Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Busy busy! Time for an update!

Hi friends!

I was on such a consistent blogging kick, but going home for the weekend threw me off!

But I am back :) So don't worry, you will have more of my ramblings to follow.

FIRST....I am back from Baltimore after an awesome weekend at home. It is such a strange feeling to be a guest in your own home, the place where you grew up. It was weird not to have my own place there or my car, or all the things I spent almost 23 years getting used to. It was great to be there, don't get me wrong.....but it also reminded me how much I am missing. I miss my family and friends. Hopefully Texas will some day feel like home. At least I am back with my flyboy.

I also did a DECENT job of sticking to weight watchers while I was home. I wasn't quite as neurotic as I was last week when I was here in Abilene, but I am getting back on track now that I'm back here. I also had delicious food while I was home, so I can't complain much :)

My first week of weight watchers is officially done, and I am down 2.5 lbs! It was more on Thursday, but after a weekend of not great eating, I will be content with 2.5 lbs, as that is a healthy weight loss. I didn't measure this week, so next week hopefully I see another great number on the scale and maybe some inches lost!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Baltimore Bound!

I am headed home!!
Well not yet. I will be headed home in about 2 hours :)

I am flying out of Abilene today, with a layover in Dallas, and then a final destination of Baltimore Washington International!

I have mixed feelings. I am ridiculously excited to go home. I can't wait to see everyone, see home, drive my familiar streets, sleep in my childhood bed, hang out with my mom and dad, eat crabs, all of that. But I know it is going to be hard to come back. It will be easier, cause I am coming back to my boy. But I guess today, with going home, it is hitting me that I still miss it so much. I still want to be in Maryland.

But I am not going to let those feelings ruin the weekend! I have a few glorious days in Baltimore with almost everyone I love, what more could I ask for??

Well her heart was filled with gladness
When she saw those city lights
She said the prettiest place on earth was
Baltimore at night

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weight Watchers!

I decided to join weight watchers!

I joined on Sunday night, and I was surprised at how not expensive it is. I paid for 3 months up front, so they waived my joining fee. If I had just joined month by month, it would have been nearly as expensive up front anyway because of the $30 joining fee.

I am getting used to the points system and figuring out what I should and should not eat, and how to determine what I am eating if I didn't make it myself.

But so far, I feel like I have stayed on track! For those who are WW savvy, I have 33 points a day, plus 49 bonus points for the week. So the 33 a day is my usual eating, and then each week I get 49 flexible points.....so if I want a dessert each day that is 7 points, then that will use up my flexible points. Or I could save them up for a dinner out, which would probably take up all of them! I am planning on saving them right now....I finished yesterday with 3 points leftover, and today I am spot on my 33!

I feel like this is really important for me because it is making me accountable for every piece of food that enters my mouth. I think a LOT more about what I am willing to eat! It has also made for some interesting meals with C :) Last night, he cooked and I asked him about every single ingredient he put into the meal haha. Tonight, I made him a WW recipe that I found online for spaghetti pie made with spaghetti squash. A pretty decent serving was only 4 POINTS! C and I were both hungry, so we ate two serving sizes and it's still only 8 points!

So I am planning on weighing in every Sunday, I have before pictures, and I will be doing my measurements each Sunday too. So hopefully this Sunday I see some good change!

Anyone done Weight Watchers? Any advice for me?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

i miss you.

And I’m sure the view from heaven
Beats the hell out of mine here.
And if we all believe in heaven
Maybe we can make it through
One more year
Down here.
I miss you every day, with every part of my being. 9 years have passed, and we have all learned to live without you. But I will never stop wishing you were here. I wish you were here to see me go to high school, college, move to Texas, and meet my love. I have learned that I am able to do this all without you, but it doesn't ever feel quite as fulfilling. You really should have been here......you missed too much. I know you are watching from above, but it doesn't help the missing you.

