Monday, February 28, 2011

Blessed by You.

I want to start off this morning by letting you all know what a blessing you are to me. I was overwelmed by the response to last weeks update on my stomach condition and where I stand now. My facebook inbox was flooded with concerned friends making suggestions, offering their prayers, and showing support. The same came in from blog readers I haven't had the pleasure of meeting in real life, twitter buddies, and everyone inbetween. You all amaze me.

I'm grateful for your prayers. Prayers have seriously carried me through the last 10 months. I am eternally thankful for each and every prayer that's been offered up on my behalf. And humbled by your support and encouragement.

The 'funny' thing is, I write my blogs in advance (usually) and so I wrote that update post a few days before you all read it and by the time it reached you I was in the midst of my worst 48 hours of sickness yet. Ironic? Maybe a little. But I knew when I did the Daniel Fast that coming off of it would have some physical reprocussions for the ole tum. And reprocussions it has.

Truth be told I had a lot of time to sit in the bathroom and think during those 48 hours and I was thinking about how thankful I am for you all. I found that even at the point of dehydration and exhaustion, I was encouraged by you. I am surrounded and supported by a great group of people. I feel so undeserving.

I've got some great new ideas from a few of you as well. Some I'd never considered, such as acupuncture! So we'll see what the next few weeks hold. But regardless of the outcome - I'm encouraged and in good spirits.

I was brought to tears by a great song Sunday morning that reached me exactly where I am and I wanted to share it with you all in hopes that it would encourage any of you who are going through some tough stuff lately...

Faithful God - Gateway Worship

If I call, will You come
When I cry, do You hear
I believe every tear
Is caught up by a faithful God
So I will cry until You come
Cast my cares into Your arms
I can't see past this storm
But I'm counting on a faithful God

Faithful God
You hold my life secure
All my days are Yours
I believe
My God is like a fire defending me
Faithfully

I believe You still heal
And demons still bow
I'm convinced there is power
In trusting in a faithful God
So I will praise till You appear
And set Your foot upon this shore
I declare that every foe
Is subject to my faithful God

I know that You are mine
And I am Yours, I am Yours
I know Your faithfulness
It will endure, it will endure

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.

Love,

B


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Love the Ones You're With.

I read a book last year called 'Love the One You're With' (Emily Giffin). I wasn't a huge fan of the book to be honest but that phrase came back to be over Valentines when my friend Auburn posted a quote that said 'If you can't be with the one you love, love the ones you're with'. It popped back into my head today as I was thinking about friendships.

I was discussing with a coworker of mine the value of good friendships. As I've talked about on the blog before I went through a really dry season in the friendship department. One in which I wasn't really sure who would be there for me if I really needed it. That was tough, especially for someone like me who's so relational.

My coworker asked me in response, 'well what changed from then to now'? Great question. Actually, how did I never consider this for myself until this conversation?

Well for starters, I started praying for God to bring the right friends into my life. My dry season of friendships came during my dry season in my relationship with the Lord which played a HUGE part. But as I started to work towards a lot of changes in my life, friendship was one thing I knew I really had to get right.

Secondly, when God came through big and brought the right people either into my life or back into my life through my return to Tampa, I purposed to be a good friend. I know it's cliche but what people say about it takes a being a good friend to have one, is somewhat true. I admit that you can be a great friend to someone and they still may be a sucky one to you, in which case, they're probably not the answer. BUT for the most part, relationships are an investment of your time and efforts but the return is pretty incredible.

I have learned a great deal about what being a good friend looks like from the people the Lord's brought to me who have loved me like I can't put into words. I still ask them from time to time what I ever did to deserve them. Truth is, they must not realize just how fabulous they are or they might leave me in the dust. ; ]

But this year for me is about loving the ones you're with. Making time for the people that are important to me. Going out of my way to make my friends feel special, cared for, treasured. Going the 'extra mile' if you will. Hopefully at the end of this year they'll be able to testify that I did a good job of that.

Don't take your friends for granted - good friends are hard to come by and they're more precious than gold.

Love,
B

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Little More Thoughtful.


I shared earlier this year that one of my goals in 2011 is to be more thoughtful. That can be one of those vague resolutions like 'eat less chocolate' - is that one less piece per day or one less piece per year? You know what I mean? It's easy to let yourself off the hook. I don't want that to be the case for me. I want to be purposeful in my relationships this year and truly spend more time letting those I love know.

A new addition to my desk at home and to my organizational life has been an outgoing mail organizer. Not only does this remind me to send out birthday cards on the right days and bills before the their due, but it's a good way to track how I'm doing with my thoughtful gestures (read: notes).

I took this picture when I first bought the organizer but it's not halfway full of my outgoing cards which will be sent one a day (unless they go out with a bill or something). But don't think I've made this just another chore on my long 'to do' lists (although sometimes I do put them on there so I can check them off). I really try to write to the people who are on my heart and mind, and send them something that will encourage them. Mostly, I just send cards because I'm far better at putting my thoughts into written word then verbalizing them and I truly hate talking on the phone.

