Tuesday, November 30, 2010

CrossFit Has Ruined My Life

A dear reader who also does CrossFit sent me an email yesterday that I absolutely loved. A fellow female CrossFitter from her home box (gym) posted a list of reasons that CrossFit has ruined her life. It was hysterical and so true. I’m still fairly new to CrossFit (just hit the three month mark) but in the short amount of time I have been a CrossFitter, my entire outlook on fitness and exercise has changed. The email yesterday got me thinking about the ways that CrossFit has ruined my life as well – ways in which I will never be the same. This may be difficult for some of you to fully appreciate if you’ve never experienced CrossFit – but I will share anyway.

CrossFit has ruined my life because….

1) I will never be able to take a regular fitness class at the local gym again. Seriously – the thought of doing Zumba for an hour makes me want to throw myself into oncoming traffic. Give me a twenty minute AMRAP of dead lifts, GHD sit-ups & pull-ups and let’s call it a day. I will have burned twice as many calories in a third of the time and I will walk away significantly stronger than any Zumba class could ever make me.

2) Speaking of local gyms, I’m pretty sure I’m no longer welcome there. The housewives and pretty professionals at the YMCA get rather antsy when you start talking about improving your snatch and working on your clean and jerk. I don’t exactly feel at home in a gym full of people staring at themselves in a mirror and taking water breaks between every set. I simply don’t belong at those gyms anymore.

3) I thrive off pain. If I wake up in the morning and some muscle group on my body doesn’t scream in agony, I feel as I’ve done something wrong. Somehow I didn’t work hard enough in the WOD last night – I’ve got to take more weight, push myself to go faster. I should wake up every day with sore abs, aching quads & tight shoulders. And if by some bizarre chance I go two days without pain, I will get depressed. Seriously – I’m slacking BIG TIME if I’ve gone a full 48 hours without pushing my body to the point of exhaustion and I will spend the next four days in a row doing everything I can to get that pain back.

4) I’ve got battle scars and I like it. My pretty, dainty hands have turned into callous, hard tools to lift heavy weights. I’ve got rope burn all over my arms from practicing my double unders. My knees are banged up from falling each time I try to take on a 20” box jump – but hey, I’m practicing – and this morning, I did 10 in a row!  I cherish these wounds because they are proof that I’m pushing myself to get better.

5) Nothing is ever good enough. Who cares if I got a PR on my dead lifts last night? I couldn’t do the 20” box jumps in the WOD and that pisses me off. It doesn’t matter that my back squat max has improved by 75lbs in two months – I still can’t do a pull-up on the green band and that pisses me off. That’s the thing about CrossFit – every time you show improvement, you simply raise your personal standard a little higher. There is no “good enough” in CrossFit. I want to push myself every time I’m in that box so that the next workout is faster and stronger – and if I’m not doing that – then I’m not doing CrossFit.

6) I’m no longer a cheap skate. Don’t get me wrong – paying $100+ for designer jeans still sounds absurd to me; but paying $100 for a pair of LuLuLemon yoga pants that stay in place is completely rational. I don’t need cheap workout gear holding me back in my lifts because I’m worried about mooning everyone while doing a squat. My $150 monthly membership to CrossFit is the best money I spend all month. Sure CrossFit gyms cost more than normal gyms – but I’ve just come to accept this as the price you pay to truly forge elite fitness. I’ve come to believe that when it comes to fitness and training, you really do get what you pay for.

7) I can no longer enjoy a midweek cupcake or any dessert for that matter. Knowing what that sugar will do to my insulin levels and hormonal balance takes the fun out of it. Knowing that eating that cupcake will make me tired late afternoon or possibly slow me down in my workout that evening makes me want it so much less. It was one thing when I didn’t understand how my nutrition impacted my physical and mental performance throughout the day – but now that I’m aware of the foods I should eat for proper nutrition, I just simply cannot eat a cupcake on a Wednesday afternoon because it smells yummy. Really – thanks for that one CrossFit. Don’t get me wrong, I still take a cheat day each week and indulge my sweet tooth, but I will never be able to eat dessert or a pasta bowl without at least mentally acknowledging what that meal will do to my system.

