Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm Back - Just Wish I Could Say I'm Better Than Ever

After multiple concerned emails, a few “Where are you?” comments and daily questioning from my mom regarding “When are you gonna blog!?!?” I figure it’s time to post something. But that’s the problem. I realize it has been well over a week since I have posted anything. I’ve opened my blog account multiple times to write, but I stare at a blank screen, completely uncertain what I should say.

You see, I would like for my blog to be a platform of positivity and happiness. I would like for my readers to feel encouraged each time they stop by. If I can make you laugh so hard you almost wet your pants or if I bring a joyful tear to your eye, well, then I feel like I’ve accomplished something really valuable during my day. I love to write and I love that you enjoy reading what I have to say.

But lately….

Well lately, I’m simply overwhelmed. I’m burdened, if I’m completely honest. And who wants to hear about burdens? Who wants to read a blog that makes you think about the tragedies of life or the uncertainties that surround each of us? Do you really want to know that I cry almost every day because of something that is completely out of my control? Do you really want to hear about the hours I have spent in prayer over the past 8 weeks begging God to make sense out all this? Before you think, “Dear Lord – what is wrong!?!” let me say that I am really fine. Steven is fine. Our marriage is fine – actually, our marriage is amazing. But we’ve hit a bump in the road over the past 8 weeks that has taken us completely by surprise and the stress of the “what if’s” and possibilities and potential downfalls is slowly beginning to drain the life from me.

So I have stared at a blank screen for the past week and a half trying to decide what to tell you. I hate being fake. I want my blog to be a genuine reflection of my personality, of my faith, of my life. I’m sure I could have come up with a funny story, because Lord knows I’m constantly getting into some sort of mishap. It would have also been easy to play along with a weekly feature. But, that’s just not my heart’s desire at the moment. And I figured rather than lie to you and pretend all was well – it might just be easier to avoid the truth.

Because the truth is – I’m mad at myself. I’m mad that I allow myself to be so consumed with fear and doubt. I’m mad that I continue to pester and question my husband and make demands of him that are unfair. I’m mad that fifty percent of my day is spent crunching numbers and doing research that points to the possibility of great things for my family – but I continue to doubt and question even when everyone else around me believes we can do this. I allow anxiety to control me instead of allowing God’s grace and mercy to deliver me. And I’m mad as a hornet about it. And let me tell you – being mad is one thing – but being mad at yourself – well that’s just a whole ‘nother ball game. A part of me wants to forgive myself and move on from the hurt and anxiety – but another part knows how difficult that will be. See, I know myself. I’ve always worried and stressed. I’ve always taken on too many responsibilities and a desire to make everything right no matter the cost.

So here I have sat for the past two weeks. Mentally exhausted and emotionally drained. But I refuse to stare at a blank computer screen anymore. At some point you gotta – what’s saying? – take life by the balls! (Pardon my French!) So I’m moving on. I’m done looking back over the past 8 weeks. I’m going to start dreaming about the possibility of what the upcoming 8 weeks might bring. I’m not sure what the future holds – but I know that as long as I have the Lord watching over me and the love of my life by my side, I’m going to survive.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Housework Tuesday - Kirkland's Giveaway Winner


Happy Housework Tuesday.  No thoughtful tid bits about cleaning or great idea to be shared today.  (Still super busy - I need time to blog!)

But I did want to announce the winner of the super fabulous hot pink and black Kirkland's apron.  After 75 entries the winner is....

Please send me your mailing address and I will have the apron sent to you ASAP!

Thanks to everyone for playing along.  :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

team Kirstie Challenge - Week Four

Last Week's Workouts
Monday: 15 min treadmill, 25 min elliptical, 10 min stairstepper -  Upper body weights
Tuesday:  1 hour spin class
Wednesday:  Ab Attack - 1 hour Zumba class
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest (yes I was bad - two days in a row!)
Saturday: 1 hour step class - Upper body weights
Sunday: 2.5 mile walk w/ Dixie - 1 mile run w/ Bauer

Another Monday is here - this marks the beginning of week four in my Team Kirstie Challenge.

Nothing much new to report.  I'm begging to see small differences in my weight and body.  I've begun to incorporate weight training into my workouts and I'm enjoying my hours at the gym more and more.

Thank-you SO much for snack suggestions last week. I will be trying many of them over the next few weeks and let you know what my favorites are!

Wish I had more time to share some funny workout stories that happened last week (Zumba class included senior citizens and the "Toosie Roll" - hysterical at 7am!) but unfortunately this Monday is insanely busy for me.  I'll be sure to share more next week!

