Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Some Days I Kill CrossFit - Other Days It Kills Me!

Many of you have asked for updates regarding my CrossFit training. First – let me say thank-you SO much for you continued support and encouragement. It makes me smile everytime one of you send a thoughtful message or uplifting word my way. You are the best!

I cannot even begin to explain my love affair with CrossFit. Like most relationships in my life, it’s a love/hate situation. Primarily, I’m in love. In love with the feeling of accomplishment I get after completing an intense workout. In love with weight loss I have seen. In love with the friends/workout buddies I have found at our local box. In love with the feeling of discipline I have gained in my everyday life. In love with the way my butt feels just a little bit tighter each and every week. This program is truly changing my life – and I’m loving it.

But again – there are a few things I don’t love so much. Like the way my pretty little feminine hands have turned into hard, calloused “man hands”. Or how I’m cautious to wear a skirt because my knees/chins constantly have bruises from lunges, deadlifts, etc. Or the fact that I slept on the couch four out of seven nights last week because my shoulders were SO sore that I couldn’t sleep in our bed. And I definitely don’t love the occasional “What the heck are you doing!?!?” speech I get from Coach when I make a complete and total newbie mistake.

But the good completely outweighs the bad. I promise. I’ve never seen results like this in such a short amount of time.

After six full weeks of CrossFit I have many great things to report:
~I’ve dropped ten pounds!
~I’ve pushed myself further physically than I have my entire life.
~I’ve started to gain control over my eating habits and have drastically improved the healthiness of my diet.
~I’ve learned how to do a double under.
~I’m beginning to perform Olympic Lift exercises with confidence and I am adding more weight to my lifts.
~I am sleeping better than I have in years (minus last week’s nights on the couch!)
~My waist is making a comeback – oh how I have missed her!

I think the thing that I love most about CrossFit is the encouragement I have found from fellow CrossFitters. See, I’m horrible at these workouts. *Seriously* Week one was one of most challenging weeks of my life because I truly had no idea what I was doing and felt like a complete idiot during every workout. But every time I feel self conscious or want to tap out during a tough exercise, a fellow CrossFitter is right there offer words of encouragement to see me through.

Last Wednesday our workout was a 400 yard lunge. Sounds easy enough right? Wrong!!! We are talking about lunging the length of four football fields here! You had the option to either lunge the 400 yards or run a 5K. Now I know I could have run the 5K easily. But I decided to take the challenge and lunge the 400 yards. It took me 23 minutes. 23 minutes of grueling, nonstop lunging on an absurdly hot September evening. Out of the seven people in my class, I was the last to finish by about a minute and a half (which is a long time in a CrossFit workout). My class members could have left and gone home. They could have left me outside in the dark to finish the workout on my own – but instead they stayed offering various words of encouragement as I finished my final 50 yards.

And that’s how it is with CrossFit. Sometimes you finish a workout pretty quickly and you offer words of encouragement to your classmates. Other times, you struggle through and finish last – depending desperately on others to keep you going. Sometimes you kill CrossFit – other times it kills you.

I received an encouraging email from a reader yesterday who also does CrossFit. When I asked about her journey and her progress she shared some words of wisdom from her trainer that I think are perfect. During the first month of CrossFit, you will feel different. During the second month of CrossFit, you will look different. After the third month of CrossFit, you are different.

I’m so ready to be different!! I already feel different, and I’m starting to see the difference over the past two weeks. I’m seriously committed to making this a lifestyle – to being a truly different person because of my commitment to CrossFit.

Thanks again for all the kind words you have offered over the past six weeks! If you’re looking for a gym or new workout routine, I would strongly suggest you find a CrossFit box near you. Believe me, if I can make it through these workouts, then so can you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You're Surprisingly Nice For A Pretty Girl

Last Thursday I headed to Starbuck's on my lunch break for a much needed caffeine boost via an iced passion tea.  The barista (or would it be baristo as the server was a male??) struck up a casual conversation with me regarding work, weekend plans and our shared disdain for the current heat wave in late September as I waited for my tea. 

After about three or four minutes of friendly conversation, my drink was served.  As I reached for a straw and prepared to exit, the barista made an offhand comment that took me by complete surprise.

"You're surprisingly nice for a pretty girl!  Hope you have a great day and enjoy your tea!"

My mind went momentarily blank as I let his words set in.  Surprisingly nice for a pretty girl??  What in the world does that mean?  Wait - he thinks I'm pretty?  Well, that's flattering.  Never really considered myself to be one of the "pretty ones" - but does that mean that I can't be friendly as well?  What the....

Knowing my hour long lunch break was almost up and not really knowing how to respond, I simply smiled and said, "Thanks - I think."  Then I walked out the door.

