Tag Archives: love

Fitness Confidence

13 Feb

Though Zach and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day last Friday, I still had a trick up my sleeve. Our philosophy on gifts in general is to never get a gift just to get a gift. We only get something for each other and our friends if we think of something they truly want, or the perfect gift for that person. Last year, we didn’t get each other anything for Valentine’s Day, but this year we each ended up getting something the other person wanted.

This year, Zach got me something I’ve been wanting very much:

pitch perfect

Whoa, sorry for the blurry camera photo!


Ever since we watched the movie a while back, I’ve been talking about it non-stop, so he bought me the Blu ray! Best present ever.

Me, I had a little idea up my sleeve. I read Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home recently, which is pretty much just a continuation of her Happiness Project Book, one of the topics I flagged was that she would celebrate minor holidays with an elaborate breakfast for her children. I adored this idea, so I decided to do this for Zach on Valentine’s Day morning. However, I have Crossfit at 6:15 on Valentine’s Day morning, so I did it a day early:

breakfast table


I decorated the table with little heart stickers (they are hard to see because my tablecloth is so busy already), and I bought Zach a card and an iTunes gift card (because he’s been talking lately about some music he wants). Then I made us a delicious breakfast!

His and hers breakfast. Zach prefers a more savory breakfast, so he got an egg too.

His and hers breakfast. Zach prefers a more savory breakfast, so he got an egg too.

The pancakes are roughly heart shaped. I made a little aluminum foil heart mold for the pancakes, but they tended to spread out a bit after I took the mold away, so they were just kind of heart shaped.

And, with that, I promise the Valentine’s Day posts are over! I fully intend that our Valentine’s Days will be less eventful as we grow as a married couple, but this will be our only Valentine’s Day as an engaged couple, so I wanted it to be a bit special. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The other thing I wanted to talk today about is fitness confidence. I promise this is relevant, but here is what yesterday’s Crossfit WOD looked like:

100 KB swings (35, 52)
100 Double unders
100 Wall Balls
100 Air squats

Now, keep in mind that I did Angie in 27 minutes, which is also 100 reps, but is (in my opinion), a bit more difficult than this WOD, especially since I can’t really do double unders, so I modify that to regular jump rope (although I double the reps), and air squats are no biggie for me (I attribute my runner’s quads for my ease with air squats). So, when I tell you that I was the very first person finished, with a pretty great time of 20:17, you may not be surprised.

I was.

In fact, as I sat guzzling my water, I started getting insecure as to why I finished so quickly. Did I modify too much? Did I accidentally skip a round without realizing it (I broke up the exercises into sets of 25 — going through 4 times)? In short, I was pretty much putting myself down. I was telling myself, “There is no way you finished this workout this quickly, when these other people aren’t even close to being finished yet.”

But, I did. I know I did all the reps of the exercises, I was keeping careful count. I wish I could just be confident in my abilities.

I do this a lot, actually, but usually it’s in the form of thinking I should have pushed myself harder. No matter how hard a workout is, once my heart rate is back to normal and I’m hydrated, I feel like I didn’t push myself hard enough.

Question of the Day:
Am I the only one who isn’t very confident in their abilities? What should I do to increase my confidence, or does this just come with time? 


The Best Valentine’s Date Night

12 Feb

Because I’ll be at a concert with friends this weekend, and also because we wanted to beat the crowds, Zach and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day this past Friday night.

For a while now, I’ve been talking about doing a date night where we cook dinner at home, but then go out for dessert/drinks afterwards, so that was our plan.

Our night started after work on Friday. I wanted to get a quick run in, and Zach wanted to get a nap in. While I went to the gym, Zach took a nap on the couch with the cats. I ran 5 miles on the treadmill at about a 10:45 pace, and when I came back, this is what I saw:

2013-02-08 18.21.38


Ha! I swear, she isn’t really about to steal his soul, she was just surprised by the flash. I thought it was funny, though.

I made myself presentable and let Zach nap a little longer. After I was pretty, I started cooking. On the menu, NY Strip Steak, baked potatoes and green salad with homemade Greek dressing.

Whenever I’m about to cook something basic (steak, baked potatoes), I first search Google to see how Alton Brown suggests doing it. Luckily, he never steers me wrong. I cooked the steak per his instruction and it turned out perfectly medium rare:


Look at that giant steak! Of course, I didn’t eat the whole thing, but it was perfectly cooked. Here’s how I did it:

First, I set the steaks out about an hour before I was going to cook them, to get them up to room temperature. I took a tiny bit of canola oil and rubbed the steaks down with oil, kosher salt, cracked black peppercorns, and a few other spices. Then, I put my cast iron skillet into a very hot (500 degree) oven, and turned a burner up to high heat. Once the skillet was very hot, I pulled it out of the oven (using mitts, of course), and set it on the burner. Using long tongs, I set each steak into the skillet and let it sear on each side for 30 seconds. Then, I put the whole skillet with the steaks back into the oven, and let it cook on each side for exactly 2 minutes. That’s it! The steaks were medium rare and perfect.

