Thursday, February 28, 2013

Coffee Talk: Joy Dare Collection



Oh Coffee Talk time.

Parenting has been a struggle recently.  The lying.  The blaming. The crying. The carelessness. Ugh.  He can be so sweet one moment and so very upsetting the next.  Me being sick hasn’t increased my level of patience either.  Oh and don’t get me started on the lack of homework and the condescending email from his teacher when I asked about the lack of homework.  Ahhh!!!

Instead of ranting this entire post, I want to talk about the “Joy Dare Collection” that I am participating in.  It consists of writing down approximately 3 gifts every day of the year and is otherwise known as the “Count 1,000 Gifts” dare!  I love it!

Feb 28 – Three gifts from the past that help you trust in the future
  • 1.       My childhood education where values, morals, hard work and a love of learning were instilled in me.  If I have to home school my children, they will have a strong education that they will be proud of.
  • 2.      The love and patience my parents shared with each and every child.
  • 3.      The times when I cried myself to sleep because I thought I was fat, ugly and had no friends, yet my mother and father would stay with me, tell me I was beautiful and love me.  Today I am proud of the woman I am and think very highly of myself.  I am beautiful and I deserve to be happy. 


Please feel free to join in and share what three gifts from the past are that help you trust in the future.  I’d love to hear!

Here are the calendars for January, February, March and April!

JoyDareCollection_Page1
Much love. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Born on a Blue Day"

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of of an Autistic Savant 
by Daniel Tammet



In accordance with my new year's resolution to read 24 books this year, Born on a Blue Day was the 2nd book I read, but the 3rd one that I am blogging about.  This book was recommended to me by my amazing cousin who rivals me in my love for learning.  She is currently studying abroad in the beautiful country of Ireland, where I too studied abroad.  She's following in some solid footsteps :)

Ok, so back to the book.  It's good. Really good.  It is a memoir about his life from his birth through his current life.  The feelings, colors and images that he associates with numbers are mind blowing.  While he has a special relationship with numbers, his true love is language.  He can learn a language within 4 days.  It's outstanding!  I've always been interested in mental abilities and this story just adds to my curiosity.  

Much love. 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Gardening Tips

I was born with a green thumb thanks to my two gardening parents.  My dad is the flower, tree, landscaping gardener, while my mom is the vegetable gardener all the way!  I grew up picking flowers to make bouquets for friends and family, eating cherry tomatoes off the vine, and being sent to the garden to gather lettuce, zucchini  green beans, snow peas, tomatoes and the list goes on.  Gardens are beautiful, but they take a loving and hardworking hard to make them that way.  Now that I live on my own, I too have my own miniature gardens.  I've been asked in the past to share some tips for those of you who have never gardened before or have had bad luck in the past.

vegetable garden

{Plan}
Envision your garden...a garden that is realistic given your schedule and resources...then plan it out.  Depending on your outdoor space, you may only be able to have herbs while others may be able to have 5 tomato plants, 5 pepper plants, herbs, watermelon, zucchini, etc.  No garden is too big or too small as long as you can care for it.  

{Know the Sunlight Recommended}
This is vital.  Some plants thrive on shade while others need full sunlight (6-8 hours of direct sunlight).  Most vegetables need full sunlight.  That alone will limit where your garden will thrive.  Flowers, trees, bushes, etc. vary in regards to sunlight.  

{Common Reasons Plants Wilt or Die}
Most plants die for the following reasons: 
1. A lack of water - if the leaves are dry, it's a good sign that the plant needs more water.  You many be watering your plants daily, but if you are doing it when the sun is high, the plants are absorbing less water.  Always water early morning or evening so the ground can absorb the water.  I've found that replenishing soil after watering helps to maintain moisture in the ground as well.  
2. Too much water - if the earth is never drying up, the plant is mushy (water-logged), ease up on the watering.  
3. Root Suffocation - This is when the roots of the plant do not have enough space or nutrients in the ground.  Plants often die when they are in a pot that is too small for their root structure.  If you buy a tomato plant in a large pot, I recommend transplanting it to a large pot or planting it in the ground.  Tomato roots are supposed to have a few feet to grow.  If you purchase a plant or seeds, there will be instructions on the proper distance to leave between plants. Abide by the rules. 
4. Bugs - Different regions have different bugs.  I wish I could help you, but I've noticed that different bugs attacked my roots in PA, VA and CA...  It all depends on what you are planting and where you live.  

