Friday, June 28, 2013

Plans, Books, Friends & Twins (Friday's Letters)

F-R-I-D-A-Y. Welcome, so glad you're here. (At first I tried to sing that to the tune of SA-TUR-DAY- HEY!, but obviously there aren't enough letters so it just didn't work out at all. At least no one heard me though...) It seems like it's been a long, rough week, and so of course I'm glad to see it come to a close. It's been a hot minute since I've participated in some Friday's Letters, so I'm hopping aboard that good 'ole train today and writing letters to people and inanimate objects alike. Fun times :)

Dear Blog Friends: You guys were so very sweet and encouraging on Tuesday when I was struggling and not having a great couple of days. So glad to have this little space on the internets where I can be honest and raw, and not fear opening up on here with y'all. Thanks again.

Dear Super Smooth Legs: I've shaved you five days in a row, and that's got to be some kind of record for me. Seriously y'all, I usually hate shaving, so even in the summer it's never this many days in a row.

Dear Jeff: The last two night just snuggled up on the couch, reading side by side has been really sweet and cute, and I like it a lot. Definitely wouldn't mind doing that more often :)

Jeff is reading 'The Count of Monte Cristo' and I'm reading 'The Hobbit.' 

Dear Lacey: I'm glad after two years of missing your birthday, that I finally got to celebrate with you at dinner last night! It's about time I'd say. Hope you had a great birthday! (I forgot my camera cord today, so I can't upload any of the pictures yet unfortunately :( I'll send them to you when I do though!)

Dear Fingernails: It's about to get real 'professional' up in here, because I just got lots of new stuff to practice my nail art hobby. But what I'm most excited about are the Bundle Monster stamping plates that just came in! Definitely looking forward to trying those out. My first attempt with them will most likely be something 4th-of-July related, so hopefully it turns out good!

Dear Twins: The last three weeks with y'all have been super fun! And even though we have to take you back tomorrow, you'll be coming back to visit us again for three more weeks at the end of the summer, and we'll definitely have lots of fun then too. We're already looking forward to it and making plans!

Dear Wedding Planning: For the next few weeks between the boys' visits, it's gonna get crazy again. We are now only 99 days away from the big day, and we've got a LOT to do still. After taking a little hiatus to play with the boys for three weeks, I'm super excited to get back at it again!

Dear White Denim Skirt: I'm real glad I can finally fit into you again, because you're super cute. Now I just need to find some more tops that I like, because I either hate most of the ones I own, or the few that I like are too big now - which I guess is a good problem to have. Looks like it's time to spend some of the gift cards I've been hoarding for wayyy too long!

Dear #OperationNoMoreJiggle: I'm sure we will be put to the test this weekend with all sorts of yummy food opportunities, but we must resist! This weekend we need to make better food choices, and eat healthier than usual weekends. It's time to get serious about this thing, and really start to working on getting rid of all this jiggly junk.

So even though we have to take the boys back tomorrow, we do still have a tiny bit of time with them first. Tonight we'll drive to middle Georgia to spend the night at Jeff's brothers house, so that will be good for us to see them, as well as for the boys to hang out with their cousin Libby. Sunday will be spent at home doing chores and laundry, and hanging out with my parents a little bit, because I've barely seen them in the past three weeks while the boys have been here!

I hope y'all have a good Friday, and definitely a good weekend, and I'll see y'all again same time, same place on Monday!

Much Love,

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Personalized Weight Loss Hashtag

