Dec 31, 2013

Another year is coming to an end. 2013 was very good to me. I honestly think it's been the best year of my life thus far. A lot of it has to do with my boyfriend. He really has made my world better. I've learned a lot about myself and who I want to be.

I've learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. I proved that by completing a half marathon. 
I've learned my body is an incredible machine.
I've learned lifting weights will NOT make you bulk up like you've been told for so long.
I've learned sometimes staying quiet is better.
I've learned I do not have to wash my hair every day. Who ever invented dry shampoo must be one of God's special helpers.
I've learned that sugar-free foods can be even worse than the regular version.
I've learned that acne is my body's way of telling me there's a problem on the inside. Whether it's what I've been eating or stress - As much as I hate acne, I also appreciate the warning signs.
I've learned that I don't need tons of cream and sugar in my coffee.
I've learned that junk food is not worth it.
I've learned that taking time for yourself is necessary and totally okay.
I've learned that I do not need cheese in my life.
I've learned that the best things to eat are whole foods in their natural state.
I've learned that waking up at 5am to workout really isn't that difficult.
I've learned that certain foods can not be kept in my home.
I've learned that cardio alone will not make me thin.
I've learned that Prince Charming does exist.

All of this knowledge has helped a lot when thinking about my goals for the up-coming year.

Here is the list of goals that I have made for myself:
Lift more weights.
Do less cardio.
Avoid sugar as much as possible (this includes sugar free stuff too).
Weigh yourself no more than once a week. 
Work on being more patient.
Do something to relieve stress every day.

Here's to an amazing year!!!

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Nov 29, 2013

I like to think I am much healthier than I was three years ago. There are days when I have doubts...But then I think about the following:

My nails are SO much stronger than they used to be.
My skin has cleared up.
I cured myself of asthma and I have little to no allergy symptoms.

Let me explain each of those reasons a little more. When I was younger I used to bite my nails all the time. As I got older my nails were always very brittle and they would never grow. When they did get to a good length they would break. I thought I was destined to have weak nails; I thought by biting them most of my life I had ruined my chances of having strong, beautiful nails. I am happy to say that my nails are growing nicely now!

I used to have bad cystic acne. I hated it. I went on birth control, I tried ProActiv and other topicals. I used every face soap and cream possible. NOTHING cleared up my face...until I gave up dairy. I had done my research and what I read about dairy allergies really opened my eyes. One thing that I read that has stuck with me is we are the only mammal that consumes another mammals milk...why is that? I'm also terrified of all the hormones that are in our dairy. I'm not going to lie though, if I have the option to get some frozen yogurt, I'll take it! But other than that I try to avoid dairy completely.

I never had any allergies until I moved to Nashville. In the spring of 2006 my body went through some major changes and I guess it was trying to adjust to the new atmosphere. It was my first time experiencing true seasons and I developed seasonal allergies. I was in and out of the hospital and I had a hard time breathing. I eventually got used to all the pollen and the new air I was living in but then every time the seasons changed I would have another reaction.

The same thing happened when I would come home to visit and when I eventually moved home. My body had to adjust once again. I remember calling in sick from work on multiple occasions. I was in and out of the urgent care every spring and every fall. It was awful.

In November of 2012 I started coughing. It was a dry cough that persisted. Nothing would help it go away. I ended up going to an allergy specialist in December of 2012 and she told me I had asthma. I was in shock. She gave me several inhalers and instructed me to use them twice a day. I didn't want to live like that. I was already taking allergy medicine frequently. I didn't want to add inhalers to that.

I didn't plan on curing my allergies and asthma when I gave up dairy but I did! I NEVER use my inhalers anymore and when fall rolled around I didn't need to take any allergy medicine. I put my body through hell for seven years! I'm so glad I have finally found a natural cure. Prescription meds are so over rated! I may still fight with the scale every morning to meet my goal but I have taken steps to become healthier and that's what matters most.
My nails! Seriously, they've never looked this good!
Canadian Bacon, Pineapple, Cashew and Daiya Cheese Bagel Pizzas! So good!
This Daiya grilled cheese was delicious!!! I made it with Rosemary bread and it really hit the spot!