{When To Seed & Plant}
This is a general rule of thumb, but each region has a different No Frost date. This website is a good resource to determine your regions "No Frost" date. 
I usually wait and buy most of my plants in May because I never know when to start my seeds indoors. This handy little chart lets you know when to start seeds indoors as well as when to plant outdoors.

I'm not big on seeding because I don't have the resources at the moment.  If I had a sunny window or the room for a greenhouse, I'd seed my brains out, but sadly, I have a very shaded house and I'm lacking the funds for a greenhouse.  With that, I tend to tromp over to Home Depot and pick the healthiest looking plants for my garden in mid to late April and then again in late May.  I like to plant in waves so that my veggies and herbs last longer.  

{Essential Gardening Items}
Gloves - I am a huge fan of wearing gloves so that I can get down and dirty.  Gardening is not a clean hobby.  I get muddy and I love it.  When I plant, the soil is always wet.  I let the hose run for 15 minutes or so while I dig and plant.  When you transplant plants, watering the soil heavily is vital. 
Fertilizer - I mix my soil with fertilizer because I don't trust that I have rich soil.  If you compost then use that as your fertilizer for sure!  I have a mini compost pile that I turn a few times a year.  There are a ton of worms in it, so you know it's good!  The more worms, the better!  
Shovel - Turn your soil before you plant and after your garden has retired for the year.
Time - Gardens take time on a daily basis.  It's an escape for me.  I talk to me veggies as they grow, adore picking basil and tomatoes for a margarita pizza, yell at bugs for invading, and eat the cherry tomatoes before coming inside.  I only grow cherry tomatoes so I can eat them off the vine.   

{Keeping Deer & Rabbits Out}
I've heard of several old wives tales to keep pests from eating your garden such as planting marigolds and sprinkling the dirt from your vacuum because it smells like human, but the one that works the best is a fence. I am not one to use pesticides because I do eat straight from the vine and I think using chemicals is contradictory to growing your own vegetables.  

{Tricks}
I grow chives from chives.  I buy them at the grocery store, use the stalks and put the bulbs in a jar with a little later on a windowsill.  Before you know it, the bulbs will start sprouting.  Walla, you have chives.  I hear you can do this with several other plants, but I've never done it.  Pinterest is a great source is nifty tricks.  
At the first frost of the season, pick all of your unripe veggies, put them in a brown paper bag and put them on a windowsill in direct sunlight until they ripen; it works for me. 

I realize that this post focused mainly on vegetables, but if you are interested in reading about flowers and decorative plants, please let me know and I will write a post about them.

Much love & Happy Gardening! It's really peaceful and quite rewarding!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Beautiful Sunday!

Saturday it rained.
I read a lot.
Drank a copious amount of hot tea.
Snuggled with my puppy.
Went to Church.
Cleaned.
I played with my camera.
We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on the 20th. 
He's a cutie!
He was my little model. 
Sunday the sun dominated.
I love it when the sun sends the clouds running for the hills.
I hiked with my puppy.
Ran with my bestie and her pups.
Grilled dinner.
Watched the Oscars!







Signs of the coming season are popping out and I am happy.  After the dreariness of winter, I am excited for sunshine and daisies. Literally. 

Much love.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book: “Your Baby In Pictures”


In accordance with my new year’s resolution, I am reading book styles that I haven’t read in the past.  While this is my second photography book for the year and only the second book that I have blogged about, I have been reading other styles and I will be blogging about them.  This is technically the 3rd book that I have finished this year and I am currently reading two others…Daring Greatly and Girls In White Dresses.

