Saturday, February 13, 2010

gettin' hitched!

Mr B and I are engaged to be married!

This is how it all went down:

We went to NYC the last weekend of January to see the Lion King, celebrate our 4th anniversary, spend the night and generally wander the city (he had never been there - what?!). We take the train down early Saturday and spend the day wandering around Times Square, up and down 5th Ave and the like. It is freezing, mind you. As we're wandering back to the hotel prior to the show we're trying to find a restaurant. Mr B is really anxious about finding a "nice" place, as opposed to all the bars and pubs in our 'hood, but I'm too cold to care. With the help of Shae over at Generally Fabulous we decide on City Lobster because it's sassy, semi close and taking part in NYC Restaurant Week.

We both get all dolled up and brave the arctic like weather for the four block walk (made more interesting by somewhat ill fitting shoes?) to have an AMAZING dinner. It's seriously too bad that no one had a camera because I'm pretty sure the visual of me eating a 1 1/4 lb lobster, complete with bib, while in a swanky black dress was almost too much to miss. Before the dessert course Mr B excused himself to go to the bathroom, and when he returned he pulled out a small box wrapped in gold paper. He tells me that he lied about not having a present for me, and as I'm unwrapping it (with shaking hands) he asks me if I know how much he loves me. As I pull a ring box out of a small white box, he gets down on one knee and asks if I will marry him. I of course said yes. (The moment was only made that more magical by the fact that he tripped a bus boy carrying a stack of dishes but was THANKFULLY able to regain composure before tumbling into the wine rack. Phew!) The maitre d', who Matt had told ahead of time, brought up champagne to go with our dessert, none of which I was able to eat.

During this time I learn that I had better call my family, because they all knew. Mr B had asked my dad over breakfast one morning a few weeks prior, and had been in conversation with my sister and Shae about rings. Also, everyone else knew! I managed a few phone calls prior to the show (which was AMAZING, by the way) and was met with a lot of screaming and yelling. To be honest, even though I thought something was "up", I was still in such shock a lot of it was a blur to me.

After the play we went to an Irish pub two doors down and celebrated with some sweet beer on tap, all the while I kept repeating nonsense like, "you want to marry me?!" and "OMG!". Yeah. Anyway, the upswing of it all was that he had already thought about getting married before the end of the summer, 2010, because my sister is joining the Peace Corps and will be shipping out in Sept for 27 months. Yeah.

As of now, we've booked our venue, have a guest list, have ordered the Save the Dates, and are all set to go. This is going to be hijacked into a wedding blog - I just have a feeling!

At least I have Shae to plan with!

8.14.10 - here we come!

Friday, January 15, 2010

never again will I complain about counter space

I was lucky enough to be able to spend Tuesday into Wednesday down in Astoria with Generally Fabulous. I arrived via Amtrak train at 9am on Tuesday and departed 7pm Wednesday, and in that time managed to eat my consume my weight in delicious food and drink. I probably would have written this sooner if it were not for the fact that I have finally reached a point where I can discuss said trip and think about the food without wanting to hurl from being too full. (No, really.)

I have been to NYC quite a few times for various day trips, and an occasional overnight with a friend, but have not spent any real time in the boroughs. S lives in Astoria and while I was not sure what to expect, it was a great little neighborhood. A nice mix of residential and commercial, and tons and tons of restaurants. Their apartment is adorable - small, but adorable. I would hate to see anyone living in this apartment without such a great mastery of space because I feel like it could be claustrophobic and dirty, but S&E have negotiated their space to be an incredibly comfortable home. And I have to tell you that I slept GREAT on their couch (minus, of course, the Amtrak train that scared the crap out of me!).

As alluded to earlier, the trip consisted of eating and drinking; but we did do other things as well! We attempted David's Bridal (S is getting married!) and left after maybe 5 minutes, utterly terrified. (She recounts the experience here.) We went to H&M where S was offered a free blowout but turned it down (leaving me feeling responsible! ah!), wandered to Union Square, and also played two games of Mario Party 8. For the record it should be stated that both slightly intoxicated and utterly sober, S is a FIERCE MP player. You would not want to take this girl on.

