Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nutty Irishmen

Danny and I had a great few days together this weekend.  It was filled with old friends, good food, and a variety of activities to keep us busy.  I love spending my weekends at home and I know I have to enjoy them before I won't be home every weekend due to wedding showers and such.  The weekends fly by, but I feel like I get so much more done on my weekends when I spend it at home with my future hubby and my kitties.

Thursday night, Danny and I met our friends, Doug and Melissa for dinner in downtown Willoughby.  Doug and Melissa used to live in downtown Willoughby, so Melissa and I always wanted to try Nickelby's when we got together, but it just never happened.  So this time, we decided to check it out.  It was very cold that night and there was still a good couple of inches of snow on the ground, but it turned out to be a fun evening catching up with the newly engaged couple.  Doug and Melissa are planning a September wedding.  It was exciting to hear all of the details that Melissa had been working on.  It brought back good memories of my first couple of months of planning.  Its hard to believe that our Big Day will be here before we know it (48 days, but who's counting).  Nickelby's was good food, just not too much to eat for a vegetarian like myself.  Danny had a healthy salmon entree with brown rice and broccoli, it looked enticing. 

On Friday night, I met one of my bridesmaids at the mall to do some wedding shopping.  I was looking for a wedding necklace.  I have earrings to wear on the day of the wedding that were given to me by my future in laws.  It was their "Welcome to the Family" gift.  It was so sweet and thoughtful and I loved the earrings!  They actually look very similar to my engagement ring which makes them the perfect accessory to my outfit and they also serve as my "Something New" on my wedding day.  I literally haven't taken them off since they gave them to me at Thanksgiving.  When looking for a necklace for the wedding, I wanted something simple, but yet beautiful.  I had purchased a necklace from Charming Charlies which is a store known for their costume jewelry, but I took it back realizing that I wanted something that didn't look as cheap.  I knew I didn't want to spend the money on real diamonds so I looked for the next best thing, crystals.  Ashleigh and I met at the mall after Ashleigh got off of work and we went straight for Swarovski Crystals.  There I found the most perfect necklace for my big day.  Also, it is not too fancy meaning I can wear it for special occasions after the wedding.  After purchasing the necklace, Ashleigh and I went into a store I had never been to before, Arden B.  They have a lot of short, clubbing dresses and Ashleigh was hoping we could find me a Bachelorette Party dress.  She was right, we found this amazing dress that was perfect for my party.  It made me more excited for my Bachelorette Party in March. 

After my shopping trip with Ashleigh, I met Danny and we headed over to the west side to meet up with Danny's former co-worker and her boyfriend.  Danny and Erin had been through everything when they worked with the Indians and they had a lot of catching up since they had both recently accepted other job opportunities outside of the Indians.  Erin and her boyfriend, Marc will be coming to our wedding.  We were so excited when we got their response since we weren't sure how many people from Cleveland would be able to make it since they have to travel.  We ended up going to a restaurant/bar called the Lava Lounge.  I loved this place! It was so artsy and fantastic.  The cocktails were all different concoctions and their menu was almost all vegetarian.  Danny wasn't as excited as I was when I saw most of the items were made without meat, but he settled for an appetizer of fried calamari.  All in all, it was a great night catching up with Erin and Marc and trying some place new!

On Saturday, Danny and I ran a few errands.  We went to the mall to finish up ordering the last of the wedding gifts and then went to Joann's to get supplies for our unity candle.  I spent the afternoon crafting while Danny napped and then at 6 o'clock we decided to head to our favorite restaurant, Manhattan Bar and Grille for dinner and drinks.  I ended up having my usual drink called the Nutty Irishman.  Its coffee mixed with Bailey's Irish cream, Frangelica hazelnut liqueur (which is amazing!!), and whipped cream.  After having three of those, I was good to go!  Danny and I spent the evening hanging out and talking that night which turn out to be my favorite of our nights together!