Make sure to sign up for my Kirkland's Giveaway if you haven't done so already.  It closes tonight and a winner will be announced tomorrow!

Hope you're all surviving this beautiful Monday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

If I Could Write A Letter To Me

Laura over at Cowboy Boots & Baby Booties wrote the neatest post yesterday. She wrote a letter to her younger self. It really got me thinking – what would I say to mini me? What words of wisdom would I impart knowing what I know now? A moment that I would make sure to remember? Is there anything I would do different? So I’m taking a page from Laura’s book and writing a letter to my younger self.

Amber,

There is so much I want to tell you – and you know how you can be a little long winded at times. So I’ll try to hit the highlights – the things you really need to know to make the most out of the time you have with the people you love.

-In kindergarten, Arrianne Grimsley will tell you to stop making the tire swing spin around in circles. You should listen to her and stop – otherwise she will throw up all over you brand new white Keds.

-Run when Daddy says, “Come on. Let’s go get a haircut at the barber shop.” Seriously, pitch a fit, make yourself throw-up, do whatever you have to do to make sure that you do not go to that barber shop with him – otherwise you will come home with a mullet.

-You’re going to move around *a lot*. At times you will feel like this puts you at such a disadvantage. You’ll never have a “lifelong best friend” and you’ll never excel at any sport because you will never live anywhere long enough to play a sport for more than one season. But this is actually a blessing. You will learn to adapt, to make new friends, you will gain confidence that it takes most people a lifetime to develop. Go easy on your parents when they tell you it’s time to pack up and start over – they aren’t trying to ruin your life.

-You’ll worry that you will never get your period. All the other girls in school will get theirs long before you – but it will come – and when it does, you will hate it. So enjoy your cramp free days as long as possible.

-You will hate your first kiss. It will be sloppy and wet and you’ll vow never to kiss another boy again. But don’t worry, it gets better. You’ve just got to find the right boy to kiss.

-High school will be tough. You’ll have a group of “best friends” – but they are actually more life frienemies. Go out and rent the movie “Mean Girls” if you want a preview of what it will be like. Your senior year you will become unbelievably close with a girl named Khristi – her friendship will make all the drama, all the harsh words, all the lies and all the gossip worth it. After graduation you will move to NC, keep in touch. Otherwise, you will go four years without speaking to her and one day she will find you on Facebook. You’ll pick up right where you left off –but you will be so sad that she wasn’t standing beside you on your wedding day – after all, she is your oldest friend.

-There will come a day your sophomore year when Nana sits you down. You will be able to tell by the look in her eyes that she wants to tell you something important – she wants to share her stories with you. Sit down. Listen. Laugh at the right times and don’t’ be afraid to cry. She’s in the last months of her life and she wants to share her favorite memories with you – you are a very lucky girl and make sure she knows how much you love her.

-Unfortunately you will have your heart broken by a jerk. Honestly, you should never dated him in the first place – but I know better than to try and stop you. He’s got gorgeous eyes and a great smile…so go ahead. But when he breaks your heart two days before graduation, don’t shed a single tear for him. Call Khristi, go get some ice cream and blast Kelly Clarkson. Believe me, you didn’t love him – you don’t even know what love is at this point – but you will soon…so don’t cry.

-When you get to college and a boy named Steven kisses you for the first time, remember it! You won’t think much of the kiss – just some boy you’re kissing – you’re first kiss with a college boy. But that will be the last first kiss of your life…so cherish it, memorize it, play it over and over so you will never forget it.

-This will make you laugh – you’re going to be a sorority girl. You, yes you. It will be one of the best experiences of your lifetime. You will gain time management skills, leadership skills and a working knowledge of how to run an organization. But more importantly, you will gain sisters. Go crazy during your pledge period – learn the Greek alphabet and stay away from the Pi Kapps.

-If you don’t listen to anything else I tell you, listen to this. That boy Steven, well you’re going to marry him. He will propose three days after graduation and six months later he will tell you that he wants to join the Marines. Let him. Tell him that you will follow him anywhere he wants to go. This is his calling – this is his dream. Please don’t tell him it’s either the Marines or you. Don’t worry, he will choose you over his dream– because he’s a better man than you could possibly deserve. But believe me when I tell you that decision will be the single regret of your 23 years. And a few years later, when you’re finally ready to follow him – it will be too late. Life will have gotten in the way and a bad economy will complicate things. His dream will be lost and will be all your fault. I promise, if you don’t let him join, the thought that you caused him to miss his calling will haunt you.

