Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ah, yes. The honeymoon.

Finally, something exciting.

Josiah and I have been trying to figure out where we are going to go on our honeymoon. We've actually talked a lot about it (mostly through wishful e-mails at work when we are feeling particularly down). To say the least, we both need a vacation badly. Preferably for a really long time. Like a year? Or the rest of our lives?

Anyway, here are a couple options we've come up with.

  1. Sweden/Netherlands/Denmark

One of our good friends lives in Sweden, and it was a no brainer to have this be a major contender. It would be really great to see him and Scandanavia in the process. I've just really romanticized that part of the world and I'm not sure why. Plus ... TULIPS!

2. Czech Republic/Austria/Hungary

I really know nothing about this part of the world. Everyone says Prague is the coolest city ever. I'll take their word for it. Josiah is really enticed by Prague for some reason, so there's that.

3. The United Kingdom

I'm of the opinion that English speaking countries are a bit boring. I can't say that this would be at the top of my list, but I know it would be sweet. Plus, there would be a ton of good soccer matches to see. Glasgow is pretty much the capital of indie music, so I think that would be a lot of fun.

4. Northern Italy/Switzerland

I spent two months in Italy during the summer of 2007, and it was an amazing experience (of course). I am really conflicted though. Part of me is screaming, "Go back, now!" while the other part wants to explore other parts of Europe. The compromise would be to see northern Italy, which I did not travel to at all during my Italian studies. So, it really wouldn't be a compromise at all. A lot of war-era Italian films took place in the north, as poor Italians moved up to Switzerland to obtain jobs and survive. The area is just so drastically different than the rocky south and the central Italy that is typically thought of -- rolling hills, wineries and cypress trees.

5. France

I hate France and don't want to see it. The Tour de France is enough for me. Josiah wants to go there though, to live out his literary fantasies and follow Hemingway's expatriate footsteps. Icky.

Ideally, we'd bring our bikes to whatever place we end up going. That way we could ride around in the cities and do some light touring. I'm not really sure if the logistics would make sense for a "quick" trip though. And I think it'd depend on which place we go to. I can't say I would enjoy cycling through the Dolomites in northern Italy. We'll see.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Frustrated and not witty

So ... looks like I've dropped the ball. Guess that's what I get for not doing anything in a couple of months. Here's a very basic checklist from the cute Bride Ideas list book Amanda gave me as a graduation present.

9 to 12 months

  • Set a budget
  • Make the guest list
  • Set the date
  • Research and reserve a venue
  • Determine the wedding party

6 to 9 months
  • Choose colors
  • Order invites
  • Register for gifts
  • Interview key vendors (Florist, Photographer, Baker, Caterer)
  • Find and secure an officiant
  • Shop for and order dress
  • Shop for and select attendants' gowns

4 to 6 months
  • Meetings with key vendors (Florist, Photographer, Baker, Caterer)
  • Plan the honeymoon
  • Arrange for passports
  • Obtain marriage license and other legalities
  • Order rings
What's funny is that every checklist is different and has a different timeline. For instance, TheKnot.com tells me to book the rehearsal dinner site five months in advance, but Bride Ideas says to do it between two to four months.

Here's a list from Real Simple that's a bit more in depth.

Seven to Six Months Before

  • Select and purchase invitations. Hire a calligrapher, if desired. Addressing cards is time-consuming, so you need to budget accordingly. They are ready to be addressed.
  • Start planning a honeymoon. Make sure that your passports are up-to-date, and schedule doctors’ appointments for any shots you may need. We have some options, but haven't decided for sure yet.
  • Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses. Allow at least six months for the dresses to be ordered and sized. Chose the dresses but haven't ordered them yet.
  • Meet with the officiant. Map out the ceremony and confirm that you have all the official documents for the wedding (these vary by county and religion). Need to talk about that.
  • Book a florist. Florists can serve multiple clients on one day, which is why you can wait a little longer to engage one. Plus, at this point, you’ll be firm on what your wedding palette will be. Got that one done awhile ago.
  • Start composing a day-of timeline. Draw up a schedule of the event and slot in each component (the cake-cutting, the first dance). What?! Is this a joke?

