Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Year Simple Green Smoothie Challenge

 
 
Does anyone want to join in on this with me??  It's free to sign up and I've done it before.  I actually did about 40 days straight of having a green smoothie each day.
 
Sign up HERE!
 
Each week you will receive a shopping list in your email Inbox.  So yes, you do have to spend money but it's on fruits and vegetables.  I'm pairing this with continuing Couch to 5K.
 
The wedding is 4 months away so I'm really determined to slim down a bit and get rid of this bloat I've been feeling for the last few months!
 
You do NOT need a fancy schmancy $400 Vitamix blender.  I have a Nutribullet but a regular blender will do just fine.
 
Soooo, who's in?!
 
Think GREEN!
 
:)


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Recap

Since I'm feeling emotional and overwhelmed with joy, I figured I'd do a 2013 recap.  It's going to be hard to top this year but since we're getting MARRIED, I think 2014 will be the best year!
 
In 2013:
 
-I quit my job and landed a new position at a job I love!  It's 3.3 (almost a 5K LOL) miles from home but the people there are what make it so great.  It's fast paced and I believe there's room for advancement.  What I do miss about the old job is my coworker, Hector.  He literally made me cry tears of laughter every day.
 
-Saro and I trained hard to run a half marathon.  More often than not, it was frustrating.  Mainly because, on top of working 40+ hours, it was hard to fit the training into our schedules.  But we DID IT.  I finished 13.1 miles in 2:43 and Saro finished in 2:17.  It was the best high anyone can ever have.  Frustrating & painful but would I do it again?  ABSOLUTELY.
 

My last long run before the half. 
After this is when my back injury occured.



 
 
-We got engaged! 

My love!!!!!
 

 
 
-I traded in my lil' Civic for a CR-V.  Murphy loves it!  Ha!

 
 
-I turned 30!
 
There were also some not so good things but I'm working on being positive and I don't feel like discussing those today.
 
Merry Christmas!
 
Love,
The Cafeyan's
 
 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Birthday Party at Work!

Birthdays are always fun here at the office!  This morning, I came in to a Happy Birthday banner, balloons, flowers, cards, gifts including an Alex & Ani gift card, breakfast, hugs, kisses and lots of well wishes!
 
Tonight is our Christmas party at a nice venue nearby and then I'm off tomorrow!  Saro has a half day in the morning, probably 6-10 so we will have the whole day off together.  Looking forward to that.
 
Saturday is my actual 30th birthday and we will be celebrating with friends at a Cuban restaurant and then a comedy show :)
 
Enjoy your weekend - see you back here on Monday!
 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sweet Christmas (or anytime) Treat!

My friend made these last week at our friends annual cookie swap last week.  They were a big hit!  Sweet and salty.  I brought some to work and my coworkers loved them so I made more on Monday night.
 
These are NOT CALORIE FRIENDLY but soooo good and easy.  I was even thinking of variations to make.  Pretzels instead of almonds, or white chocolate, cranberries and pecans.  YUM.  I'll definitely be making another batch or two for our families next week!
 

 

Ingredients

  • 13 graham crackers
  • 1 bag (8 ounces) toffee bits
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted natural almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place graham crackers in a single layer on sheet, edges touching. Sprinkle toffee bits and almonds over graham crackers.
  2. Step 2

    In a small saucepan, bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, 2 minutes. Immediately pour over graham crackers. Bake until sugar topping is bubbling, 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate and salt over graham crackers. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. (Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This or That: Christmas Link Up!

Only one week until Christmas!  It came so quick, as usual!

 
 
  • Celebrity Christmas carol remakes, Chipmunk carol remakes?  Neither?  Lol.  My favorite Christmas movies to watch each year are Christmas Vacation, It's a Wonderful Life, Elf.
  • Gift cards, gift baskets?  I like personalized gift baskets or ones you can create your own on a website.  A lot of the premade ones I don't end up buying because I know the person might not like a couple of the items in there.  Decisions, decisions!  Recently, I made a Bloody Mary basket for my Uncle for his birthday.  He loved it!
  • Naughty or Nice? Nicey nice!  ;)
  • Getting everything on your wish list, Giving someone everything on their wish list?  Definitely giving.  I probably can't get them everything, though!  I also like to see what people choose to give me.  Exchanging gifts is fun :)

  • Present on Christmas Eve, Presents on Christmas morning?  As I got older, my Mom and I would exchange on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas day with the rest of the family.  With Saro, we've done both.  Usually we get bored on Christmas Eve and decide to open them - ha!
  •  
     
    Have a good day!  It's snowing again here in NJ!

