Five on Friday, Easter edition

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hello, Friday! Easter is this weekend, and it's one of my favorite holidays. When I was a child, my mom took such care in selecting trinkets and candy to go in my and my brother's coordinating Easter baskets - which she still uses today. Every Easter, after church my cousins and I had a huge egg hunt at my grandparents' house, sometimes in matching dresses that Grandma had sewn for us. Ah, the good ol' days, right?! I can't wait to make memories like that with kiddos of my own!

One. Flowers, flowers everywhere! I could seriously kiss our previous homeowners. They planted all kinds of beauties all over our yard. Right now, the azaleas are going crazy and I'm loving it! I've always wanted azaleas. In fact, I said to Alex last spring, before we had any idea we'd be moving, that I wanted to plant some. And here we are a year later. God works in mysterious ways, I tell ya.

Two. Easter weekend is here! I'm getting ready for my inlaws, mom and stepdad for Easter dinner on Sunday. Easter is such a beautiful time of renewal and a time to remember and recognize the greatest sacrifice of them all. 

Three. Do you ever have those days where you think, "I am so blessed and I want to live this day over and over"? Last Saturday was that day for me. It started with the 5k, then we drove to Greenville to celebrate on of my best friend's little girl's first birthday where we got to see a lot of our Greenville friends that we don't get to see often anymore. Then, we took the scenic route up to the mountains of NC to mom's cabin, and we stopped by the Poinsett Bridge en route, a gorgeous old stone bridge I'd always wanted to see. Then we got to the cabin and watched the sun set on God's majestic Blue Ridge mountains and sipped on wine. It. was. magical. The whole day...just wonderful. 

At the Poinsett Bridge in Upstate, SC

Four. We planted a hydrangea this week, something I've wanted to do since we moved in. We had a pretty hydrangea by our front door at our last house, and it made me sad to leave it when we moved (it had been a gift from my mom the first spring I lived there). So Mom bought us one for this house! I can't wait to see it grow and make me smile for as long as we live here. 

Five. Did I mention it's Easter weekend? Ellie is ready, guys. She was born for playing dress-up. 

Have a wonderful Easter weekend -- and remember the reason for the holiday!

Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

Run girl

Monday, April 14, 2014

I did it. I ran a 5k!!

Before the 5k: sleepy but ready!
This has been on my life list for awhile now, and I added it to my "14 in 2014" list at the beginning of the year. I knew I could do it, but you see, me and running? We've never been friends. I've always preferred Pilates and power walking over jogging or running. Plus, I look a mess during/immediately following/two hours after I run. It's really not my best look. 

But I started the Couch to 5k program again in late January, giving myself plenty of time to train up, since I knew it would be painful. 
(Side note: I started the Couch to 5k program last year too, and got pretty far but never finished. Fail.)

This time, I remained focused and dedicated and ran like I was supposed to. My goal was to run the 5k without stopping to walk, but a few weeks ago I realized that my stamina just wasn't there. I would probably have to walk, but that was okay: I had made a lot of progress. And for a non-runner and someone who dreaded "The Mile" in PE classes for most of my youth, being able to run almost three miles without stopping was a huge success in itself.

On Saturday - race day - I was nervous but pretty jacked up and ready to get it over with go. Alex ran it with me, and I couldn't have done it without his encouragement every single step of the way. He kept saying "Let's just run to that sign up there" or "You're doing great, keep breathing" (important, I guess) and sometimes "You're running faster than your training pace - slow down." Even though he could have done it a lot faster, he stayed with me the whole way. And although I did take two short walk breaks - which may have accounted for a total of a tenth of a mile - I ran it a full four minutes faster than my best training time at home: 32:38. I know this is a pretty slow time, but for me, it was an amazing feeling to cross the finish line and see that I was sub-33. Honestly, crossing the finish line was a great feeling, period. The DJ was yelling "Looking good! You end at the finish line! You're almost there!" It was actually a ton of fun.

Will I run another race of any kind? Jury's still out. But I know I can do it, and the competitive side of me knows I can do even better. We'll see what the future holds, but for now, I'm getting back to my barre workouts and will run when I feel like it.
At home, post-race. we did it!!

