocking out the rest in February. I'm excited to complete the process and start volunteering there -- it's such a great organization.

(two) Lose at least 15 pounds by the end of March by cutting back on carbs and working out at least 3 times a week

I'm off to a really start with this one. Before we left for Cancun, I had already lost 4 pounds and I was sticking to my commitment of working out at least 3 days a week. I'd be lying if I said I didn't indulge a bit on our trip, but today I jumped right back into it and it feels good to be making some progress.

(three) Spend at least one hour a week reading the bible

I've been thinking about this for some time - wanting to devote time to studying the bible on my own. This has been going really well so far. I've been breaking up the hour throughout the week reading for 15 or 20 minutes before bed and it's been great. I hadn't even planned on this, but a friend of mine told me there was a Beth Moore Bible study starting at our church this month and I'm so glad she did! Last night was our second week and I am loving every second. The homework every week just gives me another reason to sit down and focus on this. 

(four) Start blogging again by posting at least one blog post per week

I'm doing it, I'm really doing it! I've told myself so many times over the last few months I was going to get back into it and I just couldn't do it. I feel like I have the itch to write again and I'm excited to sit down here and share my life and thoughts with the world -- or the handful of readers I have. Either way, I'm happy to be writing again!


(one) Pray more, worry less

(two) Hold each other accountable

(three) Keep cell phones and other technology out of site during meals together

(four) Join a couple's bible study/church group

(five) Volunteer in the community together at least once per quarter

(six) Play and laugh more

(seven) Live in the moment

These may not be overly ambitious but I think we can certainly stand to remind ourselves to pray more, worry less, laugh more and be spontaneous. We so enjoyed our marriage prep course through the church. We got to meet and get to know some great couples and really enjoyed the discussions. We knew the church also had a young married couples group and we've been meaning to get involved. Well, we'll be attending our first group meeting this Sunday -- I'm really looking forward to it! 

I'm feeling pretty good about all of this right now. We've got some great things going on individually and in our relationship. I feel like because of these resolutions, I/we have been more intentional with our time. It feels good.

What kind of resolutions have you made for this year? How are they going so far?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's been a year and I'm finally posting about our honeymoon

I started slacking on Wedding Wednesday posts a long time ago and now it's been over a year since our wedding, so I never really got around to blogging about our honeymoon. Our trip to Cancun this weekend has me reminiscing and I thought now would be the perfect time for a honeymoon post.

We headed to Punta Cana early the morning after our wedding and enjoyed 5 days of beautiful weather, sun bathing, massages and total relaxation. It was everything we needed our honeymoon to be after months of wedding planning and such a perfect celebration with our family. With that being said, our trip had some ups and downs.

For starters, I haven't always had the best luck with flying. I've been stranded in cities on my own more times than I liked to remember through no fault of my own. I get to the airport super early so I don't risk missing my flight and still, I've missed connecting flights due to weather issues, flight delays, left phalanges missing (Friends reference - sorry I had to) and God knows what else. Needless to say, it didn't shock me when we buckled into our seats to head to Charlotte (where we were catching our connecting flight to Punta Cana), passed out immediately due to sheer exhaustion and woke up two hours later having not moved from the runway. I knew immediately we missed our connecting flight and proceeded to fill Jonathan in on my bad flight karma. When we finally landed in Charlotte, we learned our connecting flight was long gone and we had 10 minutes to get across the airport to get a flight going back to Florida, then to Punta Cana. I'm just glad we made that flight or we would have spent the first night of our honeymoon in Charlotte. We left Orlando at 8 a.m. and made it to Punta Cana by oh, about midnight. 

Jonathan spent the second day of our honeymoon in bed with the stomach bug and as luck would have it, as we waited for the shuttle to take us to the airport for our trip home, the stomach bug made it's way to me just in time for a long day of travel home. It's safe to say hundreds of people in the Punta Cana airport and every single person on our flight witnessed watched me get sick that day and poor Jonathan - I was a wreck on our 3 hour flight and he was so great taking care of me.

Our honeymoon was great even with the ups and downs and I think our life together is the same. Even though in our marriage, we will go through ups and downs depending on what's happening in our life, it's still pretty amazing and we are incredibly blessed. It didn't take long at all for us to be able to laugh at the things that went wrong on our honeymoon and despite those things, we can still say it was an amazing trip. We just focus more on the couples massage, the walks on the beach and the pina coladas than we do the missed flights and illness. If we continue approaching life together this way, focusing on the good and being there for each other in the not-so-good, I truly believe we will be incredibly happy no matter the circumstance.

With all that being said, I'm obviously hoping for smooth travel and no illness for our trip to Cancun this weekend! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Random Monday Thoughts

Every time I've sat down to blog in the last week, I've ended up messing with my blog design and in the process, I messed up my social media icons and can't figure out how to fix this. Before I drive myself crazy, I'm taking a step back and cranking out an actual post.

Because I just don't have it in me to actually finish writing one of the several posts in my drafts, I'm giving you a pretty random list of what's on my mind at the moment.

