Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Partners in Co-Hosting

Good morning my lovely ladies! Normally today, we would be doing our First Things First link-up, and y'all would be here to read my answers, and link-up your own as well. But today is a little different, because Hallie (from Life: Oceanside) and I are sharing an announcement about some changes to our fun link-up! Let me start by saying though, how excited I am that Hallie is officially back here with me after a hiatus during the months surrounding her wedding! I had amazing guest co-hosts each week while she was gone, but I'm soo glad she's back and here to stay :)

And for those of y'all that don't know Hallie yet, you should absolutely go visit her blog, right this second. I mean it. She's super cute, super sweet, a good writer, and she's lots of fun. Like me, she lives in the beautiful Sunshine State (Florida, for those who aren't familiar with the nickname), loves FSU football, and even though our names are spelled very similarly, don't be confused... She's Hal-lie, as in Halle Barry -- and I'm Ha-lie, as in Haley's Comet ;)

So last week, we told y'all that we had an announcement about our link-up, and some changes we were making. And so today, we are actually sharing what those changes are!

First, we are going to cut back to only two "first topics" every week. We used to do three, but we're just going to do one less topic each week, in order to make it easier for y'all to write them, shorter for everyone to read when you visit other links, and we get to stretch our idea list a little further!

And second, we are adding in a new element to the link-up -- a special "Lasts" edition on the last Tuesday of each month! And instead of writing about "firsts," we will write about some of our "lasts!" For example: last concert you saw, last movie you went to at a theater, last boy you kissed, etc... These should be just as fun as our firsts, and it will throw in a good bit of variety as well! (Also, if you have any topic ideas for firsts or lasts, please don't hesitate to let one of us know, and we might add it into the rotation!)

And since we're now throwing in the "lasts" to this link-up as well, we've decided to change the name to reflect that too, so it is no longer "First Things First," it's now called "From Firsts to Lasts!"

And here's a quick summary, just to make sure we're all on the same page:
1. Back to having two permanent hosts now every week, Halie & Hallie
2. Cut back from 3 to 2 first topics every week
3. Special "last" topics on the last Tuesday of each month
4. Renamed the link-up, and made a new button - so be sure to grab the new one now!!

We are both so excited about the new changes in our link-up, and we can't wait to see where this leads now! I've really enjoyed having new co-hosts for a while, but I'm glad Hallie's back with me again, and that we are once again Partners in Co-Hosting! If you want to start preparing for next week's post, our two first topics will be:

First store you head to at the mall
First aisle you hit up at the grocery store

I can't wait to have new girls join us in the future, and of course I'm always so glad to see all the "regulars" returning back again week after week. That really does mean so much to us! So excited for y'all to join in this link-up fun with us!! Looking forward to officially kicking this off next Tuesday!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Panera, Shopping, Po'Boys & Games

I'm freezing in my office, my back is sore for some reason, I'm not quite awake yet, and it's Monday morning. I'm feelin' kinda rough right now....I had a great weekend though, so of course in typical blogger fashion, I'll be sharing all about the weekend on the blog this morning. I mean, what else would you expect?

Although not technically considered the weekend yet, at lunch, I went with my parents to a new BBQ place here in town that they love and I hadn't tried yet, Sweet Rack Rib Shack. It's been forever and I just kept not getting to go, but it was soooo good. Definitely need to take Jeff there sometime soon, because I know he'll love it too! I got a 'kids meal' with pulled pork sammy and mac-n-cheese. It was delish.

After work, I went to Jeff's house to get changed, then I ran a mile around his neighborhood, and then did a couple of circuit-training things to target my thighs, abs, and waist. Just a quick little workout, but it was better than nothing at all, am I right?!

Then we spent the rest of the evening at our friend Lacey's house, playing games, making dinner, laughing and having fun. We played girls-vs-boys Pictionary, and as usual, Lacey and I killed it and beat the boys :)

My Mama and I got up and got ready, and drove just a little bit north to Thomasville, Georgia, to go shopping at The New Image. It's a little shop that sells bridal, formal, and mother-of-the-bride dresses. She was looking for a dress for my sister's upcoming wedding, and I got to try on some more wedding dresses!! (And I think we found a really great contender!!) Then we had to go help out with some craft stuff for the lady who altered my sister's wedding dress (too confusing to explain what we were doing...). Later, my mama and I went shopping again trying to find her a dress, but with no luck. I did however buy the other half of Megan's graduation present, so that was good! 

Then Saturday evening, Jeff and I had a great little dinner at Panera, where we sat outside in the lovely weather, then we just spent the rest of the night hanging out at his house, relaxing, I painted my nails, and we got caught up on episodes of "The New Girl" and "Big Bang Theory!"