All in all, you have a great life ahead of you. I wish I could tell you that you won’t ever fail. I wish I could tell you that you won’t deal with heart ache or loss. But I can promise that for every painful moment you will endure, God will bless you with one hundred happy, joy filled times. Love with no strings attached, work hard, but play harder, pray often and thank God for the life He's given you each day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Confession Time - Part 2

Once again it’s confession time. I know for many of you Spring Fever has set in – you’re loving the warm weather and dreaming about your upcoming beach vacations. I have a fever alright – but it’s a different type entirely.


I have Baby Fever – like whoa! I think what’s most troubling about this sickness is that I have no idea where I caught it. None of my close girlfriends have babies or are pregnant. I do not see babies on a regular basis – as a matter of fact, it is possible that I could go all week without seeing a single baby (aside from in the grocery store or at a gas station.) It is not like I’m surrounded by beautiful, bouncing babies day-in and day-out – so why the sudden ache in my uterus? And more importantly – how long will this “illness” last? Is there some miracle drug I can take to make these aches and pains subside?

You see, I know hubby and I are not ready for children. Sure, if we were to accidentally become pregnant, we would step right up and be great parents. But if we try to responsibly plan for a family, this just certainly isn’t the time. I’m not sure it will be “right” for at least another year and half – possibly more. Yet even with the knowledge that we can’t afford another mouth to feed (okay fine – we could, but it would just require some sacrifices I’m not sure we’re ready to make), the fact that I still need to finish my MBA (actually – I need to begin my MBA) and that we’ve been married less than two years, I still want a baby so badly.

Maybe it’s all that we have been through over the past three months. We’ve had some rather large mountains to climb (actually we’re still climbing) and through it all, our marriage has only gotten stronger. Seeing how strong and committed Steven is makes me want a beautiful boy just like him. Knowing that we can survive what we have survived gives me a genuine peace that we can care for and nurture a child – heck maybe two or three!

I mean couldn’t you see us having one of the cutest babies? Blonde hair – blue eyed (according to genetics – we can only have blue eyed children). Everyone likes to think there kids will be cute, but I just know we’ll have some super cute babies – maybe looking something like this:



I love chubby babies!

So there you have it. I’ve confessed. I’m sick with baby fever – and I want to know who gave it to me. Maybe some of my favorite bloggers who have recently announced their own pregnancy? Maybe the SUPER adorable baby clothes I see at Target every time I’m in the store? Whoever or whatever it is that has given me this sudden craving…please oh please…tell me where to find the antidote. I don’t have very much will power and I’m afraid I might cave sometime soon!

Don't forget to check out my giveaway sponsored by Kirkland's!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kindred Spirit Party - Week Two

Kristin over at Windy Poplars is hosting another Kindred Spirit Party and this week's questions are just as exciting as the last!
Windy Poplars

1. What is your favorite vacation spot?

JAMAICA! Forget there’s no place like home – believe me – there’s no place like Jamaica! I would rather live on island time. Our trip last August was unbelievable. We are desperately trying to figure out way to get back ASAP.

                                              
                                              

                                                          

                                                         


2. What are the three qualities that you most admire about your husband (or if you're not married what are the three qualities you would most desire in a man)?
Only three – but I married an incredibly amazing man with many note worthy qualities!

Most importantly, his loyalty and fidelity. Never have I worried about him being unfaithful. I send him out with “the boys” as often as he likes, and not once do I question what he is doing or where he will go. His love for me is evident – I trust him more than I trust myself. Next I would have to admit I love his sense of humor and playfulness. Although I tell him often “You’re driving me crazy!” what I really mean to say is “I love how easily you make me laugh.” He’s my best friend and time with him is like time with an old pal – laughing and joking. Knowing that I get to come home to him makes those long, hard days totally worth it. Lastly, I would have to say his new found sense of faith. I have seen a drastic change in Steven over the past three months – and we’ll frankly, it’s a turn on. Something about a man who isn’t afraid to worship, to admit he is a Christian, to believe that God will provide…it’s inspiring.

3. What has been a meaningful Bible verse to you this week?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

4. What is your favorite color(or colors) and why?

PINK! I’m not sure why – it’s rather cliché I must admit. But I love it. If I didn’t live with a boy, my entire house would decorated in pink. I think it’s a reminder of the type of person I want to be – bright, eager, cheerful, pleasant. Too often I’m rather intense and demanding – pink is what I hope to be.

