Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 at a Glance.

To wrap up 2009 I did an entry showing the highlights, as a recap of a great year. In similar fashion I want to give 2010 it's due because this really has been the best year of my life. It has been tough and challenging and full of obstacles but as I say goodbye to this year it's with sadness, for despite the bad there has been an overwhelming amount of good this year. So join me (tearfully if you must) in flashing this year before your very eyes and appreciate the highlights of 2010.

2010 at-a-glance:


- First off, let's start with this entry where I laid out what I wanted my life to look like in 2010. I later recapped my success with an entry in early December.

- I worked on my condo in my first month living there including painting a wall and changing out the carpet.

- We made the Superbowl, again! I have now had a once in a lifetime experience, twice.


- We lost the Super Bowl.

- I battled through being a million miles from home...

- I got my second invite from Dove to host an event.


- Hosted said event.

- I finally posted a raw entry written months before about love lost. This is one of my favorite entries to date.

- Proof that I did occasionally slow down and enjoy life this year.


- I learned discipline.

- Made plans to take on two new towns for two new adventures.


- I spoke to 1000s of people about, gasp, getting it all wrong.

- I created space.


- First video blog in the new condo.

- I learned about grace under pressure.


- Had a breif glance into life when you love an addict.

- I got to ride in a hummer limo and get trained by a celebrity trainer!


- Mom came to Tampa.

- More raw honesty came out.

September: (the month Yours Truly was born)

- I witnessed a miracle.

- I turned 25.

- I did home improvements. (three entries for the price of one)

- I spent my birthday with the Manning brothers.

- I let my best friend love someone else.


- I was in my best friend's wedding.

- I revealed my 50 pounds of weight loss.


- I got my wisdom teeth pulled.

- Posted before and after pics (ack).

- Wrote the entry that took the most out of me.

- Met one of my heros.

- And made time to spend Tgiving in Indiana (with a Peyton Manning look-a-like).


- I started making plans for 2011.

- Burned some bridges.

- Finished my 50th book (and reviewed it).

- Celebrated a year in my condo & as a homeowner with a Cribs vid.

It goes without saying but I'll say it anyway - this has been an incredibly rewarding year. I've grown a person, Christian, daughter, friend, sister, leader, and blogger. I look forward to 12 more months of adventures next year. Thank you for being a part of this year. Stick around because it's only going to get better from here.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Checking in from Indiana.

Well for those of you who know me well, you've probably been a little worried about me and my long trip to Indiana. Indiana has certainly never been a place I've loved and calling it home would be a huge stretch. But I'm happy to report, all is well in the midwest. It's cold and gray here as I'm sure you'd expect but I'm hanging tough in my sweatpants and Ugg boots.

While Indiana doesn't rank in the top 25 states I'd ever live in (again) - being with my family makes it work coming back here. When I left 2.5 years ago I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to happily set foot here again but being with the people you love really does make a world of difference.

Lucky for me, my sister Rae and my bro-in-law Bres got stuck here an extra day so that gave us an extra day to be together. What made that extra special was it was the day of Dad's game in Oakland so we got to cheer him on, from 'home' together. I loved that. Even though I may have put back on the 60 lbs I lost eating football food in front of the TV.

I'm realizing more and more lately how blessed I am to have all four of my grandparents still. What a wealth of knowledge (and funny stories about my parents) they are. I sat with my gpa (Dad's side) the other morning drinking coffee and asking him questions about my aunt who I hardly know (I haven't seen her since I was 5) and my Dad as a kid (he was a real trip it sounds like). It's fun hearing about my family before I was part of it. Family is a huge part of my life as you all know if you've been here for any extent of time.

I find that I'm getting a little overly sentimental in my ripe old age of 25. My Dad came home the other day and announced he had something for me. You'll never (and I mean never) guess what it was...

Vitamin! I know. Giggle all you want. Dad brought me a thing of 1000 vitamins because I take the same kind he does and he knows it saves me money when he stocks me up. So for the next 3 years, I'm good to go. Really about 5 because I already had a pretty deep stash. But he was so excited to give them to me - knowing it would save me a few bucks. And I was touched. He has such a busy, crazy, demanding job that when he takes a time out and thinks of the smallest gesture that would make MY life easier, it really touches me. He is a special man and an incredible Dad.

So, stop your worrying, I'm surviving Indiana with some fun, grace, and 1000 vitamins. I will welcome the Florida sunshine and NOT sharing a bed when I return however.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Where did I travel in 2010 you ask (reverb)? Well let me show you a few of the places...

Scottsburgh, Indiana.
Pittsburgh, PA.

Nashville, TN.

Myrtle Beach, SC.

Indianapolis, IN.

Cincinatti, Ohio.
Baltimore, MD
St Louis, MO
Kansas City, MO
Huntsville, AL
Charlotte, NC
This was a busy travel year for me and I'm excited for a busy 2011 on the road or in a plane as well.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Note to Self.

Dear 35 year old self,

Reverb told me to write you a letter. Actually I think you're supposed to be writing me one. Hmm. Anyways, I hear you're quite the baller. Nice work. Your husband is really hot and that new crib you bought? Legit! Nice work on the new job (wink wink) - so cool.

Basically, you're awesome and your life is awesome. I'm glad I'm going to be you in 10 years. Turns out 35 doesn't look so bad on you. Nice work.

All I really have to say is - get it girl!

25 year old Becca

Prompts from Reverb '10.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I'm supposed to tell you what kind of healing I received this year and how I hope to heal in 2011. Eh, not sure this is my fav. prompt - sorry 'reverb 10'.

For those of you who have watched the Biggest Loser before, you know that frequently people's weight is a result of bigger issues. Whether it's overeating, under eating, not eating, etc there's usually a bigger issue behind the behavior. Over the last 8-9 months of weight loss I've really had to delve into that myself and really explore why it took me until 25 to care enough to take care of me.

In recognizing the reasons behind that, I've been able to heal as I work back towards being in shape. I realized in a personal training session with a celebrity trainer that Dove gave me earlier this year that she was right, having the ability to be active is a gift. One that not everyone has. I can run. I can jump. I can swim laps in my pool. I am capable of so many great things because my body is young and healthy. Not doing those things is a little like having the ability to read and not using it, it's really sad how many people waste that gift.

As I've dropped the weigh, eaten healthy, and fallen absolutely in love with excercise I've healed all the bad feelings I had about the way I looked and the way my body was before. It may not be exactly where I want it to be right now, but it's come a long way with me in 2010. We've battled some tough stuff together, and we've come out swinging - or running.

I look forward to continuing this journey in 2011 but I'm thankful for the people encouraged me through a year of healing this year.


Sunday, December 26, 2010


I saw where my friend Bekah addressed her hatred of the word try on her blog and I'm inclined to agree. You either do or don't do things, I'm not one for grey areas.

This year I had some great successes - from completing my first year of home ownership successfully to reading 50 books. I have triumphed in several areas but you'll have to read my new years eve post recapping this year to find out more.

In 2011 however, I'd like to succeed at going at least one new place AND I'd like to try indoor sky diving. Profound, I know. But you know what, fun is an important part of life. I try to make everything I do as much fun as possible and rest assured 2011 will be the most fun I've had yet, no matter what it holds.

Here's to removing the word try from all of our vocabularies this year and focusing on achieving our dreams.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Lesson Learned.

First off, Merry Christmas. As I write this a few days early I already know this will be posting to you on a very special day - the day my Savior (and I hope yours) was born. What an incredible gift. What an incredibly special day. I hope that each of you enjoys this time for it's true meaning and value. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Today's prompt from Reverb (because I'm behind) is what lesson did I learn about myself this year. Great question and I hope you'll agree that I have a pretty great answer. This year I learned that I am tough. Mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. My life is truly blessed but it hasn't been an easy road to where I find myself writing to you today. This year is no exception...