Sunday school, big church, lunch with my parents, and then the fourth and final wedding shower for my sister, given by her fiance's church. Then later that afternoon, Jeff and I, and his friend Len, went back to Leah's house (who just recently finished massage therapy school and she gave us massages back in February), for some massages! It was great and it felt so very nice. And while it wasn't my turn, I was actually reading in my book, "The Host," and I went from page 50 to about 120 now! Look at me go... It was about 8 p.m. by the time we finally left her house, so we went to Po'Boys to grab some dinner and just hang out! It was lots of fun, and it was actually Len's birthday, so he had a great day, getting his very first massage ever, on his birthday, for free! And of course I loved getting one too, whether it was my birthday or not :)

I kinda forgot to take any pictures of anything at all on Saturday and Sunday, so unfortunately, the only ones I have from the weekend are the few from Friday afternoon. At least I also had that Vine video to sneak in there too! (Follow me at HalieRenee88 - I changed it to actually be that now, since it wasn't before for some reason...) But since I didn't have a lot of pictures, I decided to share another engagement picture from our amazing photographer Phil Pullen :) This one is my absolute favorite one!

Hope y'alls weekends were good, and that your Monday is off to a bit of a better start than mine. And don't forget tomorrow is when Hallie and I are sharing the news about our link-up and how it's going to be changing a bit! Can't wait! Happy Monday ladies!

Linking up today with Covered in Grace, Sami's Shenanigans and Synfully Delicious.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Proposing To My Bridesmaids!

Happy Friday lovely ladies! I'm real glad to see Friday, and even more glad that you pretties have joined me today in my little part of blog-world! :) Because today, for the first time, I'll be sharing some of our wedding planning stuff with y'all! And I'm just so dang excited about it!

I'm sure we've all seen those cutesy things on Pinterest that have become so popular these days right? About asking your bridesmaids in a cute, special way? Well I definitely loved that idea and wanted to do it my own way. So as I mentioned before, we are doing a beach wedding, and wanted my bridesmaids gift to match our beach theme! So here's what I gave each one of them...

I found those cute little blue containers in the dollar spot at Target. Then I just added some tissue paper in it, because they're much bigger than they look! I of course wanted to include some nail polish, since I love it so much, so I chose a blue color that had something to do with the ocean, (I think?). I also gave each of them a silver bracelet/anklet with a little anchor charm on it. And then my favorite part of this was the message in a bottle that we made!

We got those cute little bottles at Hobby Lobby. They were marked $1.99, but all glass was 50% off that week, so they were just $1 each! Awesome right?! The sand is from Shell Point here in Florida that we had gathered and saved from a couple of weeks ago, because I knew I wanted to do something like this. And we also bought those tiny shells from Hobby Lobby too. (We had some we collected, but none tiny enough to fit in the jars.) Then I wrote them each a nice little card, and included a paint sample of our wedding colors, and that was that!

Oh, and the paper in the bottle is an actual message that I put in there myself! We ripped and crumbled tiny pieces of paper, and I wrote a cute poem on them that I wrote just for them :)

"The man I loved asked for my hand,
Now I'm asking YOU,
To stand by me in the sand!"

Some of them live here in town with me, and some of them live very far away - so I put three of the gifts in bags, and packed up two others to be shipped. I gave Megan her's first at home after church and lunch last Sunday, and officially asked her to be my Matron of Honor! (She's getting married in less than a month, so she'll be a matron then!) When she asked me to be her Maid of Honor last summer, she gave me a gorgeous gold watch that I love and wear every day now, so I of course wanted to do something super special for her too. So I gave her a pair of diamond stud earrings! And she loved them :) And she said YES!

That line-up happened on accident, but it looks like "Small, Medium, Large" to me. :)
Here in town, the other two girls I wanted to ask were Sara and Lacey. The problem is, Sara is leaving for a year-long mission trip around the world in July, therefore she won't be able to attend our wedding :( But, I still really wanted to include her, so I made her a gift too, and asked her to be an honorary bridesmaid! So we met for dinner last Wednesday at Chick-fil-A, and she said YES! After dinner, I headed over to Lacey's house to give her her gift, and she said YES too! The two out-of-town gifts had been mailed already, and Bridget ended up getting hers the same day I talked to Lacey & Sara! I had her take a picture of herself and send it to me, since I couldn't get one of us together, because she said YES too! Jenni's took a bit longer for some reason, but she finally got it on Friday, and she made a collage of herself and the gift and sent it to me, and she very excitedly said YES as well!

Top L: Jenni    //    Top R: Sara    //    Bottom L: Lacey    //    Bottom R: Bridget

So now I finally officially have all of my bridesmaids on board for my wedding! And all of them were excited, and I'm so so glad that each of them said YES to my proposal! I can't wait until we get to do more stuff together, and we start just doing more wedding-related shopping and stuff! Ahh! This is so fun :)

Happy Friday my bloggy ladies! This weekend will be full of random, busy things, and Megan's final bridal shower, and hopefully I can clean my room up a bit :) Hope y'all have lovely Friday's and fabulous weekends!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Possibly My Most Random Blog Post

Simultaneously, there is both nothing going on in my brain today, and also too many things swirling around at once. How does that even happen? What does that even mean? I don't know - but that's how it feels! So today's blog post is going to be one of those rare, fly-by-the-seat of my pants ramblings that I don't know where we'll end up, but it seems like it might be fun....So let's see where this takes us, mmmkay?