5. What is the funniest thing that happened to you in the last 24 hours?
I’m not sure if this if funny or sad. An elderly lady accidentally took me down this morning at the Y. And let me preface – we were naked. We had both just gotten out of the shower (separate showers) and she fell on the wet floor. I lunged for her to stop her, but in the process got tangled with her and we both fell – as did our towels. It was rather mortifying actually. And really wrinkly as well. Great way to start my morning – thankfully no one else saw us in all our “glory”.




Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Housework Tuesday - Kirkland's Giveaway

Happy Housework Tuesday!  As promised, the Kirkland's giveaway is finally here and it's oh so cute! 

But first I wanted to share a little "happy" my mom gave me this weekend.  Apparently she's been reading my blog and understands my frustration of increasing my time at the gym and still trying to keep an immaculately clean house.  So she gave me a journal, notepad and pen & an apron with the following *completely* appropriate message:
Just in case you can't read it - it says,
"Both of us can't look good at the same itme.  It's either me or the house"
Too cute huh??  Thanks Mom!

Now onto the giveaway.  Kirkland's has offered to sponsor a Newlywed Giveaway that I think you are going love - especially those of you who enjoy Housework Tuesdays.  One lucky reader will receive a fabulous hot pink and black apron (my two favorite colors!) 
Reads:  Everyone Has Their Price And Mine Is Chocolate

It's incredibly easy to enter:
1 Entry - Be or become a follower.
1 Entry - Post the giveaway on your blog.
1 Entry - Grab my button and add to your blog.
2 Entries - Visit http://www.kirklands.com/ and tell me an item you would love to add to your home.
**Just a sidenote - while you are there, think about signing up for their emails.  They send coupons often for great in store and online deals.  Who doesn't love coupons??

The giveaway will end Monday, April 19th at midnight and a winner will be announced Tuesday, April 20th. 

**Please visit Official Giveaway Rules for all rules and regulations in reference to this giveaway.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Team Kirstie Challenge - Week Three

Last Week’s Workouts:
Monday – 15 min treadmill, 25 min elliptical, 10 min stair stepper
Tuesday – 1 hour spin class
Wednesday – 1 hour Zumba class
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 15 min treadmill, 15 min elliptical, 10 min stair stepper
Saturday – 4 mile walk with Dixie & Bauer
Sunday - Rest

So begins week three of my “Team Kirstie Challenge” – and I must admit, I’m surviving. It isn’t always easy. There are days that my mouth begins to water at the mere mention of chocolate. I haven’t exactly enjoyed waking up at 6:15 when my schedule would allow me to sleep until 7:45 and still make it to work on time. And I would *much* rather be eating some salt and vinegar chips with my sandwich than the carrot sticks I’m snacking on right now – but a chubby girl has to do what a chubby girl has to do.

I’ve certainly learned a lot over the past two weeks in my attempt to get in shape and eat healthy. So I figure, why not share the wealth with my fabulous readers? Because eating right and working out can be frustrating, expensive & exhausting – so I might as well share what I have learned for any girls out there trying to make a change like me.

Don’t buy Jello Sugar Free Dulce De Leche pudding cups. Umm….GROSS. I love dulce de leche cheesecake – so I jumped at the chance to try Jello’s sugar free version of this treat. At only 60 calories, a pudding cup is only 1 WW point – now that’s a snack I can learn to love. If it wasn’t incredibly slimy that is. That dark tan layer of – well I’m not really sure what that is – we’ll call it “jello” at the top is horrid. I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be the caramel flavoring, but it’s gross. Save your $3 for 6 cups and just buy yogurt.

Find a low calorie veggie that you love – something you can “indulge” on. Sometimes I just want to eat because I need something to do with my mouth. I get bored – there’s no one to talk to – it’s almost quitting time and I just need something to pass the next thirty minutes. I have started snacking on carrots and pickles like it’s my job. Zero WW points and I still satisfy my craving to snack. Granted, it’s no chocolate – but I’m learning to live.

The feelings of hunger will subside – I promise. The first week on WW I thought I was starving myself. Honestly. All I could think about was food. My stomach would literally growl non-stop. I wasn’t starving myself – but my stomach wasn’t used to eating so little. My tummy was a little spoiled. Tummy and I have had some pretty rough moments over the past two weeks. Slowly but surely, she’s starting to get the hint – I’m not going to stuff you. I’m not going to eat until I can’t walk anymore. You can growl all you want, but all you’re getting is carrots. SO GET OVER IT! I wouldn’t exactly say we are on good terms just yet, but I know we will get there soon. I’m starting to feel satisfied with smaller meals – finally. My stomach is shrinking!

