Thursday, December 30, 2010

So Long 2010...Bring it 2011!

I cannot believe just last week I celebrated Christmas. Honestly, where has this year gone? Santa was really good to me this year. I got a Flip video cam from my parents, along with some B&N gift cards for my Nook, Lululemon gloves, and other little things. From my sister, I received a super cute apron and Julia Child's cookbook, 'Master the Art of French Cooking'. I can't wait to try it out. I've recently taken an interest in learning to cook different types of foods. I've also found that cooking relaxes me and it's something I'm good at, baking on the other hand, is a different story.

My grandparents live in Arkansas and they only come during Thanksgiving for deer hunting season. That is when we do our big family Christmas with my aunt, uncle and cousins. So this past weekend was very low-key filled with lots of good food, relaxing, and quality time with the parents and sister :-)

*my mom's gluten-free chocolate cake. Turned out sooo good!

As much as I enjoyed my time off and the holidays, I'm glad they're over. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, but I wasn't feeling it so much with LC being gone, and my family knew it. I tried to be in good spirits but it was really difficult. But now that Christmas is behind us, this means I have about a month and a half until he's back home!

Tomorrow I'm going to a house party with my BFF, Dani (she's also one of my BM's). It's been a while since her and I have spent NYE together and I'm looking forward to it. I'm loving our plans because I hate going out for NYE. I think it's so over-rated, over-priced, and under served. Pass.

2010 wasn't the greatest of years and I'm looking forward to leaving it in the past. I have a lot to look forward to in 2011 and begin a new chapter in my life as a wife. I'm not one for making resolutions, but I do set goals for myself each year. Within in this past year, I participated in my first Bank of America 8k Shamrock Shuffle, two 1/2 marathons, visited New Orleans for the first time, and started planning a wedding. The first of my Best Friends got married and another one had a baby. On the flipside, I learned who my true friends really were which resulted in losing a bridesmaid and someone who I thought was a friend. My mother suffered from random neurological symptoms, was tested twice for multiple sclerosis, and remained a "medical mystery" for months. She was finally diagnosed with celiac disease, which was actually a relief considering what it could have been.

In 2011 I plan to: get married (I'm giving myself a freebie!), visit St. Lucia (another freebie), pay off a credit card, run another 1/2 marathon, talk myself into running the Chicago marathon in 2012, visit NYC during the Christmas season.

Have a safe and happy new year everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

So, I've been Thinking...

Since my semester ended a few weeks ago, I've been doing a lot of thinking. About the wedding and what I really want to accomplish in my life. The small wedding details are falling right into place. It's hard to make decisions about centerpieces and wedding decor when I've never really been one of those girls that's envisioned her wedding. There's so much to choose from and I'm an indecisive person as it is.

I've also been thinking a lot about school and what I really want to accomplish in my life. I really like what I went to school for. I can honestly say that I enjoyed all of my classes and I did well in them. I also enjoyed the experience I had in PRSSA and meeting the wonderful people that I did. I have no regrets about school and what I got my degree in. What I do regret is taking a job that I didn't really want to do in Chicago, just because it was in Chicago. The job I have now is the same job that I had directly out of undergrad. I hate it. I don't think I've given myself a fair chance to do what I really love doing; PR/Advertising. So, I've made the decision to not take anymore classes this semester. I want to take these next 6 months to focus on the wedding and look for a new job. Hopefully I will find something that I enjoy doing and then I will know for sure whether or not I want to continue on with school.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bar Method

A co-worker of mine has been talking about this fitness class she's been going to, the Bar Method. They have a couple of different studios located across the country. It's a fitness class that's meant to lean and sculpt your body. I've been wanting to try it out for awhile now but wanted to wait until I was done with my class. So, tonight I found it to be the perfect opportunity. It's a great class and the nice thing about the studio is that it's a 5 minute walk from my job.

When I got there, I filled out all the paperwork and they showed me around the studio. I went to the locker room and changed. They require you to wear yoga pants/capris and socks. We first worked on our arms, then our legs, and abs. Within the first 5 minutes of the class, I was thinking in my head, "I am no longer friends with H.D." (my co-worker who suggested it to me). I never knew you could get a workout just by using 2 and 3 lbs weights! It's a class that practices isometrics so you hold a lot of the poses for a long time and pulse up and down for many repetitions. It was hard but I loved the way it worked out my body, very low impact yet effective. I've worked out with a personal trainer a few times before and to be honest with you I'd rather spend my money on this. (It's $20 a class).

What Now?

I got a text message today from a co-worker of mine at the base. "Call Kenny ASAP". Right away I get sick feelings in my stomach. I HATE when people add ASAP to their text messages because I always think the worst. So I called Kenny and this how the conversation went:

Me: Hey, "A" told me to call you, what's up?

K: So you know how you were supposed to be going to the "Deid for a month??

Me: Yeah...(what's going through my head: they're sending me for longer and I won't be home when LC gets home and we will have to postpone our wedding!! Dramatic I know)

K: Well, you're not going anymore. They already have active duty crew com in place

Me: Okay. So the smallpox vaccine that's blistering and itching on my arm, that was for nothing?

K: Yep!

Military life is pretty sweet (sense the sarcasm). I called my mom and told her the news and she said to me, "Well don't unpack just yet, you never know!!" She definitely knows how this works. But for now, orders have been canceled and I have enrolled in an online Intro to Nutrution class that's required for the program I'm applying for.

What does this mean for me? Well, I pray that the holidays go by quickly. I hate being in Chicago when LC's not here during Christmas time and with this deployment I was supposed to be going back to WI this Saturday and staying until I left at the end of December. So I would have been with my family and friends. The city is utterly depressing and everything reminds me of him. There are certain Christmas songs that are off limits. This is the hardest part of the year. It also means that I will forced to make NYE plans, because it's simply not acceptable to sit home alone on NYE (wise words of my younger sister). So back to real life I go again. School, work and Oliver.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Well, I've made it through another semester of AP II. It would feel really great to be done, except for the fact that the program I'm interested in applying to next year requires Anatomy and Physiology with a Cadaver lab. FAIL!! I'm actually really excited about the cadaver part!!! Not so excited that I just took TWO classes that aren't required!!!!

Anyhoodle, I'm taking the next semester off. I'm deploying at the end of the month and will be gone until February and the new semester starts in the middle of January. I don't really want to put myself through the game of playing catch up and I have some big things I need to focus on, such as wedding planning people!! I'd also like to get some volunteering done to help strengthen my application and maybe look for a part-time/fun job for extra cash and for my sanity. The job I'm at now is just really unsatisfying and not very challenging. My boss is a whole other story...The other day he asked me if Christmas Day was on December 24th or December 25th. There were crickets. He also gets paid a lot more than I do.

