June 29, 2015

Do me

I am officially crossing over. I am no longer in my early 20s. Feels weird. I am realizing that there are some things that I need to do before I get older. This kind of goes with my tidbits I shared of what should have already been accomplished.

Stop eating junk food
Fast food, junk food, it is easy and fast after making money at your job all day. I can buy lots of junk food, but I can't buy health. I need to give it up. I eat wayyyy too much!

Maintain/repair relationships with my parents and siblings
Life is too short.

Stop not wearing sunscreen
I do not want wrinkles or thin skin from the sun.

Exercise regularly
I cannot wait to start building a consistent active lifestyle after recovering from this ACL surgery. I want to keep my weight at a normal and healthy level for myself.

Don't delay on my life goals
I feel like changes I have wanted to make, I never really felt I knew when to make them. Truth be told, I will never know. Just go and do!

Give back
As much as I can and when I can.

Travel whenever I can
It is so amazing to be and see different places.

Make my home the best
Even with the love I have for traveling, I want my home to be the base where comfort and safety is felt. It needs to be the best place for me and my family.

Get a massage
Because yeah, why not?!


Sometimes, you just gotta do you!

June 26, 2015

26

It's my birthday Sunday and I turn 26 for the first time. ;-)
I am a person who loves celebrations, I love holidays, and anniversaries are a big deal. I am that girl.

I find myself wishing that I could go back to the simpler days of elementary school, when your mom brought in cupcakes on your birthday and you sat in the middle of the room while your classmates sang Happy Birthday and you got presents and everyone truly celebrating you being born. Because in that time stopped and it was glorious. (except the one year that the teacher forgot to include my birthday with the rest of the summer birthdays...scarred me for life)

Birthdays are cool. It is a time you can celebrate life. which is pretty cool! My big birthday plans consist of eating chocolate and doing laundry.


I have to work the two days before and the two days after my birthday.

Life doesn't always stand still or go in slow motion for us to celebrate it, in fact, in my experience, it rarely does...if ever.

So you have to celebrate its ordinary moments and make them special because that is truly the stuff of life and I don't want to miss it because I was looking for fireworks.


June 24, 2015

25 Things You Should Actually Do Before 25

I have talked before about my husband. I love him. We are absolutely the right people for each other. I have also talked about being married young. You see articles that read: 23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged At 23 which would be fine if it was offering fantastic ideas or life advice to inspire you if that is not the track you are on. Instead those articles seem to trend to: how can you know yourself, it is a mistake, be you and don't get married. That sucks.



At 23 you are an adult. Grab responsibility and be your own person regardless of marital status. In honor of turning 26 this week, I wanted to look back. There are many things that I feel you need to do before 25:

1. Know how to look after yourself. Keep your home and self clean. You would be surprised how many people don't have a concept of this...so sad.
2. Learn to be financially savvy. This may not necessarily mean financial independence, but it is important to know how to pay bills, live to a budget and understand how a bank account works.
3. On that note, start investing in your retirement. It is an investment in you.
4. Learn to cook from scratch. Good for the health, good for the bank balance.
5. Take the time to tell your parents how much you appreciate them and tell them how much they mean to you.


6. Know your alcohol limit. It doesn’t stop you from staying out until 2:00am, it just means you can do so without blacking out.
7. Get a work out regimen going. Be healthy.
8. Sometimes, take the time to do absolutely nothing but indulge yourself. Rest, relax, have a long hot bath, read a book, sleep all day.
9. If you can, travel as much as possible with people you love. It doesn’t have to be abroad – explore your home country. Road trip, anyone?
10. Give your time to a charitable cause.


11. Go out in fancy dress.
12. Learn at least the basic elements of a foreign language.
13. See your favorite singer/band in concert.
14. Forgive (doesn’t mean you have to forget) and move on.
15. Spend 24 hours without any media – no internet, TV, phone or consoles. 


16. Learn to say no, to yourself and to others.
17. Get rid of that friend who makes your time together a chore. Best thing I ever did.
18. Take pictures. Lots of pictures.
19. Take a dive, start something new.
20. Understand that if you really want something, you’re going to have to start working for it, or be really good at asking for it.


21. Splurge on something that you’ve always wanted.
22. Be grateful for what you have.
23. Try something new with your hair.
24. Host a party.
25. Be you and continue to learn everyday.



Do you agree with this list?
What would you advise?

June 23, 2015

Tuesday Thoughts

I am in total agreement with Carolina Herrera's assessment of these celebrities dresses. These "nude" dresses are terrible! Beauty over fashion for sure! It is all about sophistication and beauty!