I remember this day like it was yesterday. I remember sitting next to Richard in math class, and getting called out by the school nurse. I remember seeing Mom and Dad crying, and thinking that it must have been Granddad cause he just had heart surgery. I remember the ridiculous shock and disbelief and anger and pain that washed over me when I found out it was you that was gone. I remember calling Kathy and her family on my way home with Dad to tell them the news. I had to leave a voicemail. I remember picking up my brother at school and thinking that I had never seen him so upset. I remember trying to pack a few bags so we could get on the road to the Eastern Shore, but it took twice as long as it should have cause Mom and I kept crying.  I remember seeing Uncle Jack in your yard when we pulled up, and Mom just started crying again. (He's up there with you and Pop and Aunt Phyllis now. We miss him too). I remember lying in your bed crying for hours. I remember clinging to Freckles, since you made me promise we would take care of her. (She is sick now. She will probably be coming to join you soon). I remember the months after you died, feeling like my heart would never be whole again.   

You were such an important part of making me who I am, especially for the first 14 years. You have shaped me into me, and I still rely on you all the time to give me strength. Thinking of you keeps me strong, because I learned my strength from the strongest women I know.....you and Mom. When I don't feel like I can keep going, Mom reminds me that you are always watching me, and you helped make me strong, so I have to make you proud.

I get comfort almost every day in knowing you are watching me and you are on my side. When I feel like I can't keep going, or I have lost control, I know you are keeping me going.

i love you. i can't wait to see you again.

How I cried when the sky let go
With a cold lonesome rain.
Mama smiled, said: "Don't be sad child.
"Grandma's watching you today."
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart) 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weight Loss Goals

After one of my closest friends asked me to be in her wedding this coming December, I decided I need to hop to it on the weight loss front. I refuse to be the fat bridesmaid.

Somehow, in the 6 months since she told me she wanted me to be a bridesmaid, I have managed to gain weight. I have also gained a lot since I got to Abilene. I am completely disgusted with my weight, and I am totally disappointed with how I look and how my clothes look.

I have run a few times in the last few weeks, and I am thinking about joining the gym and getting a personal trainer. My problem is I don’t know HOW to lose weight, since I have never tried to actively lose weight before. I also suck at motivating myself, so a personal trainer would be good. I also need to really work on my diet, and what I eat on a regular basis.

My goal is to ultimately lose about 50 lbs and maintain that weight. Starting now, if I lose 2 lbs a week from now until the wedding, I would be at my goal weight by then. However, even if I could lose 30 lbs by then, I would be content with how I look for the wedding.

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer before? Did it help you?

Any ideas for diet?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Where am I going with my life??

What do I want to do with my life?

Seriously, I don’t have any idea the answer to this question. I know I want to get married, have babies, read, write blogs J, spend time with family…….but professionally, I have NO CLUE.

It’s actually pretty annoying to spend 4 years in college and graduate knowing you may or may not be interested in the field associated with your degree. Even more annoying to go into the workforce, and get good jobs, and have no idea still what will fulfill you.

How did you decide?
How did you know?

I feel like I should go to graduate school. But school is expensive, and Mom and Dad aren’t paying for it this time around. I don’t want to waste time and money getting a degree I don’t want.

I have always considered teaching, even majored in it for a while. I have considered social work and human services type work. I have considered getting an MBA and keeping in property management, or jumping to a different business environment.

I feel like I shouldn’t complain, because I had a job right out of college, and managed to get a really good job long distance. I have nothing to complain about. But I still want to know what will make me really happy in a career.

So how did you figure it out? Trial and error? You just knew? Tell me all your secrets!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Internet Nerd

So, apparently I have been a nerd for a long time.

I was reminded of this by my friend Richard. He came here from Colombia in 2000 and ended up in my class at school. Who knows how we became friends, because in the 7th grade, boys and girls still did not associate with each other. But his locker was next to mine, and he had no clue how to open the lock, so he needed my ultimate wisdom in order to get into it.

Either way, we somehow became friends and even embarked on a few awkward months of middle school dating and went to the prom together in high school. We can laugh about it now, and after 11 years, we are somehow still friends. But back in the day, Richard was more than happy to just about anything I asked him to, including but not limited to my Spanish homework, my Math homework, and helping me learn about HTML.

