Friday, June 10, 2016

"Just Because" Flowers

On Wednesday I received a call from our receptionist saying I'd received a package. I tried hard to recall what I was expecting in the mail, but couldn't. As it turns out, my sweet man decided to send me flowers, "just because". Is he not the cutest thing?! I sure do love that boy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Whole 30: One Week Update

Cobb Salad at a restaurant -- no cheese, with oil and vinegar on the side.
Well, I've made it through my first week on Whole30! I still don't feel the amazing boundless energy that so many people talk about while doing this, but I assume that's something that won't happen until farther down the road. Do I have more energy overall? I'd say yes. Am I sleeping better? Well, I don't know. I've always been a pretty good sleeper, but I have noticed that I'm sleeping a little harder than I used to. I haven't had any stomach issues since beginning this, and I've definitely noticed that I'm no longer hungry in between meals. In fact, I usually have to force myself to eat dinner. Some nights I just have no appetite. And I no longer feel the need to eat all the food on my plate.. I'm able to recognize that I'm full much faster.

I've read multiple reviews from people who have done the Whole 30, and they all complain about how hard it is to follow through with. I never thought I'd say this, but this diet really isn't that hard at all. Granted, I've only been doing it for 8 days now, but I haven't had a moment where I really felt like I couldn't continue. The cooking doesn't HAVE to take that much time.. people are so intent on finding fancy recipes that are incredibly involved and time-consuming, but it really doesn't need to be that difficult. I enjoy the simple recipes -- scrambled eggs or vegetables roasted in coconut oil or baked chicken. I think it's easiest to start off slow, and then get into the more complicated recipes once you get a grip on the basics. There are so many things that you can do with the Whole30, so I can see how it would be easy to get a bit overwhelmed. That's why the basics are the best to start with.

Deli turkey w/ avocado, tomatoes and berries on greens.
I know most people read these Whole30 reviews mainly to see how much weight people have lost by following this plan. However, I'm only a week in, and if you know the general guidelines of Whole30 you know that I'm not allowed to weigh myself until the end. That, in itself, is a great thing for me. I'm still in the "don't want to know" camp when it comes to the number on the scale. I'm afraid I'll step up there and see a number that I have no desire to see. Ignorance is bliss, right? So maybe I'll weigh myself after 30 days. I know basically how much I weigh, given my weight at a fairly recent doctor's appointment. I'm more interested in the inches lost than I am pounds lost, but I figure I'll be able to tell best by the way my clothes fit me.

So I may be the most boring Whole30 follower ever, but in addition to the "simple" meals, I really don't have a problem repeating myself. For breakfast most mornings I'll have eggs and fruit, for lunch I'll eat my homemade chicken salad or egg salad with greens, avocado, tomato and/or fruit, and for dinner I seem to be rotating meats -- hamburgers or baked chicken or beef tenderloin with sautéed vegetables and a little fruit on the side. Am I eating too much fruit? That's a good possibility. But I figure for such a drastic change in my diet, I can afford a little more fruit in the beginning. After all, fruit is infinitely better than processed food.

I'll leave y'all with pictures of some of my most recent meals, and I'll be back next week for my next update! Until then, I hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of summer!

Leftover steak with sautéed mushrooms and Trader Joe's vegetable mix.
Scrambled eggs, bacon, and berries on greens.
Baked sweet potato, roasted Brussels sprouts, and beef tenderloin.
Grass fed beef burger with baked pineapple, tomatoes, avocado and sautéed mushrooms and onions.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Whole 30 & Made-From-Scratch Chicken Salad

May is FINALLY over. I'll be sure to post all my pictures from this past month at some point, but for now I really just need to catch my breath. Over the past four weeks Will and I have gone to a golf tournament, birthday dinners, two weddings, and a weekend at Southport with his brother's wife and her family. This will be the first weekend I'm spending in town since April, so I'm looking forward to hanging around the house doing nothing.

Homemade chicken salad with grapes and sliced almonds
At one of the weddings I was in recently, one of the other bridesmaids at the wedding was raving about her experience with the Whole 30. I'd heard of the diet previously, and I decided to do a little research on it. Because let's face it, y'all know how much I love diets.

Once I'd read the books, the reviews and checked out some of the before/after pictures online, I was sold. I'm now embarking on 30 days of no sugar, grains, alcohol, or legumes. I'm eating only fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, nuts and certain fats. So far I'm on Day 1 (technically I guess I could call this Day 2, since I decided to fast yesterday), and I don't hate it. I had scrambled eggs and fruit this morning, and I made up a batch of chicken salad (recipe below) for lunch, and it was pretty tasty. I figure if I keep up with my diet somewhat on the blog (don't worry, it won't be an every day type thing), I'll feel more responsible for making it through this month without quitting.