From time to time I've been known to send something a bit more exciting - like a recent 'mixed CD' (circa '95, I know) to a girlfriend in Indiana. She'd had a tough couple of weeks of chaos and I thought, this will make her laugh (out loud). Things that require I go to the post office have to be a little less frequent A. because my budget for stamps has already tripled this year and B. because honestly I don't want to spend every lunch break trying to get something mailed. But from time to time a package is just more fun to receive.

One neat thing about sending cards this year (I've already sent over 30) is getting them in return. That's not why I started but it's been a nice bonus. And I will admit I'm more consistent in writing the people who write back. That's natural, right?

What are some ways you show people you've been thinking about them? I'm always looking for new ideas.

Love,
B

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Tough Update.

You may want to start by reading this.

When do you stop ‘toughing it out’? At what point do you admit physical defeat and accept that it’s probably time to go through more testing? We’ve all had to answer some of these questions in relation to our health in our lives. It’s a tough crossroads to be at.

April will mark a year since I began having …trouble (understatement) with my stomach. After a disappointing first go around with medical help, I determined to exhaust every option I could on my own. I tried different ways of eating (or not eating). After reading that exercise has been known to eliminate IBS symptoms I started working out 7 days a week instead of 5. I’ve tried getting more sleep, reducing my stress, and everything else that’s ever been posted on the internet.

I’m not allergic to dairy products.
I do not have a gluten intolerance.
I don’t have any diseases, disorders, or deformities.

In fact, I’m freakishly healthy. My doctor couldn’t find one single reason I should be getting so ill.

When I began the fast I prayed for some answers. I figured if the answer I got was not getting sick during the fast it’d be worth exploring the dietary realm again…but alas, I got sick 3 days of the 21 I was eating only fruits, veggies, beans, and nuts. Ouch.

So, maybe my answer wasn’t what I expected but there may still be an answer there. Maybe the answer is, I can’t just eat healthier and exercise more – I may really need more help. This is a scary answer for a girl who dreads the doctor. I honestly googled ‘pulling your own wisdom teeth’ before finally agreeing to go have mine pulled (sans drugs, naturally) by an oral surgeon. I HATE all things medical. I hate taking medicine. I hate the smell of doctors offices. I hate waiting rooms full of sick miserable looking people. I hate that they weigh you (what’s what about, anyway?). I hate being touched by strangers. Hate hate hate – with every fiber of my being the whole experience.

Don’t believe me? Let me tell you a story. When I was 10ish I swam competitively for a club. Apparently when God made me, he saw fit to give me slightly angled ear canals that retain water. My first year swimming I had 9 ear infections. Now, this wouldn’t be major except I don’t like the doctor. So instead of coming to my mom, complaining like children do about my ear hurting, I kept swimming. And swimming. And swimming. If I told her, I’d have to go back to the doctor, take more meds, sit out of the pool – you get the idea. So I sucked it up for so long (over a month) that the doctor literally told me it was a miracle I could still hear. He told my mom the pain I must be experiencing from THE most intense ear infection he’s ever seen – could ‘make a grown man cry’. I responded, well since I’m not crying – can I keep swimming?

I’ve always been a pretty tough cookie. My Mom tells funny stories about how I never cried as a child. And about some of the odd injuries I managed along the way…but this isn’t really about toughness anymore. If there was ever any doubt I could hack it with some pain, I’ve proven over the last year that not only can I handle the pain but I can be sick in 6 different states and still get my job done. But there comes a point I suppose where you can’t just keep ‘surviving’ and you have to seek out answers.

I know that the next steps won’t be pretty. Or fun. Or simple. Or pain free. I dread with every fiber of my being the very idea of tests and poking and prodding all over again. Of trial and error. Of discouragement at appointments with no answers. But I’m beginning to think, I don’t have another choice.

If you’re a believer, I’d love your prayers over the next week or so while I consider this. It may be time to make the plunge and start all over again trying to figure this out. To say I’m dreading it or even that I’m scared would be a gross understatement. I'd literally cut my own stomach out to avoid it if I could (I googled that too – it’s a no-go).

God is in control and I trust He has a plan in all this. Pray that my hope, my rest, and my faith would always be only in Him.

Love,
B

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Rare Blog about...Dating.

Initiative is tricky. I have a strong dislike for people who don’t take enough initiative. Particularly in the area of dating. I am a strong, independent woman by nature but that does not mean I want to do my part and the guy’s. Also, I learned a long time ago that if you do the work in the beginning you’re stuck doing the work forevermore. I bought in for a short time to the idea that since women are equals we shouldn’t have to wait around for the guy to come to us, why not make the first move? Now, I still believe that there’s nothing wrong with a girl showing interest in a guy (appropriately, of course) BUT I think you’re setting yourself up to have to ‘be the man’ from there on out.

I don’t like to blog about my own dating life so we’ll keep this all pretty general. In my experience, taking the initiative has brought about the desired result, interest. I’ve yet to be ‘shot down’ and my expressing of interest has always been returned. However, in these particular cases after that, the guy didn’t just take over, grow some…gumption? And start guiding the relationship from there on out. I had to get us to the interest phase, I had to keep us moving forward, and eventually I had to be the one to call it quits because I was sick and tired of having to do all the work.