So now I have a few questions for you – my readers who maybe have the hang of the “healthy lifestyle” crap idea.

What are some genuinely satisfying low calorie snacks? If I need a sugar/chocolate fix – where can I turn?

Any good music for my workout mix? I’m in serious need of a revamp – suggestions to get my workout groove on early in the morning?

Thoughts on 30 Day Shred? I’m considering going all out and doing the 30 Day Shred each morning before my 7am workout. I need something to kick it into high gear and really get me burning calories for an upcoming beach trip. Does the video really work? Anyone think this might be too much – I need to be able to walk each day!

Thanks for all the encouragement! As always – you rock!

And The Winner Is....

After 77 entires (oh my goodness - I can't believe that!) it is time to annouce the winner of my Spring Giveaway.

Drum roll please.....


Entry Number 31



Congratulations Lady!  Please e-mail me your address and I will get the package in the mail to you this week!

For those of you who didn't win - be sure to check back tomorrow.  The Kirkland's giveaway that I have mentioned is finally here.  You won't want to miss it!

Happy Monday!!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Wishing For One More Memory

Have you ever had the smallest object, sound or smell take you back? Back to a happier time, a better memory, a place you wish you could somehow get to again? I have experienced moments like that all week long.


The recent heat wave brought with it two incredibly painful fever blisters. I have suffered with fever blisters since I was a child and I know exactly what to do – CARMEX, CARMEX & more CARMEX. As soon as I felt the first fever blister reaching the surface, I ran over to CVS and purchased a tube of Carmex immediately. As I removed the lid and circled my index finger around the container, I was instantly taken to another place.

I’m young again – maybe 8 or 9. I’m sitting on the couch with my Nana – watching The Price is Right. We’re drinking Coke Classic straight from the can as we guess the price of a Jamaican vacation in the bonus round. Laughing at my outrageous guess ($500 for a Jamaican vacation!?), Nana reaches for her tube of Carmex and begins to apply. I’ve never seen her use any lip balm or chap stick other than Carmex. She’s a woman of habit - brand loyal: only Coke Classic, only Pantene Pro-V, only Carmex, only Kraft mayonnaise, only Winston 500’s.

My cell phone rings – and just like that – I’m 25 again, sitting at my office desk. Wishing for one more episode of The Price is Right. Wishing for a chance to tell her that Carmex is my favorite too – mainly because the smell always reminds me of her. Wishing I could complain to her about my thighs, after all – she gave them to me. Wishing she could see the look in my eyes when I look at Steven – he is everything she ever wanted for me.

Later that evening as I drove home, I noticed how beautiful the flowers are this time of year. The tulips, pansies, petunias and daisies are bright and welcoming. A fragrant reminder of God’s love for His children of His creative hand at work in our lives.

Without warning, I was in another place. I’m a teenager sitting under the carport with my Mema. We’re drinking iced tea and eating cantaloupe on a spring afternoon. It’s one of those rare “life lesson” moments a granddaughter shares with her grandmother. “More important than anything else, Amber, be a woman of faith. The husband is the head of the household, but you are the backbone – and without your faith, your family will be lost.”

The light turns green and once again I’m pulled back to reality. At first, I wish for trivial happiness – wishing for one more afternoon under the carport. Wishing for one more lesson on how to make biscuits. Wishing for one more Sunday seated in the church pew beside her.

But the occurrence of two power memories in the same day is too much – and the pain quickly goes deeper. I’m heartbroken that my little brother Ethan, who is only six, won’t have memories of his grandmothers. I’m saddened that neither Nana nor Mema will get to see any of my children be born. I want so badly to tell them how much they mean to me – how I am a better woman because of their love. I want them to know that not a day goes by that I’m not in some way reminded of their existence – of their presence in my life.

Sometimes, when I’m sad like this, I like to pretend that on my wedding day, God called them to His side and pulled back the clouds. They stood there hand-in-hand as I walked down the aisle to the love of my life, the man they both hoped I would find. At first, Mema noted that my hair wasn’t quite big enough, but then she saw the silk handkerchief in my bouquet – it had belonged to her, my something borrowed, and with that tears came to her eyes. Nana barely recognized the woman I became in the seven years since she had passed – but she instantly remembered the ring on my left hand – for it was her wedding ring, an heirloom left to her firstborn grandchild. They stood there together – as all grandmothers should – and watched me walk down the aisle on the happiest day of my life.

