Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Challenge and Exercise Updates

Just dropping in for some updates.  Tomorrow is the end of my Advocare 24-Day Challenge.  I started out really slow.  During the 10-day cleanse phase, I only lost 3 pounds and 4 inches.  As of this past Sunday I had lost 7 pounds and not sure about the inches, but people, I can FEEL it!!!!!   I have a lot more energy and I am comfortably in a smaller size jeans.  I can also tell in the dreaded place that ladies don't like to talk about, but always seems to be the first place the weight comes off!  You may act like you have no idea what I am talking about, but if you have ever lost anything more than a couple of pounds YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.    The supplements that I have been taking during the Burn phase are making a huge impact on hunger control, which has made it much easier to stick with portion control and avoid unnecessary snacking.  Considering I didn't really start exercising until last week, I am going to call my first challenge a success and bask in the glory of 7 less pounds!  If you are interested in learning more about Advocare products, includng the 24 Day Challenge, please feel free to contact me here.   

The Couch Potato to 5K training program is going really well....actually much better than I had thought.  I completed the third workout this morning and am now ready to move on to the next stage.  I still have a long way to go, but I am feeling really great and very optimistic.  I may have two additional friends on board for my first 5K, which will hopefully take place sometime in late Spring.  I am very excited for the race, but even more so for the support of my friends......I am so very fortunate!

Here is a pic (sorry, pic quality is atrocious) after first Couch Potato workout.  Not to mention my face is blotchy and my hair is drenched!  Just keepin' it real!  Notice......I am rockin' my Advocare gear!
The weekend flew by.....exercising, soccer, church, socializing and a little project.  As I mentioned in this post, I am participating in my first ever blog swap.  I had so much fun getting the gift together and I would LOVE to share it, but that would spoil the surprise since Ashley hasn't received it yet.  Not to mention, we are not supposed to reveal our gifts until February 13th....oh, the anticipation!

Have a wonderful evening and a great week!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Commitment Made - A Goal Set

I have been wanting to start running for years....on and off.  With that being said, I am also the type of person that does best when I have a buddy....somebody who I am not necessarily accountable to, but knows what I am doing and might give me a little encouragement now and then or just check up on me to see how things are going.  Today, as I was once again daydreaming  about crossing the finish line of that ever elusive 5K....I put out a small SOS via Facebook to my dear friend Megan.  Yes, I blogged about her yesterday and she is one of my "Chicago Bound" GFs.  I asked her if she was doing any running.  Megan is the Wonder Woman in the healthy eating world in my book.  She is the one that recommended I read Eating Animals that overnight turned me into a vegetarian.  She also went vegan pretty much cold turkey - but rest assured that no turkeys were harmed!  If you would like to look her up in the blog world, you can find her here at Two Parts Sunshine.  She blogs about sustainability, eco friendly and cruelty free products - all very near and dear to her heart! Anyway coincidently, or not, she recently started running and said that she would love to have a running buddy.  I am now officially pumped!  I am going to start the Couch Potato to 5K training program tomorrow and hopefully we will be hitting the trails together before we leave for Chi-Town.  Megan also said that she would be willing to do my first 5K with me - which ideally would take place before the blistering heat of the TX  summer sets in.....bleh!!!!!  I am now officially committed.....I have a "buddy", I  have put it in writing on the www for everybody to read, and I have set a goal.  This is the year that I am going to do it......NO EXCUSES.   Please check back to follow my progress.....I am shooting for weekly updates.  If you don't see those updates, for Heaven's sake, call my rear out!  I saw this post on FB today and thought that it was so appropriate:
"No matter how slow u go, u are lapping everybody on the couch.”
I think that will be my new mantra!  Can't wait to see how this goes and big thanks go out to Megan for giving me that little boost - whether she knew it or not.  Have  a great evening.....tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!

Megan and I celebrating my 40th.....uugghh!
On a sidenote....I hope that it did not go unnoticed that I, the sporadic poster, have posted two days in a row.  Somebody stop the presses!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Randomness: Rants & A Couple of Great Raves

Before really getting into this post, I am going to apologize.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am having a really hard time lately focusing on any one subject in particular (adult onset ADD perhaps?).  Which in turn has led me not to post because I can't organize everything that is swimming around in my head into one topic.  But never fear, I have decided to just let it all (or at least a good bit of it) out in one post.  I will however, do my best to at least use paragraphs to separate my thoughts so it willl hopefully be a bit easier to follow along.

For those of you that don't know, I live in North TX.  We are having unseasonably warm weather and for the record, I don't like it one bit.  With temperatures in the 60s, 70s and almost 80s a day or two, it is not boding well for what we are going to get this summer.  For those of you that live in places where temperatures are in the 20s, 30s and maybe lower, you are probably thinking "stop your belly aching".  But trust me when I say that I would trade places with you in a heartbeat!  Winter is supposed to be frigid temperatures, snow, bundling up, fires in the fireplaces.....NOT flip flops and shorts.  People, it is just ridiculous!  Here ends my mini rant on the TX "winter" weather.