So, when I ordered my bridesmaids dress for my sister's wedding, I ordered a size smaller than what I was wearing then, thinking I would definitely be smaller by May. Well, I am indeed smaller (by lots of inches in fact!), but I think their dress sizes are jacked up, because that thing was still too small. Like, couldn't zip it up the whole way. Ugh. So two weeks ago I took it to the tailor, and I'm going today after work to pick it up. I just hope she was able to work some magic and that it still looks beautiful! I'm kinda nervous though...

I've shared my whole weight loss story before, and started sharing my actual weight each Wednesday, but I think I also want to start sharing my measurements. So maybe we'll start today! I've been taking them every couple of weeks since January, but I'll just share my first set, and then the most recent, from last night!

January                                                 April 24
Shoulders - 43.5                              Shoulders - 39.5
Chest (Boobs) - 45                         Chest (Boobs) - 42.5
Upper Arm - 16.5                           Upper Arm - 15
Hips - 52                                         Hips - 46.5
Upper Waist/Ribs - 40                    Upper Waist/Ribs - 36
Upper Thigh - 28                            Upper Thigh - 24.5
Neck - 15                                       Neck - 14
Calf - 17.5                                      Calf - 17.5
Around Chin/Head - 25                  Around Chin/Head - 22.5

So that's kind of embarrassing, but it's also great to see that real, tangible progress in the amount of inches I lost, as well as seeing the number on the scale go down too. Because people, that's a total of 24.5 inches lost since January!! (If I'm doing this whole measurement stuff correctly, that is...) And a total of 27.2 pounds lost. And that's amazing.

One of my goals for the year was to read 24 books, and so I was planning to read two a month. Well at this point I've only read five, when I should be on number eight or so. I still want to meet that goal, so I guess I better get moving! I started reading "The Host" almost two weeks ago, and I'm only on page 50 out of 829. Sheesh. Usually I could have finished the whole book by now! I need to get my bookworm mojo flowin' again. 

I just ordered my little sister's college graduation gift, and I'm excited about it! I hope it gets here before next Friday night! And now I just need to figure out what to get her for her wedding present!?!

Last night Jeff and I went to a new restaurant to try out their sushi. But when we got there, it wasn't on their menu anymore. She said not enough people were ordering it, so they took it off the menu. And so now they're basically just a Chinese take-out kind of place. And since we were already there, we felt bad leaving, so we got some super un-healthy, but super delicious General Tso's chicken to share, and it was sooo good. I mean, at least we shared the meal, right?!

Also, my back is reallllyyy sore today. I think it's from the ab class that I did during my lunch break yesterday, but I can't be positive. My abs aren't sore - just my back. So that's kinda strange. But it's definitely uncomfortable.

I'm having lunch with my sister today, which we almost never get to do, and I'm pretty excited about it!!

Aaaannnddd........I think that's enough randomness for the day! Tomorrow I'll be sharing my first post about some of our wedding stuff, and sharing what I did to ask my bridesmaids, to be my bridesmaids! So come back for that, because it was really super cute :) Hope y'all have a good Thursday today! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PR'd Again Yesterday!

Good morning all you lovely ladies (and a few guys) on this Wednesday morning! Let's jump straight into the usual post for each and every hump day, and link up with Erin & Alex for Weigh-In Wednesday!

Initial Starting Weight = 227
January Starting Weight = 217
Last Week, April 17 = 192.4
Today, April 24 = 190.4

If y'all don't remember, last week at 192.4 was a gain, because the week before that, I had actually reached 190. So yes, I lost 2 pounds this week, but I'm still sitting at the same total pounds lost overall. But I'm still super glad that I was in fact able to lose those two pounds! Especially after some of the things I ate last weekend while we were out of town. Yikes. (But oh so yummy!!) 

And I was really busy/kinda lazy again over the weekend, and skipped working out from Friday-Monday. So I really only did my regular workouts last Thursday, and yesterday... Sheesh I got lucky losing those two pounds! 

Wednesday: lunch-time ab class (209 calories)
Thursday: 1-mile run and 60 minutes of zumba (776 calories)
Tuesday: 1-mile run and 60 minutes of zumba (883 calories)

My hair got a bit crazy while I was running, and Yes, I still went to zumba like that afterwards :)

And guess what guys? I have another non-scale victory once again to share! (And tomorrow I'll link it up with Katie's NSV link-up!) I've once again set a new PR for my mile run! Last week I did it in an incredible time of 12:32, and I was sooo dang shocked when that happened! Well yesterday, I did it in 12:22!! Taking 10 seconds off of last week's PR! I seriously can hardly believe that I can run that "fast." (It's fast for me, alright!?) And I'm so proud of myself for it too. (And I know the time below says 12:23, but the actual RunKeeper website says 12:22, so that's what I'm going with!)

