Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women, Stage 3 Recap

My Stage 1 Recap is here
My Stage 2 Recap is here 

Yesterday, I finished Stage 3 of the New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women. It was a little hard getting back to the gym after a 3 week hiatus instead of the recommended 1 week, but I did it. My results this month were mostly maintaining...I've lost a total of 2.5" from this program. I wasn't too disappointed by this because this month, I'm finally starting to see and feel the changes in my body. I am the same size, but I see more muscle than I used to, especially when I look at my legs and my back. Also, I am stronger, which I like, and feel more energized and fit overall. I haven't gotten sick (knock on wood), and I attribute part of that to working out regularly. I should reiterate here that I have not made any changes to my diet since starting this program in October. I try to eat healthy and balanced meals daily (the book has a recommended high protein diet). 
                     This Stage                        Total Change 
Bust               No Change                           -.50"                       
Band              No Change                           -.25"
Right Bicep       -.25"                                 +.25"
Left Bicep     No Change                            +.50"
Waist            No Change                            -.50"
Right Thigh    No Change                            -.50"
Left Thigh      No Change                            -.50"
Hips              No Change                            -1"
Weight           No Change                            +2 lbs

I started stage 3 on January 8th and finished on the 29th, so it took me exactly 3 weeks. Like stage 2, it consisted of 8 workouts. I mostly worked out twice a week (I worked out 3 times during one week) and continued to combine these workouts with 1 hour yoga classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. These workouts took between 1.5 hours to nearly 2 hours each time. I would estimate, I spent 14 hours in the gym to do this stage (and 7 hours in yoga class in the past 3.5 weeks). That gives me an average of 6 hours per week of working out. Not bad! However, I should also add, one reason this stage takes so long is because you are expected to rest 1 min and 45 sec between each set...and there are a lot of sets! I tried to follow the total rest period, but sometimes rested 1 min 30 sec and couldn't stand it anymore. Here are the results in my lifting capabilities: (sorry for the tiny font, I tried to fix it, but the blog has a mind of its own sometimes)

Workout A

One arm dumbbell snatch: from 10lbs to 15lbs
Dumbbell single-leg Romanian deadlift: from 10lbs to 20lbs
Barbell bent over row: from 20lbs to 50lbs 
Dumbbell single arm overhead squat: from 5/10lbs (you do different weights in each hand) to 10/20lbs
Dumbbell incline bench press: from 30lbs to 40lbs 
Plank: from being able to hold it 50 seconds to being able to hold it for 90 secs (3 sets!) 
Reverse wood chop: from 30lbs to 50lbs 

Body weight matrix (includes 24 squats, 24 lunges, 24 lunge jumps, and 24 squat jumps): from taking 6 minutes to taking 3 minutes and 11 seconds. <<The BWM was my nightmare. OUCH! 

Workout B

Partial single leg squat: from body weight to 30lbs 
Wide-grip lat pulldown: from 65lbs to 70lbs (started this in stage 1 with 40lbs) 
Back extension: from body weight to 10lbs 
YTWL: from 10lbs to 10lbs<no change, but I got better at it (hardest lift in the workouts!)
Swiss Ball Crunch: from 10lbs to 25lbs (started this with body weight in stage 1)
Hip Flexion (body weight...more prone jackknifes and reverse crunches)
Lateral Flexion (body weight...moved from easiest variation to hardest variation) 
Prone Cobra: held it 90 seconds for all 3 sets (in all 4 workouts)
Interval training, 15 minutes: I upped my recovery speed from 2.5 to 3.5 in this stage and upped intervals from a level 7 (6.0 on treadmill) to level 10 (6.7 on treadmill). The workout still calls for 1 minute hard/2 minutes recovery, so I stuck with that and went a little over 1 mile in each interval session. 

completed workout logs 
My stage 3 tips (these are in addition to tips from stage 1 and 2 recaps)

  • Get a pair of gloves for lifting. Trust me, your hands will thank you. Added bonus: engagement ring protection. I bought a pair at target by GoFit for $15. It was a worthy investment. 
  • Just accept that the workout is going to take a long time. Rushing through the rest periods will not be completing the workout as designed, so clear 1.5-2 hours from your schedule to make it happen. 
  • Bring an i-pod to the can use it to time your planks and prone cobras (without straining your neck to find a clock), and it is a good distraction for interval training as well. 
  • Not a stage 3 tip, but general gym in January tip: The gym in January will be PACKED. Don't let this derail you. Work around people to the best of your ability, and find substitute exercises if necessary. Don't fret...3/4 of these people will be gone by March. 
  • On being one of the only women in the weight room: again, don't let it bother you. Just keep on keeping on!

