Happy Birthday To Me!

>> Saturday, January 30, 2010

Yes, today is my birthday. I've officially stepped into the 30s now that I'm 31. You see, 30 is like standing on the edge of the diving board just looking into the water. 31 is actually jumping in. And I'm so there!

The last 6 months have been a real downer for Jason & I so I decided to keep it quiet this year. Just a couple of my friends and I will go to dinner tonight. I think it will be a nice change for once! I'll give the lowdown on tonight's dinner later on!


I'm a beautiful blogger!

>> Friday, January 29, 2010

Monica tagged me for this award (see, I wasn't making it up yesterday!). If you haven't read her blog, Monica Wants It, you need to get your heinie over there straight away. She's absolutely hilarious and genuine. Her review of the Pussycat Workout Video had me in tears!


Here is how it works:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award. –Thanks Monica!
2. Paste the award on your blog. – done!
3. Link back to the person who gave you the award. -done!
4. Share seven interesting things about yourself.
5. Nominate up to 7 more beautiful bloggers.
6. Link the bloggers you nominate.

On to the 7 "interesting" things about myself.
  1. I'm terrified of naming a baby and giving him/her a name that doesn't suit him/her. I took FOREVER to name my childhood pets. Judging from this, my kid may not have a name until their 4th birthday.
  2. I secretly enjoy watching really dumb television shows in my spare time (like Manswers! Ha!)
  3. I really, really, REALLY hate vacuuming. I'll scrub toilets any day before vacuuming. I don't know why; I just really dislike doing it. AND YET I HAVE A SHEDDING CAT!
  4. I used to be a math nerd. I competed in UIL Calculator Math in high school. Wait, did I just admit that? Oh crap. There went all my cool points.
  5. Since said cool points are gone, I can also admit that I taught myself how to roll my tongue when I had a retainer. I didn't like being one of the few people who couldn't do it, so I would try to move the edges of my tongue along the sides of my ginormous retainer and one day - voila! - I did it! That pretty much ranks up there with finally being able to tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue. (Ok, that may not be repeatable; I only succeeded once.) But I did it!
  6. I grew up surrounded by pastures. And I really want to go back to that quiet life. But I don't want to live TOO far away from people because I like the option of socializing. 
  7. I'm in love with cheese. Jalapeno Jack, cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan.....anything but American. I don't think a day can go buy where I don't have cheese. I pink puffy heart cheese.
And now for the 7 bloggers that I'm tagging with this award:
  1. Jess at Let's Get Fit!
  2. Tasha at The Clean Eating Mama
  3. Sarah at Dunkley
  4. Jenn at Maybe If You Just Relax...
  5. Bobbi at N Her Shoes
  6. Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point
  7. Molly at My Happy House
Thanks for the great read ladies...I enjoy it each and every day!


So when people ask what I do for a living....

>> Wednesday, January 27, 2010

....this is going to be my new response. Ha!


Oh my gosh

I just realized it's January 27 and I haven't bought a planner yet. Holy moly. What has happened to me? All is not right in the world.....


Cleaning For A Reason

>> Monday, January 25, 2010

I haven't revealed much in my blog about my family. Many of my own friends don't know how my family has been affected by cancer. I lost my Uncle to Melanoma in 1992. He was only 33 at the time and I was a few days from turning 13. As I'm about to turn 31, I realize that his life was barely able to unfold. Since 1992, my family has been extra careful about the sun and we use a TON of sunscreen. I had a "rebel" phase that I went through a few years ago where I used a tanning bed, but it was so much work and my skin just doesn't tolerate it well. My skin is just naturally pasty white. In 1996, I lost my Grandfather (my Uncle's dad) to throat cancer. I was just a senior in high school and to this day, I wish I had been more proactive in getting to know him. I think there's so many things that I could have learned from him. As a kid, I just didn't realize how important it was to find out about my family history. Not too long after he passed away, my Grandmother (his wife) was diagnosed with breast cancer. My Grandmother was a very healthy woman...especially after losing a son and husband. Even though a lumpectomy was recommended, she decided to have a mastectomy instead. It was the choice that saved her life. She recovered and lived many more years after that. I currently have a great Uncle who is paralyzed from the waist down from an inoperable tumor on his spine. Watching someone fight cancer is hard. There isn't much you can do other than offer your support. It never feels like enough.

