Monday, June 9, 2014

The day I'll never forget

It was early that morning.  I think I woke up around 5:30 or 6.  Before my alarm even went off.  I laid in bed staring at the ceiling convincing myself to sleep for a little while longer.  Wasn't going to happen. It was like Christmas morning except the anticipation was one I'd never felt before.  I hopped out of bed and went out in the backyard to the massive tent that was set up.  I felt the wet grass between my toes and did a quick prayer that it wouldn't rain.  Then it was time to get to work.  I had given my parents specific orders the night before of everything we needed to set up the day of.  They had the deer in the headlights look, so I figured I better set up a table so they could see just what needed to be done.  

Wow!  All this sweat.  It was now 7 am and this was hard work!  Much harder than I'd anticipated.  How could I be sweating already at 7 am?  Oh, that's right, because it's Florida and was already 80 degrees.  Oh well, it would all be worth it in the end, right?  Yes, it was worth it and then some.  The table I set up looked amazing.  White linen.  Sailboats, flower arrangements, candle holders with starfish, lighthouses, chalk boards as place settings, personalized water bottles in personalized koozies.  It was all so beautiful.  By this time,  my sister in law, Lisa had woken up and was ready to get the day started.  We sent my brother to Dunkin to get us coffee as we knew we were in for a long day.  We walked around screeching like little girls while getting ready to head to the salon.  The brother comes back and gets us our much deserved coffee and a dozen donuts.  A few minutes later my MOH Stacy and her husband show up in their chariot to take us to the salon.  More screeching ensued and I think her husband was questioning how in the hell he got roped into this gig.  But he was a great sport and besides, someone had to pop the champagne for us.

We get to the salon a little before our appointment and Stacy gets to work.  She sets up a welcome area and puts out croissants, muffins, and mimosas.  Sweet, sweet, mimosas. Everything was so amazing and lovely and I felt like the most special woman in the world.  The ladies made a toast and then the make up artist got started on the bridesmaids makeup. Not soon after my Stepmom, Laura showed up.  She grabbed a mimosa and came to spend time with the girls.  It was amazing and we had a great time.  I was very nervous the whole time, I felt like I might throw up.  After the girls got hair and makeup we headed to the hotel.  As we were walking out of the salon it started to sprinkle.  We were a little panicked it might rain but were confident it wouldn't.  On the way to the hotel, Laura called me and said we needed to talk.  At this point in time, it was pouring.  She told me about the alternate plans of where we were to get married (under the tent) and went on to explain how they had to set everything up as a backup. The gift table wasn't where we were expecting it, we wouldn't get married outside like we expected, everything had changed.  I texted the fiance and told him "I don't know if I can do this" of course he said back "do you need to talk?" Uhhhh yes, talking was the least of what I needed at this point!  My girls assured me everything would be perfect so we kept on to the hotel to get ready.  We pulled up to the hotel and the fiances best friend brought our room key as we were pulling up, and the girls were pouring me a glass of wine.  I made him pinky promise he would not tell Frank we were having another toast! We headed up to the room and the photographer called that he got some amazing shots of the guys and wanted to get some shots of us.  At this point, I wasn't too jazzed.  It was pouring, everything at our home is not what I was expecting, and my Mom decided to be a weirdo and throw a wrench in our plans.  I wasn't too stoked but I put on a happy face because this was a day for Frank, the LO, and I and we would not let anything ruin it. 

Just as the photographer comes in (btw, he looked like a hollywood actor), a friend sent Frank and I a text.  As I was reading this really depressing text, I felt overwhelmed and could not stop laughing.  The photographer and girls were playing into it too so we were laughing as we were crying.  It was a good time and I think he got some good shots.

After he took some basic shots of us girls getting ready, I asked if the guys were ready for the letters.  You see, Frank is not very good with words.  He asked if we could surpass the new tradition of couples reading and writing their own vows.  I told him yes, as long as we wrote eachother letters to read before the ceremony.  Well, guess what time it was?  It was time to read the letters.  The photographer was still down in the girls room, and Frank's brother brought down the letter frank had written for me.  It was such a very, very sweet letter and make me laugh, cry, and break out in hives all at the same time.  I read the letter aloud and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.  I joked with his brother that there is no way there'd be a dry eye up in the guys room!  Him and the photographer headed to the guys room to take pictures of them reading their letters. By them, I mean the following:  Frank, the LO, and Frank's Mom.  I did not just write Frank a letter.  I also wrote his Mom a letter.  Telling her how she raised the man of my dreams.  I wrote the LO a letter that as his S-Mom I promise to always encourage him, and help him find his path in life.  It was emotional and at this point, I was ready to get the show on the road!

We headed to the house and it was pretty rainy.  We pulled up to the neighborhood and there were cars everywhere!  We told the limo driver we didn't want anyone seeing us so he drove around the block for awhile.  We listened to black eyed peas and drank champagne.  By the time we drove back around, it was show time!  The girls got out and then I followed.  I remember walking to the house with the limo driver and telling him I still had time to run!  He did not find my tipsy banter too humorous!  Before I knew it, I was at the front door and my Dad was standing there.  We hugged and watched the bridal party walk down the aisle.  As we made our way into the tent I noticed how crowded and warm it was!  Good Gosh, this is not what I expected!  BUT, it turned out amazing and it was ours and that is all that matters.  My Dad gave me away and Frank and I said our "I Do's"  You know, he was crying so hard the tears were streaming.  It was so sweet. And sincere.  I did not have that reaction, although I thought I would.  It was so sweet and even the Pastor remarked that it was "so cool" to see a groom with that emotional reaction.  After they pronounced us husband and wife the song "Happy" by Pharrel Williams starting playing.  JUST IN TIME.  Because the RAIN stopped!  And we were able to enjoy a few minutes of our cocktail hour while taking pictures and greeting all of our guests....





Friday, May 9, 2014

It's official

I'm a Mrs.  In my wildest dreams, I never would've thought he'd be my husband.  I had the hots for him when I was an 18 year old secretary at the company we both worked for.  We were both at different points in our life but divine intervention brought us back together 3 years ago.  The big man upstairs was working in our favor and I am forever grateful.  It has been almost a week since we said the "I Do's" and it's still pretty wild to wrap our heads around.

The wedding day was magical and beautiful even though the rain had different plans for our ceremony than we did.  It's okay though, in the end, it all worked out.  My parents and brothers really pulled out all of the stops to make sure it was a beautiful day for us.  They set up all of the centerpieces, chairs, favors, and everything.  We are so blessed to have parents as great as them.

I'll do a wedding post next week when we get home from our honeymoon.  Just wanted to write a small post while it is still fresh in my memory.

xoxo,
Nicole





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!