Oh, and I even made a little Vine video while I was running, and was still able to set a new PR! Also, I just joined Vine this past weekend (late to jump on the band wagon, I know), and even though I feel like most of you bloggers have abandoned it, I'm loving it! Come find me there for random silliness - halierenee88 is my user name :) 

Over the next month or so, my life is super crazy busy, and I think I'll end up only being able to get in a couple really good workouts a week. My sister's wedding is very quickly approaching, and so we have more and more things to do for that all the time! With all the planning and last minute things to get done for her (as well as a bit of planning for my own wedding), my life is hectic. So I'm not going to beat myself up over not being able to workout six days a week like I was trying to before. I will do what I can, when I can, and focus more on healthy eating until my schedule clears up a bit towards the end of May! And then I'll get myself back on the workout train.

And my goal for Megan's wedding is still to weigh 180. That means I have 25 days to lose 10 more pounds. Sounds kinda rough, but I'm still working on it. And I think I set a goal for my own wedding to be at 170. I just don't know if I'm setting my goal to low with that one or not? I mean, it's not until October  so I definitely could lose more, but I just don't know how crazy and busy and stressful it's going to be planning everything, so I don't want to aim too high and not reach my goal. What do y'all think? Should my goal be 170 by my wedding, or should I aim for 165, or even a bit lower?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Payments, News & Pouting - FTF & An Announcement!

Happy Tuesday morning my lovely ladies! I just went back and counted, and today is Week 16 of our First Things First link-up. Wow! That's four months of fun link-ups and posts and meeting some of you girlies that were new around these parts! It's been great hosting my first link-up series, and I've really enjoyed the past four months. And to round out these past four months, we've got an exciting announcement about this link-up at the end of today's post!

In the beginning, Hallie from Life: Oceanside and I hosted this together every week, until Hallie had to put a bit more focus on her very important wedding day. So for the past couple of months, I've had some amazing ladies co-host this link-up with me every week, while Mrs. Hallie was busy planning her gorgeous wedding. Her beautiful wedding day has come and gone, and she's ready to come back. So that means this is the last week of having new co-hosts every week, and I think these are some great ladies to be our final ones :)

This week's co-host's are Kaitlyn at Wifessionals and Joanna at Jaybird's Flight!

And this week's First Things First topics are:

First thing you would do/buy if you won the lottery
First person you call when you get amazing news
First thing you do when you've had a bad day

First thing I would do/buy if you won the lottery
(First, I would tithe my 10% to the church...& pay off my student loans...& then...) Well, since y'all know I'm planning a wedding, I would first want to use the new lotto-money for all of the wedding payments! I mean, I wouldn't go crazy with it, and I probably wouldn't even change too much about the way we're doing things. But it would certainly be amazing to get exactly what we wanted, without having to stress over the budget or finances. I would also put a large chunk of it into our savings account, and forbid us from touching it. It would be our savings, and it would be great to know we have a fall-back in case anything were to happen one day. (I tend to be extremely logical with money most of the time, and I'm also a bit of a tight-wad, so yeah - it's boring, but I would absolutely save a ton of my newly-won lotto money!) And then I would love to use some on our future house together!

First person I call when I get amazing news
It depends on what the news is I guess!? For instance, if it's something that no one else but me knows yet (for example if I were offered a new job or if I just won the lottery or someone wanted to randomly give me a brand new car for no reason), then the first person I would call would be my fiance, Jeff! But if it's something about Jeff and I (for example when we got engaged, or in the very-far-future if we ever get pregnant or if we decide we want to go couples skydiving or something), then the first person I would call would be my Mama! Then immediately after that would be my little sister, Megan :)

First thing I do when I've had a bad day
Hmmm...I'm not sure. I do tend to pout a little bit though, especially if I think I can get a little extra attention from Jeff because of it ;) Maybe I'd just want to eat a piece of chocolate cake? Or cuddle up with Jeff and watch a good movie with a bowl of popcorn. I don't really have too many bad days, but when I do, I just want to do whatever I can to be comfy and cozy and try to make it go away by flooding myself with positive things, people, and love!

If you'd like to join in on this fun link up, check out the super simple 'rules' below, and get to writing! Can't wait to see all the new link ups this week, meet new friends, and read y'all's posts!

