A whole list of firsts…

September 12, 2010

Morning everyone! …afternoon East Coast! The other night, my company treated everyone to a Colorado Rockies game and I thought I’d share some pictures.

I’ve never been on a work field trip before and it was awesome.  My co-workers especially deserved a giant break after all the hard work they’ve been doing re-locating families that have lost their homes in the fire.  I was privileged to meet with a few families myself Friday night and all day Saturday.

I’ve also never been to another stadium other than Fenway in Boston this was quite the experience for me.  Parking was only $4 and a two minute walk over the bridge to the park.  I was so excited to see that the stadium was surrounded by downtown Denver rather than parking lots!

Yet another first – Jay and I had never been to a major league baseball game together and we had so much fun exploring this giant stadium.  There was so much going on for International Night and regular games, pro-shops, bars, and restaurants that we almost missed the anthem which was performed by an elementary school chorus (adorable).

It’s times like these that make me so thankful for having found someone as silly as I am.  We’re best friends on top of everything else and we have so much fun doing just about anything together.  I’m a really lucky girl.

I doubt there are many baseball stadiums out there with gorgeous mountain views like this one!  It was a bit cloudy, so I’d really love to see what the sunsets here look like on a clear night.  A big thank you to the big wigs for taking us all out, there were definitely some epic bonding moments and it was just a great break from the reality we’re all facing.

Hope can never be lost…

September 10, 2010

Hey everyone… I’m sure by now you’ve heard at least something about the wild-fire (Four-mile Fire) which continues to threaten Boulder County.  The fire started in an area I’ve been to for work and the home that I visited there is now gone a long with over 160 other properties over nearly 7,000 acres of land.  So far everyone is accounted for and we are no longer missing anyone from those areas.

My co-workers have been doing their best to re-locate the victims of the fire, and local home-owners and apartment communities have been very accommodating.

This picture captures only a fraction of the darkness in the sky and was taken Wednesday afternoon.  Up until yesterday the sky has been dark gray with smoke and ash since Monday.  It instigated such an ominous and overwhelming feeling and I’ve felt an intense anxiety from the very beginning.  I can’t help but take on the experience of others with extreme empathy.

After a full day of working in Boulder hearing so many personal accounts, and breathing in what will forever ruin that camp fire aroma, both Jason and I were ready to go home and pray for it to end.  No more than five minutes into our commute the universe granted a sign of hope.  Through the fields and darkness existed a beautiful double rainbow.

Take this for what you will, but yesterday I posted my new page 500 Square ft of Love which included this picture of my vision board which Jay and I made over three weeks ago.  For whatever reason, I included a picture of a double rainbow (which you can see more clearly if you click directly on the image).  Again, the purpose of a vision board is to focus your intention on particular goals, and positivity.

I now see the purpose of my posting that picture on my board was my request for hope.  Hope in my own life, and in the tragedy of the Four-mile Fire.  The fire has not yet been 100% contained, so I thank you for reading and for sharing your own positive thoughts for the families affected by it. ❤

Jay and I found ourselves in need of a FREE.99 outing for the day.  Weather.com informed me earlier this morning that there may be a possibility for thunder storms all afternoon, so we decided to change our original plans of kickin’ it by the city pool.

I’ve been DYING these four months that we’ve been in Boulder County to visit the Celestial Seasonings factory (the only Celestial Seasoning’s factory) seeing as its right here in town AND it’s completely FREE!  (Tracy…you and Dustin WILL absolutely LOVE this place when you come to visit!).

The experience starts when you sign up for the tour at the front entrance.  You are given two free tea samples as your “tickets,” and two little sample size mugs.  Inside, there’s an adorable cafe where you can sample ANY of their eighty different blends.

They also have TONS of art work which they’ve used for their original packaging and then there’s this little ensemble… an entire outfit: gown shoes, purse, and all completely fashioned out of tea bags! 😉 Adorable.

Just so everyone is completely aware… Jason has never in his life tried tea and made a huge exception during today’s little outing.

He loves fruit juice – so I suggested the “Moroccan Pomegranate” they had on tap.  Let the taste testing begin!

I added some agave nectar to his to help his taste buds with this impressive leap of faith!

Jason: I must really love this woman… (my interpretation of course!)

(Direct quote… “OMG this tastes like warm juice!”)

Taste testing success!

Not quite as exciting for someone who already loves anything and everything Celestial creates… 😉

There were no cameras allowed on the actual tour, but it was so much fun and extremely informative.  I contemplated regurgitating a ton of the information that we learned, but that’s such a spoiler alert!  I want you to take this tour yourself!  I’d rather leave you with a simple explanation as to why you should come visit the home of Celestial Seasonings or just switch brands of tea.  (Ps. The avg. box of Celestial tea will run you a mere $2.35 and contains 20 tea bags).

