Healthy Living Update

So, I haven’t been walking/running in 11 days!  SLACKER!!  I was definitely just trying to survive this last week of school before spring break.  Spring break is here!  I plan on doing something active at least every other day this week.  I did get in some leg exercises two days within the last week, but it definitely wasn’t enough.

I joined Weight Watchers– again.  Monday will be 2 weeks on the plan.  Why is it that I always manage to start it right around the visit from my Aunt Flo?  It definitely makes controlling myself more difficult, but I did pretty well.  I lost 3.7 lbs the first week!  I’ve been drinking more and more water everyday and I’ve been taking vitamins for 6 months.  I also have noticed I am eating more fruits (not so much veggies yet) than I have following the WW plan in the past.  I definitely need to get more active because I want to eat more food!!!

On top of all this, I’ve decided to SLOWLY quit smoking.  I saw an idea (I believe on to count the number of cigarettes you smoke everyday for a week.  You then take the largest number of cigarettes you smoked in a day and smoke only that amount (or less, obviously) for a week.  Every week you are supposed to reduce that daily amount by one until you’re done completely.  Well, I’m impatient, so I’ve been knocking off 2 every week.  Also, the week I was counting was unusual because we went out to a bar with some friends and I always smoke way more than normal when I’m drinking.  So, instead of using that number, I averaged the 7 days and ended up with 24 cigarettes.  I’m now down to 18 and I’ve found that I usually have a cigarette or two left over at the end of the day.  This coming Wednesday I have to knock down to 16.  I think this is when I will start feeling it more.  It’s not going to help that I’m off all next week—I’ll definitely have to find things to keep me busy!


DIY Wedding Rundown

We decided to keep our wedding simple, small and sweet (and sweaty!).  We were engaged in January 2012 and planned the wedding for July 2012.  Now, in most necks of the woods, July is a fabulous time to get married with perfectly warm weather.  Well, we live in southwest Florida.  Here, July is HOT.  July is HUMID.  July is not conducive to wedding hair.  Regardless, it was fantabulous with just our nearest and dearest: 20 people, including us, plus my 8 month old nephew and our dog, George.

Here’s the whole clan:


Of course, we got married on the beach.  Is there any other way?  We did a simple nonreligious ceremony with a local officiant on a private beach at 11:30am.  I can’t even tell you how hard it was to find a beach that would allow Poops (George) to be there!  But it was something I INSISTED on.  As you can see (in the pic above), he was super hot, so right after this pic, he was ushered to an air-conditioned car.


My aunt even decided it was so hot that she needed to go swimming.  In her clothes.


Side note: Hubs missed the exit for the beach.  My dad was following him in his own car thinking “Oh, you can’t get away THAT easily!” LOL.  Apparently, he was thinking about how he had forgotten his flip flops (he wears sneakers when driving) at home.  The sandals he’s wearing in the pic are actually my older brother’s sandals.  Nevertheless, he will NEVER live that down!

I had my dress made because I knew I wouldn’t find an orange and lace dress anywhere.  I didn’t even try on a wedding gown.  I did all that with my “rehearsal wedding.”  (That’s what hubs and I call our first weddings because, clearly, they were just dress rehearsals!)  The pearl necklace was a graduation gift from my mother-in-law and the pearl earrings were from my friend’s deceased mom (gift from rehearsal bridal shower).  I literally walked out of the hotel to my car and from my car to the beach barefoot.  Shoes are so optional.  I actually intended on wearing my white flip flops, but I left them at home, and I refused to put on my brown ones.  Hubs wore a pair of his own khaki shorts and we found the button down shirt online.  We had originally wanted an orange one, but had a hard time finding one.

photo 1

Detail of the back of the dress.

Our getaway vehicle was my husband’s lifted Excursion.  The hick life.

Our “reception” was at our newly purchased abode.  All of the food was homemade, with my mom doing the brunt of the work.  After arriving at our house (before us), all of the guests chipped in to set up the food.  We had a smorgasboard of items: deli meats/cheeses and rolls, my homemade mac and cheese, MIL’s chicken cutlets, antipasto, breakfast casserole, shrimp cocktail, fruit salad, and sausage and peppers.  We also had burgers and hot dogs in case anyone got hungry later on (they didn’t).