So now that I'm free from school, I plan to spend my free time catching up on sleep, playing with Oliver, planning this wedding, and reading for fun along side a glass of vino :-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

7 (ish) more months to go-The Dress...for my BM's

We just passed our 7 month marker! I feel like we've done a lot in the planning process but also that we have so much left to do.

Things we've checked off of our list:-Ceremony venue & reception hall
-photographer & e-pics (first session)-DJ
-Transportation (We're taking a trolley from the church to reception)
-My Dress & shoes :-)
-MOH Dress
-BM Dresses :-)-Flowers
-Honeymoon Booked! St. Lucia, here we come!!

Things we have left to do:
Too many to remember...

So, here's the scoop with the bridesmaid dresses. Awhile back, I wrote about shopping for BM dresses with 3 of my girls. After this shopping trip I was torn on what to do. It didn't help that the girls looked great in almost every single dress. I wanted the dresses to be knee-length and easily wearable again, either to another wedding or some sort of function. I fell in love with a few dresses from LulaKate, however the price was more than I wanted each girl to spend. So, I asked my bridesmaids how much they would feel comfortable spending on a dress. Most of them gave me a general answer of, "Whatever you like, it's your day we'll pay whatever." With the exception of one, which I appreciated for her honesty. She gave me an amount that was well under what I was asking them to pay. So I thought about it a little more and I decided to go with the nicest, best looking bridesmaid dresses. And the best part is that they got to pick their own skirt that would best flatter them.

I went with two different styles of LulaKate dresses. The Maggie and the Pearl. Each girl will be alternating styles. I let my sister pick which one she wanted to wear because she is going to be my maid of honor and I put my friend, Rachel, in the line up of where she would fall the wear the Maggie since I knew she would feel most comfortable in a one strap as opposed to a strapless. Everything else just fell into place.

The color of the dresses will be passion, which is a shade of purple. Each girl can pick out whatever shoes they want, as long as they're silver.

Above is an example of the color...

And here's an example of the two styles together...

The girls are very excited for their dresses and I can't wait to see how lovely they will all look in them.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Friday!

TGIF and ONE MORE WEEK OF SCHOOL!!!! The school thing has been kicking my butt this semester, but I think I've finally got it figured out after months of pondering my likes/dislikes and what makes me happiest. For the time being, I've decided to not take any classes next semester. I need to focus on wedding planning (7 more months today!!!) and this deployment will set me behind a few weeks in the semester...not really the best way to start out.
So, school's almost over and the weekend is here.

Plans for this weekend:
1. Playing war/being a weekend warrior for the Air Force

2. STUDY, STUDY, STUDY!! (And a Starbucks skinny vanilla latte!)

3. Spinning & Yoga Sculpt!

That concluded my weekend plans until I saw the commercial for this...

It releases Friday at midnight...and will be in my possession on Saturday! I can't wait! Eclipse was by far the best movie so far in the series.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What's For Dinner-Weeknight Edition

This week has been crazy busy for me. I've had to study for 3 tests in one week. Did I mention it's for the same class?? Our teacher is letting us retake two of our lowest tests so I should really be thankful to him. Tonight is the first night that I've been able to workout all week and it really helped. I also set aside some time for a quick trip to the grocery store and to make myself dinner. I've been craving something very flavorful. Something warm because winter is officially here in Chicago (and has no signs of leaving anytime soon) and something comforting and soothing to the soul. Tonight I bring you what I like to call a squash & turkey mashup bowl. It was so simple, quick and so so tasty that the first bite got an official, "Hmmm!"

There is no official recipe, I kind of just threw stuff together that sounded good. I baked a small butternut squash, cut it up and mash it in a bowl. Then I cut up an apple and some green beans, pecan halves, put a little bit of olive oil in a pan (just enough to coat it) and put the apple, green beans and pecans in the pan along with some cinnamon. I let it cook up and then added some left over turkey to the pan. Sprinkled some seasoned salt. After the turkey got warm, I poured a splash of red wine into the mix and a little bit more olive oil. Let it cook and then added pure maple syrup and poured the whole thing in with the squash. HEAVENLY!! And the whole thing probably took about 20 minutes tops.

Now, Oliver and I are sitting here watching Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. Our favorite thing to do on Thursday. He can be such a good t.v. watcher.

I saw this commercial and got really excited! Not because of the flawless models parading around in lingerie, but because this commercial was filmed at the Milwaukee Art Museum and in two fave places!!!

Good job VS marketing team! Didn't Adriana Lima just have a baby?? I will never understand.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weekend Recap

I'm back in the very windy city, after a long weekend in WI. The weekend was a lot of fun and very relaxing. Two things I was in desperate need of. I drove home Wednesday after working and a long cardio session (gearing up for yummy food). I stayed at my sister's house because she lives closest to where we were planning on going out that night. We met some of her friends out at a restaurant in Milwaukee, called Hinterland. From the outside, it looks like a fancy wine bar. But inside, it's very cozy and perfect for a cold, rainy fall evening. I had the pork chops with butternut squash and red quinoa. It was the perfect kind of comfort food. After dinner, my sister and I parted from her friends and met up with some of my girls at Cafe Lulu. It was wino Wednesday, which means 1/2 price bottles of wine which equals one happy Maria :-) We drank wine and danced the night away to 5 card studs. What a fun band!!! They were a "Vegas Style" live band that sang music from the 70's and 80s. They wore wigs, white button shirts, and aviator sunglasses. They were a riot. If live bands weren't so expensive, I would have definitely booked them for our wedding.

I started off Thursday morning with a little 2 mile run, along with strength training and big flights of stairs. Thanksgiving day was held at my parents house. My mom did most of the cooking because she has to be gluten-free. I was a little worried about this because I've had some gluten-free products and could definitely tell a difference in the taste. But everything was magnificent and more! I could not tell a difference between the gluten free stuffing vs. the stuffing from last year. I could, however, tell a difference in the pie crust. It wasn't a bad different, just not what I was used to.

Friday, my mom and I met with the florist for the wedding and went over ideas and price quotes. Flowers are expensive. Even coming from a woman who works out of her home. I could not believe the price that I was being quoted for my bouquet. I quickly texted my friend who just got married, and she paid the same price for hers. Unbelievable. Especially because they will end up going to waste at the end of the night. I'm excited to see how they turn out though. It's hard for me to grasp the fact that I won't see the finished product until the day. It makes me a teensy bit nervous.

The rest of the weekend included taking the puppers on long walks so that he wouldn't be so crazy inside, football (WOO HOO BADGERS!) and spending quality time with the family. Now it's back to the grind and time to finish out the semester strong. 3 more class and 3 more tests! I never thought I'd see this day again, where I look forward to winter break :-(

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Today after work, I'm driving WI to stay the night with my sister. We're, hopefully, making it to church, then dinner and drinks out. We have to thank the Big Man Upstairs for everything he's given us. Honestly, though I am definitely ready for 2011. 2010 hasn't been the greatest of years.