I could really go on and on about the ways that my outlook on fitness and nutrition have changed over the past three months. It’s hard to explain what it means to be a CrossFitter. I’ve never been more dedicated to workout regimen or nutrition plan before. But then again, I’m starting to realize that CrossFit isn’t an exercise program or a fad diet - it’s a way of life. It’s about pushing yourself each day to achieve greatness for yourself. It’s about setting personal goals and accomplishing them. And that feeling of physical accomplishment at the box spills over into every aspect of your life. CrossFit is slowly changing the way that I view myself: my strengths, my goals, my abilities and my best qualities. It has helped me to realize that I am stronger than I give myself credit and I really can accomplish so much with the help and support of people who care about me and my success. I’m addicted and I’m loving it!

12 Days of Christmas - Least Favorite

Happy Tuesday!  Today's 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Challenge highlights a topic that none of us really like talking about - all the things we don't like about Christmas!  This list is FAR smaller than the list of all the things I LOVE about Christmas....but still no holiday is perfect so I give you my list of dislikes for the most wonderful holiday of the year:

1) Setting the holiday schedule.  Thankfully, Steven and I are blessed with three sets of amazing parents who love us and want to spend the holidays with us.  The not so thankfully part, is that it can be difficult to plan the holidays so we spend quality time with each - especially when my parents and Steven's parents live three hours apart.  I hate, hate, hate having to decide where we will go and when.  Seriously - we almost booked a trip to Jamaica this year just to avoid it (I'm not kidding - grad school kind of put the kabash on that - but we were going otherwise!)

2) Sending Christmas cards.  I know - I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I hate sending Christmas cards.  It's not that I don't appreciate our friends and family.  It's not that I don't want to spread a little Christmas cheer - I just hate having to time picking out the card, stuffing and addressing envelopes & getting everything in the mail.  Blah.

3)  The holiday weight I gain.  I'm not one for will power people.  If there is a yummy dessert nearby, chances are I'm gonna eat it.  Unfortunately the entire month of December is full of yummy desserts, holiday drinks & Christmas parties.  It's a recipe for disaster for my thighs!

That's really about it.  I don't mind the crowds. I don't mind wrapping the gifts.  I don't mind driving back and forth to visit people in insane traffic.  Other than the three items mentioned above, I embrace Christmas and all the craziness it brings each year with open arms and a happy, welcoming heart!

What about you - what do you hate about the holidays??

Monday, November 29, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - OVERLOAD!

Hello all!  So with the Thanksgiving holiday, I've kind of missed days 4, 5, & 6 of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge so I'm going to do my best to catch up in one post.  I'll keep it short and sweet, hopefully this isn't overload!

Day 4 - Tips & Tricks To A Budget Friendly Holiday
My biggest tip would be to actually budget.  I mentioned this when discussing Black Friday shopping.  Each season I determine a total amount we can afford to spend on Christmas gifts, including gifts Steven and I give to one another.  I then make a list of everyone we have to shop for: siblings, parents, grandparents, coworkers, friends, etc.  I then determine a maximum amount I am allowed to spend on each person on the list.  This helps me determine what type of gift I can purchase for each person on my list and as long as I stick to the allotted amount per person, I am guaranteed to stay within budget.  :)

Day 5 - Favorite Holiday Movie/TV Show
I love holiday movies!  ABC Family's 25 Day's of Christmas plays non-stop at our house during the holiday season!  As I mentioned earlier, as a child, I never really watched "the classics" - the old black and white traditional holiday movies.  Since Steven and I have been married we watch at least one classic each year - it's his way of "educating me" as he so eloquently puts it.  :)  My new favorites include:

Miracle on 34th Street

It's A Wonderful Life

Day 6 - Gift Ideas For Me
This year's gift list pretty much includes items that I actually need.  Sad yes - but a girl's gotta grow up sometime I guess.  :)

And maybe a few fun items that I don't actually need, but would really LOVE!

Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Decorative Cake Stands & Serving Trays


Sorry for getting so behind on the blog challenge.  I will be posting later today about my favorite DIY projects (hahaha...make me laugh!!!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

12 Days Of Christmas Blog Challenge - Best Gifts

Today's 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Challenge is all about gifts - in particular, the best gifts you've ever received. 

