Saturday, May 26, 2012

24 by 24

I've seen this on several blogs, and as my birthday was last Thursday, I've decided I want in. Here are 24 things I want to do, see, try, etc before I turn the big 2-4. 

(in no particular order)

1. Pay off at least one student loan. 
Eek! Starting us off with a scary one!

2. Sew/make my own skirt.

3. Grow a vegetable.

4. Memorize (at least) 24 Bible verses.

5. Bake something new every month.

6. Go camping!
Needing some people to help me make this happen!

7. Buy a piece of furniture I love.

8. Find a place to volunteer regularly.

9. Take a picture every day.

10. Print off more pictures. 

11. Visit (at least) three new towns/cities.

12. Explore three Dallas historic sites, museums, art exhibits, etc.

13. Do a paint by number.

14. Read three C.S. Lewis books.

15. Go to a Renaissance fair.

16. Watch all three LOTR movies.

17. Bike ride around White Rock.

18. Take a class on something I'm interested in.
(cooking, crafting, etc)

19. Clean out and give away stuff I don't use/need.

20. Reread The Hobbit and go see it when it comes out.

21. Send birthday cards/letters to my immediate family.
*Bonus* Add a personal, well thought out gift.

22. Make a scrapbook of my study abroad trip.

23. Watch five documentaries.

24. Go on a road trip.

I'm so looking forward to what 23 has in store for me! Anyone older than me probably hates this, but I felt like I was 22 for ages! I guess because I'm younger than most of my friends. But I'm happy to be caught up. Last year was a year of tremendous blessings, some struggles, and lots of fun and I'm expecting no less from the year ahead. Here we go!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's a New Month! May 2012

Last month, I wrote about some goals I had set for myself to complete in April. And you know what? I did them all. High five for me? I'd be glad to accept!

So I got to thinking, how great would it be if I set goals like this each month? You know . . . goals that are actually achievable and make me a better person? A lot of this idea has been inspired by these verses. I feel like so often with New Year's Resolutions, when we don't make it through the whole year, disappointment sets in. But I'm thankful that we don't just get one chance per year to try to better ourselves. We get to wake up EVERY SINGLE MORNING and try again!

Therefore, each month, I'm determined to set a few realistic goals for myself. I loved how it worked in April, so toward the end of the month I thought about these questions:

--Where did a lot of my time go?
--Where did my money go?
--What could I live without in the upcoming month?

Some follow-up questions may include: Where should my time have gone? Where should my money have gone (or just stayed away from)? What material things in my life did I let get in the way of being closer to the Lord?

Are you still with me? I know this is a serious post . . .

Without further ado (and I could've probably stretched that all further), here are my goals for May:

--Go the whole month without purchasing anything on iTunes. 
Since I spent the month of April sans-shopping for clothes, shoes, accessories, I noticed I was quicker to spend money on music. Albeit great music, I think it was more about spending money on some sort of little luxury.

--Spend more time in prayer.
I'm hoping to focus on at least one different spiritual discipline each month. I love to write in a prayer journal, but don't make it a priority and neglect to spend much time in conversation with God outside of these scribbles.

In order to accomplish that last one, I will . . .

. . . keep the radio off when I'm in the car by myself.
I've started to realize . . . I don't even like most of the music on the radio these days. So far, I'm enjoying my time spent thinking to myself and practicing becoming more comfortable with silence, but also with praying out loud. Do I feel like a crazy person sometimes? Sure. I pretend that anyone who sees me will just assume I have some sort of bluetooth device on my opposite ear, but then I remember I don't much care what they think anyway.
*author's note* This goal has also helped the fact that I have a tendency to be a bad driver. I spend a lot of my time on the road singing along (and loud) to music, so this is definitely helping my focus there.

. . . write in my prayer journal every day.
Last night, I turned off my lamp, rolled over to fall asleep, and not a minute later popped back up, because I'd forgotten to write one last little snippet of thankfulness for the day. I like goals like this because once I stick to them for a while, I can't not do them. This is why I physically cannot go to sleep if I haven't brushed and flossed my teeth.

So there you have it! May 2012's New Month Goals! I'll do my best to post some sort of something at the end of the month to recap the month and any lessons learned. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Last Night I . . .

--bought my first Clif Bar. Chocoalte Chip flavor, duh.

--teared up while I watched Survivor.

--makeshifted an easier version of these headbands for the hostesses (and bride, of course) to wear at Rachel's lingerie shower this weekend.

