No Boys Allowed! (The Best Part of Girls Weekend)

With no real vacation plans this summer, I jumped at the chance for a girls beach weekend when some long time high school friends suggested it.  We went for 2 days.  Thank God it was only 2 days because it was Go! Go! Go! from the moment we arrived and I’m pretty sure my body was in full rejection mode by the time we headed home.  It was so worth it. And finally after 11 hours of sleep, I’m remembering some of my favorite parts of weekends with the girls.....

Lots of girl talk!  Even though my boyfriend is my best friend, there are certainly some things that you can only talk about with your girls... like men.  (Don’t worry, only good things! :))  

Getting to wear my flowery suit and high waisted shorts that the boyfriend is not fond of.  There are some styles that only another girl can appreciate.  

Lots of girly drinks! Orange crushes, pina coladas, and homemade sangria!  Beer only allowed in matching tourist koozies of course ;)

Remembering what it’s like to be a single girl at the bar, and feeling sooooo grateful that I’m not doing that anymore.  It’s not until you’re alone that you become aware of all the manic toolboxes in the world.  I missed having my love to look after me and not have to worry about standing near or making eye contact with a stranger that may potentially take that as an ok to follow you around all night.  I hate being cold towards people, but sometimes you have to be.  

What are some of your favorite things to do at a girls weekend?  We are already looking forward to planning our trip for next year!

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But I Don't Wanna Go!: Finding Gym Motivation When You Have None

I like the gym.  I honestly do, but today I woke up and just wasn’t ready to go.  “After this cup of tea,” I thought... and then another... after I finish some school work, I’ll go.  Well, a few too many Real Housewives episodes later and well into the late afternoon, I finally dragged myself off the couch and into the car en route to the gym.  I had a serious internal dialogue throughout the day thinking that perhaps I should have a rest day.  Maybe I’ll just start again tomorrow.  I could just do a few sit-ups here in the living room.  But alas, I didn’t give in to that kind of self talk.  I made it.  I did it.  And it feels darn good too.  

I’m sure I’m not the only one that shares this sentiment.  I certainly am by no means a “fitness girl”.  I don’t make it a lifestyle.  Priority, yes.  Lifestyle, no.  There is a difference.  So it’s easy for me to slip in and out of shape pretty quickly if I fall off the gym pattern.  How do I keep myself motivated?  I happen to have a few pretty effective techniques up my sleeve.

  1. Look online for visual motivation.  If I’m talking myself out of going to the gym, I’m often loafing around and wasting my life online.  Good thing I have a pretty intimidating Pinterest board glorifying the bodies I dream of possessing one of these days.  For me, it's a real inspiration, and gets me moving almost every time.  If you don’t have Pinterest, you can literally cut pictures out of magazines that you admire and put them somewhere you will see them consistently.  It has always worked for me because it reminds me that every day counts and is getting me one step closer (or further from) my goals.
  2. Find a go-to workout song.  Once you’re at the gym, you need to get excited about your workout or you’re liable to cut reps short or not really push yourself in an effort to be done faster.  Music can do this for me.  Find a song that makes you push a little harder, and use it to kickstart your workout.  At the moment, mine is Play Hard by Krewella, followed by pretty much anything Aviccii Radio.  It’s an instant energy boost giving me confidence to push forward.
  3. Visualize yourself in that bikini.  Yes, THAT bikini.  The super hot one you just bought and are waiting to show off at your next beach/pool day.  If you don’t have one, I challenge you to go out and buy a skimpy bikini you love with the full intention of wearing it.  Think about how much better it will look on the fit body you are working on.  When I visualize myself in this bikini, I can literally feel the fat melting off of my body.  I push myself to do more.  It’s as much of a mental game as a physical one.  You’ve got to stay focused and think about the goal while you are exercising.  
  4. Stay close to a mirror when possible.  Facing a mirror, I am really able to focus on my form.  It helps me to see the areas I want to work on, or more often, see the progress I am making, motivating me to continue on.  
  5. Keep a log of the days that you exercise.  It doesn’t have to be in depth, but seeing the number of days that you have worked out will make you feel proud and inspire you to keep going.  I literally used to give myself a sticker on the calendar every time I worked out.  (Yea, I know, I’m like a little kid.)  The stickers really worked and I kept going to the gym because I wanted to get another sticker.  I hung it in my bedroom and my boyfriend knew what it was, so he’d always give me props when he saw a lot of stickers up there. :)  

If you’re struggling to find motivation in fitness, try these tips.  What is your go-to fitness motivator?  Because I might need some more tomorrow!  