It's honestly so hard for me to decide what the best gift I've ever received was - so I think I will go with a few of my favorites over the years:

My favorite early childhood gift would absolutely be the doll house I received.  I can't remember exactly how old I was, either 5 or 6 I believe.  This doll house was no ordinary doll house.  It wasn't the traditional plastic Barbie Dreamhouse.  It was a two-story, real wood doll house customized with real paint, wall paper & trim.  It stood almost as tall as I was.  I was so surprised when I came into the livingroom and found that Santa had left that beautiful house for me.

My favorite gift from my teen years would be the "Hope Chest" that my Nana and mom gave me.  It was a large cedar chest filled with items for my future: dishes, towels, bathroom accessories.  The idea was that we would purchase important items while I was in high school so when I "went out on my own" I would have everything I needed.  I still have the chest and it's currently holding all the important memorablia from our wedding, including my wedding gown.

My favorite gift from "adulthood" would be the National Championship Mark Ingram jersey that Steven gave me last year.  That may sound kind of crazy - but let me explain.  Some of my more recent followers may or may not know this, but I technically used to be an Auburn fan.  Read here for more details.  After announcing that I was going to make the switch to the "dark side" Steven made me go through a trial season as an Alabama fan.  I'm not kidding.  I had to prove that I was a fan worthy of supporting the Crimson Tide and that my loyalty would not waiver.  So last season was my "trial" period as a fan.  I think the trial period was somewhat in jest, but also somewhat earnest.  And I got it - so I played along.  I wanted to buy a jersey at the beginning of the season, but Steven said I had to wait.  So when I asked him for a jersey for Christmas, I truly wasn't sure if he would come through.  I was SHOCKED when he got me a 22 jersey with National Championship badge.  It was like an official acceptance into his club - and I loved it.  That jersey represents some of our best times together.  I love sharing his passion for the Crimson Tide and over the past two seasons I have grown to become an equally obsessed fan.  I will always keep that jersey.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks

It's Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge and I think this may be my favorite topic:  BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING!!!

This day marks the official beginning of the Christmas season for me.  It is a cheapskate shopaholic's favorite day of the year!  $5 DVD's??  Yes please!!  $10 sweaters & jeans??  Of course!!!  $20 luxury sheet sets??  You've got to be kidding me!!  Free coffee from Starbuck's just for being crazy enough to take on the crowds??  Now you're speaking my love language!!!!

If you've never been Black Friday shopping - you must go.  Seriously.  If you plan properly, you can purchase gifts for everyone on your list on this single day and save a TON OF MONEY!!!  So for all of you who have never dared to take on Black Friday, here are my secrets to surviving:

1) Make a List & Set a Budget:  Make a list of everyone you need to shop for during the holiday season and know exactly how much you are willing to spend on each person to stay within your overall budget.  Jot down a few gift ideas for each person on your list which will help to easily identify which deals to look for on Black Friday.  

2) Do Your Homework:  Get the Thanksgiving Day paper on Thursday evening.  Scour the papers for deals that match the gift ideas on your list.  If possible, have two or three good options for each person on your list.  Quantities are always limited on Black Friday, so it's a great idea to have a backup plan to ensure that you go home with a present for everyone.

3) Prioritize & Make a Plan of Attack:  If you absolutely must get your husband the super expensive TV or gaming system that he has been dying for and Target has it on sale for $100 cheaper than anywhere else - start with Target.  Make the expensive items on your list a priority as they will be more difficult to get.  Also, plan out your route throughout the day.  Most stores stagger their opening times - if you plan it just right, you can be at Kohl's at 3am, Target at 4am and WalMart at 5am.  This isn't your everyday shopping - you are on a mission - get your items, get out and move to the next store.  Stick to the schedule and you can be done by 9am and back in bed with almost all of your holiday shopping completed!

4) Choose Your Shopping Buddy Wisely:  This may be the most important step.  Everybody loves grandma, but she may not be the best choice to get the job done when WalMart only has 5 flat screen TV's for $200.  You need to align yourself with someone who isn't afraid to bust through the crowd.  Who won't grow weary when lines are long and temperatures are cold.  You need a partner who will tell you that YOU CAN get the digital camera for $75 and YOU WILL find the hottest toy on the market for a super steal.  Most importantly, you need someone who's got your back just in case the mob gets a little out of control.  