This weekend will be filled with lots of family time and wedding fun! I'm so excited :-) On Friday, my mom and I are going to meet with the florist and on Saturday invitations. We are also having our family Christmas since my grandparents are in town and it's the only time that we're all together.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I have compiled a small list of the things that I am most thankful for.

1. My faith
2. My health
3. The 3 F's...Family, Friends, Fiance
4. Skype. An essential in any long distance relationship
5. Grapes. Because they make delicious wine
6. Oliver. Because he keeps me company/busy/pre-occupied while LC's away
7. My mom. For everything she does, including NOT passing down the celiac's disease gene to me. I love bread too much.
8. Christmas songs the day after Thanksgiving
9. Black Friday. Not because of the specials but because I have off of work :-)
10. My legs. Because I can run, walk, and climb stairs with no problem. It's the small things people.
12. My readers. Because I love comments and reading new blogs :-)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and gets to eat lots of wonderful food!!!

What are you thankful for??

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hot Yoga...I Heart You

This morning, I didn't have to be at work until 10am (normal time is 8). Instead of getting some extra shut eye, I woke up at my normal time and made it to the 6am Hot Fusion Power yoga class at Core Power Yoga studio. This yoga studio is right down the road from my house and they offer a free week to new students. I've never taken a yoga class before, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to test it out. Love. The class was taught in a sauna-type room with tons of windows that overlook the skyline of Chicago. Coming into the heat from a 20 degree morning felt amazing and at 6am, it looks very cool and to watch the sunrise across the city. It's the perfect way to start off the morning.

I definitely underestimated the intensity of yoga. I'm definitely not as flexible as I thought I was and holding some of the poses was a workout. But it was a good workout. An amazing workout actually. I have never felt so relaxed in my life, not even when going for a massage. I couldn't even tell you what was going through my head. But not once did I think about school, work, or LC being gone. No stress whatsoever for that hour. I also love the fact that this is "mine". It's the ultimate "me time". LC likes to workout, so generally we'll go to the gym together or go running together, but this is something that I will never share with him. And I like that. I only know this to be true because he's too much of a "guy's guy" for yoga.

So today, I am thankful for bringing yoga into my life and for or having a clear, peaceful mind for the first time in the past 4 months. Namaste :-)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend Happenings

Why do the weekends have to go by so quickly?! Thank God for a short work week coming up, I really need it. This past weekend was pretty eventful. Friday, I got into the holiday spirit by listening to Christmas music and baking some cookies for LC (peanut butter w/peanut butter cups and oatmeal raisin). I've decided not to put up any Christmas decorations this year, since I won't be home to enjoy them. The only thing I have going is a Christmas tree scented candle from Target which smells amazing.

On Saturday, I meant to wake up early to do an Insanity DVD, but that did not happen. I cleaned and prepared for my guests instead. My mom, sister and grandma drove to Chicago for a day visit. It was really nice to see them and much appreciated since I've been feeling homesick and a little lonely lately. The holidays are such a hard time for me when LC's not here and my family lives 2 hours away. I took them to lunch at my favorite restaurant in Chicago, Cafe Ba Ba Reeba. It was amazing as always. Their sangria is to die for! I definitely enjoyed a glass, even if it was only 2 in the afternoon :-) I really like the concept of Tapas style dining. You can have a small amount of different varieties of food and not come out feeling stuffed. My mom especially loved this place because of their gluten-free menu. They were so accommodating to her and they even bought her out gluten-free bread for her dipping oil. She was diagnosed with celiac's disease a few months ago and claimed that this was the best meal she's had in a restaurant since. After we indulged in some dessert, we walked around Lincoln Park for a little bit and ventured into Weddings 826 to look for wedding jewelry. I didn't purchase anything, but I will be back as the big day gets closer. That night, my family went home and I went out with an old friend of mine from college. It was nice meeting up with her at her apartment, having drinks and catching up. Then we went to Division street. And I felt old, which is funny because 2 years ago, I had a blast on Division street. Now, I felt sorry for the girls making complete fools of themselves (been there, done that) and I hated having to fend off creepy guys. An engagement ring stops no one. Don't get me wrong, I had a fun time hanging out with Allie and her other girlfriends, but it was just different this time around.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I'm looking forward to going home and seeing my family and friends and having out with my favorite lady in the whole wide sister :-) One thing that I am thankful for is a SHORT WORK WEEK!!! Wooo!

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's for Dinner?

One thing that I've been trying to do, while LC's deployed is learn how to cook quick, simple healthy meals for dinner. My goal is to make something new once a week. During the week, I don't get out of work until 4:30. That seems early, but then we have the commute home, gym time and shower. By the time I'm done with all of this it's almost 7 pm. Weeknights leave me very little time to come home and whip up a wonderful dinner, so we often find ourselves on looking for places to order in. This is one thing that is going to change once he gets home.

Last night, I made baked chicken pesto with a side of green beans and sliced almonds. YUM!!! This was probably the easiest and healthiest (not to mention, mouthwatering) meal I have ever made. It took probably a total of of 5 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to bake. I hopped in the shower while it baked.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Get a baking dish and spray it with cooking oil. Take a tub of pesto sauce and layer the bottom of the dish. Then sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Lay across the pesto covered dish. Use the remaining pesto sauce to cover the top of the chicken breasts. Cover with aluminum foil and then bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is done. After it's been in there, take it out, uncover it and sprinkle fat-free mozzarella cheese on the top. Put back in the oven and bake until cheese melts. Take out and enjoy!!!

Baked Chicken Pesto
Description Store-bought pesto and mozzarella cheese are all it takes to turn tender chicken breasts into an incredibly easy-to-make dish that will likely become a new family favorite. Prep time: 5 minutes Start to finish: 30minutes

Ingredients 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1/2 cup pesto (from a jar) 2 (1/2 cup) ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions Heat oven to 375°F. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Spread 1/4 cup of the pesto in a 9" by 13" baking dish. Lay chicken breasts over pesto in an even layer and spread with remaining pesto. Cover baking dish with foil and bake chicken until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and top with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, 5 more minutes. Serve hot. Recipe from The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook

Nutritional Information:
390 calories 20 total fat (5 g sat) 2 g carbohydrate 46 g protein 0 g fiber 450 mg sodium
It doesn't look like much, but it tasted wonderful. And I definitely made enough for leftovers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Diamonds...a Girl's Best Friend?

I used to think of myself as a unique and modern girl. When I set out to look for my engagement ring, I had a goal in mind of getting something "different". I didn't want the traditional solitaire and I didn't want the"trendy" princess cut. So when I got my beautiful, round halo style engagement ring, I was a happy girl. I didn't know anyone else who had this ring. It was just wanted: unique. Until a few months later, I saw it popping up all over the place. Turns out, I'm not as unique as I thought. I still love my engagement ring, and all things sparkly, but there's a new, but rare, trend that I wish I would have considered...the colored stone.

