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Monday, October 22, 2012

5 for Five Link-Up!

It's Monday, so let's see how I did on my goals for last week...

1. Work out every day this week -  I worked out six of the seven days last week. Total success! 
2. Clean all the floors and ceiling fans in the house - I cleaned all the floors... but not the ceiling fans. I was halfway there.
3. Go to a Haunted House - Mr. Duh and I had a date night and went out for dinner and went to the haunted house. The 13th Floor was pretty decent. I've seen worse... but it was a fun date night!
4. Get all my school reading done - I finished my five chapters of reading and some of my homework, too. Yay!
5. Finally send out the "Thank You" cards for all my birthday gifts - Nope, I slacked off and didn't do this one. I did buy the Thank You cards, though. Does that count for something?

I guess that's 3.5 out of 5... that's not too bad, right? Maybe I'll do better this week!

Here are my five goals for this week:

1. Vote early - I'm leaving town next week and better get my vote on... or I won't be voting at all!
2. Carve Pumpkins for our front porch - Every year, Mr. Duh and I have a pumpkin carving night, but we have seriously been putting it off this year.
3. Clean the ceiling fans - See last week's goal.
4. Start gathering research for my Business Law Paper - I have a 10-15 page research paper due at the beginning of December, and I'd really like to get a jump on it. I usually wait until the last minute and it comes back to bite me in the butt.
5. Purge my closet - Since we are moving next year, I need to start getting rid of a lot of things... and I need to start with my closet! It's time to get rid of those things that I don't wear anymore. 

What are your goals this week? Head over to Fantastically Average and link-up!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Devil, Thy Name Is...


I haven't been blogging very much lately, because of this evil mistress who requires all of my free time. My Economics class is officially the WORST class I have taken in the whole of my college career. The subject matter is dry and not even remotely interesting, but that isn't the worst part about it.

The worst part is the professor, whom I will call Dr. Magpie. Dr. Magpie is a very smart and semi-friendly gentleman... but he is a terrible teacher. He is hard to follow and doesn't full explain concepts. I have a four hour class with him every Sunday, and always leave class feeling confused and downtrodden. Then Dr. Magpie proceeds to give us homework assignments full of things that he didn't teach us in class. So, what do I do?  I harass him incessantly via phone and e-mail. It seems like I have to ask for help or clarification every other day on something involving the econ material. This class has been sucking up so much of my free time...

I'm not alone in my feelings either. It seems as though most of my classmates feel the same way... but whenever we express our concerns, we are met with this response, "Don't worry. You'll be fine." Ugh! I'm confused, doing poorly on my assignments, and have shed many tears over this class. I don't feel like I'm going to do fine!

I'm not the most confident person when it comes to many things in my life, but one thing I have always been very sure of is my ability to learn. I can usually master anything if I put in the work. Statistics? Hard, but passed with flying colors! Organic chemistry I & II? Awful and mind-numbing, but I got it! I just can't seem to "get" this graduate Economics class, and it's not for lack of trying. I believe that it is because I'm not being given the tools to succeed in this course, and it's totally out of my control. 

Since complaining doesn't help and crying definitely doesn't help, I'll keep on trucking and wait impatiently for December when this god-awful class finally comes to an end!

What is the hardest class you have ever taken?

Monday, October 15, 2012

5 in Five Link-Up

There is another great Monday link-up being hosted by Fantastically Average. You list five things that you hope to accomplish in the next five days. I'm all about setting and achieving goals (although I'm not always successful), so this link up is right up my alley! Head on over to her blog and link up!

Here are my goals for this week:

1. Work out every day this week - I'm hoping for three Crossfit sessions and two days where I work on my running. Gotta get ready for a 5K!

2. Clean all the floors and ceiling fans in the house - School has been so overwhelming that my house has gone to pot. I need to get this bad boy cleaned up!

3. Go to a Haunted House - It's almost Halloween. I need to do something to get myself in the holiday spirit! So, hopefully I can make it out to The 13th Floor this week. 

4. Get all my school reading done - I was a complete slacker over the weekend. I hope to have all my reading done so I can enjoy a small portion of next weekend. 

5. Finally send out the "Thank You" cards for all my birthday gifts - Seriously, it's been a month. I need to get on that.

Alright, it's time to get some things done! Let's see how this goes!!

The Edge of Seventeen...

 No, it's not a Stevie Knicks song... its a Monday Show and Tell Link Up! I saw this over at Mrs. K and Captain J, and decided to link up. My life has been so full of studying and things are so mundane lately, I figured a good link up might give me something interesting to write about! This week's topic is
"When I was 17..."