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Nov 8, 2013

A Letter To My Brother...On The Eve Of Your Wedding

I remember the day you came home from the hospital. I remember being so excited when I saw that red forerunner pull into our driveway. I had waited (what felt like forever) for you to be born and you were finally home!!! And you completely changed my life for the good. I know I may have only been four but I was very aware of the impact you had made on my life.

We never really fought. I can't remember a time when we weren't talking. Obviously we argued over the years. We are two very different individuals and we have very different personalities. But our difference in opinions never caused us to stop speaking to each other. Mom always told us, "You will be each other's only brother and sister so you better be good to one another." I think we have done a pretty good job at that. I hope we continue to treat other with love and respect. As you embark on this new journey in your life, I hope you always know how much you mean to me.

I always imagined this day would come but I guess I never really thought about it in detail. Maybe I was always too sensitive to the idea of "letting you go". You are a grown man after all, but I still see you as that little boy with ringlets and overalls.

I pray that you and your new bride will be the happiest of couples. I pray that you will love each other every minute of every day. Never go to bed angry. Always say "I love you" before saying "good-bye" or "goodnight". Forgive easily. Laugh a lot. Split the chores. When the toilet paper is out, grab a new roll. Always make time for dates. I know you and Erin both hate spiders so I would highly suggest getting an exterminator.

Just like mom would tell you that I am the only sister you will ever have, she is the only wife you will ever have. Treat her the way you have always treated me, only better.

I will always be there for you no matter what. Don’t forget where you came from and please don’t lose your sense of humor. As you go off and start your new life don’t forget the ones who love you back at home. I’ll miss you greatly but I am extremely happy for you.

I love you, Tyluuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Love, Sissy

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Oct 23, 2013

The night before the race.

Well, I completed my first half marathon on Sunday. I'm going to be completely honest about the whole experience. It was the HARDEST thing I have ever done in my whole life. Both physically and mentally. I'll start at the beginning...

Saturday night I ate whole grain pasta, ground turkey, spaghetti sauce and some garlic bread (I love me some garlic bread!). I drank tons of water throughout the day and I had a couple of glasses with my dinner. I was ready for bed around 8:45. My boyfriend lead me through some "football stretches" and then I got into bed. My boyfriend (who I refer to as the water Nazi) got me a glass of water and put it by my side of the bed. He told me I needed to drink it through out the night.

I woke up several times in the middle of the night. I kept thinking it was 5:45 or close to it. I was anxious. I did actually remember to drink some water at one point and I even told my boyfriend. He said, "That's my girl." When my alarm finally went off I jumped out of bed. I was nervous. I felt shaky. I felt a little excited. But more sick than anything. I woke up my boyfriend and I started getting ready. I put Pandora on and my boyfriend started dancing all over and making me laugh. I started to feel better.

While I was getting ready my friend, John, called to wish me good luck. He said I sounded like I was in good spirits. I think at this point I had a "Let's do this!" attitude.

He couldn't contain his excitement for me.

Once we were both ready we headed out the door. I had my arm band, my phone, my apartment key, my head phones and my Gatorade chews for my halfway snack. The event would take place at Wilson Creek Winery which was only like four miles from our apartment. But once we got closer there was traffic. I expected this. When we reached the first parking lot I had my boyfriend pull in. I said good-bye and jumped out of the car. He had to go to work. I was a little sad that he wouldn't be at the finish line but my parents would be.

I immediately looked for a bathroom. I found one but the line was wrapped around the building. At this point it was 7:24 and the start time was 7:30. I left the line and headed towards the starting line. Luckily I found a line of porto-potty's right at the starting line. I snuck my way in and did my business. I was so glad I got that over with before the race.

There was a mob of people, as you can imagine, at the starting line. I was so nervous. I'm pretty sure I was shaking. It was probably a mixture of nerves and the cold weather. I put my head phones on and pressed shuffle on my playlist that I had made. The first song that played was Jonny Lang's "Anything's Possible" and the announcer yelled GO! I started to cry as I started to run. It was a very emotional moment for me. And it was just so weird that that song played first...out of the sixty songs on my playlist.

Within the first thirty seconds, there was a hill! We were running through vineyards and the dirt was flying up everywhere. I could barely breathe. It got better later on when people started spreading out. I know for a fact that I had dirt up my nose. It was not the best feeling.