This is my all-time favorite version of the colored engagement ring. The yellow diamond. Absolutely beautiful. Carrie Underwood's engagement ring is by far my favorite of all the recent celebrity engagements. The setting closely resembles mine, except for the fact mine is a fraction of the size of hers and it's a near colorless diamond.

The newly engaged, Jessica Simpson, is sporting a red ruby engagement ring. I'm not so much a fan of this one for two reasons. One, I don't red and two I'm not big into yellow gold. I didn't even know she was dating anyone!?

Last but definitely not least, Kate Middleton. This ring reminds me of the Titanic's "Heart of the Ocean". I love the fact that Prince William gave Kate his mother's ring so that she would have part in their special day. This ring is gorgeous and definitely fit for royalty. I've been stalking to get the deets on their wedding planning. Theirs will definitely be the wedding of the year, right behind mine and LC's of course :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This Could be Heaven

photo c/o

A few days after our wedding, we will be spending 7 glorious days in St. Lucia. Neither one of us can wait to lay on the beach, RELAX and drink tropical drinks and explore this part of the world. I've heard nothing but good things about St. Lucia. We were up in the air about where we would spend our honeymoon, but came to an agreement and I don't think neither one of us will be disappointed. It's all coming together!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Monday!

I'm sick. Like call into work, sleep all day, stuffy head, ears, nose and throat kind of sick. At the rate I was going, it was bound to happen. I'm actually surprised it didn't happen earlier.

My weekend was otherwise a productive one. It was pretty low-key but I definitely needed that. On Friday night I cleaned my apartment and caught up with all the shows I had missed for the week. Hey Grey's Anatomy...what's going on, yo!? You're majorly slacking. And Hello Private Practice...(and wink wink to Taye Diggs) you are my new favorite show. I got 8 hours of sleep on Friday night. It was heaven. Saturday, I finally switched out all my summer clothes for my winter ones, and spent two quality hours with my friend, GYM. After my sweaty reunion with GYM, I ran (literally) in 40 degree temps with capri pants to Target to get some goodies for LC's Christmas care package. It's going to be a good one! Funny, I started sneezing and feeling sick already Saturday night... I woke up on Sunday feeling a little sickly, but still held my date with Sean T who kicked my butt before church. So on top of having a really bad cold today, I cannot move the rest of my body. On Sunday night, I watched one of my Netflix movies, The Duchess. I thought it was a very good movie and Keira Knightly always does such a good job with these "era" movies. The ONLY good thing about LC being gone, is that I get to watch whatever "girly" movie I want without having to hear anything about it.

Today also begins week 2 of phase one of the South Beach Diet. So far, so good. I'm down 4lbs, and my stomach feels great. I saw a GI specialist a few weeks ago about some complications and so far eating "clean" and lots of veggies has helped. I thought that I'd miss bread, pasta or sweets, but the hardest part about phase one is the no alcohol for two weeks. I do enjoy my vino on a Friday night...and a Thursday night. I've tried Weight Watchers, and although it has worked (when I stuck with the plan) I've gained the weight back. It doesn't teach you how to eat properly. I remember once thinking to myself, "I can get all my points in by eating ice cream sandwiches all day!" I like the South Beach diet because it's forcing me to cook for myself, make smarter snack choices, and there's no calorie/point counting involved. I will admit though that I'm very nervous about starting Phase 2 where I can allow alcohol and carbs back into my life. Phase 2 begins next Monday, but I think I might stay in phase one until Thanksgiving, because who really diets on Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day!

To all the service men and women who have served and are currently serving in the armed forces. This day's for you. And to my favorite airman, soldier and husband-to-be! I'm so proud of you and everything you've accomplished. You are the most selfless person I know. Get home to me safely so we can start our lives together!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

All-Expenses Paid Vacation To....(Drumroll Please)

THE DESERT!!!!!!!!! Wahooo!! Bleh...

I'm getting deployed ladies and gentleman. I know where I'll be going but will not be disclosing that information. All I have to say is that it will be hot. I shouldn't complain for a few reasons. One being I will be gone when Chicago will be at its coldest temps. Secondly, it's only for a month and its the last month before LC gets home from his deployment. I will get home, and a week later he will be here. Time is going by so fast! I love it.

When I first found out about this news, I was not a happy girl. My biggest concern was, 'What am I going to do with Oliver??' Luckily, I have an awesome sister who volunteered to watch my little nugget while I'm gone for the month. So Oliver will be setting up camp at Auntie Mel's house :-) My next concern was finishing all my pre-req's for the PA program. I had a schedule of all the classes I needed to take and what semester I would be taking each class. Luckily, one of my classes is online only, so I will be doing that while I'm there. Hopefully the internet works well.

After the week I've had so far, I'm looking at the deployment as more of a vacation from my hectic/crazy/super busy life. Yes, it sucks that I'll be working 12 hour days every single day that I'm there, but I also will have no responsibilities to anyone or anything but myself. On my off time I can read for fun or SLEEP!!! More than likely, I will choose sleep over anything else. I have a year and a half left in this enlistment. I'm not sure if I'm going to re-enlist yet. The military has its pluses and minuses. I will just have to wait it out and see!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Save the Date-8 more months to go!

Our save the date postcards went out last week! And the good news is, none were returned! Awesomeness. I designed the postcards myself using Adobe InDesign and then got them printed from vista print. 100 postcards for 30 bucks! Not too bad. I went to pick up my dress this past weekend and I love it!!! I did not want take it off. What I love about it is that it's different. I've seen different variations of the dress in bridal magazines, but it's still not a popular dress. It fits me perfectly, the only thing right now that needs to be altered is the length. But I definitely have some upper body toning to do. No sausage arms for this bride to be.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Half Marathon #2-CHECK!

My goal for 2011 is to be more frequent with my posts. To help pass time, I've been keeping myself so busy. Almost to a fault. I'm a horrible fiance, the 3 months that my fiance has been overseas, I have sent him ONE care package...ONE! If there was an award for the crappiest fiance, I would definitely win hands down.

Anyway, this past weekend I ran the Haunted Hustle 1/2 Marathon in Middleton, WI with my friend, Marr. My goal for this race was to come in at 2:30. I came in at 2:27:23. So I'm very happy about that. I'd like to do the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon in February, but with the wedding coming up, financial it isn't feasible. But I will be there in 2012.
I went to church with my mom on Sunday and we found out that the pastor who is marrying us got a call for a church in AZ and he is taking it. He's a really good pastor and he will be missed dearly by my parents as well as many members of the congregation. As to whether or not he will be back to do our wedding, that still hasn't been discussed. I really hope so because I don't know who we'll have marry us otherwise! And so the stress of wedding planning begins!