1. When you were 17, tell us what kind of car you drove, where you worked, and what you were usually up to on the weekends?

I drove a 1990 Plymouth Sundance, which was affectionately named "Limpy". It was a piece of crap car, but I loved it! I had a seasonal job working at a haunted house, and I also worked at Wendy's. On the weekends, we'd cruise State Street (classy), hit up the movies, or just go out and goof off. There isn't much to do in Salt Lake City when you are 17, especially not in 1998.

2. Show us a picture of you when you were 17 {roughly}.

This is a picture of me with my best friend (I'm on the right). We wore uniforms to school, so that's why we are so stylishly dressed!  

3. When you were 17, tell us what you wanted to be when you "grew up."

My goal was to become a High School History Teacher. I also planned to be graduated from college and married by 22, and a mom by 25. Instead, I was academically suspended from college, ended up working in insurance, got married at 26, graduated with a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice at 28. Now I'm 31, still working in insurance, getting an MBA, and I still don't have any children... Funny how things never work out like we think they will!

4. When you were 17, tell us the kind of boys that you dated. Did you have a type? Do you have a relationship you remember well? Tell us about it.

I only had one serious boyfriend in high school and we dated all through my Senior year.  I remember that relationship very well... It was full of fun, drama and craziness, like a lot of teenage relationships tend to be. We thought we'd be together forever, but luckily that didn't happen! We were way too young and not very compatible. He and I still converse from time to time and he's happily married with three kids now. I used to love "bad-boys"... you know, a little more alternative, trouble-making and edgy. Now I'm married to a straight-laced Airman. How things change!

5. When you were 17, tell us where you pictured your life 10 years from then. Did it turn out the way you expected it to?

I figured I'd be married, a mom, and have a career set in place. I'm married, but the other two haven't come to fruition yet... and I'm okay with that. I think if my 17 year-old self could see me now, she'd be most surprised that I became a military wife and I have left my hometown. That was something I would have never pictured for myself. I also would never have pictured myself getting two Masters degrees, so in that respect I exceeded my own expectations! When you are young, you think you can map out your whole life. Now that I'm older, I have no idea where I'll be in ten years! All I hope for is that wherever I am and whatever I'm doing, I just hope I'm content and happy.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Walkabout!

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for the Wednesday Walkabout! This is a blog-hop where you can find other great blogs to follow! It's also a good way to see and be seen... Head on over to one of the hosts and link-up!

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October and Me

Since leaving Utah and moving to Texas, October and I have had a strained relationship. The month leading up to Halloween was always full of hard work, fun, friends, and all-around good times, until three years ago...

When I was 15, I started working at a seasonal haunted attraction in Utah. I spent six weeks running around and scaring the poop out of people. I met some amazing people and fell in love with haunting. At age 18, I became Cast Director of the Nightmare on 13th Haunted House (the best haunted attraction EVER), and spent the next eleven Halloween seasons managing, developing and promoting one of the country's greatest haunts and working with some of the most fun-loving freaks in the world! It was a big, big part of my life and my identity.

My last Halloween season with Nightmare on 13th was in 2009, and it was my favorite season. We had orders to Texas, and Mr. Duh had already moved. Since I knew my time there was coming to an end, I savored every last minute of it. I didn't sweat the small stuff and just had a good time with all my amazing coworkers.

I have always said that leaving that job was the hands down hardest thing about leaving home. I know all my friends and family will always be there whenever I decide to return home... but I'll never get to go back to my job at the haunted house. I had to leave that part of my life for good, and I was not ready to say goodbye.

My first October sans-Nightmare on 13th was difficult. It was kind of like going through a bad break-up. I couldn't really face the fact that it was Halloween. I hadn't had a "normal" Halloween season since I was 14 years old, and I definitely felt something was missing. Seeing the Facebook posts of all my friends and coworkers was like a knife to the gut... I still wanted to be there participating in the haunted house festivities! I put on a brave face during October, but spent most of Halloween night holding back tears.

I'm now on my third October without the haunted house, and it gets a little easier each year... but it still makes me sad. I'm trying to get into all of the "normal" Halloween things that people do, like carving pumpkins, decorating my house, getting costumes, going to parties, and attending haunted houses. For the most part, it feels like filler... but I'm starting to enjoy it a little.

The saying about break-ups goes like this, "It will take you half as much time as the length of the relationship to get over the break-up." So, after a 13 year relationship, I should be back to normal in about 6.5 years... Three years down, and three more to go!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mil-Spouse First Friday Fill-In!