I'm really proud of my improvements in stage 3...I'm going to take my break between stages (I'll do yoga tonight and rest Thursday--Sunday--well rest from weight lifting at least, do yoga Monday and start stage 4 on Tuesday) and get ready for stage 4 (which looks a lot like stage 2, yikes, lunges!) I'm happy Brendan is still going to the gym with me. It makes it easier to commit and do my best. 

Here's to getting stronger, slowly, but surely. 

<3 S, B, (and sleeping right next to me L&Z)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Windy Day

We had 55 mph winds here today...enough to earn us both a "wind and dust advisory." It certainly made my commute interesting. All sorts of trash, lots of dust, and GIANT tumbleweeds were plummeting towards me as I made my 75 mph commute against 55 mph winds. It was definitely a more stressful drive than usual, but I made it home safely.

Upon arriving home, I crawled back into bed and indulged in a 2 hour nap. I slept very poorly last night, due to my own bad decision to watch 3 episodes of American Horror Story right before going to bed. Not my best plan.

Eventually though, I got up and got moving again. We made it to the gym, where I finished stage 3 of The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women. I promise a full recap tomorrow. Needless to say, we're both tired. It was all we could do to put a frozen pizza in the oven (Central Market is our go-to brand for frozen pizza...seriously good!) and do some dishes before utter exhaustion sank in.

I have some good news: Brendan and I registered for a spring 5K today. We'll be racing the Bloodgushers 5K, benefiting United Blood Services on March 30th.  I'm looking forward to my 3rd ever 5K, and I was happy to find a race that was benefiting a good cause and starting at 9:30am (a relatively late start time). I am hoping to beat my personal record...which wasn't fast at all to begin with, so hopefully, I can make that happen! When it comes to running, I am not naturally gifted, but I enjoy the challenge. As I always tell my students, it is character building to do things that DON'T come easily to us...there is joy in struggle.

And now, my favorite way to end any day:

We hope you've found a happy end to yours :)
<3 S, B, L&Z

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Good Friends, Food, Music, and Beer

It goes without saying from the post title: we had a good weekend.

We took a trip to Lubbock, TX to see our friends, The Shews. Having them two hours away was one of the things that made our decision to move to Midland even easier. Every time I see the Shews, I'm immediately "at home." It's really nice to have friends that understand where you've come from, especially if you've come from the McNeese M.F.A. program in Lake Charles, LA...a place so magical, it's indescribable. I know, I always sound so nostalgic when talking about graduate school, but there's a reason I miss it so much...a big part of the reason is all the great people we had nearby, so having the Shews close just feels right.

My friend, Em, is the perfect hostess...she knows everything, including how to make perfect pancakes that look like this:

Don't worry blog world, I stole her secrets to replicate this. (Spoiler alert: my pancakes will never look this good).

While in Lubbock, we checked out the Lubbock Lake Landmark, an archaeological dig site that also had a 3 mile walking trail.

With January weather up in the high 60s, it was perfect for a walk.

We ate two great meals while in Lubbock, and both places featured exceptional beer selection (Brendan has actually made me like certain beers---who knew?!) The Crafthouse and The Triple J both earn our recommendation.

But the highlight of our weekend was found at the Cactus Theater:

It was me and Em!

Just was seeing Jimmie Dale Gilmore in concert. I had no idea what to expect, but this man blew me away with his music, which Brendan describes as Americana (blues, folk, country, rock), and I just describe as "a really emotional listening experience." We all stumbled across the concert and bought tickets the day of, but I was so glad we did. Mr. Gilmore is a delight to watch on stage, with his funny stories and wonderful personality...but some of the lyrics from his songs are just haunting me.  He now resides in Austin, and I know we'll look for another opportunity to see him play.

Bad i-phone pic, I was trying to take it fast! 
 After the show, we headed to Tom's Daiquiri Place across the street, where the "Call a Cab" daiquiri made me dizzy (don't worry, I had a designated driver).

This morning, we sat in our PJs and played Settlers of Catan, a favorite board, all in all, a great weekend.

I already miss the Shews, but after a grocery store run tonight, and some sushi and Downton Abbey watching, I'm ready for the week ahead.