But his comment has been bugging me ever since.  Again, I've never considered myself to be pretty by any means.  I have on the other hand, always prided myself in being a pleasant, "people person".  I always smile at strangers or hold the door open for a stranger.  I offer to help the elderly lady at the grocery store with her bags or let a person with only a few items go ahead of me at the grocery store.  Not tooting my horn or saying I'm an amazing person (because believe - I'm not!)  Just simply saying that I was raised to believe that showing kindness to strangers is a virtue and a great way of showing Christ's love to those around us.

But is it impossible to be both attractive and kind?  Is this a common perception in society?  If you're beautiful on the outside you must be ugly on the inside?  Have we become so consumed with looking our best at all times that somehow common courtesy has gone right out the window?  What in the world did that comment mean??

And still - I have no idea.  I wish I could just take his comment as a complement and go about my merry way.  But it raises so many troubling questions. 

In today's society - what is valued more?  Beauty or kindness?  Sex appeal or compassion?  The finest cars, clothes and homes or a desire to help those less fortunate than ourselves? 

And if I'm really being honest - what do I value the most?  If I could either be pretty or nice - but not both - which would I choose?  I pray that my choice would always be nice as I pray that my heart will always reflect the Be Attitudes that Christ calls me to live by: gentleness, mercy, thirst for justice or righteousness, humbleness. 

But again - what do I truly value?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jealousy Jewelry & Design Giveaway Winner

Okay ladies - I swear I posted this on Thursday, but I just received an email asking about the winner of the Jealousy Jewelry & Design Giveaway winner.  And then I noticed that my post from Friday also isn't on my blog.  Hmm...something strange was going on.  I wondered why I hadn't heard from the giveaway winner!

Anyway....sorry for the delay...but the winner of the giveaway is....

Brittany - please send me an email with your shipping address so that I can contact the owner of Jealousy Jewelry & Design.  Congrats!

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{one}  Another great weekend!  I really am just feeling blessed these days.  I have a wonderful husband to come home to each night, an amazing support group of family and friends, we are a part of a challenging, inspiring church/life group and God continues to bless us in ways that I never expect. 

{two} Bama almost gave me a heart attack this weekend!  I was only able to watch the first half of the game versus Arkansas because I had to attend a recruitment event Saturday night (I'm an advisor for my sorority).  I left the house during halftime and the boys were trailing 7-17.  Steven was under strict instructions to text me updates every couple minutes.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the what I hear was amazing second quarter comeback - but the Crimson Tide pulled out our most important victory of the season so far.  ROLL TIDE!

{three}  It's raining here today and I really wish I were back in bed curled up with a good book.  Monday's are hard enough - but rainy Mondays are the worst!  I am grateful for the break in the heat though - here's hoping the fall weather is here to stay!

{four}  Steven completed the Fight Gone Bad Charity Workout on Saturday and he did an amazing job.  It was so much fun supporting Steven and other members from the CrossFit Charlotte team.  I plan to participate in the event next year.

Push Press

Caught mid air on a box jump
Perfect form on wall balls.

{five}  I'm so excited to put my fall decorations out this week.  I have purchased a new flag for the front yard and a few decorative pieces for our porch. I promise to take pictures and give you a glimpse of our home very shortly!

{six}We saw "Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps" yesterday afternoon.  It was a great movie - but it just made me mad.  It's essentially about the fallout on Wall Street which lead to the economic crisis we currently face.  The greed, corruption and complete lack of oversight that allowed a handful of powerful, rich men and women to completely destroy America's financial stability.  It makes me sick to my stomach because while middle class America is still struggling to regain a sense of financial security that many of us have lost over the past two years, the culprits who causes this mess are still wealthy and continuing to work in the industry they nearly bankrupt.  It just burns me up.

{seven}   It's another busy week here for me.  I feel like I'm totally slacking as a blogger these days.  Between work, CrossFit and church I have very little extra time to keep up with regular posts and reading other posts.  I'm hoping to do a better job this week as I truly enjoy reading what my favorite bloggers have to share.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wanna Play Tag? I'm it!!!

I've been tagged by Kaylee from Devil Dog Darling!  She asked me eight questions that I have to answer and then I have to poise eight questions of my own and tag eight bloggers.  So here goes:

Kaylee wants to know:
1. What is your favorite thing about being a woman?
This is *so* anti feminist, but I don’t care. I love the feeling of protection and security I get from my husband. He takes care of me in so many ways and I know that he would die to keep me safe and that’s a feeling that I truly relish. I love how he always wants to sit facing the door at a restaurant or sleep on the side of the bed closest to the door. I love how he puts his arm around my waist when we are in a crowd of people or how I catch him glancing in my direction often at a party just to be sure everything is okay. It makes me feel feminine and valuable to know that his role as my husband is to ensure my safety and look out for my well being. I think it’s the best thing about being a woman and being a wife.