Why am I doing this?

If you know me, this probably seems like the last thing I would do.  I used to think so too.  I mean, who the heck do I think I am?  Do I think I’m that much smarter than everyone else that I should really be sharing advice?  Do I think I am so cool that people are just dying to know what I am up to?  The answer to both of these questions is NO.  I do not think I am the sh*t, nor do I think I am the expert of all things I speak of.  I used to think thats what blogs were about.  I changed my mind.  

Here’s why.

I’ve come to my opinion about blogging in the same way I came to like UGG boots.  At first, I looked at the few girls that had them and said to myself “Who would actually wear something like that in public?  They are so ugly!!”.  Then more girls started to get them.  I became curious, but maintained my preset opinion of the overly fluffy spaceman boots for longer than the average fashion forward gal.  Until one day I woke up and realized, these boots were the new norm.  They were hot to both boys and girls alike.  They’re almost like wearing leg warmers, would go great with skinny jeans and leggings, oh what the heck, I may as well put my foot inside just to see,  and oh man.... sold.  How many styles and colors do things come in?  I’m sure you have had the experience of changing your opinion on something too, and perhaps yours is not as trivial as UGG boots.  

With blogs, I had a similar transformation.  I thought you had to be an expert or famous or at least think that you were one of these things to blog.  Over time, more and more completely normal people around me started them.  I don’t know why but I found myself reading them and actually being entertained.  Why would I find someone so normal, so reachable, so plain entertaining?  Because they’re all like me!  And the most interesting thing to read about is yourself right?  

I also happen to love writing.  I remember as a little girl writing stories and novels for fun and seriously thinking that I may one day be an author.  As a teacher, I’m constantly trying to get my kids to write interesting pieces and improve their craft.  What better way to practice what I preach than to get back into writing myself?  

It’s also like a personal diary, which I always used to keep anyway.  It’s therapeutic.  It’s fun to look back on (or embarrassing, depending) and is always a reminder of how far you’ve come.  Essentially this blog is a diary with the added feature that I can interact with others.  How neat! 

Bottom line, with the way this world is going, it seems appropriate and almost necessary to maintain an online space for yourself.  I believe everyone should have one, even if it’s just a Facebook or Twitter profile.  Without it, I fear being left behind and ending up like my dad who can barely turn on a computer let alone use it for actual useful purposes.  

So that’s why I started my blog.  Who’s next? :) 

Fourth of July!

Just a few “before” pics from our Fourth of July Party!  I totally meant to take more... of actual people... but once the guests started arriving, I guess I got a little distracted.  It was a great day to show our new house to many of our friends and family for the first time.  Oh yeah, and to celebrate AMERICA!

Beginnings of the food table.  Utensil holder found at Big Lots.

Festive Cupcakes! Snack signs and other things printed at catchmyparty.

Just a little star garland to dress up the kitchen.

Jungle Juice and "Pregnancy Punch" for those friends.  After all, I am 30.

I just added this "Pledge of Allegiance" sign to the mantle.  It's from eighteen25.

Creating an Oasis for Fun!

When the bf and I bought our house, we knew our finances were going to get a little tighter.  The nights out and weekend vacations were going to subside.  We were going to be home a lot, saving money.  Therefore, it was important to us to make our home a place where we would LOVE hanging out, and hopefully our friends would too!  

We made a few changes to the basement starting with the bar behind the couch.  It’s just a long bar top that runs behind the length of the couch with four barstools that pull up to it.  It’s an awesome place to eat while watching TV or a movie and provides extra seating when we have guests over.  

View from behind the bar.

View from the front.

Now, our biggest project.... the closet bar!  Yes, this space used to be a boring old storage closet with some plastic pull-shut accordion doors.  I’ll admit, I was a little worried about giving up the storage space with this being such a small house and all, but the end result far exceeded my expectations.  Here we keep glasses, liquor, beer, wine (love the Black Box compartments ;)), and mixers for easy access right next to the couch and TV.  

This is where the bar is located in the room.

Looking into the closet...

...and around the corner... more closet.

Latest addition... a floating shelf.  We just added this with 2 more stools.  Anything to make sure all of our guests have a place to sit and a relax.

With just these three things, we have really added to the “fun” factor of our house and none of them cost an exorbitant amount of money.  They have made our house a welcoming place for family and friends to visit.  Thanks to the hard work of my bf (and his dad of course) I definitely think we have made this house a HOME!