Here's to our Lubbock adventures, and the adventures to come in 2013!
<3 S, B, (and a happy to be reunited with their people L&Z)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Give and Take

Last night, as I was ready to go to yoga class, I saw that my car had a flat tire. This was my 5th flat tire in 9 months and my 6th tire issue in 9 months. I will say, driving my car as much as I do certainly takes its toll. I went back upstairs to get Brendan, who gave me a ride to yoga, came home and put on my spare, and then drove my car to get some air for the spare and pick up groceries. While I was in my yoga class, he cooked us a healthy dinner of quinoa and vegetables.

When I got home (a friend gave me a ride), I gave him a kiss, thanked him, and told him I owed him. His reply? "No you don't, I'd say we're about even." I couldn't even think of anything I had done, but Brendan could, and he started listing. I : cleaned up after the cats, folded laundry, paid bills, argued with customer service when it seemed they had screwed up our honeymoon flights, etc. The funny thing was, none of that stuff had even occurred to me as being particularly helpful, but all of it was things Brendan didn't particularly want to do (call me crazy, but paying bills is actually FUN to me).

The story struck me as a nice example of the balance we've managed to strike in our relationship. A little over 2 years in, and we don't keep track of things, but do a pretty 50/50 job of cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, and household tasks. It seems that we each have tasks we mind a little less (Brendan is fine with dishes, while I take on laundry, and we both like to cook). We've hired help for the things that we both dislike. Our relationship is a perfect harmony.

For many people reading this, this is probably a very "duh" post. Yes, obviously relationships should be equal. However, I'm constantly amazed at how many women complain that the men in their lives give them little to no help around the house, expecting them to work full time and take care of domestic chores. In our relationship, Brendan and I have the same job, so it only makes sense that we'd share the workload of domestic duties, however, to so many men, this just isn't obvious.

I would have NEVER fallen in love with someone who did not see eye to eye with me on this issue, but I think many women don't know this is something that they can expect from a relationship, so they do not know to look for it. To complicate matters, some women don't live with a partner until after marriage, so, once they realize their spouse expects them to take on the burden of the chores, they are already legally committed to this person (it goes without saying here, but this is one of the many reasons I think living together prior to marriage is a responsible and healthy decision--for both parties. Relationships can work without doing this, but they should entail extra communication about expectations for the partnership).

I hope that, in the future, more and more women and men come to realize the importance of equality in a relationship. It takes parents raising strong women, who know they should expect equality, and smart men, who know that being a giving partner will lead to a happier partner and a healthier relationship.

After my workout today, I came home to these beauties:

Yet another reason I say, "Do I really have to wait 164 days to marry you?"

Here's to the giving (and the taking),
<3 S, B, L&Z

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Good Weekend (or, Things to Do in Midland)

It's hard to believe this is only our second weekend since returning home. It already feels like we've been home for at least a month!

We packed in a lot this weekend. Yesterday, we checked out the new I-20 Wildlife Preserve in Midland.  We actually went here a few times before it really opened, so it was nice to come without fearing being kicked off the property. Bird blinds, a playa, a pond, trees and bird feeders, a hawk tower, and 1.5 mile trail make this nature preserve a great addition to Midland. We've also been graced with some beautiful weather this weekend (highs in the upper 60s), which made exploring outdoors perfect. The whole place was relaxing and peaceful...we really enjoyed the experience and will definitely go back. Brendan brought his new camera (gift from his parents for Christmas) to the trail, and all of the following photos were taken by him.

Last night, we headed to the Big Sky Drive in and caught double feature Mama and Django Unchained. We were both totally creeped out by Mama and found Django to be entertaining, despite losing a little steam towards the end. Overall, it was the best double feature we had seen in a while. The drive in is my favorite part of living in west Texas. I've always loved movies, and I think this is the best way to watch one. I know I'll always have great memories of this. 

The car set up for movie watching--don't think we'll ever get rid of this car, ever. 
Today, we headed out for breakfast with friends Jill and Ryan, and then made our way to the dog park with their dogs Loki and Brutus. I also found this dog, Max...

What a beauty! 
happy Brutus! 
Mr. Lokes 
At the dog park, we met an actual wolf. This guy was a real sweetie, but the owners say he does howl! 

We love dogs and it was fun to hang out with some. We won't be adopting one anytime soon in our  apartment though (don't worry Lola and Zoe!) We enjoyed soaking up some vitamin D this weekend, and the best part is, it's not over. We have tomorrow off for MLK day. Thank you academic calendar.

