Weekend Warrior

“I haven’t seen you in a month of Sundays!”

Anybody else heard that phrase?  I grew up hearing it, but perhaps it is restricted to sleepy Southern towns.  In case you aren’t familiar, it means “I haven’t seen you in a long time.”

My point for this is that I haven’t blogged in a month of Sundays.  #sorryboutit

Buuuutttttttt I have a good excuse!  I’ve been super busy living my best life.  Y’all can’t be mad at me for that, right?  🙂  Here are a few deets from some things I’ve gotten into over this month of Sundays:

Chi-stravaganza (feat. my boo and my besties)

My boyfriend and I left after work on Friday and drove down to Chicago for the weekend.  We stayed with my college BFF Cornelius, one of my best friends from college, and did so many fun things:

  • Went to a brewery and played Apples to Apples while enjoying some delicious craft beer.  This particular brewery didn’t serve food, so we ordered in burgers (for the omnivores) and fries (for the vegetarian and vegan).  Those fries were the crispiest, tastiest french fries I’d had in quite some time–the first of many delicious foods I enjoyed that weekend.
  • Played a few games of Uno over breakfast with the boo, then hit up the lakefront for the Air and Water Show.  We took a bus downtime, found a sunny spot by the lake, and watched huge planes do spectacular things–so impressive!  I struggle to keep my composure flying economy on Delta so I know I’d be freaking out if I was in the cockpit of a Navy jet.
  • Had drinks at a rooftop bar called Cindy’s.  You could also see the Air and Water Show from here, which was even cooler than watching it by the lake because it felt like the planes were flying right past your face. We met another friend from college (a former speech competitor from UT-Austin) and had a blast catching up.
  • Ate a delicious dinner at the Chicago Diner–and it was VEGAN!  The poutine was fabulous; I would dare any meat/dairy eater not to enjoy it.  The strawberry milkshake I had for dessert was phenomenal.  I can’t wait to go back there again!
  • Watched an awesome burlesque performance by The Fly Honey Show.  The show featured men and women of every body type and ethnicity.  It was funny and poignant and like nothing I’ve ever seen.  If you can catch a show, I’d highly recommend it!
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Airplanes doing crazy things–it was spectacular to watch.

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Me, my boo, and my besties!

Devil’s Lake Hiking Adventure

My wonderful boyfriend couldn’t believe I’d never been to Devil’s Lake (apparently it’s a Madison institution) so he took me for a hike!  It was tougher than I expected–I thought we’d be walking along flat trails, which did NOT happen–but I made it to the top.  I felt so empowered looking over the edge at the spectacular view.

After the hike, we went back to the car and took the ferry route back home.  The ferry was so cool!  There was a little snack stand where you could get ice cream while you waited for the ferry to arrive.  Once we drove onto the ferry, we got out of the car and watched as we went across the lake.  Check out a few photos below:

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Panoramic view of Devil’s Lake–absolutely breathtaking.

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The top–getting some Pride Rock vibes!

Birthday Turnup

This weekend is MY 30TH BIRTHDAY!  My boo has some stuff up his sleeve (I’m not sure what) and I’m also planning to eat hella cake.  Why?  Because this is a celebration!  My 20s were kind of tumultuous:  graduating from college, moving to Madison, two failed engagements (including one that was abusive), taking on home ownership, a career change, and an ongoing legal battle all took place during this time.  I’m hoping my 30s are a bit calmer–I’ve got my house, my car, my career, and a stable relationship with a wonderful man.  I couldn’t be more blessed to make it to 30 and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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Last year’s birthday cake–I may get one twice the size this year because I’m 30 and I do what I want.

 

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Shoe Freak

My grandmother loves shoes (and handbags); my mother does too.  So when I see my closet full of shoe boxes and purses, I blame my genes.  What can I say?  Spending tons of money on shoes is in my blood!  😉

I’m also very picky about the shoes I purchase.  The shoes have to speak to me if I’m spending my hard-earned coins on them.  I tend to go for higher heels–the higher the heel, the closer to God (in my opinion).  If I wear flats, I want them to be stylish.  Want proof?  These are just a few pairs from my collection:

Purple suede with a satin bow–gorgeous!

Patent leather stiletto Mary Janes–classic!

I don’t always wear heels–sometimes I hit ’em with the Jordans too!