I am not a fan of AT&T.  Please understand - it has nothing to do with the actual service and everything to do with the CUSTOMER SERVICE (or lack thereof).  I have had them for high speed DSL for over a year and I would say out of that time, my bill may have been correct about 6 times.  The CSRs that I would deal with were generally nice and seemingly sympathetic to my issues, but after assuring me that next month everything would be correct, I would once again receive a crazy bill the next month.  There was rarely any documentation on the conversation that took place the month before.  Last week, I had had enough....after being transferred to six - yes six, different people all of whom I had to retell my entire story to as well as all of my pertinent information...I cancelled them and their jacked up nonsense.  Although we have been making do with limited internet since then, I truly feel like a weight has been lifted.  Silly I know, but true none the less.  This has been much more difficult for my son than it has been for me, but hopefully, barring any unforeseen circumstances we will be up and running sometime on Saturday!

Zachary is playing indoor soccer this season.  As a mom I can in all honesty say that he has drastically improved since he started playing a couple of years ago.  Unfortunately, his team is really struggling.  Only four of them have ever played together.  Trust me, it is not for lack of trying that they aren't winning.  They are genuinely giving it everything they have, but sadly falling a little short.  The games so far have been really close and I am just crossing my fingers that things will turn around.

I mentioned last week that I was working on a huge scrapbook - well, I am also concurrently working on a smaller , but much more difficult scrapbook.  Difficult because there are very few pictures and an abundance of Kindergarten artwork and school papers.  I have never done a scrapbook like this before and am frequently wondering if I will be happy with it once I figure out what exactly to do with it.  I gave myself a deadline last week, so the pressure is definitely on.  I think it will make my long weekend away much more enjoyable if I do not have this scrapbook hanging over me.......

Which brings me to my little weekend away.  I have two dear girlfriends that I originally met through work.  Although we no longer work together, I have stayed in touch and close to both of them through the years.  I am the lone single old lady of the group, but I really love these ladies!  We had been throwing around a "Girls Weekend" for well over a year and finally the planets have all aligned! lol  Drumroll please......we are spending St. Patrick's Day weekend in CHICAGO!!!!!  None of us has ever been before and we are so looking forward to celebrating the SPD festivities in Chi-town!  Stay tuned for future posts!

Megan, Jennifer and I -Cabo San Lucas 2009.  The next day we celebrated Megan's wedding!
I am one of those strong believers that everything happens for a reason.  I don't know how to describe this expect to say that I have a guardian angel of sorts watching over me.....praying for me and VERY gently pushing in the direction that she knows (and I know as well, but for some reason am pushing back), that I need to go.  As I type this I pray that she does not give up on me.  She is an amazing, Godly woman and I am so blessed to have her in my life - I can never express to her how grateful I am for everything that she has done and continues to do in my life.

Penny and I celebrating my birthday
OK, how was that for ALL over the map???  Maybe next post I will be a little more focused, now that I have all that randomness off my chest.  Thanks for baring with me til the end and enjoy the rest of your work week!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's OK Thursday

I am going to try something a little different today.  I have been neglecting my blog....I know it, but it has been for a good reason.  I have been focusing on other people's blogs.  Seeing how they do it, trying to figure out how to get more traffic to mine, etc.  I know that some people don't care about followers or comments (at least they say they don't), but I do!  Although I love having my blog for me, I also like to know that there are people out there reading, not to mention I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to meet other bloggers!

One thing that I have noticed, is that there are "Link Ups" and "Swaps" all over the blog world.  If anyone else out there is a newbie and isn't sure what a link up is, I will try to explain to the best of my limited knowledge.  A blogger creates a weekly theme and encourages other bloggers to follow the same theme on their blog.  You come along with your newly created blog post of the same theme and link up with the creator of the theme.  Not only do you have a post for the day, but it has the potential to be read by all the people that have linked up as well as your current following.  In a nutshell, it is getting your blog out there in front of a whole new audience.  If you are reading this and find that I am wrong about any of this or am missing something, please feel free to correct me or add to my content.

Since I have had so much swimming around in my head and have really had a hard time focusing here lately, I decided this would be a great day to try a link up......so here goes nothing!


