Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Doin' It Myself on Pinterest

I'm a little all over the place this week, working from home for two days in a row. Being at home makes me think of the lots of projects that I want to do myself, so I pulled a few pins of projects that I want to eventually complete. Let's get to pinning! I'm linking up with Michelle at The Vintage Apple for "Oh How Pinteresting" Wednesday. She always has great pins, so go check her blog out too!

I love how simple this is, yet how wonderful it looks. I'm not sure what quote I would use though...
Source: Not On The High Street via Pinterest
Then there's this button monogram idea that's awesome.
Source: Etsy via Pinterest
Or maybe using some old cookie sheets that have seen better days...
Source: Crate Paper Blog via Pinterest
Are you stockpiling some things that you want to do yourself? If so, please share! I love any and all project ideas.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Change for Change Update

Before any coins filled it up!
Almost one month to go! It's amazing how quickly time flies when you're having fun, working your butt off, and traveling every other weekend. These first two months went far too quickly, but I'm ready to keep collecting! One month left as of Thursday...
          As you know, I pledged to be one of the 100 bloggers to raise $100 for the fabulous Ashley over at The Shine Project for her Change for Change campaign. So after combining my old coin glass with my homemade Change for Change jars, I came up with a lot more money than I could have thought!
The jar I made to keep in my office
So after I started, until August 1st, I came up with $26.86! I know that I still have a lot to go, but to know that I have made progress towards my goal helps a lot!

Pre-coin sorting at the end of July!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Very Grateful Monday

Even though Thursday is days away, I wanted to do another thankful post because that's how I'm feeling today.

I'm grateful for the beautiful blue skies today. Except for lack of power and storm damage, you would never have thought the past two days had such extreme weather for all of us pounded by Hurricane Irene.

I'm grateful for a wonderful weekend with M, his friends, and family. Surprisingly, I only took one picture, and it's a very blurry one of him blowing out more birthday candles...

I'm grateful for any and all appreciation. Both giving and receiving any form of appreciation makes a big difference in my life. But on the flip side, lack of appreciation gives me very little reason to go the distance for another. So thank you to everyone who values, gives, and receives appreciation.

I'm grateful for having learned that sometimes I need to do what's best for me. And with that, I leave you with a Johnny Depp quote.

Via Pinterest

Friday, August 26, 2011

On Being Brave

 You have to be brave 
with your life so
 that others can be 
brave with theirs.

- Katherine Center

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Let's just say I'm glad it's Thursday already. I haven't really been sleeping all that much this week, but it hasn't made my mood too horrible, so that's a plus! I'm hoping a relaxing and fun weekend in Boston will put me back on a normal sleep schedule. Anyways, it's time to link-up with Rebecca from Southern Charm to remember all the things we're thankful for.

I'm thankful for throwback CDs. The radio stations around here haven't been keeping me entertained on my commute to work, so I pulled out some CDs from high school. Remember NOW 7? Yes, there was a time when that series wasn't in the double digits. Well, it's amazing! 

I'm thankful for repeating this prayer to myself every day this week. It really helps get me through some tough moments and keeps me calm.
Source: Etsy via Pinterest
I'm thankful for getting to spend time with uncle during the week. Listening to country music and Dean Martin in his truck bring me to a happy place. And hearing stories about my grandmother, who I never got to meet, helps me to know a little more about who I am and where I came from.

I'm thankful for giant pastries from a nearby bakery. I must preface this picture by the fact that I have giant hands for a little lady, so finding lobster tails bigger than my hands is awesome!
Sorry for the blurriness - Crackberry takes crappy photos
I'm thankful for having an excellent training run last night. Isn't it the best feeling completing the entire workout as you were supposed to without pain or walking? 

I'm thankful for all the people in my life. I know I say this often, but having a great support system when making decisions is extremely helpful.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pinteresting Quotes

Happy hump day, friends! I'm keeping my "Oh How Pinteresting!" Wednesday post short and sweet with lots of quotes. Be sure to link up with one of my favorites Michelle at The Vintage Apple to play along!