I really saw and appreciated how tough I am this year. I stuck with my commitments, like reading 50 books this year. I met and exceed my goals - ie: I set a goal to lose 33 pounds for my best friends wedding and I lost 50. Then I set a goal to continue and I've already lost 10 more. To me, those show mental toughness. I can commit and I can conquer.

Beyond that, I had a tough year spiritually as I tried to leave some idols behind and keep fighting to place God first in my life. It's been a road with some rocks and it's been a road with some setbacks. I am still making mistakes and paying for old mistakes and living through consequences of past actions. But I have stayed strong in my commitment to pursue, pursue, pursue my relationship with the Lord. I have sought to know and follow hard after Him, and I have shown spiritual toughness as I fight through some battles.

You may thinking losing 60 pounds shows physical toughness but that pales in comparison to the hardest physical battles I've ever faced happening this year. 8 months of battling with my IBS has been intense. I've had to be extremely physically tough as I battle it out with my own body in search of what will work for me. It has been a battle but I think so far, I'm winning. Along with that I hurt my back (actually my rhomboid - in my the back of my right shoulder blade) and was in extreme pain with that...

Perhaps my most impressive physical toughness was my experience with getting my wisdom teeth removed this year. While in Baltimore working an All Pro Dad event my face felt like it was on fire. Come to find out my wisdom teeth were pushing on a nerve in my face. I determined to have them pulled 2 days later. Having already spoken for all my remaining days off in order to go home for a long Christmas I knew I couldn't miss work. I'd have to have them pulled and return to work the following day.

I took the last appointment, I instructed them that I could not go under (partly because it would irritate my stomach and partly because I had to make a 12 hour recovery). They looked at my like I was crazy but I literally said, 'look, I'm tough - do what you need to do, I'll stay calm - I promise'. The numbed me so I wouldn't feel them remove my teeth but let me tell you I was WIDE awake.

I'd taken the last appointment of the day so I got home that evening, watched a movie while I iced ( and assured each of my family members I was totally fine ). I chose not to cash in my vicodin prescription - I'm not much for meds. I popped 1 Tylenol that night just to be safe...

Woke up for work the next morning - no swelling, no bruising, not enough pain to need meds. Headed to work and worked a full 8 hour day. Now if that doesn't take some physical and mental toughness, I don't know what does.

The emotional toughness is a little harder to talk about. This year like all years in football families are tough. With Dad taking on new responsibilities there came a wave of media attention. Some good, some critical. As an Daddy's girl is, I'm very protective of my Dad and very defensive of any critical words. While I recognize that media will always be media and they will always say some tough things to hear despite a lack of truth on many occasions - it never gets easier. With a season that's contained some ups and downs with injuries, wins, loses, etc there has been a swirl of good and bad media attention. I have remained emotionally strong and managed to keep my mind on this - the only opinion that will ever matter is the Lord's.

I continue to swell with pride at the incredible man my Dad is. He has been faithful in his pursuit of the Lord first and football somewhere on down the list after my Mom and us girls. I continue to see the Lord bless and reward him for his faithfulness. What an incredible blessing this season of life is for all us. I have and will continue to defend him, be defensive of him, and cheer him on hard. I know more than ever that God is good, all the time.

In short, I am proud to report that this year I finally realize I am one tough cookie.

Merry Christmas to all.


Friday, December 24, 2010


Two particular friendships come to mind as today's prompt asks me to talk about friendships that changed me this year. The first, is having a best friend, here, in Tampa. Auburn, has certainly changed me for the better in no many ways. She is a constant encouragement to me when I get down on myself. She's smart and a great source of wisdom on a wide variety of topics, I love her opinion and I ask for it often. She's guided me through decision after decision this year - none too big or too small.

She encourages me as I've watched her grow this year. We've grown together. Leaving behind that which belongs in the past and pressing forward into better futures. We've laughed and cried together as we look forward with hope to what the Lord has yet to do in our lives and friendships. I'm struck often by how well she knows me and how in less time than is usual for me, I've let her all the way in. To really see me the way few people ever have. And amazingly, she loves me anyway.

The other is a long-standing theme of friendship in my life and that is my older sister, Rae. When I look back on my life and the successes that I have I owe them first to the Lord but second to her. She was truly the first person who ever believed in. Believed I would do great things. Believed I could be whoever I set my mind to be. At times in my life when I least deserved it she has been my rock, my support, and my encouragement.

She's given me tons of free advice this year as the person I most respect in terms of fitness, health, and weight control. Between her background in personal training and her doctorate in Physical Therapy I consider her a totally genius and I call her with all my silly questions. She never demeans me. She's always gracious in her answers and encourages me to learn and be curious. In short, she always makes me feel like a million bucks. If I could put into words for you just how that has been a highlight in my life over the years I would but no words could do that great gift justice.

For the friendships and for all the people who have been part of my life this year, I am grateful. No friendship is too big or too small to change our lives. Each of you blesses me in a different, special way. I continue to thank God for placing you here with me for such a time as this.


Thursday, December 23, 2010


2010 has been a year of realizing how blessed I really am. There has been much to appreciate and be grateful for this year. I could make you a whole huge long list but wait, I already did that for thanksgiving. So I'll stick with the one big thing that stands out most for this year over and above any others... my home.

Home has always been an unattainable goal for me. My childhood was full of uprooting, moving, new houses, more boxes, and new sets of friends. I dreamed that someday when I moved away from home this would all change and I could pick for myself where I wanted to live and stay there forever. In hindsight, it seems a little silly to think you'd buy your first home right after college and literally never leave it. I will more than likely outgrow 'the batch pad' at some point, like say, when I'm not a 'batch' anymore.

When I bought the batch pad last December and moved in the first week of January I thought, 'this is it! I finally have a real home'. Home base. A place to land. A structure to call home that doesn't have to change til I decide. That was a really exciting time for me. Throughout this year I've continued to fill it with memories, love, and zebra-striped-decor. But for me having a real home, of my own, was a huge dream come true. It was a desire of my heart the Lord granted for me in 2010 and I cherish it.

It was also a pretty serious undertaking for me without my parents help! I shouldn't say without their help, because they gave me a lot of great advice along the way. But Nancy and I did all the looking, all the research, all the decision making, and pulled the trigger without my parents ever coming to see it. You know you're an adult when...

This year truly has been a year full of thanksgiving for me. I could go on and on forever about what I appreciate in 2010. I won't do that again though. I know you have lives to get back too.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Today's prompt: when it comes to aspirations, it's not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step? - Scott Belsky, Reverb10.

Ack, I have to take more action? Man, I feel like 2010 has been all about action. I've been working towards my goals at a crazy pace and there's a big part of me that would like to coast at least for a month or so before I tackle anything new. Is that wrong?

Alas, no rest for the weary. I will try'n relax a bit while thinking through my goals for 2011. That's how I plan to use my time while at my parents home in Indiana over Christmas. But come January 2nd when I return to Tampa, I will hit the ground running.

When I was home last, I went on a lunch date with my Dad and laid out my 5 year plan with him. As mentioned in a recent previous entry, my Dad is the one I go to for advice on practically everything. He's also great at helping me keep my plans. He pushes me but he also guides me and gives me a leg up when I need it.

I've made several pretty big goals for myself over the next 5 years and a little regretfully, I can't share them with you here - yet. But there are some pretty big tasks I have to accomplish myself to make them a reality so that is what 2011 will be for me - working towards reaching those 5 year goals. Over the next few weeks I'll really have to give myself a dose of my own medicine and think about the sacrifices I need to make now to get me from point A (now) to point B (then).