It's another installment of the Fill-In! Thanks to Wife of a Sailor for hosting! I apologize for my blog absence... I've been unwillingly cheating on my blog with my Glodal Economics lass. That class is an evil, greedy mistress! I'm up to my eyeballs in Econ homework. Since it takes all my time, I haven't had much to write about, so God Bless this fill-in for giving me something to blog about! Here is goes:

1. What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed?
 I would have been magically morphed into an Economics genius, so I wouldn't have to spend every evening studying! I also would have spent more time with my husband... it feels like we haven't had any good couple time lately!
2. What was your favorite thing that happened in September? 
 I'd have to say my birthday; it was a pretty fun birthday! 
3. Sometimes I like to sit on my couch and eat ______ from a ______ with a _________. - Courtesy of Just Another Snarky Navy Wife
I like to sit on my couch and eat raspberries from a coffee cup with a side of 72% cacao dark chocolate! It's my favorite dessert!
4. What was your favorite childhood Halloween costume? - Courtesy of Random Army Wife
Hmmm... that's a tough one. My favorite costume was probably dressing up as a witch! As an adult, it's still a costume I love to use. 
5. What are you looking forward to in October?

One thing I am looking forward to, but I'm also not looking forward to, is the Tough Mudder in Austin. My husband, a couple friends and myself are signed up for the race this Saturday. I've done it before (in 2011), and I'm even more nervous the second time around... because this time I know what I'm in for!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Help a Grad Student Out - Take My Survey!

As many of you know, I'm getting a couple of Masters Degrees. Along with homework, tests, and mind-numbing reading, no Master's Degree is complete without a handful of research papers! Unfortunately for me, I'm working on one right now for my God Awful, er- I mean, Global Economics class. 

I need to collect at least 40 responses to a survey for my paper. It's not limited to 40, and the more respondents the better! If you could spare a few minutes, please take this brief, anonymous survey. Thank you very much! Consider this small piece of grad student charity to be your good deed for the day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Items I Probably Should Never Wear...

I'm a tall, pear-shaped, not-too-skinny woman. When looking at all the great styles on the Pinterest Fashion boards, I tend to feel discouraged. Due to my size and shape of my body (especially my lower body), there are so many cute things that I should probably avoid. Here is a boo-hoo parade of all the fashions I should avoid:

The first is shiny skinny jeans (or jeggings), and leather is included in this category. All my thighs need is a little extra compression and sheen... No way.

This one is a shame, because I think peplum can be so stylish! But if you've got child-bearing hips (like myself), you may not want to tack a ruffle around that area.

As cute as these super high heels and wedges look on some women, but I'm 5'10''... I'd be channeling Franken-Hooker in these shoes.

Try as I may, I have never been able to look stylish and effortless in any kind of hat. Between that and the skinny jeans, I'd never make a good hipster.

Doesn't that model look good in that comfy jumpsuit? Of course she does... The day I look like a supermodel will be the day I rock a jumpsuit.

Are there any items you'd love to wear, but just don't think you could pull it off?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tough Mudder: Torturing Myself for a Cause

Oh, goodness. The time is almost here! It's less than two weeks until I participate in my second Tough Mudder. In 2011, I was conned into doing the Mudder by Mr. Duh (read about it here) and after vowing I would never do it again... I was peer pressured into signing up again, after having one too many beers. I'm such a sucker.

You may or may not know that the Tough Mudder raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Here is some information about the organization.

Wounded Warrior Project™ (WWP) serves military service members who incurred service-connected wounds, injuries, or illnesses on or after September 11, 2001 and their families. On that date, America watched in horror as approximately 3,000 people died including hundreds of firefighters and rescue workers. Many warriors note a sense of duty to volunteer for the military following these tragic events.

Sept. 11 also served as a stimulus for Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn. Operation Iraqi Freedom refers to military operations in Iraq that began March 19, 2003 and officially ended August 31, 2010. Operation Enduring Freedom refers to combat operations in Afghanistan and other regions in support of the Global War on Terror.
With advancements in battlefield medicine and body armor, an unprecedented percentage of service members are surviving severe wounds or injuries. For every US soldier killed in World Wars I and II, there were 1.7 soldiers wounded. In Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, for every US soldier killed, seven are wounded. Combined, over 48,000 servicemen and women have been physically injured in the recent military conflicts.

In addition to the physical wounds, it is estimated as many as 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war including combat-related stress, major depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment.

With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury – from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.

