As of Late

What is there really to say about the tragedy that happened in Boston on Monday?  It effects each of us, in different ways.  In ways we can’t possibly understand, comprehend or (for some of us) cope with.  We may have known a runner, or no one at all.   We may feel deeply, personally connected to the events and it may rock our sense of safety.  

No matter what you feel or who you are, it is safe to say that all of our hearts go out to everyone who has been touched by this awful event.  

******************************************************************************************

This week for me has been an exception to last week.  Last week I was waking early, full of energy and hap-hap-happy!  This week some sort of bug (or allergies) has hit me full force and I feel as though I have been walking around in a daze only now seeing my way out of the fog.

Monday I woke up with a burning chest and a horrible sore throat and wanted nothing more than to just crawl under the covers and sleep all day but, alas, there was work to be done.  I could tell that whatever was ailing me likely wasn’t contagious and wasn’t horrible enough to call out, so I trekked to work and had a pretty good day.

I repeated that Tuesday and Wednesday and today, Thursday, I feel a little bit more like myself.  My head is still a little heavy, but my chest isn’t burning and my throat isn’t as sore, so it seems like the medicine I started choking down yesterday is working.  Just in time for the weekend too!!!

Dan has been great this week at nursing me back to health.  My appetite has been a little off so I’ve been sticking to some pretty basic eats.

Dinner

Don’t forget the orange juice!

OJ

I’ve been pretty much eating boring foods, sleeping a bunch and just hanging out with this guy.

Chance

B&W

Hoping to feel better for the weekend!  Almost Friday, thank goodness!

XOXO

M

Advertisements

Rainy Friday and Product Review

What happened to this?

Sunny Lemons

Blue skies and a gratuitous picture of our lemon (no, not lime) tree.

From clear skies and lunch outside on the porch.

Lunch

To cold, dreary and damp.

Last night when I got home from work the weather was exactly that, so I huddled under a blanket on the bed and let Dan know that a walk would not be happening, no way no how.  He had some errant work stuff to deal with, so I snuggled under the blanket on our bed and channel surfed until dinner time.

I ran to Trader Joe’s this weekend while Dan was working, which is an out of the ordinary trip for me.  As much as I want to fawn and love over their store, I’m not a fan of their pre-packaged products , which seem to be the core part of their store.  On a ridiculous lack of self control note, I also stay away because I spend much more money there than I would during any other normal grocery trip.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised at some of the deals I got last week, including frozen fruit and produce, which may make it a trip worth taking every once in a while.  I also picked up a frozen meal from them, the True Thai Pad See Ew.  At 130 calories per 3/4 cup, I figured it would be a great meal to have on hand and bulk up with vegetables and maybe some light protein (tofu or shrimp).  Of course, it would have been more valuable for me to look at the “Servings Per Container” information because I probably would have realized that even 2 servings of this meal wouldn’t be enough to fill me up.

I wouldn’t really recommend this product for 2 reasons.  (1) It wasn’t all that tasty and (2) it’s not nearly enough bang for your buck.  I ended up eating the ENTIRE frozen entree by myself, even after adding broccoli and a few small shrimp to my meal.  Just not worth it.

Pad See Ew

Dan and I finished the night out with some Thursday night TV (gosh I love Parks and Rec more with every episode that airs) and called it a relatively quiet night.

When I woke up this morning the sun was still no where to be found and I could hear the rain pitter pattering on the ground.

Grey Skies

I don’t know how I got out of bed this morning (actually, yes I do–Dan kicked me out) but I was able to get up and complete a workout before work this morning!  On a rainy day too!

Now, only a workday stands between myself, the weekend, and Wedding Dress Shopping!!!!!!

Happy Weekend y’all!!!

Spring Has Sprung

Feels like Spring is finally here!  The birds are chirping in the morning, the sun is shining in our windows, and there’s a general feeling of lightness that has been missing for the past several months.

