Sunday, February 22, 2015

i'm keeping this chalkboard...

Don't you hate when you DIY something for your wedding, then realize you have the perfect spot in your house to display it... and decide against using it in the wedding, after all?

Oops. :)

I had big plans for this little state of Texas. Back in October, while I was visiting Texas to get some wedding planning done, my Mom and I happened upon this wood cutout at Wal-Mart one evening. It was a steal at about $4.00 [including tax] so we thought "surely, we can use this somewhere!".

That was the plan, anyway. I was going to make it into a chalkboard, and do a little diagram of our love story. It was going to be adorable... she was born in south central Texas, he was born in the panhandle of Texas. They met in west Texas, and lived together in the hill country before whisking off to California, only to return to the hill country to get married. Totally romantic, right?! It was going to make an awesome story board... but by the time the chalk hit the board [literally] the destination lines looked more like a pile of tangled headphones.

Strike one. 

Then, I thought it would be cute to display at the bar--to use as our 'bar menu'! The only problem is... it can only hold about three drink titles, minimum. And, well... we've got a few more than that! :-)

Strike two. 

By that point, I just started doodling. I'd been designing cocktail napkins all afternoon, and I was feeling artistic. And being that I was in the 'wedding spirit', I decided to draft up an 'established on' family sign. Let me go on record by saying I am a HORRIBLE chalkboard artist. I give major credit to those individuals who can pull off this art form... I am not ashamed to say that I cannot. My spacing is always off, and I tend to drag my hand through the fresh chalk which smears it across the board. In an effort to make it better, I sweep and blow and dust... and then it becomes a real comedy of errors. But, I was mildly pleased with the way this particular one came out, so... I thought I'd let it marinate for a while.

While waiting for my cup of coffee to finish brewing, I glanced up at a glaring blank spot on our kitchen wall. It appeared to be the perfect size for a Texas-shaped chalkboard. :-) I hurried back to the craft room to grab it, and lo and behold... it was a perfect fit! There was no hanger on the back of it, but my trusty friend the 3M Command Strip came to the rescue. I thought I'd leave it up until Spencer got home, just to get a reading on him, but then it started to grow on me... and him, too.

Every time I look at it, I'm reminded of a cute story from my Mother-in-Law. I never had the opportunity to meet her parents, but from the way she talks about them, they lived like newlyweds until their last day. Absolutely precious. They apparently had this chalkboard in their kitchen (or was it dining room?... ) where Spencer's grandfather would leave his grandmother little love notes. Sadly, his Grandfather passed away before his time, but not without leaving one last note for his bride. He'd scribbled on the chalkboard some days before his passing, a note that simply read "I LOVE YOU". I'm told that she never erased it.

I love that little story so much. And I love our little chalkboard. It's an every day reminder of our "home" and a sweet little addition to our kitchen.

Needless to say... this one won't make it back to Texas with us for the wedding. :-) Oops.

Friday, February 13, 2015

shakeology & the 21 day fix.

It's me again!

Taking a breather from wrapping up the last few wedding details to chat for a minute about Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix! As you might have noticed on my last thirty before 30 post, I had lost 5 lbs. I'm happy to report that number has jumped to 10 lbs. lost! Obviously, I kind of had an idea that "loose 10 lbs." and "get married" would go hand-in-hand, but I'm really [really!] pleased with the results--so I thought I'd share with you what I've been doing.

Back in October, I was approached by a Beachbody coach about joining her challenge group for The 21 Day Fix. I was kind of, for lack of a better term, already half-assing my beloved Weight Watchers at the time so I wasn't really interested. By the time January rolled around, and I'd had more than my fair share of Christmas cookies and cocktails, and hadn't exercised in oh... five years(!?) it was time to make a change. Accelerated by the fact that I was getting married in two months, I knew I wanted something different. The timing was fortuitous, seeing as how a new challenge group was starting up on January 5th. Perfect! I purchased the complete challenge pack online and was ready to get started.

I thought the first workout was going to kill me. There are 7 workouts [one for each day of the week] and they're set up so that you do one, 30-minute DVD workout per day. The workout schedule is set up as follows.

Monday TuesdayWednesday ThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
 Total Body Cardio Fix Upper Fix Lower Fix  Pilates Fix  Cardio Fix Dirty 30 Yoga Fix
Can I just say that I still loathe Cardio Fix and Pilates Fix? Seriously... I kind of hate them both. I started the first day with the modifier, and as the first week progressed, was using it less and less. Now, I can pretty much keep up the speed throughout the whole workout!

You follow this schedule for two weeks, then on the third week you double up and do two workouts a day. All the while there is the eating component, too. The fix menu was easy for me to follow, because for all intents and purposes, is very much like Weight Watchers. It's all about portion control!  Based on your weight and caloric intake, you are given a number of color-coded containers per day. If your food fits in the container, you can eat it. There are containers for: vegetables, fruits, proteins, starches, dairy and nuts, seeds and dressings, and oils. The amazing thing is that you never go hungry. The main difference in this program and ones I've done in the past is that it's 90% clean eating. Putting good, wholesome foods in your body keeps you fuller for longer. 

I goofed up and forgot to take measurements of my progress to track inches lost. I did, however, take before and after pictures. The difference was astonishing! I was so overjoyed and happy about those 5 lbs, and knew I must have lost inches just by looking at the pictures. It was amazing! Since then, I started up a second round of the fix. This one was a little more challenging though, as we were in my hometown for two couple's showers, and most recently I smashed my toe pretty good [long story] which has hindered me from working out this past week! Nonetheless... even without working out for over a week, I still lost another 5 lbs! Amazing. 

My challenge kit also came with a one-month supply of Shakeology [a dense, superfood nutrition shake]. It was considerably more expensive to purchase the Shakeology with the challenge kit, but am I glad I did! I owe so much of my success to Shakeology! I drink a shake for breakfast every morning, and it is sooooo good. Seriously. It's kind of unbelievable! My sugar cravings have been drastically reduced--and it keeps me full ALL MORNING. I have so much more energy that I have cut back my 3-5 cups of coffee every morning to one [just because I'm not quite ready to give it up yet!]. I adore Shakeology, and even Spencer is on board. We both have a shake every morning to start our day off right--just a scoop of Shakeo + almond milk + ice blended until smooth, and breakfast is served! Can't beat that. 
I had some curious co-workers who were interested in learning more about it.
I was all too happy to oblige! Shakeo in my cup, and all. ;)
I am going to continue with the 21 Day Fix eating plan until at least the wedding. It's worked for me so far, and I really like it... so why fix what's not broken? I have really missed my workouts this last week... and hope that by Monday I'll be ready to "push play" yet again! Fingers [and toes!] crossed.