1. Write your own post about this week's topics
2. Please follow me, as well as this week's co-hosts, Kaitlyn & Joanna.
3. Put the new button on your post or somewhere on your blog
4. Link up with us! (Link will appear on all three blogs.)
5. Visit some of the other links, and share the love with them on their posts!
6. Spread the word on Twitter and/or Facebook

And now for our exciting announcement -- First Things First is heading in a new direction starting in May! My dear love Hallie will be coming back and joining me again as our permanent host, and we've got a few changes and things to add in. Next week, there won't be a link-up or any topics, but we will each be posting about the link-up, and what you can expect to see starting on May 7! We're both super excited about it, and can't wait to continue working on this little project of ours! So make sure you come back next week for the actual announcement of what's to come with our link-up! ;)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Puddles & Pictures & Play Time

So far this Monday morning is off to a pretty great start (despite my lack of sleep), because I'm still coming down off my high from an amazing weekend!! Jeff and I drove over to St. Augustine for the weekend, and we were able to spend some amazing time with my wonderful friends from college, but we were also able to finally take some engagement pictures!!!

Left right after work and Jeff and I drove over to St. Augustine
Met up with Kaley, Dani, Jenni and Cally and had dinner at Mango, Mango's - one of our favorites!
Went back to the girls' house to play cards and laugh and have fun

Woke up semi-early, got ready, grabbed Dunkin Donuts coffee and met our wonderful photographer! (Jeff's uncle!)
Spent the hours of 9:30 am - 3:30 pm dodging the rain and tons of puddles and taking pictures
We also had a yummy lunch with Uncle Phil and Aunt Tammy at Cruisers, another favorite of ourse!
Came back to the girls' house to rest for a while, Facebook stalked people, chatted, Jeff napped, ate a snack
Got ready and went downtown to eat at our friends' restaurant, Catch 27, that he just opened in January!
Went next door for some yummy desserts from Bon Ami
Bundled ourselves up for winter weather, and sat on the beach for an hour or so just talking and laughing
Went back to the girls' house, where more friends joined us, and we just hung out and had so much fun together!
Made a couple Vine videos, and VidRhythm videos, and stayed up wayyy too late being silly

Luckily everyone was able to sleep in a little bit, then we got showered and dressed and had brunch at Cafe 11
Hung out at the house for a bit, packed our stuff up, then Jeff and I wandered around downtown for a while
We stopped for a coffee break, then hit the road back to Tally!
It was super windy and a bit rainy still, so we drove home slow and finally got back around 8:30 last night
Got some essentials from Publix, and a turkey sub from Jersey Mikes, then went to Jeff's house
And our photographer was already done editing and had uploaded all our pics already!
Sat around looking at the 60 beautiful images Phil & Tammy created for us, in such awe how they turned out!

This past weekend truly was amazing! We had such great times with my awesome friends, had an wonderful photo shoot with some talented family photographers, and got to spend quality time with people we love. We both felt so happy and blessed after such a great weekend! Oh, and in case you missed the subtle hint up there, I finally jumped on the bandwagon for Vine (about a million years late), and I'm loving it so far. Already can't wait to take some more random videos! (Search for me with my Twitter name, "HalieRenee88" - I think that's how I signed up for it...?) Also, my friends and I all love Instagram, so here's a collage of all of our IG pics from the weekend! Ooooh - and we found a new app we like a lot too, called InstaPlace, that is pretty neat. Those are the top left and bottom right corners below.

At some point, I will be writing a much more detailed post of the engagement picture session, because I definitely want to remember that day, but it's a lot and I want to save that for later. And of course I'll be sharing more of the pictures, but I want to keep some of them a surprise for now. (The very middle of the above collage is my favorite from the day.) I will however give you a little sneak peek preview of them though, with another one of our favorites!

So to recap - we had an amazing weekend, we now have beautiful engagement pictures, I love my friends from Flagler so so much, and I love my fiance so so much too! I am a very blessed woman.

Linking up today with Covered in Grace, Sami's Shenanigans & Synfully Delicious.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Potato Chips & Veggie Chips from Green Giant

Guys, I gotta be honest here - one of the things I love about blogging, is there are definitely some perks that go along with it. Well I've found a new (to me) perk, that I'm loving after only my first go-round of it. I'm now a BzzAgent! This means that they send me things to try out and review, and then I give my honest opinion of the product to people in my real life via word-of-mouth (and by letting them try it too), and also via my social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and this here blog! And that's all I have to do. Try a product, talk about it, review it. And then I get to do it all again when they send me something else to try out ;) Pretty awesome deal, if you ask me.

The first thing I've gotten to try out has been the new snack from Green Giant - veggie chips! I was sent two flavors, and I love them both. I got to try Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips in Zesty Cheddar flavor, and Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips in Sea Salt flavor. And they were both delicious! 