And with that, I’m at peace again. I know in my heart I will see them again. Until then, I have powerful, happy memories to hold onto. I also have the hope of having a blonde haired, blue eyed granddaughter of my own. For I will have one more episode of The Price is Right and one more afternoon under the carport, it’s just this time, I will be the one sharing the wisdom.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kindred Spirit Party

I stumbled across this "play along" and just couldn't resist.  Kristin over at Windy Poplars is hosting a "Kindred Spirit" party.  Just click the button below to join the party and link up with other bloggers who are playing along.


Windy Poplars

This week's questions are as follows:

1. If you could describe your desired lifestyle in one word, what would it be?


Football Mom. Mrs. Tuohy from "The Blindside" exactly who I want to be. Southern, Christian woman who manages to juggle career and family obligations perfectly – with the emphasis being on her family. She would give you the shirt of her back, but if you mess with her family – you might just get more than you bargain for. Oh and she’s a football mom and a booster…kind of my dream here.


2. What style of home is your "House of Dreams"?
Traditional, Southern Ranch: This is something Steven and I talk about often. I love ranch homes – I prefer one floor living. Our dream ranch would include a finished basement complete with an entertainment room and a guest suite. It must have a large front porch to welcome our guests and serve as the focal point for outdoor Christmas decoration during the holidays. Of course, the lawn must be impeccably manicured and inviting. You know…something straight out of Southern Living.

3. If you could live in a fictional story/movie, which would it be and why?
Twilight: Hey, if I’m gonna go fictional, I might as well go all the way. Who wouldn’t want to fall madly in love with a smokin’ hot vampire that sparkles in the sunlight? Bonus – I’d also fall somewhat in love with an even more smokin’ hot werewolf who runs around in the rain wearing tiny little jean shorts. Double bonus –both vampire and werewolf are madly in love with me and fight for my love and affection. Agh…a girl can dream.

4. Do you prefer coffee or tea? Favorite kind?

Coffee: Iced, non-fat, no-whip, white chocolate peppermint mocha from Starbucks.

5. Share the last sweet/romantic thing your hubby did for you.

Cleaning: I came home last week and my entire house was clean. The floors, the kitchen, dusting, etc. It was such a pleasant surprise. I had just mentioned the night before how I had so much house work to complete, and when I walked through the door late after work, he had finished everything for me. That’s love.

You should link-up and join the party.  :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Giveaway

Happy Hump Day!  I know I mentioned last week that I will be hosting a giveaway sponsored by Kirklands and I promise that is still in the works - it's just taking a little more time than expected to get all the details together.  But I do have a little something to hold you over in the mean time.

I have been so inspired by the recent burst of warm weather and budding spring flowers that I thought I would host a little "Spring Giveaway" full of items to keep you fabulous for the spring and summer.  One lucky reader will win three brightly colored headbands, three Springtastic nail polishes, and a gift set of Victoria's Secret body wash and body lotion to keep you smelling fragrant just like the flowers!


Just in case you can't see these headbands very well

Entering is easy!  Earn an entry by doing each of the following (one entry for each item.)
1. Be or become a follower.
2. Post a link to this giveaway on your blog.
3. Grab my button and post to your blog
4. Tell me your favorite spring inspired accessory or favorite spring color to wear.

Entries will be accepted until midnight on Sunday, April 11th and a winner will be announce Monday, April 12th.  :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Housework Tuesday - A Cleaning Service?


Happy Housework Tuesday! Can you believe we are in April already? Where has the first quarter of 2010 gone my friends?


So today I want to get your opinion on something I have been considering a lot these days - the idea of hiring a cleaning service to come once a week. I’m just honestly tired of cleaning bath tubs, showers and hardwood floors. In order for me to truly keep my house clean, I either need to spend 45 minutes to an hour each day doing various chores throughout the week or spend four hours on the weekend knocking it all out at one time. With my recent focus on exercise and new office hours, I just can’t seem to find the time during the week to complete necessary housework – so I wind up spending 3-4 hours on Saturday running through my house like a mad woman trying to get everything clean.

This past Saturday was no exception. As I mentioned, my house was filled with guests Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening & Sunday for Easter brunch. I woke up at 7:45 am and began the race against the clock to get every inch of my house clean before 1pm when guests were to arrive. Thankfully I was able to get everything done – but I was so exhausted from my cardio cleaning session that I was a pitiful excuse for a hostess.

Steven mentioned late Saturday evening that we should consider hiring a weekly cleaning service to come and do the large chores: bathrooms, hardwood floors, dusting, baseboards, oven, etc. I can easily clean the dishes and laundry throughout the week. I could even find time to clean some glass here and there and dust the living room if necessary. Unfortunately, we do not have the disposable income at the moment to truly consider hiring a cleaning service – but he joked that by Christmas we could afford it and that would be my Christmas present – a year’s supply of a weekly cleaning service.

