Monday, April 7, 2014

Dear Carl,

I can't believe you're gone.  Total shock is an understatement.  It was only 3 months ago you were talking about your retirement and all of things you wanted to do.  Finish your old car and take it for a drive, maybe move away to some place more peaceful and laid back, really just enjoy your retirement while trying to stay busy.  Even though you worked that crazy shift at FPL you never seemed to rest.  Always go, go, go.

When I first moved in, you were the friendliest neighbor who became a dear friend to us. BBQ's at your house, parties at ours, a beer here and there.  Endless conversations, not just the usual "hi" with a friendly wave but real, good conversations, and lots of laughs.

And it's not fair.  When the beau told me you had lung cancer that had metastasized and your diagnosis was only 5 months we were in shock.  We cried but knew you were a fighter and would pull through.  After only your second round of chemo, 3 weeks later, you passed away.  And it's not fair.  It's not fair that you busted your ass your entire life and didn't even get to enjoy your retirement and all of the things you were looking forward to doing.  And it's not fair that your wife of almost 23 years has to live the rest of her life without you.  And I don't understand why it happened to a good man like you, one who seemingly did everything in his life the "right way."  And I also feel so guilty.  I've been so consumed with wedding planning and school that after the beau told me the news, I still didn't make the time to come over and visit with you.  And now you're gone.  I hope you know we'll help with your wife.  We'll help her do anything she needs done around the house.  And I hope you'll be pleased that we're setting up a meal plan and nightly visits with her.  But most of all, I hope you know you were a good person who will be missed, greatly.

This letter is to our dear friend, and neighbor, Carl.  I can't really seem to express my thoughts and feelings without tears, so I thought this would help me to heal.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Advocare thus far...

So I thought it'd be fun to do a recap of what we've eaten, how we've felt, etc. while on Advocare for the first week. Yesterday I ordered a container of Spark because I'm pretty sure we'll run out by the 24th day. Especially since sometimes we have 3 a day!  I guess it's better than coffee or soda, right?  :) I really hope this inspires and gives you some ideas as far as eating plans go. That's really been the hardest part for me because I'm a big foodie (obviously, considering all the junk in my trunk.) Finding meal plans and recipe ideas has been a challenge for me.  Especially making sure it's a meal that we'll all actually enjoy.

Here are the meal plans I used for the first week:

Day 1

Breakfast:
Spark, 2 eggs, half a pack of oatmeal, fresh pineapple, and the fiber drink
Mid morning snack:
Fruit punch Spark, and celery sticks with almond butter
Lunch:
A tuna salad (mixed with 1 tbsp of garlic hummus) sandwich on 2 slices of whole wheat bread
Afternoon snack:
1/4 cup of raw pecans
Dinner:
Grilled salmon with broccoli

Calorie totals that day:  1554, 115 carbs, 93 g of protein, 29 g of fiber, 1423 mg of sodium

Day 2 - when I weighed this morning, down 2.2 lbs.

Breakfast:
Spark, 3 eggs, half a pack of oatmeal, fresh fruit, and the fiber drink
Mid morning snack:
1/4 cup of raw pecans
Lunch:
A tuna salad (mixed with 1 tbsp of garlic hummus) salad.  Threw in some lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.  Very filling and full of protein.
Afternoon snack:
Orange
Dinner:
Delicious stuffed bell peppers from this website (my first time making stuffed peppers):  The Gracious Pantry - clean peppers
Snack before bed:
Orange with some tajin seasoning sprinkled on

Day 3 - when I weighed this morning, down 2 lbs.

Breakfast:
Spark, 3 eggs, half a pack of oatmeal with some almond butter for extra protein, fruit salad, fiber drink
Mid morning snack:
Spark and 1/4 cup of raw pecans
Lunch:
Left over stuffed pepper from the previous nights dinner
Afternoon snack:
Orange (hey see a trend here?  The beau brought them back from Sebring races and I hate letting produce go bad)
Dinner:
Taco salad with 93/7 ground beef, lettuce, diced chiles, tomatoes, black beans, quinoa & brown rice, and avocado.  SO good & SO filling.  Did not even MISS the taco shells!