As some of you know, whenever I run or workout or something, I always make a little collage of photos to post on my Instagram. (SorryI'mNotSorry I do that pretty much every time...) Well yesterday, I decided I wanted to throw in a little motivational quote in there as well. So I searched "fitspiration quotes" on Pinterest for about ten minutes, and ended up saving about 20 pictures to my phone for future use. The one I liked the most, I decided to use first last night, and then an idea was born... "I'm gonna create my own unique, personalized weight loss hashtag!" And so that's just what I did, and thus #OperationNoMoreJiggle was born last night.
So from now on, I'll be hashtagging all of my workout posts and stuff with this new hashtag of mine, and I wan't y'all to use it with me! (I'm almost the only one who's ever used this. There seems to be one other girl who used it for like, 10 pictures, but she quit that about 30-something weeks ago, so I'm still considering it my very own personalized hashtag.) I think it'll be fun to all use this unique new hashtag to motivate and encourage each other. So use it on Instagram and Twitter, then explore the hashtag to make new friends, find inspiration, and motivate all the others! You can also use the little graphic I made above to spread the word and get others to join in this with us. The more the merrier, of course!

I can't wait to see how many of y'all use this with me! I really do think it'll be fun and I'm sure I'll be motivated by all of y'all, and hopefully y'all can find motivation as well. On Instagram, you can use it on workout pics, or fitspiration quotes, or healthy food and meal pics, or really just anything healthy-related. And on Twitter, share Tweets before and/or after you workout, or use it when you need some encouraging words. There's no rules or anything, so get creative in order to spread the inspiration around all over the place! Here's my first picture I used it on last night...

This is my, "I'm-tired-of-jiggling" face. 

Looking forward to this fun new adventure. Can't wait to see all the posts and get inspired from y'all! 

#OperationNoMoreJiggle is now in full effect. 

Much Love,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pistachio Shake: Weigh-In Day

I for one am glad it's Wednesday. Anyone seen that Geico commercial with the camel walking around the office asking everyone what day it is? Jeff's brother first told us about it a month or so ago, and then we finally saw it last night, and it is actually pretty funny! Well then this morning, some of my co-workers were going around reenacting it, and it was quite an entertaining way to start off the work day actually. It's hump day!!! And hump day  means a weigh-in day, so here we go!

Highest starting weight = 227
January starting weight = 217
Last week, June 19 = 185.6
Today, June 26 = 184.2

Woohoo! That's another loss this week, at 1.4 pounds down from last week. In the first week of June, I was at 187.4 with a goal to lose four pounds this month. So as long as I make it to 183.4 by next week's weigh-in, I will have succeeded! I know I can do it. I just have to be careful over the weekend, because that's always such a huge struggle for me. 

Last weekend in fact, I ate like nobody's business, and it wasn't pretty. I consumed carbs, fat and calories like I didn't have a care in the world. Which makes me think if I wouldn't have done that, what would the scale say today? I'm not beating myself up over it or anything - we were having too much fun to care - but I know that I can't do that every weekend. Even my girl Elle Noel wrote on Monday about struggling with the weekends. So she made a commitment to be much more careful this coming weekend, and I decided I was going to join her, and make a much more conscious effort to stay on track. So here's to eating healthier over the weekend, and seeing 183 on the scale!

I'm still not completely back on track with working out four to five times a week (nearly impossible while the boys are here), but I've been doing what I can, and getting in some good workouts still.

Thursday: 1-mile run and an hour of Zumba (775 calories)
Monday: 2-mile run (425 calories)
Tuesday: 1-mile run and an hour of Zumba (811 calories)

If you look closely at the big picture on the right, you can see sweat on my forehead and chest. Yummy....
For Monday's 2-mile run, I once again ran the entire first mile, without walking one single step. Again, it was kinda slow (slower than when I walk a tiny bit of it), but I think it's more of an accomplishment to run for 12 and a half straight minutes anyways, so I'm OK with a slower time if that means no walking. My goal over the next few weeks is to hopefully be able to run the whole mile in about 12 minutes flat (give or take five or so seconds), and run two miles in 25 minutes. Seems very reasonable to me right now, so I think that's a solid goal. 