5) Follow The Leader:  If everyone is grabbing it - grab it.  Seriously - it doesn't matter if you don't want the Guitar Hero for $50, someone in that store will.  And they might just have an item that you desperately want - you may be able to barter.  As you run through the store toward the item of your choice, be sure to grab as much as you can.  You don't have to buy everything in your cart when you get to the checkout - but it's nice to have the option just in case.

This may seem somewhat dramatic, but I take this day of shopping very seriously.  For the past two years my MIL and I have been champions of Black Friday Shopping.  Seriously.  We saved over $1,000 at Kohl's last year and walked away with nearly $125 in Kohl's cash.  We enlisted my brother-in-law to drive us for the morning - dropping us off at the front of each store and pulling the car around while we checked out so that we could be certain to make it to each store as it opened.  We both knew what the other person was looking for so we could split up and be more likely to get our priority items and somehow we always got everything on our list and stayed within our budget.  Oh and did I mention we were back in bed by about 9:30 am?? We are Black Friday Rockstars.  

Sadly, we won't be Black Friday Shopping this year.  :( :( :(  Steven's little sister has a cheer leading competition that morning at 8am and Kathy is a coach. We will be cheering on Michelle as the Bronco's try to  make it to National's at Disney World.  My mom will be out that morning - I may just have to enlist her services to get me a few priority items for some difficult people on my holiday list!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

12 Days Of Christmas Blog Challenge - Holiday Traditions

I'm so excited to participate in Aly & Molly's 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Challenge!  Today's question is about your favorite holiday traditions:

Holiday traditions….well this one is tough. As a child, the traditions were strict and always the same. My Nana (mother’s mom) would spend the night with us on Christmas Eve. We got to open one present on Christmas Eve night and somehow mom always managed to make sure that present was a new set of pajamas. Coincidence?? We would wake up Christmas morning with Nana and see what Santa brought us and open the rest of our presents.

Then we would head over to my Mema & Pepa’s (dad’s parents) around 9 or 10 to have Christmas brunch with my dad’s large family (he’s the baby of four!) Talk about some good eating – no one makes biscuits and gravy like my Mema did. Total traditional, huge Southern breakfast. Yum! After breakfast, my grandfather would sit on the couch and all the grandkids (all ten of us) would sit around him while he read us the Christmas Story of Jesus’ birth from Luke. Then the youngest cousins would pass out the presents to everyone and we would dig in.

But now my Nana and Mema have both passed away. All of my cousin’s have married and have started having children of their own and each family is starting to make traditions of their own. Since I’ve been married the traditions have gotten a little “hairy” as we try to find the right balance between spending the holidays with my family and spending the holidays with Steven’s family. It’s hard to make traditions when each year holiday plans change as you try to accommodate different families.

I think to be honest, the holidays have kind of lost their sparkle with the passing of my grandmothers. As old traditions fade, it’s difficult to feel the holiday spirit without new traditions to take their place. I guess that’s a transition that most married adults probably face. Finding the balance between what you’ve done all your life and what you will doing going forward now that you have an extended family.

I’m starting to realize that Steven and I need to focus on making traditions of our own together – because no matter what, I will be with him each holiday. The past two years we have spent the Saturday after Thanksgiving decorating the house for Christmas. Steven totally indulges my holiday spirit – we light a fire (even if it’s not cold) and set the radio to a Christmas station. He helps me put up the tree and finds all the “holes” where an ornament needs to go. By the end of the evening my home has become my own Winter Wonderland.  We have also spent the past two years watching the “classic” Christmas movies. I guess I never really watched them as a child and Steven was appauled when he found out: the original Miracle on 34th Street & It’s a Wonderful Life are now two of my favorites. I wonder what Steven will suggest that we watch this year? I’m looking forward to creating traditions of my own with Steven over the upcoming years as we build a family together.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Card Dilemma

Can I please take a moment to say how incredibly excited I am about the holidays? In all honesty, this has been a pretty tough year for me. Just a lot of ups and downs throughout the course of the 2010 and I am very much looking forward to celebrating the holidays with my friends and family and ringing in 2011 – a year which I hope and pray will bring new beginnings and better times!

Steven and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our home this year. I’m so excited! My first official holiday at my house! I’m breaking out the fine china and we are in charge of roasting the turkey. Talk about big time responsibilities! Needless to say – I’m fretting away about getting everything in order before next Thursday.