I am so proud to participate in an event that supports such a wonderful organization. Combat-related injuries and PTSD are something that military wives live in fear of (and deal with) on a daily basis. I am also the daughter to two veterans who have battled PTSD after serving in Vietnam and Desert Storm, so this is a cause that is very dear to my heart. 

Aside from the fees Mudders pay to register for the event, we also have the opportunity to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project on our own. If you would like to make a small donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, click on this link and enter your information:

Thank you for reading this and wish me luck on my second hellish Mudder! How did I ever get talking into this again?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Misadventures in Paleo - Three Week Update

I'm a little over three weeks into my Paleo/Primal experience, and it's still so far so good! Here's my update after almost a month of eating like a cavewoman!

Progress: Weight loss has been halted at 8-9 pounds for the last two weeks, and I'm okay with that...for now. I only wanted to lose 15 pounds total, so it's not a big deal. Hopefully, I can make more progress over the next few weeks. I wasn't planning to lose all my weight right away. I just have to keep reminding myself that this is a marathon, and not a sprint.

Sticking to it: I must say, I've been proud of myself. I haven't put a single grain-related item in my mouth in almost a month. I've also avoided soda, chips and almost all kinds of highly processed and refined foods. I'm still staying within my 1550 calories/day limit most days and keeping my carbs under 100g/day.

Cheats: The one thing I can't seem to ditch is the creamer I put in my coffee every morning. I use a Coffeemate sweetened creamer... and I hate not putting creamer in my coffee. I did stumble upon a vanilla flavored coconut milk coffee creamer... it's much more Paleo friendly, so I'll be giving that a try next week. Aside from that, the only cheat I have had is ranch dressing... I haven't yet had a grain-filled cheat meal.

Favorite Recipes: 

-My favorite thus far is still the Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs from Practical Paleo, but I also tried the bacon-wrapped chicken thighs... and they were tasty too!
-My favorite quick recipe is Salmon Cakes (from Practical Paleo; it uses canned salmon, so it only takes a few minutes to make).
-For lunch, I almost always eat a big salad with some form of meat and home made dressing. I absolutely love this balsamic vinaigrette recipe (the site has a number of other dressing recipes)... I use the dressing almost every day.

-I also stumbled across a healthy dessert the other day for Strawberry Paleo Ice Cream and it hit the spot when my sweet tooth started acting up!

What a Typical Day Looks Like
Breakfast - Two  fried eggs and three slices of Nitrate-Free bacon
Lunch - Salad with home made salad dressing (usually balsamic).
Dinner - Meat with a veggie side
Snacks - Handful of raspberries and a couple squares of 72% Cacao dark chocolate, macadamia nuts, nitrate free lunch meat and mustard, or a homemade Paleo dessert.

 My first attempt at Kale Chips... not very successful.

The Hardest Part: Well, I'm fully over the carb flu and My energy is back... but I have been frustrated that I haven't lost even a pound in the last two weeks, in spite of being strictly away from the carbs and processed foods. I will need to keep watching the metrics of my eating and see if anything needs to be tweaked. I've also had a major sweet tooth lately, which is pretty unnatural for me.

Three Week Overall Rating: Still holding at an 8 out of 10! In spite of the lack of movement on the scale, I feel better and know I'm doing something good for my body.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Day, Another Year Older...

Now, isn't that the truth? Last week, I delved a little deeper into the world of "thirty-something". I'm still getting used to this whole business of my thirties, but I had a great birthday!

Instead of the typical dinner-and-drinks celebration, Mr. Duh and I decided to have a gathering here at Casa de Duh. I quickly realized that having a birthday party for myself at my house actually required a lot of work on my part. Now that I'm older, I can't have people over without providing food for them, so I got some food together. I also made a massive amount of Jell-o shots, because I hate getting drunk alone.

Then, there was the house... Mr. Duh and I rarely have people over. I'm not sure why that is, because we are fairly social people. We have friends that we have known for years who have never been to our house. Since this was the first time some people were going to see my home, I had to clean the hell out of it. This ended up being a good thing, because my house was filthy. I should have people over more often, so I can be inspired to clean the entire house on a more regular basis. Mr. Duh bought a bunch of birthday decor and decorated a cake for me, which I enjoyed! I haven't had that kind of a birthday party since I was a kid!

Some of my favorite San Antonio peeps came by for the party, and I was given a lot of amazing gifts! I don't think I've gotten that many birthday presents since... well, not since I became an adult. I'm so thankful to everyone that showed up and for all the great presents! I kicked off this year feeling very loved.

Here are some fun pics from the little soiree:

All ready to party!

Some of my fave ladies!