{Side note - it was so so humid outside on Monday while I was running, that I was seriously sweating buckets. So when I got to Jeff's house afterwards, one of the boys asked if I had been running in the rain, and why I was so wet. I was like, "Uh no honey, unfortunately that's just my nasty sweat everywhere..."}

I'm still doing good with my ViSalus shakes for breakfast and lunch every day, and trying to stay as low-carb as possible for snacks and dinners. (Although last night I enjoyed a few too many chips and salsa while waiting on our meal at our weekly Taco Tuesday dinner with friends. Oopsie.) And actually, I'm just now "officially" starting with ViSalus. Before, I had been drinking what Jeff ordered, but now I got my own order, and am signed up to be a part of their challenge. Actually, Jeff and I are both doing it, so we'll be recording some little videos of us to kick that off, and then once we lose 10 pounds, we get put in a running to win $1,000! Sounds great to me!

Pistachio shake was pretty decent, but didn't love it. Prob won't buy that mix again though...
All-in-all, still doing good and still motivated to keep going. I'm nowhere near where I want to be, or should be, and I'm certainly not giving up. I'm determined to keep on going and to reach my goals for the short term, for the year, and for very long term! I know I can do this. 

Also, I'm so, so thankful to have the support system that I do here from my blog. You ladies (whether friends, strangers or somewhere in between) really do encourage me so much, and I am so truly appreciative of that! Y'all's comments really do mean a lot to me each and every week, and are a huge part of my motivation. So thank you! And feel free to keep 'em comin' ;) 

If you want to follow along with any or all of this stuff throughout the week, you can find me logging, tracking and photgraphing this through MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Instagram. Come join me :)

Much Love, 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Part of the Youth Group No More

I've been going back and forth about whether or not I want to or should write about this, but I think I've finally come to the conclusion that I just want to get it off my chest. So even though I'm still a little hesitant and reluctant to do so, I'm going for it anyways, and hopefully I feel OK about it in the end...

Most of you probably don't know, because I haven't talked about it in over six months now, but had two jobs for a very long time. One was with the State of Florida, and one was with my church. Here's the super vague, 'Reader's Digest' version of the story...

I had been working with the youth group since I graduated high school in 2006 whenever I could during college. Then when I graduated and moved back in 2010, I worked with them as much as possible, and was even brought on as a paid staff member. Then the youth pastor resigned and I ended up doing it all by myself for about a year and a half. (And now here's where we get even more vague...) Then in December 2012, I found out that as of January, I would no longer be on staff, and instead they were hiring someone else to be the full-time youth pastor.

I was heart-broken. I literally cried about this for weeks, probably a full month, because I was so sad about it. I had wanted to be the full-time youth pastor, but I was told we didn't have the money. And now they were kicking me out to bring someone else in. I had been working with our youth group for seven years, and now this happened. It was devastating. The group of kids that were seniors, were the same group that were just in 6th grade my very first year of volunteering. I had been with them all through middle and high school, and now I wouldn't be a part of it for their final semester. Yes, I could still be a part of their lives, but I wouldn't be a part of their youth group.

So now the reason I'm finally talking about what happened this week, is because my youth group is on our annual mission trip to Miami to work with the kids at Touching Miami with Love, and I'm struggling so much with not being there. This is the first year since 2006 that I haven't gone, and I hardly know what to do with myself. I log onto Facebook, and see pictures posted of them with the kids down there, and I miss them all so much. I miss my youth, and I miss the kids from Miami. And I miss just being a part of the youth group as a whole.

All pictures from last year's TML trip, in June 2012.
Yesterday I was in a funk all day, and I didn't realize why at first. But I eventually figured out it's because I was missing TML so much. One of the first things I saw yesterday morning was a picture of my kids down there, and I think it just made me miss it all so much, and then made me kinda sad the rest of the day. And then when I saw another one last night around 10 pm (after a long, rough day and a headache), I just kinda lost it. I curled up with my head on Jeff's chest and just cried about it for a while. And writing this this morning, I'm getting a little teary-eyed still.

There's really no moral to this post or lesson I've learned or anything like that, I just needed to write down how I'm feeling, and get it off my chest a little bit. I think this whole week will be rough still since I can't be down there and be a part of it. I'll see more pictures, and read status updates, and continue to miss everyone and everything so much. I know I'll be OK, I know that. But it still just sucks so bad sometimes, ya know?