After our delicious dinner, we headed out to Huntington Prime for drinks and dessert. Our friend Shane was working at the bar, so we sat at the bar and ordered our desserts and drinks based on his suggestions:



On the left are my choices. I can’t remember what the drink was called, but it had a blueberry vodka base, blueberries, lemons, some kind of delicious juice and…well, who knows what else. It was fruity and delicious, but I really liked Zach’s drink better. He got a bourbon based drink, and though it looks pretty fruity, it wasn’t at all. For our desserts, I got the hot chocolate cheesecake and he got the strawberry bavarian cream cake. I’m hungry just typing this post! Both desserts were amazing.

It was such a successful date! If we had done a steak dinner and dessert out, we likely would have spent more than $100, but as it was we spent less than $50 on the whole meal, but it still felt like a fancy date night.

I even had enough steak leftover to make steak fajitas for dinner the next night:



I added in some chicken too, and I ate these leftovers all weekend. Yum!

Valentine’s Date Night 2013 was a success! It’s hard to believe next Valentine’s Date Night will be as a married couple! 🙂

Question of the Day:
How do you keep date night costs down? 

Date Night

6 Jan

Last night, Zach and I went on a date.



I try to dress relatively nice for date nights. I was trying an experiment with the scarf. Not sure if it worked, but I committed to it and wore it all night.

Zach laughed as I was scrolling through my camera later in the evening, at the sheer amount of photos I took when I was photographing my outfit.


I’m not really good at taking photos of myself just yet, so I just take a ton and hopefully something sticks.

We went to see This is 40. I really loved it, a whole lot. I already plan on purchasing it on Bluray and watching it over and over again. I looked at some reviews of the movie online, and listened to some reviews from people who I know who have seen it, and I get the feeling that everyone else just liked it — the critics are split 50/50. Some of the negative reviews I’ve heard is that it is just about spoiled white people whining about their lives, but I just really thought it was honest. You can be good looking, have beautiful kids and live in a great house, and not have it all together. It may not be for everyone, but for me it struck a chord in my heart and so I was in love.

After the movie, we went to Outback and sat at the bar. I took my camera with me in my purse, but I’m not a brave blogger yet, and I didn’t whip it out to photograph my food. How do you bloggers do it? I feel so weird photographing everything in public. I’ll get there. Anyway, I will recycle this old photo, because I got the same thing as last time:

2012-11-17 20.45.08

Mmmm, Ahi Tuna!

After we ate, we met some friends out at a bar for some drinks. Here is a photo of my friend Mooney playing pool:



We had a great time! I love date night. We don’t do it very often, and sometimes we just have at home date nights. It’s something to look forward to!

One more thing I want to mention:

On Friday, I got my Greatist shirt in the mail (along with some cool stickers), which they sent me as part of my Ambassadorship with Greatist. It’s such a great shirt!


It’s a slim fit shirt (I got a size medium) made of soft cotton. It doesn’t ride up when I’m working out, and it’s really comfortable. The print on the front is super cute and I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on it so far.

It’s a fun shirt to wear to the gym! You can get one here.

Question of the day:
Where did you go on your last date? 




Christmas 2012: A photo Re-cap

27 Dec

I’m sitting at my desk at work, feeling a little bummed out that the holidays are over.

My sister and our cousins in the Christmas jams I bought for us. Twins!

My sister and our cousins in the Christmas jams I bought for us. Twins!

I’m also feeling overwhelmed – by work, unread blogs (I must read them all!), New Year’s Eve planning, 2013 resolution planning…. There is a lot to get done!

My second cousin Ava wearing her Christmas Nikes and sitting with my Dad.

My second cousin Ava wearing her Christmas Nikes and sitting with my Dad.

But, despite the stress of the post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s activities, I’ve got a huge smile on my face. Because I had the best Christmas (and birthday!) that I’ve ever had!

My Christmas and Birthday gifts! I'm a lucky girl!

My Christmas and Birthday gifts! I’m a lucky girl!

It was so nice to have Zach come with me to visit my family, but I’m also grateful that he and his family will soon be my family too!

2012-12-21 16.26.22

My future husband and some of my future in-laws (we’re missing Zach’s mom and step-dad)!

In a testament to how great my “new” family is, my Sister-in-law, Courtney (on the left in that photo) took care of our kitties while we were in Pittsburgh, and she surprised us with this photo on Christmas morning:


Photo courtesy of Courtney Bell Photography

Isn’t that awesome!? She bought them a cat tree and surprised them with it on Christmas morning. It made me feel so happy and loved that she made sure my cats were having a good time while I was away.