Mile 1 came pretty quickly. I think I was distracted by all of my surroundings and it helped the time fly by. After that time slowed down though. I usually average 15 minutes or a little less per mile. I think the first 7 miles I was on track and then my body began to resist. Every mile seemed longer and longer. The scenery in wine country is gorgeous but the hills are brutal! I started eating my Gatorade chews on mile 5. I finished eating them on mile 7. I was surprised that they helped me get through the rest of the way. I didn't get hungry at all until after.

See that hill in the distance...Just one of many.

Breathtaking view

My parents were going to meet me at the finish line. At first I was optimistic and I told them to meet me at 10. After mile 7 I texted my dad and told him that I was slowing down and I wouldn't be at the finish until after 10. Now that I think about it, I don't even know why I told my parents 10. That would have been a 12 minute mile average. I'm not quite there yet...I wiped the sweat from my face a couple times and every time I did I could feel the salt. I don't remember ever feeling that before.

I was freaking out from miles 8-10. I had looked at my clock and for a moment I thought my 8 mile time was getting close to 30 minutes. Well, turns out they didn't post a sign for mile 9. I was coming down a hill (what felt like the thousandth one!) and at first I thought it was a mirage. I saw a 10 in the distance but I kept thinking - there's no way! I mean, mile 8 did feel like the longest one yet but there was no sign for mile 9. I got closer and yep, it was a 10!!! I was relieved at this point. Double digits. Only 3 more miles to go.

My mind and my body were ready to continue running but my feet would not allow me to do so. I pretty much walked the last 3 miles. I had blisters forming and the bottom of my feet were burning.

I texted my dad when I got to mile 12. I tried running again but it hurt too badly. I walked as fast as I could. When I finally saw the magical number 13 I started running. I didn't care about the pain anymore. I just wanted to be done! In that moment, "Halo" by Beyonce started playing in my ears. This was the live version and this version always makes me emotional because she dedicates it to Michael Jackson.

Wouldn't you know it, I had to go up another hill to get that last .1 in! When I got to the top there were people with bells. They were yelling but I couldn't hear them since I had my headphones on. When I took them off I heard the best words I would hear all day, "You're done! You're done!" I felt great! But for some reason the finish line was down the hill and around the corner.

When I turned the corner I saw my mom and dad standing there. Both had their phones pointed at me, snapping pictures. They both looked so happy. And believe me, I was ELATED!!! I was done! I had done it! The announcer was trying to call my name out but I guess he didn't have the information to match my bib number so he asked me what my name was. I told him and my mom kept yelling, "It's her first half marathon!!! Her first one!" Yep, she's one proud mama. He said my name and then came over and shook my hand and congratulated me on completing my first half marathon.

Let me tell you, the cut off for the race was three and a half hours. I just BARELY made it. My official time was 3:24:55.4. I can not tell you how proud of myself I am.

Aw, my proud parents.

My friend, Emily, who actually got me into running, also ran a half marathon with her sister in Colorado on Sunday. She texted me when she was done and I told her it was the hardest thing I've ever done. She wrote back, "But didn't you love it?!" I responded, "Actually, no." Haha. I loved the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. But I don't remember loving the way I felt out there on those dirt roads. I'm just so glad it's over.

So what's next?! At the moment, I have no idea. I'm going to focus on weight lifting with my boyfriend for right now. I may do some short runs here and there but I have no intentions of signing up for anymore races any time soon.

Yes, I did wear this ALL day.

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Oct 10, 2013

My half marathon is TEN days away. I compared my half marathon to being pregnant the other day. I've never had a child so I'm going off of what I've heard. But I told my friend, "At first you're really excited. And then you're nervous. And as it approaches you're just ready to get it over with!" I'm at the point now where I just want it to be done! I'm also freaking out on the inside...a lot. I have moments when I feel sick and I have butterflies and I'm like-what is going on?! And then I remember- OH YEAH! You signed up for a freakin' half marathon!!!