Your Baby In Pictures: The new parents’ guide to photographing your baby’s first year By: Me Ra Koh
No, I am not pregnant, but I have lots of friends who are either pregnant or have little ones and I have a strong desire to capture little ones in their essence.  This book is absolutely perfect for my goal.  I don’t want to capture upper posed pictures.  I want to capture the character and details of the child that only his mother and father really notice.  This book breaks down the baby’s first year into four stages: 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, and 9-12 months.  For each stage, Me Ra suggests 10 moments to capture.  These ten moments are everyday moments that are fleeting.  If you have a baby or know someone who has a baby, please tell them to look at this book or her website.  She tells you how to capture each of the photos with a DSLR and a Point & Shoot, so you don’t need a fancy camera to take amazing pictures and document your baby’s uniqueness. 

For each photo, Me Ra details the When, Prep, For P&S Users, For DSLR Users, Composure and Capture.  She provides just enough detail in a very simple and easy to understand fashion.  I am in love with her style because it captures what I see when I look at a baby.  The precious toes, adorable facial expressions that are constantly changing, the pride at being able to stand, the love pats while nursing.  It’s a heartfelt photography book!

Some of my favorite moments to capture are…

0-3 Months
First Breath, First Cry
Warm and Quiet: Bath Time
Nose to Nose
Tiny Yawns
The Fleeting Hair Swirl
Tiny Hands
The Big Bed
Tiny Cries
How Baby Wants to be Held

3-6 Months
Sleeping Baby
Tummy Time
Peek-a-boo!
Baby Hair
The Push-up
Baby & Toddler together
Sitting up Against Mommy
Baby faces
Standing Proud

6-9Months
The Unexpected Favorite Toy
Fascination with Hands, Toes, Tongue
Love Pats While Feeding
Flexibility
Standing
Baby & Dog Kisses
On the Move

9-12 Months
Chunky Legs!
Shoes
Messy Mealtime
Climbing the Stairs
Crazy Things/Positions They Love
Attempting to be a Big Kid Moments
Standing/Walking Proud
First Birthday

This book isn’t for everyone, but it’s a good one if you want to take pictures of children.  It’s also great for taking pictures that tell a story and capture your baby.  Lots of photos lack personality, but these are quite the contrary.  It’s the emotions and personalities and love that exude in these photos that I have fallen in love with. 

Much love.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On the Road to Baptism

On Saturday, little man and I headed to St. Bede's in Williamsburg, Virginia for the Rite of Sending.  Since he is over the age of seven, he is in a children's version of RCIA called CICA.  This Saturday he met a bishop for the first time.  He was so nervous to meet him and compared it to meeting the Chuck e Cheese mascot when he was little.  Apparently he was scared of the Chuck e Cheese mascot and remembers it vividly.  I laughed and so did everyone around us when he told me that. 


During the service, he learned of his Rites and Responsibilities as a christian.  The few that stood out to me were the responsibility to be an active member of the christian community at home, in the church, in the community, at work, spiritually;  living a christian life and spreading the Word of God through your thoughts, words and actions are your responsibility in addition to attending Mass, receiving the Sacraments, etc. The Rite to ask questions and receive answers, correct, thorough answers, stood out above above all others.  It could have been the delivery or that it spoke to me, but I really liked hearing that it is our Rite to ask and to be answered regardless of the question.  This is the beginning of little man's journey and he is responsible for his continual spiritual learning.  



The church was gorgeous!  We both loved the crucifix and the organ pipes! The crucifix is moved around the church floor to various locations depending on the season.  Being able to be very close and even touch the crucifix was surreal.  It's normally hung high for all to genuflect to.   




Organ pipes and horns at the back of the Church
Organ pipes at the front of the Church

Being Happy Is Healthy.