We also had an assortment of booze, the favorite being homemade Sangria, and mimosas, beer, liquor, mixers, champagne and wine.  We still have a TON of champagne leftover.

So, I made all the boutonnieres, corsages and bouquets.  Most of the shells I used were from our trip to Sanibel in January (where he proposed), which I thought was very fitting.  I used a couple of sites as inspiration and ultimately created my own thang.

This isn’t exactly a tutorial, but it was one of the ideas I went off of.

Here’s a tutorial.

My bouquet

So, I combined the ideas from both ladies:  I used a small styrofoam ball, small dowel rod and ribbon (purchased at Michaels), floral wire, fake flowers and raffia (purchased at the Dollar Tree), and the aforementioned FREE shells.  I already had a glue gun and glue.  I only took one picture of the process though.  However, if you look at the links above, you can get a pretty good idea of what I did.

photo 1 (2)

I honestly have no idea why there is a bottle of hot sauce on my crafting service, er, dining room table.

After gluing the three pieces of the rod together, I stuck it into the styrofoam, pulled it out, poured hot glue inside the hole, and replaced the rods.  I hot glued the wire onto the shells as I went because I didn’t know which shells I was going to use.  After arranging all the shells until most of the styrofoam ball was covered, I hot glued the flowers to fill in the gaps.

I made 2 bouquets: one for me and one that was supposed to be for my BFF who ended up not being able to fly down from NY.  Instead, my brother was my Man-of-Honor, so the other bouquet went to my Junior Bridesmaid, Bella, my niece.  My brother did dutifully hold my bouquet during the wedding though.  Even he commented on how heavy it was.  (Definitely take the weight into consideration while making a shell bouquet.)

photo 4 photo 3 (2) photo 2 (2)

For the small bouquet, I hot glued long pieces of floral wire to shells, wrapped the wire in raffia and twisted the ends to make the bouquet.  I then hot glued flowers and sea glass to fill it in and wrapped orange ribbon around it.


My niece, nephew and George!  If you click on the picture, you can zoom in enough to see the bouquet.

Boutonnieres and Corsages

I made all the bouts and corsages out of shells, too.  There were 5 bouts and 3 corsages: my dad, his dad, his best man, my man of honor, and my mom’s boyfriend (who ended up not coming- long, stupid family drama kind of story), my mom, his mom, and my dad’s girlfriend.

To make three of the bouts, I simply used the same floral-wire-hot-glued-to-shells technique as the bouquets, but instead wrapped the wires in raffia and twisted them together.  I then added shells or seaglass or flowers and hot glued the shit out of them.  The dad bouts were made with a different kind of shell and I just hot glued some flowers into them.  All of the bouts had pins glued to the back of them (the kind used to make those giant New Kids on the Block button pins back in the day- purchased from a craft store in the jewelry making section, I believe.)

photo 3 ICP-0093

This is hubs’ bout.  I originally didn’t have the orange flower because we weren’t sure what color shirt he was wearing.  I like it better with the flower.

 photo 2ICP-0092

This is the Best Man’s bout.  It was too top heavy to stay upright, so they pinned it upside-down.  I actually didn’t mind it like that at all.

bout and corsage dad bout

FIL and dad’s bouts.  MIL corsage (sorry, you can hardly see it)

john boutMy brother’s bout.  Again, upside-down and in a really weird spot.  I believe we fixed that.

For the corsages, I hot glued flowers underneath the shells and then hot glued them to the pre-made corsage wristlets you can find at a craft store.  Pretty easy-peasy once you figure out what shells and flowers you want to use for them.


My mom’s corsage.

Program fans

I saw the idea of program fans somewhere in my endless DIY wedding internet search.  I used this template.

The templates open up in Word and you just choose which one you want to use.  I then typed in all of the information and printed them out on colored cardstock.  The most difficult part was cutting them out so that they line up perfectly.  I put my perfectionist side aside and hot glued them to large tongue depressors (also found at craft store).  They were wonderful for the super-hot Florida morning.

blacked out fan

I did this green and a bright orange.  The green was actually a lot brighter than what’s showing in this picture.