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    Window Treatments

    Funny, the things you get excited about as a homeowner!
     
    After almost 3 years in our house, we bit the bullet and got custom shades for our kitchen, living room and dining room.  We held off because they can cost an arm & a leg be very expensive and we have 20 windows between both rooms!
     
    We debated about which type to get - cellular, wood, roman shades, etc. but went with cellular/honeycomb.   They're easy to clean with the brush attachment on the vacuum.
     
    We had two companies come for quotes over the last 2 years and it ranged between $3,500-$7,000.  No WAY could/would we spend that.  The windows are not an even number so we couldn't just buy them from a store; they had to be custom sized.
     
    It took us almost 2 hours just to measure everything ourselves and place the order.  We even have to return a couple of them because they're too wide.  By about 1/8 of an inch - ugh!  So that's the downside to not paying thousands for labor, lol.  Oh well!  We got most of them up over the weekend and they look great - more privacy, and it opens the room up so much more. 
     
    We live on a fairly busy corner so we decided to get top down/bottom up cellular shades.  That way, we can pull them down from the top or up from the bottom.
     
    Here a couple pictures:
     

     
    If you're looking to get new shades/blinds, I recommend Blind Saver.  We saved a ton of money although we did shop on Cyber Monday so we saved 50% off Levolor plus got $50 back from shopping through Ebates.  Free shipping and perfect fit guarantee so in case you measure off (which we did), they'll ship you new ones at no additional cost (I just have to find out about returning the others).  After placing the order on 12/2, they arrived on 12/13.
     
    We still have to order for the bedrooms.  Our bedroom has a bay window.  The other bedroom has a bay and a regular window.   Oof, so many windows but that's one of the reasons why we love the house.
     
    The little things in life!!!
     
    Here's to a short work week and my birthday weekend coming up :)

    Friday, December 13, 2013

    C25K, Day 1 (again)

    Sometimes I'm erratic.  Not in a bad way.  When I come up with an idea, I usually have to do it right away.  My mom always told me this growing up, and would often get frustrated with me.
     
    Anyway, yesterday I downloaded the Couch to 5K app again.  I had deleted it a while ago when I was throwing a fit frustrated.
     
    Although I ran 13.1 miles 7 months ago, I figured I should start from the bottom and work my way up again.  If possible.  Rather than just going out there and pushing myself too much.  Week 1 is 3 days of 5 minute brisk walk and then alternating 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking.  You alternate this for 20 minutes and then cool down with a 7 minute brisk walk.  It was easier than the first time I did this, which is a good sign.  This morning I'm feeling good - no major aches or pains, just my hip a little bit but that's been there for months.
     
    I'm planning on doing it 3x a week, depending how I'm feeling.  I don't want to push myself and become injured again.  I'm most likely signing up for Cupid's Chase 5K which is in a town nearby on February 8th.  Saro and I did it last year and it was COLD but fun.  See that recap here.
     
    Last night's results were:
    2.06 miles
    30 minutes
     
    

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

    Festive Favorites & Finish the Sentence Link Ups!

    Happy Friday Eve!  Last night we had our girls night 3rd annual cookie swap and it was a lot of fun.  15 girls in a room with sugar & wine, I'll take it any day :)
     
    Now to link up with a few gals and Jake for Christmas link ups!

     
     
  • Favorite Christmas song - Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses
  • Christmas song you can’t stand - Dominick the Donkey.  UGH.  Hate it.
  • Favorite holiday movie - I have a few but if I had to choose, National Lampoons Christmas vacation!


  • Real or artificial tree?  REAL.  Love the smell.
  • White or colored lights?  White!  And lots of 'em.
  • All matching ornaments or more random personal ornaments?  Random, personal ornaments.  When I moved out, my mom gave me most of her ornaments as she doesn't really put up a tree anymore.  Some are really old!
  • Favorite ornament - The Christmas star that everyone got after my Grandpa passed right before Christmas 1986.
  • Angel or star tree-topper?  Star.  I have a gold star that my mom gave me and has had since I can remember.
  • Does Santa wrap presents or leave them unwrapped?  Wrapped!
  • Favorite childhood memory - all of us being at my Gram's and opening the Christmas popper hats to see what prize we got!
  • Coffee, hot chocolate, or eggnog?  Coffee!
  • Christmas morning at home or do you travel?  Home for sure.  I don't think I've ever traveled for a major holiday.
  • Traditional holiday meal or something unconventional?  Traditional - prime rib or filet mignon, potates, veggies, fancy cheese and crackers, appetizers with phyllo dough, and plenty of dessert. Not low calorie.  Sorry not sorry.
  • Personalized photo Christmas cards, store bought cards, e-cards, or “ain’t nobody got time for that”?  Personalized photo cards.  I bought 75 for $20 on Vistaprint this year :)  Speaking of that, we still have to send them out...!