Celestial Seasonings supports eco-friendly practices with a strong emphasis on sustainable farming from countries all over the world.  Their white, black, green, and herbal teas are incredibly healthy and provide natural remedies for various stomach ailments, headaches, and difficulties sleeping.  They set a strong and positive example for large companies that it is possible to expand without losing your ideals.

Morning loves!  I’ve decided to “re-do” Couch to 5k this week, and this time I opted to bring it outdoors!  In Texas we had a workout room in our apartment community and a less than walk-able/run-able actual community.  -Not to mention it was pretty hot 🙂

Our new town has a beautiful green-way right down the street from our apartment PERFECT for morning runs while it’s still crispy cool here in Colorado.  Jay and I are working the program together (even though he’s a big intimidating Marine running machine – he’s agreed to go at my pace until I can pick it up a bit).It only takes about half an hour and we don’t have to drive anywhere so it’s fits very easily into our morning routine.  I’ll admit that I had made it through week 7 in Austin (indoors), but the extremely high elevation here combined with the fact that I had never run outside before set me back, and I’ve decided to just start over!  No shame in it.

It was rough, but I think swimming I’ve done this summer has helped my endurance.  Jay and I enjoyed doing this together and we’re planning (until schedules change) on running Wednesday, Friday, Sunday mornings 🙂

*If you try running for the first time, don’t forget to stretch and feed yourself!

Here are the instructions for “Cool Running’s” version:  You can run a 5k in just 9 weeks!

Week Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 3
1 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
2 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
3 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
4 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
5 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.
6 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 25 minutes) with no walking.
7 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).
8 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).
9 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes). The final workout! Congratulations! Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

Thank you, Ladies

August 23, 2010

Last week, I received a beautiful card from a wonderful friend.  Inside, was a note more valuable to me than anything else I can imagine.  It brought me peace and a lasting smile.  What more can you really ask for…? Inside, she thanked me for having been there for her when things were difficult in her life.  She thanked me for being who I am which was a reassurance I’ll admit… I really needed right now.

I immediately responded and mailed out a Thank You for her Thank You.  This actually isn’t the first time this has happened to me.  A friend from work left me a similar note on my desk the week before we all left for college.  I’ll never forget certain parts of that letter and the feeling it left me with… the feeling of having touched someone’s life without really knowing it.

I was lucky enough to have women in my life that shared this with me, but it makes me think:  If we all were able to realize the impact that we have on the lives of others, would it change how we view ourselves?  With all the turmoil we deal with on a daily basis, if your smile, laughter, and kindness can benefit others I’m willing to bet things might just feel better on the home-front as well.

I’m dealing with a lot of things I can’t necessary control right now.  It comforts me to know that someone’s thinking of me fondly and remembering how much I love them.  I wanted to do the same this week so here’s my next DIY project.

You will need:

  • 5 or more Thank You cards
  • 5 or more stamps
  • And a lot of love in your heart/pen.
  • Post its + Sharpie for Operation Beautiful notes!

I’m choosing to write thank you notes to five women who have touched my life and made me a better person simply having been in their presence.  I encourage you to do the same.  🙂

Source

It’s official folks!  I can finally close the door to my experience with The Twilight Saga.  Farewell Miss Bella, see you when the next movie comes out! 😉

Obviously, you all know I thoroughly enjoyed these junk-food reads and part of me is sad that I don’t have the option to pick up another.  But, there’s a larger part that is excited to move on to the next!

I started Eat. Pray. Love. recently and I’m IN LOVE with it.  She’s so insightful and honest.  I have so many “aha” moments reading her mini chapters, and my eyes well up when she introduces meaning to such simple concepts and complicated feelings.  I toyed around with the idea that I’d post about all my favorite Eat, Pray, Love quotes but there are just SO many!

I have to say that one uncanny coincidence appeared to me a few days ago while I was enjoying a chapter in the Italy section of the book.  She’s learning to speak Italian, a language which she finds so incredibly beautiful that it brings her happiness to hear it spoken even when she finds happiness in little else.  She often writes and translates little phrases throughout the chapters and she literally wrote several passages about “L’arte d’arrangiarsi” …the art of making something out nothing.

I had to stop reading and consider the fact that perhaps everything really does happen for a reason and sometimes the universe

Source

decides to show you in tiny little ways.  And, its up to you to notice and believe in them.