What did you do this weekend? Hope it was a good one!
<3 S, B, L&Z

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rise (the Shining Might Follow)

I'm not an early morning person, but I've learned to be.

In graduate school, few of us wanted to teach 8am classes, and yet, they had to be offered. I started volunteering for the 8:00ams my first year in order to befriend my peers (if some of us were willing, then no one had to be forced), but now I'm a fan of early classes (while adjuncting at Midland, I continued to teach fact, I believe I've had an 8am most every semester). Now, I teach 8ams despite the fact that I have a 50 minute commute to campus. The students in early classes tend to be well prepared, and I like the general feel of those classes, a "we're all in this together" attitude. Additionally, I teach well in the morning because I can muster energy, and I enjoy my work day ending earlier in the day (I left at 12:15 today) allowing me to do more with my afternoons.

But do you think I wake up a big, bright ball of happiness every morning? I'll give you a hint: No. Most mornings, I don't want to leave my warm bed. There are certain things one can do though to make the experience more pleasant (or less unpleasant at least), and I'm sharing my tips here.

I might not be shining, however, I'm always rising. 
Just getting out of bed is the first step to being a morning person. I shower the day before my 8ams, so I don't have to generally mess with that in the morning. I set my alarm for 6am and snooze for an additional 30 minutes. I know I'm getting up at 6:30am, no matter what. Snoozing without a set deadline is dangerous. Don't let yourself do this. Instead, make firm plans for a warning alarm and real alarm.

Tell yourself something positive, immediately 

Have you ever seen this video about a little girl making positive affirmations? Well, I don't take it quite that far, but I do immediately tell myself something positive. Waking up early to go to work is better than: not having work AND better than not waking up :) see? Seriously though, it's important to immediately set a good tone for your day.

Have a super short routine

I get ready for my workday in 30 minutes flat. I brush my hair and teeth, put in contacts, and pick out an outfit (my closet is very organized, with everything professional in one place, so I can easily coordinate an outfit I like). My make up routine takes 5 minutes (foundation, brozer, lip gloss, a bit of mascara and done!). I pack my breakfast/snacks/lunch in the morning, but I already have things in the fridge/freezer that I can just grab. I fill up my reusable water bottle, and I'm good to go. I leave my work things on the kitchen table, so I don't forget anything.

Listen to Music

I like to listen to oldies on my way to work. Music in the morning definitely gives a more positive perspective. I don't drink coffee in the morning, but I can see how that would be a nice pick-me-up too.

Be Nice to People, As Soon as Possible 

The second I walk into school, I enjoy greeting the 3 secretaries in the building. Being nice to other people just naturally puts us in a good mood. I always greet my class and ask about their day. I come into the room energetic and ready to go. I want them to feel like my class is a positive place to be, so I immediately try to set that tone. After class, I always talk to the janitor, Gilbert, because I usually see him in the hall. I also talk to the other teachers in my office suite. Work should not be solitary. Take every opportunity you have to interact positively with people.

Do Favors, As Soon as Possible 

Grant kindness, let someone off the hook, forgive. I literally feel my day brighten when I do these things.

Think About What You're Looking Forward To 

On my morning drive, I think a lot about our upcoming wedding and honeymoon. Having fun things to look forward to (and remembering that you have those things) is such a wonderful lift for the spirit. I also think of closer things (this long weekend for example).

Don't Pressure Yourself to Feel Happy

9 times out of 10, I feel like happiness shines through me after I wake up early...1 out of 10 times, it's just not the best day, and that's okay too. Though I don't have to wake up early on M/W/F, I often choose to. I don't like it at first, but I'm so productive on days I get up and start working rather than sleeping, and I use these same techniques on those days too (If I can't have a positive exchange in person, I make a call or write an email).

Are you a morning person (by choice or by force)? What are your tips for rising and shining? Please share.

I can smell my afternoon coffee brewing, time to go!
<3 S, B, L&Z

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Creature Comforts

Brendan recently got this Toddy Cold Brew Coffee System for Christmas, and now we have iced coffee at home.

It's so wonderful, Starbucks quality iced coffee without leaving home or paying the fancy coffee price.

We also received a new coffee machine (wedding shower present), so we've been brewing up a storm over here. We both like coffee, though I prefer mine cold (yes, even in winter) and in the afternoon: it's a nice pick-me-up before the gym. Brendan is more the traditional hot coffee in the morning person.