  • 1. My favorite Christmas was....They've all been great!  Everyone (mainly) is in a good mood.
    2. The worst Christmas I had...there was a family argument when I was about 16 or 17 and I just went off on everyone and stormed out.  It's not the "norm" for me to do that but I couldn't hold it in anymore.
    3. That one gift that made me scratch my head and say, "Hmmmm" was...I'm sure I've had one of these but I can't recall, so I guess that's a good thing.
    4. One year I....exchanged gifts with Saro in my car in a parking lot.  LOL.  It was when we first met and we were out on a date so just decided to exchange there, ha.
    5. I think the worst gift to give is....a mug.  Sorry, but I already have about 25 mugs.
    6. At Christmastime I typically....bake a lot and not even eat a lot of it.  I like to give it out :)
    7. Typically, family Christmas....used to be spent at my grandma's all day/night but as she's older, we have all kind of started our own traditions.  We still spend it with her though.  It's bittersweet I guess.
    8. If I could change one thing about the Holiday season....it would be that people stop acting so crazy and driving like maniacs.  You always hear about people dying while shopping on Black Friday or other horror stories.
    9. It is so hard to buy for....my mom.  She always just tells me she needs new PJs.
    10. My favorite Christmas tradition is...just waking up at home with a homemade breakfast, opening gifts, playing Christmas tunes and movies throughout the day and spending time with family.
    11. Santa, baby, bring me a....check in full made out to Sallie Mae ;)
     

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    Wedding Wednesday: My Engagement Ring

    I am running out of topics but I still want to partake in Wedding Wednesday!  There's actually plenty I can share, but I don't want to overshare before the big day.
     
     
    144 days to go!
     
    Now, onto today's topic!
    My engagement ring is a 4-prong solitaire diamond 14K gold ring.
     
    A lot of people ask if I picked it out.  No, I did not.  We never went ring shopping together.  A while back, Saro showed me a few different pictures and asked which I liked best.  I don't remember if I "picked out" one he showed me but I did tell him I do like simple and classic.
     
    Saro went into NYC without me (big deal) not once but TWICE, for the ring.  First to pick out the diamond and next, to pick it up.  One of our good friends was at our house recently and he was telling us how nervous he was going into NYC with a lot of cash on him.  LOL I could just picture it.  Both of his NYC trips, I had no idea about.  I thought he was at work!  Little did I know he had taken two half days.  What a guy...
     
    It was a big deal for him to take the train without me into NYC.  He hates public transportation and doesn't have the best sense of city direction.  It's funny because he grew up in Fort Lee, NJ which basically sits right next to the George Washington Bridge entrance.  So, NYC isn't forgein to him but it's just not his thing.  At all.
     
    It's not the best picture but it's hard to capture it on camera!
     
     
    I love it!  I'm always so nervous I'm going to lose it.  Please tell me I'm not the only one!  A few people I've said that to are like HAHAHA OMG.  It fits well but gets a little loose when I'm cold. 
    I take it off before bed (or sometimes when I get home if I'm cooking messy) and it goes in the box he gave it to me in.  I then check it again right before the light goes off.  Paranoid much?
     
    ***What kind of ring do you have or what do you think you would like to wear f-o-r-e-v-e-r?***
    

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    Cookie Swap Link Up!

     
    Perfect day for a cookie swap link up.  It's snowing here in NJ.  I love the snow.  Especially when I can stay home and bake all day.  Not happening now that I work only 3 miles from home...lol.
     
    Anyway, I made these (click for the recipe) raspberry almond shortbread cookies last night for our friends annual cookie swap tomorrow.  Tonight after work I have an ultrasound appointment and I wanted to get a work out in, so I figured I'd make them last night.  I wouldn't say these are a favorite since it was my first time making them, but they came out great and were super easy!  They taste like linzer cookies with a quarter of the prep work.  Tonight or tomorrow before the swap, I'll ice them.  To make them look more Christmasy, I might add a little green food coloring to the glaze.

