July 21-25

Last week has come and gone and now this week is already well underway. I am currently sitting on the couch enjoying a bottle of Starbucks iced coffee with milk while Chopped Junior quietly plays on the TV screen in the background. I had a great workout this afternoon and am now resting my body and waiting for my nightly snack time to roll around haha. So while I sip my coffee, I thought I’d write up a recap of last week/weekend. 

Thursday July 21 – Thursday marked two months of marriage for Brendan and me! I always  imagined that getting married and moving in with the man I would marry would feel so strange and awkward at first and would take at least around a year of marriage to get used to. But guess what? From the moment we left for our honeymoon, I have never once felt strange or awkward living with my husband. While we were dating, hanging out with Brendan was always exciting and it was something I continuously looked forward to. And now, that hasn’t changed one bit, except for the fact that I get to hang out with him and spend time with him every single day. 🙂 Living together and being married just feels so natural and right – no doubt, guilt or shame attached. I think that’s a sign from God that we were meant to be together. ❤ 

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Brendan and I met my mom, my sister Alli and my Maw for lunch at Panera on Thursday afternoon in Roanoke. I had been wanting Mom and Alli to come down for a visit to see our apartment and Thursday was the perfect summer day for that! After lunch, Brendan had to leave for work, but us girls decided to do a little shopping in the area before heading back to the apartment. I ended up finding a couple of cute tops that were on sale at Old Navy and Alli found a baseball cap that was on sale as well. Maw treated both of us by paying for our finds. 🙂 We mostly enjoyed window shopping and each other’s company though.

On their way back home, Mom, Alli and Maw stopped by the apartment for a short visit. I felt so grown up showing them Brendan and My home. As a teenager, I always liked keeping house while Mom was out, and I would daydream about how much fun it would be when I was grown up and married and had my very own place to clean and take care of and decorate just how I wanted. I thought it would be so much fun to have guests over for an afternoon treat or to dinner, just like in Anne of Green Gables and other novels I read as a teenager. And now here I am, a young married woman with my own place. And guess what? Having company over and showing them your home is just as fun as I imagined it would be. 🙂 

Friday July 22 – Friday morning Brendan and I got up and ready to go see Star Trek Beyond in the theaters before it got too busy. Brendan is a big Star Trek fan and was so excited to see the movie! I don’t really like seeing movies in the morning/early afternoon, but it was nice because the theater wasn’t busy and then we had the rest of our day free to get more important things done. 

After lunch I went to the gym to get in a much needed workout after not going the day before. I also started using the app My Fitness Pal to track what I am eating so I can try and get back on track and take charge of my health. Brendan started using the app back in January along with tracking his steps on his Fitbit and he has lost a lot of weight! I was a little hesitant to start using it because I try not to count calories or fat grams. I did that as a teenager and it sent me spiraling down the road to an eating disorder because I became so obsessed with it. But, I was feeling desperate and I really didn’t want to keep gaining weight. This app has actually been eye opening for me! Not only is it cool to see where I am getting my energy from and to have goals for the nutrients I need, but it has helped me re-learn portion control and to appreciate and enjoy my food. I’ve been using it for a few days now, but I  think I’ll stick with it for now because I am already starting to see results with my weight loss AND I feel so much better and less sluggish. 

Saturday July 23 – Saturday was a pretty uneventful day. I was feeling a bit run down, so instead of going to the gym and pushing myself, I opted for a few at-home workouts to switch things up. After my workout, I grabbed my grocery list and headed to the store. I know that some people consider grocery shopping a chore, but I absolutely love it! Not only is it an excuse to get out of the house, but I love putting a list together, making healthy choices and making it all fit within our budget. It’s such a satisfying feeling. After I got my groceries, I got myself an iced coffee from Starbucks and then headed home. 

Sunday July 24 – Sunday was my brother Michael’s 19th birthday. So after Brendan and I went to church, we grabbed something to eat and headed to my parent’s house for the day to help Michael celebrate! It was definitely a hot summer day. My parents’ live in an old farm house (the house that my Maw grew up in) and there is no air conditioning in any of the downstairs rooms, and with the temperatures being in the upper 90s we were all pretty sweaty by the end of the day. But I didn’t really mind the heat and the humidity, it just reminded me of summer days at home. Ah, sweet summertime! 