So I asked myself, is this how guys feel? Do they get sick of always having to initiate even if by gender role, it’s ‘their job’? Probably. My guy friends always say if they like a girl enough, they’ll put in the effort but they’re always happiest when the girl meets them in the middle. They don’t mind paying for dates, or planning them most of the time, but when a girl plans something for them, it really means a lot to them. So, I asked them, you’d be thrilled if you were dating me and from time to time I surprised you with say, tickets to a baseball game of the team your interested in? This was met with an enthusiastic yes.

Hmm, feedback is good. So I bounce back the idea to them – why is it so many guys these days seem to like aggressive girls? The answer: guys are lazy. This much we knew, right? So I counter with, but if you like the girl – you’ll put in the work, right? Answer: Yes! BUT, we may just let ourselves be entertained for a while by the girl who’s doing all the work. Ah, ha.

So I guess in some ways the answer is a happy medium. I don’t want to play games. I’m 25 years old and to be honest I pretty much hate dating to begin with so the last thing I want to do is play head games with anyone. I’m not going to pretend I don’t like someone I do so they’ll like me more and string them along til they’re totally hooked and then finally, sigh, give in and date them. No. No no no no. I’m just not going to do it. I’m also not going to be the girl in the movies you feel sorry for who just plain tries too hard because she wants to be with someone…anyone. Eck. Gag. Can’t do it. I think the key is a balance of letting the guy do the pursuing, yes, but responding appropriately and hey, once it’s a relationship and not just ‘dating’ – take on some of the role. Relationships are about giving as well as taking, right?

Disclaimer: this entry was written by happy, successfully single blogger with only a semi-active dating life – take all advice at your own risk of ending up like me. Fabulously happy and at the moment, without a boyfriend. ; ]

Love,
B

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Additions.

I've shared before that ASOS has become one of my favorite online stores to shop but I'm going to give you a little more of a feel for why now. I recently got my future roommate (whoo hoo - April 2011) hook because while they're in the UK - they have free shipping here and back if you need to return (which I haven't had too yet). I've found some great steals during their 70% off sale they're currently having so I wanted to share a few new additions to my wardrobe.




$10.76 on sale. I love this. It's casual but it's cute and it looks so comfy. Reminds me of some of the tee's Candy and I have bought or tried on at Zara, only a lot more reasonably priced. With dark jeans and my orange loafers perhaps?

A travel hairdryer. Stumbled upon that in their 10 dollar and under section the other day and bought one in black since I am always traveling these days. I like pack light to save my back and my wallet a little trouble so this was a must have for 10 bucks for me.

I thought this was presh and I found it while it was marked down to $25 (it's back up to 50 for some reason). I think it's adorible and I thought it might be cute for 4th of July or something.


I got this bathing suit top for $7. I already have a black bottom that I like that cuts a little higher than the ever popular super tiny bottoms that are everywhere in Tampa. So I bought this one, because I love not having strap lines and it was super cute, and let's be honest - cheap.


$15. I loved this. It's cute, casual, but has Little big of an edge to it. So many fun ways your could play it up with jewelry too. Once I get a tan, whites actually a really good color for me. Not there yet for this season yet.

Lastly, I bought this cute little shirt for $20 but in black and white (black with white piping). I think it's so cute and I'm always in need of tops. I tend to overdo it with buying jeans and with dropping so many sizes recently my tops all swallow me. So it was time for a few new ones.

The sales still going on if any of you need a few cute pieces. My roomie got some great swimsuits and dresses for a cruise she's going on in May.

Just had to share.

Love,

B

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Help!

Ok, I need some help from my followers. I haven't asked for input since you all came through BIG in helping me decide some goals for this year but it's time for me to tap into you all as my resource once again. Lauren at Stamp 48 is doing a clothing challenge I think is really cool.

Here are the rules of her challenge:

The Rules:

1.I’ve picked 30 pieces of clothing from my closet (cami’s, tights, leggings, workout clothes, etc. don’t count).
2.Mix each piece over 30 days to create different outfits.
3.Don’t buy any clothes for 30 days.

Lauren and I met as bridesmaids in Candy's wedding last October and this girl is full of cool ideas and creativity. I just love following what she's up too. When I saw she was doing a clothes challenge I was excited to see what she'd come up with.

I'd talked previously with Lindsay who works at the radio station attached to my work and blogs at The Grown Life about her clothes related challenge of last year in which she, being the cool extremist that she is, wore the same dress every day of October. She posted the pictures of her outfit on her facebook but you can see them here. She did a good job, she even told me it took over a week for her coworkers to notice what she was up too.

When I took on challenge suggestions back in December for this year Lisa had offered up at idea of doing a clothes challenge but I ended up taking one of her other ideas instead (which I'll be fulfilling in March). But I got to thinking that it might not be a bad idea to combine a clothes challenge with April's challenge which involves posting a picture of myself everyday anyway.

I've gotten some of the best responses to blogs I've posted about fashion and more specifically my love for bargain shopping. I feel like for the most part, people like blogs with pictures and they're at least semi-interested in what other people are wearing. Does that make sense? So I'm considering putting a clothes challenge into my April of pictures but it would have to be just the right challenge. SO, what do you guys think? I'm taking all the input I can get to formulate something that works.

