Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving Back

It's Thanksgiving day, and this scene has been playing in my head in yesterday.

It's my most FAVORITE movie ever (at least tied with Singing In The Rain).  As I sit here, working on homework screwing around on facebook, listening to the rain, and smelling the food that EJ's cooking, I'm reflecting back on the year. It was wonderful but tough year. I got accepted into the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program at Friends University, EJ had a pretty big medical scare, but we finally got that under control, we survived our first year of marriage (being together for 7-1/2 years prior, you would think we would have this thing down, but apparently getting married really does change everything!), and just everyday life filled our year and made it fly by. With EJ's health problems and everything I'm learning and going though in the MFT program, I am realizing how much I have to be thankful for.

I am thankful for EJ and our health. To be completely honest, it had crossed my mind that he might be dying...not the case, thank God!! He is my best friend (sappy, I know!), my biggest supporter and encourager, he is always the voice of reason when I'm not able to be.

I am thankful for my family. For those that don't know, I do struggle with depression, and it tends to be worse in the winter and around the holidays. Part of that is due to not having my parents. This is/will be the second year without either one of my parents and it's hard. So I am thankful for the family that I do have. This year I feel it even more so as we have a family genogram project for one of my classes, and have been asked to learn more about my family. It has made me very sad to not have my parents, but makes me so thankful that I have my grandparents and aunts and uncles that care about me and are still in my life.

I am thankful for school. I am so grateful that I got into this amazing program, and am surrounded by such wonderful professors and classmates. I feel like it's where I belong. I may not always do the greatest, but I love it and am so excited to have a purpose and a direction for my future.

I am thankful for my furry four legged children. I love them so much, and they provide me with free entertainment :)

I am thankful for my friends. I love them so much, and they provide me with free entertainment :) They are there for me when I need them, and they always have my back!

I am thankful for so many things this year, and I hope everyone else has a moment to truly think about and savor the things that they are thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman

Overview from

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

My Thoughts:

To be honest, I only picked up this book because I love the Netflix show and was happy to learn that the first season had stayed pretty true to the book. Of course, Netflix has had to embellish quite a bit for entertainment value, but a lot of the people and scenarios in the book correlated with those in the show to a lesser degree. What I found profound about the book is that (one): Kerman was absolutely willing to due her time and pay for the consequences of her actions, even though all of it happened ten years prior to her conviction, and (two): during her time of transporting drug money, it was about the thrill and excitement of it all, but while she was in prison, she actually made a correlation to the women and families who are addicted to drugs. Working for these people that were transporting drugs into the country had inadvertently caused the demise of so many women and families who are addicted to these drugs and Kerman got a first hand look at how it has ruined their lives. I feel like that was the big lesson she learned while in prison.

I liked the actual true account of this story, but I don't fee that it was great enough for me to recommend to anyone unless they really like the show and also wanted to know about the true life events. I would probably just recommend sticking with the TV show.

Rating: C

Friday, July 3, 2015

Planning our Disney World Vacation - Part 1

Okay, I may be jumping the gun here. We are planning our next Disney trip for the fall of 2017, but it's never to early to start planning! So I thought I would take you along and share some tips on how we planned our last trip and what we are doing this time around.

Mickey Wreath in the Fall
So the first thing one should figure out is what time of year are you going and for how long. Once you have that in mind, you can start figuring out if there are any special events going on or how busy the parks are likely to be. In the springtime there is the Disney Flower & Garden Festival, late May and early July has Star Wars weekends for all those Jedis in training. Of course Christmas at Disney World is definitely on my bucket list for the future, but we had so much fun last fall, that is the time of year we decided to back in 2017. For us, fall is all about Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival, with Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party thrown in for good measure!

At the 2014 Food & Wine Festival

Once you have an idea of when you want to go the next important piece is the funds! Nobody has ever said that Disney World is a cheap vacation, however, I believe you get what you pay for when going to the 'World' and we don't mind splurging a little bit when we are there. So the Disney company, in all of it's infinite wisdom, has come out with their own vacation savings account - seriously, genius! Folks can head over to this website, ( figure out when you're going, get an idea for a budget and then figure out how often you would like to contribute to the account. From there the budgeting tool will tell you how much money you will need to set aside to reach your goal, and it will automatically withdraw that amount from your bank account. The other nice thing about this - it's not just for Disney World! You can use this account to save for your next Disney Cruise, Adventure by Disney (Hello, Italy!!), or even save up for a trip to Aulani (Disney's Hawain resort).

