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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Watermelon & Cucumber Salad; + Lululemon Giveaway


We've made it to Thursday. That means nothing to me, by the way - my weekend was yesterday and today, so it's more like Sunday anyway. But if you have a normal job - hang in there, you're almost to Friday! If you read my post yesterday, you know that I'm struggling a little {or a lot} to feel comfortable in my own skin lately. I've gained weight, I've lost a little bit and then gained it back. I don't fit in most of my clothes anymore and I am tired of it. The only person who can fix these problems is me - but without the support of the person or people you live with, it's much easier to slip into those bad habits. So I've also dragged Adam, that wonderful fella that I am happily marrying in 6 months, into this healthier lifestyle with me. Or, more so, I told him "I'm getting rid of the junk in the house, I'm making healthier meals and you're going to be doing this with me" and thankfully, he agreed to go along with it. He's wonderful, that one. Today, I thought I'd share a yummy and healthy recipe - and a giveaway! {also, try to ignore the cell phone quality photos... a good blogger would have had extra batteries for when hers died.. I am not a good blogger}


Yummy things you need:
1-2 cups Watermelon, diced 
1 large Cucumber, sliced
Fresh Mint
Balsamic Vinegar*
Olive Oil*
Salt & pepper 

*I didn't measure these. Actually I didn't measure anything... this is a rough estimate. Make a judgement call based on how many people you're feeding for how much melon & cucumber to have. Then use that same judgement and personal preference on how much oil & vinegar to mix up... I just put enough to lightly drizzle. Just use equal-ish parts of each. 

Slice and dice your watermelon and cucumbers to your liking. Chop the mint into tiny little pieces and put it in a bowl with the melon & cucumbers. Mix equal parts oil & vinegar in a bowl. Add salt & pepper to taste - I like a decent amount of these, but it's totally up to you. Drizzle the liquid all over the fruit/veggies and mix them up with a spoon or your hands or whatever works best for you. I used my hands, just in case you wondered. Serve or stick in the fridge to chill until you're ready to devour. Eat as a side dish or as a snack or eat the entire bowl and call it dinner.

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With Summer just around the corner it's time to start getting in shape for bikini season. What's a better motivator to work out than super cute and comfortable workout clothes? Today we are giving away $165 to Lululemon! Pick out your new favorite sports bra, yoga pants or accessory. Enter with rafflecopter below!
Tina :: Shay :: Kayla :: Helene


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I am beautiful, but not content


I'm unhappy with my body. There. I've said it and I can't apologize for it. It's how I feel when I try to wear clothes that no longer fit. It's how I felt a few days ago when I looked at the photos that Adam took of me at the park on Sunday. It's how I felt later that night when I was looking through photos of myself from just a a few years ago and realizing that gaining nearly 30 pounds is actually quite a lot. And I'm ashamed at how many times over the last year I've committed to being healthier and failed miserable after only a few days, weeks at most.

These days, I often feel like it's a crime to admit that you're unsatisfied with your body. People will respond with things like "you don't need to lose weight!" "you're beautiful just the way you are!" "you're not fat, I'M fat!", ect. And I almost feel shameful for feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. But the fact of the matter is that I am. Not to the point I used to be... but if I don't make changes and stick with them, I'm headed that way. The 80+ pounds that I once lost will all come piling back on before I know it. I know that's true because some of it already has. But what do I need? Support. I've already let Adam know that I'm clearing the house of junk food and cooking healthier meals. This means meal planning, which I suck at. And it also means cooking certain things for the week ahead of time. It's going to be a lot of work ignoring the temptation that comes my way at work. I have to smell greasy, wonderful pizzas and buttery pretzels all day long. But until I feel like I am moving steadily on a healthier track, I can't keep allowing myself to "treat myself" to things when I know I'll go overboard. So if I happen to be at someones house and they have pizza? I'll allow myself a piece or two. But I will not order in one myself because I know I'll end up eating it for every meal until the leftovers are gone. Of course, I'll still have pizza... just homemade pita or whole wheat crust pizzas.

I know I'm beautiful. I know that each and every single one of us is beautiful in our own way. But humans are also a shallow species - so at least part of this is about looks. I wasn't lying before, I want to be healthier. When I said a few weeks ago that I want to change my lifestyle, to have more energy and be in shape, that is all absolutely true. But I also want to look good in dresses and shorts this summer. Maybe even a bikini. I also really just want to fit into the clothes that I have hanging in my closet that I can't currently wear - at least not comfortably. So I'm doing this for vanity as well as physical well being. But I am doing it and hopefully, roping Adam into it will help. If he can be there to tell me no when I ask if we should just order a pizza for dinner, perhaps it will be the help that I need to stay on track. I certainly hope so.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

She can handle any champagne brunch

Holy Moses, I made it to Tuesday. Which, if you read my post yesterday, doesn't mean a whole lot. But spending yesterday afternoon with my momma watching Frozen certainly did help to make this week a little bit easier. All in all, I'm surviving the week with the help of the amazing people in my life. But since yesterday, I filled the blog with sadness and mourning, today I will brighten it with my favorite meal in the world - brunch. Now, I have a few brunch recipes that I'm working on for this here blog, but until then, I just wanted to share my brunch from Sunday. Why? Because I was a good little blogger, tossed out a few "don't judge me please" requests and snapped photos of everything I ate. I also dragged Adam out to the park and forced him to take photos of me during our walk - but that's for another day completely.