Five to Four Months Before

  • Book the rehearsal and rehearsal-dinner venues. Negotiate the cost and the menu. If you’re planning to host a day-after brunch for guests, book that place as well.
  • Check on the wedding invitations. Ask the stationer for samples of the finished invitations and revise them to suit your needs.
  • Select and order the cake. Some bakers require a long lead time. Attend several tastings before committing to any baker.
  • Send your guest list to the host of your shower. Provided you, ahem, know about the shower.
  • Purchase wedding shoes and start dress fittings. Bring the shoes along to your first fitting so the tailor can choose the appropriate length for your gown.
  • Schedule hair and makeup artists. Make a few appointments with local experts to try them out. Snap a photo at each so you can compare results.
  • Choose your music. What should be playing when the wedding party is announced? During dinner? To kick off the dancing? Keep a running list of what you want—and do not want—played.

My focus right now is to schedule meetings with bakers. I tried to do that the week before last, but their schedules are funky. I am meeting with Fleur di Lis Cakes on November 5th, so at least there's that. Bakers have been kind of frustrating to find. I've noticed that they tend to have terrible sites with terrible pictures. I haven't seen any cakes that I've really been impressed with either. And it's kind of scary ... I have pictures of what I want, but what happens when it's delivered and looks terrible? It's not like the wedding dress that you see it before you buy ... yowza. I've just seen some really terrible cakes and hopefully mine doesn't turn out to be one of them. I kind of wish my mom could just bake it haha. I'd love to have these key lime cupcakes from Bon Appetit. I made them a year or so ago and they are definitely my favorite cake concoction ever.

Ugh, I am feeling overwhelmed again and I haven't even done anything. I understand that your wedding is supposed to be the best day of your life and all, but it just seems ridiculous how much time and effort is supposed to go into it.

I can't seem to get anything done, let alone personalize it and think about the details. I have a feeling this wedding is not going to be very cute or thoughtful. I don't really have the energy to add thoughtful touches, nor do I have any good ideas. And stupid stuff like ... who is going to do my hair? I have never gone to a real "salon." So I guess I have to start going to a fancy hair place so I can find a hairdresser who I trust?

Well, I guess I needed a wake up call at some point. It's just a pain because these next weeks are particularly hectic with crazy deadlines at work and freelance projects. It doesn't help that I have four articles due tomorrow and I haven't started any. I guess I should say ciao to this stupid blog entry and hope the checklist magically gets completed in my sleep.

Friday, October 23, 2009

So much napoleon in my mouth

Holy cow. What a whirlwind of a week ...

So, I went to Baltimore. I made it on the second flight, which was excellent. The weekend was filled with a lot of dessert, a lot of laughs and a lot of jumping. I figure I'd upload some of the pictures here for your viewing pleasure.

In Amanda and Jaren's swanky Baltimore high-rise apartment. Puts my decrepit house form 1912 to shame!

This is us jumping in the mouth of a megalodon (dinosaur shark). If it was eating us I'm sure we'd be this ecstatic.

It was 40 degrees and raining the whole damn time. So. Cold.

We seriously took like 84 jumping pictures. This is the best!

All in all: a great trip. It was quick and involved a lot of travelling (I spent 14 hours in the airport/flying on Monday), but I am so happy I got to spend time with Amanda ... even if we didn't do any wedding stuff haha.

On to more good news: I kicked ass at my weigh in this morning.

134.4. That's right. This is the first time I've weighed under 135 in years. Like 5 years. Freaking crazy.

I ate a crap ton of bad food this weekend, of course (though I tried to be somewhat good), and I weighed myself on Monday to much horror. Granted, it was at 4 p.m. and I usually weigh myself at 9 ... so it was going to be higher regardless. But still, it was back up to 137.badnumber and I was pretty pissed to have gained back the weight I lost last week. So I was a stellar eater and exerciser this week and somehow made a victorious comeback. Also I didn't eat breakfast this morning because I wasn't feeling well, so not sure how much that would affect today's results.

Week one (10/9): 137.2
Week two (10/15): 136.0
Week three (10/23): 134.4

Because of my shortened week, my goals are a little odd. Since Tuesday I've ridden 55 miles, which is pretty good for three days. Last week I did three resistance workouts, so good for me. I did another one on Tuesday and am going to work out in a second over here.

Tonight the Central Slayer alleycat hosted by Hot City Destroyers. I'm hoping all of my training pays off.