Source: Unknown via Pinterest
Source: via Pinterest
Source: weheartit via Pinterest
Source: Style + Substance via Pinterest
Don't these quotes just inspire? Which are your favorites? You can check out my pin board "Quotes Galore," and my other pin boards by following me here!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

M's Birthday Weekend!

As many of you already knew, it was M's birthday on Saturday. So, I planned for us to head off to Bronx Zoo. The weather turned out to be perfect, and we got there by 11AM, so it wasn't terribly crowded when we started checking out the different exhibits. 

LEGO Penguins!
All around the zoo (and it's a pretty big zoo), there were different animals made out of LEGOs. I loved the penguins and the giraffes the most!

Me, real giraffe (in the way background), LEGO giraffe
Bronx Zoo is also known for its butterfly garden exhibit. You're just surrounded by butterflies. This was a time when I wish I had a fancy camera like some of you bloggers because my picture of these butterflies just doesn't do them justice.

After a solid two hours of walking through the entire zoo (we saw every exhibit there was to see), we headed back home for some lunch and a nap. 

We came home to Figaro and Giada napping on M's gifts!
After the nap that lasted a little longer than we anticipated, M opened his gifts. Lots of fun things for playing golf, now we just need to get our butts out on the course...

Then it was time to cook that fabulous meal that I talked about: buffalo chicken, blue cheese dip, sweet potato fries and chips!

For dessert, we made a delicious summer fruit tart! 

Recipe can be found here!
With full bellies, it was time to head out to celebrate! Our friends J and S met us at one of the bars that we frequent in my hometown. Plenty of beer, shots, and mind erasers (thank you both J and S for those) made for a very fun night. 

M & I
Overall, it was a great birthday weekend! I love M so very much, and I can't wait to spend more birthdays with him. He made my birthday the best I've had to date, and I only hope I made his half as special. Happy birthday again, M! I love you!

Monday, August 22, 2011

M's Birthday Weekend Preview

Here's a little tease of what's to come for M's birthday recap post. Let's just say that this massive fruit tart is almost gone, and the weekend was a great success! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five on Friday

It's Friday? Already? WAHOO! All caps were definitely necessary to express my excitement. I'm linking up with Kat at Living Like the Kings, however I'm not going with her theme. Instead, I'm just sharing five random things. (Sorry Kat, but I don't have my Google Analytics fully set-up properly, so I don't have any funny stories to share.)

Figaro likes to pose for the camera
1. When I got up to go running this morning, four little paws were poking under my door to play. I love how playful Figaro and Giada are even though they have grown so much!

Giada watching the music video on my mom's iPad
2. I get to see M today! 
New Year's Eve 2011
3. My co-worker had her baby last weekend, and I get to meet the little one tonight after work. I'm so excited to meet her!

4. For M's birthday tomorrow, I am taking him to the Bronx Zoo. I can't remember the last time I went, so it should be a great time!

5. I started the FIRST running program this week from the book Run Less, Run FasterAll I have to say is that it is really challenging, and I'm super sore, but I also know that in the end I'm going to reap the benefits of my hard work.

Do you have any exciting plans for the weekend? Do you have five things to share? And of course, happy Friday!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Hello Thursday! How nice of you to arrive so quickly? Although, I am very excited for Friday to come so I can see M. Anywho, let's take our time today to remember how grateful we are for the little and big things in life. I'm linking up with Rebecca over at Southern Charm, per usual.

I am thankful for my bestest friend, Kim. Even though she's far away, and we don't talk as much as we should, she makes me happy.

I am thankful for sunflowers. Looking at them makes me happy, so I put them as the background on my computer).

I am thankful for bloggers! Without some of you, I wouldn't be inspired to do so many little (and big) projects around the house. It's those simple projects that can make a huge difference. 

I am thankful for my love of writing. I felt inspired this week and wrote a whole short story. Cross your fingers that it gets published!