We had a low-key celebration – we went to go get ice cream from the Dairy Isle, the guys grilled steaks and mom fixed veggies and some yummy side dishes for dinner. Michael isn’t big into birthday celebrations, so we just kept it simple. We had chocolate cake and homemade apple crisp before Brendan and I had to head back home. Alli made Michael a surprise poop emoji cake haha. I think she did a pretty good job! 

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Monday July 25 – Monday was an interesting day. Brendan and I ended up sleeping in later than we had planned to, so we just spent our morning taking it easy. While Brendan studied I did some reading. 

Brendan heard that Donald Trump was going to be in Roanoke for a town hall meeting that day. Since the event was being held at the Hotel Roanoke and it was free to get in, Brendan and I decided that we should go check it out to hear from Trump himself instead of listening to what Facebook and the media have to say about him. When we got to the Hotel Roanoke, there was a long line of people waiting to get inside. By the time we got inside, the conference room was already filled to capacity, and we were going to have to watch Donald Trump speak on a TV screen in a different room. After waiting around for a little while, we decided that if we couldn’t be in the conference room we might as well go home and watch it online later. Even though we didn’t stay, it was kind of cool to have Donald Trump come to our city to speak! 

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Later that afternoon we went and did some grocery shopping. After dropping our groceries off at the apartment, we changed and went to the gym for an awesome workout! We went to the gym later than we usually do so there were a lot more people there than we are used to. By the time we had finished our workout, it was after dinner time and we were both needing a pick-me-up. So we each got our caffeinated beverage of choice before heading back home for the night. 

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I cooked spinach lasagna rolls for dinner and we didn’t eat until around 9 p.m.! We watched Smallville while we ate dinner and just relaxed for the remainder of the evening. 

I am absolutely loving being back in the world of blogging and I find myself looking forward to writing these weekly recaps! However, I’ve been thinking about some different topics that I’d like to blog about and I’m hoping to get some more interesting posts up on the blog soon. I like keeping everyone up-to-date on what’s going on in my life, but I also want to use this blog as a place where I can share about things that are really important to me and that I feel other people could benefit from. 

I’m still discovering my voice and style as a blogger – there are just so many different topics to write about – but I hope that day-by-day I am getting one step closer to having this blog to where I want it to be. 

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Week in Review

This week has been good for the mind, body and spirit. I have really needed some motivation and rejuvenation, and I think I found both.

On Monday (July 11) Brendan and I went to the gym! We signed up for a gym membership last Saturday so that we could start working out together. I’ve gained a little weight since we moved and I’ve lost the muscles I had been working on before my wedding, so I really felt like I needed a fresh start for my workouts. While I actually prefer doing my own at-home workouts a lot of the times, I just wasn’t getting the results that I was looking for. For me, I’m more likely to workout if it means getting out of my apartment for a change of scenery and also because I know we are paying for our membership! I’ve been to the gym everyday this week besides Friday, and I feel great.

Friday morning (July 15) I woke up feeling super happy and I had the best nights sleep I’ve had since moving to Roanoke! Brendan took off work Friday so that we could spend the day with our friends Brady and Lora who were visiting from Georgia. Brendan and Brady have been best friends for years now and they were roommates for two years. Brady and Lora got married right after Brendan and me and then they moved to Georgia, so it’s been hard being so far away from them. But it’s so exciting to see how God is working in their lives down in Georgia.

We met Brady and Lora for lunch at La Carreta in Lynchburg. La Carreta was one of our favorite places to eat together when we were all in school, so it was kind of like old times eating there together again. 🙂

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After lunch, Brendan and I decided to head to Liberty University to walk around campus to get some vitamin D and to burn off some of the calories we consumed during lunch! It was our first time being back at Liberty (the place we met) since we got married. As we walked through the Jerry Falwell Library, where we spent countless hours studying and writing papers, I couldn’t help but think back to last fall and my very last semester of college. Under the pressure of work and school, I kept thinking how wonderful and easy things would be if I could just finish school and then get married – sometimes it felt like that time would never come. But here we were, college alumni and husband and wife walking around our college campus. It felt surreal. I never thought I’d say it, but I kind of miss Liberty and college classes! A lot of good memories were made on that campus and I wouldn’t trade those 4 1/2 years of college for anything.