Last but not least ... I haven't been doing any wedding stuff. I suck. This weekend I am going to post a checklist of what I've done so far on our timeline. Hold me to it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Flight Friday

I am currently in the airport, waiting to (hopefully) board my plane to Baltimore. I can't even wait to see Amanda this afternoon. It's hard to believe I haven't seen her in two-and-a-half months. This will be the first time she sees my engagement ring! So exciting. So much wedding stuff will get done this weekend. Hell yeah.

As of yesterday, I weighed 136.0. Pretty stoked about that. Dropped 1.2 pounds in less than a week. I didn't get to ride that much because of vacation preparations and being mildly ill (Josiah is full-on ill). BUtttt, I bought a road bike on Wednesday! I can't wait to ride it when I get home.

Sorry for the short update, but I've got to pay attention to the standby situation!

Edit: Didn't get on the first flight. Hopefully I'll get there at some point.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


They came! Forgive my crappy cell phone picture. The color is a lot richer in person. I love them :).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Weigh in No. 1

Fitness Friday has come and almost gone, and I nearly forgot to make my obligatory update.

As promised, I jumped on the scale this morning, so I am officially using this at my starting point:

October 9, 2009: 137.2 pounds

I'm hoping to eventually make it down to my goal weight of 130. That would pretty much take care of my gut (hopefully).

A couple months ago I decided to track what I ate. I eat a lot. All the time. I am the ultimate snacker. Any time I'd pass by the pantry or kitchen, I would grab something ... just because? It was ridiculous. I've always been like this, and it makes sense why I could be super active and fit, but still not make any gains in terms of weight loss (so punny). So, I figured it was time to make myself feel really guilty by keeping a food diary.

Most of my coworkers have been personal trainers and I talk to a tonnn of RDs for work, and everyone agrees that logging food intake is the best way to lose weight.

I tried it, and it's literally the only thing that has made me lose weight somewhat effectively. At my lowest, I was down to 135.something about a month or so ago. I started out at 142ish when I first started my job.

Basically, here's the gist.
- Write down everything you eat.
- Keep track of caloric count and fat grams.
- Want to eat a donut, but know that those 400 calories will make a huge dent in your daily caloric intake.
- Get instant feedback at the end of the day as to your success.

In general, what I eat isn't bad. I cook a ton
and try to eat a lot of fish, vegetables, whole grains, fruit, etc. The problem was that I just snacked like a mofo. Seriously, if I could cut out my meaningless snacking (and my candy), I would weigh a lot less. Oops.

Basically, writing down what you eat makes you accountable for your actions. You can't cheat. Because you know you're cheating, and you can't fool yourself.

For me, it also helps because I don't really eat out when I track my food. A lot of places don't have nutritional content (at least independent restaurants), so you'd have to guess. And believe me, from all of my interviews, people always underestimate portion size, which in turns leads to underestimating calories. So, if I cook my own food using recipes from places like Cooking Light, I know exactly what's in it and the nutritional make up. It helps me be in control of what I'm eating. And plus, it saves me money. Always a good thing.

I've logged my food twice for probably increments of 3 to 4 weeks each time. The first time I definitely just gained the weight back after I stopped logging. That was shitty. The last time I did it was probably a month ago, and surprisingly I've only gained back a pound or two. While that definitely isn't good, at least it shows I kind of improved my habits? Ha.

I'm hoping to use this round of food logging to basically make myself aware of my choices and help form healthier habits. For example, I am obsessed with dessert. But I'm trying to eat fruit for dessert instead of candy, ice cream, etc. My grandfather has always had his cherries after dinner ("Glorrrrr! Bring me my cherries!" he'd always boom from the downstairs), and I think I could learn from him. Plus, I just need to get out of the habit of eating because food is there. Not necessary at all.

Here's today's food log:

Breakfast: cup Blueberry Special K cereal w/ soy milk: 150 cal
Lunch: smallest piece of pizza ever (w/diced bell peppers, spinach, roasted garlic sauce, feta, goat, cheddar and prosciutto): approximately 200 cal; sugar-free fruit cup: 70 cal
Dinner: 6 oz. salmon w/spicy shrimp stuffing and chipotle salsa: 250 cal
Dessert: lick of the spoon from the lemon bars currently in the oven: 15 cal
(Edit) Dessert pt. 2: an actual lemon bar (Mom, they are delicious): 150 cal
Total today so far: 835 cal

It doesn't seem like very much (and looking at it written down, it's not), but surprisingly when you're eating healthy food, there aren't that many calories. I could have had a combo meal at McDonald's that was more calories than that. But instead I had cereal, pizza, some fruit and a hunk of salmon.