     
    Is it snowing where you live today?  Do you like to make cookies from scratch?

    Monday, December 9, 2013

    Getting Older

    Ok, I know 30 isn't old at all but I'm feeling it.  Mentally and physically.  The physical part has been mentioned here the last few weeks and months.
     
    The thing that bothers me the most is not seeing friends as much.  We all have our own jobs, priorities, homes, kids, etc.  and for all of us to get together is always a challenge and a production.  I guess this is part of life but it bothers me a lot more than it probably should.
     
    When I used to work two jobs, I missed out on a lot of things because my Saturday and Sunday shifts began at 6:30am.  Not being a night person to begin with, I rarely went out those 3 years.  When I did, I'd regret it the entire day and ask myself why I went out and drank too many beers but then I'd remind myself that you only live once and you also need to enjoy yourself.
     
    Now, every other weekend (for the most part), Saro's daughters are with us.  I'm aware I can go out and make plans with friends but since we only see them 4 days out of the month, I try to maximize that time.
     
    It's funny.  The girls are now 17 & 18.  Looking back, I LOVED that age.  Finishing up high school, seeing friends every day.  I wouldn't want to go back to it though - if that makes sense.  It was great fun while it lasted but the awkwardness, drama and heart ache?  No thanks.
     
    I guess by missing out on fun and enjoyable things in life due to crappy situations, it's just easier to stop asking the person who says "no" more than "yes."
     
    Does anyone else feel this way?  Bueller?
    

    Friday, December 6, 2013

    Christmas DIY Gift Idea

    Happy Friday, all!!!
     
    This year, I decided to get a little crafty and make homemade facial scrub and cookie mix in a jar.
     
    Mine actually came out really similar!
     
    These were super easy to make and less than half what they charge in the stores (and fun to make!).  I made six quart sized jars and it took about an hour to do.  Simple, quick and cute.  Who doesn't love cookies?  Just sayin'.  I also ordered mini holiday spatulas from The Pampered Chef to attach so in total, these came out to be around $5 each.
     
    I also made these last night.  Again, simple and quick.  Something different.  They smell great!
     
     
    The jars, honey and sugars are from Target.  The labels are from Vistaprint, almond oil is from Whole Foods, lavendar from Amazon.  These came out to be around $4 each.
     
    I might also make homemade chocolate pretzel rods.  I think these three wrapped in a nice gift bag is a good idea.  What do you think?
     
    Have you ever done DIY gifts or baked goods?

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

    Two Things I Never Want To Do Again

    But will probably have to...
     
    An MRI and an EMG nerve test.  Last night I had to have an EMG done.  Apparently they can't pick up any F-waves on either side of my body.  I have no clue what that even means but it could explain the complete numbness I experience if I sleep on my left side.  The test didn't hurt, it was just uncomfortable for 45 straight minutes.  They basically shock you about 50 times to see how your nerves react.  He wants me to come back in 6 months for another one.
     
    He also wants to do an MRI of my neck.  Great.  So that means I'll have to go even farther into the dreaded tunnel.  I'm sweating just writing about it.  He said it can wait until after the holidays.  That's just swell.  So I'll think about it constantly for the next month.  Cue in: anxiety.
     
    I've been feeling a little more anxious than normal lately and it could be because I have autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto's disease.  This is new news to me as of yesterday.  You can read about it here.  I may or may not look everything up on Wikipedia.
     
    I have an appointment with an endocrinologist on Dec. 20th and they will most likely put me on medication.
     
    I know none of this is life or death but I'm just sharing what's going on.  I'm still extremely frustrated that I can't/shouldn't run.  When I was running 3-4x a week, I felt my best and was at my lowest weight.  I don't want to aggravate my lower back or nerves and make it worse so besides walking, I've taken a break from intense exercise.  I'm planning to go to a class on Saturday morning at my friends studio, so we will see how I feel after that.

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

    Wedding Wednesday: Something Blue & Rehearsal Invites

     
    Welcome back to Wedding Wednesday!  Yesterday, I received my new monogram on a satin piece.  I got it from Etsy at this shop and it is to be sewn into the inside of my wedding gown.  I thought it was a cute touch, even though no one will see it.  It'll be my something blue!
     