I'm working on a playlist for my ipod shuffle for race day. I've decided not to carry my phone that day for a couple reasons. It's just plain heavy. I have an arm band that I like to wear but not for that long of a run. It would drive me crazy. Also, I don't want to focus on the time while I'm out there running. If I bring my phone I'd turn on MapMyRun and every mile I would be informed of my time and distance. I just want to go out there and enjoy myself and run when I want to run and walk when I want to walk. Back to the point- I am making a list of songs for my half marathon playlist. Here's what I have so far:

Katy Perry-Roar, Dark Horse, Teenage Dream, Part of Me, California Gurls, Firework, Peacock, Circle the Train, E.T., Who Am I Living For?, Hummingbird Heartbeat
Lady Gaga-Applause, Marry the Night, Government Hooker, Hair, ScheiBe, Teeth, Money Honey
Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert-We Were Us
Sara Bareilles-Brave
JayZ & Justin Timberlake-Holy Grail
Justin Timerlake-Pusher Love Girl & Mirrors
Miley Cyrus- Wrecking Ball

I always think of songs when I'm out and about and then by the time I stop to write them down I have forgotten them. I've kind of been on a Katy Perry kick since I ran seven miles for the first time while watching her documentary.

I will admit, I'm a cardio junkie. It's my drug (when I'm at the gym). I would rather turn on my music and hang out on the elliptical or the treadmill. I hate weights. I just get impatient. I feel like nothing is happening. The funny thing is that my boyfriend feels the same about cardio. I have been doing some research (mostly by reading some very inspiring women's blogs and following them on instagram) and I have found that most of them say they're bodies completely changed when they started lifting weights. I have lifted weights but not on a regular basis. Maybe once a week I get around to it. I want to start making in a priority. My goal (once my half marathon is done) is to cut back on cardio and spend more time on strength training.

Last Monday night (September 30th) I went into the gym with a goal in mind. I wanted to run one mile in under 12 minutes. I don't think I have ever done that. I average a little under 15 minutes most of the time. I usually walk for a little and then run my little heart out until I hit the mile marker. And then I walk again. I usually don't run straight through. I would burn myself out. So I challenged myself. I got on the treadmill and set the pace for a 12 minute mile and I went for it. I was feeling really good and I actually turned the speed up a little bit. I finished in 11 minutes and 46 seconds. I felt so good. I was dripping in sweat and I felt accomplished. I do these things to remind myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. After that I ventured into the weights area and I stepped out of my comfort zone and did some work on my arms and legs.

This past Monday night (October 7th) I accomplished something even bigger and better. I ran (and walked a little) twelve miles. Yep, you read that right. TWELVE. My friend, who has quite a few races under his belt, explained to me that there was no need for me to run more than ten miles on my training plan. I believed him but I knew I would feel more comfortable if I had run twelve miles before the big day. So I made the decision and I went for it. I went to the gym at 7pm and I left at 10pm. I'm pretty sure I have never spent that much time in a gym. I didn't ever think about quitting but it was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done. I actually thought I would cry at the end because of what I had accomplished but I didn't. Maybe I didn't allow it to sink it.

I went straight home and got in the shower. I thought I was going to pass out the entire time. When I was done I put my pj's on and I laid on our recliner. My boyfriend asked me if I wanted something to eat and I said, "I don't think I have any energy to eat right now." He got up and got me a big glass of cold water and I think that was the best water I have ever had! Then he brought me a protein shake. Once I had finished that I yelled to him, "I'll take my chicken now." Can I just have a girly moment and say how great my boyfriend is? Thank you. He is amazing! Anyways, I could barely walk the rest of the evening and I slept so good that night! When I woke up on Tuesday morning I could barely move. It's now Thursday and I'm still sore. That run took a lot out of me but I'm darn proud of it.

My boyfriend and I went to the gym last night and only did weights. I asked him to show me some workouts that I could do when I am by myself (when I'm with him I just follow his lead) so that I can start doing weights on a regular basis. We did abs, back and biceps. I requested to not do legs since mine are still sore from my run. I'm really excited to see my body change as I do more strength training. 

I was not planning on this post being so long...I guess I had a lot to say!

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Sep 29, 2013

I'm in double digit zone now. I conquered 10.36 miles last Saturday. Let me tell you, this was NOT EASY. I'm not going to sugar coat any of it. I wanted to quit so many times. I decided to do this run outside. I think the longest I have ever run outside was 4 miles and that was over a year ago. I just thought I'd get bored on the treadmill at the gym.