The past few months have been a struggle for me mentally and while they haven’t always been pleasant…lots of ugly crying breakdowns, engulfing myself in a book or my work, staying busy to avoid conflict, praying my heart out and an insane amount of personal reflection, BUT I am finally making a breakthrough and I am elated.  I’ve been on a journey.  I didn’t know what that journey was when it started, but now that I am well into it, I’ve realized that it is just an extension of me learning about me and accepting the woman I am.  I am happy with who I am.  I am proud of the woman I’ve become, the friends I have, the work I do.  While my life isn’t perfect, it is my life and I am in control of it.  I’m ok if people don’t like me.  I’m not going to jive with everyone, but simple respect is an expectation of mine.  I strive for greatness and I fail constantly, but it’s ok because I get back up.  How one handles failure is true sign of strength.  Failure is rough, but knowing that failure, acceptance, awards, grades, are not a recipe for how much you are loved or appreciated, but rather a recipe for personal guidelines.  I know what I am capable of and when I don’t reach or succeed my abilities, I am frustrated.  I don’t love myself less.  I challenge myself and push myself more. 

Everyone reacts differently to events in life.  There isn’t an exact recipe for the right way to react.  There are ways that are unhealthy to react, but that’s a different topic for a different day.  I’m not a counselor or psychiatrist.  Accepting other’s reactions and not judging them especially when you are passionate about the topic or are feeling challenged is really difficult and totally frustrating for me.  I was raised in an extremely accepting family.  Being one of six kids, 2 of which were half siblings, and 27 years between the oldest and youngest, we were diverse.  My brother who is 23 months younger than I are the only two that were ever in a similar place at the same time (high school, college).  The rest of us have always been in different stages of life.  It’s really neat being smack dab in the middle and seeing how my older siblings handled things so differently from my younger siblings and vice versa.  Our interests are wide and varying, but we all love each other unconditionally.  That’s my norm.  I dream of a world as accepting as my family. I’m an idealist, I know, but it would be awesome!

My family has always loved me.  They loved me through my adorable toddler years, my emotional teen years when I hated my body and wanted nothing more than for a boy to like me, my slightly crazy college years, my super driven/channel vision moments, and my insanely emotional times.  I still cry when I leave my parents’ house.  My feelings are extremely visible.  I love that I am emotional.  Does that mean that I will cry when I’m happy and when I’m sad?  You betcha!  Does it mean that when I’m in a discussion and am having trouble getting my point across that I get agitated and frustrated with myself? Yup.  Does it mean that if I know you are capable of greatness and are shorting yourself that I am going to try to do everything in my power to make sure that you know you are loved?  Hell yea. Does it mean that when I get tired, I collapse mentally, physically and emotionally? Sadly, yes.  Does it mean that you may get my ugly side if you wake me up or “test” me during my collapse?  For sure.

Being happy with who you are, the life you live, the job you have, your dreams…is healthy.  I’ve been the giver and receiver of lines like you have it better than so and so, at least you have your health, financially you are just fine, life’s not easy, and I hate it.  Being happy shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be the norm.  There seems to be a constant so and so has it worse than you, so be happy.  NO!  Be happy because you love who you are. If you don’t love yourself, change something. Fight for happiness.  Believe me, it’s worth it. 

I heard this song yesterday and while I have heard it a million times, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it the way I did yesterday.

Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson

Happy is the heart that still feels pain
Darkness drains and light will come again
Swing open up your chest and let it in
Just let the love, love, love begin

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants to be loved

[…]

Everybody feels the love
Everybody steals the love
Everybody heals with love

Oh, oh, oh
Just let the love, love, love begin

[…]

Let the love, love, love begin is such a great line.  Love yourself, Love your neighbor, Love God.  If we all do that there’d be a whole lotta love and happy hearts in this world.  Oh how sweet that would be!

Much love. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Coffee Talk Time


Coffee talk is a little different starting NOW!  Instead of answering questions each week, I’m just going to chat about what’s going on in this crazy, confused and in my opinion gloriously interesting mind of mine.  Just imagine we are sitting at a little cafĂ© with a hot cup of our favorite blend in our hand.  That would be truly amazing for me because my life is crazy right now.