We ended up getting a good walk in and sweating in the heat of the day. We kept having to take detours around all of the construction that was going on on campus (when is there NOT construction going on Liberty’s campus?). At 2:30 p.m., we met up with Brady and Lora and their friend Shannon at a local bookshop called Bookshop on the Avenue. This bookshop is one of my very favorites! The shop is basically an old house with used books from top to bottom. Definitely a haven for bibliophiles.

After we shopped for books, we went downtown to peruse the streets and cool off with some sweet treats. I got an iced coffee from The White Hart Cafe and Lora and Shannon got gelato from CAO Artisans Chocolates. We enjoyed our treats while shopping around at an antique shop and a pawn shop. The thing that I love about downtown Lynchburg is that it seems to be a thriving hub for creatives. There are so many new crafty shops and every time I turn around I feel like there is a trendy cafe or restaurant. I love the creative energy and everyone’s desire to shop local. I’m still getting to know the Roanoke area, but I feel like Roanoke is more for business people. I definitely miss Lynchburg’s talent and writing for the local magazines there.

At 4 p.m., Brendan and I met my brother Jon after he got off work. The three of us hung out for a while before grabbing a bite to eat and then heading over to the mall to meet back up with Brady and Lora. After we shopped around at the mall we all went to see Ghostbusters. The movie was actually really good – I haven’t laughed that much in a movie in a long time. 🙂 We had to say our goodbyes with Brady and Lora after the movie. 😦 They headed back to Georgia today because Brady has to be back at work on Sunday. It was bittersweet to watch them go, but Brendan and I are excited to start planning a trip to Georgia to visit them before too long.

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Jon came back to Roanoke with us to spend the night! We picked up some Talenti gelato and rented a movie from Red Box on our way back home. But before we settled in to watch a movie, we hit the streets of downtown Roanoke to take a walk (I think Brendan and Jon just wanted an excuse to keep playing Pokemon Go haha). The nightlife in downtown Roanoke is always in full swing on the weekends, and the amount of people playing Pokemon Go keeps growing with each passing day. After we all changed into our comfy clothes and pulled the sofa bed out, we fixed some gelato and watched 10 Cloverfield Lane.

This morning (July 16) we all slept in until around 10 a.m., had some breakfast and coffee and then headed out to go on a hike. Brendan and I have been wanting to hike up to the Roanoke Star since we moved here, so we figured that today would be the perfect day for it. It was also a great way to get some exercise in. Did you know that the Roanoke Star is the largest man-made star in the world?! I had no idea. I guess you learn something new everyday.

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The trail took us about an hour or so to hike – not bad at all. I really enjoyed being outdoors surrounded by the lush greenery. And I think Jon and Brendan had a blast playing Pokemon Go as we hiked. Ha!

Since I was sweaty from hiking and already in my gym clothes, I figured I might as well go to the gym to work out for an hour or so. Since I got my cardio in from our hike earlier in the day, I decided to focus on working my abs, legs and arms. I think tomorrow will be my day of rest.

I spent the rest of the evening doing some chores and just chilling. I’m currently watching Maid in Manhattan while I finish this post up. I might fix myself a bit of gelato here in a bit and do some reading for the rest of the night. I really hope this coming week will be as awesome as this past one! 🙂

Make Your Own Sunshine

Is it just me, or does summer seem to be slipping right on by? Summer is my happy place. I learned to appreciate summer a lot more when I started college – knowing that summer would be my gateway to freedom from school helped motivate me to push through all of the tests and papers. Now that I’m done with college, summer still seems to emanate freedom for me. But this year, summer has been a bit different.