2. Do you like rainy days or snowy wintery days more?
Rainy days by far. It rarely snows here, so when it does everyone wants to go out and play and take advantage of the snow day. Not me! I hate the freezing cold temperatures and I hate how snow makes everything wet and nasty. I would much rather curl up on the couch reading a good book or watching a movie with the hubs. But no one will let me do that when it snows. So I prefer a good rainy afternoon – then I can curl up on the couch by the fire with hubs in complete bliss!

3. What's your favorite book and why?
I can’t believe I am admitting this – but it’s the Twilight Saga – all four books. I’m sorry. I generally pride myself on being cultured and mature, but I just can’t help it. I have never read a series of books that entranced me the way that Stephanie Meyer’s did with this saga. I read all four books in a matter of two weeks and I literally walked around in a daydream filled with vampires and werewolves the entire time. I love, love, love these books. But just to prove that I’m not a complete teeny bopper – some of my favorite literary classics would be The Secret Life of Bees, Wuthering Heights and Lovely Bones.

4. What is the first thing you notice about people when you meet them?
Their eyes. I notice the color and the shape. I notice whether or not they will look me directly in the eyes or if they shift their glance when I make eye contact. It helps me to get an initial read on whether a person is confident and outgoing or more reserved.

5. Would you rather take pictures or be in pictures?
I would rather be in pictures. Not because I like the way I look in pictures by any means – but simply because it means I am a part of the action. I’ve never really been one to stand in the corner and watch the scene from a distance. I wouldn’t really say that I love being the center of attention either – I just kind of like being somewhere in the middle. So if a picture is being taken, I don’t necessarily want to be front and center, but I do want to be included and sharing the memory with everyone involved.

6. If your could own a non-traditional pet, what would it be, any one in the world?
I would own a panda. I saw one really close in China my junior year of college and thought it was beautiful. I would want a pet that was snuggly and friendly and I think a panda would wrap its arms around me like a child.

7. Can you change a tire on your car? Have you ever?
Nope. Once again, completely anti feminist, but I have no desire to change a tire. Steven has tried to teach me before just in case something were to happen. I get the theory and I know where my spare tire and jack are located, but I’m not so sure that I could do it if I had to. Again – this is one of the bonuses of being married – hubby to the rescue. And if hubby isn’t available, I know plenty of other men who would come and rescue me if need be. I can play the damsel in distress quite well and I have absolutely no shame in doing so.

8. If you could give anyone any gift in the world to whom would it go and what would it be?
This is really difficult for me to answer, because I’m not sure who I should give a gift to. One could make a case that I should search for a person with a genuine need and fulfill that need. Or maybe I should give something to my spouse - after all, he gives me so much each day. But I think I should give a gift to my mother. As long as I can remember, she has always taken less so that my siblings and I could have more. So I think she deserves a truly special gift of her own. But what to give her? She isn’t a very materialistic woman so this could be tough. About 12 years ago her wedding ring and bands were stolen. Some painters were in our home painting my parents master bedroom and they stole her rings. Even though she immediately reported the theft and the name of the painters at our home, the rings were never recovered. My dad replaced her rings with a new gorgeous set – but I’ve always wished she could have her original ring and bands back. Now that I am a wife and I understand how precious that ring is and the sentimental value that it holds, I really wish I could get it back for her. So if I could give any gift, I would give my mother her original wedding ring and bands that my father gave to her over twenty years ago.

Now for my questions:
1) What is your favorite thing about being in a relationship with your boyfriend/fiancé/spouse?
2) If you could go anywhere in the world for an entire week with your girlfriends, where would you go and why?
3) What persona were you in high school: Miss Popular, The Sporty Girl, The Book Worm, Etc.
4) Have you ever been stereotyped in any way? What did you have to do to overcome that stereotype – or are you still struggling with it?
5) What’s your favorite song of all time?
6) What’s your favorite holiday and why?
7) If you could change one thing about yourself (body, personality, abilities, etc) what would it be and why?
8) What is something that makes you feel incredibly feminine?

And I would like to tag the following women:
Ashley at Life After The Aisle
Katie at The Life Of An Army Wife
Becky at A Little Brush of Pixie Dust
PinkLouLou at Confessions Of A 20 Something
Mateya at Our Journey From Iraq To The Altar
Mrs. Nelson at The Nelson Diaries
Tammi at So Divine
Laura at There She Is

I can't wait to read your answers ladies.  :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm In LOVE With Southern Belle Boutique

Remember how one of my 101 in 1001 was to own a monogrammed market tote?  I mean, in my opinion every wife should have one of these.  They are so preppy and practical. 

On my mission to find the perfect monogrammed tote (for the perfect price!) I stumbled upon The Southern Belle Boutique.  This store is to.die.for!!!  I have never seen so many fabulous items in one place.  Rocksann literally has hundreds of personalized items to choose from all of which can be custom made to fit your style. 

It was so difficult for me to choose which market tote I wanted.  She had so many prints, colors and fonts to choose from.  But I think the end result suits me perfectly.  And I've already used the tote for two different occasions.  It's so versatile.