The chips are really light and not greasy at all, (unlike some other "regular" potato chips). And the taste of both of the flavors is actually really good. I also gave them to a couple other people to try as well, and they all liked them too! My aunt didn't know that Green Giant made snacks or chips, and so she was definitely interested in trying them out, and she really liked them! My fiance also really liked them too, and ended up eating quite a good portion of the big bag at the beach last weekend :)

I took all of the smaller sized bags to my office, and they made a great afternoon snack at work once my lunch started to wear off a bit. They tasted great (as I've already said), but the best part for me was that they didn't make me feel heavy or weighed down right before my workout, (which is always right after work). I could still run a mile and shake it at zumba, without that awful feeling of food sloshing around in my belly! (Sorry if that was TMI...)

I have one bag left, and I want to experiment with that bag a little bit. I want to try dipping them in some hummus or guacamole, or maybe crushing them up a bit and using them as a salad topping! And remember back in the day when you used to put chips on your sandwich? Well, let's be honest here people, Jeff and I still love to do that :) And I think these would be so yummy on a sammie too!

And since y'all know I'm trying to eat really healthy these days, and I count every single calorie, let's not forget to look at the nutrition facts. Only 110 calories for the little snack-size bag. That's a great deal in my book. And all the other stats (sodium, carbs, fat...) aren't bad either! Check 'em out for yourself below...

So yes, I was given these chips to review for free, but I honestly liked them, a lot. And now that I know they exist, and that they're delicious, I will definitely be buying some for myself in the very near future. I think they're a great little snack, and they sent me coupons for more, so I might as well use them, right!?! 

Have y'all ever tried these chips? Did you even know that Green Giant made snacks, and not just "actual" veggies? Are you interested in trying these? I think you should, because I think you'll like them! Let me know what you think :)

Practicing the Ukulele - H54F

It's Friday!! And today Jeff and I are driving over to St. Augustine for the weekend! And we're getting our engagement pictures taken finally! And clearly I'm pretty stoked for the day and the weekend :) But there are also some things from this past week that I'm pretty happy about too! So I'm joining Lauren formerly at From My Grey Desk now at Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday!

1. One of the bouquet's of flowers from my sister's shower was still alive and looking great, so for family dinner this week, I trimmed them up, and separated them into three mason jars, and they looked so cute! Especially with our super spring-time-y tablecloth :)

2. I ran another PR this week! And this one blew my old one out of the water! My previous PR was 13:39, and this weeks was 12:32!! Holy crap! That's over a minute better than my old time. That's craziness.

3. I started learning the ukulele this week! So far, I've got about five or six chords down pat, and can actually play a whole song with just four of those :) I'm focusing on "Summer Vibe" by Walk Off the Earth, and I'm getting really good at it too! Can't wait to learn more chords and more songs.

4. Yesterday after my run I had some crazy hair, and I thought it was amusing. Oh, and I went to zumba like that too :)

5. My Mama bought me this last night, as my "healthy" dessert, and it was quite yummy! Only 200 calories for 1/2 cup, so not too bad. I don't think I even ate that much of it though, so that's a win for me :)

Like I said before, we're leaving for St. Augustine today right after work, and I'm so dang excited! I can't wait to see all my friends over there, and of course take our engagement pictures as well! However, the weather forecast isn't looking so great, so I'm a bit nervous about that. Pray for the weather to clear up a bit for us, so we can take pretty pictures and not get soaked in the rain! And I hope y'all have great weekends too! See y'all on Monday, same time, same place :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Possibilities of When I Grow Up

When I grow up, there are many things I want to do, to be and to try. Some are totally realistic, some are just completely ridiculous dreams, that will probably never become a reality. And that's OK with me! Those things are just as fun and exciting to dream about too :) But there are definitely many things I want to do and be and see and experience that are completely attainable. Hopefully, if I'm lucky/determined/motivated enough, I can accomplish some of these! The Possibilities of When I Grow Up seem endless, but here are some that I'm more focused on...

When I grow up, I want to have a really cute house, with super cute decorations and knick-knacks and stuff.  And I want to be able to keep it relatively neat and tidy.

When I grow up, I want to own a DSLR camera, and know how to use it properly, and take really great pictures of all my family and friends.

When I grow up, I want to be able to visit all 50 states of the United States. 17 down, 33 to go. (Eh, I would be OK if I never made it to Alaska. I mean, it's just toooo cold there for this Florida girl.)

When I grow up, I want to pet a real live penguin.

When I grow up, I want to be a great mama and a great step-mom. (I'll officially be a step-mom in October!)

When I grow up, I want to be healthy, and maintain a semi-normal body weight and diet. (Is that too much to ask?!)

When I grow up, I want to get a decent paycheck. I mean, it's not only about money, but I'd just love to have a good amount of it, and not have to scrape the bottom of the barrel each month. And I'd also like to be able to afford fancy vacations like...

When I grow up, I want to go back to New York City again, and explore so much more. And see another Broadway play, or two or four. And find the bestest ever New York Cheesecake, and enjoy a slice, or two or four...