Dan and I have been trying to wake up earlier in the morning, and we’re both in the same place of wanting to change our diets and our health.  We’re getting married in 8 months and we both want to (vainly) look and feel great on our wedding day.  Getting up earlier in the morning is difficult for both of us.  I start work at 9:00 a.m. and live about 6 blocks from work.  I used to constantly oversleep for my old job (probably because I hated it) so waking up late and making a mad dash to get ready is a horrible habit I have.   Dan’s job doesn’t really start until late morning or noon at the earliest, so it’s not like we’re both heading to our cars at 8:00 a.m.  Hence, the constant dance we do snoozing the alarm and puttering around the house when we really should be taking advantage of the early morning.

This morning we were supposed to go for a walk, but ended up laying in bed talking and falling in and out of sleep until 8:00 a.m. (EEP!!!).  The weather looks beautiful so I think we will head out of the house after work and go for a nice long walk before dinner.  I can’t get enough of these beautiful sunny days and cool nights!

Of course, no matter how late we wake up in the morning, Dan still does his soon-to-be husband duty of making my breakfast while I get ready for work and packing it up in my to-go tupperware.

Personal 002

He’s been doing it for years and, to be quite honest, I’m not sure what exactly I would eat if he didn’t make it for me.  Lame, yes.  But he’s been doing it for so long it’s just a part of our morning routine.  That, and coffee.  Always, always coffee!

Personal 001

Hopefully the sun is still shining and the birds are still chirping come 5:00 p.m. so Dan and I can enjoy another after work walk on the path.

Here’s hoping the rain/storm from last night stays far far away.  Or at least far away until I’m cozied up on my couch in sweatpants.

Cold and Dark

This winter has been….tiring.

The dreariness.

The cold.

The days without sun.

I know I shouldn’t complain.  I live in New Jersey and have my entire life.  I’ve been through 30 winters.  Snow, sleet, ice, dark nights, rainy days, the bitter cold.  But it doesn’t make it any better, ya know?  Any easier to deal with.  You can arm yourself against a lot of things, though a season isn’t one of them.  Winter is tricky too, because it starts out SO FUN.  It gets cold and then there’s Thanksgiving, a truly favorite holiday of mine.  Then there’s picking out a Christmas tree and buying gifts for family a friends.  There’s time together with loved ones near and far on Christmas, and parties and laughter on New Years Eve.  And then…it stops.  Sometimes the end of the holiday whirlwind feels nice.  Nice to get back into old routines, make new resolutions and just relax.

And then it feels like time is at a standstill.  Because there are no fabulous parties in January.  No one gives you presents in February unless it’s your birthday (or maybe if you’re a President).

I’m also at the point where I’ve spent so much time indoors that every little thing is starting to drive me crazy.

Why are the cats staring at me?

Is that a speck of dust?

Did someone just make a noise?

I’m hungry.

I’m full.

I’m cold.

I’m tired.

I am officially annoying to be around.  I’m a hibernating bear ready to attack anyone who bothers me.  Or sleepily paw at their faces and tell them to go away.

I saw blue skies for the first time in MONTHS yesterday.  It felt like the angels were singing.  Birds were, literally, chirping.  We are 10 days and some odd hours away from daylight savings.  20 days from the official start of Spring.

Grey skies are gonna clear up.  I’ll be sure to (finally) put on a happy face.

Weekend Happenings

I say it every single time–so here’s warning you it won’t be any different every single time.  The weekend goes by far too fast.  It’s Friday night, then Saturday afternoon flies by, we want to relax the night away and then Sunday passes in the blink of an eye.  It’s a far cry from the work week, which can sometimes (always) seem interminable.

Friday night Dan and I set off to a friend’s house for a dinner party.  Our friends M and R recently bought a house and we participated in their move (I use the word participated, because I basically did as little as possible).  It was the first time we saw the house fully moved in and everything looked absolutely beautiful.  They also have a pool so our friendship just increased by about 1million.  Summer was rough last year in New Jersey and I can’t wait to take full advantage of their very kind offers to “just stop by”.  I have a feeling some people may be regretting their generosity come August.

