Bridesmaid Dress Unsuccess

After visiting two different bridal boutiques with my friend Laurel, we came up a little short on the bridesmaid dress front.

Pretty Dresses

The first boutique carried a bunch of Vera Wang dresses that were gorgeous (Hello $13,000 price tag!). Since I already have a dress and didn’t feel like selling my car to buy a different one, we bypassed the bridal gowns and headed toward the bridesmaid dresses. 

We specifically went to the first store to see the Liz Fields dresses I loved online (and posted about here).

Unfortunately they didn’t have two of the three dresses I wanted to see, but they did have the halter dress and Laurel slipped into it within 15 minutes of our arrival.

Halter Dress

Note: This print is AWFUL and I would never put my bridesmaids in Hawaiian print dresses. As I said before, they will all be wearing champagne dresses on the big day.

Terrible print aside, this dress just didn’t cut it. Laurel was a great model, but the dress itself felt really cheap. The material was very thin and it honestly seemed like a dress you could buy at Forever 21 for $19.99. Needless to say, this dress is no longer in the running. 🙂

We hopped in my car and headed to our second boutique where we had much better luck.

I really loved a one-shoulder dress, but think it’s a bit over the price range I’m hoping to stay within for my bridesmaids.

Cute Dress

I think Laurel’s boyfriend needs to plan a hot date so she can wear this dress out because it looked great on her!

Pretty!

After dress shopping, I dropped Laurel off at her apartment and swung by Starbucks for a cappuccino before heading home to take Sadie out so our landlord could show our apartment to potential tenants.

Cappuccino

(I ❤ Starbucks gift cards! Thank you to my Aunt Laurie for this lil’ treat!)

First Timer

About an hour later I headed out to Marshall’s for some shopping that I definitely didn’t need to do, but wanted to do anyway. 🙂

You should all know that I succumbed to a trend today: the running skirt.

Pink Nike Running Skirt

White Nike Running Skirt

I ended up buying the white Nike running skirt because the pink one was a little big and I didn’t want it fallin’ down and my hiney hangin’ out as I run. Good reason, no?

I also purchased a banana bread Larabar at Marshall’s for $.70 which I promptly devoured in the car on my way home. Sch-weet!

Banana Bread Larabar

I think I’m the only one not on the whole “I love Larabars” kick because I haven’t found a flavor that I thought was suuuuper delicious yet. This one was definitely the best flavor I’ve tried so far though and I would buy it again if I found it on sale for $.70. 😉

One Last Thing

I totally forgot to post this picture last night, but it made me smile reeeeal big.

My mom is the cutest and for our dinner party with Ryan’s family she had place settings out for everyone with name tags. She even had one set for Sadie which I thought was hysterical and so adorable. 🙂

Sadie's Place Setting

The Beast

Hope you’re all enjoying the last of the weekend.

I’m off to the grocery store with Ryan to battle the Sunday crowd. Watch out!

AMA Round Five

I’m off to go for a quick run with Sadie before meeting up with my friend Laurel to look at bridesmaid dresses today, but I wanted to do a quick post to answer some of your Ask Me Anything questions.

I love all of your questions and am doing my very best to address them as quickly as possible! Thank you for caring enough to submit questions… It warms my heart! 🙂

I will probably end the Ask Me Anything question thing relatively soon, but you may still click here to submit an anonymous question. 🙂

AMA Round 5

Do you plan to try to lose any more weight or do anything before your wedding, or are you happy where you are now?

I do not have plans to lose a dramatic amount of weight before my wedding. I feel like I am at a healthy weight for my body right now. I will definitely keep up with my regular workouts and will likely try to limit weekend indulgences as the wedding day draws nearer because I do want to look and feel my very best on that day.

Do people ever comment on your healthy eating habits? For example, I find that since I eat healthy, co-workers always have to make a comment such as “Wow, you’re eating again!” since I eat many snacks.  It’s annoying to me!

Yes, people do make comments and it can be irritating, but I genuinely like eating a lot of mini meals and I love the food I eat, so I try not to let it bother me. I get the most irritated with “food pushers” who keep trying to make you eat more cake or dessert or something like that when you’ve already enjoyed a piece or have politely declined.

How many minutes/hours of exercise to you average per day?

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I typically take a 50-minute BodyPump (total-body weights) class and follow it up with 25 minutes of light cardio. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or Sunday I will do 50 minutes of some kind of cardio. I usually take one day a week off from the gym.

About how much money do you spend per week on groceries? You seem to buy a lot online and brand-name foods, and aren’t they expensive?

My grocery bill is almost always less than $45 every week. I do buy food online and I will typically do that once every two months or so, and those foods typically add up to around $40.