So imagine my shock when I walked out of a shoe store with these babies:

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Not what I’d usually go for…

Definitely a departure from my usual style, but with good reason.  My mom and I are taking a trip to Costa Rica in the fall (!!!) and I needed something that would take me from the jungle to the beach and back again.  After some research (online and talking with friends who’ve hiked a million more miles than I ever will) I decided on the Chacos.

Honestly, they are pretty comfortable.  And they are kinda cute when you put them on too!  I promise y’all, the intent of this post isn’t to brag about my shoe collection.  It’s to brag about how super #adult I felt buying them.  I’m almost 30, y’all.  I need to cast away childish things.  I need to quit focusing on how I look and focus more on how I feel.  Because the shoes don’t make the woman–the woman makes the shoes.  And I’m making these Chacos fabulous, henny!

So whether I’m hiking the jungle or walking the runway…

 

#truestory

 

Body Goals

Today was my monthly weigh-in with my trainer, and guess what?

I lost seven pounds in the past month!

My trainer tasked me with logging my food intake each day, which has been extremely eye-opening. The “healthy” smoothie I made for breakfast each morning? Yeah, that baby was over 1000 calories. 😳 The container of homemade trail mix wasn’t terrible…but eating it all in one sitting was. It was OOC–out of control. 

So lately, I’ve been working on eating more protein-rich, fiber-rich foods to stay fuller longer. Portion control has been a big focus as well. In the beginning it was really tedious and frustrating to log everything I ate (and honestly sometimes it still is). But lately I’ve been trying to think of it as an asset instead of an inconvenience. If this is something that keeps me on the right track, I need to do it. I don’t just want to lose weight–I want to be healthy. 

Seven pounds doesn’t sound like a lot, but it feels awesome. (I couldn’t weight to text my mom to tell her!) My boyfriend–who has a degree in exercise science–said that diet is a bigger influence than exercise when it comes to weight loss. And as much as I hate to admit he was right…he was right. I’ve seen faster results in the past month than I ever expected. #thanksbabe 😘

I originally wanted to lose 30 pounds before my 30th birthday, but I’m altering that body goal. I want to be healthy. I want to be fit. I want to make good food choices. And I feel like those are goals that are worth working toward. 

Dog-sitting, Taking Classes, and Wrapping Up #100HappyDays

Day 96: Dog-sitting makes me happy. My boyfriend planned an out of town trip, so he asked me to watch his dog while he was away. Luckily his dog and I have lots in common (specifically, a love of snacks and napping). I don’t think I’m ready for a dog of my own yet, but being a temporary dog mom has been fun. Check out a few photos of some of our adventures!

Enjoying a long walk!

Watching a rabbit. See it? (Look in the upper right corner of the picture!)

 

Day 97: Company picnics make me happy. My company goes all out when it comes to our annual picnic. Earlier this week I volunteered to help with pre-picnic stuff (more on that here) and the end result was spectacular! Here are some pics of (just one side!) of our celebration:

Fun activities for the kiddos! (Adult activities were on the other side of the building.)

Food tents!

Day 98: Catching up with friends makes me happy. My friend Judith was in town this weekend, so we met up for brunch at one of my favorite restaurants. We met through a work opportunity and became fast friends! Even though she no longer lives in Madison, we make a point to keep in touch. It was awesome catching up with her in person!

Day 99:  Free lunch makes me happy.  Today was staff meeting day and the wrap (sweet chili tofu) was so good!  It tasted even better because it was free.  🙂

Day 100:  Taking classes makes me happy.  This week, I get to take a class instead of teach a class!  I absolutely love learning and am thrilled to be the one being taught this time around.

Also…today is my last entry for #100HappyDays.  This was a fantastic exercise in gratitude!  Taking a step back and finding something to celebrate in every day–no matter how small–helped me to put my life in perspective and realize I’ve been blessed with an amazing life.  Honestly, some days it was hard for me to come up with something more than “Waking up this morning makes me happy.”  Not every day will be filled with joy–that much is certain.  But I found that the happy moments outweigh the unhappy ones overall, and that’s pretty good to me.

Grateful Dead and Surprise Packages #100HappyDays

Day 90:  Wedding receptions make me happy.  My boyfriend invited me to the reception of one of his good friends.  We had a great time!  My boyfriend was so handsome in his suit and meeting his friends was really fun.

Day 91:  Experiencing new music makes me happy.  My boyfriend is really into the Grateful Dead, and a documentary about the group came out recently on Amazon Prime, so we watched it.  I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  I never knew too much about the Dead–basically that it was “hippie” music and Jerry Garcia was involved–so I liked learning more about the group and the music they made.