--knew it was James Van Der Beek from the second I saw his name on the title credits of SVU. Though he played an ultimate creeper, I was really just sad that he didn't get more air time, because it's just always nice to see Dawson.

--decided I could make it one more day without a shower.

--quoted and loud laughed to episodes of Friends with Shelby.

--said the serenity prayer and meant every single word.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It Only Takes A Day . . .

. . . to undo a month's worth of hard work. 

The lovely people over at the Whole30 suggest slowly reintroducing things that you've been without for a month back into your diet. Things like dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, etc.

Keeping this in mind, here's a quick rundown of what I ate yesterday, my first day off the cleanse:

-- a piece of chocolate chip cookie cake
(hello breakfast)
--a popover
(brought to work by a co-worker)
(from the oh-so-delicious Jimmy's)
--three chocolate chip cookies
(leftover from work event)
--a few Sour Patch Kids
(leftover from Easter Basket drive)
--stuffed and fried avocado
(dinner date with friends at Chuy's)
--starbucks java chip ice cream
(to cap off the day)

One realization I came to today (as I was shoveling food into my mouth) is that for so long, this menu could have summed up any given day in my life. Seriously. I ate like this every stinkin' day! What seemed overboard today was normal not long ago.

I went to the grocery store (to pick up the ice cream, of course), and found myself checking the ingredients labels on everything I picked up. If I saw too many acids, concentrates, or artificials, it left my hands faster than a . . . well, really fast, ok? And then I got my ice cream.

I guess what I'm saying is, while I'm loving the fact that I CAN eat whatever I want, I'm starting to think that what I do want is to eat food that will do good for my body instead of harm. 

Growth guys, growth.

Coming Soon to The Big To-Do (in no particular order):
--"It's a New Month" <--- This is a regular thing now. Get ready.
--More notes on the Whole30, because I know no one is tired of reading about it.
--Lists on a lingerie shower.
--How to treat a bite from the crafting bug.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why I Love Twisted Root

Honestly? It would be way harder to come up with one reason that I don't love TR. Because that reason doesn't exist. What's not to love?

1. Chipotle Ketchup
Any place that offers some sort of ketchup with a twist is excellent in my book.

2. Chipotle Ranch
Ranch dressing with a twist is even better.

3. Perfect French Fries
They're not too soggy, crispy, salty. They are not TOO anything, they are JUST ENOUGH of everything.

4. Pickles
I'm happy enough with dill, but make a bunch of flavored pickles that sound really gross, but taste really yummy? Even better.

5. Fresh Ingredients
This makes me feel like I'm eating real food instead of food that's been frozen since the Ice Age.

6. Burger Bowls
(pictured above)
Yes, the menu claims they are for sissies, but that didn't deter me whilst Whole30-ing. Making a burger into a salad may not sound exciting, but trust me. It is.

7. Atmosphere
Employees seem to have the most perfect mix between sweetness and sarcasm every time I go. And where else can I pretend I'm hanging out with the likes of Jessica Rabbit, Cool Hand Luke, and Ron Burgandy? My guess is nowhere. Last time I got to be Julia Roberts, and you know what? I'm okay with that.

There you have it. Seven of the top reasons I eat here three times a week (in a good week, that is).
Have you experienced the glory of Twisted Root? If not, what in the world are you waiting for?

Order the Ranch Hand. You won't be sorry.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Featured Friday--Sweaty Bands

I'm in the process of vamping up this little blog. I have only told a few special friends about it, because I want to make sure it is just how I like it before I go blasting it on any Fbook pages and whatnot.
In the meantime, I'll keep a'posting. Even though clicking "View Blog" doesn't make me feel quite as warm and fuzzy as I hope it will some day. :)

Today's Featured Friday is brought to you by Sweaty Bands! Now, one of my April resolutions was to spend some time away from shopping, and I have actually done a pretty great job, if I may toot my own horn.

However, tomorrow, I'm slow jogging my first 5K, so I thought this was cause to buy myself a little pre-race motivator. Ok, really I saw them when I was picking up my race packet and thought they were too great to pass up. Shelby thought so too. Though, no lie, we were both a little grossed out by the name.

What's so great about them that I just couldn't pass one up, you ask?

Two days ago, I had to fix the headband I was wearing to keep my bangs back at least six times during my 30 minute slow jog. The Sweaty Band has a velvet-like lining that keeps the band in place. Even though, at times, I though it was slipping, I'd reach up happy to find it right where I left it.

