A Few of My Favorite Things

I love working for a University. I love that we close between Christmas and New Year’s. I love this break!

I’ve been spending time with friends and family while Lee works. Today I’ve been all alone and it has been simply divine! And as I’ve relaxed, I’ve identified a few things I adore:

  • Torani sugar-free syrups. Yeah, I’ve had them before but I haven’t spent any time figuring out what to do with them. But now? I’ve got sugar-free raspberry (fav!), coconut, caramel, vanilla, and irish creme. It’s flavorful in my world, I tell you! (I buy them at my local World Market)
  • Gift certificates. To anywhere. I mean really. How fun is it to go shopping and not worry about how much it’s costing you? I love gift cards!
  • Coupons. Don’t you love it when you feel like you’ve cheated the system and gotten a totally rad deal? I know, I know–we’re all paying for it eventually, but seriously! Coupons make shopping exciting.
  • Crystal Light slurpees from 7-11. I know, it’s December. But it’s also 80 degrees in Florida today.
  • Also, The Daily Plate, which revealed that these crystal light slurpees, while sugar free, do have 120 calories and 20g of carbs for a 28oz. cup. Totally worth it.
  • Bike rides. Fast or slow, long or short, sweaty or not.
  • Brace yourself. I love Talbots. Yes, I do. I know I’m not a senior citizen, but I love that store! I can’t afford much there, but today I scored a great white button-down and a denim pencil skirt for a grand total of $26. I don’t even care of that makes me uncool.
  • I love wearing regular sizes. I’m firmly a 12 right now. Every 12 I try on fits. Sometimes I need a 10, but it’s very rare. I think sizes are more uniform in “regular” stores. Remember how plus sizes were all jacked up from store to store?
  • I love shoes! Because no matter how much my body changes, the shoes will still fit. My feet aren’t going to get any fatter or skinnier within the next 30 pounds. I love buying shoes! I’m building like a permanent shoe wardrobe! A permanent wardrobe! That’s exciting!
  • I still love New York & Company. Their pants are weird (cheap fabric and very strange notions of waistlines–hello, that’s more like my bra line!) but tops and dresses–watch out. I got a pair of purple pants, some black capris, and a cute black wrap dress for $3.99 each this weekend. I’m not even kidding.
  • I still love Ross. I know it doesn’t scream “classy lady!” but I don’t mind digging through racks of crap to find the rare gem. I just got a pair of zebra-striped pumps (YES I DID!), nine west shorts (ME! IN SHORTS!), a gray Worthington skirt, and a cute black turtleneck for about $50. That’s a deal no matter how you slice it.
  • I love Shelly/Eggface. I love her protein ice cream recipes. I love my sister for buying me an ice cream maker for Christmas. So far I’ve only made chocolate peanut butter ice cream, but YUM!
  • I love organizing things. I’ve cleaned out my office at home, my closet, the spare bedroom closet/storage, and I’m dying to get rid of a bunch of Lee’s clothes, but I know he’d hate that. I love organizing our stuff! Better yet, I love having time to organize our stuff!
  • I really really love my JOYS Household Organization System. I use my action center every single day, and it totally rocks. You should buy this when it’s no longer out of stock. Seriously. Ask for it for your next birthday. It’s a functional system that actually makes sense.
  • I love the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It works. Easily. My shower sparkles.
  • I love aprons. Fancy ones, simple ones, funky ones. I need more aprons in my life.
  • I love my husband. He’s so generous and honest and easy to be with. He’s a good, good man and I’m happy I snatched him up. 🙂
  • I love Gerbera daises. I especially loved the ones I carried at our wedding, but I also love the ones Lee brought home for me yesterday! Yellow and orange brightens up the house.
  • I love doing laundry. I really do. I love washing everything according to it’s instructions, making everything fluffy and soft, and having everything folded, put away, and ready for wearing. Laundry is one of my favorite things!
  • I love my church. My pastor is a genius. I love the impact our church has in the community.
  • I love my job. I get to do what I like to do all day long! I get to work with Christians whom I genuinely like! I get paid a fair wage. I have a lovely office where I can think.
  • I love the beach. I love it during the summer when it’s hotter than hades, but I really love it in the off-season when it’s cooler and you can wear real clothes and it’s not crowded. The beach is instant relaxation.