I love your blog! I love finding people who are just as passionate about healthy living as I am. For exercise, I usually bike, swim or my absolute favorite shopping 😀 I’ve been meaning to try running but I’m scared I’m going to get seriously hurt! Could you ive me a couple tips? I wouldn’t want to get injured over a silly rookie mistake. thank you so much!

My best advice is to start slow! I do not have a natural running ability and had to work and slowly build my mileage to feel comfortable tackling five miles at the drop of a hat. Also, investing in a great pair of running shoes made a huge difference for me. I went to a local store in Orlando called Track Shack where they watched me run and recommended specific shoes for my stride.

I love your blog! It is the only blog I check on a daily basis. I was wondering, what blogs do you check on a regular basis and how much time do you spend reading blogs each day?

Thank you! This made me smile! 🙂 I love reading other blogs. My absolute favorite blog is Carrots ‘n’ Cake. I also love Food, Fitness, Fashion, Healthy Tipping Point, How Sweet It Is and Skinny Runner. The time I spend checking other blogs really varies from day to day depending on how busy I am. Over the weekend I’m a bad blog checker and have a hard enough time creating my own posts! 😀

Do you go to church?

I do not regularly go to church but do feel like I have a relationship with God.

Do you ever struggle with PMS cravings? How do you resist the urge to give in and binge when that time of the month comes?

Yes. I cope by eating a pint of ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 🙂 Seriously though, the best way for me to handle cravings is to get out of the house and distract myself with other activities… like shopping. 😉

What is your favorite type of peanut butter?  Peanut Butter and Co.’s Mighty Maple is my new addiction!

The brand I buy the most often is Skippy natural peanut butter because it tastes just like the peanut butter I loved growing up. I loooove practically any kind of peanut butter… especially the honey roasted peanut butter you can grind yourself at Whole Foods.

How many children will you try to have?

Right now Ryan and I are both thinking we would like to have two children.

Do you think that blogging about everything you eat is eating disordered?

No, I don’t. If anything it has helped me feel more in control of what I eat and evaluate my meals to make sure I’m eating enough of the “good stuff” like fresh fruits and vegetables.

What do you think of others who take pictures of all their food?

We’re a weird bunch, I know. 😉 Buuut I love food and fitness blogs and respect anyone who puts time and effort into something that they feel so passionate about. I know my blog means so much to me and those of you who take the time to read and comment daily have no idea how grateful I feel for your support and loving words.

Do you think you will do this for the rest of your life?

I have no idea. I love blogging. The release it gives me to write about food and fitness and my every day life is something I truly enjoy. Only time will tell! 😉

I am a HUGE fan of amusement parks! How often do you go to Disney World and Universal Studios?

I love ’em too! Aren’t they so much fun? Surprisingly though I think I probably go to one of the big parks one or two times a year. Even though they’re so close, they’re still pretty pricey! I actually used to be an intern at SeaWorld when I was in college and got free tickets for a while. It was awesome!

What is your makeup routine like and what brand of makeup do you wear? It looks so natural!

Thank you! I am considering doing an entire post on this because I received this question a couple of times… stay tuned!

What would you eat if it was the last meal you’d ever eat?

An ice cream sundae with whipped cream, hot fudge sauce and candied pecans.

Do you color your hair or is it natural? It’s gorgeous!

Thank you… you make me blush. 😉 It is natural. I have never colored my hair and I get it cut at Great Clips when I get their $5.99 coupon in the mail.

Are you and Ryan both only children?

Ryan is an only child. I have a younger sister who is pretty much the best thing goin’. She’s in college at the University of Florida and will be my maid of honor in our wedding. I’ll be seeing her next weekend in St. Pete, so you’ll see her pretty lil’ face pop up on the blog soon.

Go, Go, Go

Today was a go, go, go kinda day!

Ryan and I knew going into this weekend that we’d be busy, and we have been! It’s been wonderful to spend quality time with our families.

When we got back from breakfast it was cold and rainy outside, which ruined any plans for outdoor fun. Instead we decided to keep warm and play a game of Scrabble… Great rainy day fun!

Scrabble Fun

This was not my best game of Scrabble. At one point I had three Ns, two Rs and X and a T. Please try to create a word with those letters. (NRXTRNN is not a word, just FYI.) Needless to say, I lost. 😦

Luckily there was lots of peppermint bark on hand to ease my sorrow.

Peppermint Bark

So Delicious

Before we sat down to play Scrabble, Ryan’s mom and Ryan began making potato leek soup (using a Sandra Lee recipe) which smelled fantastic by the time our game was over.