Stocked with necessities for girl's night.

Look at how much room this thing has!

Perfect for tailgating and supporting the Crimson Tide!!

Hounds tooth and my monogram - I'm in love!

You should have seen the look on my girlfriends' faces when I walked into girl's night with this tote on my arm.  "Of course you would have a super cute tote like that.  You're so Martha Stewart!"  Now I don't think this exactly makes me Martha Stewart just yet, but it does make me feel preppy chic.  :)

I'm also pretty sure that The Southern Belle Boutique may be the death of my bank account. I already have my Christmas list for hubby and my mother.  Here's hoping Santa brings me these:

You can check out Southern Belle Boutique's Facebook Page and sign up to receive info about new products and sales/special promotions offered throughout the month.  I mean who doesn't like saving money on great products?  But I'm warning you - it may be dangerous!  

So that's one more item completed on my 101 in 1001!  And one that I'm very, very excited to have done!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{one} Is it Monday already?  How is the month of September almost over?  I feel like time is just flying by!

{two} We had another great weekend.  Girl's night Friday night and a late night movie with the hubby.  Saturday I attended a tailgate with my collegiate sorority and spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch watching football.  Sunday found us at church Sunday morning and painting the baseboards the rest of the afternoon.  A relaxing but also productive weekend. I love those!

{three} Speaking of productive, our floor remodeling/painting is almost complete!  We painted the baseboards in the entryway, living room, dining room and hallway yesterday.  We will lay the quarter-round down in the kitchen this week and paint the baseboards and bay window.  Then FINISHED!!!

{four} Steven and I will be hosting Life Group (Bible study) at our house every Friday evening this fall.  I'm so excited to share life with members of our church and grow closer in my spiritual walk; however, I'm starting to think that hosting on Friday evening may have been a bad idea.  With work and CrossFit workouts, I don't usually get home until 8 or 8:30 each night.  How in the world am I going to get my house clean before Friday morning each week!?!

{five}  My sudden panic over ensuring that my house is clean every Friday leads me to believe that I need to start following the Motivated Moms Chore List each day.  But again, I don't get home until after 8 each evening.  Which means (gasp!) I'm going to have to start waking up an hour earlier each morning to do some chores before I head into work.  I know by doing so I will feel *so* much better about life in general and significantly less stressed from day-to-day, but the first couple weeks are going to be pretty tough to adjust to.

{six} FALL TV STARTS THIS WEEK!!!  I'm so unbelievably excited to have my favorite shows back; Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, etc.  I am also looking forward to catching a few of the new previews.  Any suggestions on new shows to start watching this fall?

{seven}  If you missed my post Friday, please check out Steven's Fight Gone Bad page and contribute if you are able.  Any and all help is appreciated!!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Calling All Bloggers - FIGHT GONE BAD!!!

Happy Friday beautiful bloggers.  I hope you are looking forward to this weekend as much as I am.

Remember how one of my 101 in 1001 was to complete the USMC Mud Run in Charleston?  Well Steven and I were going to complete the USMC with another couple on September 25th.  One tiny problem - we went to register our team online and the event is sold out!  Looks like I will have to wait until next year to make that one off my list.

But when one door closes another one opens.  Enter the CrossFit Fight Gone Bad Fundraiser which is being held in Charlotte, September 25th. 

Essentially, hundreds of CrossFitters from the Charlotte and surrounding area will meet to complete an intense WOD (workout of the day) to raise money for three charitable organizations: Livestrong, Wounded Warrior Project and CrossFit Foundation.  These charities provide cancer research, unique support and programming for severely wounded service members & provides financial assistance to men and women of our military, law enforcement and first responder communities during times of need.

My husband, Steven, has decided to compete in the event next Saturday.  Since he decided to compete kind of last minute, we are doing all that we can to raise funds as quickly possible.  Which is where my beautiful readers come in.  Would you please consider a donation to support our cause?  No amount is too small and giving is so easy.  Follow the link to Steven's Fight Gone Bad Homepage and click on the tab labled "Donations" then simply click "Donate Now". 

Any and all support is greatly appreciated: $1, $2, $5, $10 - again no amount is too small! I promise this workout will be *intense* and Steven will work hard for your money! Please check it out and help me prove to hubby once and for all that this blogging world is truly a community of caring and supportive friends sharing life together!

Have a blessed weekend!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jealousy Jewelry & Design Giveaway

Carita at Jealousy Jewelry & Design is sponsoring a giveaway for my beautiful readers this week!  Her ETSY shop has over 70 handcrafted, modern pieces made of sterling silver and natural stones. 

Carita is offering a sterling silver set of stacking rings with a Peridot stone the winner.  I think this set is so chic and petite - absolutely gorgeous!

