Monday, September 28, 2009

New season, new things...

After all the rain we've had for the past 2 weeks, the clouds finally moved on and the sky is clear once again. The air is crisp and clean, and was actually CHILLY when I left work tonight. I had on short sleeves, and I definitely could have used a sweater. Hello, Fall...I guess you've officially arrived...and I'm ok with that.

Sean and I took advantage of the cool evening and had our first backyard fire of the season. It was the perfect end to our wonderful weekend (except for the Vols and the Titans BOTH losing...) Other than the losses, we had a fun and productive weekend.

Here are a few of the things we've been up to lately:

#1. Watching our budget. There's always a repair, a need, a gift...something to spend money on, but we've been doing a pretty good job of managing our funds. It helps that I'm mildly obsessive about balancing our checkbook and updating our budget spreadsheet (at least twice a week). Thanks for the finance gene, mom! Sean and I know that we're blessed to still have 2 incomes (unlike some of our friends and neighbors), so we try to be as responsible as possible. Some days I fear that we're going to lose everything all at once. I tend to get caught up in much so that I keep myself awake at night, and my stomach stays in knots. But, I need to remember that we're doing well and that all of our needs are met. It gets tricky when your wants outweigh your needs, which is pretty much 100% of the time. Right now I'm trying to avoid my WANT for a new washer and dryer, pretty home furnishings from Pottery Barn, curtains and blinds, new carpet, patio furniture, professional tree trimming, and new clothes. I'm sure that Sean has a full list of his own WANTS. I guess the good thing about 'Wants' is that when they don't come to fruition, you're not exactly screwed. You're just stuck with your old crappy stuff, and that's ok.

I recently stumbled across this blog which inspired me to start second-hand shopping. I've got to overcome my need for instant-gratification. I'm good at exercising "delayed-gratification" (as in, saving up, or only shopping when we have extra funds), but my delayed-gratification eventually becomes instant-gratification once I'm ready to pull the trigger. Make sense? I've got to start training myself to find those bargains! My new mantra has become: I can always find it cheaper. I'm trying to drill this into my brain. My biggest challenge will be waking up early on Saturdays to scour the garage sales. I only have a couple of more weeks left before it becomes too cold. Wish me luck!

A final note about budgets...I've also been trying to keep the grocery bill as low as possible (a never ending challenge). Well, this week we only spent $90 on a week's worth of groceries. SCORE!!! I have meals for every night of the week...except Saturday...and I'm hoping one of our family members will feed us for the night. If not, we can treat ourselves to eating out!

#2. Friends & Events:
- Last Thursday we attended An Evening of Reflection featuring designer Van Hoang from O'More College of Design. What an amazing designer! I just know that Tim Gunn would have the biggest fit over her gorgeous dresses if he ever met her.
- We were also able to stop by The Franklin Bridal Ball at The Factory to see Bonnie's booth.
- Saturday we hosted a dinner party and invited Sherri & Keith and Bobby & Crystal over for spaghetti and meatballs. I had never made meatballs before, but was inspired to give them a try since hearing about the new movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. YUM YUM! The recipe was a hit, and Keith said they were the best meatballs he'd ever had. Now, I don't know if that was a true statement, but I sure appreciate the compliment. The 6 of us had a lovely time. The boys watched football while the girls gossiped in the living room. It was very "grown up" of us.
- Sunday we stopped by dad's bachelor bad to watch the Titans game with him and Trey. We snacked on some good game-day food, and watched the boys lose big time. It sucked, but it was fun visiting with my dad and brother. Trey has been taking guitar lessons, and he played a couple of chords for us. He also got his spacers to make room for BRACES. He's really growing up, and I can't believe he's going to be 11 in less than 2 months. Baby brothers grow up fast.

#3. Knitting. I'm working on 2 projects, with about 3 more in the hopper. I can't reveal my projects because they're all gifts so I can't spoil any secrets for anyone. Sometimes I worry that people dread receiving gifts from me because they're probably thinking "ugh. another damn scarf or hat."