Now remember, this was back in the days when Geocities was at its prime. Every self respecting teenage girl had a geocities website to pay homage to Nsync or Backstreet Boys, whichever boy band she followed. I personally was an Nsync fan and turned to dear old Richard to teach me how to make the best star bedazzled tribute to Justin Timberlake that I could.

Looking back, it was pretty mortifying. He reminded me of all of this today as he mocked me for getting my own domain name. (We don’t need to discuss all the reasons he is 10x the nerd I am).

However, I won’t lie…..I love the internet. I have loved the internet for a long time. I have a great network of military girlfriends and wives that I have met on message boards, and when I was younger, I wrote on a Gilmore Girls message board too. I don’t know a ton of people in real life who loved Gilmore Girls or have military SOs (different now that I am in a military town lol), and I think that the ability to connect with people is one of the coolest things about the internet.

So today, I will reminisce about my nerdy days of Nsync geocities websites and my love affair with them.

Who else is an internet nerd???

Saturday, May 14, 2011

36. Cook dinner for more than just myself -dinner party!

Living in the same place as C has created a few opportunities to cook dinner for more than just myself, although I’m not sure the two of us count as a dinner party J However, I still say it counts, and one night, I cooked for both my brother and C, so that definitely counts!

I have made two new meals lately that have turned out pretty well. Both were care of my Rachel Ray cookbook, which Aunt Barbara got me (and all the girls) for Christmas. The year before, she got us aprons, so it’s only appropriate that we got cookbooks for Christmas 2010!

Megen, Melissa, Liz, Kathy, and me. I am in Kathy's wedding in December, and Kathy and Missy have been more like sisters to me than friends.

The first meal I made was Rachel Ray’s Super Scampi. I altered the recipe a bit for my tastes, as I was super skeptical of putting anchovies in anything I planned on eating. My sauce/broth turned out very soupy, so next time I might try to cook it down further. Otherwise, it was delicious. The taste was a tad spicy for me, since I have wimp taste buds, but my brother and C both scarfed down two helpings of it! Next time, I will try a little less than the amount of cracked red pepper the recipe calls for, to tone it down for my taste buds.

The second meal, which I made just this week for C and me, was Rachel Ray’s Meatball Meatloaves and Parmesan-Spinach mashed potatoes. C showed up at dinner for 7, and this meal took me longer than the recipe says to make. It is quoted as an easy recipe, but I am a novice cook, so it took me a solid hour to make it. It was also a bit messy, but then again, I can make anything messy J

Once I finally got dinner made (around 7:40), C really enjoyed it. I was less convinced. I felt the meatloaf was a little mushy, and I attributed it to time spent simmering in the sauce. I have a few frozen patties left, but no broth, so I will be able to tell if I enjoy the taste of the meatloaf recipe without the tomato sauce on it.

Having someone else to cook for has drastically helped in my desire to make meals and try new recipes. I love my Rachel Ray cookbook, but I am going to keep my eyes open for some new ones, as well as keeping an eye on my favorite foodie blogs.

What is your favorite cookbook? What about your favorite food blog?

Green Monsterrrrrr! $

Welcome to my endorsement of delicious Green Monster smoothies!

I feel like I have written about this before, but I couldn't find a post, so I am going to tell you all about the smoothies now.

I am going to start by telling you what a Green Monster is. I was first introduced to them by a friend (the lovely Jamie over at Jamie Loves) and then I learned more at the website for the Green Monster Movement. A Green Monster is, at base, a spinach smoothie. Now, clearly that does not sound appetizing to most, so there are several other things added to make the flavor better. However, the main component of a Green Monster is spinach (you can probably use other leafy greens).

To make a Green Monster, you can use a lot of different ingredients, but I am going to share with you how I make mine.

You will need:
- A Blender
- 2 cups of spinach (if this is your first one and you are nervous, you can start out with less spinach)
- Almond Milk (I use almond milk, some other people use different things)
- 1 banana
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- Scoop of chocolate protein powder.