Yeterday I did some extra snacking (and candy corning) and had 1,165 calories.

I think the one thing I have going for me is my habit of not drinking anything other than water. Alcohol especially has a billion calories. I can't imagine drinking four or five bottles of beer and hitting like 800 calories. That is insane. Hopefully my monthly margarita doesn't set me back (haha just kidding). Though last week at Boulders, I drank three Shirley Temples. Not sure what got into me that night. So crazy. Ha!

Here are some tips I've gathered through my own experience and from articles I've written about nutrition and food logging:

- Keep your logs in one place. Whether it's online through a service or in a planner (I'm using my Moleskine planner), it's helpful to see your progress. Before I was just using whatever random Post-Its I found. Then I would lose them and it just wasn't very helpful.
- Track more than just calories. Last time, I logged the calories, fat (trans and sat), fiber and protein. That helps put things into perspective for you. Depending on what kind of lifestyle you live, you need different proportions of fat, carbs and protein.
- Pay attention to portion size. For me, the big thing was cereal. Sure, a serving size of cereal is between 3/4 cup and a cup, depending on the brand. But when you pour a bowl of cereal, it ends up being a lot more than that. Take a dry measuring cup and measure out a cup and put that in your bowl to see what that looks like. I was definitely shocked!
- Learn from it. No one is going to keep a food diary for the rest of their lives. And least hopefully not. But after one week of keeping a food journal, you will learn a lot about your eating habits. Maybe you're not getting enough protein. I realized I wasn't. I know my good friend Bethany started keeping one, and she was especially interested in her fiber intake. Logs can be really useful to see what you're getting too much of and not getting enough of.
- Apply your knowledge and adapt your diet. Once you become aware of the missteps, put the knowledge to use. Honestly, before I logged my food for the first time ... I knew I ate a lot, but I didn't realize how much of it was just for fun. Now I know I need to watch my snacking and I can remember that. Most of the time I don't pay attention, but at least it's there if I'd like to listen, haha.

That was really long. Sorry for rambling. I know too much about this kind of crap from work.

P.S. - Rereading the last two entries makes me seem like a freak. I swear I'm not actually obsessed about my weight or anything. I'm just a goal-oriented gal and want to look hot for my wedding.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fitness Thursfriday

All day, every day, I am surrounded by fitness. I write about health and wellness, fitness, sports medicine and nutrition. My coworkers are all former professional or collegiate athletes. My friends are cyclists. My family is too athletic for their own good. So, where do I fit in?

I've always been somewhat active. I grew up playing soccer and had practice basically every after school and tournaments on the weekend. In early high school, I ran track and cross country. I was definitely way more in shape then compared to now ha.

As time progresses, I've discovered I really want to get serious about cycling. I love it, I love my friends and I love bikes. It's been a great outlet for Josiah and I in terms of combining something active with our social lives. My favorite thing in the world is our Thursday night Ladies' Ride, where I meet up with Erica, Adriane and all of my other girls (and sometimes guys!). It's been wonderful to have fun doing something I both love and is good for me!

For awhile now, I've wanted to make some sort of fitness post setting out some goals for myself. And now I have more of a concrete reason.

I just set up and engagement photo shoot with Morgan Bellinger of Move Photography for November 29. (I'm planning a special post in the future about how pumped I am to work with my friend Morgan!) So now I have a date that I need to look good for. (If only my hair would grow six inches by then...)

I've always been one to want to lose weight, get in shape, eat better, get fit, blah blah blah. I'm not good at doing any of those things. I'm trying though. Ever since I started my job (and have been surrounded by people obsessed with health, performance and counting calories), I've been doing a better job at maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I still love ice cream and candy, but I'm dealing with those infatuations a bit better now.

In the past I've struggled a lot with my weight and being unhappy about my appearance. I know this is normal to an extent with any woman. As I've grown up, I've consequently grown out of hating who I am and my appearance, though it occasionally comes back if I'm feeling especially down.