#4. Work. I have some busy times ahead of me, and a lot of responsibility to tackle. Work has been great though, and I still LOVE my new boss. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Sean says that I'm a new person because of her. She makes me want to be the world's biggest suck up, and I have to stop myself from hugging her every day and screaming "THANK YOU! YOU ROCK! YOU'RE THE BEST BOSS EVER!" Otherwise, she might think I'm crazy. Anyway, I have some upcoming travel, but I think they'll be nice visits. I'm probably heading to PA the first week of December, so I hope the winter weather holds off for me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

what a day...

Tuesday. A harmless day, right? No more 'case of the Mondays,' but not yet burnt out from a week full of work.

Surprisingly, this unsuspecting Tuesday has been quite entertaining for me. My day started with an invitation to join a local college's advisory board. I know, right??? That never happens! Well, at least it doesn't seem to happen to people like me. And in case you're, I don't have any qualifications. But, someone out there believed in me enough to reccomend me to the president of the school. I'll hear from him in the next couple of days. I'm quite nervous about it, but also very excited about this opportunity.

Then, while I was talking to Sherri at work (probably gabbing about the advisory board thing) my high heel broke right off my shoe! I tossed the spare high heel on to her desk, and we both shared a good laugh. I spent the rest of the day awkwardly limping around the office.

And for those of you who know me well, this next item won't really come as a suprise -- I spilled food on my brand new shirt. I picked up some new fall clothes from Kohl's a couple of weeks ago, and decided to wear one of the shirts today. I got lots of compliments on it, but then I trashed it by spilling some healthy-GwenythPaltrow-Cleanse dressing crap all over it. I sure hope the oil stains come out!

After lunch, about 1:30, a helicoptor started circling our office building. Come to find out, the Franklin and Nashville Metro police were searching for a bank robber. Yes, a robbery in Franklin in the middle of the day! Gasp.

Speaking of robbery, I am positive that Sean and I spotted a would-be car theif on Sunday afternoon. We were walking back to our car after church, which was parked in the Franklin parking garage on 4th ave (across from Puckett's grocery). Some punk with AWFUL acne (seriously, it was the worst case of pizza face I have ever seen in my life...) was suspiciously walking through the garage. He was alone, and I couldn't help but stare at him #1. Because of the acne, and #2. He's too young to drive, so why is he walking through the parking garage, and #3. He kept his right hand stuffed in his right pocket the entire time. It just wasn't a natural walking stride. I've spotted people stealing stuff from the mall before simply because they were walking awkwardly. Anyway, back to the car theif...I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, thinking "Well, maybe he's meeting his mom in the parking garage???" But no, that was not the case. I should always trust my instincts - and my instincts were telling me that this kid was up to NO GOOD. He disappeared behind a black BMW...but then someone spotted him, so he quickly came out from behind the car and waved at them. It was really bizarre. Clearly, the BMW didn't belong to him. Like I said, he wasn't old enough to drive. After he was spotted, Pizza Face sped up his pace and quickly walked out of the parking garge. His plan to steal stuff out of fancy Franklin cars was ruined by the hundreds of church goers picking up their vehicles in the garage. Next time he sets up a job, I'm sure he'll check the local church schedules first.

So...where was I? Oh yes, weird things that happened today. I think I shared everything with you. Of course, the day isn't over just yet. I still have a softball game at 8:00, and another one at 9. I'm hoping that the games are rained out. I've had a mild headache all day (probably because the rain is moving in), and I just don't feel like playing. I never really feel like playing, but I especially don't feel like playing tonight. A 9:00 game? That shouldn't be legal. It's way too late for old people like me.