Last year's TML group, on field trip day.

I know God has a reason for everything He does, so I know there's a reason I wasn't mean to be there this week, or even meant to still be on staff on church. I get that. But that doesn't mean it's easy to deal with all the time. I know this is God's plan, but it still makes me sad. I still wish I was down there with them. I wish I was singing those silly songs over and over again, and constantly having to tell kids and youth alike to stop acting like crazy people. I still wish that I was playing Ultimate Frisbee with them before dinner, and then card games and 4-men-on-a-couch for hours on end before bed time. Those times from the past meant a lot to me, and it's when I formed some great relationships with some of these youth. I know they're all having a blast and loving their week so far, but I sure do wish I was there with them.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Python, Water Park, Beach & Pool

It feels like I'm still halfway sleeping, so instead of words (basically any words at all), I'm just gonna flood y'all with a ton of pictures from our incredibly busy but extremely fun weekend...Ready, set, GO!

Took the afternoon off to go to the beach with Jeff and the boys. And we lucked out with perfect weather.

Pool day with lots of friends for us and lots of friends for the boys.

Wild Adventures theme park in Valdosta, Georgia. We did the water park section first, then did the regular rides and stuff as well. (Get to cross another thing off my summer bucket list, because one of them was to take the boys to a water park - DONE!)

Obviously, it was super fun and we all had a blast. But I definitely still need some more rest and recovery before I'm back to normal! I'm feeling exhausted this morning, as I'm sure you would expect, but it was super fun, so it is definitely worth it. I'm thankful for amazing weekends like this we get to spend with the boys, and memories we get to make as a little "family!"

Linking up with Glitter & Gloss, Sami's Shenanigans and Synfully Delicious.

This wasn't a perfect mani, but I still liked it! And this was a few days in, so there's some chips already...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pumped For the Weekend

And on this gorgeous Friday morning, we will have yet again another random blog post day. I actually just really like writing whatever happens to come to my little noggin' and then calling it "blog-worthy." I mean, it's nothing that's winning me any writing awards or anything like that, but it'll do for this little space of mine on the internets, right?!

So first of all, how awesome is it that Instagram now has video? I mean, I just recently jumped on the Vine wagon, but by that point, everyone else seemed to have already jumped off of it. So it felt kind of like a sad ghost town, even though I was mildly obsessed with it. But now - now! We can make even better videos on Instagram! They're about twice as long, and you can view and edit your clips before the final posting, which rocks. I of course had to test it out last night, so you can check that out here. And if you wanna follow along with my randomness, my username is HalieRenee88.

Tonight around 6, Jeff and I are going to look at a cute little duplex to see about renting it! (I will be moving in wherever we find first, then he'll move in after we get married.) It's in a great part of town (exactly where I want to live), at a great price. I am so stoked about it. Can't wait to have a look-see at it!

I grabbed some new snacks at target the other night to try, and they've both been delicious. I got two different kinds of Chobani yogurt - the little 'Bites' and one of the 'Flips.' I got coffee with dark chocolate chip Bite, and peach with pistachio and chocolate Flip. And I really enjoyed both of them! Will definitely be grabbing more of these next time I'm grocery shopping.

This morning I stepped on my scale to see a surprising 183.6! Just Wednesday I was at 185.6. I stepped off, waited for it to reset, and then stepped on again to see the same thing. So I don't know if this will last, or if it was just some fluke this morning, but I'm really hoping that it's real and that I only go down from here, not back up to 185 again.

Jeff is taking the boys to the beach today, and he's trying to convince me to make it half day at work and go with them. And I'm reallllyyyy torn about that. Because of course I want to go so bad, but I also feel bad about just skipping work for no 'real' reason at the last minute. I don't know though - if my boss get's here soon I'll ask her and see. And then maybe I'll get to spend the afternoon soaking up some sun and play time, rather than planting my but in front of my work computer. I'd much prefer the sunshine.