Leeks

Cook One

Cook Two

The soup tasted like it was straight out of a gourmet restaurant. They did a great job!

Potato Leek Soup

It was a stick-to-your-ribs kinda soup that tasted creamy and delicious.

Fortunately by the time lunch was over, the weather cleared up a bit and Ryan and I headed out to the driving range to “drive some balls,” as I said. (Apparently the proper terminology is “hit some balls,” in case you’re interested.)

Ball Boy

This was my first experience at a driving range but I had a lot of fun! Ryan gave me lots of pointers and tips, but I think it’s safe to say I’ll be giving Tiger a run for his money should he ever return to golf. 😉

"Hello, Ball. I will dominate you."

"So long, suckerrrr!"

It didn't go quite as far as I anticipated...

He Taught Tiger Everything He Knows (Except the lying and cheating stuff)

Golf was fun but by hands hurt my the end of our time at the driving range! Apparently I need to do some serious hand curls at the gym on Monday. We’re talking at least 2.5 pound weights.

Dinner

After drivin’ the balls, we headed back to Ryan’s family’s house to change before heading to my parents’ house in St. Pete for dinner.

I also had to call the ticket office in Tampa to see if we could arrange to pick up new tickets to see Wicked tonight since we forgot the actual tickets in Orlando on our bulletin board (You know, the place you put things so you’re sure you won’t forget them?).

Sooo, We Forgot Our Tickets...

Ryan and I made it to St. Pete by 4:30 p.m. and Ryan’s family arrived right around five.

We enjoyed hanging out and talking over appetizers before moving into the living room for a yummy dinner of French country chicken, red potatoes, onions, green beans with almonds, fresh rolls and fruit salad.

Dinner Line

My Plate

Smile!

For dessert, Ryan’s mom brought delicious apple pie, which was served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Unfortunately I gobbled that up too quickly to snap a pic! Oops!

Dinner was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed hanging out with both of our families. As a bride-to-be, it’s wonderful to be in a room with two fantastic families who are so genuinely excited about what the future holds for me and Ryan. It means the world to feel such wonderful love and support from the people who mean the most.

Ryan and I had to leave the dinner party a little early to make it to Tampa to see Wicked!

Though it was my second time seeing the musical, I loved it just as much! Ryan really liked it as well and I cannot stop singing… not the best thing since I really gotta get to bed soon! I have a feeling I’ll be singing myself to sleep… 🙂

See ya in the morning with some more Ask Me Anything Q & As! 🙂

Shrimp in Sarasota

Right after work yesterday Ryan, Sadie and I headed south to Sarasota to spend the night with Ryan’s family.

When we arrived, the house smelled fantastic and we sat down to a home cooked dinner within 30 minutes.

Shrimpies

 We enjoyed a delicious dinner of shrimp, baked potatoes, salad, corn on the cob and garlic bread.

Yummy Shrimp

Salad

Ryan's Mom: Salad Chef!

Potato + Corn

We all commented on how deliciously sweet the corn on the cob tasted. It was wonderful!

Despite such a filling dinner, Ryan and I still had room for a Sarasota classic: SweetBerries!

Sweetberries

SweetBerries has the most amazing frozen custard.

Ryan and I ordered a large butterscotch custard to share.

Ryan + Custard

(Side note: I love Ryan with a lil’ scruff!)

I also snacked on one too many pieces of peppermint bark when we got home. Sugar overload!

Today

This morning Ryan and I woke up about and hour before his family and took Sadie on a long walk to a nearby park.

The park had really cool playground equipment and Ryan and I spent a good 20 minutes playing around. Lemme just say they’ve made upgrades to playground equipment since I was a kid!

When we got back, his family was awake and ready for breakfast. We changed and headed out for a hot meal at the Broken Egg.

Hungry People

Broken Egg Interior

We waited about 10 minutes to be seated and drooled over the baked goods, danishes and monkey bread they had on display. (Thank you to Ryan’s mom for buying monkey bread for us to take home for breakfast tomorrow!)

We placed our orders and our food was brought out in no time at all.

I ordered Pete’s breakfast, which was scrambled egg whites with Swiss cheese and vegetables, fruit salad and a buttered English muffin.

Cheesy!

My Plate

Ryan’s mom ordered three cheese blintzes that looked and tasted wonderful.

Ryan's Mom's Blintzes

Our breakfasts were good, but Ryan’s stole the show.

He ordered French toast stuffed with bananas and walnuts. I enjoyed many bites and it was unbelievable. A winner fo’ sho’!

Banana Walnut Stuffed French Toast

Breakfast at the Broken Egg was tasty!