I think the first two miles and the last two miles were the hardest. When I was in the middle miles I felt really good. I stopped at my halfway point (probably around mile 5.25) at my dad's restaurant. When I walked in he asked me if I came by car or foot. I told him I had run there and he started laughing and said, "No, you parked at Jack in the Box and walked over here." (He jokes a lot, for those of you who don't know my dad.) He gave me a bottle of water and I sat in his office for a few minutes. I drank water, ate a Larabar and charged my phone. When I got up to leave my dad asked me, "You're leaving already?" I said, "Yeah, I'm in the middle of something." I usually sit and talk to him for a while so he wasn't used to me leaving so quickly but I wanted to get my run over with!

From my dad's restaurant I ran over to Harveston and I ran around the lake. It was beautiful. So much was going on and it was all a great distraction. I was about to hit mile 8 and my feet were killing me. I ended up walking all of mile 8 and 9. I was kind of upset about that. I wanted to finish my run strong but I could feel blisters forming on the bottom of my feet and on my pinky toes. I hit 10.36 miles when I got to my door. First thing I did was check my feet. Luckily they were okay. Just very sore. I ended up talking to my friend about my situation later and he said it sounded like my shoes were too big. I told him my shoes were fine but maybe my socks were too thin. I went on a short run on Monday evening and I wore thicker socks. I felt like all the problems in my life had been solved! My feet were so much more comfortable with all that extra padding. Problem solved thanks to my friend, John.

I have to say that I am so beyond excited that fall is here! I love fall! The other morning I walked outside and felt the crisp in the air and it made me so happy! Falling leaves, everything pumpkin, boots and sweaters. It all makes me quite content.

And one last thing…I’ve had a bit of an obsession with Christina Hendricks lately. I’ve even created a “Curvy Christina” board on my Pinterest. My boyfriend said people who follow me on Pinterest probably think I’m gay. Honestly, she makes me feel better about myself. I read online (not sure how accurate the source was) that Christina is 5’8” and wears a size 14. I am 5’9” and I wear a 10 in dresses and a 12/14 in pants (depending on the brand). Whenever I feel like I need to lose weight, which is pretty much every day, I like to remind myself that not every girl wears a size 0 and not every girl needs to. Christina is a great role model for us curvy girls. 

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Sep 19, 2013

A couple of exciting things to update:

I zipped up my dress for my brother's wedding! I am so relieved that I was able to do that so soon. I'm going to look into getting the dress altered now. It's a little too "flowy" for my taste. Because of my curves I tend to gravitate more towards fitted dresses. This one doesn't really accentuate anything. I'm hoping some alterations may make the dress more flattering on my figure.

I was able to run eight miles on Saturday, September 7th. It was not an easy task but I was proud of myself when I was finished, like always. I was supposed to run nine miles this last weekend but life happened and I wasn't able to. I'll catch up some how.

On a more serious note, I've been praying a lot lately. I've been doing a lot of soul searching and I've been asking God for guidance. I am extremely happy with my personal life. I could not ask for more. I have the most amazing parents. I go home to the man of my dreams every night. My family and friends are wonderful. And my puppy is the cutest little dog in the world. So why the heck have I been soul searching you ask? Well let me tell you...I am not where I want to be on a professional level.

I have always known that I need to do something creative with my life and I'm not currently doing that. I truly believe that until I am in a creative field I will never be completely satisfied with my job. I have been praying for God to show me where He wants me. I've had a few doors slam in my face recently and I'm just waiting patiently for God to open a door.

I'm terrified when I think about the possibility of changing careers but I'm also extremely excited. I know that God will never give me more than I can handle.

And one last thing. I sang at the Merc here in Temecula on the evening of September 7th (after my eight mile run). I did a duet with my long-time friend, Miranda, and I sang two more songs on my own. I haven't sung in that kind of an environment in over a year so it was really exciting to be back on stage. Here are the links in case you want to watch:

Love Song

My beautiful mama and me before the show. 

My boyfriend's mama, my boyfriend, me and my mama.

My boyfriend, me and my boyfriend's Grandpa. It was so nice to have him there!

Me and Miranda. Friends for eleven years now. She's amazing. 

AND this handsome man! 

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