(*Update: before I even finished writing this, my boss got here, I nervously went in to ask her, and she said it was fine! So now I'll be headed to the Gulf Coast for a bit this afternoon! Hooray!)

I got a new Influenster VoxBox earlier this week, and so I've started trying out one of the products - a new whitening toothpaste! I'll be writing a full review on this and all the other products later once I test them all, but for now, I'm just giving a little teaser.

Well, now I'm just too excited about officially going to the beach this afternoon to really write anything else. So this blog post turned out to be kinda lame. Can y'all let it slide this time, and I promise next time I'm here trying to write something, I'll come more prepared, or try to keep my head on straight the whole time. And then maybe I'll end up being able to produce some better content. For now though, I gotta get scootin' on some actual work-work, so that I can have things done and ready by noon! Because then I'll be tryin' to run outta here so fast there might be a whirlwind of papers in my wake.

So this afternoon is the beach, then checking out a potential house for Jeff and I. Tomorrow will be spent pool-side with friends and other little ones for the boys to play with - followed by a cookout and a sleepover for them. Then Sunday is Wild Adventures day! (Jeff & I have season passes, and it's bring-a-friend day, so the boys get in for free! Score!) So much fun going on over the next few days I can hardly stand it. Obviously I'm just super Pumped For the Weekend!

Happy Friday to y'all! Hope you have a good day, a great Friday, and an awesome weekend!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Perfume, Pictures & Plans (Currently I'm...)

Thursday. One more day before Friday, and then the weekend. Ahhh it's so close I can almost taste it. Right?! Anyways, I love doing these "currently" posts, and it's been quite a while since I've done one. So guess what? That's exactly what I'm going to do today. (Big surprise right? Not like that was actually hard to guess or anything.)

- Wishing: that I didn't have to work today. Jeff took today and tomorrow off to hang out with the boys, and I wish I could have done that too. But I'm OPS (hourly, not salary) so I don't get paid if I'm not working. And I need to get paid...

- Wearing: the pretty pearl necklace my sister gave me as part of my bridesmaid gift last month

- Listening: to Lady Antebellum's newest album 'Golden' on repeat allllll the time. It' so good!

- Missing: my friend, old roommate and bridesmaid, Bridget! She lives in Ohio, so it's not like I see her often, but we have a phone date scheduled for tonight, so I'm excited for that!

- Obsessing: over Gems with Friends on my iPhone. Seriously guys - I think I might actually be obsessed with this game. Get it, and then add me to play: Halez88.

- Craving: sushi again, and I just had it last night. (Not low-carb, I'm aware, but I don't care....) But that's what seems to happen with me though - once I eat it, I crave it again and again and again. Oh, but this was a new place we tried, and liked it a lot. Great prices too, especially for dinner-time sushi. Definitely will visit this place again.

- Planning: a wedding, duh! No but seriously, once the boys go home for 2 weeks, that's 2 weeks full of go-go-go wedding planning time.

- Ignoring: the huge stack of mail that I need to go through. I hate getting junk mail, and I hate having to go through it. I know there's some bills in there though too, so I guess I really do need to get on that.

- Anticipating: Going back to the pool on Saturday for some water and sunshine, and Wild Adventures on Sunday!

- Loving: that the new camera we ordered finally came in last night! We had talked about getting a new one for the honeymoon, and when we saw a great deal on Groupon, we snatched it up real fast. Can't wait to test it out later tonight!

- Reading: 'The Hobbit' and really liking it so far, although I'm only about 50 pages in. I've seen the movie a couple time already though and loved it, so I'm pretty sure I'll like the book too.

- Procrastinating: laundry. I always hate doing laundry. Hate it so much.

- Feeling: dumb because I locked my keys in my car last night, again. This is probably my worst habit - I get to where I'm going, but I'm not ready to get out quite yet. So I turn off the car, and pull the keys halfway out of the ignition. I sit for a minute or two or gather up all my stuff, and then exit the car, lock the doors, and leave the keys still hanging from the ignition. I've got to figure out a way to break that bad habit. (Luckily, I have the greatest fiance ever, and he drove over to my house with his spare before work this morning.)