So, my job title changed e a few weeks ago from Financial Analyst: Corporate Brands to Financial and Sales Analyst: ALL BRANDS.  My responsibilities basically tripled overnight and I’m having a love hate relationship with it.  I love that I am busy because my days fly by, but I hate that I am constantly slammed and everything is a fire drill.  I’m scared about making mistakes and I hate that feeling.  Thank heavens I am not above owning up to my mistakes and making them correct; it’s rare this day and age.  A few higher ups are all about placing blame, pointing fingers and finding errors.  Sooo irritating!  We are all a team here people.  Let’s work together and not function in an environment of fear.  Now, I’m just waiting for the salary increase to kick in because I deserve it.  I rarely think that I deserve something, but in this case, I have worked my butt off and feel extremely underpaid at times, so bring on the pay raise.  My bosses are amazing, so I really can't complain, but heck, it's coffee talk i.e. girl talk and this is what consumes my thoughts because it consumes my day.  I am really much happier with the change because I need change and continuous challenge at work.  If I don't have it, I get bored and that's never a good thing.  

Being stressed and super busy at work is tiring, but I can’t stop once work is done.  I have to be a mama and a wife when I get home.  Hubby is still laid up, so the morning routine, lunch making, dinner making and clean-up, house work, etc. are all my responsibility. 

Feelings of shame and guilt have been consuming my body.  Oh Lord, they are not fun.  I am fighting them away and trying to be true to myself, open to criticism, excited about life, but sometimes they just creep in and rock my world.  Sunday night for example…I finally got everything done for the week, got into bed, opened my work email, saw that there was an issue with a report I did that was resolved and proceeded to bawl my eyes out.  I don’t mean a sniffle.  I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.  I must have fallen asleep because I woke up with puffy, crusty, nasty eyes and the first thing someone told me at work was “You look exhausted.”  Breathe in, breathe out, smile…

The answer to all my problems is that I MUST DANCE MORE!  Speaking of dance, I have my Waltz and triple Swing entrances choreographed for my March competition!  Oh I am in love!!  Thank you Taras and Lynn for entrances!  I promise to make you proud!


On a SUPER HAPPY note, my friend had her baby!!!! (The friend I took maternity pictures of.)  I am so beyond happy and in love with her little bundle of joy!  He was born this past week and weighs 8 lbs 12 oz.  Oh my heavens, Calvin is simply perfect!  I could stare at him and touch his soft skin all day long.  He is so healthy and strong and just screams BOY!! My heart is happy!   I love babies!!  He is very lucky to have such wonderful parents!  Congratulations new parents!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope you feel loved!!  I will be staying in with my patient.  On a side note, I could NEVER be a nurse.  It is not my calling, but I am truly thankful for all the nurses out there!  Thank you for doing what you do.  Your job isn’t always glorious, but I hope it’s rewarding!

Much love.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Little Boys & Valentine's Day


So, I was being extra thoughtful and bought a little Valentine heart for little man to give to his little girlfriend.  He was totally excited about it!  That evening I walk into his room and he had a ribbon tied around the heart with a note and…a $5 bill.  Oh No Way is he giving his girlfriend, who I’m not sure actually likes him because she is always hanging out with other boys too, his allowance money from the past month.  I resolved that issue seamlessly with one swipe of the $5 bill. 

So, now I think we are on the same page with this Valentine’s Day present thing.  Boy O Boy was I wrong!  I should never assume that a 10 year old boy thinks even remotely like I do; it’s a mistake I make often.  I walked into his room the next night and I see that the plastic around the heart box is off.  That’s odd.  I open the box to see if he put something in it and it’s EMPTY.  He ate the chocolates. Ahh!!  I grabbed the box and just stared at him.  He looked at me and then down at the floor immediately and said I didn’t want to give them to her.  I’m making her something else. He is a smart boy.  He knew he wasn’t allowed to eat those candies. I simply told him that he had just eaten his Valentine’s Day present and I hope he enjoyed them. When I go out of my way to buy a present for him to give to someone else, that does not mean that he can then decide to keep it for himself. 