So we did other things than eat and drink, but OH MAN eating and drinking was such a central part of the trip. We ate sushi, dinner at Sparrow (where I had a beet salad and we all split fries, plus beer & wine!), the biggest and tastiest bagel I have EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE, lunch at Mojave (crab dip, margarita, and a salmon salad), then more beer and FRIED PICKLES at Fat Annies Truck Stop (how could be pass THAT up?). I fully understood the term 'food baby' after those two days.

Overall it was an utterly fantastic trip. It was so easy to get there, much less expensive than I had envisioned, and awesome to see S! She lives so close, in the grand scheme of things.

Next time? Bridal shopping, WITH drinks.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

and that's why they call it a roadblock

Part of purging my closet means that I have to try on certain items of clothing. Namely, pants. I tackled this part of the project after my post-run shower expecting that at the least, pants that fit six months ago would still fit today.


Instead, my self esteem and good feelings from running evaporated as I realized quickly that no, that one pair of pants did not mysteriously shrink. Instead it seems that despite running three times a week since November began, and really working to watch what I eat, has not resulted in any changes significant enough to be reflected on a scale or in my pants.

My running partner over at Generally Fabulous shares these same lamentations. As someone who has bounced from one workout plan to another over the years, I have to tell you that it is moments like these that can ruin weeks of training. I understand that results are not immediate. Generally Fab phrased it perfectly:
I am LIFTING MY BODY OFF THE GROUND AND PROPELLING IT FORWARD for 30+ minutes 3-4 times a week and that's not doing anything?

Despite this overwhelming frustration, I am determined to push my body off this plateau and embrace the inner, more in shape version of myself. And while it is going to be bizarre to continue to eat my allotted calories for the day while simultaneously feeling as though I am not working them off, I will do that too. I maintain that this is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. I suppose that overall, it's really just about pushing through moments such as these.


a better version of me

I'll be honest - I tend to make lofty resolution at the New Year, and fail to keep most of them as they are made out of obligation, not an honest desire to strive for change. They tend to be generic resolutions, like going to the gym more or doing better in school, and were long term without much short term accountability. At times I even found myself waiting until the New Year to make resolutions, instead of making immediate changes. Last year I made a list of resolutions, all as predictable and general as in years past, and promptly abandoned them once I got laid off from my job in the financial industry. I found myself forced into change and revamping my goals to make them jive with my current situation (do not stay in bed all day, keep the wood stove running, keep the house clean) and despite it being a slow process it worked. This theme of constant change and adjustment followed me through the year as I applied to grad school (and got in!), changed from a two year to a one year program, moved, did really well in school and took up a running program. And perhaps most importantly realized that resolutions are best any time of year, duh.

The start of 2010 finds me on a month long break from school (!!!) and already desperate not to fall back into some of the less desirable habits common in the early days of my unemployment. I have made it my first goal that I am going to organize our apartment from top to bottom, largely because we're still not completely purged from our move from a three bedroom house with a garage and a shed to a one bedroom apartment with one - ONE! - closet. Phase one of this organization project was the kitchen, which is part of an open floor plan that looks out into our living room. We have very limited counter space and much of it was consumed by counter-y stuff: jars for flour, sugar & tea, coffee, measuring cups, a mug tree. Mr B, who is a carpenter, conceived of putting some shelves in the kitchen to free up some space both on and under the cabinets (by having a place to hang pots and pans) and this is what we've come up with:

This is the new, smaller shelf above our sink. This one is more for pretty things, like candles, pictures and snazzy garlic holders.

This shows the new, larger shelf that holds pots and pans (two are missing as I took advantage of my new counter space and embraced my inner Julia Child), and other assorted crap. While they might not seem like much, these shelves propelled a total kitchen overhaul and cabinet reorganization. The result? We can actually see what we own food wise instead of guessing if we need more couscous at the grocery store, and suddenly owning 12 boxes. Ahem.

The next phase of my apartment reorganization project is to take down our Christmas paraphernalia (tree, ornaments, the stuff under the tree that doesn't have a dedicated home yet because it's been easier to leave it under the tree and blame it on Christmas). Our living room is large but it takes work to make it look not cluttered, and within the week I aim to get a large bookcase to replace a currently-falling-apart smaller one, figure out what I am doing with a year's worth of The Economist magazines, get all of Mr B's tools OUT of the living room, find a home for the crap that is residing behind the tv, and generally just get rid of whatever it is that we don't use anymore. We plan to be here for a long time (which my friends have bet against as so far we've moved once every roughly 10 months), and it's not going to be helpful to start hoarding now.