    I have to admit, I stole the idea from someone else's blog!  Kristyn, was it yours??  I looked through your posts but couldn't find it, ha!  I read a lot of Wedding Wednesday posts ;)

     
    Also, today marks 5 months until our big day!  Nothing else really new to report except that we got the sticker label for the favors and ordered the rehearsal invitations from Minted.  Their stuff is a little pricey but super cute and nice.  We only needed to order 25, so not too terrible.  Here's the design we went with:
     
    Dinner Party Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
     
    I changed up the fonts and made it a little bigger.  We liked this invite - simple, cute and to the point.
     
    We are inviting about 40 people.  After the quick rehearsal/walk through at the venue (the officiant might not even be able to attend but the wedding coordinator will be there), we will have dinner at a local restaurant, very well known for their gourmet neapolitan pizza.  My cousin is the manager there so I know they'll do a great job!  It'll be fun and relaxed :)

     
     
    OH!  I also ordered my veil.  I can't share the details though in case the fiance is reading!!
     
    Have a good day :)
    

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    This or That Link up : Home Edition

     
    Happy Tuesday, all!
     
    I'm linking up with the girls for This or That!
     
  • Screened in porch, wrap around deck?  Wrap around deck!!  They look a little nicer but I wouldn't mind a screened in porch, either.  Our yard has a lot of bugs!
  • Big luxurious bathtub, huge walk in closet? Huge walk in closet, for sure!!  I have too much crap.  We have a big bathtub and I barely use it! (It's separate from the shower).
  • Kitchen with an island, kitchen with a breakfast bar?  Since we are hoping to redo our kitchen within the next year or two, I'm thinking about opening it up and adding a breakfast bar.  Or an island.  Eek, I don't know.  I'd love either one, or both!  Ha!  Let me win the lottery first.
  • Big front yard, big back yard?   Big back yard which we already have!  More privacy and room for parties with lots of people :)
  • Bountiful garden, nearby grocery store?  Both!  In the summer we do have a garden but it's definitely not big enough to rarely go to the store.  I'm so careful about what I buy now.  Friggin' GMOs in everything now!

  • Monday, December 2, 2013

    Pile on the Miles Recap

     

     
    
    Well, I didn't make it to 60 miles in November... just 48 which still isn't bad.  I walked about every other day and anywhere from 2-4 miles.  The last week was a bit hectic with Thanskgiving and whatnot.
     
    Anyway, I'm glad I stuck with it even if I didn't meet my exact goal.
     
    Today I'm looking out for some Cyber Monday deals.  So far I'm eyeing new shades for our bedroom.  50% off, free shipping and cash back through Ebates.  Funny how priorities change once you're a homeowner.  Meh.
     
    We got our tree this weekend and decorated a bit outside.  Nothing crazy.  I'm not a fan of over the top outdoor holiday decor.
     
    That's about all I've got.  Have a great week!!!

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    Wedding Wednesday: Jewelry & Checklist

    Happy Wedding Wednesday and Thanksgiving Eve!  We will see if I make it out to the bar tonight but I most likely won't.  I have PT after work and then will be in baking mode for hours, which will probably leave me pooped by 10pm (and the time that my friends usually head out)  :)
     
    I want to get up early tomorrow and try to get a 4 mile walk in.  I wasn't able to yesterday and most likely won't today during lunch since it's raining.
     
    Anyway, 5 months and 1 week until our big day.  Time is FLYINGGGGGGGGG!
     
    I've been thinking about what jewelry to wear.  I might skip a necklace but after the ceremony I might put on my *new* initial necklace that I purchased months ago.  It's my new monogram - rTa
     
    I saw the idea on Pinterest and thought it was cute, to put it on after it's official!
     
    I'm thinking I'd like simple teardrop earrings and a bracelet.  I don't have it in my budget to spend a fortune on said items so I might head over to a local costume jewelry shop to look for something.  Hmm, maybe I'll do that on my lunch today.  I think I could find both for around $60.
     
    I'm loving all of the planning and things to choose from but it is a *bit* overwhelming as there are SO many options.
     
    All of the major things are checked off!
     
    Venue
    Photographer
    DJ
    Florist
    Dress and veil
    Shoes
    Favors
    Cake Topper
    Invitiations
    Hair and make up girls
    Bridesmaids dresses
    Paper products for venue
    Place cards and holders
    Honeymoon
    Rehearsal Dinner
     
    I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

     
     
    

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    This or That: Thanksgiving Edition

    Happy Tuesday!  It feels like Thursday though, woo hoo!
     
    I'm linking up for "This or That" today!

     
     
    Stuffing or Mashed Potatoes
     
    Definitely both.  Bring on the carbs!
     