At first I thought he was crazy – but now I’m starting to think that would be a great gift. In essence, he would be giving me four hours of my life back each week. Imagine – I could have the cleaning service come every Friday morning and my house would always be ready to entertain guests during the weekend.

But then the accountant in me kicked in and I calculated the actual costs. Let’s say that it costs $60 per week for a maid (I realize that’s probably an underestimation – but our house is one story and only three bedrooms so the bargain hunter in me can dream!) Let’s say I have the maid come 50 weeks out of the year at $60 a week – that’s $3,000. That’s a pretty pricey Christmas present. In fact – that’s my trip to Jamaica that I have been daydreaming about. I’m just so cheap – could I honestly spend that kind of money on something that I could easily do for myself?

Then I started to think of the actual time I would be saving. 50 weeks at 4 hours a week – that’s 200 hours – that’s 8 ½ full days out of my year that I wouldn’t have to spend cleaning!

Ugh – you can see why I am so torn. And like I said, we aren’t truly considering hiring a cleaning service anytime soon. Just a “one day – when we can afford it” kind of thought. But then again, there is always something that I would like to spend $3,000 on.

So I ask you – is a weekly cleaning service really worth it?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Things I Hate About The Gym


As I stated last week, I recently joined “Team Kirstie” from Kirstie Alley’s Big Life and I’m on a mission to lose 15-20 pounds. More importantly, I’m on a mission to gain control of my eating habits and develop a healthy exercise routine.

As a result, I have been hitting the gym pretty hard the past week. For the most part, I actually enjoy working out. There are many things I can list that I like about working out. I love finishing a workout and being completely drenched in sweat – it makes me feel as if I have accomplished something. I relish the post workout endorphin high I get after a great spin class. I appreciate a super tough cardio class that requires all my energy to finish the full 55 minutes. I love the fact that I sleep better each night. You get it – there are many things I enjoy about working out and going to the gym.

But let me share with a few things that I *do not* like about the gym – particularly my suburban YMCA.

1. The picture perfect, size zero suburbanites who come to the gym at 7am wearing a full face of makeup, hair perfectly pinned sporting the most pitiful excuse for workout clothes I have ever seen in my life. I mean honestly – since when do super tiny sports bras and teeny tiny spandex bike shorts that barely cover your bottom qualify as appropriate clothing? I mean this is the YMCA for Pete’s sake! It’s a Christian, family centered facility. I know that you’re proud of perfectly sculpted butt and your super large chest (which BTW – no one believes those are real!) but there are children running around here – PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!

                                                               
2. The cell phone obsessed, always obnoxious teenage girls who also refuse to wear proper shorts and shirt. I get it – you’re in l-o-v-e with Trevor. He’s super hot. And even though you just saw him fifteen minutes ago, it’s incredibly difficult to be away from him. But does that mean that you have to chat with him on your cell phone while running on the treadmill next to me? It’s bad enough that your thighs are the size of my arms and you insist on rolling your Sofie shorts up at least five times so we all can see your rear – but must you also ruin my super sweet workout mix by chatting up all lovey-dovey style with Trevor? Put down the cell phone and focus on your run – he’s probably going to dump you for some equally obnoxious/scantily clothed girl next week. At least you’ll have your health.


3. The dumb as a rock, “my biceps are so big they take all the oxygen from my brain prohibiting proper mental stimulation” men. I don’t get it. I think it’s great that you take weight lifting seriously and work hard for sculpted abs and arms. But if your arms are bigger than my thighs (and I’ve got some pretty big thighs man) – then that’s just gross. Lay off the supplements and tanning beds. Once again, please, put on a proper t-shirt and gym shorts. No man should be caught in spandex shorts unless you are Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France. And no, I do not need you to show me how to lift some weights to optimize muscle growth and fat burning. If that’s your idea of a pickup line, you really need to spend more time outside of the gym. Creeper….

I mean really – is there no place sacred for chubby people? Can’t a girl show up to the gym in shorts and a t-shirt and feel comfortable? I’m at the gym because I’m self conscious and trying to make a change. The last thing I need is you making me feel worse about myself because somehow you find the time to spend an hour getting ready to go the gym and then two hours at the gym each day. I mean – who has that kind of time???