I'm excited to use this wedding as a time to improve myself, physically and mentally. I've come to the realization that setting vague goals like "I want to lose weight" aren't going to get me anywhere. If I had a lot of dedication and drive, they might haha. Instead, I'm really going to focus on my cycling and getting better at that. Right now I'm trying to reach 100 miles a week (I hit 120 a few weeks ago, but only got around 60 last week). I know if I make this a priority, I will become better, faster, leaner and overall healthier. I'll let an improved appearance become the result of my cycling goals. I'm tired of constantly trying to lose weight and feeling unsuccessful.

My goals:
- Ride 100 miles a week
- Do weight/resistance training 3 times a week
- Consume less than 1,200 calories a day

Every Friday I'm going to do a recap of the week and assess if I achieved my goals or not. I'll use Friday morning as my weekly weigh in to keep some consistency. I think I'll also cover some sort of fitness-related topic. Tomorrow I'll talk about food journaling (the only way I've ever lost weight).

As some of you know, I love a good challenge. After all, I haven't used spoons in five years after I made it my angry New Year's resolution. Making this a game for myself is probably the only way I can make some headway.

Now, it's time to make use of my lunch break and do some weights in my office's gym. Ciao!

P.S. - Sorry this post was incoherent and all over the place. It's hard for me to gather my thoughts on this subject!

Some bike-related photos:

An old photo of the Ladies' Ride, taken by Erica Lucci.

Bikes, bikes, bikes in my living room.

Hilarious picture of Chris, Erica, Josiah and I after a 55 mile this spring. My hair tie broke before the ride started!

Riding into the darkness on another ladies' ride, another one courtesy of Erica.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wedding alleycat!!!!

As many of you know, Josiah and I are heavy into cycling. We ride fixed gear bikes, the kind with no gears and no brakes. The sport is a blast and we've gained so many really, really incredible friends over the past years through bikes.

Josiah and I have officially decided to hold a wedding alleycat (a scavenger hunt-like bike race). We're thinking it'll be the weekend after our wedding and it'll be a way for us to celebrate with all of our bike friends! I've been wanting to organize an alleycat for a long time now, and Josiah ought to plan something (since his wedding planning involvement is not much to brag about haha).

I'm pretty sure this is the greatest idea ever! We are already having a blast thinking of destinations (Tempe Center for the Arts, courthouse, dress boutique, strip club) and props (something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, garters, ring pops, etc.). The people who help us with the race can be the bridal party! The spokecards could be adaptations of our actual invitations, and the fliers could be save the dates...!!!

Now we just need to come up with a punny name. And get this shit together.

Sad but true: I am kinda more excited about this than the actual wedding. Sort of kidding haha.

Edit: It would be great to make this a guy/girl partner race. The dudes could ride to Dream Palace, while the girls could ride to a salon or something, etc. then meet up at the courthouse or chapel or whatever. Yes, it is going to be hilariously stereotypical hahah.

My mom hates this idea

A while ago, my little sister Annelise said the bridesmaids should wear Vans at the wedding. I laughed it off, though I secretly thought it was a great idea. Last week I thought I had come up with an amazing plan: Josiah could give his groomsmen Vans to wear at the wedding as a gift. Then I realized I wasn't the brilliant one and remembered Annelise's suggestion haha. Josiah and I have worn Vans for years now, and collectively have had too many pairs to count.

After some searching, I came up with the perfect pair, this white organic Authentic shoe with a green stripe.

Vans come in a billion different colors, and about a year ago I saw the perfect reddish orange color Authentics. I should have bought them, but probably made up some excuse (oh, fiscal responsibility). If I could find a pair now, I would be in heaven.

My ideal wedding shoe scenario:

Bridesmaids and groomsmen in all white or white with a green/red accent stripe.

Me in reddish-orange (still on the hunt)

Josiah in green:

The girls are wearing green dresses from J. Crew, so white shoes would be adorable. I, on the other hand, could wear the reddish-orange to add a fun pop of color to my ivory, knee-length dress.

My mom is not keen on the idea of the girls wearing Vans at all … let alone me sporting Vans. I plan on wearing her down, but in the case that she holds strong, maybe I could just wear them for the reception and be comfortable? ...I would kind of like to wear heels so I can have nice calves haha!

Can you imagine how cute the pictures would be with us all in Vans? I can’t even handle it. Anyway, how am I going to skid my fixed gear down the aisle in heels? We all know heels + cages don't work well. But you better believe that our bikes are going to be involved somehow...