I'm still kinda on that crossing-the-finish-line high. What a feeling!


Five on Friday: I'm back!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Whew, what a crazy couple of weeks! Sadly, the next few will be just as bad as far as busy-ness goes - not a lot of time for R&R, which I really need! What have I been up to? A lot of work, and only a little play...but it's all good!

ONE. Two weeks ago, I saw Darius Rucker (actually, Hootie and the Blowfish) in Charleston. The golf team was playing the The Hootie, an annual event the band presents, so I scored second row tickets courtesy of the hubs. I love me some Darius!

TWO. Those Gator boys made it to the FINAL FOUR! I am SO pumped to watch in nervous splendor tomorrow night as we face UCONN. We can do this, boys! No matter what, I'm so proud of this team and what an awesome TEAM they really are! It's great to be a Florida Gator!

THREE. Last weekend, I made the wardrobe switch and busted out all my spring clothes. While it's a major pain in the you-know-what, swapping out winter clothes for spring/summer is such a mood lifter! Now here's hoping we don't have a freak ice storm in April 'cause all my winter clothes are packed away!

After! Seeing all this color in my closet is so worth it!

FOUR. I love Easter and Spring decorations, and I've been pairing them around my house with fresh flowers (camellias from my yard, daffodils from Trader Joe's). Can you say Spring is here?? 

FIVE. I just happened to look at this app this morning to see that Alex and I have been married for 1,000 days! What?! How did this happen? Thanks for putting up with me for 1,000 days, babe! All my moodswings, my OCD, my need to do things my way all the time...I am so lucky to have you in my life to take all my quirks in stride. I love you! Here's to thousands and thousands more!

Have a fab weekend, y'all!

Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

Essentials Only Month fail

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top: fridge on March 1. Bottom: fridge on March 31.
Well friends, the end is here! Essentials Only Month is done. And it wasn't the glowing success I'd hoped it would be.

I'm not sure what happened really...

I mentioned that hubs and I were both traveling a lot this month. Alex had several tournaments with the team, so he was gone almost every weekend, and I traveled a little bit for work (which is unusual). I thought that us being gone so much would help in the spending department, but honestly, what we didn't spend on food we made up for in gas.

One of the reasons for doing EOM is cleaning out the fridge and the pantry, and using up stuff that has been taking up space for too long. Well, we only cooked dinner a handful of times (due to the traveling), so this was a marginal success.

And budget? We definitely didn't stay within our $225 budget. We nearly spent that much on gas alone. Fail.

Another reason for EOM is to avoid shopping for entertainment, which is what I'm prone to doing, especially when A is gone all weekend and I'm bored. For me, this was a success. I didn't step foot in a TJ Maxx for an entire month - and that, my friends, is willpower. Alex, however, didn't take it quite as seriously as he has in the past. But, come on, this was not his idea, so what can I expect??

The good that came out of this annual exercise that we do? We did save money, if only by drastically reduced grocery costs. Although technically we weren't "supposed" to, we did eat out a few times, but opted for inexpensive places. And with all the gas we burned this month and all the gifts we had to buy for people - baby, wedding, birthday, and hostess - we needed to save in other areas, like un-necessary shopping and food, and that we did.

Essentials Only Month may have technically been a fail this time around, but it's still a good frame of mind to keep for 30 days. It's always a good challenge, and makes me aware of what I'm actually spending on all the extra, unnecessary things in life. And it makes me feel blessed that having an Essentials Only Month is a choice, not a necessity.

Between EOM and Lent (for which I gave up fried food), I'm ready to carelessly spend some money and binge on Chick Fil A fries.

Kidding. Sorta. (Gotta wait until after Easter for the fries, duh.)

Five reasons I miss Florida

Friday, March 14, 2014

I l.o.v.e. living in South Carolina. I honestly can't imagine A and I living anywhere else. It has the beach, the mountains, the change of seasons, proximity to a lot of other great places, friendly people, delish Southern cooking, and a whole lotta state pride. But... it doesn't have this stuff, as inspired by my trip last weekend to my hometown:

One. Poolside in winter
Enough said.
After shivering for 6 months, this was bliss. 

