Wedding Countdown 56 Days Left

Can I just say first, Holy Crap! In just 57 days I will have been with Robb for 10 years of my life… that is just under 1/3 of my lifetime… which is truly pretty amazing. We have had ups and downs and have found our way out of the other side.
Our wedding is going to truly be an affair not to be missed. As we get closer to the big day the amount of work to be done has finally started to pile up. Things all of a sudden need to be done… and they need to be done NOW. I am so grateful that I did what I could ahead of time, like booking the caterer. Now I just need the headcount, and finalize the exact number, then take care of a few last minute things for the wedding food. I have a shopping list forming for things I know I will need to pick up… and calls that will need to be placed the day before… to ensure my coffee shows up. (No one would want to see me without my Starbucks right?)

We are now throwing a family dinner the night before the wedding… which has added a new dimension to my planning and logistics. It’s easy enough from a food aspect but now I need to think about timing for other things that I hadn’t really planned on before. So there is a small but manageable amount of stress there. I will be sleeping away from Robb the night before the wedding (awww… but really it’s so that come morning I can get things rolling early and he can sleep… because we will be operating off of his normal schedule. I want him to get as much rest as he can.) We will be getting married when he is normally asleep. We had joked when we got engaged about making our wedding in the middle of the night because no one would show up, but those were our hours.

I am still undecided on what pastries we will have at the wedding… though something tells me that I will be having what I want after all. The overall response to our jeans and t-shirt attire request of our guests has been positive. I know I have been told by at least one person they will be wearing a dress… I can’t win them all I guess… I had hoped for people to be comfortable and I have been told that for some people jeans are not comfortable. My hope was that in putting people in jeans most everyone would match… whether you like jeans or not… that way it would be more of a standard look… but truly I find I just don’t care in the end. (That’s probably a bad thing?)

Today I ventured off to work on a wedding registry while Robb slept. We talked before that it needs to be done, we have a date to go do the Target registry on Saturday of this coming weekend for their Wedding Event, but I figured I would handle Bed Bath and Beyond myself. I went in and met with this lovely guy Josh who was just awesome. He looked at my shirt and couldn’t put his finger on what it was from but knew he recognized it. Once I told him it was from Pan’s Labyrinth he was all over it talking about the awesomeness of the movie. I knew we would get along just fine. I eyed up the Datatrac scanners… that I hadn’t seen since my last job… and knew I was in for some fun. I told him I knew what I Was doing with them but would let him do his job. We had a lot of good laughs, and he said I was a pleasant change from a lot of the couples that he gets in there to register. He has even had a few walk out of the store because they just fight over what goes on the registry.

I took my time wandering around the store. After 10 years together the things we need are more replacements for pans that have been used so much they are warped, dream kitchen aid mixers, then things like the $79.00 bath sheets that are just at a price point that no one in their right mind is going to pay. I put on things like new rugs for the bathroom, and a shower curtain, and K-cups. Lot’s of sheets and blankets… can you believe I logged several thousand steps in a Bed Bath and Beyond store today just wandering around looking at stuff? How crazy is that? We aren’t registering for china, or silverware or things we don’t use, and thought about skipping BBY altogether, but sheets and towels from there are things that we would splurge on for ourselves in due time. Target however is much more our speed. We joke that it’s bad that he is almost 40 and Target is our “Store of Choice” but truly it’s a good price point for a middle class working family.

The other consultants at BBY seemed almost jealous that Josh was working with me. When they would stumble upon me quietly scanning something, and placing it back on a shelf and ask if I needed help I would decline politely and go on about my business. They asked what kind of registry I was putting together (being alone it isn’t obvious) and when I would tell them about our wedding everyone would get SO EXCITED. Not a single one of them had ever heard of a Sunday Morning Brunch wedding before… let alone one feeding people first. When I went on to explain the dress code, I was all of a sudden the coolest Bride they had ever heard of. They all commented on how calm I was, and how I seemed so unstressed about things. It’s easy to not stress when you aren’t worried about things. Robb and I in all honesty didn’t expect anyone to RSVP yes to the wedding… Did I hope people would want to come celebrate and eat bacon… yes, but expect it no. Do we expect to get gifts from anyone… no absolutely not! Did I enjoy wandering around the store being able to talk about the wedding and talk about how long I’ve known Robb and how we met… hell yes!