Shelby's Band:

Band I almost bought (since my cute chevron band wasn't on the website):

Seriously, what is my deal with gold these days? I just can't get enough.

You can even get them customized to have whatever they want! I'm more than happy with our picks and can't WAIT to test it out again during our slow jog extravaganze tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Read my favorite neighborhood happenings this week and tell me if this doesn't mean I live in the most precious place ever.

-Riding my bike to Central Market.
To be fair, I've only done this once. On Monday. And it was glorious. Central Market is not far at all from mi casa, so I said to myself . . . what the hay? I took advantage of an opportunity to use my new backpack. Toting back yummy snacks in the new pack just tied a pretty little bow on the whole afternoon outing.

-Seeing basketball boy play catch with his mom.
Basketball boy lives catty-corner to our apartment with his mom and grandparents. We can hear his basketball bouncing every single morning from our apartment, and every single time he sees any of us gives us a precious, "Hi! How are you?" Literally, every time he sees us. Today he gave me this greeting while he was on the phone.

-The man who feeds the birds.
Almost every time I go for a slow jog in our cute park area, I see the sweetest older man feeding a whole slew of birds. It happens when I've almost made one lap. Every time I see him he gives me the nicest smile and I just have to smile and wave. That wave makes the last few feet so much easier!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

New Food

Before starting my experiment with the Whole30, I considered myself to be pretty open to new foods. I have a pretty strict policy: if it's edible, there's a good chance I'll eat it. I just love food, okay? But that resonated mostly with unhealthy food. I got food poisoning a few months ago from ordering chicken, jalapenos, cheese, and bacon all squished into a ball and fried. And I wasn't even at a fair. Just a regular restaurant. Listen, it didn't go over well.

So now that I can basically only eat meat, veggies, and fruit, I'm realizing that it was the perfect time to expand my food horizons in a healthier way. Below are some of my new favorite munchies that I never would have tried three weeks ago.

I ate my last piece tonight and I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself now.

These poor guys have such a bad rap. But separate the leaves and bake 'em on a cookie sheet and you have some pretty tasty chippies, my friend.

Since I can't have peanut butter, this has been my go-to. Initially, I slathered it on my apples, but I've quickly taken to eating it straight out of the package.

Guys, seriously, you CAN'T even taste it! And I still get to count it as a vegetable serving!!

Breakfasts are the trickiest for me. It's suggested to save fruit servings for later in the day (though that rarely stops me), but with this route, I'm getting a veggie and protein serving. Plus, mix it up and bake it in a Pyrex dish and chances are, I'll be a fan.

I'm sure that a few weeks from now, you can expect a post on the effects my eats this month have had on me overall. But for now, let me just say that regardless of whether or not I experience any incredible changes between then and now, I'll say that trying so many things (good and bad) has been totally worth it in and of itself.

One Whole15 down! One Whole15 to go!
Cheers to the halfway point!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy This Week

1. Visiting our sicky-pants in the Abilene hospital.
We made a quicky day trip to see our pal Rach (in the bed) after her intensive face surgery last Thursday. Ash even joined us via Skype from Germany! What an interesting reunion it was.

2. Kayaking with Ms. Katie.

Two weeks ago, I decided that White Rock Lake is one of my very favorite Dallas places. Last weekend KT and I rented a kayak and went to town with some hardcore muscle defining rowing. I can feel my biceps growing as I type this.

3. Double feature at the drive-in.
After kayaking, KT and I rediscovered our youth by driving down to Smalltown, USA (Ennis, TX) to watch Mirror, Mirror and The Lorax on a big, BIG screen. I dozed a bit at one point, but loved it all!
The atmosphere, the snacks I packed, the cool Spring night air, and more!

4. Made this pillah.
I saw this pillah on Pinterest a while ago and decided to make one for me and one for my mama. A nice rainy Sunday was the perfect motivation to knock one out. It's on my reading chair and I love it more every time I look at it.

5. Bought this album.
Listening to classical music all week has made me feel refined, intelligent, and just all around classy. Plus, how could I pass up this album cover?

6. Whole30 approved brownies!
These brownies, or as my friend calls them, llama poop, are totally natural. Which means they're good for you. Which means I'm allowed to eat them all month long! Even though they are no bake, no grain, no dairy, no sugar, they are the yummiest things I've eaten in a while.
Ingredients: walnuts, almonds, unsweetened cocoa, and Medjool dates
Click here for the recipe (and if you want to see a super neat blog).