I need the pick-me-up today! Teaching is exhausting when you are out of practice. Two days into the semester and I've almost lost my voice.

It's also really, really, really cold here in the desert (ice on my car this morning), and though snow has constantly been forecasted, it never actually happens. I'm just really happy I bought all those workout pants. Otherwise, I'd never make it to the gym. I need to re-read my own post about dry winter skin solutions. I'm dying over here! I'm going to try reader recommended "Bag Balm," anything else I should know of?

Today, as I feel like doing nothing that I have to, I'm giving thanks for creature comforts, the things that make life more pleasant: lotion for my dry skin, coffee to wake me up, gloves to protect my hands at the gym and workout pants to keep me warm, a highlighter to help make taking notes for teaching a little easier, and of course, my trusty laptop! Also the hot cup of tea I'll enjoy tonight :)

What creature comforts are getting you through the day?
PS--Can someone find Spring already?!
<3 cold but happy S, B, L&Z

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Calm Before the Storm

When I was an undergrad, I used to feel the semester was like a roller coaster that took off before I was even buckled. As a teacher, it basically feels the same way, so college was really good preparation.

No matter how much prepping teachers go through, or meetings they attend, being in the classroom is a totally different experience every single semester. I'm excited to get back to it and meet my new students (I have a lot of returning students as well). This semester will be busy for both of us, but not as busy as the fall. At last count, I had 158 students and Brendan had 99. We're both excited to teach composition and literature, which we both enjoy even more than composition and rhetoric.

The past week has been a nice adjustment period. We've had some time to settle back into our routine. The house has been straightened, the cleaning service came, we did a big grocery run, so our cupboards are no longer bare:

We put together reading schedules for our courses, and we finally made some much needed time to hang out with friends in Midland this weekend. I also bought some cold weather workout gear, as my one pair of workout pants will not cut it for these cold days we've been having (39 degrees today). I needed some gloves too; Brendan says he doesn't mind the callouses on his hands from weight lifting, but that is not my reaction. I'm hoping these gloves will keep my hands soft, even now that I'm lifting heavier and heavier weight (stage 3 of New Rules is pretty intense!)

Tonight, it's laundry, making dinner, and Downton Abbey watching (I'm excited to see how Season 3 looks on our new big screen). Things probably won't be this relaxed again until May, so I'm trying to soak it all in!

Here's to the coming semester; buckle up!
<3 S, B, L&Z

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Back to the Norm

On Sunday, we accomplished several things. Mainly, taking gifts out of boxes and setting up our new TV. We also found a blu ray player...we love our new set up!

We just have to find a way to hide all the wires. I love the design on the table, so I don't really want a tablecloth, but I was thinking maybe a storage cube to put under the table...maybe we could fill it with records or something. Thoughts? PS-we have wires for TV, Blu Ray player, hook ups to get some TV channels (like PBS, so I can watch Downton season 3), Nintendo Wii, and several wires related to the internet. 1 wire is for the record player. It's madness!

Monday we started back to work. It felt easy enough to get into the swing of things, but it is definitely an adjustment. I also attended yoga class on Monday night. After 3 weeks of not stretching, my downward dog wasn't as good, and my chaturanga arms weren't as strong, but I made it through class. I came home to this awesome homemade pizza Brendan made using our new pizza stone and pizza cutter (wedding shower gift!). It was the best pizza yet. Yum!

Yesterday after work, we ventured to the gym (in the cold...I need to buy some sweatpants), and I began stage 3 of the New Rules of Weightlifting for Women. After the 1 hour, 20 minute workout, my legs felt like jelly...I was SO worn out by this, which is probably to be expected, as I took 3 weeks off instead of the recommended 1. However, I successfully made it through, and felt really good. I have so much motivation for getting strong, and it's not just about how I look at the wedding, but rather, being as healthy and fit as possible. I know I'll enjoy the honeymoon more too if I'm in the best possible shape (when it comes to hiking and kayaking, you need a lot of strength). I hope to stay fit for the long term, and I have some plans about how to make that happen too. The key is finding what you enjoy.

Today, I'm working from home while Brendan's at work (he worked from home yesterday). We're looking forward to getting groceries today and taking some of these empty boxes to the trash. Sweet Zoe has been by my side all morning...I think all of us feel good about getting back into the routine. We need a break from routine, but then it's good to have it again!

I'm off to make breakfast, work on my course reading schedule, and then I'm off to yoga tonight.