Marrisa, My sister (and her sign) and Me! 2nd 1/2 marathon of the year!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Here Comes the Bride

The one thing that I love about the church where we are having our ceremony is that we're not limited to "traditional" wedding music. Even though I love Canon in D and always thought that would be my song, it's overplayed. After doing some research, and thinking about my favorite songs, I came across this you tube video. My heart melted and I got chills. This is my song! I love Taylor Swift, but never thought I'd walk down the aisle to any of her songs for the fact that it was too "pop". But this version of 'Love Story' makes the song a million times better. This will be played while my bridesmaids are walking in and I will come in between 2:30-2:50, just as the song's tone changes. I'm so excited and cannot wait!!!! Music has always been a big part of my life and I'm really happy that I get to incorporate some of our favorite songs into the ceremony.

Monday, October 11, 2010

4(ish) More Months to Go!

LC's been overseas now for two months and one day (but who's counting). I must say that I'm holding it together pretty well this time around. I've been keeping myself busy, almost to a fault. But now things are slowing down, we're getting closer to the holidays and it's starting to hit me. This is where it will mentally start to get tough.

Deployments are hard. I never envisioned myself being a "military wife". It happened by chance. I truly feel that your relationship has to be strong in order to survive 6 months apart. 6 months without feeling his kiss on your forehead. Without hearing his voice every day. Without a shoulder to lean on and someone to cheer you up when you've had a really bad day. 6 months of lonely Netflix nights (although I have enjoyed having free reign of the queue) and the end of date nights. I will say that I take comfort in knowing he's out of harm's way and that there's no violence going on where he is. Last deployment, he was in Afghanistan and I was a mess. I'm thankful for the wonderful support system that I have in my friends and family. Without their love and support I don't know what I would do. And my mom has been so great and patient. (I call her an average of 2 times a day).

I'm proud of my fiance, and the job that he's volunteered for. He's the most selfless person I know with the a heart of gold. I can't wait for him to get home so that we can begin the rest of our lives together!
"Lucky is the man who is the first love of a woman, but luckier is the woman who is the last love of a man."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weekend In Review

Friday, I ended the work week with a nice 5 miler down by the lake. I spent the rest of the night drinking wine and watching The Vampire Diaries. It was heavenly.

Saturday, I ventured down to Hyde Park and went to the University of Chicago Celiac disease center. They were having a free blood screening and the director wanted to meet me and talk to me about the charity fundraiser I'm doing. It's a nice campus, I was only there for about 20 minutes so it was kind of a waste of my morning, but I enjoy venturing out to different parts of the city. After I arrived back home, my friend, B, wanted to go out to lunch and day drink. It was the perfect day for it, but I have an A&P test to study for so I wanted to remain coherent for the rest of the afternoon. Which I did, and I must say that I'm very proud of myself for doing so. After lunch at Nookie's, we walked around Lincoln Park for a little bit and enjoyed a cupcake at Sweet Mandy B's. I have an obsession with cupcakes. I had a red velvet cupcake. It was very good, but I have to say that it was not the best I've had in the city. So far, SugarBliss takes the cake on red velvet ;-) Lincoln Park is my favorite part of Chicago. I love the whole neighborhood aspect of it. When I'm there, I don't feel like I'm in the city anymore, which can be a relief at times.

Sunday. Well I was supposed to volunteer at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, but my snooze button had other plans for me. Sadly, I slept through my alarm and did not get to volunteer. I will say that I needed the sleep, but bummed that I missed out on a really cool jacket. I did get up in time though to walk over to the finish line and watch the race. This was my first time doing so and it was an amazing experience. It was very emotional and inspirational. To see the smiles of these people's faces as the ran to finish 26.2 miles gave me goosebumps. There was even a man who ran with prosthetic legs who finished around 2:30. Amazing. I'd really like to add a marathon to my list of events. And I'm hoping to perhaps do it next year depending on how this half goes at the end of the month as well as making the time commitment next year.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Day at the Movies

Today, a co-worker and I were given movie passes to go see Wallstreet because our VP of sales took the rest of our sales division to go see it last week. We took a 1/2 day, went to the movies and saw The Social Network instead. We thought this would be more beneficial to our job of course :-)

Let me just say, I loved this movie. I found it really interesting to see how the whole facebook phenomenon got started. I've always had a love/hate relationship with facebook. I remember the days when it was called THE facebook and only college students had access to it. That's what I loved about it. No creepy myspace-ish friend requests.

I first heard about facebook from a friend of mine from UW-Madison. We were talking on the phone and in the middle of the conversation she says, "Oh! Jenny poked me!" I responded with, "What the hell are you talking about?" Within in a few weeks I found out. I loved facebook because it was an easy way for me to keep in touch with my friends and classmates. I did not, however, enjoy finding out via facebook that the guy I was seeing at the time had a girlfriend.

My co-worker thought that Mark Zuckerberg was an asshole. Which he was portrayed as. I thought him to be genius. Which he is. What he did to his "friend"/business partner was horrible and sucky, but I understand why he waited to start generating revenue from the site. When facebook came out with advertisements, I was not happy at all. But I stuck with it because I was addicted a loyal facebooker.

Overall, it was a great way to spend the rest of the work day. It was a great movie, very informative and I highly suggest going to see it. Especially if you remember cira 2004.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Going the Distance

One of the reasons that I like participating in races is for the charity/organization in which I'm running for. The Chicago Rock N Roll 1/2 donated a portion of their proceeds to the American Cancer Society. This meant a lot to me because LC's grandpa died of cancer last year. It was the first time he and I had ever gone through something like that in our relationship.

So when I signed up for the race I'm running on Oct. 30th, I looked to see what charity the race would be sponsoring, and I couldn't find anything. I'm guessing this was more of a "fun run" as there is a Halloween costume division. Who can run 13.1 miles in a Halloween costume anyway? I found it really hard to stick to my training because I didn't feel like there was a purpose (besides creating a PR) for this run.

Until yesterday. I was on the University of Chicago Celiac Disease center website. I was looking at their events and fundraising page. They have a charity called, "Going the Distance". It's a DIY fundraiser going to benefit the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center and to raise money for education, research, and advocacy. I have never done a fundraiser on my own but I am sold. This will be what I am running for.

A few months ago, my mom was extremely ill. They thought she had MS and those tests thankfully came back negative, but her doctor could not find out what was wrong with her. Months went by and my mom's symptoms got worse. Finally, her doctor decided to do a simple blood test and test her for Celiac Disease. Sure enough, that's what she had. So I will be running this race in honor of my mom, who will be there to watch me cross the finish line.

What is Celiac Disease? It's an inherited autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine. When a person who has celiac disease eats gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, the individual's immune system responds by attacking the small intestine and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients into the body.

