Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday's Letters #2

Dear Tim, three weeks from tomorrow. What am I forgetting? I am so excited!

Dear Shawn, sorry I left the gym and didn't come to your BodyCombat class. I wanted to get 6 miles in and then did another mile speed walking. I didn't have it in me for your torture today.

Dear Target, why did you have so many cute dresses today? Although that was maddening you did help me complete my honeymoon shopping I think.

Dear Molly, your baubles are coming...I wanted to get the perfect thing(s). I promise they'll be worth the wait.

Dear wedding dress, thank you for fitting today. I celebrated with Chick-fil-a. See you July 20th!

Dear BaubleBar necklaces, you're big! It was surprising. I need to find an outfit to try you on with.

Dear new readers, say hi please! And tell me something about yourself!

Dear payday, I'm so excited you've come, because I've been dying to see how much I'm getting paid for these summer commitments! 

And lastly, dear everyone, why not link up with Lori, Meghan, and me for our monthly goal linkup? We're posting it Monday July 2!

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fitness Fashion + a question!


I think I realized that I've turned into a workout-aholic when it was more important to me to find cute workout clothes than it was to find cute clothes to wear during the day or out at night. I don't always spend a ton of money on workout clothes, and find great deals at Target and other inexpensive places, but that doesn't stop me from loving some lululemon every once in a while. I have had to stop reading their emails so that I stop meandering over to the site and clicking through their amazing weekly offerings.

That being said, I wear it all the time, and I do care a little about how I look when I go to the gym. I always feel better when I still look put together, and I also feel more confident in my workout when I'm confident in what I'm wearing to the gym. When I leave, that's another story. I definitely subscribe to this motto:
And don't you worry, I will not be sharing what I look like when I leave. If I'm not a sweaty mess I don't feel like I've done anything, and I'm fairly certain none of you want to see that (although I think you've seen those pics a few time in some of my race recap posts).

It's been a little while since I've written about working out, but don't you worry. I'm still there all the time getting my sweat on, and I've recently added swimming to my workouts. I was lucky enough to discover that my neighborhood pool that I've not had a working key fob for in several years is actually 25 yards and 6 lanes. 
My favorite ways to sweat?
Of course running still tops the list. BodyPump has moved up to a close second, with BodyCombat, spin, and swimming not far behind in third. It might honestly be like the tie for second place that is currently being disputed for the second Olympic spot in the 100 meter between Felix and Tarmoh. Coin toss for an Olympic spot anyone?!

So a few questions for you...
Do you care about how you look when you go to workout?
What is your favorite way to sweat?
Most importantly, do you want to hear more specifics about working out, like class reviews, daily workouts, weekly recaps, etc?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Two books you should read


I've been saying in comment responses for a little bit now that I'm going to post some book reviews soon. I'd been procrastinating because other things have come up that I've wanted to share, but today's the day. I've got two books to share with you that I enjoyed quite a lot. I'll review them in the order I read them.
Emma Donaghue's Room is written on a fairly disturbing premise, but it is told from the perspective of the five year old son, which adds naivety and lightness to otherwise heavy content. At 19 years old, Jack's mom was kidnapped and taken hostage to a room in a man's home. She is held there with no windows and no outside access, and during that time she conceives Jack. In a world that must have been incredibly depressing for her, she creates an environment for Jack that is fun, educational, and physically active. He tells tales of games she creates to get their exercises, birthday cakes she bakes for him with their "Sunday treat", creative tales they devise of bath time and bed time. It is only on the rare occasion you as a reader remember the premise of the book. At night, Jack sleeps in a wardrobe, because the man comes in to visit his mother. Again, because of the perspective it is not nearly as depressing as it sounds. 

After Jack's fifth birthday, he and his mom start devising a plan to escape Room (Jack refers to things as proper nouns, such as Bed, Window, etc.). What happens next is a story of hope and individuality, as Jack learns that his mom is more than just that. It also teaches the reader the importance of perspective in a story, as I finished what seems to be a heavy story without a sense grief or sadness about the situation. 