Saturday we slept in (ahhhhhhhhhh) and enjoyed coffee and Kindle in bed.

IMG_0569

We all enjoyed the downtime.

IMG_0570

Dan had some manly project to do at his parent’s house on Saturday mid-morning, so I headed to the food store.  Although Dan usually heads to the store for us, he had an unusually busy day on Friday so I grabbed my notebook and headed to Shoprite myself while he was occupied with home renovations.  Since I’ve been to the store hundred of times, I was in and out pretty fast.

We spent the afternoon just laying around and found ourselves overly hungry at dinnertime since we neglected to eat breakfast and each ate a light lunch.  I desperately wanted to go to Verizon since my phone has not only been on the fritz, but I broke it about 1 month into my new ownership, so I was sincerely hoping Verizon would offer to replace my phone at no cost.  It ended up being a ridiculous quest because it was obvious to EVERY Verizon employee that I was just looking for an easy out to my silly mistake of breaking my screen.  Our Verizon store is next to a Chilis and although that’s normally not our restaurant of choice (we prefer local places since we can walk around town) we had a gift card so decided to just indulge our hungry stomachs.  I settled on the Mango-Lime Tilapia and Dan opted for the Burger with Bacon.  We had a great time people watching (our favorite!) and just enjoying a night out together.  Without the distraction of media Dan and I often have our favorite fun conversations while out.  I think a lot of times it reminds us of our first dates, and our first summer together which was a whirlwind and full of amazing memories.  We went to bed laughing and talking and it was one of my favorite nights in a long time.

Sunday morning Dan had basketball plans so I enjoyed some oatmeal in bed (so weird, but I love eating in bed) and I geared my rear up for my Dad’s birthday celebration.  I made Mujaddara which is my absolute obsession lately.  It’s cheap, easy and incredibly filling.

IMG_8315

IMG_8316

IMG_8318

IMG_8320

I eat meat, but not very often (though I do eat fish quite often), so I was in charge of the vegetarian dish for dinner.  My sister (S) and brother-in-law (G) are vegetarians but, sadly, they came down with a quick and furious case of the flu so couldn’t enjoy dinner.  Mujaddara for the next time then!

We had a wonderful time with my parents, brothers and significant others.  Whenever I see my brothers I want to squeeze them tight and tell them to never let go.  They might be my younger brothers, but they rule my heart in a way they will never ever know.  Spending time with my family is a huge bubble of laughter that rises inside of me and falls into my heart.  Everything I am resides within them.

When we arrived home from my parent’s house we  immediately flipped on the Golden Globes and I gabbed during the red carpet as Dan tried to take the nominations seriously.  When it was apparent that wasn’t going to happen I made a family decision to play a drinking game!  It lasted about 30 minutes since we’re old and lazy.

IMG_0572

IMG_0574

It’s been an amazing weekend filled with friends, family and time to just be.  I am thankful once again for everything I have.  Here’s to an amazing week!

Over

2012 has passed.  The year is gone, and I couldn’t be happier.

2012 will always be the year that Dan and I got engaged.  On a chilly October evening where he invited my nearest and dearest to be a part of something so special, so filled with love.  As time fades, that is how I will define the year and it will sound *so happy* to everyone else.  Because it was a happy moment.  The happiest of my life so far in fact.  I will remember 2012 like that as the past grows dimmer, and not in the other ways it filled and drained my soul. There is a part of that memory that feels cheap and wrong though.  Wrong to ignore all the rest.  The grey days and the fights.  The sadness and loneliness I felt.  The changes to my body and mind.

In 2012 I ate too much, I drank too much, I cried too much.  I let myself get too lonely.  I stayed in my head longer than anyone ever should.  I took pills to avoid the pain because I knew no other way.  I huddled in my bed to avoid the outside world.  I sat more than I moved.  I found a friend in food.  The kind of friend who puts you down only to pull herself back up.  I drank because it made me happier and funnier and I felt a little bit of who I was.  I lost myself and only stumbled into the light late in the year.