Overall summary: I'm a fan of llama poop. Llama poop for life.

What a great week it's been! Here's to more fun things in the days to come!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Slow Jog Jams

Need a little Tuesday morning pump up? These jams help me make it through my slow jogs, so they're guaranteed to help anyone make it through a Tuesday. Especially one after such a glorious three day weekend and another Monday.

Some make me run faster, some remind me to slow down, and some just help me to keep running period.

1. Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch

2. Heavy In Your Arms by Florence + the Machine

3. The Sign by Ace of Base

4. In the Sea by Ingrid Michaelson

5. Awake My Soul by Mumford & Sons

Hope you enjoy as much as I do!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's A New Month!

I saved this for today, April 5th, because I didn't want anyone to think it was an April Fools joke.

I've made a few resolutions for this month. Yes, I know those typically roll around in January, but I'm not much good at keeping those kind so I decided to make a few April resolutions.

Wanna hear 'em? Okay, great!

-- Run my first 5K. You already know I've run three miles. That's mostly because my pal Katie has been spurring me on so that we can run our first 5K together. Once we landed on a 5K we want to run, pals Shelby and Emily decided they wanted to come along for the ride! I can't wait!

-- No shopping. I spend too much mula on things I don't need, especially ropa. So I've decided that for at least one month, I will not be spending any mula on clothes, shoes, etc. I did this in high school and came away very proud and fulfilled. If I can keep this up, I hope to start using the money I save for a worthy cause that tugs on my heart strings.

-- Eat well. Most of the time, I eat really good food. My mouth is watering just thinking about pizza, quesadillas, and a nice fat sandwich from Jimmy's. I eat healthy a lot too, but eating good doesn't = eating real food. Enter Whole30, a month long intense detox/cleanse. I read about the Whole30 on one of my new favorite blogs and decided I'd give it a whirl as well. I've told enough people about it now so that I'd be too embarrassed to even think about quitting. Here's to lots of meat, veggies, and fruit, and only dreaming about bread, dairy, and sweets until May 1. I've already got lots of ideas for what will be the first things I eat when that day comes!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

If I'd Won $450 Million (roughly)

Yesterday, my boss walked in and told me to pick a lottery ticket, as she had purchased one for everyone in the office with one stipulation: if any of us won, we had to give 5% to Community Partners (my work).

Shockingly enough, I didn't win. But I confess that I did start thinking about some of the first things I'd do if I had. Here are my top 5 (in no order).

1. 5% to CPD and 5% to my boss. After promising to give to our charity, I promised her I'd share some wealth with her as well. After all, she bought my ticket, gave me my first big girl job, and signs my paychecks every month.

2. Pay off my student loans. Now, I really don't think that student loans are the end of the world. College was incredible and I'm willing to pay for that experience (ask me again in a few years), but it would be incredible to not have that burden. I also have a few friends that I'd like to remove this burden from as well.

3. Head to Europe. I've been aching to go back since the minute I left about three years ago. I'd love to revisit some of my favorite places in Western Europe, but also I'd love to explore some new places in Eastern Europe. And I'd love to bring some of my favorite pals with me.

4. Presents for the fam.
*Daddio would get a motorcycle and cool car of his choosing.
*Mama would get the snazziest sewing machine imaginable as well as an add-on to the house at the farm (or just a new house altogether!).
*Step-padre gets whatever toy he wants, especially because he always says if he wins the lotto, he'll help me out. I'll also hire him someone to mow the farm for him so he won't have to anymore.
*Bubby gets an airplane so he and Cara can come visit me whenever they want. I think I'd let them all go ahead and retire as well . . . if they want.
*PoPo and Uncle Rick get a vacation to the beach of their choosing, because they love the beach.
*Cousins are included in student loan payments.

5. Right some wrongs. Step-padre pointed out that if I won this mega million, I could give every person in the United States one million dollars and still have plenty to spare. Granted, there are a few people in the US who wouldn't need my mula, but I would love to put that money to good use providing resources for those who need it. I'll tack onto that traveling world-wide in an effort to right wrongs elsewhere as well.

Other tops: go to grad school, go on adventures, shop for some goodies, etc.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

4 Phases

Sometimes, I think it's safe to say that my life moves in phases. Am I alone in this? Each phase is of a varying lenghth. For example, my love of jellies in elementary school didn't last quite as long as my phase of believing that a Jeep would be the perfect car for me. I don't think that phase will ever die.