I would recommend this book to anyone, really. It takes a bit to get into it, as I was tired of hearing descriptions of Room by 20% (I read on a Kindle and it tells me %'s instead of page numbers). But once the storyline picks up, it's hard to put down. I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is a true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who grows up always in trouble and finds his strides in running. After almost graduating from USC, he joins the Army Air Force Corps during World War II and becomes a bombardier in the Pacific theatre of the war. After several successful bombing missions, Louie's plane goes down while out on a rescue mission. He and several other men on board survive the horrific crash and then spend over 40 days on a raft in the middle of Pacific Ocean while rescue planes and eventually Japanese fly overhead. Louie is then taken as an undeclared POW by the Japanese, and much of the book is spent addressing the struggles he endures in the internment camps and dealing with different officers along the way. 

Laura Hillenbrand is without question a literary genius. As I was reading and came across incredible foreshadowing and nuances throughout the book, I was bowled over. She spent seven years researching for this book, and she ties together all of her interviews and reading with an invisible stitch. I honestly felt like I was sitting on Louie's shoulder as everything was happening, and at some times I wished that I wasn't. His story is one of courage, military honor, and extreme bravery. I don't understand how someone could endure so much and still have the will to survive.

And because I'm a history teacher and was a history major in college, I also appreciated learning about the Japanese atrocities and the Pacific theatre in the war. I never realized the extent of that part of the war, as Hitler's attempt for world domination and the horrific Holocaust that occurred in Europe tends to be what is taught in schools and focused on during college courses.

One last note, then I'll cut my long review to a close. I was in tears at the end of war; they weren't ladylike tears but ugly crying tears. But after the war there is still quite a bit left. That part lasted a bit longer than I thought it needed to, but it did give me a completely new and whole-hearted appreciation for military veterans who come back to normal life and are expected to function as though they haven't experienced the atrocities of war. 

For so many reasons, I would heavily encourage you to read this book. It is one that will not long be forgotten and will continue to sit at the top of my list of favorite books (along with The Count of Monte Cristo).

Next up, as you saw yesterday, I'm reading Mindy Kaling's autobiography. I needed a light read that wouldn't have me in stitches throughout its pages and tears in the end.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
What is your favorite book?
What other books would you suggest couldn't be missed as I have time this summer to read?

Read my other book reviews for ideas.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Wonderful Weekend in Photos

Tampa's finally getting a break from the rain for a few hours, and things are definitely looking soggy around these parts. I'm safe from major flooding where I live, but definitely keep Florida, and all of the Gulf Coast, in your thoughts, as the rain picking up to today will lead to flooded roads, rising water near homes, and dangerous driving situations. 

This weekend was one of those weekends without anything planned (except Leah's baby shower on Sunday), and the rain was sort of welcomed. It made being lazy and doing house chores all day and getting to do lists done really acceptable. Not that I need rain to keep me inside, but something about it makes me feel like there's nothing else I should be doing. Do you know what I mean? In fact, after biking (almost 9 miles on the stationary bike) and swimming (1000 yards) on Friday, I didn't even workout this weekend! It was a well-enjoyed break.

Here are a few shots {from instagram} of what I did do this weekend.
1. I wore my new necklace that Annemarie sent me on Friday and got several compliments.
2. I got two new additions to my arm stacks. I got the neon yellow skull above and a red one (you can get them at BaubleBar).
 3. Tim still hadn't gotten fitted for his tux, so we headed to his fitting on Friday and stopped at Pinkberry for a treat! I got the Peanut Butter and it was delicious.
4. I treated myself to a pedicure on Saturday morning and started Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me. So far, very funny!
 5. On a Target run for a children's book and some gift wrap, I had to pick up these amazing looking berries that were at amazing prices.
6. And somehow the Michelob Ultra Light Cider I've been reading about on everyone's blogs and some hint of lime chips jumped into the cart. I was mad that they made it in there when I got home, but I figured if they made it home I should probably enjoy them. ;)
 7. I've been taking more outfit of the day photos (and posting them on instagram @lttlegrlbigwrld), and this was my Sunday baby shower outfit.
8. Before leaving Leah's shower, I wanted to grab just one picture. I'm sure she'll do a recap of her whole shower on her blog. It was very nice. These are a few of the girls that are friends because of our husbands/fiances/boyfriends. It's so nice to have such a fun group to hang out with.
9. And lastly, I made raspberry and lime infused water when I got home from Target, and after a day to really sit, it was delicious! All I did was muddle half a pack of raspberries into a pitcher of water and then added the juice of one lime. When I poured it into my glass I added another handful of raspberries just to get the full effect.
On top of everything you see here, I also got all the laundry in the house done (somehow the washer and dryer are currently sitting empty...I think that may be a first), did the dishes, organized the downstairs a bit, wrote out my rehearsal dinner invitations (that I still need to address), and caught up on blogging! What a weekend!