Nutty Irishman

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today I had a successful day.  Tuesdays are always my Weight Watcher meetings day.  I know I've mentioned before that meetings are essential to my progress and weight loss journey and this week was no different.  For the last two weeks, I was struggling to get back into it.  For two weeks in a row, I either stayed the same or lost just a pound after picking up Weight Watchers again.  I thought this was unusual for me becuase I lost the first ten pounds so quickly when I first joined that I thought this time would be the same.  After day to day dedication to the Weight Watchers diet and working out almost everyday, I finally had a good week.  I lost a total of 4.2 lbs this week, making my total weight loss 16 lbs.  This was an awesome accomplishment for me because this was the exact weight that I stopped at the first time around.  I am very happy with the results and can't stop smiling when I look in the mirror.  I'm hoping to lose another 10 lbs for the wedding, but this was the push I needed to allow myself to know I am capable of achieving my weight loss goal.  Here is a before and a now shot showing the progress I have made so far:

Before                 Now

Today was also awesome because I found out my Zumba instructor teaches a class on Tuesdays and I was able to attend it today! She is so awesome and motivating no matter how bad of a dancer you are (AKA ME).  Her dances are so fun too so I was really excited to find out that I am able to go to Zumba class twice a week.

Monday, January 21, 2013

54 days!

54 days until the wedding
28 days of work left before the wedding
8 Weight Watcher weigh-ins before the wedding
10 days until my first dress fitting
19 days until my two consecutive weeks of showers commence
40 days until my Bachelorette Party
25 days until my hair and makeup trial for the wedding
56 days until we leave for Jamaica!

There are so many things to look forward to in the next 54 days that it's hard to control my excitement and my nervousness for all of the activities in my future.  I feel like I should sit back and enjoy these final days as a single woman, but its hard when I just want my wedding day to be here.  More and more friends are getting engaged and especially facebook reminds me of all of the relationships that are taking the next step into matrimony.  When someone new pops the question, I just think to myself, "wow they are so lucky they get to start this wonderful process".  I think more and more of me wants to take it slow and enjoy this process, but then the other part of me just wants to be a wife to my wonderful fiance!  Regardless, wedding planning leaves me with a large list of things to do.  Luckily I have a wonderful family and future family to help out with some of the tasks of this wedding!  I sent my mother a draft of what I wanted our ceremony programs to look like.  She wrote me back saying, "It is not fair making me cry at work!! LOL".  I loved that.  It makes me feel like I am truly apart of something bigger than myself.  My mom doesn't show her emotion as often, so the fact that she was moved reading through just a draft of our ceremony program really touched me.  I can't wait until Danny can officially become a part of my family and vice versa.  Even though we feel like we already are, this day will mean so much more to our family than I had ever realized when first saying "yes" to Danny's proposal.  I truly believe that my parents feel as lucky to have found Danny for me than I do, which means a lot to me.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Our Car Shopping Weekend

This weekend was a great weekend, however these days seem to slip by us so fast.  With the wedding vastly approaching, I find myself with too much to do and less and less time to do it.  Last week on Tuesday, Danny and I met for dinner at Subway.  On the way back to work I received a call from Danny saying his 2003 Oldsmobile Alero had died in the middle of the road at the intersection before our apartment.  This was not good news for us.  We knew Danny's car was getting up there in age and condition, but we were hoping it would last another year or so before we even thought about looking for another car.  I bought my car before Danny and I met and I'm still paying it off.  With the wedding and wanting to buy a house in our future, buying another car was just not on our radar.  Unfortunately, fate decided for us.  We had the car towed to a new body shop close to the apartment and a few days later, they reported it needed a new fuel pump costing more than what we wanted to invest into the car.  I spoke to my coworkers at work about the issue in passing and my coworker told me to check out a Ford dealership.  His brother works for Ford and he would be willing to hook us up with the Friends and Family discount which would mean no haggling prices.  This was music to my ears since I do not appreciate haggling with car salesmen in no way, shape, or form.  This discount took the pressure off of us especially when we needed to find a car quickly.  So this past Friday we went to a Ford dealership in the neighborhood and they were just as relieved as us that we had the friends and family discount.  They gave us three different cars for the price range we wanted and the type of car we were looking for.  We looked at a Ford Focus, Escape, and Fusion and then narrowed it down to a Ford Escape.  Another interesting part of the plan in all of this is we decided to lease.  I have never leased before so it was all brand new to me and Danny.  We spoke to a lot of our friends that had leased cars and they all had good things to say about it.  We also leased to buy the car after the leasing period is up, so that we are not just putting the money into nothing.  After Danny signed all the paperwork on Saturday, he was able to drive off the lot with his new car, and boy was he excited.  He really loved the Ford Escape which is why we went with it.  He has always wanted a bigger car than a sedan and he liked driving my crossover so much that the Escape was natural to drive.  Its actually pretty funny the similarities between my car and his car.  I'm glad he got the car he wanted and that he is happy with it.