    Homemade cranberry sauce, or Store bought cranberry sauce
     
    I didn't like cranberry sauce until maybe last year.  Yes, I'm almost 30.  Definitely homemade!
     
    Pumpkin Pie, or Pecan Pie
     
    Pumpkin Pie!  Another thing I didn't like until last year.  Now, I cook a ton of things with pumpkin at this time of year.  Pecan pie is yummy but so sweet it makes your teeth hurt, ha!
     
    Cooking all day, or Cleaning up all night
     
    Cooking/baking all day!  Cleaning up is the absolute worst.
     
    Thanksgiving Day Parade, or Football game
     
    Thanksgiving Day Parade!!!  Festive, traditional and fun.
     
    I will definitely NOT be shopping on Thursday OR Friday (online on Friday doesn't count, lol).  The craze of Black Friday gives me anxiety and I don't like it.  Plenty of deals are to be had from the comfort of my couch, in my PJs.  I sound like my mother.
     
    Do you go out and brave the Black Friday Madness?

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Call Me Betty Crocker

    My cousin (and Matron of Honor) is hosting her first Thanksgiving this year and I offered to make the desserts.  I was telling my coworker about it and he was like "Where are you buying the desserts from?"  LOL.  No, no.
     
    Here's what's up on the dessert menu:
     
    (This one is a little intimidating.  Springform pan, in a roasting pan, and add water while it bakes?!)
     
     
    Traditional Apple Pie (one with nuts, one without)
     
    I am planning on baking Wednesday when I get home from work.  The night before Thanksgiving has always been a big "going out" night with friends so we will see on that.
    I think I will make the cheesecake Thursday morning.
     
    I know I always say this, but the Holidays really seemed to creep up QUICK this year.  Only 4 more weeks until Christmas!  Also only 27 more days in my 20s!  Yikes.
     
    Do you like to bake or cook?  Both?  Neither?  :)

    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Hug Six Times a Day

    It's Thursday already..woohoo!
     
     
    Last night we met with a priest who is able to marry couples outside of the Roman Catholic church.  He's a priest but more modern and willing and able to marry couples outside of the church.  We sat with him for close to 2 hours and we both really liked him.  He's in his mid to late 60s and is from Chicago.  He has done 102 marriages so far this year and he teaches at a local university.
     
    I wanted to write down a few things he said so I figured, why not on the blog?
     
    1.  Hug at least 6 times per day.  Once in the morning and at night and 4 times in between.
     
    2. Spend 10 minutes per day talking to each other.  It can't be about work, money, TV, movies, phone, internet, friends, family, etc.  It can only be about the two of you and how you're currently feeling in the marriage. 
     
    3.  Don't let resentment build up over silly things.  Like leaving clothes all over the floor or leaving the cap off of the toothpaste.  Being that we already live together, I know what he means and I told him I KNOW and admit that I have annoying habits (leaving shoes out for everyone and their mother to trip over).  Our house isn't big by any means so I feel that it's more work to keep it tidy and looking neat.  I've been working on this lately.. like not letting dishes pile up or letting mail pile up on the kitchen table!
     
    4.  Communicate.
     
    5.  Trust is THE most important thing.  Seems obvious but it's true.  In 6.5 years, I can confidently say that I've NEVER once doubted Saro or not trusted him. 
     
     
    6.  Do NOT stress about a wedding rehearsal.  If we do end up having him do our ceremony, he most likely won't be at the rehearsal, LOL.  He says it's unnecessary stress and worry and that no one even pays attention to it anyway. 
    We are planning on doing a quick walk through (with or without him) followed by a dinner.  Plus, we have a crap load of stuff to drop off at the venue.  The dinner is more to add to the fun of the whole weekend which I'm looking forward to.
     
    He also asked each of us why we want to marry each other.
     
    If we choose to "hire" him, we'd like to meet up a few more times to chat and get to know each other a little better.  He lives close to us which is a plus.
     
    _____________________________________________
     
    Pile on the miles update: 42.06 miles since 10/27.  10 more days to go!  I'm planning on 2 during lunch today and 2 after physical therapy, on the treadmill.  Since I'm off two days next week, I'm shooting for 4 miles on each of those days.
     
    Have a good day!

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Weekend Recap

    The long weekend was great.
     
    Friday, we hosted Friendsgiving at our house.  We made turkey breast and mashed potatoes and everyone else brought a side dish or dessert.  LOTS of laughs and plenty of food.  We had a great time.
     