I can't believe I agree with Bob Costas (Not a fan of him) but I am SO OVER Bruce Caitlyn Jenner. He had a great point here. #sorrynotsorry

Nikki Minaj. I cannot get behind (literally you have a big behind) most of your music. But I can get behind Hey Mama. #BadForMyBaby #KeepItInCheck Not that my husband listens to music lyrics...but I do!



This article is too funny! These are things that moms do for their kids that the kids don't care about...so basically they are doing it for themselves. Maybe I'll understand more of these things when I am a mother myself, but I think this is just on point!

I celebrated my 3rd Blogiversary and I love all the joys blogging has brought me...If you are thinking of starting a blog, you should! This article is why you should blog. I am lookin at you Andrea!

Speaking of friends starting blogs, I am very happy that my friends have entered the blog world to document their beautiful path to adoption. I am so happy for you both!

On a personal note, I don't know if I have mentioned it around the good ol blog here, but I switched jobs! I am really enjoying it so far!

I mentioned here that I am healing from my ACL reconstruction. So far so good, I am starting to feel a bit more normal.

I really wish that I could find fresh peonies in Tucson. I want some really pretty fresh flowers here!

As for reaching my goals I set on getting and staying thin, I don't know if I am doing a great job at it. I have to get on it! Speaking of, does anyone want to bring me some chocolate?! ;-)


There are my random thoughts this Tuesday.
Have a great day!

June 22, 2015

The Double vs. Single Sink Debate

In the kitchen that is...
Do they even make double sinks for bathrooms?
I'm sure, everything seems to be a possibility now a day...

The kitchen sink is a busy place. You do your prep work and your cleaning all there. It's important to choose a sink that's well suited to your daily needs and complements your working style. It didn't take Kevin and I to decide that in our kitchen that single was the way to go! A single-bowl model can be a versatile and convenient option for the kitchen work zone. We chose an under mount granite composite for our sink and we wouldn't change a thing about it.


We have lived with this sink for now almost three years and I still feel the same way. Never the less, I thought I would share some pros and cons for choosing a single bowl sink.

Pros
Single-bowl sinks can work well in any size of kitchen, but they're especially useful in small kitchens with limited counter space. (Hey we have all been there!) A large double bowl sink may overwhelm a small room.
If you are mainly using the kitchen sink to rinse dishes before putting them into the dishwasher, a single-bowl sink may be all you need. They make washing large items much easier. You can you lay a turkey pan, crock pot, cookie sheet, whatever entirely flat in the bottom for soaking or cleaning.


Cons

They can make it a little more challenging to work on separate tasks simultaneously. If you often clean up as you are preparing food, for example, or if you wash and rinse dishes at the sink, a double sink can make these tasks easier. 


Not a big drawback for me and clearly that is why I love me a nice big kitchen sink.


What about you guys?
Are you double....or single? ;-)

June 19, 2015

Happy Father's Day

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have two parents. A mom and a dad are a wealth of information in guidance--often in different ways. There is always a lesson in something they teach us (whether they intend to or not.)

Today I want to talk about my dad. He is a pretty incredible guy. He has been through a lot in his life and continues to be a strong pillar for me. He has taught me important life lessons throughout the years that I thought I would share here in honor of Father's Day.

Good things come to those who work hard. 
Dad worked and my mom was a stay at home mom. It didn't bring in tons of cash flow, but we always managed to have just what we needed. They both worked hard for our family house and made it our family home. My dad was out there building everything and rebuilding us our dream home step by step. He worked hard to give us what we wanted.

Don’t settle.
Put forth your best and whatever that is, will be good enough. What you do doesn't have to be perfect, you don't have to be the best, but give it your best. Don't just sit back and say "oh, that is okay...that will do." 

Go find what you wanna do. 
You’re never going to get what you want in life if you sit back and wait for it to come to you. Sometimes opportunity lands in your lap but that is usually because of all the legwork you have done leading up to it. If there is something you want in life, make it happen.

Leave your sister alone. 
My younger sister would "bother" me when we were younger. My mom would tell me/us to stop fighting frequently, but I knew when my dad came in, it was serious and I needed to stop. Often times he didn't even have to say anything. I should have listened more because while it seems trivial I think it had a big meaning to impact the future. Don't stomp on anyone. They may stop coming around.

Another example of don't stomp on anyone is that my dad was driving young Lauren home one day and I saw the workers out in the field picking chili peppers. I made a comment to the effect of "why would anyone pick that as a job?!" He stopped the car and spoke to the guy working and all of a sudden I was picking chili. When I got back into the car, I was crying, my hands burned, I made the mistake of touching my face, and my dad said...they do jobs that you don't want to so you can go out and do what you want to and still have chili to eat. Best lesson ever.

Money cannot buy happiness and Family first. 
Being together is what makes him happy. Sure if I needed gas money or anything, he was there for me, but he was truly a man that was made happy with being together with his family. That is something money can't buy.