Ask Me Anything

Thank you for continuing to submit questions! Apparently the submission form I was using met its quota last night, so if you tried to submit a question and it was rejected, I apologize. Fortunately I got it back up and working and you may click here to submit an anonymous Ask Me Anything question. I’ll be sure to answer some more soon! 🙂

Happy Saturday!!!

AMA Round Four

Good morning! Quick fly by post to answers more Ask Me Anything questions…

I’ll be back soon for a recap from last night. Ryan and I are off to breakfast with his family!

(You may still click here to submit an anonymous question.)

AMA Round Four

How do you balance your eating habits with your fiancés? Boys/men tend to eat more than females and require more energy/calories in a typical day as well, but I sometimes struggle with the fact that I eat as much as my live-in boyfriend frequently and (probably due to social perceptions) feel that I shouldn’t be that way.

Ooooh I can relate to this!!! I think there’s a reason why statistically women gain weight after marriage – blame the men! 😉 Seriously though, it can be challenging to live with a guy that eats all the time. Ryan eats constantly, but fortunately is very open to trying healthy recipes. When we cook, we typically cook recipes for three people and Ryan will eat two portions while I will eat one. It takes some adjusting to recipe measurements but makes it easier to control portion size when the meal is ready and I know he gets two thirds of the meal while I get one.

Where I struggle most is dessert. If Ryan wants ice cream or something sweet, I have a very hard time saying no and will typically indulge right along with him. As long as I don’t down a pint of ice cream every day, I try not to worry about it too much.

How often do you go grocery shopping? What foods do you always keep on stock in your fridge and pantry?

I go grocery shopping once a week (sometimes twice) and typically buy the following foods if I’m currently out of them at home:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheese (string cheese, shredded cheese, deli cheese, feta/goat cheese)
  • Whole wheat sandwich thins
  • Cottage cheese
  • Fruit (whatever is on sale… apples, strawberries, raspberries)
  • Vegetables (whatever is on sale… broccoli, squash, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, spinach)
  • Sugar-free gum (I’m addicted)
  • Lean protein for dinner (chicken breasts, lean ground beef)
  • Ravioli
  • Pasta sauce
  • Sugar-free Jello
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal

 If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you want? (Other than peanut butter. 🙂 )

Assuming necessities like water aren’t allowed, I’d want Ryan, Sadie and a ridiculously long but very entertaining book. If I could have an unlimited supply of three foods on the island I’d pick ice cream, chocolate and Cheez-its.

I’m thinking about transferring to UCF. I’m a marketing major. Did you enjoy your time at UCF? If you had to do it all over again would you pick the same school?

I really, really loved my time at UCF and am very grateful for such a fantastic college experience. I want to be 100 percent honest with you though and tell you that I didn’t feel overly challenged in my classes at UCF. I’m not sure if it was my major (advertising and public relations… which I loved), but I didn’t feel like I was ever overwhelmed with studying obligations and I think I possibly could have been better challenged elsewhere. That said, the teachers and students really are wonderful people and I really would highly recommend UCF to anyone. 🙂 Feel free to email me (pbfingers@gmail.com) if you have any additional questions because I was a marketing minor and have some experience in marketing classes there as well. Good luck in your decisions!!! If you select UCF I have no doubt you will love it!

Hi Julie! Have you ever noticed that when you open your page the peanut butter on the spoon has a smiley face? It’s only on the top, once you scroll down it stays there and the spoon moves down. Is this supposed to be there? I love it and I’m sure it was planned, however if it was not planned it would be super cool as well. Can you tell I’m very observant and pay attention to detail? HEHE

I love that you brought this up!!! This was actually not planned and, believe it or not, doesn’t show up on everyone’s computers! It doesn’t show up on my lap top at home, but it shows up on Ryan’s and my family’s computer. Odd, huh? I kinda like the little smiley guy. He’s like my little blog guardian. 😉

I was wondering how many hours of sleep do you get each night? You seem to do so much in one day. When do you go to bed and wakeup? I wake up at 6 and most days I’m exausted after work and don’t feel like doing anything but coming home fixing dinner and going to sleep. Where do you get all of your energy?

I typically wake up at 5:30 a.m. on weekdays and am in bed by 9:30 p.m. That’s a full eight hours of sleep baby! 😀 Sleep is SO important to me and after a full day of work, working out, walking or playing with Sadie, hanging out with Ryan, making dinner and blogging, my body is ready for bed at 9:30 p.m. every night. My body is really used to this schedule now and I don’t feel tired most days until be time. I work out first thing in the morning and eat constantly throughout the day (six mini-meals) which I think really helps keep me feeling energetic throughout the day.

One question: How do you keep your stomach so flat?