Here are a few of my current phases:

* Top Buns. I prefer to give my hair as little attention as possible each morning. Once I give this mane an inch, it takes a mile, and I just get more and more frustrated. The top of my head is just the perfect place to wrap up that mess and call it a morning. I'm thankful the fashion world thinks so too.

* Books Written by Celebrities. But more specifically, those written by celebrity writers. My two faves so far, of course, come from Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling. I like to think that if I ever wrote a book, it would be just as witty and clever as these with maybe a few less curse words. Searching for a few more of this caliber.

* The Judd Apatow Clan. Now, I can totally understand if you don't love some of his raunchier titles (think Knocked Up, Step Brothers, Superbad, etc). But if you don't love and/or appreciate Heavy Weights and Freaks and Geeks, then my heart just aches for you. The fact that virtually the same actors keep coming back to work with him for every single movie just makes me think he must be a pretty cool guy. Not to mention a lot of those actors seem pretty cool as well.

* Slow jogging. I hope and pray that at some point, this would morph from a phase to a hobbie. I'm signing up for my first 5k soon and just won't know what to do with myself if I can actually pull it off. Look out Dallas. I will be running all over this city . . . in three mile increments.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Umba Box

Have you heard of stuff like this?

Pay a fee and the company sends you a whole box of wonderful goodies each month?

Because I hadn't. Not until my sister-in-law told me about Birchbox.
I have yet to give it a shot, but once when I was visiting my Okies, she got hers in the mail. For $10 a month, she receives a box of samples that range from hair and body products to makeup to chocolate. That's right. Chocolate. The greatest part? Often the "sample size" turns out to be the same size you'd buy in a store, especially the makeup. How great is that?

Yesterday, I stumbled upon Umba Box, very similar to Birchbox.
Downside: Umba Box is slightly more expensive ($26/month)

Upside: Everything that comes in your Umba Box is 100% handmade.
Is there some sort of craft movement going on these days? I hadn't noticed. But I like it!

So like I said, I myself have yet to experience the loveliness of one of these boxes, but that's going to change in May! Expect a full report on my first Umba Box.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First Day of Spring

Yesterday was a very busy day, peppered with some really awesome stuff.

1. I ate at the ever delicious Twisted Root for lunch. The more I eat here, the more I love it. Especially their homemade pickles and french fries. Plus their yummy burger combos. And their spicy ketchup is just heavenly. I'll stop now.

But what made this trip really special was my company. My lifelong friend, Kendyll, who lives and works in Ft. Worth gave herself a little Dallas day trip. I was so blessed to be a stop!

2. (Not pictured) I have never claimed to be an athlete. I probably never will. But I've been trying to discipline myself as of late to be a little more active. Mostly this consists of walking/slow jogging (and I do mean slow) around a trail in my neighborhood. Yesterday's slow jog was made worthwhile thanks to pretty scenery and some great pump up jams.

3. Yesterday, The Muppets movie was released on DVD. You better believe I hauled my tooshie to the Walmart at 9:00 p.m. to pick this bad boy up. I've been without this little snippet of joy since Thanksgiving and I just couldn't wait any longer.

4. My past several Tuesday nights have been missing time at The Porch. This wrong was righted last night and it was so wonderful to learn and worship right next to my pal Lindsay, who introduced me to these wonderful Tuesday night meetings.

It is amazing to me how such a plain day can turn into something really fun with just a few little things.

If yesterday was any indication of what Spring 2012 has in store, consider me on board.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Back in the Game

One year(ish) ago, I started this little blog for a writing class.

I've had several blogs over the years, but I have a hard time keeping up with them. You know, that whole writing-posts-regularly thing. It almost always feels like a chore. And I'm a firm believer that writing shouldn't feel like a chore.

So I thought back on writing that I've enjoyed and this blog popped into my mind immediately.

I am an avid list maker. 100%. To-do lists, grocery lists, things to remember lists. You get the idea.

So this blog is my new project. Hopefully I'll be able to post a little more regularly than I have on blogs in the past. I'm looking forward to making lots of lists about things I've done, things I'm doing, and things I want to do. Maybe I can inspire a few readers (and I do mean few) to add a thing or two two any lists they have in the works as well!

Wish me luck non-existent readers! This shall be an adventure!