...if the most exciting part of my day was at 8 AM and it involved this package, and that three weeks of January are practically gone

Love me some erin condren

...if I just started a HUGE scrapbook, and page one and two already have me stumped - this too shall pass

Trust me....it is a hot mess
...if I just got back from vacation two weeks ago and I am already counting down to the next one

...if my son forgot part of his homework at school, but improvised

The rest of his cut out penguins got left at school...hard to tell but he drew one instead.  Horrible pic, but trust me the little guy was cute!
...if I have an aversion to my blog posts not having at least one picture

...if I am thoroughly frustrated that it is January and it is supposed to be almost 80 degrees tomorrow - what the heck kind of Winter is that

....if I am 40 something and LOVED the Hunger Games trilogy and am reading the first Harry Potter

...if I only lost 3 pounds on the first phase of my 24 Day Challenge - that is 3 pounds that I am not carrying around
...if I don't eat meat but you do

...if I am addicted to pictures - the first step is admitting you have a problem ; )

...if I am SUPER excited to find out who I have been paired up with in my first ever Blog Swap

Here is a link for the swap details.
...if I have to tell my son more than once to get out of bed and that it is time for his shower

...if as I quickly run out of "It's OKs", I am frantically worrying if I have listed enough

Well, there it is in all it's glory - my first link up.  It was fun, and I think I may try it again next week!  One thing that I haven't figured out how to do is get the button to link within my post, so if you enjoyed the "IT's OK", please stop by Brunch With Amber to see what she has going on!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Seriously Tardy Recap

Just a little disclaimer......the first two paragraphs of this post have been saved as a draft since January 5th.  In all honesty, there are quite a few posts swimming around in my head and I am having a really hard time just focusing on just one.  As a result, I have neglected the blog altogether (well maybe not, if you check out the pages on my navigation bar that were previously empty, you might just find a little something!  Instead of rewriting the first two paragraphs, I am going to leave them as it and "Be Calm and Blog On".

I have fully intended on several occasions this week to write an end of the year post about my birthday and New Year's, but I keep getting distracted.  There was not much exciting to report but I got a few awesome gifts and celebrated with some dear friends and my favorite 11 year old.  Maybe at the end of this post, I will throw in the Cliff Notes version with a few photos.

Today (Jan 5th) was my first day back at work after a 5 day break and working only two days the week before....all of which I got to spend with Zachary.  I am not sure if every parent appreciates this like I do, but when you only have your child 50% of the time vacations like this are simply PRICELESS.  Because of the nature of my work the end of the year is generally the most hectic time of the year for me.  Because of some extenuating circumstances that I will perhaps share at another time, it became possible for me to spend the majority of the latter part of Zachary's holiday break with him. I don't get the opportunity to take regular great vacations, but almost three years ago I took an amazing trip to Cabo San Lucas, MX and although I am sure it is hard to believe, from a mom standpoint this one was right up there with Mexico.  Zachary and I had no big plans and didn't really do anything all that exciting but the great quality time that we got to spend together was truly a blessing.  We caught up on sleep, not to mention my boy cuddled up in bed with me.  I am not foolish enough to think that will go on for many more holidays, if any.  We were pretty lazy and I am not ashamed to say it felt really good.  It seems like life is constantly flying by at break neck speed and it was nice to just slow down and take it all in.  A few of the days we ventured out to River Legacy Park for a walk.  The afternoons tended to be a little chilly, but it was wonderful to be outside enjoying the beautiful weather.

We caught up on some shows that we were watching on Netflix and on the last day of  our vacation, we stayed in our jammies all day and that evening made a run to Braums for an ice cream (still in our jammies) - don't worry we went through the drive through.

Yep, we went to Braum's like this
What can I say....it may not sound like much, but it was good - VERY GOOD!  Needless to say, I am back in the swing of things at work.  It seems like that treasured time with my son was months ago instead of just over a week, but I will cherish it always.

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, here are the Cliff Notes from my birthday and New Year's. 
On my birthday Zach was with his dad the first part of the day.  I was pleasantly surprised with these beauties....although for the life of me I can't figure out what I did to deserve them.

There are 24!!!!

It had been a VERY long time since I had received flowers and it was a wonderful way to start my birthday.  I also received this perfume that I absolutely LOVE!  Holiday Edition Flower Bomb....can't get enough of it.

Special Edition Flower Bomb
Two of my very dear friends took me out to lunch at my absolute favorite Mexican restaurant La Hacienda Ranch.  They gave me a beautiful green scarf and mittens so that I won't get pinched on St. Patty's Day in Chicago watching the parade.  It was great to visit with them and enjoy great food and an awesome margarita!

Jan, me and JR at La Hacienda
New Year's Eve was about as low key as you can get.  We were invited to a party in Plano where we could have spent the night, but who knows what our crazy cat would have gotten into while we were gone - he is such a mess.  Instead, Zachary and I snuggled up on the couch to watch movies and we got a pizza.  He insisted that we stay up until midnight and we made it, but I don't think that we saw 12:15...lol.  I am relieved that I have finally recapped the last week or so of 2011 and the start of my 2012.  Better late than never!  I hope 2012 is treating everyone right.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why I Pay.....A Truly Incredible Letter

Happy New Year!  Yes, I know that it is already the 3rd of January but for those of you that have followed my blog progress you know that is my MO...lol.  I will say that if it is something important, I eventually get it out.