We didn’t go crazy with décor.  Our house is already bright and colorful, so we just added tableclothes (purchased plastic kind) and tissue paper pom-poms.  My mom was a dear and helped me do all of them.  We then hung these from the ceiling of our lanai.  Here’s the site with a tutorial.

They were really easy, but time-consuming.  I still have all but 3 hanging from the ceiling (7 months later) and don’t plan on taking them down anytime soon.


The ceiling of our lanai decorated with pom-poms.  And, yes, the outside of our house is orange. 🙂

Well, that’s our DIY wedding in a nutshell.  I was keeping track of expenses in the beginning of the planning period, but then things got hectic and I gave up.  We definitely spent a fraction of the cost of a traditional, big wedding.  The food and booze were where we spent the most of it.  We had such a wonderful time.  Here’s some miscellaneous pics:


My brother holding my bouquet. 🙂


Typical hand/ring shot.  Yes, my engagement ring is orange. 🙂  Ooh, my nails look pretty good.


Definitely flashing folks down the beach!

Apps That Have Changed My Life

Hubs once told me that I need to join “List-Makers Anonymous.”  I’ve always done lists: to-do lists, grocery lists, vacation-packing lists, moving lists, change-of-name and address lists, baby name lists…  Prior to smartphones, they were in notebooks, on stickies, scrap pieces of paper and always getting lost or forgotten.  To me, nothing is more satisfying than crossing an item off a list when you’ve completed it.  It gives me a great sense of accomplishment.  I’m the person who will add something to the list AFTER it’s been done, just so I can cross it off said list.  I also have the tendency of breaking things down into itty bitty parts so I can cross even more off the list.  Maybe hubs was right- anyone know of an LMA in the Southwest Florida area?


I first stumbled upon Cozi about 2 years ago when I upgraded to a Droid smartphone.  What excited me the most about it was that hubs (then live-in boyfriend) could download the app too and we could share a calendar, shopping lists and to-do lists.  At the time, I was going to school full-time and was making the cash-money by tutoring.  While I had some steady students, my schedule would vary considerably from week to week.  Hubs never knew if I was coming or going.

Enter Cozi.

He no longer had to ask me a gazillion times when I had classes or tutoring- he could just consult the Cozi calendar.  I knew what Saturdays he was working and when he had after-hours work events.  It worked wonderfully.  You can also assign different colors to different household members.  Also, I never forgot my grocery list at home and could keep track of my to-do lists all in one handy-dandy app- on my phone- which was always on me (unless I left it at home, which has happened more than I’d like to admit).

Over time, hubs even got into making HIMSELF lists!  Mainly of the things he needed to buy at Home Depot, but I was still happy to see him taking advantage of this life-saving (ok, maybe too strong?  life-simplifying?) app.  You can even access your account online which makes it even easier to type up a list right-quick.  Online they also have a meal planning section- not sure why they haven’t made that part available on the app yet.

Oh, and did I mention Cozi is free?


Another app to feed my list-making addiction.  I’ve only been using this one for about a month, but it’s been awesome!  You can add routines for different days of the week, different times of the day and routines that need to happen every so often (like bi-monthly or monthly).  You get to click on stars once you’ve completed them and it even tallies up all the tasks you’ve done that day- especially nice when you feel like you’ve gotten NOTHING accomplished and it tells you you’ve completed 17 tasks.  No matter how trivial those tasks were, you can still feel like you’ve done something.

I use this app to organize and manage housekeeping duties, especially cleaning.  I love that it has customizable zones and a timer built in.  I’ll go into more depth about my cleaning routines in another post- definitely way too much to get into here.


#3 C25K (Couch to 5k)

If you’ve read my other posts here you know that I’ve just started using this app and I haven’t exactly used it consistently.  Pretty much its shear existance on my phone has gotten my ass out of the house and moving.  Even if I don’t always use it (i.e. I decide that walking is better suited for the day), it’s there for me.  It takes you on the journey from doing nothing to running a 5k in 9 weeks, if you use it consistently, and perhaps, if you aren’t as completely out of shape as I am.  It tells you when to walk, when to run, when to cool down- all while listening to Pandora (or any other music).