I think every one of us knows someone that has been affected by cancer both indirectly and/or directly. I received this email from my Mom. It was meant to go to a friend of mine who is currently battling breast cancer. It's about a service for women suffering from cancer. The service will clean a woman's house once a month for 4 months while they go through chemotherapy.  I forgot it was in my inbox until tonight. And tonight, I sent that email to every woman on my email list. This is exactly what the email read, including my note:
Subject: Cleaning for a Reason

Sorry for the mass email, but this is such a neat service. I think all women know someone who this could help. Please pass along if you wish to do so. I hope that 2010 has treated every one of you great so far and that this email reaches you in great health. Even though I don't see or talk to many of you often, I still think of you. Thanks for being there!


Cleaning for a Reason  
If you know any woman currently undergoing Chemo, please pass the word to her that there is a cleaning service that provides FREE housecleaning - 1 time per month for 4 months while she is in treatment.  
All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service.   http://www.cleaningforareason.org
Please pass this information on to bless a woman going through Cancer treatment. This organization serves the entire USA and currently has 547 partners to help these women. It's our job to pass the word and let them know that there are people out there that care. Be a blessing to someone and pass this information along.

I received a reply just a few minutes later from a friend telling me that I had impeccable timing. Her mother had just been diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. My friend lives several states a way from her mother and she said it was hard to take care of things because of the distance. She was thankful for this service because it would be one thing her mother wouldn't have to worry about while going through this.

I was truly touched that this could help someone. I know that most of you probably got the email I sent, but just in case there are a few of you who read this blog who don't know me, I would appreciate it if you could pass this on. If it helps just one person, it's done some good. Thanks so much for reading!


Chocolate protein bars

>> Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I saw this recipe in the Jan/Feb Clean Eating mag but never made it. Then, I saw them on Kate's blog and I decided to give them a try. Here's the recipe. Instead of vanilla protein powder, I used chocolate and I subbed pecans for the almonds. Here's what one looked like before baking:

It's kind of funny how I had to "package" them before baking. Here's the shot of them cooling:

I know they don't look as pretty as Kate's, but really....what in the heck do I photograph well anyway? Plus, I didn't trim them to look neat. I'm not that picky about how it looks when I eat it. You'll just have to trust me on this. They're good! I think I may try adding some smushed banana to it to give it even more flavor!


Oh happy, happy foodgasm!

>> Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oh my gosh. I had the BEST dinner tonight. Jason has been spending a lot of time at his parents' house working on his project truck which leaves me on my own for dinner. I got tired of cereal and sandwiches so I decided to try out Bobbi's recipe for Whole Wheat Honey Pizza Dough. You can find the recipe here.

I realized after starting the dough that I don't own a pizza pan. Who doesn't own a freaking pizza pan? Me, that's who. I decided to put it on a cookie sheet instead and make the best of it. My dough still turned out in a round shape, but next time I think I'll roll the dough out thinner. Here's what I put on top:

  • Central Market Organics True Texas BBQ Sauce
  • Sliced bell pepper
  • Sliced red onion
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast that I had already baked
  • Sliced tomato
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Baby spinach
And here's what my handiwork produced:

Not too bad for my first time making dough! To compliment my pizza, I made the most awesome salad that ever existed. Seriously. I had two helpings! My salad ingredients were:
  • Central Market Organics herb garden spring mix
  • Sliced Cucumber
  • Sliced avocado
  • Calamata olives, chopped
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Feta cheese
  • Central Market Organics Vinaigrette de Provence - holy moly this stuff was good! I don't even like dressing but this one was so, so good!