Someone took my Paleo diet very seriously... Bacon Flavored Vodka!

My favorite present: Obama Coin!

This was taken about 15 minutes before I had to go pass out... I'm getting to old for marathon birthday drinking!

Ah good times... Until next year!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"And Every Day After Was September 12th..."

I was listening to an interview with Condoleeza Rice once, and she said that after that tragic day, "Every day was September 12th." I believe that is a very accurate statement. For those of us who are old enough to remember, there are two kinds of Americas... America before 9/11/01, and the Post 9/11 America we live in now.

I turned 20 years-old just a couple days before the tragedy. I spent the weekend drinking and partying with friends... not a care in the world. I was just getting my adult life started. I had just moved into my first apartment and started my first full-time job a couple months before. 

I was running late for work that Tuesday (I wasn't a very good employee). I woke up, turned on The Today show, and ran for the shower. I noticed a building on fire, and did a double take when I noticed it was the World Trade Center on fire. I was blow drying my hair when the second plane hit, and screamed out loud. As I was driving to work, they reported about the Pentagon. While listening to a clock radio at my desk, I heard about the plane in Pennsylvania and the towers collapsing.

Along with a friend of mine, I walked across the street to a bar. I wasn't 21 yet, but we begged the bartender to let us inside to see the TV. He nodded, and let me sit down at a table. I watched the towers crumble and saw the new New York skyline for the first time. I'll never forget how I felt that day. Everything was so crazy, so scary... and so very sad. We knew that America was changed forever, but none of us could have known how much.

After work, I went to my then-boyfriend's house. We all sat around the TV, listening to the tragic stories of the day. The people jumping from the burning building, the phone messages left by people trapped on the upper floors of the buildings, the 911 calls... Eleven years later, I still remember these stories. I remember the talks of revenge and war, the effects this would have on the economy, and where we were all supposed to go from here. I went to bed that night and thought about how all of these things were going to affect my life. "I'm an adult now, and I will actually have to deal with all of this." The world felt like it was spinning out of control.

Just like everyone else in America, I didn't know how much effect this day was about to have. My family's business was hit hard by the post 9/11 recession. Half of the employees were laid off a few months after the tragedy. Numerous times, we almost shut the doors for good.

I also had no idea that I was going to become a military spouse, and those of us in military families are still fighting those battles that were ignited on September 11th, 2001. The War in Afghanistan, the War in Iraq, and deployment, after deployment, after deployment... So many lives lost in these last eleven years, and so many lives changed by injury and PTSD. It's overwhelming to think about. And it all came from this one day.

The events of September 11th, 2001 are forever seared into my memory. I will never forget the lives lost, those left behind, and those still fighting the battles that started on that beautiful Tuesday morning...

Where were you that morning?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday Walkabout Blog Hop!

This is a great new Blog Hop that is hosted by some of my fave bloggers!  Head on over to Taingamala, Scattered Seashells, Handling With Grace, or GI Joe's Wife to link up! This is an awesome way to see and be seen! 

Check it out!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Misadventures in Paleo - Diet Update

I have been doing the Paleo-thing for nine days now, and wanted to give a little update. So far, it has been a successful venture! When I started the diet, I decided to try it for 21 days. At the end of the 21 days, I will decide if this whole "Caveman" lifestyle is something I want to adopt permanently. So, here is my update:

Progress: As of this morning, I am down 8 pounds. Not bad for only 9 days! I haven't measured myself, but I feel and look better. According to Mr. Duh and some other friends, you can see a difference in my middle and my face. 

Sticking to It: I've done a good job of sticking to the Paleo/Primal guidelines. Mark Sisson (of The Primal Blueprint) recommends between 50-100g of carbs per day to be in the weight loss "sweet spot". I track my meals on My Fitness Pal, and have not gone over 75g of carbs per day. My fat and protein intake has increased. I'm also able to stay within my 1550 calorie/day limit. 

Cheats: My main cheat is probably the small amount of dairy I eat every day. The Primal Blueprint does allow for some dairy, as long as you aren't intolerant. I put a little creamer in my morning coffee, and I sometimes have one small Babybel cheese in the afternoon. Luckily, I don't have any digestive issues with dairy.

Saturday was my official "cheat" time. I went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see a movie on Saturday, and I was a little bit of a bad girl. I ate buffalo wings (not breaded, so no completely Paleo unfriendly), and dipped them in delicious ranch dressing (not-so-paleo). I also had a glass of 1% Milk that day... but those were my only serious cheats! I'm proud of myself, because I didn't go nuts on bread, pasta or potatoes... I was able to avoid them, even when I cheated. 