When I grow up, I would loooove to be able to travel to Europe someday. I'd like to be able to visit Paris, Switzerland, Ireland (for Jeff), and Italy (let's be honest, for the pizza and pasta we know I love!!)

When I grow up, I want to have a puppy of my very own! And love it and play with it and name it something really super cute and snuggle it and love it forever.

When I grow up, I want to host fabulous dinner parties for my group of friends, complete with all homemade food by yours truly, followed by fun games and lots of laughing.

When I grow up, I want to be a real runner. Like, run for more than just a mile or two, and actually like it. And maybe even experience this infamous "runner's high!?"

Mainly when I grow up though, I just want to enjoy my life! I want to be happy and healthy and still crazy in love with my wonderful husband, living with our adorable children, just having fun and creating a great life together. When I grow up, I want to love being a "grown-up" and all that goes along with it!

What do YOU want to do or be or try when you grow up?!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Previous PR Blown Out of the Water

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday friends! My day is off to a good start so far, for no reason in particular, but that's A-OK with me. Let's just jump straight to the point though, shall we? It's Weigh-In Wednesday today, and so of course I'm linking up with Alex and Erin just like usual!

Initial Starting Weight = 227
January Starting Weight = 217
Last Week, April 10 = 190
Today, April 17 = 192.4

Womp, womp, womp... A 2.4 pound gain  from last week. Excellent news, right? I think I've only reported a gain one other time in the last three months of this journey, and that wasn't fun either. I've had weeks where I've stayed the same (and that was frustrating, but understandable), but this is just annoying. Let me be clear though, it's not discouraging, it's just annoying. And I really can only be frustrated with myself. Because I think I know how this happened. FOOD. 

I've discovered on this weight loss journey that you can't get healthier by only eating right. And you also can't get healthier by only working out. For me (and I'm assuming lots of others as well), I absolutely must be doing both of those things in order for this to work. I've preached it before, but last weekend I kind of lost sight of that. I know that I can't just eat back all my exercise calories and still expect to lose weight. And I certainly can't eat extra calories on days I don't exercise at all. Bad idea Halez, bad idea.

So what was I eating?? Hmmm...Thursday and Friday nights I basically just had a crap ton of movie theater popcorn as my dinner, with a Hershey's bar as well on Thursday. Then Saturday was our beach day, and I split fried crab claws and cheese fries with Jeff. Then Sunday night we went to Jersey Mike's and we split a giant Philly Cheesesteak. (That was Jeff's idea, and while I tried to resist it/him for a minute or two, eventually I caved and ate my whole half. And it was sooo delicious.) And then last night an older couple from Jeff's church had us over for dinner, and we had chili and a chili hot dog or two

Seeing it all written out like that is rough y'all. I mean yikes, Halez. What were you thinking with all that mess? No wonder I have to report a gain this week! Because even though I was still working out a bit, there was no amount of working out that could have balanced out all of that awful food. And I'm learning that the hard way today! 

But, here's what my workouts looked like this past week:
Wednesday: ab class with my Aunt on our lunch break, with our co-workers (242 cals) & 1-mile run (232 cals)
Thursday: 60 minutes of Zumba (552 cals)
Tuesday: 1-mile run and 60 minutes of Zumba (804 cals)

Also, I didn't realize how many days I skipped working out, until right now when I wrote that recap. Again, no wonder I'm reporting a gain this week! But, you guys know how I like to make my exercise collages for Instagram :)

Ab class last Wednesday
1-mile run from last Wednesday
1-mile run and Zumba from yesterday (Tuesday)

But enough talk about my crappy food and that I skipped four days of working out for no particular reason... I have a great non-scale victory to share! (And link up with Katie!) Yesterday right before it was time to leave work, I was not feeling like running before Zumba. So I posted on Facebook and Twitter that I didn't want to, and that I needed motivation. And I got some great motivation from lots of awesome friends and ladies. And it was just what I needed to get out there are run! And run I did. And I ran fast, apparently. Because I blew my old PR out of the water! My previous PR was 13:39, from March 28, and yesterday I ran it in 12:32!! Meaning I beat my old time by a full 1 minute and 7 seconds. Holy crap people! So thank you, thank you to those of you who commented on my FB status or replied to my tweet, because I know you guys are what helped this to happen yesterday. And it felt amazing!!

So even though I'm having to report a gain today for my weigh-in, I'm OK. I'm not letting it get to me. I'm staying positive and I'm going to keep going strong! Well, actually, I need to get stronger, and learn how to say NO to crappy foods! That's my goal this next week - don't eat so unhealthy. Sheesh. Hopefully I'll be back to where I was, or maybe down into the 180's by next Wednesday! We'll just have to wait and see. Oh, and I hadn't actually bought a new gym bag yet for reaching my goal last week, so I guess that's a good thing since I'm not 190 anymore. When I get there again, then I'll actually get one for sure!