First of all, thank you! 🙂 Secondly, I naturally gain weight in my lower half first (hips, butt, legs). However, if I do notice that my stomach is getting a little softer, I’ll up cardio and try to incorporate more intense cardio sessions (like interval training) into my routine which my body seems to respond tto best. Also, I cannot stress the importance of healthy eating when it comes to carrying weight in my stomach. I will literally be walking around with a food baby belly if I have a weekend full of ice cream, cookies and other indulgent foods. 🙂

How often do you and Ryan drink alcohol?

We drank Relax (the best Riesling wine ever!) last night! 🙂

Ryan and I both are not really all that into alcohol. I really don’t like it all that much, with the exception of wine that tastes like juice. 😉 If we’re hanging out with friends or the alcohol-drinkin’ mood strikes us we’ll definitely have a few drinks! I just haaate feeling like caca (yes, I just said caca) the next day. Cheers!

I know I didn’t get to all of your questions, but I’m pluggin’ away!!! Stay tuned for more AMA Q&As! 😀

Simple Soup and Sandwich

First of all I want to say THANK YOU to everyone for your supportive comments regarding my answers to your Ask Me Anything questions. I was really nervous to open the doors for such personal questions and I wanted to provide you guys with honest answers, even if it made me step out of my comfort zone and feel vulnerable. So, thank you for your warm and loving comments. It’s really neat to see that we all struggle with the same issues and have a shared desire to love ourselves and lead healthy, happy lives. 🙂

Lunch

Lunch today was oh-so-simple.

Grilled cheese and soup… easy peasy.

Sandwich + Soup

I enjoyed melted Gouda cheese on a whole wheat sandwich thin with a cup of French onion soup and sugar-free strawberry Jello on the side.

Friday's Lunch

Snack

My snack was cocoa-tastic!

Chocolate Yogurt Pudding

I stirred a spoonful of Jello instant chocolate pudding mix into a cup of Fage Greek yogurt and nibbled on a Attune coffee bean dark chocolate probiotic wellness bar. So delicious!

Weekend Plans

My weekend is going to be a busy one!

Friday:

  • Quickly clean the apartment since it’s being shown to potential tenants tomorrow
  • Pack for the weekend
  • Drive to Sarasota
  • Late dinner with Ryan’s family

Saturday:

  • Hang out with Ryan and his family
  • Dinner party with Ryan’s family and my family in St. Pete
  • See the musical Wicked with Ryan

Sunday:

  • Drive back to Orlando
  • Try on bridesmaid dresses with my friend (and bridesmaid!) Laurel
  • Rollerblading with Laurel

It’ll be a go-go-go kinda weekend, but a fun one!

Coffee Lover?

Click here to receive a free sample of Nescafé Taster’s Choice instant coffee.

Yogurt Lover?

Click here to receive a free sample of Yoplait Yoplus yogurt.

AMA Round Three

Ready for round three of Ask Me Anything questions!? Woop, woop!

(Click here to submit an anonymous question. Click here for Ask Me Anything round one. Click here for Ask Me Anything round two.)

What tips do you have about maintaining a healthy relationship? I admire yours & Ryan’s. What’s things do you two argue about? How do you resolve it?

Ryan is honestly the easiest person to be in a relationship with, and I really do feel so blessed to be with someone as open and loving as him. Ryan has taught me so much about love, but the biggest thing he’s taught me is the importance of communication. I am not a confrontational person by nature and will typically get quiet when I’m upset and I prefer to be alone when I’m angry. Ryan has really encouraged me to communicate with him all the time, and he’s always been very open with me. It can be so hard to bring up what’s bothering you, but the only way issues can be resolved is to talk about them. Ryan made it clear to me from day one that as his girlfriend (and now his fiancé), I was his number one priority and he is mine as well. I’ve always felt like he puts me first and I’ve tried to show him the same respect. Ryan also has three ideals of a good relationship that I think are spot-on: communication, trust and entertainment. You gotta have all three! 🙂

As for arguments, we really don’t fight often and our fights are typically over trivial things like my driving abilities (they’re stellar, by the way), or Ryan not unloading the dishwasher when he was home all day. We’ve actually even taken the time to communicate and talk about both of these little issues and even issues as silly as those have improved because of a simple conversation. Talk it out! It works!

In most of the pictures you post of yourself, your hair looks phenomenal!  How long does it take you and what do you do to it?