Favorite Recipes: I have been able to make some amazing food!! My favorites so far are the Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs, Cauliflower Rice, and Salmon Cakes (like crab cakes). My main go to for recipes is a my Practical Paleo cookbook, but there are lots of good recipes online.

What a Typical Day Looks Like
Breakfast - Two Eggs and three slices of Nitrate-Free bacon
Lunch - Salad with home made salad dressing (usually balsamic)
Snack - Babybel cheese and some pistachios.
Dinner - Meat with a veggie side
Snack - Handful of raspberries and a couple squares of 72% Cacao dark chocolate

The Hardest Part: So far, I've notices two difficult things about this diet. First, it's an expensive diet if you are going to follow the guidelines strictly. They recommend all organic (locally grown, if possible) produce and meat. Before, I was spending $100.00 week on groceries; now I'm spending closer to $160.00. The organic meat is the real killer! I'm going to start researching what conventionally grown things I can get away with. I am eating out way less, though... so the cost might even out.

Second, I miss the convenience of the SAD (Standard American Diet). Before, if I was hungry, I could just heat up a Lean Pocket or grab some tortilla chips out of the cupboard. Now, almost everything I eat requires some kind of prep. I spend a lot of time washing, chopping, and cooking... and don't even get me started on the amount of dishes I'm doing every day!

I would have thought giving up carbs would have been the hardest, but it really hasn't been so bad. I still get to eat yummy food and I'm not starving at all!

Overall Rating: Nine days in, I give the Paleo/Primal diet an 8 out of 10. It's easier than I expected, the food is delicious, and I'm losing weight! Did I mention that Mr. Duh is loving it? He has enjoyed all of the meat, bacon and butter that has been brought back into to his world!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Obsessions - August 2012 Edition!

The end of the month is my Obsession time! This is where I share a few of my favorite things from the past month... Here we go!

As you may have read in a couple of my previous posts, I have started on the Paleo (aka Primal) diet. It's where you cut out processed foods, grains and most sugars from your diet. I started reading about it earlier in the month, and took the plunge a few days ago. I'm still feeling the whole thing out... but it feels like an obsession because I'm constantly researching recipes and talking about it! I'll make sure to post my progress from time to time! 

Ah, cucumbers!  I have been eating them like crazy all month! They make such an awesome, refreshing snack (especially when eaten with a yummy dressing or dip). I think I've been consuming 2-3 per week. Luckily, they are pretty healthy... if I was eating chocolate that much, I'd be in trouble!


Speaking of chocolate, this has been my go-to snack when my sweet tooth kicks in! The Primal Diet doesn't allow for a lot of sugary treats, but it does allow for dark chocolate... and I love these organic 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate bars from Endangered Species Chocolate. I only have 2-3 squares at a time, but it definitely helps with my carb/sweets cravings.... and its even better when paired with raspberries or strawberries. Yum!


This past month, I have also been having problems with my "booze-tooth"... I have been craving cocktails! And no cocktail is more refreshing on a hot summer day than a Gin & Tonic! A friend once introduced me to Tanqueray's Rangpur gin, and it's the gin I prefer the most. It's infused with rangpur limes and it makes the BEST gin & tonics! If you are a gin drinker, I highly recommend giving the Rangpur a try.

What are your obsessions this month? Are there any products you are loving right now?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Took the Plunge: Paleo / Primal, Day 4

I was going to wait until after my birthday to start my Paleo/Primal adventure, but I decided to bite the bullet and start right away. It's definitely been a change, but so far... so good.

I started out by hitting up the Whole Foods in San Antonio to buy a bunch of the Paleo pantry staples and also pick up a lot of organic items (grass-fed meats, organic fruits/veggies, coconut oil, coconut flour, etc.). It was a little bit of a shock to my wallet, as this stuff was a pricier than the non-organic stuff at the Commissary.... but I figured if I buy a $65 night cream to put on my face, I may as well buy quality stuff to put in my body, right?

On my first day, I had bacon & eggs for breakfast, a salad with gluten/dairy-free dressing for lunch, and broiled salmon and a cooked cabbage salad (with apples and bacon!) for dinner. Not bad! Everything was tasty... and I got to cook with real butter! I can't remember the last time I cooked with anything other than Pam. In spite of the lack of carbs, I was full and didn't have any cravings! I did have a bed-time snack of 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate and Raspberries. Overall, my first day was delicious!