I am doing my best to enjoy the little things about the wedding to try and not stress over the bigger things… We can’t afford a $10,000 affair. It just isn’t in the cards. What we can do is make the most of what we can offer to our friends and family and have a damn good time doing it. And from the sounds of it… our, not so formal affair is going to be the event of the year.

Has anyone else done a wedding on a budget? Done most of the planning yourself? Aside from knowing SOMETHING will go wrong the day of the wedding… and that’s the thing you will look back and laugh about… (having done this before when I Was young and stupid I know to ask people to silence cell phones now… and at the very least if it rings… don’t have a conversation!!!! OMG… LMAO!)

Time is ticking… and I am getting excited to celebrate with my family.

Summer Salad Doldrums Solved, Out of the Blue!

Blue Diamond that is! One of the cues that summer is here for me is the wealth of fresh produce finally available. Most people that know me know my weekend routine used to be to hit the Farmers Market on Saturday and load up my car with all kinds of fresh goodies to last all week. Now I am out and about most of Saturday so it makes less sense to load up on a ton of things to get sad and soggy in my car all day.
There are some things that are just fine in my cooler bag all day long, cucumbers, zucchini, onions, heartier veggies, but now I am a twice a week farmers market girl, and I supplement that with lots of salad fixins from a variety of places. I am not a slave to any one market. I shop everywhere from Whole Foods, to Trader Joes, Costco to Target, I even pick things up at the local gas station (Kwik Trip) where I can score bananas for $.38/Pound!

One of the things that happens to be during the summer though is that I fall into a salad rut. I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, or maybe it’s just me. I can only stomach the same food for so long and then I don’t want to even think about it again. The problem is, I live in Minnesota… and if the winter that we just escaped is any indication of what we are in for in the future… I need to take full advantage of every morsel of fresh, beautiful flavorful produce while it is here. The seasons are never long enough, and I always no matter how sick I was of eating something find myself longing for just one more good *whatever* come winter. It’s usually a good summer tomato, with just a pinch of salt and pepper on it.

So I have taken to trying to keep my salads as interesting as possible… Impossible right? Sure it’s super easy to make a salad taste good if you add a a few ounces of of cheese, and maybe some croutons, or wonton strips those are popular now. How about meat… if some is good lets put more on! So instead of 4 oz of chicken let’s do 3oz of chicken, 3 of ham, and we need bacon right, and while we’re at it an egg. You might as well deep fry chicken fingers and go ahead and pour on some full fat salad dressing because you aren’t actually doing yourself any favors.

To make salads that I find interesting I usually play my own version of kitchen roulette.  I start with a bed of some kind of green.  Generally this is NOT iceberg, I personally feel if you are going to eat a salad iceberg is a waste of time.  If it’s what you like FINE eat it… you’re getting water, and that’s great, but try branching out to a romaine if you like a crisper lettuce, or a butter lettuce if you like something softer.  Spinach also makes a great salad base.  I also have been known to use Kale, Mixed greens, micro greens, it all depends on what looks good and what I have. I eat a lot of salads… Sometimes they have fruit… sometimes they have bacon… and sometimes they are NUTS! (Here are a few examples)

UpTown Cafeteria My Salad with Bacon

Sometimes I Custom Order Salads when I am Out to Brunch

 

Salad wiht Blueberries and Strawberries in need of Almonds

And sometimes we put fruit in our salads (this had cheese and Blue Diamond Almonds on the side!)