The winner will be chosen at random.  Giveway will end Wednesday, September 22nd with the winner announced Thursday, September 23rd.  Here's how to enter:
1)  Be or become a follower of my blog.
2) Follow Jealousy Jewelry & Design on Twitter.
3) Follow Jealousy Jewelry & Design's Blog.
4) Visit Jealousy Jewelry & Design's ETSY Shop and tell me what your favorite piece is.

Please remember to list each entry separately so I make sure to give you credit for each.  Good luck!

Cloud Number Nine Giveaway Winner

Thank-you to everyone who entered the Cloud Number Nine Giveaway.  Also a HUGE thank-you to Cloud Number Nine for sponsoring this giveaway!

The winner is Ms. J at The Smelly Life.  Please send me an e-mail so I can get you in touch with Cloud Number Nine to claim your $25 gift certificate. 

If you didn't win, don't worry!  I will be announcing another giveaway later today!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My First Attempt At From Scratch Cupcakes

We hosted our first football party of the season this past Saturday in honor of the Alabama vs. Penn State game.  I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to attempt a from scratch dessert recipe. 

Wanting to create a dessert that would be yummy but also show support for the Tide, I decided to try my hand at red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. 

I searched online for a recipe that seemed manageable (I didn't want to overdo it on my first from scratch attempt!) and found this recipe from The Food Network. 

For the cream cheese frosting I used Amy from Same Sweet Girl's recipe which can be found here.

I must admit I was rather surprised at how easy these recipes were.  (Not as easy as a box - but not as labor intensive as I had assumed.)  While the cupcakes were delicious and moist, I don't really think they tasted like red velvet cupcakes.  The cream cheese frosting was to.die.for.  Next time I will use half the ingredients called for.  I only used about half of the frosting on my cupcakes and have been snacking on the leftover frosting since Saturday.  I had to force myself to throw the extra away last night because it is just too yummy and tempting!!!

The final results were pretty impressive if I do say so myself and everyone at the party raved for my cupcakes.  That's one more item I can knock of my 101 in 1001!  :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trees For Troops

Have you heard of the Pepsi Refresh Project?  Pepsi is giving away $1.3 million dollars each month to fund service projects.  Organizations across the country are submitting their ideas for a service project online.  The idea with the most votes, receives the funding.  It's a genius idea if you ask me!

I received an email regarding the Trees For Troops project. As you know, my brother is currently in training for the Navy and many of my family membres have served.  I have a soft spot for all things military. 

So here's a little about the project:
"Trees for Troops helps to make the holidays a little brighter for military families - especially those who are far away from their families. The gift of real Christmas trees bring a touch of home to those who sacrifice in order to preserve our freedom. The trees serve as a token of love and appreciation... Many tell us that the gift of a tree frees up a few dollars to be used on gifts, a nice holiday meal or gas money to go visit family."

"The trees are delivered for free by FedEx, and will be given out to thousands of military families at bases all over the country during the holiday season. The Pepsi funding would allow them to reach an additional 5,000 families this year, but we need more votes!"
Please take a moment to visit the Trees For Troops project and cast your vote to help!  Voting ends September 30th and the project is currently ranked 97th!  Feel free to share this information on your blog, Facebook page or with other friends and family members. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{one}  It was a pretty good weekend at the our house.  We attended a pretty tough CrossFit workout Saturday morning.  Bama beat Penn State - ROLL TIDE!  I may have knocked two items off my 101 in 1001 list (follow-up post this week!) and we were pretty productive about getting a few much needed chores done around the house.  All in all, I feel like I'm starting this week completely prepared and rested.  It's a great feeling!

{two}  I'm seriously considering dying my hair brown for the winter.  I'm a natural blonde, but in the winter my hair turns a dirty blonde that I hate.  I no longer go to the tanning bed, so during the winter I'm rather pale with yucky looking dirty blonde hair.  It's just not a good look.  But I'm kind of nervous to dye my hair brown - it would be such a drastic change!  Any thoughts???

{three}  Hubby mentioned last night that we need to plan a trip to go visit my parents.  So we started discussing possible options. small problem...we have plans every single weekend until November!  Seriously.  And here I thought the fall was going to bring some much needed down time and relaxation.  Hah!

{four} I'm toying with the idea of not running the half marathon in November.  Trying to acclimate to CrossFit workouts and train for a half marathon is really proving to be a little too much.  I still plan to run a half marathon with my running buddy Erika, but we discussed possibly waiting until early spring to give us more time to train properly.  We shall see....

{five}  It's Girl's Night this Friday!  I'm SO excited.  Erika is having our little group over to her new place for Italian food (and possibly a few bottles glasses) of wine.  I'm even staying the night Friday evening.  It's like a college sleepover!  Here's hoping this week goes by quickly so I can enjoy some much needed time with my ladies!

{six} Don't forget to enter my Cloud Number Nine Giveaway!

Friday, September 10, 2010

"It's The Police!"

I'm starting to notice a pattern of being woken from a dead sleep around my house.  Maybe that's why I'm so cranky these days!