I don't want to commit to wear the same 1 article of clothing because A. I'm not as hardcore as Lindsay and B. I spend more of my weekends at the pool/beach so I don't want to be stuck in something work appropriate at the pool. So I'm probably leaning more towards something like Lauren's idea. But maybe a way to make it my own (well, I guess I shouldn't say MY own if I'm getting your ideas - but you know).

So rack your brains and let me know what you think. Most of you post to my facebook or comments - but you're always welcome to e-mail me @ thequeenbc@gmail.com

Love,
B

Cowboy Take Me Away.

Ok, so, sadly no cowboys around to take this girl away. I actually grew up riding horses though, so I should be able to ride myself off into the sunset if I ever need too. Sans cowboy a girlfriend is taking yours truly away for a weekend in the Florida Keys next month. Jess is a long-time friend and honestly, frequently my saving grace when life gets tough. As two high energy, tough-as-nails kind of girls we still accept that sometimes, you just need to get away.

After a particularly disappointing day last Tuesday I tweeted Jess (if you don't follow me on twitter, feel free - @thequeenbc) and begged her to run away for a weekend with me. I believe 'anywhere but here' may have been my exact request. As mentioned recently Tampa has my heart but even I like a little time away now and again. She quickly tweeted back that the same had been on her mind and we got to work planning a trip out of town and agreeing we may even pick a fake identity for the weekend like in those Vegas commercials (but for much less scandalous reasons, naturally).



The next time you see these faces posted it will probably be recapping our Keys Weekend in late-March. Can't wait to get away with a bestie and just take a vacation from life for a few days. I don't know why people always say you can't run away from your problems? I'm a firm believer that you can run away for a bit, as long as you come back and beat them afterwards. So for two worn out fasters with alot on their minds, this is going to be just the needed retreat - full of sunshine and the feeling of summer time.

Add the keys to my list of 2011 travels because my bags are as good as packed!

Love,

B

Monday, February 21, 2011

End of the Fast, End of a Rut?


Well, I'm happy to announce the fast is over and life can now return to 'normal', as normal as my life ever is anyway. I'm not sad to say goodbye, to be honest. It was a challenge I'm glad I completed but don't be surprised if this was the one and only time I do this type of fast.

As previously mentioned I didn't feel so hot during this fast. Low energy. Kind of moody. No strength to do weight training. I could tell my body wasn't real happy. A lot of the other girls doing it said they're energy bounced back after a bit, but truthfully, mine never did.
I also had several bad stomach days during the fast (proving yet again that it's not dairy or caffeine that's making me sick) so those were extra frustrating when I wasn't even eating (or drinking) food I like. Wah.


Aside from having to cut back my workouts which I love and not enjoying food for 21 days, the fast had it's fair share of emotional hardships as well. I shared a pretty tough blog entry a week or so ago about the clarity I prayed for, and got. I knew going into the fast that the answers I got to my prayers may not be what I wanted...but man, did I really get some tough wakeup calls.


Life and relationships are hard. I know that. But doesn't it seem like all the tough stuff comes at once? The first couple days of the fast came with some hard realizations and while I was down I felt like life gave me a swift kick in the stomach. I kept reminding myself that A. I asked for it and B. the rainbow comes AFTER the storm. But I'm just going to throw it out there -I hope this ends with the fast. I've had enough ecky discoveries to last me a good while now.
Here's some positives:
- after a tough couple weeks of being broken down, I feel the rebuilding on the horizon. I hope to come back stronger than ever, and I mean that on several levels.
- answers. I prayed and I got some answers. Not always the ones I wanted, but answers none-the-less.

- I lost 5 pounds. Hey, rejoice in victories, right?

- All things, good or bad, come to an end, and end she did.

- It is done and I never have to do it again if I don't want. : ]

Thanks for all your encouragement along the way. I really felt your prayers as well as your love and support. Thank you to my vegetarian and vegan friends who rallied with some good food ideas. Thank you to all who wanted me to succeed. I'm grateful to have people like you in my life.
Love,
B

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quote of the Week Get's a Makeover.

I've been sharing quotes from time to time on the blog over the last two years. I want to bring back the quote of the week but with a twist, now I'm going to blog about it too. I'm not just going to give you someone else's words but my thoughts on them, which should give you an idea why I chose them. Hopefully this will be good for my writing but will also be of greater interest to you. And for those of you who recently told me you 'steal' my quote, I love that. Clearly, I stole them too.

Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


I talked a lot about fear on the blog when I was reading, 'In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day'. Fear is paralyzing in our lives. It holds us back not only from God's will (for Christians) but from reaching our full potential. If you're always afraid of failure you will never really succeed. If you're always afraid to take a chance, you will never fully experience life.

There's perhaps one thing I would argue defeats more people than fear, and that's sin. But I think they're linked. I think often times we get stuck in patterns of sin, doing the wrong thing, but our fear or being judged keeps us from getting the help we need to break free. Our fear of giving up our lives to our faith also keeps us from experiencing the fullness of life God intended because we want to store just a ltitle of our treasure on earth, too.