Doesn't that look so good? If my tummy could smile, it'd be grinning right now. Me. Love. Food.


Ten on Tuesday

I took this from Faith's blog, but I think she got it from somewhere else. I don't know. Sue me. I just thought this was a fun survey!

1. Favorite book(s) when you were a child and why?
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Bruce's Loose Tooth, Lamont the Lonely Monster, The Pokey Little Puppy, The Color Kittens, The Little House on the Prairie series, The Chronicles of Narnia and anything Shel Silverstein or Judy Blume. There's really no good reason for liking these; I just did. I read most of these over and over and over as a kid. I'm sure I've forgotten plenty of others as well.

2. First “grown-up” book you remember reading (i.e. written for adolescents or with adult themes, such as The Outsiders or Catcher in the Rye).
I think it was Little Women. One of my teachers had us read from a huge list of books and that's one that I chose.

3. Favorite movie that came from a book (even if you didn’t read the book and just love the movie).
That's a tough one! The movies are always different than the book...it's never the same. I'm just going to arbitrarily choose The Notebook. The book was absolutely wonderful and the movie was amazing as well.

4. Movie that you loved so much that you WISHED there was a book out so that you could find out more about the movie.
It should come as no surprise that I would choose The Goonies since it's my favorite movie ever. However, I'm not so sure that I really need to know more about it. I think that Gran Torino would have made an interesting book, though.

5. Worst book you’ve ever read?
Is it bad that I have no idea? I'd have to say Blink, even though it was probably a best seller. I had to read it in one of my grad school classes and it just got boring because it's so repetitive. If you read the first chapter, you've read the whole book.

6. Book that everyone raves about that you either a) haven’t read and feel slightly dumb for not having read it or b) have tried to read and hated and so feel slightly dumb that everyone is getting something you don’t.
I guess the Harry Potter series. I've seen all the movies, but I've never read the books. I probably should; everyone always says they're so good and I love the movies......

7. If you were forced to choose only 3 books that you could read for the rest of your life, which ones would they be? (Or if you were stranded on a desert island, which 3 books would you want there with you?).
I really don't like reading books over and over again. I need lots of room. However, I guess I'd choose the Bible (so I would finally read the whole thing), the Little House on the Prairie series (don't even say how lame I am) and The Other Boleyn Girl.

8. Name one book that if you could recommend that everyone you know read, what is it?
Probably The Other Boleyn Girl. It's just that good and a really interesting read. Jason kept trying to read over my shoulder!

9. What is your “guilty pleasure” reading?

Feel good girly stories, but not Harlequin novels. Or chick magazines.

10. What book (excepting the Bible or other major document of your religion/faith) has changed your outlook on life the most?
I don't think I've read anything that significant. I'd really like to read something that monumental.


Unproductive/Productive Day

>> Monday, January 18, 2010

Ever have one of those days where you've gotten a lot accomplished and yet still felt unproductive? For some reason, that's how I feel today. I've done all of these things so far today:

  • Had an awesome legs workout at the gym
  • Did all the laundry
  • Changed the sheets
  • Cleaned the litter box
  • Planned some dinner ideas for this week
  • Shopped for groceries
  • Washed the dishes in the sink
  • Took the trash out
Okay, so maybe this list wasn't that long, but I still got all of it done today. I just hate feeling so unproductive!


New Workout!

>> Sunday, January 17, 2010

So here's the new line-up for the new year. I'm following a heavy/medium/light format. The first exercise will be at a very heavy weight and I'll do 4-6 reps, resting 2-4 minutes between each rep. The next exercise will be at a medium weight where I'll do 8-12 reps, resting 60-90 seconds between each rep. The last exercise will be done at a lighter weight and I'll do 15-20 reps, resting about 30 seconds between reps. This is going to be a toughie workout, but I'm going to get through it! So, here goes:

Day 1:

  • Squats using the Smith machine (loaded 80lbs on the bar)
  • Lunges using 20 lb Dumbbells
  • Stiff-legged deadlifts using 60lb bar
  • Seated calf raises, loading 90lbs (this will probably go up, though)
Day 2:

  • Bench Press, 65lbs (2-10lb plates loaded onto 45lb bar)
  • Incline Bench Press using 20lb dumbbells
  • Flat bench flyes using 10lb dumbbells 
  • Bent over barbell raise using 60lb barbell (am going to try out 70lb barbell)
  • Cable rows loading 80lbs
  • Lat pulldown loading 55lbs
Day 3:
  • Barbell curl using 40lb barbell (I would LOVE to do the 50, but I'm not there yet)
  • Cable curl set to 25lbs (may be able to increase to 30lbs)
  • Concentration curl using 12.5lb dumbbell
  • Lying triceps extension using 15lb dumbbells
  • Triceps kickback using 10lb dumbbells (may go to 12.5lbs)
  • Triceps cable pressdown set to 25lbs
Day 4:

  • Shoulder presses using 20lb dumbbells
  • Lateral raises using 15lb dumbbells
  • Rear delt raises using 10lb dumbbells (might up it to 12.5lb)
I had a rough week this week and got sick on Friday, so my schedule didn't go as I planned. I got it all in, though! The one thing you'll notice that's missing is abs. I didn't do any this week since I was thrown off my schedule, but I'll update that when I figure out what/when I'll do it. The reason I didn't give specific days is because things happen! I was so sore after my BodyAttack class (which followed the killer legs workout) that I needed to take Wednesday off. I was miserably sick with allergies on Friday, so I stayed in as well. That wasn't my plan, but I still was able to finish my workout schedule by working out on Saturday and Sunday. The plan now is to take Wednesdays and Sundays off, but I won't be stressed if I get things done on the "wrong" day.


      Open Letter to Mountain Cedar

      >> Friday, January 15, 2010

      Dear Mountain Cedar,

      Go away. You are not wanted. You make me sick.....literally. The sneezes, the itchy and watery eyes and the runny nose all point to you. Yes, you. You are the only tree that pollinates in the winter. That's pretty screwed up. What did anyone ever do to you? Apparently you blame the general public for this summer's drought because you have shown up this winter in greater numbers than ever before. You suck. There isn't enough antihistamines at the pharmacy to make me feel better. But I think you know that. You are pure evilness. Go back to where you came from and never come back. Kthnxbai.


      A sniffling, sneezing, eye dabbing Stephanie



      >> Tuesday, January 12, 2010

      One of my goals this year was to work on some endurance through some Gold's Gym classes. I can blast through a half hour or more on the elliptical, but not necessarily through other types of cardio. I decided to try out the BodyAttack class they offered. I was afraid it would be too much punching and kicking, but it wasn't like that at all. It had some moves from their BodyStep class (I took it a couple years ago) plus some kicking. There was also a little running, high knees and even some push-ups. After a tough legs workout on Monday, the squatting in BodyAttack nearly killed me. But the music was good and the instructor was fun! I was pretty tired afterward (and looked a bit like a lobster) so I didn't lift weights as I had planned. However, I think I'll keep trying this out. I definitely felt very out of sync with the rest of the class. I tend to pick up dance moves slowly. Plus, I have to admit that being a head taller than the ENTIRE class can make you feel like you look dorky. Sometimes, gyms should cover up their mirrors. This was one of those times! That aside, I'm still going to try it again. But not until next week when my legs have fully recovered! Til then, I'll be stretching! :)


      Guilty Pleasure

      >> Wednesday, January 6, 2010

      Eating a brownie while watching the season premier of The Biggest Loser.


      New Year's Eve Celebration

      >> Tuesday, January 5, 2010

      Jason & I were invited to a "Classy New Year's Eve" party at a friend's house. Now if you know some of my friends, then you know that classy could either be:

      1. Classy
      2. Klassy

      On New Year's eve, Jason & I both weren't feeling well. The mountain cedar pollen had made itself known in San Antonio and my sinuses were (and still are) well aware. They couldn't stop crying and I was tired of mopping up their tears. Jason just had a headache, but I think it was out of sympathy. Somehow we unstuck ourselves from the chairs and turned off the tv long enough to get dressed. At this point, it's cold and I'm not about to put on a dress and freeze my arse off all night. Plus, I already explained the dilemma above.