I’m used to summer out in the country, where I have unlimited access to the great outdoors, fresh air, sunshine and a lot of bug bites! However, this year I’m getting to experience summer in the city, which if you didn’t already know, is a lot different than summer in the country. I’d be lying if I said it was an easy adjustment moving to Roanoke. Not that I’m unhappy – I actually love living in an apartment with my husband – it’s just different. Instead of being surrounded by green grass and animals, I’m surrounded by tall buildings, lots of cars and people. It’s actually a refreshing change, believe it or not. But I have found myself missing summers at my parents’ house.

I’ve come to realize that I tend to dwell on the past, sometimes too often. And you know what I’ve discovered? It’s great to cherish memories of time spent with the people you love and the places you’ve been, but it’s not healthy to spend all of your time and energy wishing you could relive those moments. Sure, there are times when we wish we could go back to how things used to be, or just spend a little bit more time in a certain stage of life. But the truth is, you’ll make yourself unhappy if you focus on the past instead of living in the present.

These past couple of weeks have been difficult for me for various reasons. I can be really hard on myself and I haven’t had a very positive outlook recently. I think a lot of major life changes just happened at once and it’s taking me time to get used to. Brendan and I have been living in our apartment for a little over a month now, so getting married and moving into a place of our own was a pretty big life event. And with that comes the adjustment of making our apartment feel like home, finding our way around a new city and adapting to Brendan’s work schedule.

The change in sleep patterns has been hard on my body too. I’ve recently gained some weight and have been feeling such low self-esteem. If you know me at all, you know that my weight and body image has been a big issue for me for the past few years. To make a long story short (I may do a separate post sometime that goes into more detail), I lost a lot of weight leading up to and right after my wedding. With all of the wedding planning, packing and moving, I had lost quite a bit of weight and was at an all-time low for myself. I hadn’t weighed so little since I was 15 years-old. However, I am short and have a small frame, so I wasn’t dangerously underweight. I actually felt good about my body and felt energized and healthy. But once we got moved into our apartment and my busy schedule came to a screeching halt, I ended up gaining the weight back. I know I’m no where near being overweight, but I just hate knowing that I gained weight. And it doesn’t help that I strayed away from my workout routine and have lost what muscle I had.

I KNOW that I should focus on how my body feels and not the number on the scale, but that’s still a challenge for me. I’ve spent so much time worrying about my weight and it’s affected my overall mood. Not good. So this past weekend, I made a point to make sure I start focusing on how my body feels instead of letting the number on the scale control my mood. I’ve been to the gym three times this week, went on walks through the city with Brendan and ate foods that nourished my body. I’ve been choosing to be happy with myself, and while that may not always be easy to do, it has been so freeing. I have to keep reminding myself that I need to take care of my body and treat it the way God wants me to. Hopefully I’m taking steps in the right direction.

At this point I still don’t have a job, which in some ways is nice and others not so much. It’s been nice having free time to get our apartment organized, practicing meal prep, learning how to grocery shop and cook for two (Brendan and I are almost complete opposites when it comes to meal time) and also just having time to read, journal and blog like I’m doing now. On the other hand, sometimes I think I have TOO much free time. I’m the type of person that thrives on a busy schedule. Sure, there might be times when I have a meltdown and just wish things would slow down, but at least I know I’m being productive and getting things accomplished. I like making to-do lists, I like seeing appointments and events written on my calendar and I work well under pressure (I guess I got that from writing for my college’s newspaper). So to go from having a hectic schedule full of wedding planning details at the beginning of the year, to just figuring out what I should buy from the grocery store next week, is a drastic change of pace.

I was honestly a little scared of searching for a job when we first moved here – I was worried that it might be TOO much for me to adjust to all at once. But now that we are comfortably settled in our new apartment, I think I’m ready to take the hunt more seriously. God has been good and has helped provide us with all that we need working with just one income. But I know it would be a great help for me to find a job, and it would also be good to put my free time to good use. Sometimes I like to dream about how nice it would be to do blogging as my full-time job, and maybe some gardening or something on the side. But for now, I’ll just keep taking the baby steps necessary to work my way up. I know that God has a job in mind for me, even if I don’t know what it is yet, and I know that He has blessed me with this time of not having a job for a reason.