2012 is the year I was not.

I’ll probably forget all the laughter and kindness.  The long walks on a Saturday afternoon.  The love I felt from those nearest and dearest to me.  The fact that I did, here and there, try to find myself again.  The fact that I did, eventually, feel relief.

It paints an ugly picture of the past year, but I’m not sure what point it would serve to ignore that and pretend it didn’t happen.  So I’m embracing it for now and learning from the year that wasn’t.

So far 2013, in it’s 10 days, feels cleaner, lighter, happier, healthier and just more fun.  It sounds silly to already claim this year as better than last, since so little of it has come and gone, but there’s just something different about me.  That’s really what the difference is.  Not the new calendars and the shiny self proclamations of a new year.  It’s me.

I feel like I can finally breathe again.

Making It Work

Committing to getting healthy, that first step, can be the absolute hardest.  I’m the queen of tomorrow, Monday and later.  I can do anything tomorrow.  Tomorrow morning I’ll wake up and go to the gym, Monday I’ll start eating better, just let me get through this week and then I’ll focus.  I had those excuses and a million more.

Then yesterday, I declared that it was time.  That today is tomorrow, and Monday is not a special magic day for weight loss to begin.  So instead of waiting until tomorrow (which would technically be today), I logged my food and dragged myself to the gym last night after work.  (Only done after a HUGE internal debate about the fact that I could always go tomorrow morning (today)).

A sweet note from Dan helped my mood and motivation.

Of course, as it always goes, once I actually made it to the gym, my attitude changed.  I was there and was going to make the most of it.  So I worked out and came home feeling much better than if I had just started tomorrow.

I spent some time with this beauty.

And this one too.

Generally whenever Dan is either eating dinner late or not home for dinner, I use it as a wild excuse to order food not only in excess, but poor quality as well.  Although I think it’s great to occasionally treat yourself, our “occasional” was becoming habitual, a practice that I’ve noted was not good for our weight or our bank account.   So an in effort to change my habits, I threw together a fun comfy dinner at home.

I tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, something that I stayed away from this summer, either by factor of having no time, or sheer laziness.   Last night I changed that.

I cooked and prepped some food for today.  There’s absolutely a sense of accomplishment that comes with creating healthy meals in your own kitchen.  (Although my meal was a little carb heavy, in the end it was a MUCH better choice than what I was contemplating.)

I settled in for the night, proud of my accomplishments and ate my warm bowl of carbs on the couch while watching The Real Housewives of New York (Reunion, Part II) and Married to Jonas (so ashamed I love that show).  I hit the hay early and Chance and Pumpkin kept me comfy and cozy all night.

This morning I threw some carrots, celery, onions, garlic, broth, salt and chopped tomatoes in the crockpot to simmer into a sauce while I’m at work.

(French Vanilla Creamer, Coffee and Wine not included!)

Turkey meatballs are on the menu for Dan tonight and Ill be enjoying Lentil “Meat”balls with my dinner.  Hoping they turn out yummy, if so I’ll have a recipe to share tomorrow.

Off to work and get in a run or the gym later today.  Have a Happy Wednesday!

Weekend Happenings

This weekend was a weekend for us.  Daniel and I said to each other all week “Just make it to the weekend”–we were just so excited to FINALLY have a weekend that didn’t include traveling, weddings (though we loved every one!!) or commitments.  Happy as we were to spend a summer filled with friends, family and love, it felt as though every weekend was filled to the brim with packing, driving, hotels and constant trips to the ATM.  Although we really did love every moment celebrating with loved ones, it exhausted us individually and as a couple.  It was nice to finally have breathing room.  To wake up on a Saturday morning and not *have* to get out of bed.