Thank you!!! To be totally honest, I have the thinnest hair in the world and have always considered myself hair-styling inept. I’m assuming this question refers to the times I curl my hair (since straightening is a pretty self-explanatory process 🙂 ), so I’ll address that! My friend Merri showed me how to curl my hair with a flat iron and it is awesome! If I curl my hair with a curling iron, the curls fall out in no time at all, but when I use a flat iron (I use the Chi for curling and the Sedu for straightening), the curls stay in all day long. Hallelujah! 🙂 There are a lot of instructional videos on YouTube.com that can show you how to do this. I literally propped my lap top up on the toilet seat  in my bathroom, and watched the videos while attempting to curl my hair in the mirror. I burned just about every finger on my hand, but eventually got the hang of it!

I’I notice you eat a lot of veggies, but how do you get your protein? I see you put protein powder in a lot of your snacks but I’ve heard that protein powders aren’t as good for you because your body can’t break down and optimize all the grams of protein these powders offers offer and it’s best to get it from a natural source.

I get my protein from Greek yogurt (one little cup has 15grams!), cheese (I could live off cheese), lean meats, beans, cottage cheese, eggs and protein powder. I am not a protein powder freak and I can’t stand protein shakes. I like to use my protein powder as a mix-in in my oatmeal or in baked goods… basically I like to eat it, not drink it. 🙂  I used to be crazy about protein and concentrate on getting a lot of protein at each meal… now I try to be crazier about fruits and vegetables and enjoy protein as a smaller side.

What does a typical day of eating for you look like (including snacks) on a weekday? What about on a weekend?

I love this question since I rarely post pictures of my snacks and tend to slack off on blogging on the weekend. Here’s a general outline:

Weekday: Breakfast, snack (around 11 a.m.), lunch, snack (around 3:30 p.m.), dinner, snack (around 8 p.m.). If you follow this blog, my breakfast, lunch and dinner are typically posted, but my snacks are not. For snacks I generally eat a whole wheat tortilla with cheese, Greek yogurt with a handful of nuts mixed in, protein cakes/brownies with nuts or peanut butter, apple slices with cheese or peanut butter, cottage cheese with pumpkin, cinnamon and nuts, and oatmeal with protein powder or peanut butter stirred in.

Weekend: My weekends are a lot less structured (for better or worse) mainly because I am not at home or in one place like I am during the weekdays. I generally eat larger meals and smaller snacks on the weekend, but have been known to graze my way through an entire weekend… eating constantly (this isn’t good for me though because even though I eat and eat I never truly feel satisfied). I typically enjoy one meal out on the weekends at a restaurant with Ryan or friends and I’ll order whatever pops out to me at the time. I’m also much more likely to enjoy desserts on the weekends when we’re out and about and Ryan tempts me with ice cream! 🙂

What are some of your recommendations on purchases from Netrition.com?  You’ve said you buy a lot from them.  There is SO much on the site, it’s hard to know what’s good.

I am obsessed with this Web site… they have awesome products and shipping is $5, no matter how much you order. I typically order Joseph’s lavash and tortillas, Kay’s Naturals protein cereal, Kay’s Naturals protein pretzels, Flax-Z-Snax hot cereal, PB2 powdered peanut butter, and Carba Nada pasta from this site. If you’re going to order one thing, order the Carba Nada pasta. It’s seriously unbelievable and I am addicted! I honestly like it better than most normal pasta.

I am currently recovering from hip bursitis and read that you had it too a while ago… Could you share some of your favorite hip stretches?

My all-time favorite hip stretch is this one. Pull the leg that’s not folded over (in the picture it’s the left leg) toward your body until you feel a nice stretch throughout your hip. It’s amaaaaazing! (Click here for another picture.)

I’d like to know what you majored in…I’ve followed the links you leave on your page that lead to your articles, and I noticed they’re always about healthy eating, but did you study nutrition? Or journalism?

I graduated from college with a degree in advertising and public relations and a minor in marketing. I definitely prefer the public relations aspect of my major, but found that in the first two jobs I had right out of college, the tasks I most enjoyed related to writing. I loved writing press releases, brochure and Web site content. I’ve always loved reading and writing and realized within a year or two of graduating that I wanted to make a career out of writing. As for nutrition, I did take one personal fitness/nutrition course in college and loved it. I took it my senior year and truly believe that if I’d taken it sooner my major may have changed. I still love learning (and writing!) about health and fitness and read anything and everything I can get my hands on about food, exercise and healthy living. I am a skeptical learner though and constantly ask questions about what I read and follow it up with a lot of research and supplemental reading.

What resistance and elevation settings do you use on the elliptical for steady state cardio? I am always curious and I’m not sure what other people do with the 20 available settings!

I typically do the elliptical (with arms) at a resistance level of 10 (on the ellipticals with arms at my gym you cannot change the elevation). When I do the elliptical without arms I do it at a resistance level of 10 at an incline of 9.