Prayers and advice welcome over the next couple weeks while I really do some hard self examination and build a game plan.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's a little scary I've been asked to impart some wisdom to you all from this year. Since I don't consider myself to be an overly wise person myself (yet), I will impart on your the wisdom of the wisest man I know - my Dad. I turn to him for advice on literally everything (except boys - because his motto is 'forget boys'). He knows something about everything it seems (note: don't direct him to this entry - I don't want him getting all cocky about it).

Anyway, one of the life-altering nuggets of wisdom he gave me was right after I'd graduated college. Literally, I'd finished my last final and I was leaving at 4am the next morning to head to Florida to start my adult life, alone. He sat me down for one of our heart-to-hearts about life and he told me this... he said, 'Bekes, when I get an amazingly talented player like Marvin (Harrison) or Reggie (Wayne) I ask them the same question I'm going to ask you - what do you want your career, your life to look like? Then after the answer I ask them what sacrifices they're making to attain or acheive that life'.

When you're 22, think you know it all, and tired from a week of finals it's hard to be overly inspired by anything. But 2 and a half years later I find that I go back to these questions regularly. What do I want my life to look like? What do I want my career to look like? My relationship with the Lord? My relationships with my family members and friends? Then I sit down and work out a plan to get there. If I want to be in shape, I have to make a plan to workout (and stick with it) and give my body the food it needs to thrive, right? If I want 2011 to be the closest I've been with my family members, well that probably means I need to call them more often, listen more than I speak, make time to visit them and be part of their lives, value what's important to them.

I hope that I will continue to grow in wisdom and in character throughout 2011, but I leave you with Dad has worked with some of the most talented athletes in the United States and has found that everyone needs a plan, everyone needs goals, and everyone has to make sacrifices to get where they want to be. We are no exception. I hope that this wisdom takes you far.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Cribs: Condo Edition.

The Crib:

Beautifully Different.

Yikes, these prompts are really going to make me dig deep aren't they? I'm not great at giving myself credit. Perhaps this will stretch me to give a little credit where it's due. The neat thing about celebrating our differences is that the bible tells us we are all wonderfully and uniquely made. I am no exception.

Hmm, most of this won't be new to you all since I'm pretty open about my quirkiness anyway. I am freakishly OCD. I love to organize. I love to throw things away (or donate them). I avoid clutter. I'm basically the anti-hoarder. I won't even decorate for Christmas because I don't want to store the decor for 11 months out of the year to use it for 1 (Hey Tara - maybe I should just leave my tree up year round like you. That would make it worthwhile).

I love to dance. I'm a terrible dancer which I attribute to having the grace of an elephant in a china shop in addition to having been home schooled growing up so obviously, didn't do much dancing til high school dances at other people's schools and the occasional party in college. Trust me, it's not a pretty sight. BUT I love it. Living alone, I get plenty of time to dance without judgement.

Other beautifully different things about me you may not know...

- I studied deaf community and culture for 6 years. I (was) fluent in sign language, though am not severely out of practice. I love the language and the people.
- I was a photography major for 3 years of college and while I don't have a ton of time (or money) to use towards it now - I still read other people's photo blogs and live vicariously through my friends who continued on that path.
- I drink diet coke out of a 2 liter most mornings while I get ready for work. Yeah, that makes me beautiful. Roll with it.
- I write real, snail mail letters to friends. Handwritten letters are truly a lost art, but they aren't lost on me.
- I help my friends make life plans. This sounds weird, but I do. I love to help people meet their goals and creative genius of ways for them to do that strike me at odd times.
- I love to have people in my home. Whether it's old students of mine who come back into town and want to talk over coffee or friends who call to come use me for my pool. I rarely cook for people but I'll always throw something in the microwave or curl on the couch with some hot chocolate. I love that I have a place where my friends from out of town can always stay when they're here or when they need to escape the midwestern winter. Mi casa is truly su casa or however that saying goes.


Sunday, December 19, 2010


It would be a cop-out to say that blogging has been the community I've connected with most in 2010 wouldn't it? Blast, cop-out it is. But the truth is I've connected more with the online community of blogger in 2010 than ever before. But in the spirit of really taking these prompts and running with them, I'll say twitter for this one.

I've moved from being a facebook addicted to be a tweeter crazy this year. I love the community of twitter because you interact with your 'followers' who you may or may not actually know in real life, regularly. I love the interaction without giving them full access to 600 pictures of me, my family, and friends. Twitter lets you be as anon as you'd like or as personal, giving you the chance to get to know people without giving them an excessive amount of stalking tools at their disposal.

Within the twitter community I've had fun 'tweetin' at some other people who are into fitness and weight loss. It's neat to see their successes and be able to offer some encouragement when they have a bad week. I've learned a lot from the advice they've given me. And it's provided me some accountability while I meet my goals.

I'm not ready to say goodbye to facebook just yet, but Twitter is fast becoming my favorite social network.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

But is G-free for Me?

It begins, my reading of Hasselbeck's 'The G-free Diet' and my consideration of if this couldcure my own health battles with the illusive 'ibs' (read: irritable bowel syndrome). After this entry where I told you all about my battle with ibs this year and my long road to trying to figure it all out, I got several messages from readers and friends asking if I'd considered that I may have celiac disease.

The answer is, I wasn't the one to think of it but it was thought of. They didn't test me for Celiac because my symptoms are textbook ibs but I'm missing about 50 of Celiac's symptoms. Come to find out as I've dug deeper and done my research, many people who suffer from Celiac have no symptoms but that doesn't mean the disease isn't eating away at their body.

Here's a little health related confession for you. After a few disappointing visits to doctors early on in my health struggle, I quit going. Now before you jump down my throat about this, let me explain. Ibs is very manageable in most cases my diet and exercise but it is frequently a process of finding the groove that works for you. After my displeasure with my options for treatment via medical help I determined that I thought I was strong enough mentally and physically to run a gamut of self-tests to see if I could get in a good place where I wasn't getting sick all the time.

Over the 9ish months since this all began I have seen a vast improvement. When my flare up first started I was sick 4-5 days a week. Once I began eating healthier, limiting my dairy intake, working out 6-7 days a week, and taking probiotics daily I've been able to (slowly) move from 4-5 days a week to 1-2 times per month. From here, I hope that it will only decrease until someday it will be non-existent or close-to.

So now that I've shared my successes and yes I see them as that, you may be wondering why if I'm on the up-and-up I'm considering such a drastic choice as to go gluten free. Great question. Truth is, after so many people brought it up to me, I got curious. As I researched I started to read all the benefits of a g-free lifestyle and it got me thinking that perhaps it's still worth a shot. If it can drastically improve autism, osteoporosis, type 1 diabetes, thyroid problems, etc. then why not give it a go? Oh, bonuses - it helps you lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight and has been shown to reduce headaches! Cha-ching.

I'm a firm believer that you can try things and not have to stick with them forever. What's the harm in seeing if I think the health benefits are worth what I'd be giving up. So currently, I'm in the research stages. I'm halfway through Elisabeth Hasselbeck (who does have Celiac)'s book The G Free Diet...

And today I ate gluten free during a friend's graduation lunch at BJ's Brewhouse. I ordered gluten free pizza thinking, why not give it a go. After reading the phrase 'cross contamination' about 1500 times in Hasselbeck's book I was pleased when he asked me if I was severely allergic so that they could be sure to avoid cross contamination or if I just eat g-free. In the future I may have to tell this fib a few times to really get the g-free feel but for now I told him they could cook normal, I just wanted a g-free pizza.

The pizza wasn't half bad I'm pleased to report, though the sauce had a bit of a strange after taste. Best of all - I ate pizza and I didn't feel like I needed a nap after! No sluggish, post gluten binge ecky feeling. I ate and I was good to go. I loved that! There really may be something to this.