 

Once the greens are in play I have to decide what mouth feel I want for the salad. Blue Diamond’s Tastemakers program sent me a package with their Whole Natural and their Rosemary & Black Pepper to experiment with.  I knew I needed to choose ingredients that could stand up to a bolder flavor.  Rosemary is an intense flavor, I rarely cook with it because if you aren’t careful it is super easy to overseason with it.  Then you end up with Christmas Tree Chicken instead of Rosemary Chicken.

Salad with Blue Diamond  Rosemary & Black Pepper AlmondsFor this salad I chose to use a butter lettuce, which is a more tender lettuce,  but would balance well with the crunch of the almonds.  I added some avocado, turkey, olives, red peppers, onions, snow peas, banana peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers to this monster sized salad! The items I chose to add provided a good balance of textures as well as colors to the salad. I topped it off with a sprinkling of the Blue Diamond Black Pepper Rosemary Almonds, as well as a few of the Whole Naturals instead of using croutons.

The salad filled my stomach up so well.  I stayed satisfied for hours thanks to the healthy balance of fat and protein, not to mention the carbohydrate that mixed together by pairing these almonds with my salad.

I posted about this salad on my Instagram account, and posed the question to my friends, and now I want to hear from you as well… what do you put on your salad?  The one I mentioned above required no salad dressing.  The density of flavors from the avocado and the tenderness of the lettuce, and juices from the ripe summer veggies meant I did not need to add anything more.  Have you ever added Blue Diamond almonds to your salad?  I had previously added the Salt and Vinegar variety to salads, instead of adding my usual oil and vinegar dressing but I really enjoyed the change that the Rosemary & Black Pepper almonds brought to the dish.

handfull of blue diamond whole natural almonds

And remember… generally about 23 almonds is a serving… you don’t need to have a whole serving to top your salad… you can put a small handful on a cutting board and sliver or chop them down to feel that same satisfying crunch for far fewer calories or points.

 

 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds They sent me a 6oz can of Whole Natural almonds and a 6oz can of Rosemary & Black Pepper almonds and I ate them! THEY aren’t paying for my opinions, these are my thoughts. :)

It’s Coming! The Wedding… It’s Coming!!!

So before I know it the wedding will soon be here… I am not stressing over it really… It dawned on me last week that there are a few loose ends that need tied up.  Things like place settings, and coffee cups, silverware and napkins to be ordered.  I could have made life easy on myself and just had the caterer supply them… but I like to make things difficult… Actually I just like to be cheap.

Getting married is expensive… and truly for Robb and I at the end of the big day all that matters is that we are married.  For myself what I want at the end of the day is for my friends to have celebrated with us.  A good breakfast with those that have helped form my family here, and those who were able to come from far away to celebrate with us makes for a wonderful day.

We are “simple folk” I am fairly certain that I will be wearing the dress I wore at Fitbloggin, the white and dark navy blue striped one.  Maybe with a shrug, maybe with a belt… who knows.  Robb might be in slacks and a polo… for all I care he can wear jeans. I joke about putting us in jeans and pocket t-shirts… it’s a half-hearted joke… but I am a bit serious.

Our invitations are half-stuffed… not yet addressed… it’s on my list of things to do… They will go out soon… and on them it says Jeans and T-shirts… sweatshirts encouraged. I do not want people in suits… they will get ruined at our venue.  We are truly going for family casual… not even down on the farm casual… like actual relax and just be yourself casual.

We want people to laugh, and remember that you only get one shot in life to be happy so don’t spend it being miserable.  Make the most of every moment you have.  No sad faces!!!

So yes… things have been ordered… I am sure trying to manage things I will forget something… but ya know what… if we forget something… there is a grocery store not far away and I can run off and grab whatever we need the day of!

