Saturday, January 28, 2012

Exercise at Home

Once again, I've found the best things on Pinterest.

Maybe this makes me lazy, but I hate having to go to the UNC gym. There are two separate rec centers, the SRC and Ram's Head. There is NO parking, they're both always crowded, and you have to sign up for machines. Not to mention, there is NO open space for stretching or doing non-machine exercises, so its basically worthless. In my effort to lose weight before the wedding, I've resorted to doing at-home exercises that are just as good as what I could do at the gym. Here are a few of my favorites:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Books for Christmas

Not that I think he just can't come up with anything else, but it seems that every Christmas, I get a number of new books from my dad. He does it for everyone in our family and I never know what I'm going to get (until I'm wrapping it for myself on Christmas Eve). So anyway, every year he gets me books and every year I don't read them, when I really should. And my poor dad asks me about them all the time and I always have to tell him I haven't read them. Well from now on, that's not going to happen.

I can't believe that for all these years I have never liked reading. I honestly believe its because of school, constantly being forced to read things that I don't enjoy to the point where I never even wanted to read anything I WOULD enjoy.

Anyway, reading has become my new "thing" right now. Well, that, and Pinterest is still reigning as the thing that takes up the most time in my day (besides work, of course!!).

My reading list:

The Hunger Games Trilogy. Amazing. Read all of them in a week (I feel like everyone says that).

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. My dad bought me this book like 2 years ago and I never got around to reading it. Just saw the movie over Christmas and it was great, so I'm finally in the process of reading it now. After I have finished this list of books, I plan to read the rest of the books in Stieg Larsson's series!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Next on my list to read after I finish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. My mom got this for Christmas, read it immediately, and LOVED it. I even tried to say that another book was next in line and she got mad, telling me I HAD to read this one first.

The Time of Our Lives by Tom Brokaw. This is the book that I got this year from my dad for Christmas. I haven't heard much about it, but I am excited to read it just for the general knowledge I will gain from it. Plus, is it weird that I miss reading for my history classes? (I had a history minor in college)

When Character Was King. This biography of Ronald Reagan gives great insight into his own personality and background while relating it to his presidency and diplomatic style. I am in the process of reading it right now, but took a break to read The Hunger Games and now I just need to go back and finish it.


Putting it all down on here makes my list look pretty long! I have taken to reading while JMC plays video games, which I hate watching. He doesn't seem to understand that me watching him play video games is just like me making him watch ridiculously girly shows with me (which I don't do). But if I'm able to read, I find it much more bearable. So he can play all he wants because I am so excited to get through all of these!!

Italian Sausage Soup

There are a number of reasons why I have been trying to cook more:

1. To prepare for being a good wife in 8 months
2. To learn in general (or re-emerge my skills from high school culinary arts class hehe)
3. To be healthier
4. To save money

So I have been looking at Pinterest for recipes, and I couldn't be happier with what I've found. This soup is my favorite thing I've found so far. Its simple, easy, quick, healthy, and delicious. Add some crusty bread for dipping and a pint of craft beer, and JMC and I are in food heaven.

 Italian Sausage Soup

8 oz hot or sweet turkey sausage (or chicken sausage or pork sausage if you don't mind losing some of the healthiness)
2 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1/2 cup uncooked small shell pasta
2 cups bagged baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove casings from sausage (or buy ground Italian sausage). Add sausage to pan, and cook about 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; return to pan.

Add broth, tomatoes, and pasta to pan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is done. Remove from heat; stir in spinach until wilted. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and basil.

Seriously, this is one of the easiest and fastest meals I have ever made. I made it once with pork sausage and once with chicken sausage. The pork sausage was more delicious, but adds calories. I plan on trying it with turkey sausage soon to see if that will be better than the chicken sausage and just as healthy!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Engagement Party & Shower Themes

JMC and I are blessed to have a number of close friends and family who want to throw us showers and engagement parties. It helps, I guess, that we are so young and happen to be the first of any of our friends to get married. As showers are being planned for the summer, I have found myself having a hard time deciding on theme ideas, or if we want to have themes at all.