Finally, and perhaps what will be the most intense/fun/expensive part of this organization will be to sort through my clothes. I admittedly hoard clothes, largely because I received 99% of them from my mom and I feel bad throwing out anything she has purchased for me. Ultimately, though, I don't wear many of them and my spiffy "California closet" - ie, completely exposed as the one closet we have is NOT in the bedroom - prevents me from shoving them on a rack, closing the door, and ignoring them. So this means that I am going to have to throw away items that are ripped/stretched out/faded beyond being trendy, and donate the things that just genuinely don't fit right. That's the intense part. The fun/expensive part will be replenishing the wardrobe, but it will be needed. Student teaching is, after all, a drawn out job interview. It would be a shame to lose out because I look like a broke college kid.

Making resolutions and setting goals are never bad things, so long as they are realistic and genuine. I am aiming to continue and complete my running program and continue to run beyond that. I want our sometimes too small apartment to be comfortable, and not crowded. I want my wardrobe to be professional and well cared for. Most importantly, and this is the motto that governs my life, I am working on a better version of me.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

it's a long term thing, as it turns out

One of my gifts for the holidays was a generous gift certificate from Mr B to Barnes and Noble (because he's noticed I've been re reading everything on my bookshelves and thinks I'm weird). I took part of yesterday to head down to Kingston to exchange a few other gifts and to find something to read. Now, purchasing books is a daunting task. They are the one item that I like to own and have warned Mr B that when we build a house it needs a room with floor to ceiling bookshelves, but this does not mean that I will buy anything. Books need to fit the following criteria: I would want to read it again, I will learn something from it, and I can't finish it in one sitting. So, as I said, daunting. (Not fitting these doesn't mean I won't read it, just that I'll borrow it rather than buy it.) So as you can see, daunting.

When I walked through the doors into book heaven, the first thing that smacked me in the face was a huge display full of books on dieting. These books varied in shapes and sizes but all were bright and eye catching. Many featured their in shape authors on the front, and all promised that by purchasing their book you would get in the best shape of your life. This display reminded me of all the TV commercials (we only have one channel so I see many of the same commercials over and over again) I constantly see. Be it for Alli or Weight Watchers, or any of these brightly colored books filled with promises, they're all getting at the same thing: we need to change how we live our lives.

I am fortunate that my mom went on a health kick when I was a kid and always had healthy meals, otherwise I would probably resemble a Beluga whale. While I never had a sweet tooth I did have a love for McD's & Burger King, and in college that turned to pizza and beer. Exercise was limited to walking to and from the metro, and I am very grateful that I didn't weigh myself during those years (the pictures tell me enough). Around the beginning of my junior year I started going to the gym and eating less - not better. I lost a bunch of weight and that was the thinnest I have been in recent memory. When I moved in with Mr B I stopped watching what I ate and worse, starting eating like HIM. My trips to the gym stopped and it wasn't until we moved to NY I joined a gym again. Two years and change from when we moved up here I am in better shape, but not best shape. But I am on the way.

One of my favorite things about running outside is that I have fewer excuses not to go. A gym required packing a bag, driving and finding a parking spot - then there was the amount of time that it takes to get home afterwards. Running outside requires getting dressed and, well, going. There is also a greater degree of freedom in this. I can run anywhere, anytime, anyplace. It's liberating and weirdly, empowering. It simply requires throwing some gear on, and I'm out the door. I am learning to take this same sense of empowerment and translate it to other areas of my life. Nutrition is my current top priority, because if this is going to be a lifestyle change then this is another huge piece of the puzzle. It's hard right now with the abundance of cookies and candy following the holiday, but on the other hand it's a fantastic test of will power!

I just finished the second day of week 7 in the Couch to 5K, which was my third 25 minute run. The first two I did with someone else (my sister, and then Mr B) but this was my first solo endeavor. And I did it! I am, however, getting a bit bored with my route but until I feel brave enough to conquer the hills that surround the apartment, I will stick to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge (and hey, the view is GREAT!). Also, I am hoping my running buddy will feel better and go running with me again!