      So we donned our best jeans, trying to make ourselves look somewhat dressed up and presentable. We arrived at the party a typical hour late because we're cool like that and no one ever expects the M family to be on time. Much to my surprise, it was indeed a CLASSY New Year's party and my lovely husband and I were far outclassed. We became the klassy folks of the party. Well, someone had to take that role. We made klassy look good!

      Soon after arriving, Jason downed a few beers. He was a man with a mission and that mission was to kiss the toilet seat later. I am happy to report that his lips stayed toilet seat free, but we did have a good scare. In case you were wondering, no I did not drink with such fortitude. Instead, I had two small 29 degree beers early on and some champagne at midnight. This picture was taken after Jason had about 3 beers:

      I have no idea what in the heck he was doing. Because he has a pumpkin head, the New Year's hat didn't fit him at all. He found a great way to supplement it. Poor Mendy just didn't even know what happened here.


      Here's a picture of our host, Haby. See, I told you it was CLASSY. He brought out the tux for the occasion. I'm pretty sure he remembers nothing of this moment.

       Here's a few more party goers: Deseere, Mendy & Paul.

      Somehow through my husband's rip-roaring debacle we managed to take a decent picture together.

      Here's Mendy (again with the hat! Ha!), Jason, myself and Kristi:

      The real story was of the second Jason. We shall call him Buzz for several reasons, none of which shall be listed here. At midnight, he busted open his bottle of champagne and proceeded to drink from it the klassy way. (If you'll notice, he wore jeans, too. I told you some of us were klassy people.)

      Shortly after this, he decided that the champagne was only good for picture-taking and would be way more fun to spray on the lawn!

      But the story's not over yet. So that a perfectly good bottle wouldn't be wasted, he filled that bottle up with margaritas! The King of Klassiness!

      A little later in the night, this picture was taken. If you look closely, you'll see the Ginger trying to hide like a ninja. This is me, Paul, Nik, the ninja Jenn & another Stephanie. People, there were three freaking Stephanies at the party. Seriously, WTH?

      The ninja felt the need to prove her worth so she challenged her fellow Ginger to a headbutting contest!

      The night went on until I worried that Jason might keel over at any moment spurring someone to yell "Timber!" in the distance. I may exaggerate how much he drank, but I kid you not about the tree part. At 6'8", you do not want to see him fall. I would've had to have left him there because there's no dragging any man around of that size. We took the backroads home and finally got in bed for the night.

      The next morning, after sleeping very late, I made my dear husband make me pancakes. I figured that was a good enough payment for driving him home. However, my dreams of morning mimosas were turned down. I kept telling Jason, "hair of the dog! Hair of the dog!" but it didn't work. Oh well. I guess I can save that champagne bottle for this weekend a special occasion. Hope everyone else's celebration was just as fun!


      New Look!

      >> Monday, January 4, 2010

      After almost a year and half of the same format, I finally got brave and decided to try a new look. As you might have read in this post, I screwed that up royally. Blogger help forum still hasn't come to my rescue, so it's a good thing that I'm really, really desperate smart. While I couldn't edit in Firefox, I found out that I could in Explorer. So I reloaded the template, edited my heart away and voila! No more Lorem Ipsums on my page! Hooray!

      And while I'm at it, all of this blog business let me discover the Updated Blogger post stuff. I always wondered how people scheduled their posts. Awesome! And while I'm at it, I signed up with Feedburner and found out that I had 19 readers on there! Who knew? 19 may be chump change for some of you, but for me that's awesome! You readers should come on out and comment more. It makes my heart all full of puppies and rainbows and kittens and stuff. Really...it's bursting at the seams. :)

      If anyone still sees any boo-boos on my page, please let me know. Otherwise, tell me what you think about the new look! In the meantime, I'll be working on my New Year's celebration post. Thanks for reading!


