Sunday, February 17, 2013

Operation Healthy Eating/Shedding for the Wedding!

Hi, I'm Abby, and I have a love affair with fast food, fried food, and basically anything unhealthy and processed.

Hi Abby!

So, this has clearly resulted in me putting on weight over the years. In the last 2 years, I have yo-yo'd approximately 25 pounds. Right now, I am almost to the top of that 25 lb range.

I did Weight Watchers in the last 2 years, as my blog will tell you, and successfully took off about 20 lbs. Life events took off another 5. Life events have now put it all back on.

My blog will also tell you I am no stranger to ridiculous fad diets. I will try a lot of silly things.

So when my friend Ashley became a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I knew she was the resource I needed. She offers a two week Custom Meal Plan service, which includes the meal plan itself, all of the recipes, and a grocery list! This is EXACTLY what I needed!

C, always ready to invest in helping me live a healthier lifestyle, offered to get me the meal plan for my birthday. (Although my birthday is still 2 months off, and he has a knack for forgetting when he already got me a present). I enlisted Ashley's help a couple weeks ago, and I am about to embark on week 2!

So far? I LOVE IT. I love that I was able to tell Ashley the specific foods I don't care for, so she could avoid putting them in my meal plan. Like, no matter how good they are for you, I don't like sweet potatoes! I also don't like mushrooms and fish. I feel like cookie cutter healthy eating meal plans you find online always include fish or sweet potatoes or something I don't like, which makes me less likely to stick to it.

This past week, I lost 3.2 lbs by mid week! In just a couple days of eating healthy clean foods that aren't processed or filled with junk, and the weight was just falling off! I was skeptical of a few of the recipes, just in terms of whether I would like them-----I literally loved EVERYTHING I ate this week, including the recipes I didn't think I would like!

My biggest problems are work and socializing. I did pretty well last week socializing, as I went to Jason's Deli with coworkers and with friends for Valentine's Day, and both times I got the salad bar and loaded up on veggies. However, since i am in the car a lot for work, it's not always easy to make healthy decisions. I got derailed on Friday afternoon, when I had to make an 8 hour round trip drive through the middle of nowhere, where my options were Sonic, McDonald's, and the convenience store. Yesterday wasn't great either, because I had a baby shower to attend during lunch time, and a birthday party to attend during dinner time.

However, this is real life. I told my mom last week---my goal is to stay on target whenever I CAN, so that when things happen and I get a bit derailed, it's not the end of the world. On Friday, anticipating not eating well that evening, I stayed right on track with my breakfast and lunch.

It is interesting to me how quickly my body adapted. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling hungover, despite not having a drop of alcohol the night before. It was a nasty food hangover! I feel the same way this morning.

So basically, I am extremely happy so far with how this is going! And I cannot recommend Ashley enough.....she is one of the sweetest, most kind-hearted people I know. She can also do ALL OF THIS ONLINE! You do not have to live near her to benefit from her expertise! Check out her website Ashley Cantafio, Intuitive Nutritionist and get started with your custom meal plan!

best part? Less than a week in, someone already told me I look like I've lost weight!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

love is in the air

It's Valentine's Day! I hope everyone is feeling the love!

While I could spend another post writing about my fabulous man, I'm not going to. Instead, I'll talk about myself.

That's really loving, right?

Don't worry, I have a point. And that point is- love yourself.

I have been accused in the past of only being happy because I have a man in my life. I don't take these accusations seriously, as they came from someone I know to be extraordinarily bitter and jaded about her own life. However, whenever she says that, it always makes me think.

I firmly believe that one of the reasons I do have an incredible man to love me is because I love myself.

I know my own worth, and I have chosen to not let a man make me feel like less than what I am. I'm not perfect, and I haven't always been so resolved in that conviction, but it is something I feel strongly about.

I knew that even if I found the man of my dreams, if I didn't first love myself, it was irrelevant how much he wanted to love me, because I wouldn't be ready for that love. I had to be happy with the other aspects of my life and with myself. I was lucky enough to have a really great person as my first boyfriend, and I credit him with helping me realize that I deserve the best any man has to offer.