I could go on and on (I already have!) but these pleasures are filling my time off of work and helping me give thanks for the year I’ve had. I’ve made good decisions this year, and I’ve had help, and I’m happy with the outcome. I’m far from perfect and could have done better in so many areas, but I like what 2008 brought. All good things. All better than before.

Advertisements

Merry Christmas!

This may very well be my favorite Christmas ever. It was peaceful, fun, relaxing, and just all-around perfect. I’m so blessed with such a fantastic husband and family!

For as long as I can remember, my family has always gone to my grandparent’s house on Christmas Eve. Now that I’m downloading pictures of the event from my new camera, I’m realizing that I have to really work on taking pictures! How could I have had so much fun and come home with only a few crappy pics?! Anyhow, here’s Lee & me at my grandparents’ house:

Christmas Eve at Grandma's

Christmas Eve at Grandma's

Christmas morning we woke up around eight and then opened our gifts to each other:

Lee and the Stack O' Gifts

Lee and the Stack O' Gifts

Good morning, crazy hair!

Good morning, crazy hair!

My goofball!

My goofball!

New running shoes... and no excuses!

New running shoes... and no excuses!

The rest of the Christmas Day tradition consists of heading over to my parents’ house, where my dad usually cooks breakfast and we open gifts. Then the entire family comes over for an afternoon/evening/early morning of festivities, games, tons of food, and more presents! The most important part? PAJAMAS ONLY. All day. It’s a Christmas tradition!

dscn0025

Lee & Pops

Lee & Pops

Mom and her pile

Mom and her pile

Demonstrating where trash should go

Demonstrating where trash should go

dscn00591

don't ask!

don't ask!

Three of my favorite peeps!

Three of my favorite peeps!

Guitar lesson

Guitar lesson

Rach & I cooking appetizers:

dscn00801dscn0081dscn0082

And then the night ended with lots of adult beverages on the patio around a fire. Good times!

Things I’m Clueless About

I have these burning questions and no time nor sufficient interest/energy to research them. Maybe you guys know the answers… please enlighten me!

I have 4 credit cards: a Discover with a good interest rate and cashback bonuses, an American Express that contributes to my college’s alumni association, a Capital One visa with a crappy 19% interest rate (but it’s my oldest account), and an Old Navy store card. I don’t need all this credit. Is it better to:

(a) close the cards with the highest interest? (i.e. Capital One Visa and Old Navy?)

(b) leave the accounts open because closing cards reduces my FICO score (a la Suze Orman?)

(c) close the AmEx because, though it has the best interest rate, it has a ginormously high credit limit and it’s the newest card?

I’m saving for plastic surgery, which will hopefully take place in June. (I’ll get my first price quote on Jan 6th). Should I:

(a) just transfer funds to the “savings” portion of my regular bank account?

(b) set up one of those higher-interest online savings accounts (given that it has no fees), although we’re only talking about a 6-month savings period? My estimates show this would result in about $50 additional capital at the end of the savings period. Worth the headache?

(c) put it all under the mattress since all the banks are failing anyway

I’m on a fellowship from my University. I’m up to my neck in student loan debt, which I plan to pay off (or nearly pay off) using those fellowship funds. I’m also a few weeks shy of 27 and feeling this crazy urge to procreate. Should I:

(a) Be financially responsible and use every last fellowship cent toward student loan debt (unsubsized loans with higher interest first, working on down to subsidized loans with no interest)?

(b) Screw that, quit my job, have a baby and live on fellowship money while I finish school and worry about the loans later.

Haha! OK, I already know the answer to that one. NO BABIES FOR ME. Calm down ovaries, your time will come!

But seriously, on the first two… I have no idea!

The Thrills!

So what if I’ve only lost 3 pounds in the last month? Honestly, I feel awesome! I look pretty fly! Being closer to “normal” is feeling fine. 4 pounds until I’m official not “obese.”

See this cute little peacoat? I bought it yesterday at New York & Company. Size 12.

peacoat

I also bought cute earrings, and a bracelet, and some faux snakeskin shoes. And a size Medium shirt.

Suddenly, I want cute clothes. I want a sense of style. I want pretty things and great makeup and lots of cute little dresses. I think I might actually feel… pretty! (Too bad I can’t really afford this new hobby.)