Calorie totals that day:  1600, 114 carbs, 101 g of protein, 26 g of fiber, 1774 mg of sodium

Day 4 - when I weighed this morning, down 2.2 lbs.

Breakfast:Spark, 3 eggs, half a pack of oatmeal with some almond butter for extra protein, fruit salad
Mid morning snack:
Spark
Lunch:
4 oz. of rotisserie chicken, a whole avocado, and 6 oz. of steamed broccoli & cauliflower
Afternoon snack:
Orange
Dinner:
Grilled herb chicken, recipe here: Grilled herb chicken , baked asparagus with a tiny bit of olive oil & seasonings, and half a baked potato with some sauteed mushrooms on it.  I sauteed the mushrooms in some chicken broth & a ton of seasonings.
After dinner snack:
Strawberries & apples with almond butter

Calorie totals that day:  1540, 107 carbs, 91 g of protein, 23 g of fiber, 1293 mg of sodium

Day 5 - when I weighed this morning, down 0 lbs.

Breakfast:
Spark, 2 eggs, half an avocado, a slice of whole wheat toast
Lunch:
93/7 hamburger patty (patties made by my Momma,) on a whole wheat bun with lettuce & tomato & a tiny bit of ketchup, fresh strawberries, and mediterranean quinoa salad from Skinnytaste:  Quinoa salad
Dinner:
Spicy shrimp with chiles and garlic, recipe here: Spicy chile & garlic shrimp, green beans, chicken flavored rice.  Regarding the shrimp, I have read that you're supposed to avoid "bottom feeding seafood" such as shrimp but that's just not realistic for us.  I want to be able to maintain this diet change so we will definitely go "off plan" here and there.  To that, I add:  we worked 7 hours doing yard work this day.  So we did allow ourselves a few beers after all of our hard work.  I had 3 Miller lites and DAMN were they good!

Calorie totals that day:  1437, 121 carbs, 81 g of protein, 21 g of fiber, 1692mg of sodium

Day 6 - when I weighed this morning, down 1.3 lbs.
Breakfast:
Spark, 2 eggs, strawberries, a slice of whole wheat toast
Mid morning snack:
Spark
Lunch:
A chicken sandwich (leftover breast from Friday night) on a whole wheat bun (left over from yesterday's lunch), and some more mediterranean quinoa salad.
Dinner:
Salad, le seur peas, chicken pasta, and mustard flounder: Mustard flounder . Even our 6 year old loved it, so I KNOW it is a winner.  Also had 3 beers as we had another full day of yard work.  See, don't deprive yourself!  Nothing good comes from it.

I will say, even after dinner I am pretty hungry already.  We are getting ready to watch a movie so I'll probably make a healthy snack for us.  Fruit or veggies dipped in hummus.

Calorie totals that day:  1479, 123 carbs, 95 g of protein, 20 g of fiber, 1528mg of sodium

Day 7 - when I weighed this morning, down 0 lbs.
Breakfast:
Unfortunately I ran out of eggs yesterday morning and didn't make it to the store.  So I just had half a packet of oatmeal, 2 tbsp of almond butter, and an orange.  It will definitely be a snack kind of day, I can tell already.
Lunch:
Tuna salad made with 2 tbsp of hummus on a bed of lettuce.  Need to make a trip to the grocery store.  I also had some rotisserie chicken
Snack:
Spark & grapes
Dinner:
Lime chicken, steamed fresh veggies, half of a plain sweet potato.  Everything was DELICIOUS!  I got the chicken recipe from here:  quick lime chicken (I did omit the cilantro as I hate it.)

Calorie totals that day:  1303, 137 carbs, 114 g of protein, 21 g of fiber, 2886mg of sodium

So, today is the end of our first week.  I'm down 7.7 lbs. and I feel really good. I don't have OMG ALL THE ENERGY, but I haven't in years, so I wasn't really sure that I would.  

Logging my foods on myfitnesspal (un: NicolePatriot) has really helped me meet my calorie goals as well.  I want to make sure I am following the nutritional plan, but also getting enough calories.  As many of you know, I do not believe in 1200 calories a day.  It is not healthy or maintainable.  I have found that Advocare is very much geared towards clean eating.  Unlike other "diets" such as the HCG diet where you take some magical drops and eat only 500 calories a day, I think the clean eating approach is much more sustainable.