Early this morning I woke to a soft tapping on our front door.  Confused and exhausted, I glanced at the clock which read 5:45 am.  Wondering who in the world would be at our house so early, I announced, "Steven!  Someone's at the door!"

Somewhat startled, he leapt from the bed and headed into the living room.  Moments later I heard a puzzled tone as he exclaimed, "It's the police!"

I snatched on my glasses (I'm blind as a bat otherwise!) and ran into the living room to see why in the world the police would be at my house before dawn - assuring myself there was no way we could have done anything that would cause the authorities to question us at such an early hour!

Upon opening the door, a very kind officer met our confounded faces with a smile.  "Good morning. Sorry to disturb you.  I just wanted to let you know that your garage door is open.  I was afraid it may be unsafe if you were unaware."

Completely unaware that we had left our garage door open the entire night we thanked the kind officer for his service, closed the garage door, and crawled back in the bed.

I *cannot* believe we left the garage door open all night long!  Seriously.  Someone could have waltzed right into our house during the middle of the night.  Or taken some pretty pricey items from the garage.  But no harm was done - thank the Lord!

I've always believed that we live in a very safe neighborhood and have always felt comfortable and secure. It's nice to know that officers actually patrol neighborhoods looking for signs of potential danger and alerting citizens when they are at risk. 

Thank-you to all the men and women who serve in the local police departments, fire departments, and EMT's.  Your service literally helps me sleep better at night!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cloud Number Nine Giveaway

Hello lovely readers.  It's almost Friday - which always something to smile about.  And just in case that's not enough to get your smiling, here's a little giveaway to brighten your day.

Cloud Number Nine is a fabulous Italian ETSY store that sells Italian inspired handmade jewelry.  I stumbled across this store not too long ago while searching for the perfect earrings for a wedding. 


One lucky reader will receive a $25 coupon which may be used to purchase any item from Cloud Number Nine.  Here's how to enter:

1) Be or become a follower of my blog
2)  "Like" Cloud Number Nine's Facebook Page
3) Follow Cloud Number Nine on Twitter
4) Visit Cloud Number Nine's ETSY Shop and tell me which item is your favorite
5) Follow the Cloud Number Nine Blog

Please remember to list each entry separately so I can be sure to give you credit for each.  The giveaway will run through Wednesday, September 15th and a winner will be announced on Thursday, September 16th.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shopping Insurance = HUGE Fail

I was really hoping that the first time I blogged about crossing an item off my 101 in 1001 that it would be to report something great, something successful, some huge positive check off my list.

Unfortunately, my first "cross it off the list" moment is a complete failure.

Remember this post about my car accident in February?  And this post about how my insurance premiums have gone through the roof? 

I decided to shop our insurance Friday. I literally spent four hours calling six different insurance agencies to see if we could find lower insurance premiums.  It was mind numbing.  Sharing the same personal information and driving history with six different people...blah....I hated it.  But I was hopeful that I could find an insurance carrier that could save us some money - anything - even $10 - $15 a month would make me smile.

By the end of business Friday I had received word from five insurance companies that they could not match our current premiums with State Farm.  My accident coupled with a pretty hefty speeding ticket on Steven's MDR puts us in the "high risk" category.  Which means - we have to pay dearly.

I held onto one last hope over the weekend....Farm Bureau promised to call and they believed they could possibly save us some money.  So I held hope that maybe all my efforts weren't a complete waste.

And yesterday, the agent called and dashed all my dreams.  Their premiums would cost us about $40 more a month than State Farm.  He was sorry...but there was nothing he could do.

And what did I do?  I cried.  Because I'm frustrated.  Four hours of my time down the drain and we're still stuck with a pretty hefty insurance bill each month.  It made me sick on my stomach and the only thing I could think to do was cry about it.  Too bad I can't pay my insurance bill with tears - I've got plenty of those to go around.

Yeah - I'm a baby.  But it made me feel better.  This being an adult thing sucks some days. 

So anyway - I've shopped our insurance to see if we could save some money and we can't.  Go figure. 

Here's hoping that the next item I mark off my 101 list will be a little more positive to report!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who Needs Romance??

For some reason the idea of romance has been a popular topic at my house lately. Err…maybe I should rephrase….for some reason I have been talking about romance a lot lately – hubby has been begrudgingly listening.

I’m not quite sure why the need for a surprise bouquet of flowers or surprise dinner at my favorite restaurant has been so prevalent over the past few weeks. Maybe I’ve been reading one too many love stories? Maybe I’ve read too many blogs about husbands who surprise their wives with romantic gestures? Regardless….it’s possible I’ve been dropping some not so subtle hints to hubby about my need for a little romance.

And he has tried valiantly to fulfill my need for romantic gestures. For example, Saturday night he showered me with words of affirmation and complements. To which he asked, “Is that romantic?” Laughing, I responded, “Umm…not quite what I was looking for – but I really appreciate it.” Or mockingly singing a love song to me on our ride home Sunday. “Is that romantic enough for you”, he inquired. “A for effort – but not there just yet.”