I saw my sister-in-law Carla Friday night and she almost flipped out. She said, “MEGHAN! What size are those pants you’re wearing?!” (she’s not exactly tactful)

Me: “Umm, a 12 I think?”

Carla: “Well damn, you passed me. I can’t believe it. I need to go on a diet. What are those protein things you drink again? I can’t believe you’re wearing a size 12. My pants are a size 14.”

Me: “I like the Pure Protein brand, but everybody’s different. You kind of have to try them all to see what you like.”

Carla: “I weighed 195 pounds at the doctor yesterday. How much do you weigh? What size is that shirt? Did you get it at Old Navy?”

Me: “I weigehd 178 this morning, but you’re like 4 inches taller than me. You should weigh more than me! This shirt is a Large, and yeah… it’s from Old Navy… how did you know that?”

And the conversation went on and on like that. Lee’s sisters are so funny. When my grandma asks about my weight I get offended and want to cry. When they demand to know my size I feel like I’d better just tell the truth or they’ll beat me up!

Yep, I’ve officially passed Carla. Is it wrong to take pleasure in that?  🙂

It’s a Cut & Paste Girlz World!

When I first decided on weight loss surgery, I assumed I’d never be able to eat anything anywhere ever again (save for the generic chicken and broccoli dish available at almost every restaurant).

But you know what? The world is bending to our will, ladies.

Thank you Dr. Atkins, thank you South Beath, and thank you to the 100,000+ Americans who undergo WLS every year.

Starbucks has the skinny lattes and the vivanno drinks. Chick-fil-A and their glorious diet lemonade. Even Olive Garden and their flatbreads!

My most recent discovery, however, has me almost doing the hula. Did you know Planet Smoothie does low-carb shakes?! You probably did. I’m probably the last person on earth to realize this.

BUT! 22 ounces of sheer chocolate milkshake delight for 150 calories and 25 grams of protein? Umm, YEAH! And even better, I had a coupon. So while the chocolate shake is degrading in the refrigerator, I’m enjoying a free pina colada milkshake. Hence the hula.

It’s a cut & paste world, I tell ya!

Confessions and a Bake Day

First, a confession: with school this semester, I dropped the ball on my health when things got hectic. Something had to give and, as always, it was taking care of my body. This is my normal pattern, this is how I got to be so big in the first place, and this is likely to be an ongoing struggle as I continue to work full-time as a doctoral student. But. Semesters end, life goes on, and there is always opportunity to get back in the game.

I’ve been living in “maintenance mode,” treating myself to things like bagels and crackers and tons of snacks. Time for that to end. I’ve been skipping the gym most days relying on weekend bike rides for my only real exercise. Time for that to end. I’ve been buying clothes, thinking that I’m happy right where I am and I’ll probably stay this size for a while. Time for that to end.

Overall, the semester was successful: I started at like 208, ended at 178. -30 pounds isn’t shabby. But I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not done yet. I went to the gym at 5am this morning and it felt awesome to be back in the old routine. So what if the lady at the front desk has forgotten my name? She’ll re-learn it. Today is all about protein shakes, protein bars, and other forms of low-fat protein. I know what to do and I’m going to do it.

So that’s my confession and my commitment. Now for the fun stuff!

This past Sunday was the annual bake day with my mom and sis. We had so much fun and were so TIRED when the day was over! I leave you with photographic evidence that we destroyed my poor mother’s kitchen:

bake-day-2008-001-2

bake-day-2008-006-5

bake-day-2008-015-2

bake-day-2008-036-2

bake-day-2008-059-2

bake-day-2008-073-2

As you can see, at 178 and size 12, this ain’t over yet! Got to keep working!

It’s Christmas in Blogland!

Queen of the cut & paste girls Jil rocked my world today y’all.

When you have a hard week (finals!) and work is stressful and real-world friends disappoint, only blogworld amigas can lift the dark grey cloud.

And Jil did. After shamelessly revealing my addiction to the world, Jil sent me a package. And wouldn’t you know, it was BLUEBERRY COFFEE! Holy muchacha I can make it at home and consume it in mass quantities!!

The GOODS!

The GOODS!

Joy at a total surprise!

Joy at a total surprise!

Thanks Jil. You made my day week month!