Chicken Salad:

1 package of chicken breasts
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Primal Kitchen (brand) Mayo
Sliced almonds

Flatten chicken breasts under a sheet of saran wrap, then coat them in olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then let them cool for at least another 20 minutes. Then go ahead and slice them up into small pieces, mix in the grapes, almonds and mayo to taste. This will be my go-to recipe in the future!

Monday, May 16, 2016

My Cousin's Wedding

Will and I drove down to Atlanta last Thursday to celebrate my cousin's wedding. The entire weekend was a blast. I didn't take nearly enough pictures (I'm working on that, I promise), but I did manage to get a few good ones. Here are some of the highlights. 

My cousin and his new job description.
The bridal luncheon on Friday was actually held at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. The bride chose the venue because so many of her ancestors as well as our family's ancestors are buried here, and they wanted to commemorate the past, present and future in their wedding weekend.
Bridal luncheon.
The rehearsal dinner was held at Peachtree Country Club. Will and I walked out on the first hole as the sun was setting, and the view was spectacular.

*Most* of our cousins and their spouses.
Me (second from the left) and some of my cousins.
Me and another cousin.
The venue right before the ceremony on Saturday.
The Atlanta skyline.
The cousins again!
Apparently I was having way too much fun dancing.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Turning the Corner

So I've been thinking a lot lately about taking my blog down. It's not that I don't love it, and it's not that I don't enjoy reaching out to all of you with my pictures and my stories and reading your own blog posts. It's that I feel like I'm doing a disservice to the entire idea of blogging by only posting on here every so often. But then it occurred to me that I have almost three years of memories tied up in this thing, and I'm not quite ready to let it all go without some serious thought. That being said, I'm just now entering a time in my life where I think blog posts will be more appropriate and necessary in the near future than they have been in the recent past.

As I'm sure some of you have read, I've met somebody. This man is by far the sweetest, most generous, most loving person I've ever been in a relationship with. I know I've dated my fair share of guys, and I'm sure most of you are sick of my back-and-forth attitude towards relationships. I had gotten to a point in my dating life where I was ready to wash my hands of it all. I was sick of wondering when he'd text me next, or where our relationship was going, or whether or not I would ever get to meet his family. I was settling for far less than what I truly needed (read: deserved), and it wasn't until recently that I realized I'd had enough. They say you meet the person you've been looking for once you stop looking, and I can finally attest that that theory was true in my case.

On January 30th I went on a date with a guy I'd met online. He was from Fayetteville (about an hour's drive from Raleigh), so I figured with the literal distance between us it probably wouldn't turn into anything. Boy, was I wrong. It's been just short of three months now, and I feel like I've known him all my life. We take turns driving back and forth, and we usually spend the weekend together. Between the dinners out, the comedy shows, the golf tournaments, the shopping trips, the nature hikes and the family functions, I find myself head over heels for this man. He is more than I could have ever hoped for in a boyfriend, and I cannot wait to see where the road takes us.

Even my friends and family have noticed a difference in my demeanor. My aunt says I'm glowing. One of my best friends says I've become more upbeat. HIS family says he can't stop smiling. It might have taken years, but we've finally found each other. Now begins the really fun part.. life together!

We have so much going on in the next few weeks and months. We're attending three weddings (one in Raleigh, one in Atlanta and one in Hillsborough), a comedy show, a beer fest, his dad's (surprise) birthday dinner and a golf tournament in Charlotte. All by the end of next month. So hopefully I'll get back into the habit of taking pictures and I'll have plenty to post on here.

Stay tuned, y'all!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Life Lately