I will continue to experiment with some g-free foods as I finish my research but I don't plan to go g-free officially until after the holidays. I feel like the week before/of Christmas is not the time for such a huge leap.

I'll keep you posted as I go.



The last thing I made is something I affectionately call 'the look book'. I'm a firm believer in having a versatile wardrobe so that you can get the most for the money you do spend. So as I look through the magazines I get every month (In Style, Glamour, People Style Watch) I cut out pictures of the looks I like. Then I paste them into a book and make notes around them about which parts of the outfits I already have and which ones I need.

Turns out, you usually have at least half of the outfit already and then you can add what you don't have to your shopping list. Example: I recently cut out a picture of an outfit I love and I actually had the whole outfit except a fun, colorful pair of flats in a textures material. A week or two later I found an adorible pair of Cole Hahn purple snakeskin flats at (of course) TJMaxx and va-va-voom I had the outfit I loved.

The other step to this is that after I buy a piece I also make note of all the other outfits I could put together with it. So after I bought the purple shoes, I made a list of 3 other outfits they were perfect for, to make sure I get my money's worth out of them.

Anyone made anything else cool lately I might want to try?


Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Review: A Million Little Pieces & The End of The List.

Before I get on with this book review I would like to take this time to celebrate the meeting of a challenging goal - I have now completed 50 books in the year 2010! My friend, Joy, asked me back in December of last year if I would set out to read 50 books with her this year. I quickly agreed thinking 50 didn't sound so overwhelming. Later, as I drove home I realized that was almost a book a WEEK! In what has been in some ways the craziest year of my life to date, it was a challenge. But I'm thankful to Joy because her challenge pushed me to make reading a priority this year.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I truly believe that access to literature and the ability to read are a gifts. I try my hardest not to take them for granted. I have learned and expanded my mind through literature this year and have stretched myself to expand my reading horizons. I have truly read a little bit of everything this year. Autobiographies, fiction, non-fiction, christian literature, bible studies, memoirs, etc. You can find the now completed list of my readings here. Also, I've now linked to reviews for any of the books from this list that I have written about along the way. So if you're looking for reading material, maybe one of my reviews will spur you on towards something I've read this year.

Now, on with my review...

First off, I want to start by saying I'm not going to give this book my stamp of approval for two major reasons - language and adult content. The language in this book is horrific, which I imagine is pretty true to alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers. I've never been forced to sweep over so many f-bombs in a book in my life. The content of this book is explicit though it could be argued, realistic. Similar to R rated movies, I don't recommend to anyone with my stamp of approval something I would define as vulgar.

That being said, I got curious about James Frey's depiction of his time as a drug addict, alcoholic, and criminal and coming to terms with each through rehabilitation after seeing first hand this year the effects addition has on a person. Not in my own life but in the life of a friend who's spiraled downward over the past 10 or so years. I wondered to myself what that life must be like and the empty, sad existence it leads too. Frey's book was recommended by Oprah who's opinion I rarely agree with but it got my curious and I checked the book out at the library.

Frey's book was met with much attention as it was originally released as an autobiography of his time in rehab but was later found to hold a large amount of fiction. I read it as an interpretive work, one in which he relives as he recalls it, his experience with trying to overcome a disease. His fight against his own mind and body in order to survive.

I was most struck by how young his downward spiral began. He describes his crossing the line from recreation to out-of-control as happening at the age of 10. 1o years old. I remember playing with Barbie and swimming in our pool every day at 10 years old, not blacking out from alcohol poisoning and missing large pieces of time in my memory.

Frey writes himself in what I imagine addicts would see as a hero type role. He doesn't play by the rules. He falls in love with a girl he's forbidden to talk too. He won't follow the AA plan. Doesn't believe in God or a higher power. And immediately after his release from rehab goes to a bar to see if he can overcome his own temptations. He's a rebel with a cause and he's unwilling to take advice. Most of all he finds successes where those who came before him met with failure.

He also portrays himself as winsome in some ways. He makes friends with the most deviant of his rehab-mates and they help him get a fresh start. The fight for him. They lie for him. The protect him against all opposition with in the facility. They also help him escape a 3 year jail sentence - one through criminal means and one who though spending time in rehab is still a judge through pulling his strings. They reduce the sentence he will face when he is released and they both desire to stay a part of his life and look out for him when he leaves.

Hard to decipher through to what may hold some truth but the story did give me a dark look into addition, rehabilitation, and the hopelessness of a life where substances win out as the most important thing in life. A look from the addicts eyes of the destruction they leave in their wake. The hurt they cause. The relationships they ruin. The people who's lives they destroy along the way. A sad reminder of what life without hope or faith is like. Moving, impactful, terrifying, and somehow beautiful, I close 2010 with this dark and twisted memoir.

This has been a great literary journey - 50 books in 2010. I look forward to the new worlds that will be opened through my reading in 2011. Thank you for following along with me.


So Long Perfection.

Today's prompt was what or who did you let go of this year. I've shared before that one of my biggest struggles in my faith and in my life has always been my desire to please people. I have a somewhat irrational fear or letting people see my flaws because I hate the idea of disappointing people I care about (and even those I don't really care about, honestly).

This year on several occasions I was able to really let go of this image of perfection that I've fought so hard to maintain for years. I've been able to be open and honest with you all and with people in my life. I've been able to forgive myself for not being able to be perfect and accept that thanks to my faith, I don't have to be. I don't have to please people, and my energy and focus should be on pleasing my Savior.

This is not to say I don't continue to strive towards being the best me I can be. Along the way though, I've let my guard down and allowed people to love the real me, imperfections and all. What's encouraged me most about this is, you do! They do! I've felt an outpouring of love from my readers, friends, facebook stalkers, etc this year as I've let my hair down with you all you've really encouraged me to keep at it. I've intrusted you all with my struggles and I haven't regretted it for a moment.

Thank you,

Thursday, December 16, 2010


What did I do this year to cultivate a sense of wonder? (reverb10) Great question. What did I do? As a firm believer in creating an environment in which you create opportunities to use your imagination, I'm a huge believer that literature is a gift. This year I poked and prodded my sense of wonder with book after book about a large range of topics from alcoholism, to mental health, to love, to Christian living, to murder mysteries, to cheesy chic lit.

Literature is my chance to get lost in my imagination and wonders galore. Here in the US more than any other country we take for granted the ability to read and what a gift that is but also of having libraries, the internet, etc where we always have resources to be able to read, free! I really try not to take that for granted and to take advantage of the resources around me. I hope that my writing about the books I read continues to encourage some of you to also dive into books.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Breathtaking Moment.

In continuing with the prompted from reverb 10 - today I'm to tell you about one single moment, when I felt the most alive. Alive is kind of an interesting choice of a feeling to define a specific moment. Can I adjust here? Wait, this is my blog, of course I can. I'm going to pick a favorite moment of 2010 to share with you and not necessarily because it made me feel alive....roll with it.

Defining moments come for each of us but they seem to come more often in your 20s than in most stages of life. I moved into my first home (that I owned) in the beginning of January. My first few nights there, I had no furniture, was sleeping on an air mattress on the floor in my living room, waiting for life in my new home to begin. My Dad called me one day and told me to enjoy every moment of this time in life, because these are the best parts. The silly, funny, odd, moments that later define the best days of our lives.

January in football households means playoffs. I was newly in the condo, still furniture-less except the airmatress and TV but I wanted to usher in the playoffs in my own home. My friends Jen and Jess joined me and we literally ate pizza on the airmatress and watched my Dad make his second ever Super Bowl. Does like really get any better than that? There's something to be said for starting with nothing and loving every second of your life while it's simple.

That moment for me defines how I feel about having a home. From day one it has been my desire that whoever comes over will always feel as at home there as I do. That it will be a place full of memories, love, friendship, and defining moments. It was nice to start that off on the right foot.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eliminating Distractions.