And because no post is complete without food pictures, here are some of the dinners I made: 





Friday, March 21, 2014

Advocare.

Well, the beau and I started Advocare on Tuesday.  So far, he's lost 6.6 lbs and I'm down 6.4 lbs.  I don't even know how it's possible.  BUT the scale doesn't lie.  At least when I'm losing it doesn't lie. When I'm gaining that's a different story.  We're on day 4 of the cleanse portion and it's been pretty easy to stick with.  Although by day 2 I was craving sweets & crunchy salty things like a mofo.  We remained strong though.  The beau said the candy dishes at his work have been the hardest thing to resist.  We are eating clean, drinking Spark, drinking the fiber drink (only the first 3 days and last 3 days), and taking vitamins.  

Upon waking up you drink the spark drink.  30 minutes later you drink the fiber drink with breakfast.  For breakfast we've been having 3 eggs each, oatmeal with almond butter, and lots of fruit.  I have to say, it has been really nice sitting down for breakfast together every morning.  We get a little bit more time together.  With the crazy schedule that I'm on (class until 9 most nights) it doesn't leave a lot of "togetherness" time.  Then I pack our lunches and snacks.  This week our lunches consisted of whole wheat tuna (mixed with hummus - no mayo) sandwiches, salads, and left over stuffed peppers.

I am pretty excited to see what happens the rest of the 20 days.  My Dad lost 26 lbs. in the 24 days and has kept it off, so that feels promising.  I think the clean eating is the biggest reason for the loss. 

Anyways, I guess I am done rambling for now.  Hope you all have an awesome weekend :)




Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'm officially insane.

You might want to go ahead and have me committed now, before I commit myself. Totally kidding.  BUT, it was about 15 or so days ago the beau and I were talking about our upcoming nuptials in May 2015.  He throws out this crazy idea that we should just do it now.  Why wait?  He's "never been more sure of anything in his life."  And the wheels started turning.  And before I knew it, I was agreeing to this craziness.  It started off that we were going to do a surprise wedding.  I'd read about them, and it definitely seemed to fit our personalities.  However, once I actually started trying on dresses, I realized that I needed my Mom.  We had to at least let our parents in on the secret.  So we did.  Then we let the bridal party and groomsmen and siblings in on the secret.  And then it turned into us just designing invites to send out to family and friends.  We figured our out of town family might not come if they thought it was an engagement party but they'd probably come if they knew it was the wedding.  

So as of today we have 47 days until the big day.  We have done quite a few things but we still have soooo much more to do.  It's kind of making me twitch, thinking about it. Especially because I'm working full time, taking a full course load, and now planning a last minute wedding.

Any pointers, ideas, tips?  Thank you in advance.  :)

Much love,

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Strep throat sucks...

Womp womp!  I don't know what asshole I picked up strep from, but it sucks so hard!  It's the worst it has ever been! The pain in my left leg and the nauseousness were killer.  I am finally starting to feel on the mend, though.  Although I still didn't make it a full day at work before I got incredible body aches and pains, again.  Oh well, such is life.  My diet has been pretty terrible too...consisting of ice cream and watermelon.  At least I haven't gained (see, there IS a silver lining.)  OH, I did watch a really really good movie while laying in bed spilling ice cream all over the sheets...Silver Linings Playbook.  What a good movie and it just made me love Bradley Cooper even more *swoon*

Okay, I'll admit.  This is a pretty lame blog post.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Week(end) recap

This was a good week.  I aced my science exam bringing my grade from a low C to a low B.  I have a few more tests to take so I'm hoping to get my grade up to an A.

Tried a new recipe this week:  http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/01/spaghetti-squash-with-meat-sauce-46-pts.html .  It was absolutely amazing.  The beau cooked it while I wrote 2 papers which is always a nice change of pace (him cooking, not the paper writing.)  We did add in quite a few more veggies: mushrooms, peppers, zucchini.  He also used hamburger meat instead of the meat it called for.  I can't wait to have it again!