We're headed to Syracuse through Saturday to ring in 2010 (and yes! I am bringing my running shoes!). Hope everyone has a healthy, happy New Years!


Monday, December 28, 2009

running towards change

This holiday season was our fourth together, and by far the best yet. You'd think by this point we'd have a routine but what fun would that be? Instead, we've played every year by ear and this year finally stumbled on a formula that worked. There was still the requisite running around (as our families are two hours apart) but we got to our final destination on Christmas Eve and remained there through the 25th. This, combined with Mr B's excitement that rivaled any small child's, made for the best holiday in a long, long time.

I began doing the Couch to 5K program back in the beginning of November. I have followed the program faithfully but have harbored my doubts - me, the girl who got winded running the bases in high school run 3 miles? Psssh. Yet, I keep surprising myself. At the end of week 5 when I ran 20 minutes I think I spent the entire time in awe. On Christmas day my sister Bug (personal trainer, rugby player, has run a half marathon) went for a run with me, the first 25 minute run. The run was a success (albeit it a hard won success) in both duration and distance - at least 2.5 miles! As we walked back to my parents and my sister regaled me with tales of her half marathon (wow!), I could not actually believe that I had just done that. I mean, don't get me wrong - we're not done yet. But now, I finally believe I can do it.

Unsurprisingly, Mr B and my family had faith in me from the start. Despite that it is has been only about 8 weeks, I received some really nice running gear for the holiday/my birthday. Dad gave me some nice Under Armour Cold Gear pants and a turtleneck and a DVD by Al Lyman, and from Mom I got a Road ID bracelet. Sharon got me Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, an awesome hat, and a gift certificate to Dicks, and my mom's cousin got me an exercise ball and resistance band. And Mr B, perhaps my biggest support system, got me a running pouch and new earphones. I am the queen of starting things and not finishing them (case in point: how long since I updated this thing?!), but these gifts have just hardened my resolve.

I have always loved the feeling of working out, but have not ever stuck with anything long enough to consider it a lifestyle change. Already, this feels different. Maybe it's because I don't have to have anything fancy, and don't have to drive anywhere, or maybe it's because I'm just a few days shy of 25 and realize that it's TIME. Where ever my inner motivation is coming from, it's spilling into other areas of my life quite nicely. I come home from a run and want to nourish my body properly. I haven't had a french fry in weeks, and I am actively trying to make this a lifestyle change. The book from Bug is a fantastic start, and I've already read about half of it. My dad got me a Kelty bag for my birthday and I am confident in a way I would not have been last year that it will get plenty of use. I can't wait to explore all the local hiking trails and really embrace this inner camper.

In conclusion, and in an effort to really motivate myself through the last three weeks of this program, I'm setting a personal goal to do the Freezer 5K in February. Sure, it will be cold, but that's why I have my Cold Gear!


Friday, December 4, 2009

of Michelle, Jackie, Beyonce & Eleanor

My sister lives in Ireland, and so we communicate mostly through the wonderful invention that is gchat. The biggest benefit? All the conversations are recorded. [We'll call her Bug, as that's the shortened version of the nickname, Bugaboo, I gave her when we were kids. PRE Destiny's Child making a hit out of it, for the record.]

Bug: i was reading that article on their marraige
i wanna be michelle
Me: the one from the NYT mag?
that was a great atricle
Bug: yeah
i will never not love her.
she is my new but slightly less iconic Jackie O
and i dont care how cliche that is
shes even better cause her husband isnt sleeping with Beyonce
(modern equiv of marliyn?)
Me: hahahhahahaha.
Bug: of course if he was, Jay z would probably shoot him.
anyway, i want to be her.
Me: I agree with everything
Bug: good.
and she too wears the style of dress that Jackie & I love.
Me: yeah I know
shes gorgeous
Bug: speaking of I need something to wear for the holidays!
shes formidable.
shes like a mutant combination of Eleanor and Jackie.
Me: I want a snazzy new outfit to wear for the holidays too!
wow, thats a great description
Bug: its true though.
lets online shop together
"Windows Shopping" if you will