Two. Besties
My besties, to be exact. I miss these girls!
Me, Lesley, Lindsey and Miss Avery!

Three. Family
My entire family, on both sides (sans a few outlying cousins) lives in Florida. When I go home, I get to see them all. (And we don't always wear matchy-matchy shirts, promise. This was for my Grandpa's 90th birthday party on Sunday!)
All the granddaughters with Grandpa and Grandma

Four. An abundance of fruit, year-round
Maybe I'm spoiled because I can go into my family's citrus groves and pick whatever I want, but seriously. This fruit is legit. And tasty. And healthy. Perfect, really.

Fresh picked. 

Five. Gator fans on every corner
True, the Gator Nation is everywhere. But there's just something about being in the heart of it and feeling that everyone around you is either still getting over last football season OR talking about the possibility of going all the way in the NCAA tourney. In all kinds of weather, we all stick togetherrrrrr... for  F L O R I D A!

Happy weekend from this Florida girl at heart!

Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

Essentials Only Month: Halfway Mark

Oh, Essentials Only Month. You've been a tough pill to swallow.
See? An organized pantry is a happy pantry. 

As promised, here's the first of my weekly updates on our EOM progress. This time around - our third EOM - has been so much harder for some reason. We I chose to do it this month because both A and I were traveling for work (decreasing our out of pocket meal costs significantly) and had so much planned that I thought it'd be easy to resist the temptation to spend extra money. So far, some of that is true - we've been so wide open that we haven't had a lot of time to shop for "fun." But we've also been apart for about 6 of these 14 days, making the days we have spent together much more tempting to go out to dinner or pick up food rather than cook. Sigh.

TOTAL SPENT AS OF 3/14: $139.03 (a large chunk of this was gas)

If we hadn't eaten out a few times (small meals, mostly lunch), we would be in much better shape right now. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Our groceries have been a tiny sliver of this (about $17) because we had so much in the pantry.

I can already tell you that we're going to go over our goal limit, because I will be driving out of town this weekend to see my mom and stepdad at the cabin, and next week to see A at a golf tournament, and gas is not cheap, my friend. But at least we're not spending money on other stuff in addition to all of this, right? Right??

Besides, the pantry, fridge and deep freeze are already in better shape. So there's that!


It's Friday! Florida, here I come!

Friday, March 7, 2014

I am SO very happy to see Friday roll around. What. A. Week. Between running out of gas and thinking it was Thursday for the majority of Wednesday, our old friend Friday couldn't get here fast enough. But there are always good things to be jazzed about, and this week was no exception!

One. Last Friday (before Essentials Only Month kicked in), I hit up my favorite retail therapist, a Ms. TJ Maxx, after work. I'm glad I did, because I got a Christmas pillow (my future self will thank me!), 4 linen and silver placemats, Matrix straightening balm, and a reed diffuser for a grand total of $11.77. And that's why me and Maxxy are tight.

Two. Sunday afternoon was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, before the weather took a turn for the worse this week. I played outside with Ellie and read a book while Penny just sat and stared at us through the door. See, she's not allowed to play out there anymore since she escaped out of the back yard a few weeks ago. Twice. Sorry, Penn. You've lost your privileges!

Three. Also on Sunday, as part of the Essentials Only Month perk of cleaning out the freezer, I cooked a whole turkey. I bought it back in December when they were on sale, and who the heck knows when else I would have taken the time to cook a whole dang bird. It's special because it was my very first turkey and it was AWESOME. I think I could handle Thanksgiving now, guys. We also had mini strawberry shortcakes since it's strawberry season and they're super cheap right now! 
Four. I got to see my Gator boys play basketball in Columbia on Tuesday! And not just any 'ole Gator basketball team: the #1 team in the country, baby! Since hubby's a Gamecock and USC pays our bills, I kept my Gator pride on the DL (except for the tasteful orange and blue I wore to the game). It was just so much fun to see them in action!

Five. I'm heading to Florida today! Not only am I lusting over the perfect 75 degree, no precipitation weather, but I will get to see my besties and my entire family this weekend! The real reason I'm going is this guy: my grandpa. It's his 90th birthday, and he is one special man. He must be, because we're expecting about 500 people to come to his birthday party on Sunday!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

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