So even if you aren't asking for my advice, my advice is to first love yourself. This isn't self centered and it isn't a waste of time. Even if you don't have a significant other this Valentine's Day, treat and love yourself because you are special and you deserve!

but let's not forget this incredibly sweet and handsome man that I was lucky enough to fall in love with almost 6 years ago....I cannot wait to marry him :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meet the Bridesmaids::: Dani!

Meet Dani!

Dani and I met in 2004, when I started lifeguarding at White Marsh Swim Club. We worked together for 4 summers, and by Dani's last summer, we were Assistant Managing the pool together. This is code for sitting in chairs talking and getting a tan.

Just kidding. We actually worked really hard during those summers, possibly because our pool took in like 300 members every day.  After Dani left the pool, we still kept in touch. Our last summer working together was the summer I met C, so we spent a lot of that summer discussing my possible long distance relationship :)

Dani went back to New York to finish school, so we didn't spend as much time together until the fall of 2009, when she came back to Maryland to start her Masters at Towson. Pretty soon after she came back to Maryland, we realized that we still had a lot in common and our free time pretty much mirrored each other. We started watching Grey's together, eating most of our weekend meals together, shopping at Target entirely too much, hanging out with her family, and bouncing a lot of life decisions off of each other. I regained an incredible friend.

Dani's fiance joined the Navy, so in addition to all of the things we already had in common, we were both now attached to military men. I have a lot of great friends who have no affiliation with the military, but it is awesome to have such a great friend who understands the military lifestyle, especially a friend who was made completely independently of the military.

Dani also has a little pup who is 3 months older than Piper. Dani and I share a lot of characteristics, and one of those is excessive worry. So we have spent many phone calls over the last year-ish talking about (read: worrying about) our pups. I can't wait for the day Diego and Piper get to meet!

I am thankful for a friend like Dani, who I know I can always count on to be there and to understand.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to my main squeeze

Happy 28th birthday, Future Husband :)

In honor of this momentous day, Piper wanted to pay a little tribute to you. But she was afraid of said tribute, so here it is....

initially, this is as close as she would get. And this was after chasing her around the living room commanding her to "Sit" and "Stay" 

so then it became a challenge. While she wasn't looking (literally, she had glanced off in the other direction), I dropped the sign next to her and snagged this shot, including all off the stuffing from her latest de-stuffed toy.

We miss you! Happy Birthday, my love

Friday, February 8, 2013

No Bake Nutella Cheesecake!

Before I say anything else, let me say I got this delicious confection from my baking addiction, and I am eternally grateful.

I will continue by saying that :gasp: I don't care for Nutella. I never keep it in my house, I don't seek out recipes that use it, and after buying a jar of it for this recipe, I feel like it is too rich for my taste buds on its own.

That being said......I am obsessed with this recipe. It felt like a delicious mousse to me. It was light weight and didn't feel like a super heavy dessert. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I did not enjoy wrangling Nutella into a measuring cup and then into the bowl. And off of every surface I accidentally touched after opening the jar of Nutella.

Ok, so here it is!


12 Oreo Cookies, crushed into crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed

whipped topping, optional
chocolate shavings, optional
toasted, chopped hazelnuts, optional

1. Mix together crushed Oreos and butter. Once mixed, smush into the bottom of your cups to make a little base layer crust. In terms of the Oreos, while I make it a rule to only buy Double-Stuf Oreos, this actually worked better with single stuf Oreos. You don't (or at least I didn't) really want a lot of filling in the was mostly cookie. I put the Oreos in a freezer bag and smashed them up with a meat tenderizer.

2. Mix up the filling ingredients with a mixer. First, Nutella and cream cheese. After they are mixed, add the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Finally, add the thawed whipped topping (COOL WHIP I LOVE YOU). I used the mixer for all of this.

3. Fill up your bowls with the filling. This recipe made 4 dishes for me, but they were all pretty full :) You want to put the completed bowls in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving, so it can cool off and set up and all that fancy kitchen talk.

4. Ignore the garnish. The filling is so incredible, who needs garnish?

5. Just kidding. I was just too lazy to buy the extra ingredients. I did throw some Cool Whip on top, because I believe Cool Whip makes everything taste better.

heaven in a cup. this would make a perfect Valentine's Day treat.

in case you were wondering, the super cute bowls/cups came from Pier 1.

and because no post is ever truly complete without a picture of Piper....this is how she chose to sit when I said "Go lay down"......not only did she pick my lap (in my face), but she chose to sit like a moron.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Meet the Bridesmaids::: Sierra!