I love Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was so articulate, so wise. He professed to be a believer though his beliefs were, interesting to say the least. But I find that I'm drawn to his quotes again and again.

Love,
B

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cause I'm Out Here Grindin'.


I may be a teensy bit overly excited about the return of exciting food and beverages to my life - which is happening Tuesday. I had bought a coffee bean grinder a while back at Marshall's and had yet to use it (but those are hard to find at the right price). So today I bought some coffee and I got to grindin. Thought I'd sh Ghiradelli are in the exciting, delicious smelling moment with you all...









I may have had so much fun grinding all the new coffee that I did another bag of coffee I had in the freezer as well. Normally this is when I would say 'don't judge me' but seriously, I'd judge myself if I were you so go right ahead. But when you're done, I may just have a delish cup with your name (or initial) on it waiting.

Love,
B

This Will Change Your Life, or at Least Your Body.

Despite still being a little ways away from my goal weight people have really started to reach out to me for help reaching their weight loss goals. April will mark one year since I began my weight loss journey that has so far lost me 65.6 pounds. I am by no means a fitness or diet expert but I have had a great amount of success in the past few months with hard work, research, and discipline. I wanted to share one thing I hesitated within the beginning but I’ve now come to see is crucial to getting your body where you want it…weight training.

When I first started trying to lose weight I thought as long as I counted my calories and did tons of cardio, my body would eventually be what I wanted it to be. Later when I considered that my goal isn’t to be skinny, it’s to be fit and toned I realized that even though cardio can blast calories it wasn’t going to get me the definition in my trouble zones that I desired. That’s what I started doing some research on weight training. For those of you ladies who think lifting weights will make you bulky, you’re not alone but you’re also not right.

Women’s Health Magazine has been a great resource for me (I don’t subscribe but I frequent their website). I was reading through an article they wrote about women and weight training and they gave some great reasons for every women to hit the gym and pump some iron.

You’ll lose 40% more fat. Umm, that right there should be enough right? Fat be gone! Where are my dumbbells?

And I quote: Other research on dieters who don't lift shows that, on average, 75 percent of their weight loss is from fat, while 25 percent is from muscle. Muscle loss may drop your scale weight, but it doesn't improve your reflection in the mirror and it makes you more likely to gain back the flab you lost. However, if you weight train as you diet, you'll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat.

Not sold yet? Well, we’re not finished yet.

Your clothes will fit better. – Again, who doesn’t want that? There’s nothing I hate more than trying on outfit after outfit and nothing making me feel excited to go out. I mean, I always want to buy new clothes but not because I want the ones I own to be ill-fitting and unflattering.

You’ll burn more calories. Calories, calories, calories. See, this one is relatable for anyone. Even if you’re trying to maintain your goal weight, you still want to burn at least as many calories as you’re eating. So this is a win-win situation. For those of us still trying to shed, we know that burning more calories than you eat is the key.

WH says: Lifting gives you a better burn during exercise too: Doing a circuit of eight moves (which takes about eight minutes) can expend 159 to 231 calories. That's about what you'd burn if you ran at a 10-mile-per-hour pace for the same duration.

Research shows that it will Improve your Diet. Bonus. Stay motivated to stay on track.

Stress Relief. No more stress eating, now I lift away my stress.

You'll Be Happier.

You'll Build Stronger Bones.

You'll Get Into Shape Faster. Lord knows, bikini season is upon us. The faster, the better. Getting results keeps you movitated.

Your Heart will be Healthier.

You'll Be More Productive.

You'll Live Longer.

You'll be Smarter.

Full article here.

I've never seen quicker results then adding strength training in an interval form so I strongly encourage this to get you the results you want, faster.

Love,
B

Friday, February 18, 2011

So, When Are You Getting Married?

Twenty-five is such an interesting age. Some could even call it awkward. What I find most fascinating is other peoples opinion of what a woman’s life should be like at 25. Everyone loves to tell you about your life, right?

My recent favorite are the people who tell me I shouldn’t feel bad for not being married. Oh gee, thanks – I hadn’t thought twice about that til you so graciously brought it up, again. Let me put something out there that may shock and appall you all – I don’t want to be married. Someday, sure. But not today. Not yesterday. And not even tomorrow. There are a lot of other things I want first, want more. I want to travel. I want to achieve my dream job. I want to write and publish my first book. I want an MBA. I want to pay off my first home and own it outright. And maybe someday if I find the right person, I want to spend the rest of my life (the one I’m building now) with them.

I’ve tried to figure out why it is people are so obsessed with marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I think marriage is fabulous. My sweet parents have been happily married for 30 years and I love that. My sister and bro-in-law are one of those amazing married couples that make strangers smile they’re so fun. But why when people meet someone my age do they immediately want to know about your love life? They don’t ask me where I want to be in 5 years, they only want to know who I’m going to be with. I mean really, what is that about?

Sometimes people say something sweet to accompany their disappointment they won’t be receiving an invite to my wedding soon (or ever – since I want to have a destination wedding) by saying, ‘I just think you’d make some lucky guy SO happy’. This is kind. This is giving me too much credit. And this is sadly misguided since to be honest, being someone else’s happiness really doesn’t rank on my priority list at the moment.