 

A Walk in the Park…

Or the zoo as it were.  I was blessed today to be able to sneak out of work just a tiny bit early and head off for a much-needed walk.  I am still making a recovery from my Fitbloggin cold, but I am getting some activity in.  I went swimming at a new outdoor pool this week.  That was super fun! My eating has been on par, I am tracking and making good choices for REAL food.

So what did I see on my walk? Well, since I had a camera with you I’d love to show you!

There were beautiful flowers outside the Zoo (I didn’t make it to the conservancy portion of Como this time… there is never enough time at these places! I will have to go back!)
magentaflower purpleflower purplelotus

 

 

 

 

I wandered around all of the animal enclosures. Yes I feel bad that the animals are there… but you know what this is quite possibly the only way I am ever going to see things like a tiger, and a lion so I will take advantage of it.
flamingoYogaFlamingozebragiraffegiraffeeatLionsBathtimetigerscaredSpiderMonkeygorillaYogagorillagorillathoughtgorillalookorangatan

There are a TON more photos from my adventure, but you get the idea. I had a great time wandering around the Como Zoo alone this afternoon seeing the animals, smelling the popcorn enjoying the sights. I hadn’t been there in a while. I even had a chance to speak with the zoo keepers about yesterdays “gorilla escape”. It was a pretty awesome way to spend the afternoon.

Did you do anything fun? Do you have big weekend plans? I’d love to hear about them!

When #JustTrollin means #WycWyc

So today I arrived at my friend Jeans house for a pre-baby shower dinner party. I was early I had come from work. I didn’t know when she and others would be arriving.
Instead of sitting around in the car listening to podcasts or music I took to her quiet neighborhood and went for a walk. Yes I’ve still got the sniffles, no I wasn’t in workout clothes, no I didn’t know where I was going and didn’t plan on it. So what.
I had time and it wasn’t going to go to waste! No more sitting on my rear!! Get it in gear!!

Big Dreams for 33, and Food For Thought.

33… Yep, a double digit birthday. I am choosing to look at this birthday that has just come to pass as the birth of a positive year.  There are a lot of traditions and stigma about the number 33.  I believe (but am not sure so don’t quote me on it) that it is the Chinese that believe the number 33 and women are a bad mix.  There is some superstition about buying meat and chopping it?  What a waste if you aren’t going to eat it in my mind.

I am looking at 33 as holding extra possibilities for positive things to come my way this year.  33 when separated forms two prime numbers.  Two positive prime numbers.  I am welcoming the positive things into my life.  I spent my birthday setting a positive intention for myself, and for the future of others.  It can’t hurt right?

Thank you so much to everyone that wished me well for my birthday! It meant a lot to me that so many people from all over the world took a moment from their day to think of me and wish me well.  It lifted my spirits so high.  Thank you.

So I had planned on no cake for my birthday this year… and I mostly made it… mostly.  But the #JustTrollin side of me says it is time to fess up.  There was lots of cake… Sunday I made cake balls… actually Saturday and Sunday I made cake balls, but not for myself.  I made cake balls for a baby shower, and it was so much fun.  I sampled a bite of one.  That was enough.  There was also a very small Carvel ice cream cake that made its way into my house on Sunday night.  It was the smallest ice cream cake I have ever seen.  I only ever eat the vanilla ice cream off of those cakes so it was in the end a very successful birthday when it comes to food consumption.

I am working on putting together a training plan for myself this week.  With my epic sunburn still healing and my cold still in partial swing I have been a slacker at the gym.  I have been yelling at myself for not going already this week. Tonight I went to a new pool! Not a new gym… a new pool!

Bloomington PoolI confess… I love to swim… however I do not think that I have been swimming outside, since I was probably 16 or 17 years old.  Yep, I’ll wait while you do the math… yes, that would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 years of indoor only swimming.