I relate so heavily with her up and down battle with depression, loss, and search for self discovery after the wreckage.  I’m happy to have stumbled across her memoir.  I started the second part of her book yesterday (India) where she’s been talking a bit about how everyone who searches for enlightenment needs a “guru” and I believe that you’ll come across many in your life.

As of right now and for the time being, I believe I’ve found mine in the form of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Free sounds good to me! :)

August 10, 2010

Behold the return of the $10 Table.  In Texas, we furnished our entire apartment with items we were able to acquire for free from friends, craigslist, etc.  Recycling second-hand items really helped us to feel like we could still make a home even if we couldn’t go on a shopping spree at the local Ikea.  Not only that, it’s so much fun to put a part of yourself into something and work hard to style your living space while you make it your own.

One of my favorite projects was our dining room table.  A couple in Austin posted on craigslist and gave us this entire set for free when they decided to buy new furniture.  It’s clearly a child of the 80’s with nylon seat covers and gold metal trim, but we were able to use our imagination, graciously accept the table and chairs, and made plans to update + reupholster.  Here are the before and after shots!

A can of spray paint, clearance fabric from Walmart, and a Saturday night was all we needed to have a great table and the empty space in the dining room was no more.  We enjoyed that table on our own and with guests.  It was good to us, and when it came time to move on and follow the money (Jay’s promotion + transfer offer) we actually sold this table for $60 which helped fund our move to Colorado!  (Side note: I literally had people fighting over this table and the girl we decided to sell it to loved it almost as much as we did)

Our new apartment is about 1/2 the size of our apartment in Texas so we don’t have room for a dining table, but we do have a coffee table that was in dire need of sprucing.  We got it for free from our temporary apartment that we stayed in for the first month in Colorado.  We had initially planned on just painting it black to match the futon cover, but I thought it would be more fun to paint it “chalkboard” and display chalk in the first part of our remote container.

Kind of like a piece of art that can always change.  And, needless to say…the cost of this table is equal to the cost of a small can of paint and a morning on the porch.

No detailed How – to – Guide necessary for this project because it was SO incredibly easy!

  • Start with your fabulously free piece of tired furniture – rest assured it will be looking brand new and adorable in a few hours 🙂

    • Cover project area (I saved the tarp we used to cover our mattress and various items stored on the top of the car during our last move).  You will need a sheet of sand paper, a very small can of paint – in this case chalkboard paint, and something to stir the paint with.

    • Use sand paper to get the table’s surface down to the original texture (I usually need help with this part of any project…I hate the sound/feel of it and Jay’s muscles get the job done in a more timely fashion).

    • Mix paint (who needs to buy tools to stir the paint when nature provides branches!?).
    • Paint away my loves.
    • Give your masterpiece of a first coat a few hours to dry,  go ahead and touch up some rough spots, and then make sure to give the flat surfaces a solid second coat.

    • From this step on, I brought it inside to keep it safe from weather.com’s rain predictions, and kept the furbabies in different rooms to keep it safe from their little paw prints.
    • The directions say to give it 24ish hours to fully dry before attempting any art work.  It was difficult but I helped Jay to wait until the following morning before attempting his first crayola chalk masterpiece.

    I think it’s important to note here that this was the first of our many projects that I came up with and executed all by myself!  I’ve really started to LOVE diy projects and even if I had the money to go out and buy things new, I don’t think I would.  My bestie thinks this project in particular has potential for a business idea.  I think she might be on to something… silly sort-of grown ups like us aside, chalkboard furniture would probably appeal to a lot of new parents out there, right? Definitely something to think about…I mean kids find a way to draw on walls/furniture/etc anyway…might be nice if it were erasable and not punishable 😉

    Have you started any DIY projects recently? -OR- Share your favorite!

      Yesterday was amazing! A huge thank you to everyone who stopped by and checked out my site!  I’m so happy that I got to participate in The Operation Beautiful Movement this week on HTP and to celebrate – I picked up my very own copy of the book!  We drove into Boulder to a really fun Borders and walked around for a bit in the out door mall.

      I’ve decided I simply can’t wait to start reading while I knock off the other two books on my Summer Reading List so I’m going to read Operation Beautiful each morning on my little porch and start my day with the encouraging words of positive and strong women from all over the country and world.

      In my own journey, I’ve realized that how you start your day has a strong ability to impact your  outlook which can help you stay motivated in a positive manner when you face obstacles as the day goes on…

      Affirmation of strength and beauty sounds like a great addition to any morning routine, don’t you think?