I know I don't have a ton of readers, but I'm appreciative for all the ones that I do have! If you want to find out how you can help just e-mail me directly at


Monday, October 4, 2010

9 Months to go...Our Photographer

After the cake has been cut, the first dance has been danced, all you have left to remember your day is your photographs. So this was the second most important thing to me. I wanted a photographer who could take really great photojournalistic pictures and who wasn't outrageously priced.

We met Olga Thomas, last October. She was so nice, very laid back and did wonderful work. All for a price within our budget. So after talking to a few other photographers, we decided that she would be the one to take our pictures. I just love her work and everytime I see a new wedding that she worked on, I just get more and more excited for ours.

She came to Chicago and did an engagement session with us in May. Here's a link to some of the pictures. I blogged about it an earlier post.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Yesterday, The Donuts Won

This whole week has been super busy and I've been slacking on my 1/2 marathon training (yet again). I will give myself a pat on the back for running 7 miles on Sunday though. Well done, Maria! Anywho, yesterday I was scheduled to run 4.5 miles and do strength training. I was super excited and motivated, until I came in to work and saw that my manager bought us donuts and munchkins because it was the last day of the month. Pumpkin donuts. And muchkins. Right by my desk. Fail! Despite the fact I was broderline hyperglycemic, I still attempted to run and it did not go well at all. My legs kept cramping up and my feet felt like there were bricks in them. I did not make it 4.5 miles. Instead I did 2.5 and forced myself to do some speed work, so the workout wasn't a total bust. So yesterday, the donuts won and it definitely wasn't worth the defeat I felt. Next week I'll be back on track. 1/2 marathon in 4 weeks and this time I'm determined to beat my last 1/2 marathon time AND not feel like I"ve been hit by a truck. Side note, 9 months and 2 days before the wedding!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend Recap

I haven't stayed in Chicago for the past 6 weeekends. For the past 6 weekends I have had something to do. In Wisconsin. This has been fun (weddings) and exhausting (drill!) at the same time. It has kept me busy since LC's been gone (we're almost at the 2 month mark!) but I have not had a moment to myself or a day to just breathe. So this weekend, I finally got to stay in my favorite city and my favorite lady came down to visit me (my mom).
She arrived on Saturday morning, via train, and we spent the day searching for a fabulous MOB dress, lunching, and discovered my new love...Sprinkles Cupcakes. We started out on Michigan Ave and searched every department store, high and low, and could not find anything that she LOVED but, she got some ideas of what she was looking for. I told her not to buy anything unless she loved it because the wedding is still 9-ish months away and I wouldn't want her to have buyer's remorse. After our failed shopping trip, we stopped and ate at Food Life in Water Tower place. About 6 weeks ago, my mom was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Long story short, she can't have anything with gluten in it or she gets very sick, and gluten is in EVERYTHING! So I was so happy that Food Life offered a list of gluten free foods that she was able to eat. After lunch, we walked around the Gold Coast area, looking for more stores that had MOB dresses. We didn't find anything, but instead stumbled upon Sprinkles. I've heard a lot about this place but wasn't sure where it was located. I came across it on accident so it was a MUST that we try it. I tried the banana cupcake...AMAZINGNESS. And my mom had the Red Velvet cupcake, gluten free of course.

Later that night, we enjoyed some sangria & mexi food at Zapatista. Although they didn't have a gluten free menu, the waiter was very knowledgable in what my mom could and couldn't eat.

Sunday morning, I got up and went for a run. Sunday was my "long day" in my 1/2 marathon training. Despite the windy conditions running north, I completed 7 miles in an hour and 10 minutes. Running back (with the wind) was a piece of cake. After my run, we went to Whole Foods to get things that we needed to make Chili for dinner. My mom had never been to a WF before and she was in heaven. They had tons of stuff that she could eat. It's too bad that the closest one is about 45 minutes away. I told her that she should franchise one, it would be really popular where they live. I spent the rest of the night studying, while my mom cooked me dinner and took care of Ollie. It was nice to have someone there to take care of me for a change! Next weekend, I will be heading back to Milwaukee for drill...bleh!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here I go again!

A good friend of mine from high school, M, is getting married about a month before me. To get in shape for her wedding, she's been running. A lot. The other she posted on facebook that she was about to run 10 miles after work. Ugh!

After I ran my first 1/2 marathon, I've been lacking some serious motivation to go out and just run. It's easier for me to run when I have a goal or something to train for. You would think my wedding dress would be motivation enough. Not so much. So, last night I signed up for another 1/2 marathon that M talked me into running with her. Yes, even though I felt my body had been hit by a truck the following day, I am running another 1/2. I'm officially addicted.

The race is at the end of October, which gives me 6 1/2 weeks to train. I started running again this week and doing cross training. I WILL stick to a training plan and make it my top priority for the next 6 1/2 weeks. I made the mistake of not training properly the first time around and I have learned from my mistakes.

So here I go again, 1/2 marathon #2!

Friday, September 3, 2010

10 months to go-Our Reception Venue

Happy Friday! Today officially marks the 10 month mark until the big day. Every month, on the third, I will be blogging about some part of our wedding planning process. I love weddings, but I can only write so much about them before it starts to get mundane.

Wedding planning, so far, has been a rollercoaster of emotion. I can sum it up as this: "Wedding planning is the most fun I'll never want to have again." I was really excited at first. I think I bought every wedding magazine out there the day after we got engaged. From excited, I became really overwhelmed with all the decisions that had to be made. Then came frustration. I found a great venue in IL, and my mom threw a fit because I wasn't getting married in WI-where I'm from. Long story short, she won that war-but I picked out the best venue in Milwaukee. Now I'm content and everything is falling right into place. Before LC left, I wanted to make sure that we got all of the imporant stuff decided together and that I wasn't the only one making the decisions. The first thing we did together was look for the reception and ceremony site.

We will be getting married in a church just outside of Milwaukee and our reception is going to be at Pier Wisconsin in the Discovery World Museum. I fell in love with this space instantly and I knew that I would. It was new, it is on Lake Michigan, it would be perfect for a summer wedding, it was out of our budget. LC and I found a place within our budget that we liked a lot and that we thought would be just fine for our wedding. But when my mom got wind of us getting married in IL and not in WI, she thew a fit. She wouldn't talk to me and she was really beside herself. (Can we say momzilla?) So to make her happy, I decided to look at venues in Milwaukee. I found two others that I really liked but were in the suburbs. LC and I decided to try to keep it in Milwaukee because that would make it easier for our guests traveling from Chicago. And that's how we came to decide on Pier Wisconsin. We're getting married on a Sunday so that brought down the cost some. I'm so happy that we were able to find a place that EVERYONE could agree upon. Our wedding date coinsides with Milwaukee Lakefront's big bang fire works display and we will have an awesome view of it! I can't wait for our big party.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Leading Man in my Life (for now)

This is Oliver. No middle name, I felt Oliver was strong enough to stand on its own. He is our 7 month old yorkiepoo. LC and I got him when we moved into our new "dog-friendly" apartment. We both knew that he was getting ready to leave and I thought it would be a great idea to get a little puppy to keep me company while he is gone. ha!