Of course, not all the cats were impressed:

Yes, that's Tuscany vomiting by the cat tree.

Yes, that’s Tuscany vomiting by the cat tree. Photo courtesy of Courtney Bell Photography

Gross, I know, but also hilarious. Tuscany is a little hard to please.

All in all, I had a fabulous week. There is nothing in life better than having a loving family, and this year I’m so very grateful to be gaining a whole extra family to call my own.

Question of the day:
How was your Christmas!? 

Wedding: Save the Date Invites!

11 Dec

It’s finally time to show you the Save the Date cards! I’ve been dying to show this on the blog, but I wanted to wait until the majority had arrived at their destination. Well, I think it is finally safe to show you the finished product!

First, some background.

Zach and I met through his sister, Courtney (who is the photographer behind these great shots!) We had known each other for a while before we started hanging out one-on-one, because I’m good friends with his sister. When we started making plans independent of other people, it was to have horror movie nights in October. We kind of bonded over our love of scary movies!

Because of that, either Courtney or I had the idea to make the engagement photo session  movie themed. I can’t remember who initially had the idea, but the ideas for the individual photos was all Courtney. She did an amazing job, even designing the layout of the card (which turned out so nice!)

Without further ado….

Cardyellow (1)

Isn’t it amazing!? I really have the most talented sister-in-law-to-be!

Also, our friend Patrick also has to be mentioned, because without him we wouldn’t have been able to do this. You see, his church is located in an old movie theater, so he was able to change the marquee for us, and let us in to snap the movie-watching photos. Courtney made the “green screen” in PhotoShop and projected it onto the movie screen. We used a spotlight behind our heads as the “projector” and a cell phone light shined at our faces to make it look like we were watching a movie.

I’m so, so happy with how it turned out.

Would you like to hear a funny story about what a rookie I am? I got these printed via Vistaprint, and got an amazing deal using a previously purchased Groupon. Well, I counted my guests and placed my order. Then, a few days later, I thought about it. Wait, I have 130 guests, but most of them are families and only need one card. Oops! So, if you need an extra just let me know. I’ve got plenty 🙂

Thankful Every Day.

23 Nov

I hope your Thanksgiving went well! Mine sure did, everything went really well.  I took Wednesday off of work to prep for the big day, and I sure am glad that I did! Thursday was pretty relaxing, up until right before the meal. After I put the turkey (15 lbs) in the oven at 11:00 AM (anticipating a 4-4 1/2 hour cook time), Zach and I just relaxed and watched Sons of Anarchy repeats. My beast of an oven managed to cook my entire turkey in 3 hours, however, so I panicked a little! The internet told me to wrap the turkey in several layers of aluminum foil and a towel to keep the warmth in, so that’s what I did. It worked out pretty well.

The rest of the meal was great. I actually didn’t eat very much, I had a bit of a nervous stomach. I did get to have two desserts though:

I wish I had more photos of the meal itself, but between running around to get everything on the table and cooking, I didn’t stop to snap many photos, so here is a collage of some of my photos from yesterday:


I read a lot of posts yesterday listing what everyone was thankful for, and they were great! It’s inspiring to hear all the positive things in people’s lives. I have a few things I’d like to mention that I’m thankful for, even though it’s a day late 🙂

My family. I have the best family there is, and I don’t get to see them nearly often enough, but they are the best, most supportive family a girl could have

Zach. I never knew what it truly meant to be “in love with your best friend” until he came along. I couldn’t be happier that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

My kitties, even the fat, grumpy one !

My health. Sometimes I’m down on my body for various reasons, but it’s good to remember that I have my strength, and that’s all that is important.

My friends! I have the best friends around, truly! I got so many supportive texts, tweets and Facebook messages yesterday, because everyone knew how nervous I was to cook my first full Thanksgiving meal. I appreciate it so much!

I’m thankful for a billion more things, but I think I’ll stop there for now.


In other news, I’m still going strong on the Jamie Eason LiveFit Trainer, and I’m happy to report I’ve dropped a few pounds. I’m a cardio junkie, it’s true, and I’ve always heard that if you keep the cardio to a minimum, you can actually lose more weight (if you do it right). I think the fact that I’m lifting heavy and not focusing on the cardio (although I did do some light cardio here and there) is really showing me that I don’t have to do cardio every single day to see results. This is really helpful for being able to stick with the plan!

I signed up for Lindsey and Ella’s Elf for Health, which sounds SO fun! Basically, they are hosting a six-week challenge that starts the Monday after Thanksgiving. I really love blog challenges, but I don’t always stick with them (ahem, the October Yoga Challenge — although I did do WAY more yoga that month, and Carrots n Cake’s plank challenge), I’m really going to try to stick with this! It may be easier because the coolest part of this challenge is that you get a buddy to pair up with for each round! If you think you might be interested in participating (you don’t have to have a blog to participate!), click on the button below:



Question of the Day:
How was your Thanksgiving?