I am thankful that this week flew by, and I am going to savor every single moment with M this weekend. (Two weeks feels like a dang long time!) 

What are you thankful for today (and every day)?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pleasingly Pinteresting

Good morning world! I am here! I am alive! And I am happy! (Eeew, I'm dripping with positivity, but that's how I'm feeling today.) I'm linking up with my fantastic friend Michelle at The Vintage Apple for "Oh How Pinteresting!" Wednesday. Ready for my latest pins?

It's M's birthday on Saturday, so for his special birthday dinner, I'm making these!
Source: more please via Pinterest

And his favorite food: buffalo chicken!
Source: eat at allie's via Pinterest

For dessert, we'll be having some fruit tart....
Source: Martha Stewart via Pinterest

Now, completely unrelated to M's birthday celebrations, here's a quote that I love about running. And I am a runner.
Source: Strive for progress, not perfection. via Pinterest

Lastly, here's a quote that I feel like suits me perfectly, and how I strive to live my life. 
Source: She Project Wisdom Proverb via Pinterest

Want to see more of my favorites on Pinterest? Check out my boards and pins here!
What are you loving on Pinterest today?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#6 Become a certified spin instructor

Spinning became one of my favorite workouts after my freshman year at Syracuse. I had gained the freshman seven and wanted to get back down to my healthy and happy weight. I joined a gym and tried spinning. Let's just say I got bitten with the spinning bug. I lost the weight really quickly and ab definition appeared! Who would have thought?
         It took me almost four years to realize that I wanted to teach classes. But a kneecap dislocation delayed that certification by about eight months. Then in August (of 2010), I crossed #6 off my list. I'm still working on actually teaching my own classes, or at least substituting, but that's just perfectly fine with me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Keep Your Head Up

Well it has been raining here since I woke up yesterday morning and continues to keep raining. Everything is really green and beautiful, but I am definitely in a questionable mood. Then, I hear a great song on the radio. So for all of you feeling that Monday-blah, here's a little pick-me-up!

Friday, August 12, 2011

M & A - The First Encounter

Warning: This is a very long post. I usually try to keep my posts short and sweet, but the beginning of our love story is not short, but still very sweet. 

When I was in high school, I got my very first job working for a retail store called Irresistibles (almost eight years ago). And one of the first people I met was Moy - a petite and bubbly blonde with lots of personality exuding from such a small person. Her energy drew you to her, so I knew we would become friends. 

Moy happens to be M's aunt (also M's mom's twin sister). I happily worked with her, and we ended up becoming very close. I could talk to her about anything and everything, and her the same with me. She was someone I knew I could always count on. She would share stories about her three nephews, but she never offered to introduce them, so I stayed mum.

Even after the Greenwich location of the store closed and our lives went in different directions, we still maintained our friendship. When I moved home from college, she and I started spending afternoons having brunch or lunch dates and seeing movies. All the while, I was very much enjoying dating and the single life.  

One Sunday, we had brunch and were going to see the first installment of the final Harry Potter. Earlier in the week, she had called to say that her nephew (M) was going to be parking his car at her house when he went into Manhattan for the night. She claimed she wasn't setting us up and simply wanted us to meet. She described him as smart (took all of his classes in Spanish while studying abroad) and an athlete (captain of the track team in high school and ran track for his university). So I had zero expectations for him and agreed to meet him as a courtesy to her. 

Meanwhile, matchmaker Moy had called M to say the same to him. She wasn't setting us up, just wanted us to meet. She described me as cute (he thought I was fat) and published (he thought I was a nerd). So he had extremely low expectations for me. Neither of us expected any attraction, let alone any interest in spending time together. 

After the movies, we met M and his roommate at the train station. Blown away by how handsome, well-spoken, and gentlemanly he was, I went from outgoing and bubbly Amanda to a very nervous and shy version of me. We spent maybe an hour helping Moy move things from her garage to her basement, and I tried to hide my nervousness by making small talk with his roommate and catching glimpses of this handsome guy. 