    Saturday, Saro and I went for a nice long 4 mile walk (10.42 miles total between Sat, Sun and Mon!).  Then, my cousin and her husband came up and stayed over since we were all heading to CT for our uncle's surprise party on Sunday.  We went out for Lebanese food which was yummy!
     
    Here's the gift we put together for our Uncle.  A bloody mary basket! 
     
     
    He loved it.  He was SO surprised.  He stood in the doorway for a good 5 minutes beacuse he was so shocked about the party!
     
    Yesterday, Saro and I were both off and I had that dreaded doctor appointment that I mentioned on here last week.  It was pretty much what I expected to hear.  They were all very nice there.  I had a bunch of blood work done and I need to go back for more on Friday (since I'm in the placebo week on the pill and it's the best time to test hormones).
     
    At this point, we pretty much know that if we REALLY want a baby, it would have to be via egg donor or adoption.  We aren't sure if we want to do either one.  It's a lot to consider mentally, emotionally and financially ($20,000 or more).
     
    The blood work is basically to find out why this happened at such an early age (autoimmune disorder, chromosomes, etc.)  I cringe at blood work - not because of blood OR the needle but because I hope I don't get a hefty bill from it all.  That's the last thing I need to worry about right now but, it is what it is and needs to be done.
     
    I also had an ultrasound which confirmed that my ovaries aren't visible at all.  No ovaries = no eggs.  It is very strange and rare but not impossible.  It will be nice to hopefully get some answers in the next couple of weeks.
     
    Lastly, here's me swinging at the park yesterday after a 4 mile walk!
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Update: Pile on the Miles


     
    ...Is going very well with minimal pain.  I'm still doing PT 2x a week and experiencing hip pain on and off.
     
    I'm counting my miles starting from Oct. 27th because that was the same week as Nov. 1st.
     
    Since then, I've walked 25.61 miles.  That's an average of 1.50 miles a day or an average of 2.13 since I'm not walking daily.  So I've almost walked a marathon, ha!  My goal for the month was 60, so I need to step it up a bit - literally ;)  I need to do 2.19 miles per day or more if I skip a day.
     
    Since we're talking mileage, I just added up the miles I ran or walked from 4/29/2012 until today = 362.64.  That includes training for the half marathon.
     
    My goal is to lose 10 lbs. before my wedding.  I've been slacking a little bit lately (having more carbs) but still not terrible.  I use MFP DAILY to track exercise and what I eat.  I've logged in for over 300 days in a row.  It's actually more than that but last Christmas, I forgot to log in, so it started the count all over - gah!
     
    I'm thinking about trying the Advocare cleanse that I've seen many people talk about in the blog world.  In hopes it'll leave me less bloated than I've been feeling.
     
    A lot of exercises irritate my hip and/or back so I figure I'll stick to walking and lifting my 5 lb. weights at home, to tone my arms and back a little bit.  I'd like to try to strenghten my core so I'm considering a plank challenge starting December 1st!
     
    Happy Thursday!

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Wedding Wednesday: Colors

     
    People keep asking what our wedding colors are.  The answer is "I don't know."  Ha.  The girls are wearing guava and I'm wearing ivory.  That's all I know.  As for my bouquet, I don't want white flowers because I feel it blends in with my dress.  I want a very colorful bouquet.  What colors you ask?  Anything except BLUE.  My something blue is my new monogram sewn to the inside of my gown.
     
    I'm thinking the girls should have an ivory bouquet because it'll pop with the dress color.  We haven't secured those details yet though, so we will see!
     
    I love this idea for my bouqet:

     
     
    Do you have specific colors that you're tying into the bridal party, centerpieces, decor, etc.?  Is everything "matchy matchy" or not?  Like mine, ha!
     
    Happy Hump Day!

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Make Money Shopping Online!!

    Good Morning all!
     
    I'm sure I've mentioned Ebates on the blog before (Thanks to Mean Ang for introducting me to it!) but I wanted to share this link in hopes that you'll sign up.  If you sign up via the link below, you can then invite your friends to sign up and make some extra $ for the holidays (and/or after, to pay off your bills!) 
     
    Last year, I received $97 cash back just for clicking the mouse and shopping through Ebates.  It couldn't be easier.
     
    I also received $125 cash back for booking our honeymoon through Ebates on Travelocity.  You can't beat that!  There's no fine print or "catch."  They will either mail you a check every 3-4 months or you can have them deposit $ directly into your Paypal account.
     
     
     
     Happy Holiday $hopping! 
     