How was your weekend?
What was one fun thing that happened?

I'm linking up with Hayley today for Life Lately and Leeann for Weekend Update and Molly's new linkup #YOLO Mondays.
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday's Letters


Last Saturday when I was doing some serious blog catching up (I'm still not caught up yet...please forgive me if you haven't noticed comments from me on your blog), I read so many Friday's letters; I began to love each more than the one before, so I decided that I would write letters this Friday as well.

I'm linking up with Ashley for this fun one.
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Dear Tim, I cannot wait to marry you in less than one month. I'm sure it's going to fly by, and I'm sort of nervous with all we have left to do. Do me a favor and help me stay relaxed about everything? Also, please don't be prying through things right now trying to figure out my secrets. They're secret for a reason. 
Dear Annemarie, you completely overwhelmed me when you sent me a Stella & Dot bracelet I've been dying for and also surprised me with a necklace. I can honestly say that this type of kindness gives me so much hope about people in the world; I don't even know you beyond little bits of blogging and tweeting, but you quickly offered to give them to me when I said I liked them a lot and you said you wouldn't be able to wear them. Again, thank you. 
    It's the spikey silver one on the left and the coral necklace.
Dear Mom, sorry I sometimes get short on the phone when talking about guest lists and wedding plans. I just get anxious about it from time to time, and because I know you're always going to love me and be there for me you're the lucky recipient of the anxiety. I love you and appreciate you listening to me through my stresses, wedding related or not.

Dear friends and family coming to Tampa for the wedding, you have no idea how much it means to me. I know it's not close and not inexpensive, but the fact that you're coming to celebrate with me and Tim makes me inexplicably happy and joyful. I would name you all one by one, but I know most of you don't read my blog. Laura, Calley, and Blair, I know you do, and I am immensely grateful. I feel so loved, and I feel that it would be impossible to make you understand my gratitude. 

Dear people who know me at the Greek takeout place, are there a lot of people that come there as much as me? Should I be embarrassed that everyone that works there knows my name and jokes with me when I change our order up? Yes? Ok. Well I'm probably not going to stop coming in the next month. We're busy!

Dear Emily Maynard, you have to pick one in the end; you can't keep them all. You can't ask for another rose this week. If you need my advice, I'd pick Sean, Arie, or Jef. But again, you can only have one.

Dear swimming, I'm so glad that I got back with you on Wednesday. I'll be back again today! You're so great for my aching hip that doesn't care for the impact of the treadmill right now.

Dear running, see above. That's where I've been this week; give me one more. You know I can't quit you.

Dear online shopping, we're through (I think?). 

Dear blog readers, I love your sweet comments on my one month post yesterday, and I love emailing with you, tweeting with you, and instagramming with you. Sorry I've been so erratic in the last few months. I'll be back and regular once life calms down a bit. Thank you for sticking with me through all the excitement!

While you're here, would you like my page on Facebook if you haven't? And don't forget to follow me on Instagram if you play there too (@lttlegrlbigwrld)!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

One month from today

One month from today, I will be walking down the aisle to marry my best friend. I have been looking forward to this day since he popped the question on July 2nd of last year. The wedding planning process hasn't been overly stressful for us, and we've had such an amazing time picking everything out. I've been doing all of the planning and organizing myself without the help of a planner, because in truth I don't think I could give up control of such an important day. While I know there will be some areas of imperfection (everyone has warned me not to panic when something goes wrong, because something always goes wrong), I am so much looking forward to the big day. 

Tim and I are getting married on July 21st, 2012, and we started dating on July 20th, 2008. Throughout our time dating, we've had downs and (more) ups, we've traveled together, we've eaten good food together, we've laughed together, and we've cried together. And while there has been so much more that has happened during these (almost) four years in each of our lives and our lives together, it's knowing that we're able to share those things that makes what we're doing in a month so sweet.

And to slightly alter a movie quote from 500 Days of Summer
Tim is better than the man of my dreams. He's real. 