I had to head home for a family dinner, so Moy had the boys follow us in M's car to where she was going to take them for an afternoon snack. Through the car window, we shook hands (so strange) and said goodbye. Moy eagerly asked what I thought, and I wrote my cellphone number on the back of my business card. She took it, and I knew that she would pass it along to M. 

The next night, I got a text from a number I did not know. It was M! Cue an instant smile on my face and giddy butterflies fluttering in my stomach. He asked to take me out, so countless texts and planning later, we had a weekend set for our first date (or our first three dates). Stay tuned for more on our little love story...

...and then M saved me from a fully-grown Bengal tiger, while fighting off a silverback gorilla with only his bare hands! The end. Just keeeeeding. Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I can't believe has gone by already. A week ago today, I was sitting on an airplane on my way to Las Vegas. Now, I'm back on the east coast and loving every minute of it. So I'm linking up with Rebecca over at Southern Charm to list out many of the things I'm grateful for.

I am thankful for these powerful legs of mine. Who would have thought that the gift of being able to run for such a long distance would make me so incredibly happy? Is it possible to still be on an endorphin high four days later?
This is my favorite picture that I'm going to spend a small fortune to purchase.
I am thankful for having the best parents anyone could ask for. Not only are they supportive, they're also friends. 

I am thankful for this handsome guy. I miss him a lot this week and have to wait another week to see him, but guess who's birthday is super soon? (And it's not mine...)

I am thankful for my friends. And I'm especially missing the ones that are far away right now. But I'm also enjoying my new friends that I've been making too!
Anne and Kimbo - December 2009
I am thankful that this weekend I am going to have a mini stay-cation, which will include working out, soaking up the sun at the pool, getting a pedicure, and lots of writing. 

And last, but not least, I am thankful that it is almost apple picking season. I can't wait to have M join in the family tradition!
Apple Picking 2009 - I went with friends in 'cuse because I missed the family event.
What are you thankful for today? 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half Marathon

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of pouring rain. It was a little after 3AM, so that meant I could get in another hour or so of sleep. I checked the weather forecast...rain, all morning. I drifted back to sleep and had dreams of running 13 laps around a track.
        When my alarm went off, M was already getting ready to go. Yes, he got up at 4:30 AM to come watch me run in the rain. If that's not true love, then I don't know what is. We got to the race a good hour before the start time. I stretched and stood under the umbrella with him until filing into my corral. Then we waited...and waited. We probably didn't actually start until a half hour after the official start time of 7AM due to the need to clear the roads.
          Covered in goose bumps, we finally listened to the gun go off. When our corral was released, I was eager to start my journey. I was happy. I kept thinking about how I am a part of this group. A group of people with a passion so strong for running that we get up at 4:30 on a Sunday morning to run 13.1 miles in pouring rain. That's what life is all about, right? Finding your passions and living them.
I'm over on the right with my hands in the air - very happy!

A close-up, but of course I'm looking down.
          The race went really well for me as a matter of fact. I didn't mind having to wring out my shorts or stop to stretch my legs. It was when that sharp pain hit that my only thought was to finish the race. I didn't even think I could still shave minutes off my previous half marathon time.
Just trying to run through to the finish
         I'll admit it. I did walk. And then I power walked, but I still kept going. I pushed through to run the last mile and cried through the finish line. I cried when I saw M, and all I could think of was being dry and warm. I didn't take any pictures this time, but all I could think of was a sign that I saw.
         It was early on in the race, and she was standing in her rain gear cheering on this massive group of crazy runners. In one hand she held up a poster-sized sign and scribbled in messy writing it said "Pain is temporary, bragging rights are permanent." I wish I had had a camera so I could take a picture of it.
          It's true. I feel so proud to have completed another half marathon. And the pain is only temporary, but to say that I did something I loved for the rest of my life is completely worth it. And to know that M stood in the rain for 2 hours to watch me finish makes this memory all the more special.