      Other morning activities that help me start my day off on a positive note are:

      • Yoga
      • Taking the puppy for a walk.
      • Jogging/Running
      • Catching up on my girlie shows while Jay’s still sleeping.
      • Delicious coffee (compliments of the coffee fairy).
      • And of course, reading on my little porch. (*I found these little patio accessories on clearance at Target*)

      Being outside really centers me in the morning.  Colorado weather is really interesting.  The mornings are SO crisp and cool and the mountain air is so refreshing.  From our porch you can even see our little piece of the mountain view.  (As I’m learning during my stint in “real estate” ….mountain view of ANY kind = HUGE selling point). 😉

      What’s your morning routine?  What helps you kick start the kind of day you envision for yourself?

      I want to start by saying that by writing my own blog and through the encouragement of reading other blogs such as these (Operation Beautiful and Healthy Tipping Point), I’ve found the strength to keep going this past year.

      These two blogs have taught me an invaluable lesson.  Negative self talk is both unnecessary and within your control to extinguish completely.

      I grew up surrounded by negativity and it weighed heavily on my own development and in many ways it still does.  I learned quickly not to listen to the negative talk of others, but didn’t set clear boundaries within my own mind.

      Somehow I let the voices of those who should have been closest to me manifest into what I now know as Negative Self-Talk.  For years I let myself tear my own accomplishments, appearances, and goodness to pieces and never did I feel anything was worthy of anything better.

      I’ve since made changes within in regard to my self image and living a healthy lifestyle in terms of nutrition and fitness is to thank for that.

      However, I still have miles left in my journey away from Negative Self Talk….one that I’m sure will never truly cease to exist.

      Positivity is something I strive toward with every fiber of my being and its comforting to at least know that much.  Every year of my life prior to this one has had me fighting a battle I’ll never win.  I can’t fight the negativity of my past, but only accept it and embrace that positivity I so desperately crave.

      This year may have set me back financially for years to come, but I’m happily in debt to the clarity I have thus gained as a direct result of my physical and emotional journey across this country and through the depths of my own soul.

      I am releasing my own demons little by little, day after day.  I can feel myself shedding the weight of my past rather than holding on to that which only serves to hurt me.

      I have you my friends, the lovely and ever positive blogging world, and myself to thank.

      Every day I remind myself I am a beautiful and capable person inside and out.  I make mistakes, but doesn’t everyone? I’m proud of how far I’ve come and I will continue my life as a survivor, never a victim.

      This is my favorite quote and I think about it’s wisdom almost daily.  Her words make a great Operation Beautiful note!

      “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt (Including yourself….)


      Afternoon kiddos… I just wanted to take a minute to ground myself and share a moment of clarity I had earlier today.  As, you know things are getting better for us (will be getting better for us), but because my job actually costs a lot of money in gas up front and I won’t be reimbursed until my first pay period which I still haven’t experienced yet – things are still REALLY tight.  So tight we ended up down to our final dollar once again.

      After catching up on a ton of bills with Jay’s last check, we ended up with less than we needed wanted, and had to cancel a few fun meetings we had scheduled for the day in Boulder to save enough gas to get us through Friday of this week.

      It was pretty disappointing at first.  The kind of disappointment where your tummy just feels like losing its cookies and you’re heart beats slower while your eyes well up just enough to prove how strong you are not to actually cry.

      Okay, that might come off a bit dramatic…but in the past year we’ve given up so much to just to survive and we’ve made a large effort to enjoy life in the process.

      Without giving away too many secret details, today was supposed to be about US and planning our future together.  -Well the start to that process anyway.

      We could have let our empty bank account defeat us, but I noticed today that we have far too much experience in this matter to lose a fight that easily.

      If today was supposed to be all about US, then money certainly can’t change that! Plans and meetings can be rescheduled and there’s plenty of time with which to do so…

      • It doesn’t cost me a cent to spend quality time with the man I love right from the comforts of home.
      • I’m not charged by the kiss, hug, or cuddle.
      • No over draft fees on taking my dog for a walk, or cooking dinner with my soon to be husband.
      • It doesn’t take a monetary value to prove to me that I’m the richest girl alive simply by loving another person unconditionally and who loves me in return.

      I’m really proud of how far we’ve come in terms of our attitudes, perseverance, and positivity.  It’s not an easy task to hold on to that towel when it seems so easy to just throw it right in!

      There are a lot of things I wish I could change and I’m haunted by many of them.  But, what gets me through no matter what the circumstance is trying to focus on what I can control and having faith in myself that I’ll find the means to rectify the rest if I never stop trying.

      Oh, and obviously french bread pizza doesn’t hurt! Gotta love meals you can tweak into being healthy a dollar or so at a time!

      This has been another after school special brought to you by our sponsors: The Recession! 😉