This is not the blog post that I intended for today, but I stumbled across this on FB a few minutes ago and I am truly in awe.  As I am sure that you know (especially since I have a page titled "Photographers that Rock") I am obsessed with pictures.  I have not been so good in the past about taking my own, but I am all about finding great photographers to take them for me.  Perhaps, this is where my love of scrapbooking has come from (the two kind of go hand in hand), you can't really have one without the other.  Uh, oh - I digress.  For the last few years when my tax return comes in, I immediately put away enough money for Zachary's birthday pictures.  As a single mom, in my mind it is an investment.  I have bills to pay and should probably use that money for other things but it is a small price to pay for memories - times in life that you can't ever get back.  People have said to me time and time again....why don't you just run down to Target - you can get a million poses for next to nothing.  My answer is simple....Target doesn't take the time to get to know you and your son.  Target does not take the time to capture expressions like these.

Both photos courtesy of Jesse Leos www.jesseleosphoto.com

Please don't think that I am hating on Target, JCPenny's, Olan Mills or any of those other places.  I have used them and I still treasure those pics as well, but honestly people, it just isn't the same.  The photographers that get to know you and truly care about you and your family and what you are gaining by making the investment in their talent are worth EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR that they charge over Target, JCPenny etc. Here is where the FB post comes in.  I am certainly not a professional photographer but my FB friend that reposted this letter is one of my "Photographers that Rock".  I know first hand that she is worth every dollar that she charges. 

Photo courtesy of Christine Tremoulet www.hotmamaboudoir.com
I guess this letter hit me so hard because sometimes I feel like I have to defend the money that I spend on photos when I am on a tight budget.  Not to mention, although I saw pretty early on in the letter where it was going, I was still sobbing at the end.  Read, enjoy.....and never underestimate the the value of a truly great photographer.  You never know the impact that their talent may have on your life somewhere down the road....when you least expect it!  Not to mention the joy they bring when you are expecting it.  To Jesse Leos www.jesseleosphoto.com and Christine Tremoulet www.hotmamaboudoir.com - I am forever grateful.  You guys truly do rock!


A letter on my door step. portraits are more than paper.

There will be no portrait photos in this post. This letter wasn’t mailed – it was at my doorstep when I got home a couple months ago. I read it, I cried, and read it again – probably a hundred times by now. It wasn’t easy to read – and honestly, as much as it validates what I do for a living – I wasn’t sure I was going to share it either – Until today, when a past client said that my print prices were too expensive. If you choose to read through the letter, you will know why I’ve finally chosen to share it.
July 2nd, 2011

Jeanine -

Today I am writing for a couple of reasons. I have some quiet time at the moment and need to get a couple of things off my mind. I will leave this for my husband to deliver to you when he is ready.
You photographed my wedding, you photographed my first pregnancy and my first baby. I contacted you awhile back to photograph my 2nd child and family. After getting prices and realizing I would want all of the pictures as we love your work – I decided against spending $500+ – which is what I normally spend for portraits and prints with you.. Please know it is not because I don’t value your amazing eye, or how much we love the experience.

That week that I decided to NOT do a session with you, this is how I spent some money.
On Sunday I called and cancelled our session. Monday I went out and got my hair cut ($39+tip), and colored ($65), Thursday I had my nails done ($24), my family went out to dinner at a somewhat expensive restaurant for no particular reason costing us $79 + tip. This was just 4 days since canceling our session, already totaling over $200 for un necessary things. My nails only lasted about 2 weeks, my hair is gone, and seven weeks passed when I got the phone call from our doctor. It was not something I expected and the cancer has spread very quickly. I will be leaving my husband, my 6 year old girl and my now 2 year old – not by choice. It is very hard for me to talk about it which is why I need to write you.

I watch your Facebook page and your posts about the value of a photo and if I could give back all of those things that I purchased this few weeks after I cancelled my session with you, knowing what I know now, and have that session, well… I would do it in a heartbeat.

Now my time is done and there are no more chances for me. The next time someone cancels a session – my wish is that you forward this letter to them. Time is fragile, it is gone before you know you had it. If you charged $200 for one print it wouldn’t be enough for what it is actually worth. I cringe to think that my priorities were a manicure over a memory to pass onto my babies and husband.

My love and thanks for what you have given us from past photos. I am so sorry that I did not see it as more than paper until now.

Karen L.

Pretty powerful stuff in my book.  As I start out this new year...I will strive to not take things for granted and keep socking away that tax return money for the next birthday!