I can't wait to share all of the details with you after the wedding. It's been so much fun picking them all out, and I've wanted to keep it fairly secret until it actually happens. We're leaving the day after the wedding to head to Kauai on our honeymoon, and we'll be gone a bit over a week. I am not going to wish any second of the next month away, because I know it all goes so fast. I just hope I can document it well enough that we'll have detailed memories of it forever.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Essentials and a funny


I thought I would play along with Michelle today for some Pinteresting Wednesday. I haven't done it in months, and I've been pinning up a storm lately.
Lately my favorite things for pinning have been my Summer Essentials

I love these Maaji swimsuits. I really want to buy this one because it's purple and because it's such a fun pattern and cut.
Source: maajiswimwear.com via meghan on Pinterest

This lululemon top has been added to the top of my wish list. The cut is super cute, and of course the color is awesome too.

Old Navy flip flops are the best! I have two pairs of those and one of the JCrew ones, and my JCrew ones look like they've been put into the ringer. I love these bright pink ones!

I always need a good book when I head for the pool or the beach or a long trip. I'm almost finished with this one and will be doing a review on it. It's been absolutely amazing so far.
Source: amazon.com via meghan on Pinterest

And these bracelets that I put on my jewelry post on Monday? I want them so badly. I have been checking BaubleBar several times a day to see if they're off the wait list yet. I've signed up to be notified, but I feel like I need to check anyways. It's only $20 for the whole set!

I also really want to try this trifle for the summer. I know that it's Fourth of July themed, but I see berries and think summer, so I wouldn't be opposed to making this all summer long.

And for the beach and pool this summer and Hawaii for the Honeymoon, I'd be good with this colorful dress, suit, and beach bag!

And I have to leave you with a SomeECard. One of my favorite reasons to go on Pinterest is to see all of the hilarious stuff that people get from that site.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tops on Tuesday


I got another StitchFix in the mail yesterday, and I was very pleased with it. It was more me than my last one. I decided not to take pictures of all of the items, but they did a great job filling my style profile. I got four dresses (three that were just okay) and a top. I'm keeping the top, and I really wished that the dress that I loved had fit me. It was too small in the rib cage. That always happens to me.

The top that I'm keeping I love.
It'll look cute with skinny jeans or shorts, and it'll be perfect to take to Hawaii--that's where we're going on our honeymoon :) (more on that later). I also really loved the price and the tag that comes with it.
At $28, I couldn't really not keep it. You pay $20 to have a stylist pick out clothes and send them to you. Then that $20 becomes a credit if you decide to keep something. If you don't keep anything, you don't get the $20 back (that's the one disadvantage). But since I loved this top, that $20 credit made it cost $8 in my head. 

I also love that it comes with outfit suggestions. I wouldn't even think to tuck it in and wear it with a skirt. The flowy nature of it makes me forget that it can also be worn that way. I'll be keeping this tag in my closet for inspiration.

If you're thinking about signing up for a fix (that's what they call a shipment), I would highly recommend it. It's a really fun way to try on clothes that you wouldn't think about. It's also nice because they have a lot of brands that only sell to wholesalers and you can't buy online or in stores. Not one of the items I received this time can be found anywhere else that I've seen (and I did search for price comparison). Here's the link to sign up with my invitation. I do get a $25 credit if you order a fix from my link, so I'd love if you decide to do it if you went through me.

And while I'm at it, I thought I'd show you another top I picked up at Francesca's a couple of weeks ago when my mom was in town. It's a bit out of character for me (since I like solid colors), but I think it's cute.
You can't really tell, but all those dots are actually different colored stars. I pulled it back a little in the back because it's very flowy too and doesn't photograph as well as it wears, but it's a fun summer shirt because of the stars and cut that transitions well into fall because of the burnt orange color (it's a little brighter in the picture than it is in actuality).

Francesca's has been really hit or miss for me in the past, but I did pick up quite the haul of cute tops when I went last time. 

And lastly, although it's not about tops, I wanted to tell you about Shanna's bauble swap.
I signed up yesterday, and you trade jewelry with another blogger. You can send gently used pieces or buy new items, and you know who you're getting so you can talk about what you like and don't like. Click the button and it will take you to her page to learn more and find out where to sign up.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Currently Craving: Colorful Jewelry


This weekend was a delight. I spent time reading, wedding planning, and working out, and Tim and i spent father's day at his parents house. We had chicken fajitas and then went swimming. It made me with I had a dog and a pool, because his parents' dog had the best tim jumping into the pool and chasing tennis balls as we threw them. It was also fun to horse around in the water with Tim and spend a little time treading off the meal and the apple pie I had just eaten.