What do you do to stay on track with your health and fitness over the Holiday season? 

Wedding: Guest List, Attendants, Venue Shopping and My Decor Inspiration Board

7 Sep

I have jumped right into wedding planning. For someone who was never really that interested in having a wedding at all, I sure have embraced the idea quickly!

Of course, it helps that all of my friends and family are probably as excited about it as I am. I don’t think of my wedding day as my day — it’s OUR day — and not just for me and Zach. So many people have contributed to our relationship, love us, are cheering for us. That makes us a stronger couple so despite the fact that I never really was interested in having a wedding (I really thought we’d go the elopement or Justice of the Peace route), I’ve embraced it because I want to create a beautiful day that we can share with the people we care about the most.

Our plan for the day is a low-stress, lovely, DIY affair with some delicious food, drinks and a whole lot of love. So, we’ve started from the beginning.

Step 1: The Date
While this isn’t set in stone (I need to make sure we have a venue before I can say for sure), we have decided on September 28th, 2013. Fall in WV is a great time to have a wedding, as there are tons of trees changing colors. I also just love the fall!

Step 2: The Guest List
This part was the first tough part. I want to invite everyone, but we can’t. We have a very small budget. It’s very hard to figure out who to invite and who to leave off.  Right now we’re just adding everyone and figuring it out later.

Step 3: The Attendants
We both have picked the friends and family who will stand next to us while we commit to the rest our lives together. I can’t announce Zach’s picks yet, as he hasn’t asked them (I have — I’m way less patient than he is), so I’ll save introductions for another post.

Step 4: The Venue
We’ve started making appointments to look at venues, even though our guest list isn’t set in stone. As I’ve mentioned we are on a tight budget (prepare to hear that a lot), so right now I’m restricting my search to anything our Parks Board has to offer, which is a lot! Today, we went to see this place: 

St. Cloud Commons

At a very reasonable $170/day, I was excited about this, and they do have lots and lots of (pretty) outdoor space, with lots of trees (which will be great in the fall!)  The website says it seats about 100, but it’s very small. I don’t think we’d be able to fit 100 people in there having dinner, with a dance floor. So, St. Cloud Commons isn’t for us. On to the next one!

Step 5: Dreaming about everything!
I’ve just been spending pretty much all of my time thinking about how I want it to look (but that’s not as important as how it will feel), what I’d like my dress to look like, and how wonderful it will be to announce my intention to spend the rest of my life with my best friend to all of the people I love! I’m very excited! The other day I was going through Pinterest and dreaming about all the decor, table decorations, etc. when I put this together. I call it a ‘vision board’ for decor and table centerpieces:

Image source: Who knows! Pinterest!

Bright yellow mums, bottles painted grey (not blue like in the photo), tissue paper poms hanging from the ceiling. It’s all going to very DIY and fun.

So, yes. It’s all a big jumble of excitement right now, but I have no doubt I’ll be able to pull this together. I’ve been reading a few books too, which I highly recommend. I’m all about keeping wedding planning low-stress, as inexpensive as possible, and not making it all about the bride. I pledge to include Zach (when he wants to be included, sometimes he just doesn’t have an opinion and that’s fine) at all junctures, and rely on the expertise of my wise bridesmaids (they truly are). I also pledge to remember that the only thing that must happen on September 28th, 2013 is that we must end up married by the end of the day. Regardless of anything else, if we are married at the end of the day, it will be a success.

Here are the books I’ve been reading:

A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene. This is a great book! It’s easy (even at the very beginning of wedding planning) to get caught up in the millions of details that wedding blogs, magazines, and even well meaning people want to tell you are so important, but Meg reminds us that the most important thing is getting married. One of the first exercises Meg has you do is to print out one of those exhaustive bridal checklists. Then, you take a red pen and circle the essential things. Which basically are: a person to marry, an officiant and clothes. That’s it. Then, take the green pen and circle the things that are most important to you. Not what everyone tells you is most important, but what you think is important. Then take the red pen again and cross everything else out. That doesn’t mean they won’t be included in your wedding, but it gives you permission to not stress out about it. That was a very fun exercise! You can also read Meg’s blog here.



Your Wedding Your Way by Sharon Naylor hits the same chord as Keene’s book. It’s not about tradition, it’s about what you want for your day. I know, above I said it’s not just your day, and that’s right, but it’s also not every Tom, Dick and Harry’s day either. I’ll be honest I just started this one, but so far it’s great.

You can find all of my book and DVD recommendations in my Amazon Store here.

Question of the day:
I want to hear about your wedding, or a fun wedding you’ve been to! Go!