Thanks to a couple good websites and the Practical Paleo Cookbook, I have found some amazing recipes! Yesterday, I made a Greek salad for lunch with home made Avo-ziki Dressing (think Tatziki sauce using avocado instead of greek yogurt as the base) that was ridiculously good. This morning, I made these Pumpkin Pancakes (they are grain-free). 

Four days in, I am pleased with the Paleo/Primal way of eating. I feel like I'm doing something good for my body! Everything I have put in my mouth over the past few days has been minimally processed and organic. I can already tell that my digestive system is adapting well to the food I have been eating. I feel less (possibly TMI) gassy and bloated after meals... and did I mention I've already lost a few pounds?

Unfortunately, it hasn't been all wine and roses with my Paleo experiment. For example, I have had a dull, nagging headache for the last two days. I have also been experiencing some serious fatigue. From what I have read, this is to be expected when you cut sugar and grains from your diet. I've got a wicked case of the "Carb-Flu". Paleo folks say this is typical and it shouldn't last more than a couple weeks... I sure hope not! My body is none-too-happy about the change, but I'll make it bend to my will!!

I'm not the only one who embarked on a Paleo journey recently. Elizabeth over at The Young Retiree is also trying out a Paleo lifestyle! She's already featured some great recipes, and I recommend giving her blog a look-see!

The last few days have been interesting, and I'm excited to see how this Paleo-Primal journey goes for me. I'm giving it a full three weeks to decide if this is something I want to turn into a lifestyle. There will be regular updates and posts of some awesome recipes along the way!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Show and Tell Monday Link Up : Marriage Edition

I've been on the hunt for a good link-up, and I think I found one! Thanks to Liz's Diary, I'm on the wagon for the Monday Show and Tell! Head over to From Ms. to Mama and link up!

  1.  Are you married? If so when did you get married, and tell us about your special day. If not? How would you describe your dream wedding?
As most of you know, I am married to the wonderful Mr. Duh. Our wedding day was special, but also came with a lot of strife and drama (thanks to some family members losing their minds). We were married on November 24, 2007. I had always wanted to get married in the Fall, and I thought Thanksgiving weekend would be a great time to get family together for a wedding. We had a beautiful church ceremony that was officiated by my pastor. It was very traditional with an organ, bible readings, etc. The ceremony was my favorite part of the whole day.

The reception was also very beautiful, although we didn't enjoy it as much as the guests did. We had a classy, seven-course meal with wine pairings and a Master Butler announcing the courses. The dinner was followed by dancing, drinks, and desserts. We had beautiful flowers, linens, and a dessert buffet (complete with mini-creme brulees). After the reception, we had a sparkler send-off complete with a horse-drawn carriage. From the outside, it was quite the fairytale! Unfortunately, the day was very stressful for Mr. Duh and myself... we couldn't wait for it to end! Luckily, everyone else had a great time and we got some awesome pictures out of the deal.

If I could do it all over again, it would be an intimate beach wedding with a small number of close friends.

        2. Show us some wedding pictures. Either yours or of some that you love.

       3.  How about the engagement? Tell us your story. If not engaged, what's your dream proposal?

The proposal was a complete surprise! I was in the dark about the whole thing. We had talked about marriage, but I had no idea that Mr. Duh had any plans to propose at the time. He had been home from deployment for a few weeks, and we decided to get a hotel room in the downtown area and have a night out on the town. He got reservations at a great restaurant and we were going to head out for cocktails afterwards. 

Before we went out that night, my family started acting very odd. I was getting phone calls from my parents all day... which was pretty weird.I didn't think much of it, and headed out to meet Mr. Duh for dinner. We went to a great restaurant and he scored a table right by the fireplace. As we were sitting there, another man that was a few tables away proposed to his girlfriend. I pointed it out to Mr. Duh and said "Well, isn't that nice? How exciting!" Then he started acting strange and got very quiet.

We finished our dinner and went back to the hotel room to change to go out for the night. As I was putting on my jeans, I went to adjust the heater in the room... and when I turned around, Mr. Duh was on his knee with a ring in his hand. He asked me to marry him, and (after all the screams and giggles), I said yes! He had planned on proposing in the restaurant, but felt weird after the other couple had gotten engaged at the same time!

We went to the bar that we had planned to go to after dinner, and I saw a ton of my friends and family there waiting to celebrate! Everyone but me knew that we were getting engaged that night! We had a fun, impromptu engagement party with lots of laughs and champagne!