Friday night Dan and I had a date, which is a bit of an oddity since we live together (and have for over 2 years) and we’re over 4 years past the point of him picking me up for a date filled with nervous butterflies and sweaty palms.  Although I still get butterflies when I see him (bedhead, sweatpants and all) it’s nice to find time to rekindle the love that brought us together in the first place.  Our original plans were to go to an amazing sushi restaurant out of town, but the weather was just perfect, so we canceled our reservations and decided to spend a night hopping around town.  We hit up happy hour for a drink, and then mosied across the bridge for some appetizers.  What used to be late nights out on the town turned into conversations over candlelight and an evening spent cuddling on the couch.  It was exactly what we hoped for.

Saturday morning found us on the couch, sipping coffee with blankets as the cool weather continues to roll in.  We were also greeted by a CRAZY cat who looked like she had gotten into some nip.  We have no nip in the house (due to a prior unfortunate incident) so I’m not exactly sure who Pumpkin hung out with last night but whatever happened sure did a number on her.

Attack/Love The Bag

I’ve never seen her go so crazy for the camera bag before.  One minute she was rubbing up on it, and the next minute she was batting at it as though it had done something fiercely evil to her.

Too Much Energy Expended

And after that, she was done for the day.

Eventually we made our way over to a friend’s house to celebrate his 30th birthday.  It was a great time with wonderful friends and delicious food.

Although there was talk of hitting up the town to continue the celebration, Dan and I opted to head home, where we hosted the birthday boy and friends for a drink before they headed downtown.  Our evening was tame and we fell asleep before SNL’s Weekend Update.  Years ago that would have sounded like such a bore, but time spent just Dan and I has become my absolute favorite and I savor every uninterrupted moment we get together.

After a solid night sleep we celebrated FOOTBALL SUNDAY with a delicious breakfast (Whitefish and Lox on a bagel for me, Porkroll Egg and Cheese for Dan).

I ran a quick errand for a forgotten ingredient at the store and managed to hit the train running through town.  Always happens to me.

I returned home to get busy in the kitchen, making us snacks for game day and generally just enjoying the day.

Bread and Cheddar Braid, Spinach Dip and Wheat Thins, Cauliflower Hot “Wings”

Red Zone Overload

I made some soup for the week and let that simmer in the crockpot all day while I cooked, cleaned and napped on Dan’s shoulder.
Our night was capped off with Pizza Hut Pizza (you MUST make it) and wine.

Now we’re settling in to watch the Emmy’s and once again capture my coveted spot on Dan’s shoulder.

Although I always wish the weekends could go on forever, it’s times like these where I truly appreciate all I have and the time I get to spend doing absolutely nothing.

The Big 3-0

I turned 30 this month.

25 days ago.  25 days, 4 hours and a buncha minutes.  That’s how long I’ve been 30 for.  Magically, on the morning of my birthday, I didn’t wake up with a perfect life, perfect teeth, the most wonderful closet of clothing or cute little children bringing me breakfast in bed.

Instead, I woke up to a cat trying to bite my fingers (why does he do that?!),  my boyfriend sleeping next to me, morning breath (we all get it), and the same closet of clothing I’ve had for the past year(s).

My life might not be ANYTHING like what I thought it would be when I was thirty, but I do feel extremely thankful for all that I do have.  Each year on my birthday I like to reflect at what has changed from the birthday before and I try not to focus on that which I don’t have (though I really could have gone for breakfast in bed).

Things I’m Thankful For:

* I am in a loving committed relationship with a man that I feel blessed to have in my life.

* I have a wonderful caring group of friends who I can count on for anything.

* I have a job I enjoy that has improved my life and relationships.  No more crying in the car during lunch for this girl!

* We have 2 cats and only one of them bites my fingers like they are sausages.

* We have a roof over our heads, money to pay our bills and money to play with.  We might not be the richest people, but we’re happy.
I really do have high hopes for my 30s (that makes me sound old) and I realize that although I may not have what I dreamed I would, I have everything I need.