To be fair, I’m honest when people talk to me about it and say, ‘I’m casually dating’. But the truth is, I’m always a little disappointed because those people who only ask me (regularly) about my dating life are missing out on all the really cool things going on in my life. They miss out on really knowing me. I have this incredibly fulfilling life full of great people, a job I’m passionate about, serving the Lord in my church, leading an amazing group of girls in bible study every week, reading, writing, blogging, running, traveling. What’s NOT to love about my life, even if you exclude my actual ‘love life’?

Sometimes these particular people make me snarky. I just want to say something to the effect of ‘if only I were married, barefoot, and pregnant my life would be complete' or ‘isn’t is so sad that I have to work an actual job? Oh the horror’. I know this is terrible since people are *usually* well meaning - so I usually bite my tongue. But really people, 25 isn’t old and not all of us want to be married little baby makers. Some do, and that's great, but just because I'm a woman doesn't mean my goal in life (or even one of them) is to be a wife and mother. No one picks on guys who are 25 and tells THEM they shouldn't be worried they're not married yet.

Fine, this was kind of a rant. I don’t apologize.

Love,
B

Ps: if you enjoyed this post you may also like this one.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cha-cha-cha-changes.

Well friends I decided this morning it was time to change things up. I've finally got my hair to it's natural color so that was out, but I decided to get a fresh new haircut for the spring. This is what I picked out:

It's cute, it's fresh, it's fun.



So before:


And after:

Thoughts?

Love,
B

I Want That...

I was reading a Lucky article the other day about 10 wardrobe staples for under 50 bucks and it got me thinking about what items I want to add to my wardrobe. Here's my most recent hit list:

Romper. I really want a romper for this spring/summer. I've determined this will be the outfit I wear when I hit my goal weigh and I'm ready to show it off. I like the style of this BCBG number:






Celebs are into rompers right now too.


What are the chances my legs look like hers by July? Hmm.






Navy Blazer (fitted). I reeeally want a fitted navy blazer like this one by Ann Taylor:


Naturally, I'm not the only one, V Beck rocks em:

Boyfriend Jeans. My current fashion hitlist includes desperately wanting a pair of boyfriend jeans. They're everywhere right now and the closest I have is ill fitting too big jeans that kind of look like I stole them from a boyfriend? Not good enough.



Like these from Levi.

Celebs are loving them some boyfriend jeans lately and I'm loving Reese Witherspoons whole outfit.



Boyfriend jeans with my navy blazer? Yes!



While we're on the topic of boyfriend wear I also want a...



Boyfriend Watch.



Preferably this gold one by Coach.






Fabulous.

I wouldn't mind new dresses, new shoes, and a few brightly colored handbags too - if you're look for expensive gift ideas for me for, oh I don't know - memorial day? ; ]

Love,

B

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentines Weekend.

Saturday Night. Bern's foyer - it feels like a palace.


Aubs and I with our desserts.


Friday Night.






Tiffany, Auburn, and I.



This is the face I made when we decided to take the night off from fasting.


It was a great night to take off because there was quite a spread of food:











After gabbing and grubbing we finally sat down and watched 'You've Got Mail'.

Overall it was a fabulous weekend full of food, friends, and fun. No complaints here. Hope you all had an equally great Valentines weekend.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quote of the Week.

'In the midst of pain, God makes a way for us to see and experience His greatness' - One in a Million, Priscilla Shirer

A Saturday to Remember.

I had a pretty brutal week last week, on a few levels. I went into the weekend feeling sad and maybe a little sorry for myself (I know, I know) but Saturday morning I drug myself out of bed early and headed to work an event that now has a special place in my heart and maybe even a permanent place on my calender - the No Limits Sports Day with Shriners Hospitals for Children.

I arrived a few minutes early and they put me right to work. Changed into my tee shirt and started carting drinks and organizing them like a jig saw puzzle into the fridge for the kids lunch later in the day. I then discovered my post for the day would be adaptive tennis. I introduced myself to the staff running that area and told them to put me to work and work I did. I chased thousands of tennis balls for hours and put them back in baskets to be fed to the kids.

For a girl in a funk, this clinic couldn't have come at a better time for me. I was trying to work through some hurt feelings and move on from a week that really kicked me while I was down. Those kids were so vibrant, so passionate about life, about sports, about their families. I watched their beautiful smiles as they returned those tennis balls over and over and cheered each other on and I couldn't help but be grateful to be there just to witness it.

It was a special day and a great reminder that sometimes when were going through a hard time the best way to overcome it is to serve others.

'For it is in giving that we receive' - St. Francis of Assisi

Love,
B

Monday, February 14, 2011

All You Need Is Love - The Finale.



Whether in love or out, on Valentine's Day I LOVE to...


Hmm, well the answer that popped into my head first is make the people I love feel special. I work hard to do this year round with cards, letters, calls, texts, tweets, facebooks, etc. BUT Valentines is a great excuse to send an extra card or a couple goodies in the direction of those who are on my mind most.