        4. Show us your wedding rings or an engagement photo! If not engaged/married, show us your "dream" ring.

     5.  Tell us why you think marriage doesn't work out for so many? What can we do to make things last?

Well, our marriage has definitely had it's ups and downs. We have been fortunate to weather the storm and come out stronger for it. I think when things get hard, messy or boring, it just seems easier to get out instead of face the problem head on. In a lot of ways, it is easier. Facing your marital problems can show you a lot of things about yourself that you may not want to know... and our ten months in marriage counseling was pretty hard. I think marriages don't work out for a number of reasons... As a society, we don't always look at marriage as a permanent thing. I think a lot of people are also under the impression that marriage will always be fun and easy. When Mr. Duh and I were preparing to get married, we prepared ourselves that we won't always get along and at one point or another, we may feel like leaving... but we promised each other that we wouldn't leave and we would always work hard to better our marriage. It has worked out well for us so far.

I think honesty, respect, communication, and a willingness to put your marriage before yourself are good ways to make things last. And I know our marriage couldn't survive without a lot of laughs!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Guess Where We're Going...

Mr. Duh called me at 6am this morning to let me know he received his orders to McChord AFB, Washington!!! Seattle, here we come!!!!

I am over-the-moon excited about these orders! Ocean, mountains, rain, green grass, and summers under 100 degrees? Yes, please! It's kind of a surprise that we are heading to this base, because we received a rejection last week due to Mr. Duh's career field being over-manned. We put in a Base of Preference list with all new bases yesterday, and ended up with McChord. Apparently, it was meant to be!

This time next year, we will be living in Washington! I can't believe it... and I can't wait for my new misadventures Pacific-Style!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shall We Paleo?

 Since starting my "work-cation" a couple weeks ago, I've done terrible with my eating and working out! I haven't done Crossfit since I got to Utah, and my running has fallen to the wayside. So frustrating! I know I'm the one to blame... I haven't been focusing on myself since I've been back home. I'll get back to my regular life on Friday, and there are going to be changes ahead!

For the last few months, I've been looking into the Paleo Diet. If you haven't heard of it, I'll give you the quick rundown. The basis for the diet is human evolution and our genes. Our caveman ancestors were genetically programmed to hunt and gather. They would only eat what they could kill or pick (think veggies, some fruit and nuts). As humans became more advanced, we started planting/harvesting grains and adding more sugar into our diets.  Although we have access to all of these "new" kinds of carbohydrate-laden foods, Paleo tells us that our genetic code has not advanced beyond our caveman predecessors. Our bodies are not evolved enough to process all of the carbs and sugar that we put into our diets, and this causes weight gain and all kinds of health issues.

You might be thinking the same thing that I'm thinking: NO CARBS? Yikes! I am a self-diagnosed Carbaholic and equal opportunity carb-lover! Pasta, bread, rice, popcorn, potatoes, etc... I love them all! I'd take a giant bowl of pasta over a juicy steak any day of the week! And this is why I have been only thinking about a Paleo lifestyle for the past four months and not actually doing it. I'm kind of scared...

I finished reading the Paleo-based book pictured above, The Primal Blueprint. It gave me some good tips, ideas, and also explained the science behind the diet. Now, I feel like I'm armed with enough knowledge to give this "lifestyle" a try. The author, Mark Sisson, recommends trying it for 21 days. I can do anything for 21 days... right? So, I'm going to kick off my 21-Day Primal Challenge on my birthday next month... and I'm going to use my blog to hold myself accountable! If I can actually see a difference, I might just stick with it!

Do you Paleo? (If so, tips are welcome) If not, would you ever consider it?

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Let Down

We got the news yesterday that the four bases we had put in for on our Base of Preference list were all rejected. Can you say, "Disappointed"? I tried really hard not to get my hopes up, but I guess I did... because it was such a let down to hear that we didn't get any of the bases we had put in for. Now, it's back to the drawing board.

I feel very blessed that we are even allowed to put in for a base of preference, because usually you are just at the mercy of the military when it comes to PCS-ing. I'm at a loss on what to do now, because the four bases we put in for are the ONLY places I want to live stateside. Now, Mr. Duh and I are trying to figure out what to do and where we should try to go.

I'm currently researching more bases stateside to see if there is any place worth trying to go to. We also have the option of forgoing the Base of Preference and waiting for the OCONUS listing to come out. While staying stateside would be convenient for me (I'd still be able to continue working from home), I am intrigued at the idea of going overseas. As with anything in the military, it all comes down to what is available!

Ugh... this whole process is feeling a little overwhelming. So, I'm putting a call out to military spouses everywhere. Where are you/have you been stationed? Do you/ did you love it? Any information is welcome! I'm hoping to do some research and get a good game plan together! Wish us luck!