Wednesday I got a wild hair up my ass to go for a walk/jog aka fat girl bounce.  I completed 5.27 miles which felt AMAZING!!  Although my old 30 year old body was definitely feeling the hurt the next few days.  Something has kind of just clicked with me this time.  I want to be healthy, feel good about myself, and treat my body right.  I have learned quite a bit in physical science about the body, cancers, nutrition, etc. and it has really opened my eyes to the abuse I have put my body through.  I am trying very hard to do things differently, although I am still human and will make mistakes along the way.  

I went on my first sales visit and made a sale this week, so that was awesome!

Friday I took a half day to get ready for our out of town trip this weekend.  The mother of Frank's childhood friend passed away so we went to the mass & graveside service.  It was very depressing but also makes you realize that life doesn't go on forever.  And really makes you remember to cherish the ones you have while they're here.  Sometimes I am guilty of getting so caught up in work, school, everyday life that I don't take enough time to look around and be thankful for what I have.

After the service we had Chili's with Frank's parents & brother & nephew.  That was fun.  Also, his mom and I got to have some girl time and really talk about things.  It got a little emotional, but hey, it's usually like that when we're around each other.  That night we just hung around, had a few drinks, and watched a show called "Rake."  I may or may not have fallen asleep on the couch like an 80 year old.

Today we met my parents and sisters at the Brevard Zoo for my sisters 8th birthday.  It was so fun!  The kids had a blast, and even got to feed the lorikeets.  One of the birds flew into Olivia's head and she was absolutely scarred after that.  She wanted NOTHING to do with the birds.  It was pretty damn funny to see though.  I am the mean sister, apparently.  They fed the giraffes, we rode the train, the kids did the zip line.  Afterwards we went to Olive Garden.  Sissy opened up all of her gifts we got her;  I spoiled her, of course.  















All in all, it has been a very busy and successful week.  Not looking forward to a case of the Mondays tomorrow.  Hope your week(end) was a good one!




Monday, February 3, 2014

Lordy lordy, my old man turned 40.

The fiancĂ© recently turned 40.  I am a big time party planner, celebrator of all things life.  Of course we had to have a party. Of course it had to be emotional.  That’s just how I roll.  I got to Pinteresting ideas of things I liked and wanted to recreate but there were actually not very many ideas that I liked, so I started googling ideas.  I found an idea that I just knew I had to do. There was a woman who did “Sixty years of memories” for her Father’s 60th birthday and I knew I had to do something similar.  (Original idea here: http://nothingbutbonfires.com/2011/06/sixty-years-memories)

I got to sending out emails and facebook messages to everyone he knows.  Word spread and I started receiving letters back. It was a pain in the ass keeping on top of a few people that I knew were an integral part of making this plan successful BUT the majority came through and I can’t even put into words the emotions that this gift evoked. 

He did mention the night before the party if I was planning to do something emotional he’d prefer I do it earlier in the party.  My cousins at the party thought we should sing happy birthday and then give him the letters to read.  We all gathered around to sing, and then I presented him with the present.  He was totally confused and didn’t know what it was, but I did put a letter in with the envelopes that said “on your 40th birthday, I thought it’d be fun to take a trip down memory lane.”  GAME ON! He sat down on the couch and the majority of the gang gathered around to hear these juicy stories.  I tried to space the sappy letters out so we were laughing more than crying, which I think was an important step.  That way we’d all go from crying, to laughing, it was an emotional rollercoaster!  There were times when he was reading letters that there was not a dry eye in the house.  I think this was the greatest present I’ve ever given, ever.  He is still so very thankful, and anytime he’s having a bad day he can always open up that box and see how much he means to everyone and all of the good times he’s had in life.   He also got lots of wine and restaurant gift cards as gifts, so I hope he’s prepared to take me out to eat. :)

All in all, he had an amazing birthday weekend but I’m sad it’s over!  It was so fun to see everyone and plan surprises for him. 

















Until next time,



Monday, January 27, 2014

New and improved

Loving my new and improved blog design!  Thanks to my bff, Dal for all of the help.  Check her out:  http://dallinstokes.blogspot.com/