- Smelling: same as last time I did this in January, my favorite perfume - Versace Bright Crystal

Well that was fun and easy, just like usual. And look at me go - I even had relevant pictures to accompany the post this time. (Granted, I took one of those at my desk this morning just for this post. I'll let you decide which one that was...But still, better than nothing.) We're taking the boys swimming again tonight, at one of their church-friends' houses, so I'm looking forward to that. All I have to do is make it through the rest of the work day first. Blah.

So what are you currently up to? Have any other fun 'ings' to add to my list? Happy Thursday friends :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pushing Myself Harder

Another Wednesday, another weigh-in. No beating around the bush today, let's get straight to it...

Highest starting weight = 227
January starting weight = 217
Last week, June 12 = 185.4
Today, June 19 = 185.6

The exact same, basically. I'm not considering those 2 ounces a gain, because that just seems silly to me. So I'm still sitting at the same spot on the scale this week. I'm attributing that to the two cheat meals I had over the weekend - one of which included mac-n-cheese, and the other was a Whopper Jr...oopsie. At least I skipped the fries, right?! But oh well. Both were delicious, so I'm not too torn up about it ;)

The rest of the past week however, I did great with having my ViSalus shakes every day for breakfast and lunch, and staying as low-carb as possible overall. I also continued working on getting back into my regular exercise routine, although I'm still not there quite yet. But each time, I'm Pushing Myself Harder at zumba, in order to burn even more calories, and that's going good. I'm consistently burning over 800 each time, which is great. Here's the couple of times I've worked out since last Wednesday:

Thursday: 1-mile run and 60 minutes of zumba (908 calories)
Monday: 2.03-mile run (521 calories)
Tuesday: 1-mile run and 60 minutes of zumba (846 calories)

Tuesday - 1-mile run and zumba.

Here's a quick, funny story about last Thursday's run - I didn't realize that I needed to go to the bathroom until I was already too far away. And running was only making it feel worse. I kept going the whole time, but I could barely "run" too much of it, without feeling like I was going to explode...and I'm not talking about 'number one' here folks... It was not a pleasant run.

Last Thursday - 1-mile run and zumba. And a crazy-face.

And the exciting news from Monday's run - I actually RAN the entire first mile! I didn't walk even one single step of it, and I was so proud of myself. That's the first time I've done that since I started running in February, and so that was obviously a huge accomplishment for me! It wasn't as fast as my PR from when I do the run/walk intervals (around 12:03 is my fastest), but that's not what matters. What matters is that I now know for certain I can indeed run an entire mile. Hello non-scale victory!!

Monday - first mile I ran all of, followed by a second, pretty slow mile.

And now onto how I've been eating for the past week... for the most part, I've done really well. I stayed with my Vi-Shakes for breakfast and lunch, with fruits, veggies, light cheese sticks and 100-calorie yogurt for my snacks. Then for dinner I tried to stay away from carbs as much as possible - and I did pretty good with that. I even made sure to pack myself a low-carb lunch for our day at the Springs on Saturday. Instead of a turkey sandwich, I made myself turkey, cheese and lettuce roll-ups (with a bit of mayo and mustard) and they were actually delicious. And then I made myself caprese to eat with it, instead of the cheese puffs that Jeff and the boys were eating.

I've actually run out of my ViShape mix right now, and my next order hasn't come in yet, so this is what my lunches look like this week. Since I liked the roll-ups so much on Saturday, I bought more of it all to make it for lunch this week as well. All this deliciousness for a mere 486 calories. Not too shabby. And definitely super delicious and filling. And I'm kinda obsessing like crazy over little cherry tomatoes right now. I'm poppin' 'em like they're candy, so it's a good thing they're healthy!