For the most part, Oliver is a good dog. He loves to go for walks, play fetch, he licks away my tears when I am crying at movies like The Last Song, and most importantly he hasn't chewed up any of my shoes. He loves everyone and every dog. Even the mean ones. He also loves to start crying at 5am on a Saturday morning because he has to go to the bathroom or simply because he just wants to play. At 5am. On a Saturday morning. And sometimes he forgets that he is potty trained and that our floor is not the grass. Dogs, especially puppies, are a lot of work. My mother tried warning me about this, but like good daughters usually do, I didn't listen.

There are some mornings when I actually look forward to work (like when he makes me chase him outside for 15 before coming in) and other mornings when I could simply snuggle up with all day.He's good practice for what's to come and overall, he's a pretty sweet dog.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Yesterday, 3 of my bridesmaids and I set off to look for the PERFECT bridesmaid's dress. I have 7 girls in my party and not one of them is shaped like the next. I brought my sister with me, who's got more curves, my cousin who's just tall muscular (she runs track for UW-Whitewater) and one of LC's sisters who's shape resembles my sister's but just a bit smaller and shorter. I was worried that it was going to be stressful having 3 different opinions, but we had a lot of fun! I enjoyed playing dress up with my girls.

The first store we went to was Miss Ruby. It was the first time I had ever gone into a little boutique type store like this. When we got there the sales associate explained how the store was set up and we were left to sift through the dresses and find ones that we all liked. We found a good amount to try on and even a few of the dresses were in the running.

Allison in Jim Hjelm Style JH5051

After our appointment at Miss Ruby, we went and got lunch. Our next appointment was at Bella Bridesmaid. Before I got engaged, I had never heard of Bella Bridesmaid and didn't realize that it was a franchise until a few weeks ago when I realized they had one in Chicago too. I went on their website and saw the different designers they had at their store. I was love but I knew that if we went there and I found something I loved, chances were that it would be more than I wanted my girls to spend on dresses. I had actually thought of canceling the appointment because of the price point, but I didn't and I'm so happy that we went there.

First of all, I want to say that customer service was PHENOMENAL!! This is really important to me because I deal with clients all day at work and I know how that can make or break a sale. From the moment we walked in there and were greeted by Kathleen, I knew we were in good hands. She asked if I had been to their website and asked if there were any designers that stuck out to me. There was one in particular, LulaKate. I had first discovered LulaKate from Nina over at According to Nina. She was looking for bridesmaid dresses for her own wedding. I went onto Lulakate's website and immediately fell in love. These dresses would be perfect for what I was looking for. And what I love most about them is that they don't look too "bridesmaidsy". I could easily pick a dress out of the collection and wear it to a shower or rehearsal dinner. So, I picked out the dresses that I liked. A few from LulaKate and a few from Jenny Yoo. Here are a few of my faves.

Kelly, Allison and Melissa all in Jenny Yoo dresses

The rest of the pictures, the girls are in LulaKate, you can see which one I favored

Kathleen said not to make any decisions until the dresses were clipped and fitted to each girl. She also took the time to add sashes to the dress and add some broaches for some added bling. If I had to rate them on my experience I would give Kathleen an A for wonderful customer service. I even left with a little personalized card, that she hand wrote, thanking me for coming in. She also wrote down the dresses that I liked along with their cost and the name of the color I am looking for. And since I have 7 bridesmaids, I have decided to do 2 types of dresses with each girl alternating styles. One dress will be strapless and the other dress with have one strap.

After leaving the third ward, we traveled west to Brookfield and shopped at Savvy Bride. This was our last stop for the day. I love this store. I've been here before to look for dresses and this is where I got my bridesmaid's dress for Becky's wedding. However, I was a little disappointed in their customer service and their selection of dresses. The woman who was supposed to be "helping" us was no where to be found. And when I did find her she was watching a bride try on dresses. It was annoying. Needless to say, we did find some that we liked and that were in a good price range.

I just love the look of the two dresses together!

Allison in Bill Levkoff Style 527

So, now I have to make the final decision to pick one of these or to keep looking. Honestly, the only thing holding me back from the LulaKate dresses is the price that each girl would have to pay. I know that they would never say anything to me about it, but 3 of my girls are in college and one just had a little baby so I have to keep their financial situations in mind. Any kind of advice would be really helpful right now!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reality Check

Last week Wednesday, my BFF Rach and I went to go and pick up our bridesmaid dresses for our friend's wedding. Becky's getting married in one month from today. Well, we got the bridal store and the girl asked us if we wanted to try them on. Rachel didn't want to (she had just had a baby) and I said that I would, so into the dressing room we went. I took the plastic off of the dress, looked at it, and thought "Wow, this dress looks really big I will probably have to get it taken in". WRONG! I put the dress on, Rachel attempted to zip it and it would not zip all the way up! I got it to the middle of my back and it was a no go. Crap! I made her try hers on, we got it zipped but it was tight. We both shared a good laugh about it and then headed off to Cheesecake Factory. Don't worry, we were both thinking of our friend and her wedding. I had salmon she had a soup and salad.
I got back to my sister's house (where I was staying for the week) and I told her about my problem. I tried it on again, maybe Melissa would be able to zip it. Nope. Reality set in. I have a month to fit into this bridesmaid dress. I month to fit into this dress that I thought I would have to get taken in. Sure I could have just let it out, but my wedding dress is the same size and if I go and try on my wedding dress and it doesn't zip? I would be having a bigger mental break down. Hard core motivation set in. I worked out everyday before working at the base, I didn't consumer more than 1200 calories a day, and I drank a shit ton of water. I was feeling great by Sunday. I had scheduled an appointment for that day to see a seamstress to have her look at the dress and see what could be done. Before I left, I told my sister that I wanted to try on the dress and see how far apart the zipper was. And guess what!? IT ZIPPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never been so excited in my life about fitting into something. It's still a little tight and there's still more work that needs to be done, but I'm definitely back on track. I weighed myself yesterday and I've lost 5lbs since last week. I'm sure some of it is water weight, but I will take it!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Please, Come Home Soon

Here we go again, another 6 month deployment to the Middle East. LC left on Tuesday to go overseas. Another 6 months. We've done it before, and I've learned that it doesn't get easier with each deployment. This time was different though. Unlike the last deployment where I was sad before he even left, it really didn't hit me until the day of that he was leaving for that amount of time. On the morning that he left, we just kept telling each other "no tears" followed by a kiss. And surprisingly I didn't front of him. As soon as he got on the plane, the water works came. But all in all, I held it together pretty well.
Tonight, I finally got around to watching this youtube/facebook video that's been going around. I've been putting it off for obvious reasons. It's a compilation of military members reuniting with their families. It's wondering and amazing. The feeling you have when you see that person cannot even be put into words so I'm not even going to try. The video is 10 minutes long and I cried from start to finish. I couldn't help myself.