On day two of my reverb journey (see yesterday's entry) I'm to tell you what I'm doing daily that's keeping me from my writing. Honestly, my writing right now is about my life, if I wasn't living outside of my writing, I'm not sure what I would have to share with you. I'm careful not to let TV and things of that nature distract me from better activities (such as reading, writing, quiet time, excercise, etc).

I've always been a firm believer that your writing should be a reflection of your life, not the reverse. That being said, in 2011, one of my goals is to make a fair amount of progress (still in the planning stages of what to define as progress) on my book. I've shared with you all here before that it is my desire to write a book. Perhaps I haven't told you enough about that goal. I've spent the last two years reading books by talented authors and preparing my mind for what is next for me - being one of those authors.

The first question people ask about this illustrious book is, what will it be about? I sought out the wise council of my closest friends and relatives as I thought through what I had to say that was of any sort of value to the world. Everyone seemed to agree that it should be about one of 2 things - A. growing up as a coaches daughter, or in other words my life. The moving, the media, the chaos, the football, the famous people. A true inside look into what my childhood was like as a result of Dad's NFL career. Or B. how to be successful at life in your 20s. The good, bad, ugly, and untold of what it's like to be 20-something in a time when jobs are scarce, salaries are low, and expectations are higher than ever.

Still pondering these two and trying to determine which is the right choice. I'm certainly open to your thoughts as well. I will try as I pursue my writing this year to remain open and honest about it so that you all can be involved. Your opinion is important to me, afterall, you are the ones who faithfully read my writing.


Monday, December 13, 2010

One Word.

Well first off, thank you to everyone who's offered up suggestions on goals I should achieve in 2011! I got some great ideas to kick off the new year motivated to make it the best yet. I'm taking them all into consideration, but honestly, it's looking like every single one will make the list! You all are just THAT good.

The first one, however, starts before the new year. Mindy, a friend from college and my first major (photography) suggested I do the reverb '10. The idea of reverb is to finish 2010 by celebrating the victories. This has certainly been a great year for me and it deserves some attention. I'm starting it 13 days late, but I'm going to go back and start at the beginning because I love the idea. Thank Mindy.

Day One - describe your year (2010) in one word (then of course elaborate).

2010 for me has been about discipline. Towards the end of 2009 I sat down and really assessed my life and if I was going ot work towards the life I wanted, where do I start? I realized I needed discipline in a lot of areas of my life where it was currently lacking. I started with my finances because let's me honest, when you graduate college and get your first job you REALLY realize how little you know about money and how far you have to make that first salary stretch. Yikes.

AS 2010 came around, I tackled one area at a time. In January I moved into my first home and suddenly had to balance housework (much more of it) than ever before. More bills. More repairs. More cleaning. Gag. You get the idea.

Next came my health as I started a journey to better health in April by joining a 'biggest loser' competition at work. I sought out a more disciplined lifestyle through diet and excercise. I'm happy to report success in this area in a more noticeable way than any other - as of today I'm down 57lbs in 8 months.

I've learned also to be more disciplined with my time as I created space for the important things and people in my life and worked towards reading 50 books this year. I'm 180 pages from completing this goal as well.

Discipline has been the overwelming theme of 2010 for me and I hope to continue along that path in 2011. Though I hope that when I write to you on this side of 2011, in December of next year, the word to describe my year will be 'love'. I'll leave you to interpret what I mean by that on your own. ;] You'll just have to wait and see what I have up my sleeve.

Love you guys and thankful for your inspiration,


Friday, December 10, 2010

Seeking Your Wise Council.

In 2011 I want to make a challenging but acheiveable goal for each month of the year, to make sure that my end of 2010/beginning of 2011 motivation stays strong year round. I need some good ideas!

In January, I will jog my first 5k. For someone who started 2010 severely overweight, has recently dropped almost 60lbs, and has a little ways to go to reach my ideal weight, 2011 is going to be less about weight loss and more about fitness. So I'm starting it off right and running in my first race (though the challenge for me is just to be able to jog the whole thing). Mark Jan 15th on your calenders friends, I'm gonna do it. St Pete Beach here I come.

What are some other good goals I can do in a month (even if I have to work several months to reach it)? I know I want to have another reading challenge. And I probably need a writing one in there (like finish the first 5 Chapters of my book I'm writing). Etc. But you all know me well from being able to read so much of my life here, so I want your input! I will take all serious suggestions into consideration. : ] If you're willing to do what you suggest with me, that will make it more likely as well.

Thanks in advance for your help!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Burning Bridges.


'Truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had the opportunity to have returned'. - Hebrews 11:15

I'm currently leading a bible study called 'No Other gods' by Kelly Minter (a christian singer out of Nashville, TN). And as I consider what it looks like in my own life to destroy the idols I've made along my journey, the things I have given places of honor to in my life, I realize that sometimes in life - you have to burn bridges.

We're a culture that shutters at the idea of stepping outside of political correctness and we shy away from hurting anyone's feelings or drawing lines in the sand. No black and white, only gray. We don't write people off, we don't burn bridges. Everything is left open-ended, even things we know brought us down, hurt us, or held us back from reaching our goals. Why is that?

As I've thought about some of the idols I've built - the desire for acceptance from others and achieving success being two - I realize that a bonfire of bridges isn't always a bad idea. When I look back on my life and the unwise decisions I made before I brought my faith to the forefront, I realize that if I leave those bridges unburned, there will always be the option to go back. Back to unhealthy relationships and expectations, back to people pleasing at the Lord's expense, back back back to a time in my life when my priorities were out of whack.

I desire with every fiber of my being to let the past be the past. To bask in the forgiveness that the Lord has offers us and to never return to darker places where the shallow things of this world reigned supreme in my fragile existence. So why leave bridges unburned?

I raise my diet coke in a toast, to lighting a match and watching the bridge to your past go up in flames. I'm telling you it's not only ok to burn some bridges, it's essential! When you cross out of a bad place and you find hope, burn that sucker so you can't go back, and your past can't follow you to your new home. Not looking back is a biblical theme we see over and over. Don't leave yourself the option of returning to that place...head for the promised land.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Self Evaluation.

This entry will be one of probably a few wrap up entries to 2010. But I want to go back to January of 2010 where I wrote this entry, letting you all know (and putting into words for myself) what I desired my life to look like in 2010.

So how'd I do?

Well, I'll say that for keeping the Lord the center of my life the second half of 2010 has been more of a success than the first half. I continue to grow in my faith even as I sometimes feel I take one step forward and 2 steps back or the reverse on a better month. It's a struggle, and I certainly haven't arrived at my destination (though honestly, you never do) - but this year has certainly taken me into a deeper relationship with Christ and has reminded me more than a few times of my need for Him, daily.

It's with mixed feeling that I respond to the second item on the list. I left Indiana a broken girl, searching for God knows what. Over the past 2 years the Lord has healed me far beyond my expectations. I can happily say that I am loving with all my heart, openly, and without expectation or hesitation. This is a great place to be in. That being said, I'm continuing to understand why the Lord instructs us to 'guard our hearts' and I'm seeking his wisdom on how to continue to open my heart to the right people, through the right channels.

Praying for my family has certainly been crucial this year! We Christensens (and Breslins) have had a big year. Full of changes, challenges, and delightful times together. I have seen the Lord answer my prayers and protect my family and bless them beyond my dreams for them (which are big). I continue to strive to be more diligent in my prayer life.

I'm pleased to report I've followed through well with 'cutting the crap'. I've greatly reduced my commitments throughout this year so that I could focus in on the ones that matter most and that I believe I'm called to for this time. It's been freeing, it's been refreshing, and it's been motivating. That's to my church's 'Creating Space' series I had great tools for getting the job done.