#4 Dropbox

So, it’s not necessarily the app itself that has had such an effect on me, it’s the concept itself.  Being a teacher, I am constantly doing work from home.  Previously, I attempted to save everything to a flash drive which didn’t work out so well for me.  I would forget to save it on the flash drive or forget the flash drive at home or work altogether.  I also felt the need to save the things I was working on on my laptop, on the flash drive and on my work computer.  Exhausting.

I had a Dropbox account for some time- I joined to share lesson plans with classmates in college (p.s. they never joined!).  I then saw Dropbox mentioned on some wonderful teaching blog (I honestly can’t remember where or if it was even just one) and thought, DUH!  I now save EVERYTHING on Dropbox, and only Dropbox- which has freed up some valuable memory on my laptop all while allowing me to access my work from anywhere, even my phone.

The Dropbox app has come in handy in meetings, when I have forgotten to print something out, and on the go, when I need to quickly reference a lesson plan or some other teacher-related business.  It’s genius, I tell you.  Genius.

C25K Update

Week 2, Day 4

Saturday, February 16

I decided I needed to repeat Week 1’s workout because a.) I hadn’t done it since Monday and b.) I didn’t exactly finish the first day’s run.  It was a gorgeous morning: perfect temperature, sun bright, but not burning.  I definitely waited too long between runs, but the week had some unexpected chaos.  I’m happy I got my ass out there though!  I felt like my breathing was off and my muscles felt tight about halfway through.  I also got a cramp towards the end.  I’m actually surprised that I didn’t get one until now.  After this run, I definitely feel I need to repeat week 1’s workout.  The first couple of runs I felt like I was going faster than my previous “hopping-walk,” but towards the end I definitely reverted back to my slower pace.

Week 2, Day 5ish

Thursday, February 21

Weight: still fat

Here we go again with me not getting my ass out earlier in the week!  I was definitely getting sick (mainly sniffles, sneezing, burning eyes), so I almost didn’t go.  I heard somewhere that working out while sickly wasn’t a good idea- something about your body is fighting off the sickness, so you shouldn’t exert yourself.  If anyone knows different, please let me know.  So, how did I get my ass in sneakers and outside?  I told myself I was going to just walk today.  I figured it would be much better than sitting on my fat ass, surfing the Internet and smoking cigarettes.

I went my usual route and used a pedometer app instead of the C25K app.  I was curious to know how far I had gone the last several times.  Turns out it’s 1.3 miles, approximately 3280 steps (I say approximately because I think it jipped me in the beginning), it took me 29 mins and I maxed out at about 3mph (watch out NASCAR!).  I’m clearly not going for any world records here.  I kept up a steady brisk-ish walk the entire time.  Towards the end, my left heel and right arm went numb and my right leg started hurting. Seriously?  WTF?  I thought walking was supposed to be easier!

Side note: I haven’t started “dieting” with this yet, so I’m not really anticipating losing much of anything fast.  I have always done the diet first and said I’d start exercising down the road. Well, I never got to the exercising part and clearly that method hasn’t worked.  This led me to the decision to switch it up a bit.  I AM trying to drink more water.  OK, I’m trying to START drinking water: going from zero water and now I’m working on drinking one bottle per day- hey, you gotta start somewhere!


I’m a Pinterest and blog junkie.  In my never-ending search for ways to clean, organize, prettify, eat better, exercise, etc., I stumbled upon a bunch of folk with their routines and methods for managing the mayhem that we call life.  Routines are fabulous and fabulously easy.  However, the key to these is to not freak out when things don’t go according to plan.

This week was one of those weeks where I had to just go with the flow.  I haven’t run since Monday and many of my daily checklist items have not been checked off- GASP!  Life is constantly throwing curve balls and to remain sane we need to learn how to go with the flow.