The lesson to be learned here is that life requires a positive mindset for you to truly be happy. And the only person that can change that mindset is YOU! Happiness is a choice, so  go for a walk outside, journal about your feelings, go grab coffee with a friend, whatever it is that gives you clarity of thought and brings you peace. You have the power to make your own sunshine, so get out and do it!

4th of July Weekend

Tuesday seems to be the new Monday for me. All day long I’ve had this feeling that it’s just the beginning of the week – I guess that’s because I’m still getting used to Brendan’s new work schedule. He now works second shift on Tuesday-Saturday. So this past week I’ve been trying to get settled into a new routine. I’ve got some vegan banana bread in the oven now and I’m washing a load of laundry, so while I have some down time I thought I’d write a “catch-up” post.

This past Saturday my brother Jon came to stay the night with me and Brendan in Roanoke. Since Brendan was still at work, Jon picked up a pizza, some Talenti gelato and a couple of movies from Red Box so we could have a movie night. It was nice to have some company over – not to mention Jon makes the best cup of coffee, and we all know how much I love coffee! We waited up for Brendan to get home from work and then decided to watch another movie. So we may or may not have stayed up until 3 a.m.! Hey, we’re all young, and you only live once, right?

On Sunday, Jon, Brendan and I packed up and headed to my parents house for the day. Since there was a greater chance of rain on Monday (the 4th of July), my parents decided that it would be better to celebrate Independence Day early. Coming back home for a visit is so relaxing for me – I love being able to go outside and enjoy the fresh country air and summer sun. I’ve been very blessed to visit Mom and Dad several times over the past few weeks. Now that I’m married and living away from home, I’m learning how special and important it is to spend time with family.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun celebrating the 4th of July. Dad and Brendan bought fireworks to give us our own personal show, my brothers made a bon fire so we could roast marshmallows and make s’mores and we all went to the Dairy Isle to get ice cream together! The only downside was that my brother Michael’s Pomeranian, Rocky, was having an anxiety attack all day long because of the fireworks. Poor baby. ❤  I had a bit more sugar and caffeine than I’m used to, so I was a bit giggly toward the end of the night. I enjoyed sitting on the swing with my Mom and my sister Alli watching the fireworks and laughing about anything and everything! I haven’t felt so carefree and relaxed in a long time.

Brendan was off work yesterday, and since we were both worn out from Sunday’s festivities, we decided to take it easy and simply enjoy each other’s company. We slept in until 10:30 a.m. (I promise I don’t usually sleep that late!), and then just spent the rest of the morning watching Smallville. I was obsessed with Smallville when I was younger, but only watched through the 5th season. So, last year Brendan and I decided to watch through the entire series. We are currently on the 5th season now and loving it! Better late than never, right?

When 3 p.m. rolled around I was starting to feel a change of scenery, so we each grabbed a book (and Brendan’s iPad mini) and headed to Starbucks to hang out for the rest of the afternoon. I actually got a good bit of reading done, which makes me wonder why I don’t go hang out at Starbucks more often.

Brendan wanted to get Cookout for dinner, so we went through the drive thru and then brought our dinner back home so we could be comfy and watch TV while we ate. We ended up watching Cops while we waited for the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks show. 🙂

While it was a super fun and relaxing weekend, I was left feeling like I needed a fresh start today! Slowly, but surely, I’m trying to get back in the habit of working out regularly and eating more vegan meals. Obviously the cheese quesadilla and fries I had from Cookout yesterday were far from being healthy or vegan, but I’m getting back on track and finding new inspiration from other bloggers and Instagramers that I follow. I may not be as tech savvy as some people, but I will say that I do enjoy social media and some of the awesome people I have connected with through Instagram.

Now that my banana bread is done and my clothes need to be dried, I think it’s time to call it a night. I plan on having another post up soon that goes more in depth on how I’ve been adjusting to my new schedule and apartment living. 🙂