You can do absolutely anything you want in life. 
When I graduated from nursing school he stood by proud and supportive beaming with pride. When I had trouble immediately finding a job, he gave me words of encouragement and reminded me that I can do anything and it just may take time. He told me I worked hard and it will pay off. I sure can do anything in my life...with him by my side. 

I told you my dad is great! I honestly don’t believe I could have done half the things I have done in my life without his support and encouragement. Happy Father's Day Dad!!!


What are some great lessons your dad has taught you? Feel free to tell me about your dad in the comments...after all, this weekend is about the dads!

June 18, 2015

Morning Work Out Motivation

I seriously don't have it. I keep telling myself that I have never been able to work out in the morning. Then I realized I was lying to myself. In high school I had to be at swim practice at 0545 and had to go directly from there to school and then directly from school to swim practice again before getting to go home. So I had to have my whole day planned and ready to go and oh yeah I had a 40 minute drive from home. That is early! Before my ACL injury, my body hated me if I tried running in the morning. Now status post injury I am telling myself GET MOTIVATED! I did and now I am finally feeling better. It took a lot, but I am here to share how to get up, out, and motivated in the morning!

Some mornings are struggles but at five or six later that night when everyone is struggling to go to the gym after a long day of work, you can smile and know that you have already done something today.  When I worked 8 hour days I would find that hour after work where I would have been working out, I could get all my errands done and be home eating dinner at a reasonable hour. When I workout after work, go to the grocery store and get around to eating dinner sometimes it is 9 at night. Now that I am working 12 hour days, I do one little morning workout and no evening workouts. On days I don't work I workout in the morning after my body gets some sleep. My morning workouts when I work are some stretches, crunches, and squats for 5-10 minutes, but hey at least it is something!



How to Motivate to Get Up for Early Morning Workouts.


Make sure to go to bed at a decent hour.
Waking up in the morning to an alarm is just terrible anyway, but I have to ensure that whatever time I am getting up that I get at least 6-7 hours of sleep in there. Otherwise I will not be human.

Lay out your clothes the night before.
Kevin is still asleep when I am waking up so I lay my clothes out in another room so that I can have the added benefit of a little light getting ready in the morning. I pack my lunch and everything I will need for work too. Planning helps!

Just get out.
Honestly I don't even realize I'm out of the house till I'm in my car. Make it a routine. Alarm goes off, change into clothes on the chair by the bed, brush teeth, grab water, keys and head out the door. I am out of my house sometimes 10 minutes after the alarm goes off. No social media Lauren!!!

Sign up for something that costs money if you cancel.
This is one of the biggest motivators for me. If I have signed up for a gym, Barre Class or whatever....my butt is out of bed.  Money or wasting money is a big motivator to get out of a warm bed.

Sign up for things with other people.
I don't have a work out buddy like most people say to get, but I do feel like I need to get out and do it, especially if I have a class or place to be. People and classes motivate me.


What do you do to motivate yourself to workout?

June 17, 2015

Savannah, Georgia

For our 3rd Anniversary, Kevin and I took an incredible week vacation spending time in four states: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. I am going through all the highlights. Enjoy!

See part 1 {here} Greenville/Asheville
See part 2 {here} Blue Ridge Parkway
See part 3 {here} Virginia/Outer Banks
See part 4 {here} Charleston
See part 5 {here} Savannah
Snapchat Round Up {here}


Savannah had a lot of the same characteristics as Charleston but in a darker way. I don't know if that made any sense...

If you find yourself in Savannah there are four things I recommend you check out:

The Squares
There are 22 historical squares and they are all pretty great. Savannah really takes pride in Chippewa Square where the Forrest Gump bench scene was filmed. We certainly got our steps in walking to all of them!


Oh and seriously walk down Jones Street. It has been voted one of the most beautiful streets in North America by Southern Living.

SCAD
All around you is Savannah College of Art and Design, you can't miss it and it is pretty cool. While we were there graduation happened. Super cool people!

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
This Catholic Church is one with a lot of beauty and history. And when I say a lot, I mean it is really big!


The Andaz
We stayed at this Hyatt based hotel off of points and it was nice! The location, atmosphere, and service was all very nice.


Food note:
Oh my gosh and I can't do a post without talking about food. If anyone tells you to eat at Lady and Sons. JUST DON'T. SO GROSS.
FAIL SAVANNAH....FAIL.


Have you ever been really let down at a restaurant?
What do you like to do in Savannah?

June 16, 2015

Charleston, South Carolina

For our 3rd Anniversary, Kevin and I took an incredible week vacation spending time in four states: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. I am going through all the highlights this week. Enjoy! 