1. Friday nights are usually pretty laid back for us and especially after our first full week back to work after the holidays, we had no intentions of going out. Instead, we hit the bar in our house for champagne and a few games of darts. It's easily the coolest room in our house and we rarely use it when it's just the two of us at home. but the nights we hang out here just us are some of my favorites. Any bar where the drinks are always free and I don't have to wear a bra is always a good time to me.

2. We're kicking ass at our 2015 resolutions. Hey, I know we're only 11 days in and January 1-4 really didn't count because NYE and anniversary celebrations, but I'm still celebrating our success so far. I know I haven't shared my/our resolutions with you yet and I'll get to it, but I'll say we're off to a good start and that is absolutely worth celebrating!

3. We're heading to Cancun on Friday for my friend's wedding. It's an Indian wedding with 3 days of festivities scheduled and the rest of our time will be spent soaking up the sun and day drinking. It's going to be fantastic.

4. I've seen so posts raving about Yes Please by  Amy Poehler and now I'm thinking  just have to have it on my Kindle for our trip this weekend. If you've read it already, I want to know what you think!

5. I don't rave about beauty products very often but I decided to give Roden + Fields products a try. My mother is a consultant and she's been raving about these products for months and now I can see why! I wouldn't say acne is a huge issue for me, I breakout occasionally, but I feel like even when I get rid of acne, it never fully goes away. I'm using the Unblemish Treatment and I'm only 3 weeks in but can already tell a huge improvement! I'm breakout free and any post-acne scars I had are quickly diminishing. I usually avoid any skin care product that has more than one step, but the results have been totally worth spending a few extra minutes in the morning and/or at night on this. If you're curious, I would spend a few minutes on the site ( and find out what treatment they recommend for you.

That's all I have for you today! I truly am working on some actual posts and hopefully I can carve out some time this week to finish those. I hope you all have a happy week!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Celebrating all the Things

Happy New Year!

It’s been months since I made an appearance here and I miss it, I really do. This year, I want to be better about writing and get back to blogging like I used to. You may even notice I'm changing up my design here to celebrate my return. It's a work in progress of course, but I'm excited.

The last few months have been so busy for us – full of weddings, trips, family gatherings and to be honest, we’ve also experienced some major heartbreak in our lives. I’ll catch you up on all of this eventually.

The holiday season has been full of absolute joy and fun for us – we hosted several holiday get togethers with friends, we were able to spend time on Christmas with both families, we hosted a huge New Year’s bash at our house and on Saturday, we celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary. I feel like we’ve been in a constant state of celebrating and it’s been pretty fantastic.

We were lucky enough to have our niece and nephew in town for Christmas this year, so we slept over at my in-laws house on Christmas Eve so we could wake up with the kids in the morning. It was pretty fun playing Santa and setting up all the gifts, not to mention getting to see the look on their faces in the morning. We opened gifts in the morning and headed to my do gifts and dinner with my siblings and parents in the afternoon. I worried a bit that we would feel stressed or rushed since my parents live an hour and a half from us, but everything worked out perfectly. It felt like a nice long day and I was so glad we made the effort to split the day between families.

We made the decision a few months ago to host a NYE party at our house to make up for not even seeing midnight last year. Don't get me wrong, last year was PERFECT. It was 2 days before our wedding so I wasn't about to get crazy anyway and we had my niece and nephews from Buffalo staying at our house. We watched Turbo with the kids and had a big sleepover in our bedroom -- I wouldn't change a thing about NYE 2014. 

With that being said, I was pretty psyched to go all out this year. I spent so much time on Pinterest getting inspiration for decor and whatnot. I even designed the invitation we mailed out to about 40 of our friends and family. We never expected this, but the RSVPs rolled in and next thing we knew, we were expecting about 50 guests! 

We hired a bartender, Jonathan bought loads of fireworks, we solicited help from friends for food and drinks and asked my mom to make her famous baked ziti for all these people. Thank goodness for everyone's help because I think we pulled it off quite perfectly. 

Last but certainly not least, we celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary yesterday. It's crazy to me how fast our first year went by and how much happened in such a short time! It's been pretty hectic lately with the holidays and prepping (then the super fun clean up) from our NYE party, so we kept things pretty simple which was just what we needed.

After a morning of snuggling, mimosas and catching a few more Friends episodes (Thank you Netflix, thank you!), we did a few things around the house and ran some errands together. We went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and spent the evening talking about marriage and our relationship. We talked about the early months of our relationship and all the fun things we've done together. When we got home, we opened a bottle of champagne and sat down to read all the advice our guests left for us at our wedding -- it was perfect and so much fun to read what everyone had to say to us. It was the most perfect anniversary celebration.

Sadly, it's back to work for me today. I haven't worked since Tuesday of last week and it's been glorious, but I guess this party had to end eventually. With that being said, in less than 2 weeks we'll be in Cancun for a long weekend to celebrate my friend's wedding. In the meantime, we'll be getting use out of our NutriBullet and getting back in the gym because while the last few months have been fun, they have not been the healthiest.

I hope the holiday season was full of joy for you! I'm excited to be back and in the next few days, I'm looking forward to sharing our resolutions for 2015 and talk a little more about our first year of marriage.