Here's to getting back to the norm!
<3 S, B, L&Z

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How I Spent My Winter Vacation

We are HOME and it feels so good!

We traveled 325 miles today with a VERY full car (considering it is a VW Jetta): Lola and Zoe in carriers in the backseat, our new 40" flat screen TV (Christmas present) also in the backseat, and a trunk FULL of luggage, Christmas gifts, birthday gifts (Brendan) and wedding shower gifts. We arrived to a very full mailbox and several packages and a fire extinguisher waiting by the door (thankfully, we apparently have very trustworthy neighbors).

The cats are doing fine and seem happy to be home as well. All breakables made it home safely and unbroken. We had about 15 Christmas cards in the mail and enjoyed opening and reading them all. We put away a lot of our new things. Brendan heated up some frozen leftovers and we ate chili and rice on the couch and talked about taking down our tree tomorrow. This is what the end of Winter Break 2012 looks like, and it was a great one...

3 weeks off, and I couldn't have asked for a better 3 weeks! We...

Also in CT: We celebrated Brendan's 31st birthday and enjoyed a Surprise Couple's Shower the same day!

We went out for a romantic New Year's eve dinner at Wink, the restaurant we became engaged at to ring in the year we'll get married in. 

We took a fast trip to La Marque, Texas to see my grandmother. 
We ate at way too many delicious places to count. 
I took care of some health and wedding related tasks. 
And we RELAXED, a lot. I'm talking 7-hour Game of Thrones marathons. 

My top memories from winter break 2012: Said Game of Thrones marathons--all of season 1--with Brendan's parents...they are really fun to be lazy with, my first Christmas with the Egan family including Christmas eve church and picking out the tree, Veil shopping with Brendan's mom and sister and lunch afterwards, our surprise wedding shower, New Years eve dinner (still thinking about all we ate), eating sushi with Graham and Maisie, seeing 3 great movies in the theater (The Hobbit, Les Miserables, and Holy Motors) and one on Netflix (the highly recommended Bernie), and catching up with friends and family in Austin and Connecticut. I am also thankful for the things I didn't do: workout, cook and clean, worry, work. My 3 week break has left me so renewed and rejuvenated and feeling ready to get back to teaching. 

In other good news, our wedding is exactly 6 months from today (well, from the 5th, it's late here). 

In addition to everything mentioned hereherehere, and here, and here, I've/we've: found/ordered a beautiful wedding veil (a gift from Brendan's mom and it is PERFECT. Can't wait to wear it!), tried on my actual dress (eee, love it!), found a venue for the rehearsal dinner, ordered my wedding shoes, found my something borrowed (more on that later), purchased gifts for the flower girls, done my wedding hair and make-up trial (still need to work out some kinks at a later appointment, but it was mostly lovely!), went wedding band shopping just to get an idea of what we want/we have my potential band being sent to jewelry store, were given a lovely surprise couple's shower (and I've started on the thank-you notes!). I'd say we're in very good shape for being 6 months out. Now that it is 2013, the wedding feels even closer. Plus, I know of 7 (7!) friends that have already booked plane tickets to be at our wedding, and the hotel reports rooms starting to be booked. In the end, the thing that most matters to me about the day is the people we spend it with, so these things make me super happy. 

Anyway, do you get a winter vacation? How did you spend it? I'm planning to spend the last day of mine unpacking and taking down the, we have some Target giftcards needing to be spent :) 

Here's to being happy at home after 21 days away! 
<3 S, B, L&Z 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Starting the Year Off Right

We've had a busy few days over here...

Brendan and I rang in the New Year at Wink, the restaurant we got engaged at in May. Here's a picture taken before we left:

We woke up early on New Year's day, packed our backpacks, and headed to La Marque (near Houston) to spend some time with my grandmother. As always, it was great to see her, and at 95, she is doing really well. We headed back to Austin last evening, where I am spending the day focused on my health. First, a doctor's appointment, where I got a flu shot and a clean bill of health. Then, a dentist appointment for a cleaning and x-rays, where my teeth were found to be in good shape and cavity free. It feels good to take care of this routine stuff, and I'm thankful to have access to good healthcare.

The New Year always has me thinking about resolutions...I think I did a good job sticking to last year's, but I don't think I'll write a list this year, as I know what needs to get done and just need to do it.

I have 10 ideas for simple resolutions here, if you are looking to make some of your own.

Did you make any resolutions? Please share them in the comments section!

Here's to starting off right,
<3 S,B, L&Z
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