See part 1 {here} Greenville/Asheville
See part 2 {here} Blue Ridge Parkway
See part 3 {here} Virginia/Outer Banks
See part 5 {here} Savannah
Snapchat Round Up {here}

After spending just two days in Charleston, SC, I am in love. Two days was not enough to try all we wanted, but it was a nice taste! I have caught myself day dreaming about what it would like to be to live Low Country Life. The homes are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. They are historic dripping with charm and elegance.



Here are 5 things you must do if you are in Charleston and the highlights from our trip:

one: Eat
We were some well fed people. We ate dinner one night at Fleet Landing. It is truly waterfront (in Waterfront Park...see below) so you need to eat outside and it wasn't outrageously expensive. It has it's own free parking lot too! It looks like it is in an abandoned warehouse but the inside is nicer I promise.

We also ate at Magnolias which was a beautiful restaurant in every sense of the word. The ambiance, service, food, it is all really great!

We didn't get to try Hominy Grill which has The Big Nasty. Apparently people have moved to Charleston just for that. Other restaurants that we didn't try but will save for next time: Fig, Husk, Taco Boy, Toast, and Fulton Five.

Btw, follow me on Yelp {here}

two: The Battery
The park, the architecture of the homes, the weather...it is all so beautiful! At the end of this post, the word beautiful won't mean anything because I have said it so much--but I promise I mean it! It is all perfect to walk off all that food too!






three: Rainbow Row
We enjoyed taking long walks along Rainbow Row. It is amazing that Rainbow Row used be the slums. The pastel houses are so well maintained and well done that it looks great!



four: Waterfront Park
The cool breeze of the water and the gorgeous architecture make for an enjoyable evening walk.



five: Magnolia Plantation
It was a humid day for this desert girl, but the plantation grounds were just so beautiful. I got to see lots of landscape that I don't normally see. I also saw some wildlife that I have never seen. Woah!






Seriously, if you haven't been to Charleston, I recommend it! 
Have you been to Charleston?
What is your favorite thing to do there?

June 15, 2015

Blue Ridge Parkway

For our 3rd Anniversary, Kevin and I took an incredible week vacation spending time in four states: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. I am going through all the highlights this week. Enjoy!

See part 1 {here} Greenville/Asheville
See part 3 {here} Virginia/Outer Banks
See part 4 {here} Charleston
See part 5 {here} Savannah
Snapchat Round Up {here}


The Blue Ridge Parkway. Seriously, a major highlight. If you are ever near Asheville, you need to do this beautiful, scenic two lane park. The hiking and views are all incredible.

Here are some of the highlights of the Blue Ridge Parkway:



From South to North. Asheville to Roanoke.
Forgive me these are all out of order!



Milepost 291.9 US 221/321 
Right off of the Parkway here is Boone. This little town has Appalachian State University. I am so glad we stopped here. Boone did not disappoint! We settled on eating at Proper. So good, Friendly service, a beautiful little patio, and great food.




Milepost 302.8-303
 Rough Ridge. My favorite stop! There is a moderate 1/3 mile hike to a boardwalk atop a rocky ridge along Tanawha Trail with beautiful views.



Just so you know, this was already there, we did not disturb nature!
Happy Anniversary to us!


The views were incredible!




Milepost 316.4
Linville Falls had the most gorgeous waterfall. They classified the hike we took to the plunge basin (pictured) was difficult to the falls. It was my definition of easy...ACL tear and all!




Milepost 320.8
Chestoa View. Stop and walk a short trail to one of the best views on the Parkway.


Milepost 334
Right off the parkway here is Little Switzerland. We stayed in a little Inn for the night here. It was a good rest point for us so we could do more of the parkway.

Milepost 362.1
 Glassmine Falls Overlook. After a good rain you can really see this 200-foot waterfall from across the valley. During drier periods, the waterfall almost dries up. We could see it a little, but it was pretty dry.


Milepost 364
Craggy Gardens. The high-elevation summits boast some of the most spectacular floral displays along the Parkway, including a breathtaking rhododendron garden that bursts with color in June (it was starting when we were there. Mount Mitchell is the highest point in eastern North America and can be seen from here as well.

Milepost 355.0
Ridge Junction Overlook. The panoramic views of the Black Mountains are pretty cool!

Milepost 237.0
Air Bellows Overlook. I guess it gets its name because the wind gets strong in the winter. Otherwise you stand on a crest overlooking a valley of beautiful Christmas Trees.

Others that we stopped at:
tanbark ridge overlook
grandfather mountain
graybeard mountain overlook
green knob overlook
devils backbone
puckett cabin

Throughout the parkway, you can see a change in terrain and majesty. I think this would be a beautiful and totally different experience in the fall. For me the North Carolina side was the prettiest. I felt like there was better hiking and views on that side.


Who wants to come with me in the fall?

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