     
    

    Monday, November 11, 2013

    Long Post: Part Two

    Happy Monday, all!  I'm looking forward to a busy week, a half day Friday and being off next Monday!
     
    A couple of months ago I wrote this post about not being able to conceive children.  I belong to a support group on Facebook but lately I've been thinking about checking out local meetings, if they even exist.
     
    I know right after we get married, the questions will arise about having a family.  I've just been thinking about the word family.  To me, Saro and his girls are already family.  Add in our cat and dog and bam, a bigger family.  Ha.  I know they're not the same as a human child, really I know but for ME, they're like my kids.
     
    I just wonder how other people have handled a situation like mine.  Some people might not know they cannot conceive until after they get married and are actually trying.  My case is pretty extreme - to find out at the ripe age of 16.  Not exactly "normal" - whatever that means.  I try to avoid using the word normal.
     
    Anyway, I'm going to see a specialist next Monday when I'm off.  I'm not looking foward to it because I'm partially in denial and just don't want to deal and partially because it's an extremely long appointment.  I know I need to find out if I have ANY eggs at all but I most likely already know the answer, so why waste the time?  Stubborn, I am.
     
    I know that people GENERALLY marry to have a family.  Not always though, I'm aware and it's obviously not the case with us. 
     
    I'm already thinking about what my response will be when people start to ask me when we're having kids.  Do I say "well, I can't have kids?"  I don't want to make people feel bad or uncomfortable but it is the truth.  For some, I won't be able to dance around the question forever.  Like coworkers, etc.
     
    I also keep telling myself that everything happens for a reason.  I told Saro maybe we are meant to be world travelers!
     
    If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  Have a good week and if you're off of work today, I'm jealous ;)  Enjoy!
     
     

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    That time I signed my fiance up for another 13.1

    That happened last night.  I told him he should run the NY half marathon on March 16th - with or without me (most likely without).  He shrugged his shoulders and gave me the go ahead.
     
    I'm not calling him an idiot.  I am one too :)
     
    He had to apply to get in, so we'll see.
     
    He was considering the NYC full marathon next November but it's hard to get in to that one unless you're Speedy Gonzalez and can run 26.2 miles in 3 hours.  His time for his first half was 2:15.  It's crazy how fast these people can run.  My joints hurt just thinking about it.
     
    On another note, I'm shopping for personalized labels for our wedding favors and I'm wondering why it costs $45 for 168 stickers.  I know I could print my own out by purchasing labels but I don't have patience for fancy borders and colors, so why not pay someone to do it for me and then complain about the cost?  Ha.
     
    Geesh, this crap adds up quick.
     
    Happy Thursday!

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Wedding Wednesday: Open Air Photo Booth

     
     
    I don't think it's a decision we'll regret - a photo booth at the reception!
     
    Our DJ could have provided us with one but it was close to $1,000 and while they're so fun, we didn't think it was worth that much on top of everything else.
     
    A few weeks ago I saw a Living Social deal for an open air photo boothTwo hours for $299.  We decided to add an additional hour, so it's a little more but still reasonable!  It'll be in the reception room, so people can start using after the first dances.  3 hours will be perfect.  I like the open air concept because a bunch of people can fit in and not have to squeeze.  They also provide the props!
     
    I also like the idea because it's something else to do besides dance.  BUT, I hope everyone dances too!
     
    Here's an idea of what it looks like:
     
     
    Photo booth - yay or nay?

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    The Lunch That Wasn't: Office Problems

    This is partially funny but partially annoying because my cheap ass thrifty self had to pay $7.99 for a salad for lunch yesterday.   See also: saving for the wedding problems.
     
    Yesterday around this time, I was all excited to heat up my spaghetti squash and homemade meatballs for lunch.  What I found was my container looking like it had been through a tornado, complete with tomato sauce dripping down the sides and all over the fridge and floor.
     
    Huh, this isn't how it looked this morning, I thought to myself.  As I looked even closer, I noticed a meatball was missing!  You see, I packed three, not two.  Well I certainly wasn't going to eat it now that I'm assuming it all fell out and someone put it back in the container - LOL.  Or, they ate one of the meatballs.  Or, just one meatball fell out and they discarded it.  It's a mystery!!
     
    So off I went, to purchase a salad.  God forbid I skip a meal, ha!  Maybe then I'd lose a few lbs!
     
    I work with about 100 people and as I'm sure it was an accident, I won't know who caused "the lunch that wasn't."
     
    That's all I've got on this fine Tuesday afternoon.