The week started off as planned: the majority of things I needed to do on Monday and Tuesday got done.  Then Wednesday hit.  My husband needed help returning a piece of furniture for his parents, so I had to go to his job to pick up a truck right after work.  Because I was in the area, and because I’m thrifty when it comes to gas, I stopped at Ross to return a Christmas present (yes, it took me that long!).  Well, now I had store credit and if it took me 2 months to get here this time, how long will it be until I get back?  So, I shopped.  This got me home later than usual and then I had to leave again to get the furniture with the hubs and return it.  Needless to say, next to nothing on my list got done AND I wasn’t able to get my run in.

I shrugged it off.  I can always run tomorrow, I said.  Things will get done tomorrow.

Then here comes Thursday.  It started pouring about 15 minutes after I got home and rained on and off (more on) for the rest of the night.  To boot, we had to take back another piece of furniture (they wouldn’t both fit into the truck).  I also had to grade tests, which is what I did from the moment I got home from work until I met the hubs at the furniture store.

I can always run tomorrow AND on Saturday.  I can catch up with the housework then, too.

Today (Friday) I did my Friday routine: checking my monthly file, organizing papers, menu planning, making our grocery list, checking bills.  I also managed to get in and clean a decent portion of this week’s focus zone (master bed and bath).  However, I did NOT run.  I WILL run tomorrow morning before we take my in-laws to a cabinet store.  I swear I will.

The point to all this rambling is that I didn’t completely freak out (ok, one minor crying episode when one of the wheels on the dishwasher popped off and I couldn’t get it back on- I was tired, ok!).

Everyone is always striving for this nonsensical work-life balance.  In reality, we need to move like water- sometimes one aspect of our lives needs more of our attention, so we need to devote more time to that thing.  Realizing this has made me so much slightly more sane.  I know come summer I can shift my focus to the more important things in my life, like, er, sanity.

Fat ass to runner???

I have always abhorred running.  Even in my high school lacrosse playing days, I despised it.  These words don’t even begin to describe my hatred for running.  So, why then, do you ask, am I trying this Couch-to-5K thing?  Because I’m a glutton for punishment.  Well, that, and I am a terribly fat out of shape, 32 year old smoker.  Not exactly the perfect incubating conditions for my future babies.  So, I’m going to try to disprove that you can actually pick your fat ass off the couch during Week One and run a 5K marathon by Week Nine.

I’m actually hopeful though.  My personal trainer brother says its a good way to go.  I’ve already started, so let me catch you up on the play-by-play.

Week 1, Day 1
Wednesday, February 6
Weight: Fat (perhaps I’ll post weights when I actually start losing something)

Wednesdays are my roughest days.  I’m so incredibly exhausted by the time the last bell rings that I find it hard to keep my eyes open when driving home.  Why in the world I decided to pick a Wednesday to start this madness is beyond me.  I honestly decided to give this a go last night (after a few beers) and didn’t want to lose the steam.

The 5 minute brisk walk warm-up felt enough like a workout for me.  (I am LITERALLY going from doing NOTHING to doing this.)

The first one minute run seemed like an eternity and then, all of a sudden, it was over.  Phew!  I started telling the lady on the app to go eff herself when she told me to start running and that I effing loved her when she told me it was time to walk again.  Of course, Pandora had perfect timing for commercials- just when it was time to start running again!  Talk about momentum-kill.  During every. single. run. my flipping leggings kept falling below my gut.  I had to try and hold my water bottle (btw- I NEVER drink water) and my iPhone (5 baby! Booyah!) in one hand while tugging on my leggings with the other.  Needless to say, NOT attractive.

I couldn’t decide if it was better or worse to look at the countdown during the runs.  When I looked and it told me 5 seconds remaining, it was definitely better.  However, when I looked and it said 35 seconds remaining, I wanted to die.

I would also like to point out that my “run” was more like a “hopping walk” based on the speed I was going, and my walk was that of a window-shopping walk.  I’m hoping to improve on this.

I did not finish the entire workout.  There was 6:56 minutes remaining when I stopped with 26 seconds left of the one minute run.  I paused the workout and walked a few more minutes, out of shear necessity, to get home.  (Side note: I realized during my 2nd run that I all I had left was a minute and a half walk and a 5 minute cool down. Smh.)