Steven is a “man’s man” – it’s the reason I married him. He loves football, beef, beer, hunting, pick-up trucks, boots – all things manly. And I love that about him – it’s what attracted me to him when we first started dating. It’s what makes me feel protected and secure. It’s one of the traits I still find so sexy about him. I know I couldn’t have married a super sensitive, always in touch with his emotions kind of man.

Sunday afternoon, on our drive home from Crossfit he had me in hysterics. Just cracking me up. Always joking, almost always light hearted. So I decided right there to accept Steven’s attempts at being romantic and be grateful that he tries so hard to make me happy. I realized that I have read one too many Nicholas Sparks’ novels and I have a skewed version of what romance is. That I don’t need flowers once a month or a fancy dinner out to feel loved and appreciated. And just when I decided that I could l learn to live without constant romance…..he did it….he did the most romantic gesture I could have asked for….

About 2 am Monday morning I was woken from my sleep by whines and rustling on Steven’s side of the bed. Dixie was heaving. For a split second I lay there with my eyes shut tight – praying that she wouldn’t get sick, but knowing the signs all too well, preparing myself to get out of bed and clean up her puke.

Which I hate. I hate puke more than anything in the world. I can clean up poo and pee with the best of them – but puke just sends me into a tailspin. I gag, cough and break out into sweats. It literally makes me sick on my stomach.

So l lay there dreading the moment that I knew was coming. And sure enough, about ten seconds later I heard it. I was preparing to throw back the covers when Steven miraculously got out of bed and ran into the bathroom. Without a word he cleaned up the mess and comforted sick Dixie. Startled, I asked if I could help him, to which he replied, “No I got it. Go back to sleep.”

When he crawled into bed a few minutes later, he kissed me on the cheek and snuggled close to me.

As I drifted back to sleep, I couldn’t help but smile to myself. Good job honey…..who says you don’t know what romance is?

Once again I realized – every day love doesn’t mirror the romantic scenes played out in Hollywood or on the pages of a Twilight novel. My extraordinary, every day love consists of acts of kindness that make my day a little easier, words of affirmation that remind me what a beautiful, talented woman I am, and gentle, loving embraces from a man who still looks at me as if we were 18 years old again.

I’m not saying that I don’t secretly wish for a surprise bouquet of flowers every once and a while or hope that one day he will drag me out into the rain and ask me to dance (hint, hint) but I am a blessed woman to share life with a man who lives to make me happy. Here’s praying that never changes….

Friday, September 3, 2010

My 101 in 1001

Finally!  I have seen many bloggers create a "101 in 1001" list which is sponsored by The Day Zero Project.  The general idea is that you create a list of 101 things you would like to accomplish in 1001 days.  I have been working on this list for two weeks now.  It's very difficult to determine 101 things you want to do that you actually think you can accomplish within 2.75 years. 

And you know me...I'm a tad on the anal retentive side so I had to separate my lists into categories - to make sure that my goals were evenly spaced amongst practical and just for fun.

My start day official begins tomorrow - September 4th, 2010.  My final day to complete my goals will be May 31st, 2012.

So without further is my list and here's hoping I am able to mark off each and every item on my list over the next 2.75 years!

1) Complete a half marathon in 2 hours and 10 minutes
2) Complete 15 push-ups in a row
3) Complete 5 pull-ups (unassisted) in a row
4) Complete a CrossFit workout at challenge weight
5) Reach my goal weight
6) Finish USMC mud run
7) Run a 9 minute mile
8) Wear the “skinny” jeans in the top of my closet
9) Climb the rope unassisted
10) Stick to “Zone” for an entire month with only 1 cheat day per week
11) Complete the Cooper River Bridge Run – Charleston

1) Max out ROTH IRA contributions
2) Create an emergency fund
3) Stick to the “monthly budget” exactly for two months consecutively
4) Adjust tax with holdings perfectly so we neither owe or receive a refund at year end
5) Start a “baby fund”
6) Shop our insurance to find the best deal
     Completed 9/7/10 - Staying with State Farm
7) Increase contributions to church and other charitable organizations by $150 per month
8) Sponsor a child in a third world country

Domestic/Home Projects
1) Become pregnant
2) Take a cake baking class
3) Use my fine china
4) Make a homemade blueberry pie from fresh picked berries
5) Host a holiday at my house
6) Complete finishing touches on hardwood floor installation
7) Make curtains for the kitchen
8) Make curtains for the master bathroom
9) Finish a DIY craft project for the home
10) Make a “from scratch” desert
      Completed 9/11 - Red velvet cupcakes w/ cream cheese frosting
11) Purchase remaining fine china pieces
12) Keep my car clean for a month straight
13) Remodel guest bathroom
14) Host a dinner party for my girlfriends
15) Attempt to make French crepes
16) Create a cross motif for wall décor
      Completed 10/1/10