I have some candid pictures of our "reunion" from his last deployment. A friend of ours took them and I think it captures the emotion as best as possible.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Run 1/2 Marathon...CHECK!

Well, I have one more thing to cross off of my bucket list. On Sunday, my sister and I ran our first 1/2 marathon together. It was by far the hardest thing my body has physically endured (and this includes basic training). I started training a few months ago for it, but because of my decision to take a summer class, time to train became less and less. My goal on Sunday was just to finish with my sister by my side and I did just that.

We started running her pace, she runs a little slower than me and it was really hard for me not to speed ahead. Almost painful. But I did my best to stay with her. Finally, by mile 5, she told me to just go ahead that she felt bad for holding me back and that I will meet her at the finish line. So I went, and by mile 6 I was feeling really great. Like I could do anything. The longest I have ever ran at this point was 6.2 miles so the fact that I could go further made me so proud. I had rediscovered my love of running. At mile 8 I was getting bored and I decided to stop and wait for my sister. I already wasn't going to get the time I wanted because I started out running her pace and not mine, so what difference does it make? She couldn't have been that far behind, right? I waited 15 minutes for that girl before I finally just said, "The heck with it" and I ran off. By mile 10 I wanted to die, and my love for running was gone. I pushed myself to keep going and I finished 13.1 miles...right behind my sister!! How and where did I miss her?! As I crossed the finish line I looked and I shouted, "Melissa!" She had a big grin on her face and we high-fived each other!

The last few races I've ran with people, it's really hard to stay together on the same pace especially when you're not training with them. So when she moves to Chicago (fingers-crossed) we will train for our next 1/2 together and run that thing side by side, start to finish.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meet my Bridal Pary

Tonight I finished my killer of a summer class. I could not be more happy or relieved to have had this day over with. Now I can relax, breath and enjoy what's left of my summer. And I now I have time to blog about my upcoming wedding :-)

Choosing my bridal party was a lot more difficult than I had wanted it to. Choosing my maid of honor was the easy part. I have one sister and she's my best friend in the whole wide world. She knows everything there is to know about me, even more so than my fiance :-) But the rest of the gang was a bit more difficult. I wanted a smaller party around 5. We have 7. I felt that it was necessary to include LC's two sisters since he's their one & only brother. And I wanted to include my only female cousin on my mom's side. So we're up to 4 girls, just family no friends. I've been BFFs with the same group of girls since I was 12. How can I pick just one? So I chose 3. Originally, I had chosen 2 childhood friends, and one college friend to complete my remaining 3. Well, within the past few months, the college friend and I had a big falling out (long, long story) and her and I are no longer talking. I was going to keep it at 6 but then decided to ask a good friend of mine, who I kind of lost contact with in college, but she was that friend that I knew I could call and she would listen to me or be there for me in whatever situation I was in. A true friend.

So here are my leading ladies! I could not be more happy and content with my decision in who I asked to be standing next to me on one of my most important days.

MOH-Melissa (my sister)
My sister. Best friend. Therapist. Travel Buddy. Hotel on drill weekends :-). She's got the most amazing heart and a truly genuinely good person down to her core. We still get in our spats, but I would be one lonely (and spoiled) child without the girl in my life.

She's my only cousin on my mom's side and my godfather's daughter. My wedding day just wouldn't be complete with out this little ray of sunshine :-) She's hilarious, and was always the funny/entertaining granddaughter when the 3 of us were together.

Cristen & Kelly-Bridesmaids & future SIL's
Cristen is LC's youngest sister and child of the clan and Kelly is his younger/older sister, if that makes sense to anyone. I'm very happy that I've been blessed with two wonderful future sister in laws. Kelly's a teacher in IL. and Cristen is currently working on her education degree.

Bax-Bridesmaid/BFF since 7th Grade
I can't really pinpoint how this girl and I became such great friends, but she has been a great friend to me over the years. I love her because she's so honest and not afraid to say what's on her mind. I'm looking forward to standing up in her wedding, September 18th.

Rachel & I met in 6th grade. We became fast friends through our love for the YMCA :-) When my mom first met her, her hair was green and she wasn't too fond of that fact, but Rachel quickly won my mother's heart with her bubbly personality. We've seen each other through a lot and I know I can count on her for anything. She's a wonderful person and has a very kind heart.

BFF. Both born on the 2nd of a month (that's how we became such great friends). Troublemaker. Partner in crime. Stolen cars. This pretty much sums up our friendship. I love this girl because she keeps me laughing, and although we lost touch for a while in college, we always picked up right where we left off. Dani has shown me the true meaning of friendship & that's why I love her so much!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Week and One Day...

Until I have my life back. After much consideration and thought about what I want to do with the rest of my life, I've decided to go back to school to be a physician assistant. I'm hoping to get into the program at Northwestern University. Healthcare is such a booming industry, and I want a rewarding job where I can feel good knowing that I am helping people. Because my original major was PR/Advertising, I failed to take any of the required science classes that I need for this program.

So this summer, to help speed along this process, I decided to take my first science class. Anatomy and Physiology. This one class has consumed the majority of my summer. I have had little time for anything else, including training for my half marathon which is coming up next Sunday. My sister and I are running together and she's been super busy too. At this point we're both praying that we don't die and that we can cross the finish line. The longest I've ran during this whole "training" process has been 5 miles. Fail. I can't wait until this class is over next Thursday. I can't wait to read "for fun", workout, and get some wedding planning done. Oh, and spend time with my wonderful fiance before he deploys :-)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A year ago Today...

Larry asked me to be his wife. And of course, I said YES (or else this blog would not exist)! I had never anticipated that our engagement would be this long, but the past year has gone by very quickly. I originally had wanted a winter 2010 wedding, but God had other plans for us. After we got engaged, Larry got word that his unit would be deploying overseas for 6 months, interfering with our winter wonderland wedding. So, we moved the wedding to the summer of 2011 and decided that we would get married on the same day that we got engaged, July 3rd. So next year on this date, I will be a wife and no longer a fiance. I'm looking forward to planning the all the details of our wedding, both big and small. We already have all the major things booked: Church, reception hall, photographer and DJ. I pray to God that the time he's away, will go by quickly and that he gets home to me safe and sound. We've done this before, this is nothing new to me, but it never gets any easier.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

E-Pics are In

After going on a rant yesterday about our photographer, I woke up to find me tagged in a number of engagement pictures. And they look great! After speaking with her and voicing my concerns, my faith has been restored in her and we're staying with her. She honestly does great work, and after looking at other photographer's website, no one has the creative eye that she does. So after a month of waiting, here are a few of our engagement pictures! I love them all.