So that's that people. The goal this week is to work out four or five times in order to get back into the habit again. Maybe I'll even get ambitious and run or something on Saturday morning before we head to the pool again? Who knows though... I do know however, that I'd still like to lose two more pounds before the month is over in 11 days, to make it four pounds lost this month. That would put me on track to make it to my goal of 170 by our wedding day in October, if I lose four pounds a month. So here's hoping I can work off two more pounds in the next week and a half!

Oh, and quite a few of you added me on MyFitnessPal last week, and that made me so happy! I'd love for even more of you to come over and friend me there, because it's so much better with friends :) My username is HalieRenee.

Much love,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Patio Dining & Sunshine: Reasons I Love Florida

I'm feeling a little tiny bit creative today, coupled with a feeling of just really loving where I live. So I've decided I want to come up with a list of the reasons why I love living in Florida. It won't be anything fancy, but ya know, it'll do :) So the following is a quick list of some of my favorite things about Florida.

+ It's nickname is "The Sunshine State," and that right there is enough reason for me to love it. I mean seriously, it's sunny here about 89% of the time (I totally made up that statistic on my own, so don't quote me or anything), and I'm a girl who loves my sunshine. I mean even during the months of November through February when the majority of the country is drowning in rain, snow, sleet and hail, we can still have gorgeous blue skies and a bright shining sun. I love the sunshine.

+ Hand-in-hand with the glorious sunshine, are the gorgeous beaches that surround 89% of the state (that's a made up statistic too, in case you hadn't already assumed that). I mean, did y'all see that picture above? That's not taken on some remote, Caribbean island. That was taken on the Gulf Coast, at St. George Island last year. Beautiful. Am I right, or am I right?

+ Florida State football is perhaps the greatest in all the land of college football. Don't even try to argue with me on this one, or I'm pretty sure we can't be friends anymore. The Florida State Seminoles are my absolute favorite. And plus, I look pretty good in garnet and gold.

We have some of the most amazing entertainment places within just a few hours' drive of anywhere in the state. I mean hello? Orlando is like the top tourist spot in the country or something, right? (I guess I could have actually done some research to give y'all real stats, but I'm not all about that today...) Orlando alone is home to Disney World, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Harry Potter world, Epcot, Sea World, Wet-n-Wild, and about 15 other amazing amusement parks.

+ Just about every restaurant has a patio for outdoor seating, and you can sit there almost the entire year. There's just something a little bit special about eating at a restaurant, but still getting to sit outside. Do y'all agree with me on this one? Especially the places at the beach where you can just walk up off the sand, and plop down right in your bathing suit and still get service. Those are the best.

+ And for more entertainment, there are of course zoo's and aquarium's, and there are even some pretty neat museums too. (Nerd alert over here for this girl!) But more importantly, you can take airboat rides in the Everglades. Which is pretty stinking awesome. And they even let you hold baby alligators.

+ I can wear flip-flops and dresses basically year-round. Yeah, people will sometimes be all like, "Hey crazy girl! Aren't your feet freezing?" And yes, sometimes they are. But sometimes I just don't care. And I hate having my feet all confined in restrictive shoes, so I'd rather just brave the "cold" and wear my flip-flops in December. And I know all you Northern girls love your Hunter boots, but I barely even know what those are. (Never heard of them before this past winter in fact.) And I'm glad I don't have to wear them just to make it to my car to prevent my feet sinking down in the snow and having frostbite start setting in before I even make it to work. No. thank. you.

There really so many other reasons I love living in Florida, but I think it's time to wrap this up for now. Maybe I'll do a Part II to follow this up sometime in order to rub it in your face how awesome Florida is fully detail why I love my state.

If YOU live in Florida, what are some of your favorite things about living in this sunny state of ours? Let me know, and I might include it in my next list. :) But if you don't live in Florida, I want to hear why you love the state you live in! I guess some of the others out there are pretty cool, so let me know about that too! In fact, we may even make it a one-time link-up, but I don't know yet. I just threw that out there as my brain thought of it, so let me marinate on that a bit more. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, and I'll let y'all know later if it'll actually be a link-up or not!

Much Love,