I have rested more this year then in the last 24 combined. This has been a great year of slowing down and taking it all in. I'm grateful that I set that goal and kept it. It's given me the chance to enjoy my relationships, spend quality time with the ones I love, and keep my next goal...

I am one book away from having finished my commitment to read 50 book in 2010! I'm working on that now but I will absolutely meet this goal. The journey has been neat. I've read some great books and some I could do without. I've enjoyed telling you about many of them and even reading some of the books you suggested to me! I guess it's time to start thinking about what reading related goals I want to make for 2011. Do I read another 50? Do I take it up? Tackle a new genre? What will it be?

I have been quicker to listen and slower to speak and judge.

I have forced myself outside of my comfort zone on many occasions and survived each (most with my dignity intact).

My condo is almost full with furniture (minus my sad little empty guest bedroom), usually filled with people, and often filled with love.

I have come a long way in forgiving others but will admit I still have a long way to go in being good at forgiving myself. As a people pleaser, I have a hard time with this one. I beat myself up over my mistakes (which are many). But I find that as I've embraced that my sins were paid for on the cross and the Lord has removed them as far as the east is from the west, there is a peace in knowing that I'm forgiven not by anything I have done but by His grace.

I do love my job.

I have been writing excessively this year - both on the blog and in preparation for writing a book.

I think it's fair to say that sharing has been one of my greatest successes this year.

I have grown up a tremendous amount this year, experiencing some growing pains along the way. I am by no means a finished product as you'll see when I make my 2011 goals. But I find that I'm no longer afraid of getting older, and I'm becoming increasingly better at being both young and successful, in my own way. It's refreshing to see how I've been able to meet so many of my goals this year.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Party Outfit.

Since pictures are worth 1000 words - we'll consider this 6000 words about my night...


2011 Plans in the Making.


Well I added two new states to my list of places I've been this year as I continue in my journey to see all 50 states before I kick the bucket. With 21 to go at only 25, I think there's a good chance I'll make it yet. Though, it's probably about time I get to work on some trips!

Speaking of which, it's been fun to have a clean slate for 2011 with my new calender insert installed. 12 months ahead to explore new places, meet new goals, and enjoy this amazing stage of life I am in! I can't wait to share with you for New Years my recap of 2010, which has been an absolutely incredible year for me - but you know me, I'm already forging ahead to what's next!

I was thrilled to make the first big insert into my new calender a visit from my best friend in February. Reuniting with 'the other Bekah' for some hang time in May has also been added to the books with much excitement. A college buddy is visiting in January (hopefully) and I'm working on a few others to get Florida trips on their books. My aunt, uncle, and cousin Wesley will be down in March for baseball tournaments and I'm hoping I can host them at the condo a few night while they're in town as well. Those being said (with much enthusiasum) I'm also hoping to get out of town and see a few places myself this year...

- I want to drive over a spend a weekend in St. Augustine, Florida. My family went a few years ago and I love it there. Since moving back to the Sunshine State I've been meaning to go back there, but just haven't had the time yet. Expect to see that in 2011.

- Scottsburg, Indiana. That's right - as Josh fondly refers to it as 'Mayberry' it has stolen a piece of my heart (since it holds my best friend, her hubby, Ellen, and a town full of sweet people and cute little places to go). I want to head down there in late 2010 or early 2011 so see my bff's new home and spend some time with the people she loves, and I've grown to love.

- Washington, DC! My aunt Ju and Uncle David live there and I haven't been to explore the city since the days of living in Maryland with my family (when I was under 10). It's time. I love spending time with my aunt and uncle and I'm hoping to catch my cuz, Whitley, playing some baseball (at the University of Virginia) while I'm up there. With a few free flights just around the corner from my 2010 travels, I look forward to planning a trip up that way in 2011.

- I should know in the next month or so where I'll be traveling for work in 2011 - but you can look forward to a long list of those destinations in early 2011 too and I'm hoping maybe a few new destinations for me will be on that list as well.

- Jacksonsville. I broke tradition last year (out of necessity) and skipped the Colts v. Jags came in Jacksonville but I fully intend to be back at my tradition in 2011. Who's with me?

- Atlanta. I want to hit the ATL for a trip sometime in 2011 and I'm hoping that'll include some face time with T.
I'm still open to suggestions (and invitations for free places to stay, naturally) for my 2011 adventures.

Monday, December 6, 2010


This is my first season watching The Biggest Loser. I know, I know, I'm incredibly behind the times but recently, it just seemed appropriate to start watching, and now I'm really attached to each of the contestants (except Lisa - I never liked her). One of the contestants, who made the final four last week, Ada, is the inspiration for this blog entry. Ada came to 'the ranch' without a support system. Every one else had family back home willing them to succeed (or even deciding to lose weight themselves), but Ada's family was not only unsupportive but downright absent! When the rest of the contestants received letters from home, Ada's family declined to write to her.

I was heartbroken for her. I shudder at the very idea of being without my family as my support system. Life is plenty hard enough with them behind me.

I was encouraged when the rest of the contestants rallied around her and let her know that not only did she have a support system in them, but she had a family. That's what I wanted to write about today. Your family, whether the one you chose or the one that chose you, and the people who encourage you. We all crave and need encouragement from the people we love. To know that when nothing seems to be going right or we just feel downright lost in life, there's someone there who believes we'll figure it out and come out on top.

This year I've become increasingly aware of what an incredible quality it is in a person that they are an encourager. I'm lucky to have one in my older sister, Rae, who has believed in me every day of my life and in each and every endeavor. For being the person who knows the most about my flaws and mistakes, she's still always been my biggest and best support. She lifts me up when I'm down. She's always believed that I will be great. I have needed that faith more times than I can express here.

Over the past 4 years I've also found my best friend Candy to be an incredible encourager! I can come to her and tell her what an epic failure I've been at something and she always finds a way to tell me that I'm doing great, I'm headed in the right direction, and that I will get there. We laugh, I sometimes cry, but I never hang up the phone with her without feeling better. She's been my cheerleader through a hard couple of years that I wouldn't be on the other side of without her.

Unlike poor Ada, I do have a great support system in my family. I shared breifly before that I recently had a 'date' with my Dad over Thanksgiving vacation. I teared up as he praised my hard work at setting up my life here in Florida and my first year as a homeowner (which is coming to an end this month). He has supported me, advised me, encouraged me, and helped me through my first 2 years as a real adult, out in the big bad world somewhat alone. My Mom and my baby sister, Ruthie, have been big supporters as well.

There are plenty of others, I could go on forever. Nancy, Bryn, and the rest of the Huhta fam who have become my Tampa family and helped me through buying a place, moving in, even buying furniture off Craigslist (scary). My bible study girls. Pastors and leaders from my church. My coworkers who are incredibly supportive. I really could continue forever...

What these realizations have brought me full circle to consider is this, am I an encouragement to those around me? Do I spend enough time telling the people I care about most how special, talented, incredible, and beautiful I think they are? Truth is, there aren't enough hours in the day to say everything that could be said about the fabulous people the Lord has blessed my life with - but I've purposed this year to spend more time than ever before telling the people I'm crazy about why I am just that. As you may have noticed after almost 2 years of blogging now (and the few video blogs I've posted along the way) I'm much better in written word than I am at articulating aloud my thoughts and feelings. So I've set aside time to write more thoughtful notes this year and in a few cases, even praise them here for you to see.

One neat way that I've been able to encourage people has been this blog. I was touched over the last few weeks by several comments about ways I've inspired and encouraged some of you throughout this year. Several of my readers are now challenging themselves to read more, and setting goals for 2011, similar to my '50 books in 2010' challenge of this year. A few of my readers are now on the journey to better health with me, which has also opened up more opportunies for me to be cheerleader to some of you as you tackle tough but attainable goals. One of my favorite recent messages came via facebook and she said that my positivity about life brightens her days - what an incredible compliment. I hope I don't let her down when she realizes I am occasionally a real downer. ; ]

Each of you is an encouragement to me and I hope that as time goes on I will have chances to be that for you as well.