Until next week my friends. Stay positive and motivated and encouraged and keep on truckin'! We can do this!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Parents, Sports & Injuries - First Things First

Happy Tuesday ladies! I usually try not to wish away the weekdays by only looking forward to Friday, but it's hard this week. Because this weekend I'm going to St. Augustine! I get to see some of my very bestest friends, and also take our engagement pictures! So of course I'm super excited for that!! And so it's hard to pretend I'm not happy that we're another day closer to Friday :) But first, we need to get to our weekly First Things First link-up today! And this week we have another great round of awesome co-hosts.

This week we have Emily from Be Blessed, Y'all and Breanna from Counting Blessings!

And today's First Things First topics are:

First movie you went to without your parents
First sport you played (either Little League-style or in school)
First major injury

First movie you went to without your parents:
I'm gonna go with "Titanic!" I was in 4th grade, in the spring time I believe, which means I would have been 10 years old. I'm not sure if that was appropriate for a ten-year-old at the time (I guess not since technically it was rated PG-13), but oh well! I was with my best friend at the time (who's still a great friend over 10 years later!), Amanda. Her mom brought us to the theater, but I don't remember her actually staying in the theater with us. Maybe she went to another movie or something? I don't know. But it wasn't with my mama, and so that's what counts!

Looking back on the "scandalousness" of the movie (made up that word myself #thankyouverymuch), it's really not all that bad compared with most of the crap that is in movies all the time now! Sure, as 10-year-old girls we saw some grown-up lady bits on Rose (I'd say most girls had already seen those) but that was about it. I mean the big "love scene" was all of about 30 seconds, you didn't see anything too specific, and the most scandalous part of that was a hand slapping a steamy window. Big whoop. At the time, it of course felt like much more of a big deal, but now we definitely see much much worse in movies and even on TV!

First sport you played (Little League-style or in school):
I never actually did Little League or anything when I was younger! I was in ballet and dance classes as a little baby toddler, but that didn't last long. It wasn't really my thing, y'all. And then I didn't really do too much after that, until eighth grade! At the end of my seventh grade year, I tried out for cheerleading, and made the JV squad! (Remember my school was K-12, so 8th grade cheerleaders were on the JV "high school" team). And then I did that every year until I graduated, and loved it!!

2005 - Senior Year. I'm on the front row, very center. And my friend Amanda from story #'s 1 & 3 is the blonde to my left.

First major injury:
This is actually another story that also involves my old bestie, Amanda! (We have quite a few ridiculous stories, come to think of it...) So I think we were about in 7th grade at the time, and I had spent the night one Friday at her house. They lived out in the country, and had lots of land. One of our favorite things to do was ride their 4-wheeler's! (ATV's) So we were each on our own, and we went on a big trail through the woods that circled their entire property, and got real close up to their fence at one point.

Well, I ran over a big root, and it made me swerve a little bit, and I swerved towards a tree, hit it a little bit with the front of the 4-wheeler, and kinda bounced and jolted around on the seat. I didn't fall off or anything, but my right calf was burning a bit. I didn't know why it was hurting, but I thought maybe I got it snagged on a thorny vine or something. After a couple seconds, I got ready and set off again, and we kept going. Back at the house though, we realized it was way more than just a cut or scratch. Turns out, my calf had been pushed up next to searing hot muffler, and burned very badly! In fact, it was burned sooo badly, that half of the word "Yamaha" had actually been burned into my leg. And there was a huge chunk of my skin missing that had just been burned off.

I don't remember exactly, but it may have turned out to be a third-degree burn.Or maybe my memory is exaggerating  but it was a second-degree burn at least! It was gaping open flesh people. Then it turned into a big giant pus-bubble, with multiple little ones surrounding it. Then when those popped, it was gaping open flesh again. I had to go to the doctor and get special medicines to take and creams to rub on with a Popsicle stick. It was rough. And it was disgusting. And I wish I had a picture of it! But yeah, I'd say that was definitely my first major injury!

If you'd like to join in on this fun link up, check out the super simple 'rules' below, and get to writing! Can't wait to see all the new link ups this week, meet new friends, and read y'all's posts!

1. Write your own post about this week's topics
2. Please follow me, as well as this week's co-hosts, Emily & Breanna.
3. Put the new button on your post or somewhere on your blog
4. Link up with us! (Link will appear on all three blogs.)
5. Visit some of the other links, and share the love with them on their posts!
6. Spread the word on Twitter and/or Facebook

And if you'd like to start preparing for next week's First Things First topics and link-ups, start by checking out next week's co-hosts, Kaitlynn from Wifessionals and Joanna from Jay Bird's Flight. And next weeks topics will be:
1.  First thing you would do/buy if you won the lottery
2.  First person  you call when you get amazing news
3. First thing you do when you've had a bad day