I kept my headphones in while stretching and then paced around the house while I typed this into my phone.  I had a cramp in my right calf and my right quad was super tight and hurty.  However, if I can do this on a Wednesday, I can do it any day!!!

Friday, February 8

I planned on running today because I actually feel okay except some soreness in my quads and inner thighs.  I had to unexpectedly watch my niece and nephews right after work.  I’m watching them again tomorrow morning, so I’m hoping to do it with them then.  Yesterday, I had to walk down a flight of stairs sideways and last night I had trouble with the smallest of steps.  Hubs definitely laughed at me a lot.

Week 1, Day 2
Saturday, February 9

I took my 14 year-old nephew and my 8 year-old nephew on the run this morning.  Luckily the older one was happy to push the stroller for me because it was definitely too short for me to hold onto while running.  I felt surprisingly good today- much easier than last time although it was also a lot cooler out than the last time.  I actually made it through the entire workout!   Any soreness I had disappeared during the warm-up.

I started  pacing my breaths with my steps while jogging: in for two steps, out for two steps.  I think it made a big difference with pacing and kept me holding on for longer during those minute runs.  I had a nice stretch and was feeling good hours later.  My upper back is a bit sore, but I’m hoping a good night sleep will take care of that.

Week 1, Day 3
Monday, February 11

Woowee!  Today was almost as tough as day 1!  Isn’t this shit supposed to be getting easier?  Perhaps it’s the heat- Saturday morning was relatively cool and this afternoon (4:00pm) was significantly hotter.  Seriously almost stopped in the middle again.  I think they shouldn’t include the 5 minute cool down into the overall countdown time.  I had to sit there (ok, more like contemplate whilst walking) and calculate exactly how many runs were left before I decided that I was going to push through to the end.  Although, calculating did kill some time!

To boot, all the middle school kids were walking home from school in my neighborhood during my run today.  Maybe I missed them on Wednesday?  Anyway, you try maneuvering around a bunch of prepubescents texting on their cell phones while taking up the entire sidewalk.  Not cool, kiddos. Can’t you see the overweight 30-something year old huffing and puffing towards you?  I swear I startled a few of them when I brushed by while they weren’t looking.  I’m thinking on Wednesday I’ll try to go closer to 6pm to avoid the kids and the sun.  I’m also thinking I need to eat something more substantial during lunch because I’m ravenous now and got a little light-headed while stretching.

Hey!  That’s 3 days down!  Not too shabby.


2012 In Review

Last year was a whirlwind a chaos, definitely not all bad.  In fact, most of it good.

  • My then-boyfriend proposed in January.
  • I completed my final internship for teaching in April.
  • I (finally) graduated from college with a math teaching degree in April.
  • We closed on our house in May.
  • I got hired for my first teaching job at a Title I school in May.
  • We painted the ENTIRE house inside and out, cleaned, fixed things, and moved in June.
  • We got married in July.  We went simple (both of us have been married before) with about 20 mostly out-of-town guests (we’re from NY), ceremony on the beach, party at our new digs.
  • I started my first year teaching in August.
  • I had emergency gall bladder removal surgery in September (missing a week of work-eek!).
  • My mom’s boyfriend had an aneurysm explode in his brain in September (went from a 20% chance of living to being at home driving my mother insane with his paranoia and memory loss).
  • My baby nephew contracted a mercer staph infection and had to go to the hospital in October (major sad face, his poor little heiny!)
  • Then started the cluster-fuck of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries from October-December.
  • My in-laws relocated to Florida (around the corner from us) in December.

We haven’t had a weekend to ourselves in months!  I’m honestly exhausted just from typing all of that!

Did I mention I’m a brand-spanking new teacher?  They weren’t kidding when they said that your main goal would be to SURVIVE the first year!  Not to mention, I’m teaching intensive 9th graders Algebra for 2 back-to-back periods.  Phew- they’re exhausting!  In case anyone was wondering, the reason why teachers get “so much time off” is so they don’t injure their students.  It’s a matter of liability, you see.