I also spent way too much time this weekend shopping online for bridesmaids jewelry. I told my bridesmaids I would buy them as part of their gift whatever I decided I wanted them to wear, and it was quite the task finding exactly what I was looking for. I ended up finding it on etsy, but I won't share it since it will be part of the bridesmaids gifts. Along the way, I looked on what seemed to be every jewelry website in existence, and I amassed quite the wish list of jewelry that I would like to own at the moment. I decided to compile it all and save it in one place both so you could enjoy it and also so I can jump back to it when I have a bit of money to spend.
bubble necklace//skull bracelets//coral earrings//long coral necklace//pink bangle//
spike bracelet//chevron bangles//red earrings//amethyst bangles and ring

The amethyst bangles I absolutely adore, and they give me a new found excitement for etsy. In the midst of all of this wedding planning, I've downloaded the etsy app for my phone so that I can easily communicate with etsy sellers. I think this could be trouble in the future. The ease of buying is amazing!

The only ones I actually sprung for along the way were the skull bracelets. I bought a red and a yellow one, because I've seen them popping up everywhere with the man repeller arm party collection for BaubleBar. I can't wait for them to come. In the mean time, I'm hoping to acquire a few more of these to take along with me on our honeymoon. I'll need some fun and colorful accessories!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Here's to us!


One of my favorite facebook pages, I <3 to run, posted this the other day, and it made me so happy (I also shared it on my Instagram page {follow me!}). It's such a simple series of lines, but it rings so true to me and to so many of you because of how hard we work all the time. Read it and tell me how much you love it.
It gets me thinking about how much I truly love working out. I of course do it because I'm trying to lose  weight and want to look good on my wedding day, but it's become part of me. It reminds me that I feel so blah if I miss the gym for more than a day or two. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy a rest day just as much as the rest of the world, but I truly love that feeling that going to the gym gives me.

I have taken to all sorts of different classes and machines and workouts since really committing to losing weight in January. My favorites are spin, BodyPump, BodyCombat, and of course running. I'm definitely not going to be giving it up after the wedding. I've internalized it. 

What's your favorite exercise class or form of working out? Why do you love working out (or the afterwards of working out)?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chicago Weekend

What a fun weekend I had in Chicago with Tim and a bunch of our friends. Since I've been before I took the backseat on planning (which was super hard for me) and let him decide on what he wanted to do. He picked several things that I'd done before, but it's really so fun to see a city through the eyes on someone who has never been before.

We went for a wedding on Saturday outside of the city, but we thought it would be fun to go in early Thursday and do our sight seeing and adventuring. We took a super early flight so we were into the city by 9 AM Thursday.

We first stopped at the bean, of course. What's a trip to Chicago without seeing the bean? Look at Tim in the background. I thought this was such a cute picture.

We did lunch at the John Hancock Center, but we didn't get a picture.
We then headed back to Millenium Park with some friends before heading to Wrigley Field.
Afterwards we had a little rest for a bit (after a long morning of flying and sight seeing) before heading to dinner at Gibson's. It's an old school Chicago steak house, and it was delicious! My steak was cooked perfectly, and it was one of the most flavorful steaks I've had. Our side dishes and appetizers were unique and creative and were outside of the normal steakhouse box. I couldn't complain about a thing. 
After dinner we went to have drinks at the bar at the Waldorf Astoria. It was perfect. The atmosphere was low key, but there was ambiance that allowed us to chat at normal levels and have fun with a big group. Everyone met up there after a few of us headed to dinner at different places (there were 8 people total hanging around the city together on Thursday).
Friday was the Architecture Boat tour (this was my third one and it's still interesting) and lunch at the Chicago Pizzeria Lou Malnati's. Delicious! If you go to Chicago you just must go to this place. We had a ball!

Before doing that, though, I met Meghan for a spin class at FlyWheel. This spin class was like nothing else. When you visit Chicago, or if you live there, you have to go. The bikes tell you your resistance and speed, and when you leave the class you can check the estimated calories and distance during the class. I'm spoiled now and was sad to return to my normal gym spin class with nothing fancy this morning.
Saturday was wedding day! We crammed ourselves into the limos provided to take us offsite to the wedding, and I had to take a picture. It was a funny ride!
We had a ball at the wedding. So much so that I didn't remember to take very many pictures...

And that was our Chicago weekend! Now I'm back and ready to go with our own wedding planning. I've got lists to work through and I just hope it can all be done. The day is coming!