To any of my readers who are thin and go the gym often, please know I am more than likely not talking about you. I am not referring to women who wear fitted yoga pants or spandex sports tops. If I were 10-15 pounds lighter, I would wear “cute” workout clothes too. And there is nothing wrong with putting on a little lip gloss and maybe some mascara before heading to the gym each morning. But if you go to the gym wearing what most people would wear to the beach and you’ve got on just as much makeup as you would on Saturday night – then yes, I am talking about you. Please, oh please, for the love of chubby people everywhere – put on some clothes!!!



Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Good Friday!




Happy Friday ya’ll! This Friday is especially joyful because it is Good Friday. I woke up this morning with a feeling of peace – of gratitude – of faith. Let me tell you, with everything going on around our place these days, it was the most peaceful I have felt in weeks!


Hubs and I have a slam packed weekend on the books. We are meeting our Life Group this evening for dinner and fellowship. We are hosting a dinner party with one of our closest friends, Jim, and his parents who are in from Philadelphia tomorrow night. They are bringing a traditional Italian meal – I’m super excited. I’m not sure if I’ve ever eaten real homemade Italian food before.

I am especially looking forward to Sunday. We will be celebrating our first Easter at FiveStones, the church we recently joined. Steven’s dad and family are traveling from Winston-Salem to join us at Fivestones. Then I am hosting Easter lunch at my house. I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally host a holiday meal at my place! I am going to get to use my fine china for the first time! Yay! Yay! Yay!

So as you can see, I have a lot to prepare for. I need to get my house ready for not one, but two events this weekend. Thankfully it is going to be a beautiful Easter weekend. The high is expected to be 85 degrees here! It feels like summer!

I also wanted to share a few pictures from the charity football tournament last weekend. Sarah and I had such a great time watching our men play football and the weather was wonderful.

The team on the field at Panther Stadium


Just happened to catch a smile at the end of the play!


Charlotte skyline in the distance.

Hope this adds a little cheer to your last day of work before the weekend. Just think of how beautiful this weekend will be! I hope you all have a blessed Easter holiday!




Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guess Who's Pregnant!?!?!


Haha! APRIL FOOLS! :) No babies just yet – but I just couldn’t help myself! I promised myself I wouldn't pull an April Fool’s jokes on my “real life” friends and family so I had to try one out on you all.


Why – you may ask – have I prohibited myself from pulling pranks on friends and family? Well, last year I may have taken April Fool’s just a little too far. You see, it was my first April Fool’s as a married lady, and I thought – what better prank than to tell my parents and my in-laws that Steven and I are expecting?

My cousin had recently announced that she was pregnant. She sent me a picture message of the positive pregnancy test and I just so happened to have kept it on my phone. So I forwarded the picture of her pregnancy test to my mother and Kathy (mother-in-law) with a title stating “Guess WHAT!?!?!”

Unfortunately, their reactions were not what I had originally expected. I thought my mother would be elated – super excited and offer to make a visit immediately. Instead, she saw right through me. She played along for a few texts back and forth but quickly admitted she knew I wasn’t pregnant and that my joke was ill-mannered and not funny. Okay – she caught me – no harm, no foul.

Kathy on the other hand threw me for a loop. You see, Steven’s parents had told us numerous times “Wait to have kids. Travel. Get your finances together. Enjoy one another. We’re too young to be grandparents. No kids!” So I thought when Kathy saw the positive pregnancy test, she would be mad, disappointed, frustrated. Boy.was.I.wrong!

Within seconds of sending the preggo text, my office phone started to ring. It was Kathy. Oh crap.

Kathy: OMG! OMG! OMG! You’re pregnant! You’re pregnant! You’re pregnant! This is the best news I have had in months! OMG! OMG! OMG!
Me: Umm…yeah…I’m pregnant. But I haven’t told Steven yet so don’t say anything. (Fearing she would hang up the phone and call Steven and send him into a complete panic – since I hadn’t notified him of my prank.)
Kathy: OMG! This is so exciting. I can’t believe it!
Me: I thought you told me not to get pregnant - you know too young and all??
Kathy: Oh I was just saying that. Babies are a blessing! Oh we’re having a baby!
Me: Yeah – I have to go. Call you soon!

I began to panic. What in the world?? That didn’t go how I thought it would. How in the world am I going to tell her I’m not pregnant?

Ten minutes later I shot her an email. “Hey – so don’t be too disappointed – but I’m not pregnant. APRIL FOOL’S!” Her response was brief, “I hate you.”

Talk about an April Fool’s joke gone wrong! Thankfully she quickly forgave me after much groveling - but I have learned my lesson. No more crying wolf!

Hope you have a great April Fool’s! Try not to let anyone pull one over on you!



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