In December, JMC's parents (with the help of mine) threw us the greatest engagement party. It was "Trim Their Tree" themed and was held at JMC's parents' house in Charlotte. I LOVED the idea of having a Christmas-themed engagement party. JMC and I both love everything about Christmas so it kind of only made sense. We got some of the most amazing gifts from our family and friends that will really mean a lot to decorate for our first Christmas as a married couple next year.

JMC's parents got us a pre-lit tree (along with a UNC Christmas platter, a staple for holidays around JMC's house), and to go with it, my parents got us an adorable tree skirt with our name embroidered on it.

So after our engagement party was so awesome, I've started to think of other themes we could use for couple's and bridal showers that are to come this summer. Here are a few that I've been considering:

Kitchen Shower:

I feel like this is the go-to shower for most couples. JMC and I are going to need a lot of kitchen supplies and utensils to outfit our new living space (whatever it may be). Sure, we have hand-me-down pots and pans, and things we used in college apartments, but now that we're grown-ups, we need quality everyday items as well as a few utensils and appliances that we (read "I") will need now that we (I) will be cooking all the time.

Margaritas & Monograms:

I saw this idea on Pinterest (shocker), and I thought, this would be the perfect shower for me. Who doesn't love margs? Plus, I have all this monogrammed stuff with my OLD monogram that I need replaced, right? But then I thought, how many options for monogrammed things could there really be before it starts getting weird?

Entertainment Shower:

JMC's cousin and her husband had an entertainment shower before their wedding, but people ended up bringing games and things to entertain the couple. I'm thinking that a better way to spin this would be to bring things that the couple can use to entertain OTHERS. JMC and I are innate hosts, always wanting to have people over for dinner, parties, etc. We are definitely going to need to stock up on party-throwing items ASAP.

Anyone else have any brilliant ideas for shower themes?

Long time no post...

It's been forever since I have had time to post. Since the last time I posted, JMC and I had an engagement party, spent Christmas in Charlotte, celebrated the New Year in the North Carolina mountains, and started back at school and work. Its been a crazy month!!

I have always hated New Year's resolutions. If you want to do something, just do it. I guess the fresh start motivates some people, so I get it, but to me a resolution was always setting myself up for failure. Plus, I HATE going to the gym with all the resolution-ers. Way too crowded, and I can never get one of the good ellipticals that shows you where you're running on a track. I like to have visual goals to keep me interested. So this year, I'm not setting a resolution, just trying to lead a more healthy lifestyle, motivated by a certain large event that is now less than nine months away... Our Wedding!!!

I'm trying to lose 10-15 lbs before September 29th so I feel as comfortable as possible in my beautiful dress, which, BTW, was delivered to J. Majors (the boutique that I got it from) last week! I won't be back in Charlotte until the end of next month to be able to try it on, but I couldn't be more excited!!! I'm hoping that I will lose a few more pounds before I go try it on for the first time, even though I'm not getting fitted for it yet.

I know I posted about going dress shopping a while back, and as it turns out, I ended up choosing and ordering my dress that day, at the very first store that we went to. Actually, it was the first dress that I tried on. I definitely went through the motions and tried on a number of other dresses, but I kept going back to the same one over and over again. Funny how things work like that. I know that a lot of brides like to bring a million people with them to try dresses on, but I really wanted it to be an intimate experience. I brought my mom, JMC's mom, and SRC, JMC's sister-in-law and my matron of honor. The only other people who have seen pictures of me in my dress are my brother, my maid of honor (KPB), and one of JMC's brothers (who helped me upload the pictures and put a password on the folder so JMC doesn't get curious).

My experience was great and the girl that helped us at J Majors was awesome! I'm keeping my dress a secret to everyone else who hasn't seen it yet, including my dad who is going to be a WRECK on our wedding day.

Anyway, there are more posts to come! I am getting further and further into the planning process and its hard to believe that our wedding is only 8 months away!!