Also, I owe you an update on the diet. I haven't fallen off the wagon yet. Still no sugar, fat or dairy. I lost 5 lbs in 5 days. Keep in mind, I started with my "vacation" weight. I think that my body would've naturally dropped 1 or 2 lbs after vacation. But still, I feel really proud that I found the will power to eat so clean (even for a short amount of time). I was scared that depriving my body of so much food and junk would make me feel weak. Yes, I've noticed a difference in the way I feel (mostly hungry), but I was still able to do a decent workout last night. I haven't had any fainting spells due to a lack of eating. I call it a success.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gwenyth Paltrow is trying to kill me

It's about 10 p.m. on Saturday night. Sean mowed the yard and spent the rest of the day watching football. I did a bit of kitting with my friend Bethany this morning. We went to Bliss Yarns in Brentwood - always a wonderful experience! I taught her how to knit, and I started working on a hat to wear this fall. I spent the rest of the day doing domestic chores (and Sean pitched in, too!).

Last night we went to see Trevor sing with his new band. He is a total rockstar, and really knows how to work a crowd. It's not really my style of music, but I enjoyed his singing. Boy's got a great pair of pipes!

Tomorrow will probably be more domestic stuff, like getting organized for the week, paying bills, finishing laundry, etc. We've been playing it low-key since we got home from the beach. We enjoyed the better part of last week sunning on the beach, gorging on delicious seafood, and doing a little bit of shopping. Because of our recent over-indulging (ok, maybe "recent" isn't the right word - we've been doing this all summer), I decided it was time to clean up my act. More specifically, I wanted to clean up up my eating act. While we were in Destin, I noticed that my jeans were snug, I was bloated and having indigestion (sexy, i know...) So, I made up my mind to go on a 7 day diet called Cleanse.

A few months ago, I caught a late night show with Gwenyth Paltrow as a guest. I really like Gwenyth, and I'd like to think we'd be friends if I, too, were a famous movie star. Of course, Gwenyth was perfectly lovely throughout the interview, and she was promoting her website She also recommended this Cleanse diet that she tried, and said it was successful for her. So, I don't know why, but I wanted to try it, and I thought now would be the perfect time.

First, you should know that I modified the diet to suit my taste and lifestyle. The 7 day menu requires lots of blender use. Instead of making a different soup every day, I decided to stick to 1 soup - homemade miso soup. And instead of the various "breakfasts" they suggested, I'm sticking to the Blueberry Smoothie. Other than that, the diet is basically lots and lots of veggies and liquids. No sugars, no breads, no animal fat, no fruit (except for the blueberries), no caffine, no added salt, and no dairy. The dinners each night are steamed tilapia and steamed greens.

Remember those scenes in I Love Lucy when Lucy would start obnoxiously crying? Yah, that's what I feel like doing right now. I'm not used to this dieting thing. I'm in detox mode, my body is craving EVERYTHING, and I don't like it. I've been hungry for 2 days. GWENYTH PALTROW IS TRYING TO KILL ME!!! No, not really. I've actually been eating a fair amount of calories, considering that this is a cleansing detox diet and everything...

I'm not expecting to lose weight - that's not the purpose of this exercise for me (although, a few pounds would be nice. I'll let you know the outcome). I was just feeling so icky on the inside that I wanted to rid my body of that feeling. I want to eat extremely clean food and get my focus back on healthy eating.

Day 2 is already over, and I know I can make it through day 3 tomorrow. As for days 4-7...those are going to be difficult.

I'll leave you with a few pictures from our trip to the beach. Ciao

Waiting to have dinner at Red Bar in Grayton Beach

Adrienne, Luca, and Sean are ready to dig into our homemade feast:
mussels, shrimp, steak, salad, risotto, and garlic bread

Hanging out at the beach -
we played frisbee, paddle ball (which we sucked at), people-watched,
and of course, worked on our tans

While getting 36 oysters at The Boat House, we got to hear a man play the saw.
yup - just a saw...the kind that cuts wood

View from our condo - Luau at Sandestin

Jordano's famous 3-inch-deep-toppings pizza. You want some?

Looking up at our high rise

The last sunset - it was sad times. We had a great time at the beach, and especially loved having Luca and Adrienne there with us to share in the fun.

And yes, even MORE oysters