I hope this entry inspires you all to voice the great things you think about the people in your life. We all need encouragement.


So Long St. Louie.

Well I'm back from St. Louis and now back on the blog. Hope you enjoyed my product recommendation I left you with while I was away. I hope it's been added to your Christmas list, as it has been to a few of my coworkers and a few of my close friends since they've got inspired by all my gabbing about it.

I wasn't lying when I said it would be another chilly weekend. It was just that. Actually, it was freezing! But our weekend with the St. Louis Rams was a smashing success. Another great All Pro Dad Event, that our team and theirs can be proud of.

Since being back I did find the perfect shoes to go with my New Years Eve dress - so a special thank you for all the input that I received here on the blog. I took all the advice into consideration and without you, wouldn't have considered, let alone bought what I did. I will reveal that with a picture sometime soon - promise!

As 2010 nears an end I want to ask some feedback from you lovely readers. There's been some transitions and some new topics brought up here this year - some were met enthusiastically while other's weren't. So what I want to know is what do you want to see more of here on the blog in 2011? I take all the comments I get here seriously and will really consider all requests and try to meet as many as possible. But I'm going to go ahead and say there will continue to be little or no blog action as related to my dating life - so for those of you who like to ask for that regularly - you are out of luck! A girl has to have her lines she doesn't cross.

Here are a few things I'd like to see more of in 2011:

- Followers. Obviously, any blogger wants to know their writing is being read! And for me, many of my readers are from facebook, but aren't official followers. So, that being said, I wouldn't mind a little more commitment from you anon's out there. ; ]

- Giveaways! I want to work towards being able to give you all more for your loyal readership. You know I love to give, give, give! I hope to be able to give even more back to you this coming year.

- Book reviews. I'm loving the response I'm getting to the book recent book reviews. I hope to work towards, quality and quantity of reviews in 2011 - in hopes that you all might continue to read what I recommend and give me feedback as well. I love talking to you all about books! (Note: currently reading - A Million Little Pieces by James Frey).

- The honesty that stretches me. This year I wore myself out being open and honest with you all on some entries that I'm proud of. I hope for more of those entries in 2011 and it is my hope that I will continue to receive such incredible responses to them from you all.

Alright, your turn to do your part!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Must Have for Workouts.

Who doesn’t love a new gadget? Well, I just fell in love with my newest workout gizmo – a Polar heart rate monitor.

I got the idea from my Aunt who works out with one every day. She was showing me how it works and how she runs intervals based on achieving a certain number of minutes per zone (example: 15 minutes in hard zone – which is 80-90% of your max heart rate). There’s a bit of math involved in this art – but my Dad sat down with my and helped me make a chart of my ranges for my max heart rate (which is based on age) – 188.

Dad hooked my up with a Polar FT4 (pictured below):

I’m 5 days into working out with it and I’ve never felt more motivated to push myself! I am loving knowing just how hard I’m working out and setting attainable goals I can reach. Also, it gives an accurate count of the calories you burned (based off all your stats which you enter when you program the watch part of the monitoring system.

The way my particular model works is by wearing a chest strap – which is comfortable and easy to keep clean and free of a sweaty stench (at least so far) and then a watch that I can watch my stats on – as well as it tracks them so I can evaluate my workout afterwards. In addition, Polar has a great, user-friendly website that allows you to track your progress, print workouts, etc available to users of their products.

I’m sold on HR monitoring but in case you’re not yet…

I found a great list of reasons to wear a heart rate monitor while you workout on NuMetrex’s website – they are also a supplier of heart rate monitors. Here are the five reasons they list:

- Improve your health. No matter what your goal using a heart rate monitor can help you stay in the best zone to achieve that goal – whether it’s to boost cardiovascular health, lose weight, relieve stress, build endurance, tone muscles, etc.
- Lose Weight. Wearing a heart rate monitor can tell you if you’re exercising hard enough, or too hard even, to lose the weight you’re trying to drop. For weight loss most experts agree 60-70% of your max heart rate is best.
- Make the most of the exercise time you have. Who doesn’t want to do that? How you feel isn’t really an accurate gauge of how much work you’re putting in. Monitoring your heart rate, however, is.
- Safety. NuMetrex says that people who wear heart rate monitors are the first to know when they encounter a health issue because they’re monitoring the stress they’re placing on their heart and its ability to recover.
- Be your own coach. A heart rate monitor gives you the ability to push yourself and monitor and record your progress. For those of us with a true competitive nature this is a great motivator to push hard at our workouts every day.

The full article here.
Alright friends, add this to your Christmas list.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Chilly Weekend.

Well I'm headed to the 'lou' tomorrow morning. St. Louis that is. My first trip to that side of Missouri. I'm looking forward to my first view of 'the arch' and of course the usual experimenting with a new cities cuisine. Life has to revolve at least a little bit around food, right?

I thought it had gotten chilly when I was running errands last night and it was only 50 degrees but it's looking like that's only a little prep for a chilly weekend in the L. The temperature should be a slightly terrifying 41 degrees when we touch down tomorrow morning. I woke early this morning to work on my packing. Good thing I had my coat dry cleaned. It's new but for some reason it was a bit smelly. Thankful for 1.99 dry cleaners this week - especially since my Christmas party dress is also now clean and ready for Tuesday.

On a happy note my most recent review was a success on multiple levels. One of my readers, Lisa, has already, bought, read, and finished the book - so my review was actually taken seriously, which I always like. Lisa wrote on my facebook last night:

If that wasn't good news enough, I may have mentioned previously my excitement at being found (via the blog) and asked my this particular company to review the book. It was my first time working with them and obviously, it was my desire to review the book with excellence and please them with my work.

I wrote my contact to give her the links to my blog review as well as a consumer review (on amazon) and received a positive response from her last night as well. She wrote that not only had she enjoyed the review but had pasted it on the Heather's editor who was equally pleased. She also wrote that she would be happy to work with me again and would send me other books for review if I am interested. This was great news.

Well, I best be getting moving if I'm going to have time to stop for a diet dr. pepper on my way to work.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Planning ahead is my thing. I love to plan, prepare, and be organized. So naturally, I like to get a jump on the holidays. I book my Christmas flights in August. I start my shopping by September. I make my Christmas wish list, which is organized by item, price, color, and has print screen pictures for my Mom by November. I don't do this because I have to, I do it because I LOVE the holidays and this is my weird way of showing it.

This year I have a new challenge to tackle with the holidays...

I'm in this great groove with my healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss - so what happens over the holidays? You know me, I'm not missing out on the chance to go to parties and celebrate this amazing time of year. But being surrounded by baked goods and not losing my stride is going to require some discipline and self control.

Being diligent with my exercise is going to be key. When I've given my all at a workout, I don't want to kill it by eating back all the calories I burn. So that's big. Staying with my 6 day a week workouts.

What else?

One thing that works for me with when I go out with friends, I never go hungry. If I'm hungry I'm way more likely to overeat AND to eat things I would normally avoid. Can't be doing that.

Above those, I'm taking suggestions. How do you stay on track with your health related goals over the holidays?


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Recap - Indianapolis Thanksgiving.

Well as I alluded to when I surfaced for a quick blog from Indianapolis, my time at home was perfect. It was a blend of all of my favorite things – my family, food, shopping, football. I was in heaven.

Dad treated me to new running shoes AND a heart rate monitor! If you don’t follow me on twitter then you’ll want to scope this pic to scope my duds. I'm finding the heart rate monitor to be a great motivator and a useful tool to gauge just how hard I'm working. I would highly recommend it. I bought a polar FT4.