Step 1.
Get out your blender!

Step 2.
Get out all the other supplies you need. (I am going to try peaches with my next one). I usually use fresh spinach, but sometimes it goes bad if I get lazy about making smoothies, so I am giving frozen a try.

Step 3.
I am a terrible blender. I don't know why, maybe I lack patience. Either way, things I blend never blend right. So the first GM that I made was SUPER leafy haha. So now, I cook the spinach first. I usually just steam it for about a minute in the microwave, and then dump the spinach and juice into the blender. It breaks up much easier that way. With the frozen, I learned I need to steam it a bit longer since it is frozen.
So, step 3 is steam 2 cups of spinach.

Step 4. 
Once the spinach is steamed, I blend together the spinach and 1 cup of Almond Milk. I got vanilla flavored this time, and it is a little bit higher in calories than the unflavored, but I thought the vanilla would give it a nice taste. 1 cup = 1 serving, so only 90 calories!
looks YUMMY, right???

Step 5.
Add Banana and blend.
This is an IMPORTANT step, unless you hate bananas. I personally love bananas, and either way, the minute you add banana, it masks the taste of the spinach. I don't like spinach on a good day, so this step is KEY. I usually only use one RIPE banana per smoothie.

Step 6.
Once that is all blended, it's time to add the fruit! This is where things get fun. I personally love doing strawberries and raspberries, but you can get creative! The fruit doesn't HAVE to be frozen, I just prefer it since it lasts longer.
I added a cup of raspberries and a cup of strawberries.
notice how green it is? well get blending!

The color gets closer to red the more red berries you use!

Step 7.
I love Green Monsters. But I'll admit, they give me energy but don't always fill me up. So I have started adding protein powder when I want this to be my breakfast.
I'll be honest....I don't think protein powder tastes good, and I think it takes away from the deliciousness of the green monster, so for your FIRST one, I don't suggest protein powder.
But, I added chocolate protein powder to mine.

And voila!

Out of all those ingredients I put in, I have enough in the fridge for a second Green Monster. I just poured it into a cup and will probably drink it tomorrow!

Typically, I wouldn't get up early to do this in the morning, so a lot of the time, I make mine the night before and hide it way in the back of the fridge where it will stay cold. You may have noticed I didn't add ice......I told you I am a terrible blender! Ice, for me, just makes the blending process more annoying. Hence why I use frozen berries and throw it in the fridge.

Do you drink Green Monsters?? What is your favorite recipe??

And if you don't drink Green Monsters.....TRY IT! I promise, you won't regret it! Think of all the fruits and veggie servings you are getting.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Got my url!

I am super excited to announce my new URL! www.abby-writes.com will direct you RIGHT HERE, to my little blog :)

It took me a while to decide what I wanted my URL to be. I didn't want it to be related to my blog title, or anything likely to change. However, my name will always be Abby, and my blog will always be writing. abbywrites.com was already taken, but throw in a hyphen and it will work!

So feel free to bookmark www.abby-writes.com for future use!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

I am not personally a mother, but I have a mother, and I know a lot of great mothers, so I hope you all have a wonderful day!

I would like to specifically give thanks today for my grandmothers. Both of them have passed away, my Grandma nearly 9 years ago and my Mommom almost 4 months ago. Both were incredibly strong women, people I admire and will strive to be like as a mother and a grandmother.

My Grandma raised my mom and aunt on her own a lot, because my Pop was a long haul truck driver. Grandma and Pop didn't have a ton of money, but Grandma was an amazing seamstress, so she made a lot of their clothes. If you looked at pictures, or the clothes themselves, you would think they came from a store. Grandma taught me to sew when I was a little girl, and it was something we would do together. I think of her every time I sew anything.

My Mommom raised 5 children, and she did a pretty good job of it. My dad and his siblings have all been successful and have the fondest memories on growing up. Mommom was sort of formal at times, but she had a sense of humor. She would try to scold my dad when he did goofy things, like teach my cousin how to untie her apron strings, or turn around pictures of my aunts and uncles so that only the pictures of him were visible. But you could tell she wanted to laugh.