First, let me start off by telling you about my dinner on Saturday night. I managed to get off work without being forced to stay and cashier, I snagged a sweater off the clearance rack because I forgot to bring something to change into and then myself and two of my good friends headed off to Olive Garden. One of my friends and I share an unhealthy obsession with the magical land of endless breadsticks. We were starving and excited. And then we were seated and forgotten about. But in the end, we got two free appetizers, a shit ton of chocolate mints and a pretty great waitress out of the deal. It started with a bit of frustration, but it was definitely a great night out. Then came Sunday afternoon and Easter brunch time. 

We went to a brunch buffet at a restaurant called The Hoffman House. And brunch just isn't brunch without using it as an excuse to drink at whatever time of day you want. So Adams sister and I ordered mimosas and his dad ordered champagne. Well, when the drinks of happiness arrived at our table, the world went into slow motion {not really, but kind of} as we watched the glass of champagne and one of the mimosas fall to the floor. The second almost fell and a small amount spilled over the top... but she technically survived the disaster and took her place in front of me. Well, when the waitress came back out, she had a new glass of champagne and TWO new mimosas. {cue the hallelujah choir} So his sister and I split the second one and all was right in brunch land. I wasn't even mad that my eggs were as dry as sand and my green beans had no flavor. Bonus champagne and two desserts make everything alright. 

We also met the Easter Bunny and I realized that my need to stick with healthy eating and working out is no joke. But that's a topic for a later date. Or tomorrow - who knows.

The moral of the story? Sometimes, bad things turn into free food or bonus booze. The end.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Days, weeks, years.

It's Monday and I've had a weekend full of family and friends and love and laughter. It's Monday and I do not have to be to work today. It's Monday and I'm feeling weighed down with thoughts that have been trying to fight their way to the front of my mind for the better part of the last week. It's Monday. April 21st. 2014. And today, if my cousin, Codi, hadn't passed away 19.5 years ago, she would be 24 years old. She would be beautiful, wise beyond her years and stronger than any person I know. She would still be the very first best friend that I ever had. She'd be a fighter and a conqueror of an incurable disease called AIDS. If she were alive today, she might be married with a family. Or single and enjoying the last of her early 20s before we head together into the halfway point of this defining decade of life. If she were alive, I would speak to her on the phone, in person or through Facebook instead of speaking to her through a stuffed bear that once belonged to her. I'd cry for her when her heart was broken for the first time instead of crying because she never got to have a first love. Today, I'll sit in front of her headstone after saying hello to a few other family members who lie near her. I'll bring her flowers - blue, her favorite color. I'll tell her stories about the things she already knows because she sees them as they happen. I'll tell her I miss her and I'll shed a few tears. I'll ask her to keep watching out for those of us down here and the ones up there that we're missing. I'll tell her I love her and I'll thank her for the way that she has shaped my life, even nearly 20 years after leaving it. And I'll blow a kiss and leave with an "I'll see you later, baby girl".

That's me in the middle. Codi on the far left. Bonus: Sister, cousin & mom.. who will kill me first?
I almost didn't post these last two photos of her. This was less than a month before we lost her and the tube in her arm breaks my heart. But these are also some of my favorite photos of her because she was so happy to be starting school. That silly, smiling, sweetest girl in the world is how I'll always remember her. 

Tomorrow is Tuesday. Tomorrow is April 22nd. And tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the day that I lost one of the best friends I've had. Tomorrow, I'll go to work, the exact place that I met her, and I'll pretend that everything isn't making me think of her. I'll pretend that I don't see her in places and in faces where she isn't. A handful of people - those who knew Jenn and those who knew how close we were - will know that she's on my mind. I don't have a cemetery where I can visit her, as her parents had her cremated. So when I get home, I'll go for a walk in the park instead. I'll talk to her and tell her things that she already knows. I'll tell her that I hope she didn't feel any pain in that accident. I'll admit that I'm afraid to drive, especially in bad weather, ever since that day. I'll laugh when I hear her voice telling me that if I don't suck it up, she'll come back down here and kick my ass. And I'll admit that if that's what it would take to get her back, I'd give up on driving all together. I'll apologize for not being as present in our friendship in the months before her passing and I'll once again here her saying "it's ok, you were busy and exhausted". But that was no excuse. We were finally getting back to our normal closeness. I had quit the job that was causing me to rarely leave my bed if I wasn't at work. My energy, my motivation and my happiness were coming back and I was finally getting back to having a normal life. And then she was just gone. She'll tell me that God has a plan, he has a reason. I'll tell her that I'll never be able to truly accept that without being able to know what the reason is. She'll say I have to just accept it and trust that I'll know someday. We'll agree to meet for a breakfast date if when I get to Heaven someday so that she can tell me the answers I'm looking for. We'll say our "see you later" and I'll go home, possibly feeling less weighed down but possibly not.  Sunday will also be hard. Sunday is the one year anniversary of Jenn's funeral. Sunday is also her birthday. On a day when we should be celebrating another year of her life, we will still be painfully mourning the loss of a beautiful human being. 


This week in this month is a difficult one for me. With so much weighing on my mind, it's truly no wonder that I was unable to produce more than a mediocre excuse of a post on Friday. I must say that I'm so thankful for everyone that helped to make this weekend so great and helped get my mind off of sadness that awaited me today. And to all of you wonderful blog friends out there who had such kind things to say without even knowing why I was so out of sorts, I appreciate you far more than you could know. Thank you.