I'm kind of in the middle of it all

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half Marathon - Expo

           After too many hours of driving, I got to Providence on Saturday afternoon to pick up my race packet. I had never been to a race expo before, so this was kind of like a running junkie's dream. Big signs, lots of people who loved to run, and really cool stuff!

Next to one of the signs for the race!
I had originally signed up for this race to run with some of M's girl friends. But after a little confusion, they couldn't run the race. I was really disappointed and sad that they wouldn't be there, but the adrenaline of all the great running stuff definitely cheered me. 
           I picked up my race number, swag bag, and did a little shopping. I went to the Sports Authority booth and bought a great tank, neon pink shirt, and awesome pink shorts! I didn't end up wearing any of them in the race, but I'm looking forward to sporting them during one of my next workouts. 
           I also picked up two car magnets. One for myself (it's pink, of course), and one for the fabulous Christin over at A Classy, Southern Wife. I couldn't resist!

          After about an hour of shopping and wandering, I headed up to Boston. I couldn't wait to see M and enjoy an evening of carb loading and a movie. Simple girl on a simple date enjoying life's simple pleasures...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Missing in Blogging Action

Yes, I have temporarily disappeared from the blogging world. No, this is not permanent. And I seriously miss writing, reading, and commenting in this world wide web of blogs.
          I don't really know where to begin, but I guess I'll start with an apology for not reading and staying up to date on your blogs. Normally, I am much better about this, but I cherish and need my sleep. And without it, I become a cranky, cranky girl.
          I wish I was one of those magically people who could live on a little bit of sleep. You know, the people who can pull all-nighters or just sleep for as few as five hours. That's not me. Without sleep, I can become highly emotional and quite unpleasant to be around. So tonight, instead of catching up, I am going to crawl into my cozy bed and sleep.
          I promise I'll be back in action soon! I'm still playing catch up from last week's travel and busy weekend.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I'm linking up with my great friend Rebecca from Southern Charm to just be thankful for all of life's blessings and what I'm thankful for today.

I am thankful for being able to travel with my company, meet new people, face new challenges, and truly enjoy the field of work I'm in. (I'm currently standing in JFK waiting for my flight to board, woot!)

I am thankful for my great health and strong body that allows me to do all sorts of activities, including my passion of running.

I am thankful for the new and big life changes that await me.

I am thankful for living so close to my extended family and getting to spend time with them as much as I want.

I am thankful for the summer heat and summer adventures.

What are you thankful for today? Go link up with Rebecca!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quotin' Pinterest

Wednesday? Already? Where is this week going? I leave for Vegas bright and early tomorrow. My bags are packed, and I'm leaving on a jet plane, but I know when I'll be back again. Go link up with the beautiful Michelle over at The Vintage Apple for "Oh, How Pinteresting!" Wednesday. I'm sharing some of my favorite quotes today!

Source: via Pinterest

Source: via Pinterest

Source: via Pinterest

Source: via Pinterest
What are you quotin' on Pinterest?
You can check out other quotes that I've pinned and more by following me here!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book-It-Forward Winner!

So remember the giveaway that I did last week? Well, I have a wonderful winner.
If you haven't already, pretty please check out her blog because she has awesome photos and is quite the fashionista!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Confessing During Bachelorette

Yes, I'm terribly late in the day on posting, and I'm watching The Bachelorette while I write this. Who am I?! It's after 9PM, and I have yet to read a single blog or write a post, but I'm here now! I'm linking up with Rissy because I need to do a lot of confessing...stat!

I confess that this week is already crazy busy at work, and it's only Monday.

I confess that I feel guilty because I know that I am going to be a bad blog friend this week. Why? Because work, life, traveling, and running are making me insanely busy.

I confess that I am so pumped to go to Las Vegas for work on Thursday!

I confess that I can't wait to run the Providence Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon on Sunday.

I confess that I'm beyond happy, and it's a wonderful feeling. That is all.

Do you have any confessions? Go link up with my fabulous Riss!