Meet Sierra!

Sierra is my future sister-in-law---I'm marrying her brother!

Sierra and I met in 2007, a few months after C and I started dating. I went to visit him and his family in Indiana for New Year's Eve. Since C is the oldest, and I am with him, I feel like I am associated with being older. But actually, I am closer to Sierra in age than I am to C. Fun fact :)

Sierra lives in Indiana, so whenever C and I go visit the family, we get to spend time with Sierra. I know it is a favorite part of every trip for both of us. On our most recent trip, we spent a whole day driving through Southern Indiana, hitting Holiday World (where they give out free sunscreen and sodas with admission!), and eating delicious German food. We discovered a mutual love for the Lazy Rivers and mercilessly mocking C.

I have never had a sister (duh, Abby), and while I have some spectacular friends, I am pretty pumped to be gaining a sister in this whole marriage deal :)

hanging out in Indiana with Piper and Sierra :)

setting up camp for family vacation in 2009!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Valentine's Treats!

I had fun making a Valentine's themed treat for a Spouses Club Supper Club last week!

I kept it simple for my contribution, so I hoped people liked it! I realized at another friend's gathering, when all the mini-cupcakes got eaten and the full size ones did not, that we are all slightly healthy conscious. There is way less guilt when you eat a bite-sized something than a full-sized something :)

So, I made this delicious little treat. (I also ate like 12 of them). I love this because I LOVE salty and sweet together.

To make this delicious confection, all you need is Snyder's Snaps pretzels, Hershey Hugs (the striped kisses), and M&Ms (preferably themed to the season!)

You are supposed to use parchment paper or foil or something. I had none of the above, and the result was mine getting stuck to the pan. So I strongly suggest parchment paper or foil.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

Spread the pretzels out, and then set a kiss on top of each pretzel.

Put in the oven for approximately 5 minutes. In my oven, 5 minutes was too long but 4 minutes was too short. I didn't do enough batches to know if 4:30 was perfect :)

Your kisses should be soft but not melted.

When you take the pan out of the oven, immediately press an M&M into the top of each kiss. It should sink down/squash the kiss, but like I said before, it shouldn't be too super melted. It should be just melted enough to adhere to the pretzel and the M&M.

I usually put mine in the fridge or freezer to really solidify, because the chocolate is melty and therefore a little bit gooey. They would all end up sticking together, which is why I chill them.

And voila! A yummy little treat!

and to put you in a good mood, an adorable pup :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Meet the Bridesmaids::: Kit!

Meet Kristianna!

Kristianna, or Kit as I call her, is the very first person I met when I was a freshman at Salisbury University. She lived across the hall and very quickly (cause when does Kit do anything slowly) introduced herself to me. She did it so fast, I couldn't even remember her name. She later told me to call her Kit.

Little did I know, she had made it up just prior to arriving at Salisbury. Her entire life, she had gone by Kristianna. Her family called her Kristi sometimes, but that was it. She decided to go by Kit because so many people messed up pronunciation or spelling of Kristianna.

Ok, great. I'll call you Kit. I will embed "Kit" in my head when you come to mind. And then about 2 months later, you will decide you don't want to go by Kit and go back to introducing yourself as Kristianna. Making me one of about 5 people who still calls you Kit :) We won't even touch on the fact that you got Kit from the hooker friend in Pretty Woman....

Kit was a whirlwind from the first time I met her, and she is still that way. It must be the Jersey in her. During our freshman year at Salisbury, we spent our time watching 24, playing cards with Tassi and Bre, drinking wine out of a box, eating cafeteria food, teaching her how to drive stick (failed attempt at the time lol) and road tripping to Florida for an unforgettable Spring Break.

Kit has been a constant support since I met her almost 7 years ago. We don't live in the same place, and we don't get to see each other all the time. Sometimes life gets in the way. But I know that at the end of the day, I can always count on Kit to be there.

doing the Abby Dance in Kit's dorm room