Day 92:  Coaching others makes me happy.  I’m part of a group that helps trainers improve their adult education skills, and I had a 1:1 session with one of my colleagues today.  We focused on determining if trainees “got it”–she really wanted to make sure that trainees were understanding the information she taught them.  It was really fun to look at another class and find ways to make the information stick.

Day 93:  Surprise packages make me happy.  Imagine my surprise when I go to the mailbox and see a package from my friend Kathy!  She sent me a favor from her baby shower and lots of other goodies as an early birthday present.  She’s into fashion and makeup, so I’m excited to try the cosmetics she included in the box.  Yay for great friends!

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I can’t wait to try out this stuff!

Surviving, Snacks, and Family Vacations #100HappyDays

Day 80:  Surviving makes me happy.  This was my sixth day in a row of teaching customer class and my voice started going out.  I was able to get through my class anyway though–sometimes you just have to be happy you made it through.

Day 81:  Buying snacks makes me happy.  For our upcoming family vacation (more on that below) I was in charge of buying the snacks.  Who doesn’t like buying snacks?!?  The hardest part was trying not to eat them before the trip (and remembering to load everything into the car).  For the record, I did try to buy healthier snacks…but some s’more ingredients may or may not have made their way into the cart too.

Day 82:  Fridays make me happy.  Especially Fridays before a long weekend!

Days 83-87:  Family vacations make me happy.  My family and I camped near Mammoth Cave for the holiday and it was really fun!  We had the most awesome RV in the park (and that’s not me bragging–people came by multiple times a day to compliment it).  We hiked a trail near the cave, which was somewhat challenging in 90° weather with 1,000,000% humidity.  But we made it–and rewarded ourselves with great food and lots of laughs.  Check out the view from our campsite and my new friend Belle below!

 

Kentucky is so beautiful!

Victory (a.k.a. the baddest RV in the park).

Belle!  She protected us by barking at everyone who walked past our campsite.

 

Days 88-89:  Short work weeks make me happy.  That’s the awesome thing about coming back to work on Thursday–you’re already basically at the weekend!  Is it bad that I’m already counting down the hours until the weekend officially starts?

Throwing Shade, Writing Poems, and Saying Goodbye #100HappyDays

Day 73:  Throwing shade makes me happy.  Two of my very best squirrel friends, Kathy and Julia, love RuPaul’s Drag Race as much as I do.  We have a call every two weeks to throw shade on the current season (and also to catch up on life).  Hearing their opinions on the queens and latest life updates makes me so happy.

Day 74:  Using analogies makes me happy.  As someone who teaches adults every day, I’ve come to realize that the adult brain learns a bit differently than the child brain does.  So, I like to come up with fun analogies to help my trainees learn the new information.  The analogy I used this time?  Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper.  🙂  A lot of my trainees said they had a “light bulb moment” after hearing that analogy, so I think I’ll keep using it!

Day 75: Being creative make me happy.  Speaking of teaching adults, I wrote a haiku for my class because they were so awesome.  They had great question and paid excellent attention during class, so I wrote them a quick poem to express my gratitude.  They really liked it!

Day 76: Weddings make me happy.  My boyfriend invited me to the wedding of one of his coworkers.  It was beautiful!  The weather was perfect for the outdoor ceremony, and the groom cried when the bride walked down the aisle (So sweet!).  I had a great time meeting the groom, bride, and other folks my boyfriend works with–and the cake was delicious!

Day 77: Reliving my childhood makes me happy.  I downloaded a bunch of sweet 90s music and it really took me back to “the good old days.”  You know–the days when I got summers off and didn’t have to pay bills.  Here’s one of the many songs I got–enjoy!

 

Day 78: Getting fit makes me happy. Today was my monthly weigh-in at the gym–and I lost 3.6 lbs!  I’m really working on lowering the number of calories I eat and getting enough protein in my diet.  Hopefully next month I’ll have even better progress!

Day 79: Getting rid of old stuff makes me happy.  Today I sold Raven, my old car. It was a bittersweet moment–that car was my college graduation gift and saw me through my first apartment, a move to Madison, and six snowy Wisconsin winters.  But now that I have Stella (peep this post to meet her) I couldn’t justify keeping Raven too.  The money I got from selling Raven will go toward paying down my credit card. (Not a fun way to spend the cash, I know, but #adulting)  I hope Raven’s new owners enjoy her as much as I did!

Raven

Ride on, Raven! Thanks for nine awesome years!