      My blog is screwed up

      >> Sunday, January 3, 2010

      That's what I get for trying to install a new template. It made me delete a lot of widgets and I couldn't edit anything. Then, I put it back to the old template and I still can't edit anything. I'm currently waiting on the Blogger people to answer my question. :(


      New Year's Resolutions

      >> Saturday, January 2, 2010

      I used to always make resolutions, but then I'd forget about them or drop them quickly. Or, I'd make them too hard to achieve. There was always some big goal in mind but I never put in place small goals to reach them. With that in mind, I decided to create some goals for 2010 that I think - and would like - to accomplish.

      These goals are simply for my own health and quality of life.

      For my health:

      • Continue to work on my strength training. My personal goal is to do shoulder presses using 20lb dumbbells!
      • Work on my endurance through gym classes, cardio and running. Bonus: run a 5K.
      • Make a conscious effort to reduce my sugar intake through sweets and processed foods. (Thank goodness the Christmas cookies are gone!)
      • Plant an organic summer vegetable garden again.
      • Get a physical so I know my exact health statistics!
      The financial health goals are absolutely necessary and essential. These are more "musts" than goals.

      For my financial health:
      • Jason & I must both get jobs
      • Once we are both employed, live off of Jason's salary. Put all of my earnings into our savings account to rebuild and start to pay down my student loans and mortgage. I'm paving the way to get those monkeys off my back!
      • Continue to prioritize the things that we deem important enough to spend our hard-earned money on. No blowing money unless we deem that purchase important.
      Getting to the home health & fun goals will completely depend of the financial goals. Provided they are met, we can continue down the line to those below.

      For my home health:
      • The Massive Living Room Project will include: a ton of paint, the wood flooring we have already bought but needs installing, building a hearth for our fireplace, replacing the ugly tile with slate tile on our fireplace and hang up some darn pictures! Bonus = Buying more furniture.
      • The Kitchen: paint, deep clean the tile. Bonus = painting the cabinets
      • The Master Bedroom: paint and hang photographs
      • Bonus: Formulating a plan for the Master Bath
      • Extra Bonus: Attempting some landscaping
      For fun:
      • Plan - and go on - another ski trip!
      • Go to a live concert that Jason & I really want to see (not including Texas artists since we've seen them a million times)
      • Visit our friends more often!


      2009 - A Year in Pictures

      >> Friday, January 1, 2010

      2009 started off well....except that I was sick. We partied at a friend's house. you can see Jason on the far right partaking in a tequila shot:

      January also marked my 30th birthday:

      February brought my first-ever ski trip! I can't wait to go back again!

      March was Jason's birthday and our group wine tasting trip:

      April brought Easter (here's Jason with our niece, Hannah):

      May was a busy month! First we had Cornyval where everyone involved ate/drank too much!

      Then I did my first race, Muddy Buddy:

      And then we went to a toga party:

      May was also the month we said goodbye to my brother, Houston, as he left for his first tour in Afghanistan.

      June was slow for us. It brought our first harvest from our garden. Little did we know that this would be the ONLY harvest this year.

      July brought our first wedding anniversary and our trip to Maryland. Can be viewed here, here & here)

      August was my friend Sylvia's 30th birthday, complete with a customized T-shirt.

      September was another slow month because I can't find any pictures for it!

      October was another fun month! First, was my 3rd fishing trip....and I broke the curse!

      Then I made my debut as a Scream Girl!

      November brought one awesome bachelorette party!

      Two weddings.....Jenn's

      and Becca's

      And most importantly, my brother's 2-week leave.

      And finally, December wrapped up the year with my filling my stomach with more cookies than any human should ever consume.

      Whew! Are you still with me? Anyone? Anyone?

      2009 is officially over! Here's hoping that 2010 brings much happiness, love and prosperity to each of you!


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