Which kind of leads me to the point of this post….

It’s time order Christmas cards. The past two years that Steven and I have been married, I sent generic cardstock Christmas cards – primarily because I waited too late to order a cute photocard. NOT THIS YEAR! I absolutely refuse to send a generic Christmas card again. I really want to take a family picture of Steven, myself & the pups in front of our Christmas tree to create a holiday card. Plus I want a recent photo of us, because well, I’m a brunette now – oh did I forget to mention that???

Proper etiquette suggests that Christmas cards should be mailed the Monday following Thanksgiving so that your friends and family will receive their cards the first week of December. But I don’t usually put my Christmas tree up until the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Which means I wouldn’t be able to order my Christmas cards until the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the earliest – and then I wouldn’t receive them until the first week of Christmas.

Once again – I haven’t planned this out very well!

So here’s the real dilemma: I could go ahead and put up my Christmas tree this weekend so I can take the family picture and order the Christmas cards this weekend and have plenty of time to get my cards out. But – we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house next Thursday. You can’t have Christmas decorations out during Thanksgiving dinner – that’s a conflict of holiday spirit!

So what do I do? Put up the Christmas tree and make my living room look all holiday pretty for the Christmas card then tear everything down for a week? Move the Christmas tree into the guest bedroom for Thanksgiving Day? How difficult do you think it would be to move a fully decorated 7ft tree without breaking anything?

AGH!!! Why do I do this every year!?!?!

I just want some pretty Christmas cards – is that really too much to ask for???

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No Really, I'm Alive!!

Hello Blogging World! Yes, I really am alive! I swear! I’ve been thinking about writing this post for over a week now and I just couldn’t come up with the correct words to say to explain my absence for the past month. The truth is, there really is no good explanation other than life has just been extremely busy and my love for blogging has had to take the back seat unfortunately.

First I want to say THANK-YOU SO MUCH to all of you for the thoughtful comments and inquiries regarding where the heck I have been! It’s so nice to feel appreciated and missed. And I APOLOGIZE for not responding to comments or emails over the past five weeks – again, there really is no excuse other than the simple fact that I have had very little time to focus on anything other than work, working out, school and my family.

So I guess it’s time to explain myself. Without boring you a play-by-play of what’s been going on, I will give you a brief recap of what’s been keeping me so busy:

- I’ve been accepted to grad school! I will join Wingate University’s MAC (Master’s of Accounting) Program in January. Needless to say I am very excited about starting this next step in my academic learning and am more excited about the opportunities this program will bring for my long-term career as an accountant. If all goes according to plan (which when does that really happen!?!) I will graduate in December 2012 and have completed and passed the CPA exam by January 2013.

- In order to begin the MAC program in January, I have to complete an auditing prerequisite. I am doing an independent study (basically teaching the material to myself!) that must be completed by December 29th. I have to complete 12 chapters of reading, 6 case study assignments, two midterms and a final exam all in a period of 8 weeks. Umm….yeah….I guess this will prepare me for grad school, huh?

- I’m officially addicted to CrossFit. No seriously – addicted! I’m going five, sometimes six times a week. I’ve begun taking a 6 a.m. strength training class on Tuesday/Friday mornings and it has significantly improved my overall performance in WOD’s. I’ve lost another 6 pounds and I’m shooting to lose another 8-10 before Christmas. It feels so great to push myself physically and see results – not only in weight loss, but more importantly in my strength and physical abilities.

- We’ve been traveling an insane amount this fall. I honestly thought things would slow down after this summer, but boy was I wrong. I spent a weekend with Steven in Atlanta. We hosted many friends for Wingate’s Homecoming festivities the last weekend in October. We spent Steven’s birthday weekend in Winston Salem and visited his brother at NC State for State/Wake Forrest game. It’s just been an all out whirlwind quality time with friends and family.

Again, nothing life changing or earth shattering – just all around business of life. But I promise to do a better job of blogging and sharing life over the upcoming months. I may not be able to blog every day, but I will do my best to blog at least three to four times a week. I also cannot wait to catch up on what you all have been doing over the past month.

Thanks again for the well wishes and encouraging words! I hope you’re having a great week!

Young, Fabulous, Newlywed

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