1) Take the GRE
2) Apply for a scholarship to MBA program
3) Enroll in a MBA program
4) Complete month end reconciliation with ZERO corrections
5) Receive outstanding marks during my “employee review”
6) Take an intermediate Excel course
7) Take a CPA prep course
8) Complete month end reconciliation by the 15th
9) Finish decorating my office

1) Travel to NYC
2) Visit Khristi in Ohio
3) Sight see in Washington, DC
4) Visit Steven’s family in Mississippi
5) Visit my family in Alabama
6) Visit my brother, Paxston – wherever he may be
7) Go to Dallas & eat a Pappasitos again
8) Return to a Couples Resort (Jamaica)
9) Visit Jess in Charleston

For The Fun Of It
1) Become open water scuba certified
2) Own a pair of designer jeans
3) Dance in the rain
4) Go camping – for real – no electricity or luxuries
5) Read the Bible cover-to-cover
6) Donate blood
7) Bungee jump
8) Attend an Alabama game
9) Purchase a CrossFit t-shirt
10) Surprise Steven with something great
11) Read one new book a month
12) Show kindness to a stranger
13) Go berry picking
14) Show grace when it is undeserved
15) See a musical on Broadway
16) See a whale in person
17) Boudoir photo shoot
18) Rock the “boots over the jeans” look
19) Try a drastic new hairstyle
20) Purchase lunch/coffee for a soldier
21) Take family pictures with the puppies
22) Find a red wine I like to drink
23) Spend a weekend doing absolutely nothing but watching movies and reading books
24) Start a collection
25) Raise money for a charitable organization
26) Watch Ethan play a football game
27) Get a second tattoo
28) Stay up all night and watch the sunrise
29) “Play the piano” in a scandalous place
30) Laugh until I cry
31) Own a monogrammed market tote
       Completed 9/15/10 via Southern Belle Boutique
32) Make a new friend
33) Purchase a new digital camera
34) Master the “smoky eye” look
35) Learn to identify all 50 states on a US map
36) Finish “Lost” series
37) Go to a concert
38) Celebrate turning 26 gracefully
39) Watch “Gone With The Wind”
40) Go to Carowinds (theme park)
41) Participate in a service project with my church
42) Surprise my parents
43) Watch the Braves play at Turner Field
44) Visit my Nana’s grave
45) Go to the mountains & hand pick my first live Christmas tree
46) Watch “Driving Miss Daisy”
47) Attend a Nicholas Sparks book signing
48) Write a blog entry for each item crossed off my list

Check back often - as you can see I intend to write blog entry each time I accomplish one of my goals.  I'm also working on creating a button so I can hyperlink my list on my sidebar.  But I'm incredibly tech challenged so this may take me a few days!

Do any of you have a 101 in 1001 list?  Has any completed the challenge?  Considering taking the challenge?  Let me know - I would love to read your goals and track your progress as well!

Here's hoping you have a great, safe Labor Day weekend!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Saying Goodbye To My Favorite Summer Fashion

It dawned on me this morning that Labor Day is this weekend.  Which brought one very tragic realization to the forefront of my mind.....

This weekend signifies the beginning of my six month drought.  Why so dramatic you say?

Well my favorite summer fashion goes right out the window for a brutally long six months during Labor Day weekend. I will no longer be able to wear white: white shoes, white cotton shorts, white linen skirts - no more bright white ensembles.  Period.

I know many of you may not follow this golden, fashion rule - but I am a Southern girl through and through -which means I wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything white below the waist from Labor Day to Easter.  It's one of those old rules I cannot dismiss no matter how hard I try.

I seized the opportunity to enjoy one last work day in my favorite white linen skirt this morning.  I almost grabbed the white sling backs as well, but decided not to overdo it.

I have decided to welcome this weekend with a smile on my face.  After this excruciatingly hot summer, I will gladly pack away my white attire and embrace the warmer colors and trends of fall fashion: scarves, boots, accessories. 

I am more excited for fall than I have ever been before.  Bring on the football and cooler temperatures!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I'm home!  I'm exhausted!  I'm ready for the weekend!  It's amazing how five days of weddings and traveling can throw my schedule off completely and leave me a disheveled mess!

And - I've been a terrible blogger.  So instead of picking my brain to come up with something to say today, I'm going to focus on catching up on what you lovely ladies have been up to the past few days while I've been busy with weddings and traveling.

And - it's SO overdue, but Ty at Rants. Raves. Ridiculous is the winner of the Metro Line 6 Photography giveaway.  Please let me know which print you would like!

So I'm off to be productive today.  Headed to my first CrossFit workout in three days tonight - something tells me it's gonna be a tough one. 

Hoping you are all having a Happy Hump Day!

Young, Fabulous, Newlywed

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