I have been following your blog for about a month or so and have noticed how active you are.  You seem to find time to get some exercise every day.  Do you ever have days where you just don’t want to workout but still do?  If so, how do you motivate yourself?  Would love to hear your tips for staying motivated.

Of course I have days where I don’t want to work out. For me, scheduling my workout first thing in the morning makes it a lot easier. When my alarm goes off, I can’t go back to sleep because in my head I’ll be thinking “I should be at the gym right now” since it’s such a huge part of my routine. By the time I actually feel awake in the morning, my workout is over!

When I’m really not feelin’ the gym, I have a couple of go-to workouts that motivate me. I keep print outs of a couple of cardio interval workouts in my little gym bag (click here and here for some good examples). It’s always easier to get to the gym when you have a new workout planned. Group exercise classes like BodyPump really motivate me on days I don’t feel like putting myself through a quality workout.

Also, I read somewhere that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit, so if you’re losing motivation, commit to working out regularly (still schedule a rest day or two!) for 21 days. It will likely become part of your routine!

I’m interested in these Body Pump classes you always take but don’t really know what they are. I know people always talk about doing body pump 72, 69 etc. What do these numbers mean?? how long is the class? and what do you do in the class??

BodyPump is a total-body weights class and it’s basically AWESOME. 😀 According to the BodyPump Web site, “BodyPump is the original barbell class that strengthens your entire body. This 60-minute workout challenges all your major muscle groups by using the best weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts and curls.” The numbers you’re seeing refer to the different BodyPump releases. BodyPump is the same wherever you take it and different instructors will do different pre-choreographed releases at different times. When a new release debuts, it features new music, exercise, etc. The class is formatted the same way every time, with each exercise lasting for the duration of an entire song: Warm up, squats, chest, back/hamstrings, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, abs and cool down/stretch.

Surprise Guest

When I woke up this morning I figured the most exciting part of the start of my day would be wearing my new Victoria’s Secret foldover yoga capris to the gym.

New Pants!

(Sadie clearly thinks I’m a nut job. I can’t blame her though, as this was taken at 5:35 a.m.)

Though wearing new clothing is always fun, the real excitement would come later.

At the gym I took a BodyPump class and followed it up with 25 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical. Today I did my typical weights in BodyPump (and even went heavier on the back/hamstrings track), but apparently I was feeling extra-strong because the weights that typically exhaust me weren’t really cuttin’ it. Odd!

A New Playmate

After the gym, I leashed Sadie up for her morning walk.

About half way through our walk we were greeted by an adorable bulldog. I figured her owners were around the area somewhere, so I let Sadie and the dog sniff each other and play for a bit. It was becoming increasingly clear that no owners were in sight. The dog had a collar on and was really sweet and very friendly and followed us when we started walking.

I brought her back to our apartment and had one heck of a time getting the phone number off her collar as she and Sadie were playing. Our new friend’s name is Lily and after speaking with her owner, Sadie, Lily and I played for a while in the backyard waiting for him to arrive.

Meet Lily!

When Lily’s owner arrived he thanked me for keepin’ Lily safe. Apparently she slipped out of a hole in the fence in their backyard.

We got to talking and Lily’s owner realized that I am actually one of his wife’s patients! Lily belongs to my orthodontist and her husband! How’s that for some small world stuff?

Breakfast

After all the excitement from this morning, my breakfast seems rather boring… but it tasted great!

Friday's Breakfast

I enjoyed a cup of Fage Greek yogurt and a small bag of Kay’s Naturals apple cinnamon protein cereal. (For those of you who enjoy a gluten free diet, this cereal is gluten free and tastes delicious!)

Apple Cinnamon Protein Cereal

I also sipped on a hot mug of my gym’s free Barnie’s French vanilla coffee. Yum!

AMA Round Two

Time for more Ask Me Anything questions! (Round one question and answers may be found here.)

Thanks again to everyone who submitted a question. If you have somethin’ on your mind, you may click here to submit an anonymous question.

I think living together before marriage is A MUST, but I was curious what your and Ryan’s parents thought about the idea?

To be honest, I actually thought I would wait until marriage to live with a boy. When I graduated college, I moved into an apartment by myself. Ryan ended up staying with me every night, and even had an entire closet full of clothes. My parents liked the idea of him being around a lot because they think very highly of him and also liked the security of a he-man hangin’ around. 🙂 When we made the move to live together officially, it just kind of happened. Ryan’s parents were always on board and my parents were supportive as well since I was financially supporting myself and was now a real “adult.” They trusted my judgment and thankfully it’s all worked out wonderfully!