Ugh...this is just the beginning.  A little lesson on not buying, literally wish cash, someone's attention is necessary.  He is the "yes man" with his friends most of the time and that scares me.  I want his friends and girls to like him for who he is.  He's sweet, a little space cadet-ish at times, super energetic, adorable and overall a great kid.    

Much love. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Little Back Surgery

***I received permission from my husband before posting.  I am not a horrible wife. I just enjoy documenting life, the good, bad and ugly.  This is ugly.***


My husband has had back pain since May 2012.  At first the doctors thought that his glut was tight/cramped around his sciatica nerve, so he went to physical therapy for a few months.  The pain only worsened, so he got an X-ray and his spine was a little out of whack, but nothing crazy.  An MRI was the next step...it was a bulging disc. More, but different physical therapy was prescribed.  The pain still worsened, so he saw a neurological surgeon.  The first opinion was to get a cortisone shot.  I didn't like that option at all.  I am anti cortisone shots.  The second opinion was surgery in two weeks. While a drastic change to the shot, the better option and the only option that would actually fix the problem as opposed to masking the problem. 

On Friday, Ryan and I got to the hospital around 11am and he immediately was checked in, clothing stripped, blood pressure taken and photos snapped.


Then came the tights.  They remind me of my gramma because she has poor circulation in her legs.  It was quite amusing for me to see him in stockings and him experience the "itch" that comes along with dry skin and tights. 



After the immediate check-in, we waited and waited until 2:30PM, a full two hours after the pre op was supposed to begin.  This was one of the hardest parts of the day.  The anticipation of surgery, being surrounded by other patients, smelling those hospital smells and trying to be super calm and supportive were agonizing for me.  I focused on reading and observing how others were handling their nerves.  If I ever had to do a study on behavior in nervous/tense situations, I'd head to a pre op waiting room.  

When we finally were called to pre op, Ryan was a happy boy.  He handles his nerves by cracking jokes and laughing.  I on the other hand get really quiet.  So, while he laughed and joked around, I hid behind the camera.  (My excuse was that these pictures are for his mother that always took pictures of their boo boos!)



The neurological surgeon stopped by and made sure were didn't have any questions, then the anesthesiologist stopped by  and prepped him for the "good stuff."  


With IV in, I knew he wasn't going anywhere, so I took pictures of his feet.  There is absolutely nothing flattering about hospitals aside from babies!!  Adorable, super sweet and lovable babies!!  (My friend is in labor and I am soo excited!)


The anesthesiologist came back and gave him the good stuff.  Literally, in less than 3 seconds he couldn't speak clearly and started apologizing to me and puckering up.  His eyes were glazed and he was gone in about 10 seconds.  



He was rolled away and for the next three hours I waited in a room with other people waiting for their loved ones to come out of surgery.  There was a first time father waiting to hear about his baby and wife who was undergoing an emergency C-section; both mam and baby are doing just fine!  A few kidney stone patients...both 21 year old boys.  They are ok as well.  Three hours is a long time to wait by yourself with complete strangers.  It wasn't enjoyable, but it wasn't horrible thanks to the people in that waiting room.

I finally saw the surgeon walk into the waiting room and look at me.  I knew instantly that he was fine.  Eyes and body language tell you a lot.  The doctor told me that I he can stroll with me and eat dinner with me, but that he won't be driving me or dancing with me anytime soon.  That was his way of saying everything went as planned, but he did just have back surgery, so be patient.

The next time I saw him, he was being rolled up to his room, didn't recognize me immediately and looked like this. Thank God I have been around hospitals quite a bit because if I hadn't known that he was going to look like death was knocking on his door, I would have puked, cried and absolutely freaked out.  Instead, I said Oh you look good honey, how ya feeling? No response.  He was in and out for about another 45 minutes.  