Example of Disney's Budgeting Tool

Since we are not actually able to book our Disney trip until next summer, this at least gets us started with our vacation fund growing without us really having to worry about it! It's just a couple of ideas and tools, but I hope that got you thinking and excited about your next Disney vacation!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

I Met a New York Times Bestselling Author!

Last Tuesday, our local bookstore, Watermark, hosted an author reading and signing with Deborah Harkness. She is the author of the All Souls Trilogy -A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of the Night, and The Book of Life. These books are full of the supernatural, history, science, time travel, and romance - really there's something for everyone!

Deborah started the evening off with a reading from the beginning of her latest book, The Book of Life, followed by her talking about the books and the characters and how they came to be. It was so interesting to hear about her work as a historian, and how she brought her love of history to her books and characters. She was so personable and down to earth when she spoke - it was such a treat to listen to her!

I was so happy I was able to attend the event, and I've promised myself to attend more author readings in the future!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Garage Sellin' It!

I have a love-hate relationship with garage sales. On one hand, one persons trash really is another persons treasure! I don't want this stuff anymore, and someone out there will pay me money to take it! On the other hand, once I've gone through my things I have to price them, pack them up and lug them to the sale (I have never had my own garage sale - I just take my stuff to other peoples' sales) and then unpack it at the garage sale.

Then there is the after-sale issue. All of my belongings that didn't sell have to be packed back up and lugged somewhere. Typically I'll take my stuff back home and wait for the next year's sale, but this year is different. I definitely thought about keeping my stuff (mostly clothes) for the next garage sale, but I realized I just want this stuff out of my space and out of my life, so I've boxed it up (again) and am taking it to Goodwill. I would like to keep it and try and get money for it, but there is something about looking in our storage room and seeing the space that was made from having that stuff gone!

What about you guys? Do you like having garage sales or do you just prefer to donate your things?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Grave Peril - Jim Butcher

Overview: (from

In all his years of supernatural sleuthing, Harry Dresden has never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone-or something-is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself.

This is the third installment of the Harry Dresden Series, and my favorite so far. I've definitely enjoyed the first two books, but while reading this one, I was actually curious as to what is going to happen to Harry and the other characters. The characters are starting to evolve, and we are learning more about their lives. I also really enjoy the writing, in that it's a dark book, but there are some great laugh out loud moments which lighten it up a bit. I'm really looking forward to reading more in this series. 

Rating: A

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week in Review: 3/9-3/15

I thought I would do a week in review to help keep myself accountable in my weight loss journey. I know this is probably not going to be the most excited post to read, but I feel like if I put it out there for the world to see, it might give me another reason to stay mindful of this stuff. I also picked Mondays to do the week in review because that is when I weigh myself - I find that also (sometimes) helps me reign it in a little on the weekends. And speaking of weighing in, I was up 0.6 pounds this week. Not the direction I want to go, but I'm not too upset about this being that I only tracked my food for 3 days.

So last week, I started off Monday with a baby goal of drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day. I'm usually not great about drinking water - I would much rather have coffee or a Diet Dr. Pepper - but I've found that drinking 64 ounces isn't really that hard if I am actually thinking about doing it. I did awesome at this this week, and only missed hitting this goal on Wednesday and Saturday when I only drank about 40 ounces.

My step goal each day is 5,000 - I sit most of the day at my job, and this one is hard because I hardly get close to this most days. The majority of days I get about 3,000 steps. I've been a little bit more mindful about this this week and have tried to get up once in a while and walk around our showroom to get some extra steps in.

My food's not great. I just started tracking all my food on Friday and for the last three days that I've tracked it, I've been over my calorie allotment. The weekends are when I typically go overboard and eat out a lot, so I'm not surprised by that. My goal this upcoming week is to continue to track EVERYTHING. I'm not super concerned right now about really staying within my calories, I just want to get in the habit of tracking everything I eat - that in and of itself will help a bit and make me more aware of what I'm eating and how much of it.

EJ and I were having a conversation about this last night - we've lost weight before, we know we are physically capable of it, but I think it is mostly a mental thing. It is so hard to break out of those habits and not rely on food when we have relied so much on food in the past. I told him that I am doing this in super baby steps. When I start graduate school in the fall (yay, me! I'm super excited) I will, no doubt, be incredibly stressed and tired, and if I can have these new habits in place, maybe I won't gain 60 more pounds in the next 2 years!

So in this upcoming week, I'm still drinking the water, I'm going to track all of my food everyday, and I am going to try to work on getting more steps in during the day.

What are some of the goals you're working on this week? Let's keep each other accountable!