The game, though not a success, was great fun. Got to see several good friends before the game and at halftime. Oh, and got to have my picture taken with my good friend slash Peyton Manning look-a-like Sean:

How funny is that? I did get to see him after he lost the costume and the alter-ego and went back to being Sean...

Wanted to share a few other pictures from this week as well. Here are the cousins before we left to go downtown to see the big tree be lit:

And while we were downtown for the tree lighting - freezing...

Sitting around watching football with the cousins (Wesley and Whitley):

Overall, a GREAT trip. But as always, good to be back in Tampa and back to the condo.



New Years Eve Outfit - Help Wanted.

I found this Jessica Simpson dress at Marshalls this week - for $39.99 instead of $168 and I love it. Magenta's a great color for me with my skin tone. Here's my debate though - what color shoes? Opinions from friends so far: black, nude, gold, or silver.
I want your help! What do you think?!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review: You Don't Look like Anyone I Know.

Imagine going to the grocery store, splitting up with your husband to get the job done faster. Then a man you don't recognize approaches you, touches you, acting as though he's your husband. You're frightened. You're overwhelmed. Then you realize, he is your husband - you just can't recognize his face. For Heather Sellers this is life. With prosopagnosia, a rare neurological disorder you don't have the ability to remember or recognize faces, even of those you love.

Before reading Heather's touching, heart-breaking, and fascinating story, I had never heard of 'face blindness'. I read the story of her tumultuous childhood, one in which she didn't have a name for this strange inability to store faces within her memory and both her parents suffered severely with mental illness, untreated. You hurt for her as you read that she felt like the crazy one and was often times the adult, even at a young age. Children should be allowed to be just that, kids. For Heather her childhood was chaotic and confusing.

The truth is her stories is heart-breaking. A broken home. A troubled childhood. So few answers. But Sellers pain-staking honesty is what makes 'You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know' a worthwhile read. Raw honesty, unmerited hope, and a strong belief in the power of love hold true throughout the text.

You'll grow to love Heather as you see her find the truth about herself as well as her parents. It will warm your heart as you see her find love with a new family of her own. You'll rejoice with her as new perspective frees her and she rises above her circumstances. Hardship remains a theme to the end, but Seller's ability to persevere will inspire you.

A window into the lives of households riddled with mental illness fascinated me, even as it hurt my heart for Heather. Similar to 'The Glass Castle' it was a poignant memoir of a broken childhood and the struggle to piece life together afterwards. You won't be able to put it down.

Note: This book was given for review by Riverhead Books.

Belly Laughs.

Hello lovelies.

It's been a few days and I'm surfacing from laughing til my stomach muscles hurt to check in with you. I'm still in Indiana for another 3 days (counting this one) and this trip came at a much-needed time. After a tough and trying couple of weeks it has been a big gulp of fresh air to be here with the ones I love the most - just relaxing and being myself.

After three days of help from my Aunt, who's a physical therapist, I'm happy to report my shoulder is on the mend. It's back to functioning properly and only hurt towards the end of the day when it's been forced to move and work all day. I'm hopeful that by the time I return to Tampa on Monday, I will feel good as new.

Our house has been full of people and food for the past few days. 12 people staying in one home and 4 southern cooks will do that too ya! But it has been a blast! From watching movies, to wrestling, to workouts, to me trying to play 21 with my far-superiorly-athletic cousins and uncle, to downtown Christmas tree lightings, to food comas - I couldn't have planned the past few days any better if I tried. Oh wait, I even got a good solid hour of shopping in there , that I didn't have to pay for.

I haven't smiled this hard or laughed this long in weeks. I am so content at this moment, I can't even begin to put it into words. This is what home is supposed to be like. Full of family.

Don't worry, there will be pictures to follow when I'm back on my turf. I left the laptop at home this trip in the name of spending less time in front of a computer screen and more time curled up by the fire. Or with my nose in a book. Though the reading hasn't been happening in plenty with the activity level in this household this week.

This morning while the whole house was sleeping my Dad and I got to read side-by-side near the fire and talk. Those special, unexpectedly quiet little moments make all the difference, don't they? I could stay curled up like that forever. We don't even have to break the silence to be having a conversation ...but let's be honest, we're both talkers so we always do.

Some of the family has headed home now and the house seems a little empty without them. I always hate to see anyone go. But I look forward to a vigorous workout, a lunch date with my Daddy ( a pleasant surprise offer ), and whatever this afternoon holds. Tomorrow I'll cheer on Daddy and the Colts on Sunday Night Football with my Mom, my grandparents, and my sister, Ruthie. Then it's back to real life Monday with renewed energy for to finish 2010 strong.

I'm grateful for this time away. This time to unwind with the ones I love most. I hope that each of you are having similar, wonderful experiences.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Token Thanksgiving Post.

So I'm heading out later today to Indianapolis, IN to be with my family for Thanksgiving. I cherish the time I get with my Mom's side of the family on these trips because sadly, it's the one time a year we all get to be together (or at least that I get to be with them). I wanted to leave you with some thanksgiving thoughts...

I have an incredible amount to be thankful for this year and I don't want to steal all the thunder from what I hope will be my traditional end of the year recap in January. But here we go...

- First and foremost, I'm grateful for grace. For a merciful Savior who washes my sins away and who is always extending me much-needed but totally undeserved grace. Her mercies are truly new every morning, and I find so much peace in that.

- I'm immeasurably grateful for a church home that has grown me in my faith this year, challenged me on some tough stuff, and given me a support system. (that church for those of you who don't know is Grace Family Church).

- It probably goes without saying but it's worth saying anyway that I'm thankful for having an incredible family. My parents who have been married for 30 years, my beautiful, incredible sisters. My sweet brother-in-law. I'm blessed enough to have all 4 of my grandparents still with me. As well as great aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I love each and every one of them and I'm blessed by having their love in return.

- Incredible friendships. I was saying just last night at dinner how when you graduate college you really realize who your true friends are, and you weed some out that maybe weren't so good of friends afterall. But 2 years later, I'm tremendously grateful for the close friendships I have. I treasure them.

- I'm thankful a. to have a job in this crazy economy. But above that (b.) to have a job I love, I'm passionate about, and that lets me work with truly amazing coworkers. They feel like family, and I know that's a rare blessing.

- Home. I've always wanted a place of my own to call home. I'm grateful to have a sweet little place of my own and that it really does feel like home.

- I'm thankful for the Lord's provision in my life.

- I'm thankful to all the people who have supported me throughout my weight loss endevours this year.

- I'm thankful to all my prayer warriors that have prayed me through some tough times this year - you know who you are. I am forever in your debt.

Ok and this entry wouldn't be complete without a few sillier but still totally true thanks...

- I'm thankful for moments that make me laugh til I cry.

- I'm thankful for diet coke in plenty.

- I'm thankful for friends I can vent too when I've had enough - or rant about horrible first dates with.

- I'm thankful that I survived another year of clumsiness that involved a tumble down the stairs and many other dangerously un-dainty moments (oh like when I split my pants at work trying to show a coworker my Jillian Michael's moves).

- I'm thankful for social networking because I can stalk all you fabulous people and keep up on your lives.

- I'm thankful for 'happy hour' at sonic and steak n shake so I can have diet cherry cokes almost every day.

- I'm thankful for suitcases with 4 wheels instead of 2 - seriously life-changing.

- I'm eternally grateful to the maker of Imodium - after 10 months of weird stomach issues - you've saved my life a few times over.

- I'm thankful for a good sense of humor and not taking myself too seriously.

- I'm thankful that 25 has not brought any forehead wrinkles...yet.

Lastly, I'm thankful for you all who read my blog and support me in my funny, fabulous life. You are special to me and my interactions with you are a blessing.