It was a rough night for the both of us.  There were certain things that he had to be able to do before a certain time and he hadn't successfully completed them by the time I was sent home around 9pm.  Needless to say, I worried and tossed and turned all night.  He on the other hand completed the functions, was drugged up and slept like a husband...like a rock.


The next time I saw him, little man was with me and Ryan was up and walking.  Jared laughed at his robe, socks, pretty much anything. Ryan thought he was invincible on Saturday when he walked out of the hospital.  Little did he know that his world would be rocked come bedtime. 


Last night and today, Sunday, were rough.  Lots of pain, little movement.  Thankfully, I am in my productive zone.  The house is clean, laundry done, dinner prepped and bagged for the entire week, science plant cell project finished, puppy walked, food shopping done, church attended, and shoes purchased! Oh and now, I am blogging, drinking some nonalcoholic Ginger Beer that is amazing and watching the Grammy's!!!

Have a wonderful week!  If I don't blog much, it's because I'm acting as a single parent this week and that is not an easy task. 

Much love.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Coffee Talk #21

It's Thursday...my Friday.  Tomorrow I will be at the hospital all day waiting for my husband to get out of back surgery.  Please keep him in your prayers.  He has a really bad bulging disc that is touching/pinching his sciatica and causing horrible pain.  Basically, the surgeon will cut away the portion of the disc that is touching the nerve and shape it back to a standard disc.  It's pretty standard, but still scary.  I appreciate any and all prayers you have to offer up for him.  Thank you.

Now onto Coffee Talk with Natalie!!  Sorry I've missed a few weeks.  I've been a busy lady getting promoted, dancing my butt off, running 5ks, celebrating friends and living life.

1. What's for dinner tonight?
Oh Thursdays are normally Trivia night at the Cantina, so it’s Mexican!! 
BUT tonight is different because hubby gets back surgery tomorrow...I haven't even thought of dinner...maybe breakfast, maybe a special dinner...
 
2. Top 3 tv shows you never miss.
The Bachelor. Every season. It’s not for the quality of the show.  It’s the company.  Friends, Cider, Chocolate, Girl Time!

I don’t watch shows at their regular air time… I do love me some How I Met Your Mother, GLee and Once Upon A Time though!

3. What type of body wash are you currently using?
Nivea Touch of Sparkle!  It’s my favorite!
NIVEA Touch of Sparkle Moisturizing Body Wash - 16.9 oz

4. Take a photo of what's in front of you. 


Can't it's confidential. Not.  Just too lazy to take a picture of my computer... 

5. What's your favorite fruit?
Oh  Man!  This is hard.  I love fruit.  I think it all depends on the season.  Right now, citrus is rocking it!  This summer the melons and peaches will be my go to.  Next fall, the apples are all mine!  All time favorite fruit…blueberries or Kiwi…


6. Spring is almost here (well, it's already here for us Floridians haha), show me your go-

to outfit!
I'm a shorts, flip flops, comfy cute shirt and some spiffy accessories kind of girl!

warmer weather

Much love.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Friends, Runs, Food


Sometimes you just need to dance in oversize jerseys, run a 5k like it’s a roller coaster ride, splurge on sushi, have a girl’s night of cider and  P.S. I Love You while puppies lick your face and insist on sitting on you, clean your entire house, do far too much laundry, go on lots of short walks for fresh air, take short couch naps, cook for friends, and watch football all in one weekend.  And that’s what I did in a nutshell.  It was fun.   I totally, completely, unconditionally love my friends.  As one of my friends said this weekend, I think my quota of cool friends just ran out because I tried hanging out with other friends and…they didn’t like me like you girls do!   Bahahaha!  I LOVE my friends!  Obviously those other girls just weren’t cool enough to hang with the likes of us. (If you know us, you know you have to be fairly special to enjoy our company!)