Today I was brave.  I joined my friends Maria and Jean (and Jean’s son, my favorite little boy in the whole wide world Dexter) and went swimming after work!

imageI couldn’t get over how different it felt to be in the water outside in the sunshine.  Obviously I am a summer baby.  Mom tells me stories of how I could swim before I could walk… and how she spent the Fourth of July on a boat on the lake in a bikini because it was too hot for anything else and she just didn’t care what it looked like she was pregnant and uncomfortable.

I felt comfortable at the pool in my suit with my friends.  I jogged and bounced around in the water.  I swam around.  I soaked up some rays, carefully sunscreened 30 mins prior to going out in the sun this time.  I don’t need anymore nasty burns like the one I am still dealing with.

I can’t honestly wait to go back to the pool again.  I think this may have to become a supplement to my summer activity, and it might just be what I have been looking for to change up my summer routine.

Do you have a favorite activity that is different indoors than outdoors?  I know running has to be very different inside than outside, but I never thought swimming was all that different depending on the pools location.  This has been some great food for thought for me.

Feedback Because I’m Still #JustTrollin

So… Fitbloggin is over… back to the real world. Work, life, love, relationships, friendships, be them old or new everything in my life falls under the microscope when I return.  Every morsel that enters my field of vision is being scrutinized extra carefully.  THIS is honestly part of what I look forward to coming back from Fitbloggin.

At the conference so many of us talk about having out batteries “charged” or “recharged” I think of it as being supercharged… and with the creation of #justtrollin and #tribelove I hope that it will allow the charge to last just a bit longer.  I know it wont extend the selfie-shelf life or bring the warmth of the amazing hugs along with it but it might just keep the lazer focus.

Focus… something that I need.  I have heard from several people who read the blog in my offline life, that don’t comment (or rarely do so) that they feel the empowerment that is coming from this blog right now.  The trick is going to be keeping up with it.

I am SO THRILLED it seems that those around me that read my last #JustTrollin blog understood what was going on.  They understood that what I am asking for is to be called on the bull that is going on.  I want to be held accountable.  I don’t want to order something healthy then eat the fries off your plate and have you say, oh its okay… a bite wont hurt you.  I don’t want someone telling me you deserve a treat you worked out, or you need to treat yourself… I need someone reminding me that those things aren’t getting me closer to my goals.

It isn’t that I don’t know that the cupcake is not a great choice, even if it fits within the calorie or weight watchers plan for the day… but there are better choices. It isn’t that I can NEVER have the fries, but I need to be responsible for the decision to have them not take them off someone else’s plan. It seems like people are getting on board with this. Those that aren’t understanding this… well… your relationship with me may have to be put on lockdown… just like those treat days.

The thing about this blog is, since I took the job change that led to my weight gain I did nothing but bitch about what the problem was. I bitched about what I couldn’t get to work. I whined and complained that things were hard and I didn’t have time. Well you know what life is hard and we have changed the situation.

I am no longer in that job, and while I am starting to have progress I am still not giving 100% to what is actually one of my top priorities. I am okay with the fact that one of my priorities is to lose weight. I am okay being selfish in wanting to not be fat anymore… more than not wanting to be fat I just want to feel good. I want to feel “healthy”.

I don’t want my blog to be a reflection of a big whiner that just makes excuses. As Dan pointed out at the welcome mixer, I have a story. I have the confidence to overcome the obstacles that have been placed in my way over and over again. If I can’t go over them I have gone under, or around or even through them.

Why should my weight be any different… well the truth is it isn’t any different. I guess I am again calling myself out in this post for half assing too much of my life. The last two Saturdays I have broken some major walls down in my own active life as far as steps and actual amounts of activity go.

I plan on being active tomorrow, (July 5th) It is going to be hot, and gross, but Sunday (July 6th) is my birthday… I will be 33, and it is time to celebrate another year entering it strong and feeling empowered. The time to feel like a victim for my circumstances has come and gone.

I am leading by example, for myself, for my friends, and for the people who I don’t know. I will not end up a statistic. I will not be someone people have to mourn and miss because I died too young. The time is now.