Both of my grandmothers outlived their husbands, and both of them had that lifelong kind of love that people dream about. I know both of them wished, above anything else, that they didn't have to live life without their loves. But I admire them both for the strength they showed in continuing their lives and enjoying the family that they did have.

So Happy Mother's Day, MGD and SAR......the two best grandmothers I know.

MGD 10.5.35-5.22.02

SAR 3.28.26-1.24.11

Friday, May 6, 2011

Movie Review: If you like historical fiction

I am currently immersed in one of my favorite movies, which happens to be a miniseries.......North and South starring the delectable Patrick Swayze, may he rest in peace, and the equally handsome James Read. If you like historical fiction movies, you will love North and South. The miniseries is based on 3 novels written by John Jakes. I did my best to read the novels a few years ago, but they did not hold my interest. I am considering trying again.

The series starts off in 1842 as Orry Main (Patrick Swayze) and George Hazard (James Read) start at West Point. Orry is the son of a wealthy cotton farmer in South Carolina and George is the son of a wealthy ironworks owner from Pennsylvania. The two meet and become great friends, and this is the whole basis for the series.

As time progresses (books I and II take place over nearly 25 years), the Hazards and Mains meet as families and become very close friends. Romances spark up between siblings in both families. However, when the United States begins the Civil War, the Main and Hazard families are literally forced to take sides.

young George Hazard and Orry Main, best friends at West Point

There are also several fabulous love stories, some scandals, some babies, some heartbreak.......this series truly offers a little of everything. I wouldn't show it to young children, I would probably rate it PG-13 for a few mature scenes, some violence (hello, cotton plantation pre-Civil War), and some innuendos.

I also think they did a great job of aging the families. Most of the characters played themselves for the entire series, spanning 25 years. The series runs its course in 12 two hour episodes. Technically, there is a 3rd book and movie, but I haven't seen it and I have heard nothing good about it. From the sounds of it, it is very dark.
George Hazard and Orry Main at the end of Book 2 (where I stop watching lol)

You also will see some other famous faces, such as Kirstie Alley, David Carradine, Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Kelly, Lloyd Bridges, Johnny Cash, and Morgan Fairchild.

So with that ringing endorsement, you should all run to your Netflix queue and add North and South to it! And then tell me what you thought :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Remembering Yeardley Love

Today marks 1 year since Yeardley Love was found dead in her apartment at UVA. I went to high school with Yeardley, and we weren’t really close friends. However, when you go to a school as small as ours was, you know everyone, and she was truly one of the most beautiful and kind hearted people I have ever met.

Sometimes, I still am surprised to think of the fact that she is gone. To be honest with you, the only times I would have probably seen her after we graduated from high school would have been reunions or random bars in Towson, but to know a spirit like hers is no longer with us on Earth is still such a surreal feeling.

I keep regular attention on the progression of the case against George Huguely, the guy who killed Yeardley. Things have finally started progressing, a year later, with Huguely being indicted on first degree murder charges. The trial is not set for a while, but at least things are moving forward.

Yeardley’s family and friends are keeping her memory alive through The One Love Foundation, a nonprofit founded in Yeardley’s name.  The purpose of the foundation is “a tribute to Yeardley Reynolds Love, who wore #1 as a lacrosse player at both Notre Dame Prep and the University of Virginia. Yeardley lived her life with one purpose: to make her world a better place.”

Check out One Love and help those who knew and loved Yeardley to keep her memory alive after her death.

Rest Peacefully, Yards, and keep smiling in heaven.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I want a URL!

I have decided I want to buy a domain name. I want a direct website, not an @blogspot URL.

SO what do you suggest?? I need ideas!!

Obviously, plenty of things are taken, and I don't know that I want a URL related to my blog title. I want to be able to use the URL in the future if I ever change the name of my blog, etc.

So give me suggestions!!