Roller Coaster Runs...that’s what happens when you run a 5k with a 10 year old little boy who has zero concept of pacing himself.  He sprints off the starting line with a handful of other crazies and gets about 100 feet before he starts a run and then about a half mile in he has a side stitch at which point I remind him to breath.  Oh yes, I followed him.  I didn’t sprint at the beginning though…I just ran and by the time he was holding his side, I was right next to him.  It’s a miracle to him that I caught him especially because as he was sprinting he kept turning around and waving to me.  The first mile and half was brutal…speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down.  Finally I took control of him and made him count his steps to help pace himself.  It worked, but that first mile and half had already taken a toll on his energy, so I got right next to him and made him stay with me, not ahead of me, not behind me, with me.  He did and I could tell it was much better for him.  You always sprint at the end, so I prepped him for it and when it came time, I started sprinting and I hear I can’t feel my legs from little man.  I won. I know, I am soo mean for not letting him win.  What can I say?  I am one of six kids and I am competitive by nature.  Plus he doesn’t have siblings to beat him, so I’ve taken it upon myself to enjoy winning, while I can. Before long he will be crushing me in races. 


He finished in 28:40 which was awesome!  His last 5k was a 32/33min time, so he shaved a full 3 minutes off!  The last time he ran, stopped, ran, stopped, so I think I proved my point that pacing is key because stopping during a race is never a good thing.  Always keep moving, even if you have to walk, keep covering ground.


After the race, I took a nap.  It was glorious!  The puppy enjoyed a little snuggle time with her mama too!  Quick naps are one of my favorite lazy girl things to do.  I used to take afternoon naps in college and oh my heavens, they were life savers.  I revived my love for them and man, they are still life savers.  When life is insane, a 20 minute power nap is just what this lady needs. 

The evening ensued with Mass, overly priced sushi that was good, not great this time, but good.  They gave us octopus as part of our sampler.  Yea, can’t do the texture.  Eeek!  Hubby had a migraine, so off to bed he went and a spur of the moment girl’s night happened!  Hannah and her pups came over, P.S. I Love You was on TV and ciders were chillin.  It was exactly what we both needed.  A little Irish cuteness, puppy snuggles, and girl talk make for special moments! 

Sunday Funday…I cleaned. A. LOT. Then I cooked.  Little man and I made rice crispy treats for the first time ever!! It was fun and successful!! On a side note, I hate peeling eggs.  Deviled eggs are supposed to be simple, right?  I am challenged when it comes to making hard boiled eggs.  Some peel perfectly and others…the majority…give me major issues.  After the eggs were peeled, people started pouring in for a Super Bowl Party!  How ‘bout that half time show!  Beyonce is one sexy lady! I was really hoping for a little Who runs the world? GIRLS!! as a closing, but beggars can’t be choosers.  For the record, if I was in that stadium when the power went out, I would have freaked out. Even watching it, I was ready for it to explode.  Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s were being said in my head.  Thank God it wasn’t an attack.  I hate that my first thought is that something terrible is about to happen, but it was.

He is a good little baker.  He seriously helps me in the kitchen!

Working the mallows :)

Hey Brother!  Don't forget about me! Drop something Paw-lease!
The 49ers lost.  Hubby is sad. I reminded him that the Giant’s won the World Series and he shouldn’t be selfish because my teams were horrible this year.

Happy Monday! 4 days until Friday!

Much love. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Dance Dresses

After hours, and I mean HOURS, NIGHTS, DAYS, of attempting to choose the perfect smooth and rhythm dresses for my upcoming competition, I finally made my decisions! Before the big reveal, I'd like to thank my parents for answering my multiple emails about which dresses they like best, my best friend for being honest, picking the color Red Orange and telling me I have sexy legs, my dance friends for answering my multiple text messages and my family for dealing with my constant browsing and comments.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I present my rhythm dress!
Style as shown.
Color Red Orange (shown below).
This dress will be for Cha-Cha, Rumba, Triple Swing, Hustle, and Mambo.

And my smooth dress!
Color and style as shown!
This dress will be for Waltz, Tango and Foxtrot.

I am thrilled with my selections, but I want to hear your honest opinions!!
Much love.