Another honest answer would be that I LOVE to be spoiled rotten by my guy friends on Valentine's Day. My absolute favorite Valentine's Day ever was when I was single and I spent the night out with Casey and Jeff - two of my best guy friends from college. That would be these guys:



I made them let me take a Valentine's pic that night too. Ha ha, it's better than the ones with me in them. But these guys are the best. So much fun, who wouldn't want to spend Valentines with them? But we went out for a very romantic dinner of 10 cent wings (we were in college, duh). And I'm not really sure where we aquired them but Casey wore balloons tied to his pants for most of the night.

I think it's interesting that Valentine's always seems to be this big ugly holiday for singles. I've had some of my BEST Valentine's days while single but then again, I've got some great men in my life to make me feel special either way.

Get a pedicure. That's on the list as well. I got a Valentines themed pedi last year that was pretty fabulous.

Get cute text messages from friends also makes the list.

I'm pretty pleased with Valentines right now. I had the girls over Saturday night for a little Valentine's celebration and a 90s chick-flick. A great way to celebrate love.

Love,

B

Valentines Day Video Blog.

video

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fast Update.

Ok, I'd like to address something breifly before this post begins. Fasting is not typically something you make public (biblical fasting that is). Now, I broke that 'rule' if you will because this particular fast was a challenge from a blog reader so it was public to begin with. I personally don't think that's taken away from the spiritual aspect and benefits of it. I was met with some...criticism for talking about my fast openly. I respectfully disagree with the criticism but if you're bothered by it, feel free to not read about it, I will not be offended.

Anyway, the fast continues. Today was Day 14 of 22 (normally 21 but I want to finish with 2 of my friends). If you're wondering if it's getting easier the answer is yes and no. I'm past my caffeiene withdrawal and my cravings are greatly reduced though admittedly not entirely gone so those are positives. What is still tough is as someone who spends an hour and a half in the gym a day and is pretty active all the time - going without the protein and iron I normally get from meat has been really tough for me. I can literally feel my body crying for it during my workouts even though I've been eating peanuts, leafy greens, etc. It's just not having the same effect for me. Oh, and I take a multi-vitamin.

I'd be lying if I said it hasn't really taken the joy out of food (and drinks) for me. I mean, I'm doing it and I'm doing fine but I haven't been this unexcited by food maybe in my whole life. I have found a few things to be excited about like fresh fruit smoothies (no yogurt, no sweetners, naturally)...




After a quick trip to Whole Foods on lunch - drink: pineapple, banana, and coconut. Yum.

Also, turns out when food loses it's excitement you have to find something else to be pumped about on your lunch break. When I quit eating out to save money and lose weight, I would use my lunch break to go get a fountain diet coke during 'happy hour' (half price). Well that got nixed for the Daniel Fast so, what was I to do? Retail therapy filled a few days. Checking the mail and watching TV back home (I live 2 miles from work) filled a few. Went for a couple drives over the bay and back just to get out and see the water.

I've shared a little about what's been happening on the spiritual side of things with the fast but most of you are curious about what I'll do differently when the fast is over? This has been an interesting thing to muscle through. I know I won't stay vegan. Frozen yogurt and meats will be amongst the first foods added back in after the fast (slowly, so I don't get sick). But that's not to say this has been a failure in opening by eyes to some things...

I hope to stay eating fresh fruits and veggies with every meal (though maybe not AS every meal). I plan to stay away from the 4 a day diet coke addiction for good this time. Maybe 1 per day...or a couple per week even. I know, that's big for me. But I'm finding that I enjoy drinking more water...even though I miss my afternoon diet coke treat.

I've never been much of a bread or milk person to begin with so that hasn't been a sacrifice and it won't really be returning (occasionally I'll eat bread out but I don't buy loaves of it). I will keep at the whole wheat pasta since I finally found some I like, though that will be out for g-free month in March.

Oh the other question everyone seems to be curious about - do you lose a bunch of weight? This probably depends on which foods from the fast you're eating. If you eat all peanuts, pita chips, and chips and salsa - I'd guess not. My first week on the fast I lose a little under 3 pounds but I purposed to stay within my calorie goals for my weight loss AND I worked out everyday (which is tough when you're fasting). This hasn't been about weight loss for me, but I also didn't want to derail my progress.

Thanks for all your loving support and prayers. It's been a tough 14 days but the end is nearing and the benefits continue to out weigh the sacrifice.

Love,

B

All You Need Is Love - #7



I LOVE when I feel beautiful/sexy/pretty! This happens when I...

...I get to wear a new dress. I love dresses. I never feel as excited about the way I look as when I'm sporting a new frock. Thanks to Nordstrom Rack moving 2 miles away from me, this happens more often than you'd imagine.


...wear just a tiny bit of makeup. That sounds weird but I feel fresher and as a result prettier when I'm barely wearing any makeup. Just enough to highlight a few of my features but not enough to cover me up. I love that feeling.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Set Up & Gifts I Treasure.

I was cleaning on Sunday afternoon and it was time to clean up my table, which I leave set all the time (since I never eat at it). I took everything off and wiped down the table and decided to reset the table with new place settings comprised of gifts my sisters gave me. My sisters, Rachel and Ruthie are amazing girls. I talk about them from time to time here because they are a huge part of my life. I love having things around the house to remind me of them. An oven mit, a food processor, a cookbook that collects more dust than anything since I don't actually cook.