Your fiance is adorable, how do I get me one of them? 😉

Try hangin’ around the UCF gym… Worked for me! 😉

What do you and Ryan do and what are your normal work hours?

When I told Ryan about this question his reply was, “They’re gonna come rob us!” …So please don’t come steal all of our stuff. Sadie is at home in the day and will bite your face off (and by bite I mean lick).  She’s ferocious.

Now, to answer your question, I am a full-time writer and editor and manage a content team of three other writers for an internet marketing company. Ryan works in finance in the defense industry. I work from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily (sometimes later) and Ryan works a 9/80 schedule (nine-hour days, with every other Friday off) and typically arrives home between 4:30 and 5 p.m.

Have you ever had a problem with body image or being overweight (in your eyes)?

Yes… Oh yes. Though my BMI has never technically been in the “overweight” category, I have definitely struggled with body image (and still do!). I actually had a mini breakdown to Ryan about a month before I started this blog. We were on a walk with Sadie and I just felt sad and upset with my appearance. I know in my heart that I am a healthy person and weigh a healthy weight, but I couldn’t seem to stop negative thoughts about my body from entering into my head daily… all the time.

I cried to Ryan and he said he’d been in the same place before… many people have. He said that no matter how thin I would ever be, it wouldn’t matter until I accepted myself and loved myself. He is 100 percent right. I still constantly struggle with negative thoughts about my body. However, I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to focus on health than on appearance and weight. I have made a conscious effort to think about my health and make decisions that lead to a healthy lifestyle rather than concentrate on my weight and it’s honestly made a huge difference for me. It’s so much easier (but still not easy!) to feel happy with yourself knowing that you’re doing your best to fuel your body with healthy food and exercise, rather than depriving it and beating yourself up with negative thoughts.

Any advice on how to incorporate more variety in my everyday meals and to be a little less controlling with my calorie intake?

Like I said above, try focusing on health rather than a certain number of calories. Think about how much happier you’ll feel with yourself if you choose to pack an apple for dessert after lunch rather than a brownie. (Easier said than done, I know!!!) As for variety, buy a vegetable you haven’t tried in a while. I literally wouldn’t touch broccoli or asparagus for my entire life… then, last year, I tried them again and I actually liked them! I also encourage you to incorporate foods you love that might not be as healthy into your meals in healthy ways… like sprinkling chocolate chips into your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt. It tastes indulgent but you’re enjoying it in a controlled, healthy way.

How much do you weigh and what size do you wear?

I answered the weight question in round one and I typically wear a size 2 or size four dress unless it hugs my hips… I’m definitely a lot smaller up top than on the bottom… my wedding dress measurements were: bust – size two, waist – size two, hips – size eight. I typically buy my shirts in a size small and my jeans in a size 28.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I know this will make me seem totally lame, but the first thing that came to my mind that I think I did that was pretty crazy was get scuba certified in February. Why, when I live in a state that’s ridiculously hot for nine months out of the year, would I choose to get scuba certified (outside!!!) when it’s in the upper 30s to mid 40s? Ryan and I did it so we could be scuba certified for a cruise we were going on in March, but the process was one of the most miserable experiences ever! Crazy? Maybe. Stupid? Yes.

What’s the most important thing in your life?

My family, friends and Sadie.

Do you and Ryan want to have kids? If so, how long do you plan to wait after you get married?

Yes! We both definitely want kids. When I told him about this question he replied, “Yep! Two boys!” to which I replied “Yep! Two girls!” 🙂 Kids are a long way off for us though (definitely several years) because we both have goals we’d like to achieve and want to feel financially secure enough to start a family.

You have great skin! Mind sharing your routine?

I wash my face with Clean & Clear morning burst shine control facial cleanser in the shower every morning and use Clean & Clear oil-free dual action moisturizer right afterward, otherwise my skin is tiiiiight.

How much time do you spend working on your blog every day?

I probably spend approximately an hour total actually creating blog posts every day, unless something big happened and I write a more extensive post with lots of pictures which takes more time. I consider responding to emails part of blogging and this also takes up additional time every day.

If you could change one thing about your appearance what would it be?

Anyone that knows me well could probably answer this question for me: my hips. I swear I’ve had a boo-tay and hips ever since I was born! I’ve always wished I had a slimmer bottom half… slimmer hips, butt and legs. Thankfully I’m marrying a self-proclaimed “butt man” who likes a lil’ junk in da trunk. 😉

What brand of scale do you have at home?

I have a Thinner scale that looks a lot like this one.

I’m sorry I couldn’t get to all of your questions, but I’m workin’ on it!!! Stay tuned for more Q & As later today! 😀