So it's just come to my attention that I really haven't posted much of anything so far this year. I'm going to try to change that, because I've loved having this blog and I hate to see myself neglect it. With that being said, I figured I'd give you guys a quick update on my life lately.
I'm still dating that great guy I mentioned earlier, Will. We spent last Saturday hiking at Umstead and then came back to my house and snuggled up to watch t.v. all day. Later that night we (he) cooked some steaks for dinner before he headed home (to Fayetteville, which is about an hour away). On Wednesday he drove up again and took me to the N.C. State v. UNC basketball game (a big game in these neck of the woods) and I was introduced to a couple of his golfing buddies. Tomorrow I'm going to drive down to Fayetteville for the first time to see his condo and to grab lunch at his Country Club. So far I'm having a great time with him, and he's super easy to talk to. If things keep going as well as they're going now, well.. I don't want to get ahead of myself just yet, but let's just say that this guy is looking like a keeper.
Luckily for me, my work has slowed down quite a bit this week, as two of my supervising attorneys are in Boston for a trial. In the months leading up to this trial, it's pretty obvious to say that we've been busy -- I've been stressed to the max with everything on my plate. Now that the trial is underway, I'm able to relax quite a bit more and enjoy the silence around the office until the Boston crew returns on Monday. I'll never again take for granted any "downtime" I have in this line of work.
I'm headed up to D.C. next Thursday to visit my friend Lauren from Ole Miss and to go see Pat Green play live. After all these years of being such a Pat Green fan, it's a little shocking that I'm just now seeing him in concert. Nonetheless, I'm really looking forward to seeing him at long last, and to spend some quality time with one of my best friends.
On a sad note, my grandmother Foxie has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She's always been larger to life in my eyes, and she's never been sick a day in her life, so it came as a somewhat great shock to me that she won't be around forever. Needless to say I haven't been handling the news all that well, so it's taken some time to get used to. Thankfully, this cancer seems to be relatively painless for her, and she's going about her days as though nothing is wrong. It's such a strange thing to me, to see my grandmother sick. She's been such a powerful all-consuming force throughout my life that I guess I just sort of assumed she'd always be around. Now I have to come to terms with the fact that her time here on earth has its limits. I'm just praying that her last days are free of pain and are filled with visits from the people Foxie loves the most. I've been spending a lot of time with her at her house in Henderson lately, and my dogs have grown to love their Gran. Beau is especially fond of the ice she feeds him from her drinks, and Scout just loves the hour-long car ride where she can act as co-pilot. 

Well, y'all, I guess that's it for now. I'll keep you guys updated in the future and hopefully will manage to carve out some time to start posting on here a little more regularly than I have been. I hope everything is going well with you guys! Happy Friday!

Monday, February 15, 2016

I Met A Guy

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all! Well, belated Valentine's Day at least. Hope everyone's doing well!

I'm writing because I wanted to let y'all know about the new guy I'm dating, Will. Yes, the one who sent me the Ole Miss tumbler after our first date. Well, we're still seeing each other, and he keeps proving time and again how incredibly thoughtful he is. He sent me flowers for my desk last Friday, and then showed up (with chocolates and daisies!) on Sunday afternoon to take me on a day trip down to Pinehurst for dinner at the infamous Pine Crest Inn. Consider me hooked.

To tell you the truth, I wasn't even expecting much on Valentine's Day, seeing as how the holiday fell on what was only our third date. So suffice it to say, I was happily surprised with how Will pulled out all the stops to make this Valentine's Day one of the greatest ones I've ever experienced.

It wasn't until I got home last night that I had a chance to read the card he'd given me along with the daisies and the chocolates.. and y'all, my heart just about skipped a beat. I know, I know, I'm not really a "heart skipping a beat" type of girl, but this guy brings out the hopeless romantic in me. I've never been treated so well by anyone. Aside from that, we have such a great time together! We're still both a little shy in these initial dating stages, so the silences tend to pop up from time to time. But we laugh.. a lot.  So let's just say things are looking promising. I'm sure I've said that before, but I've never felt so confident about where a relationship is going as I feel right now.

Turns out I'm one of the cheesy ones after all.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Good Ones (Are Still Out There)

Online dating can be a chore. Most of the time it's like having another full-time job. And the let-downs are commonplace. More often than not, my expectations of finding someone I'm interested in are appropriately low. Like I've mentioned before, I tend to turn the process into a game called "Where's the Red Flag?". Over time, I've gotten insanely good at picking up on small cues and hints that tell me I'm facing another dead end. My screening process has gotten more rigid, and I agree to far fewer dates than I used to.

If at one point in time I had convinced myself that being more open minded and willing to let small things "slide" was the way to go, I've veered to the polar opposite side of the spectrum these days. And I can attest to the fact that I'm notably happier with this way of dating. The let-downs I used to experience at every date in the past are noticeably less common. In fact, the last date I went on turned out to be a glowing success.

This guy actually sent me a gift (a personalized Ole Miss Tervis tumbler) in short order after a date last Saturday night. I'm still trying to figure out the logistics of how he managed to order and ship the package to me in the short amount of time he did. To say I was impressed would be putting it mildly. His gift was even better than flowers, because he put some thought and effort into it. I can't remember the last time anyone put this much thought and effort into a date, much less an after-date token of appreciation!

All in all, the good ones are out there, but they're difficult to find. Luckily for me I've developed the tools I need to actually recognize signs of the genuine guys who are looking for something more than a romp in the hay. I think sometimes it's better this way, because when you do come in contact with someone you connect with, you are able to appreciate the rarity of their character. And I'm finally at a place in my life where I know I deserve one of the good ones, and I refuse to settle for anything less.

Here's to the road less taken, and the guys worth waiting for.