I closed on the my pad only days before Christmas (the 22nd). Rachel gave me red napkins and pearl napkin rings that first Christmas and I loved them. This Christmas Ruthie gave me dessert plates for when I have people over and black napkins for my table. So I decided to set the table with a combo of the gifts so the table would radiate both my sisters beautiful back to me. So ta da....


The place mats I bought with a gift card I won on Tara's blog a while back. Aren't they darling? If you're new here you may not know that my entire house is done in zebra print and accent colors. I love zebra. So the places pretty much stay as is.

I've been cleaning in prep to have a few ladies over for a dessert night since it's Valentine's weekend. We're going to do a dessert night and watch a chick flick of some sort (still working on which one). I love, love, love to have people over. I treat prepping to entertain like all things and I bask in the set up. When I have somewhere fun to go, like on a date, I spend all week thinking about what I'm going to wear, how I'll do my hair, what shoes...ok, sometimes buying new stuff (don't tell). For entertaining I set up a little everyday so the excitement can mount...



Those are the dessert plates Ruthie got me which I will be using for the first time this weekend, aren't they precious? Every other plate has a red or white background.


Mom made the table as well. She sent me paper napkins with bible verses a while ago and I thought this would be a cute time to use them. There's also black and white ones on the other half of the table. Thanks Ma.




I had to close by showing you this picture because it just shows you a little more of my personality. I have a surprisingly girlie house but somehow football has intertwined itself into my whole home as well. I was giggling about that as I drank from one of my favorite football glasses (I have 8) in front of the TV the other night.

Wish you could all come sample some goodies and hangout with me for a night.
Love,
B

All You Need is Love - #6.

I LOVE to blog because...

Whew, where to begin? I started this blog after moving to Tampa thinking it would be a great way for my friends all over the states (and world) to read about my life and stay up to do date. So really this was supposed to be a 'this is what I'm up to' blog. It has morphed into so much more than that. Yes, I still share what's going on in my life - especially when it's fun, funny, or fabulous. But this blog is more than just a 'dear diary'.

I have shared my hopes, fears, struggles, health issues, weight loss successes, biblical insights, fashion wins and loses, and a whole lot more with you all here. More than that, this blog has become more about new friends than old. I've met some amazing people through blogging and learned about their lives and shared with them in all that they're going through. That's been a pleasant surprise. I thought I'd write here and people would read, or not. But who's reading, that's what's been the most exciting too me. I meet people out and about who have read my blog even though they haven't met me until then and we instantly bond. Or someone follows who's in a similar place in life to me and we start reading and commenting with each other until the feel like an old friend.

I love everything about blogging (except maybe the days I feel uninspired to write). I love all of you that I've come to know through the blog or old friends who have stayed in touch. I so appreciate each of you.

Love & Blog Posts,

B

Friday, February 11, 2011

A New Hero.

Ok so I thought I was bold taking on basically a raw vegan fast, a month gluten free, agreeing to take a months worth of pictures of myself (doesn't that mean I have to wear makeup everyday?), and reading 50ish books but this girl puts all of my blog challenges to shame. For one year she only spent $364 dollars on clothes. Bascially she bought thrift store items for $1 and altered them herself to make wicked cool clothes. Ok ok so some of them I wouldn't want to wear but she's impressive none-the-less.

You will absolutely die when you see how ugly some of the things she bought were and how cool she made them. This girl must have a lot of a time and a magic pair of scissors, I tell ya. Perhaps I should consider a challenge that involves limiting my clothing spending....mmm, nah. : ]

Enough gabbing. I want you to go to here and check out her before and after pics. She'll seriously wow you with her skills, she did me.

Thanks to my coworker, Madison, for sending me the link to this blog - I'm officially obsessed.

Love,
B

All You Need Is Love - #5.



What I LOVE about my friends is...

Well I should start by saying my sisters are my best friends of all.


Me & Rachel at the Super Bowl.
Ruthie and I before one of Dad's game in Indy.


Cookie. So thankful for this guy - what a great friend and man of God. : ]

Jon & I after seeing Wicked - God brought this guy into my life at just the right time.


E! Love love love this guy more than I can put into words.



Adam and I at a Colts game. : ]


My first Grace small group at one of our reunion dinners.
Some of my best girls out for my birthday this year.
Nancy & Bryn, my Tampa family.

Um, is everything an option? Look at these fabulous people, who wouldn't want them as friends? These right here, readers, are the people that make my life full of laughter (mostly), fun, adventures, play dates and occasionally - mayhem. I love them. But I guess you already knew that. I'm supposed to tell you why...

How much time do you have? I love each of my friends for unique reasons and each of them has come into my life in a season that they fit perfectly. I'm amazed at how perfect the Lord's timing from providing me my 'Tampa family' to bringing people like Jon into my life when we were going through such similar things that only we could understand and talk about. I'm incredibly blessed in the friendship department and I don't take that for granted because there have been very empty seasons of my life in which I didn't have people I love and trust like I do these guys.

Love, love, and more love,
B

Ps: Sorry to the friends that weren't pictured - yes, you were included in all the nice things I said and I love you dearly. xo.