Our new car

We also had a busy weekend outside of buying the car, hard to believe.  On Thursday night, I met up with one of my bridesmaid, Kaela and one of her friends to see a movie.  I haven't been to the movies in awhile so it was fun to go and spend time catching up with them.  We saw the Guilt Trip which was surprisingly entertaining and hilarious at parts. 

On Friday night, Danny and I met our friends, Paige and Chris at Chris's house for a game night.  Danny and I love games and even love to have game nights on our own if we can manage to find 2 person games.  We stopped at Wal Mart to get a Subway sandwich before heading over, so we decided to buy a new board game to try that night.  We found a game called, "Bezzerwizzer" which involves trivia.  It was fun to play a new game and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  We ended the night with a movie.  Chris had Pitch Perfect and since no one had seen it before, we watched it.  It was hilarious and it made for a great night.
Danny and I planned a date night on Saturday night.  We had a gift certificate at a restaurant called Bahama Breeze, so we decided to check it out.  We got their at 5:30 and there was an hour and forty minute wait for a table so we decided to leave and check out one of our favorite restaurants in downtown Willoughby, Willoughby Brewing Company.  They have great food and great drinks.  After dinner we went home to play a few rounds of one of our favorite games, "Scatergories".  All in all, it was a great night and a good end to an exhausting weekend. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1 Year Anniversary Dinner

Last night, Danny and I celebrated our one year anniversary by going out to eat at the restaurant that we first met at, Claddagh's.  Claddagh's is an Irish pub located near our apartment in Cleveland, but what's neat about the restaurant is they are a regional chain.  So when we were looking for places to host our rehearsal dinner for the wedding, Danny said he had wished there was a place like Claddagh's that was fun and relaxing to go after the rehearsal.  Sure enough we googled Claddagh's and there was a restaurant located 10 minutes from where we are getting married in Columbus.  Some things are just meant to be....

This was a special night for me and I realized when I got there that the memories of that first night came flooding back in my mind.  It was interesting thinking that it was only a year ago that we were both shy, young people meeting for the first time and now we would be tying the knot just two months later.  I was overcome with emotion on how much that first date really meant to me.  It was a great feeling to be back at that place.  Danny and I decided that we want to continue to celebrate that special day every year by visiting the place that we first laid eyes on each other.

Me and Danny at Claddagh's
We had a wonderful dinner and a couple of drinks.  I had the veggie burger again, however I was able to eat it this time.  Danny and I were both so nervous and talkative on our first date that we barely touched our food.  Now, we just laugh looking back on that since we are so comfortable with each other.  The night at Claddagh's ended with a complementary cookie and tea tray which was a nice surprise.  Danny and I were debating on whether it was because I mentioned to our waitress that it was our anniversary, but then we saw them being passed out to multiple people, so it was just a friendly surprise. 

The cookie and Tea tray we received
After we went out to eat, we decided to spend the evening at a local bar to watch the Packers game.  This was week two of the playoffs and they were playing the tough 49ers that they had lost to earlier in the season.  I had high hopes, but they ended up losing.  I was okay with the loss, we didn't deserve to win the game.  Danny took it rather badly however.  Now that we have adopted each other teams, he has taken on becoming a full Packers fan which I think is really cute.  It is fun to have someone to share the experiences with and we already have started planning our next trip to Lambeau and to Cincinnati to see the Bengals play!  Even though football is over this year (for us, at least), I'm already looking forward to next season!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Today I made an apple cinnamon oatmeal for brunch. It was another eat-yourself-skinny recipe that I had been wanting to try. This dish had a lot of ingredients, but most of them I had in my cupboard or in my fridge. Also, this dish took an hour cook in the oven which i wasn't expecting. For the first time in a long time, I slept in until 11 am today and Danny was waiting for the dish since I told him that I was cooking breakfast, hence why it became a "brunch" dish. After mixing all the ingredients and baking for an hour, this dish turned out delicious. The apples were my favorite part, they gave a good crunch to the dish. I would definitely make this again especially since it is only 3 pointsplus per serving.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Spicy Shrimp and Pinterest craft night

Today marks day two of the recipes. I decided to make Spicy Shrimp with Cilantro and Lime. This recipe was only 4 pointsplus per serving (1/2 lbs of shrimp). Danny agreed that this was a lot of food for the amount of points which is always the best recipes when counting points since they keep you fuller, longer. Instead of shrimp, I grilled tofu on the foreman grill which is always one of my favorite meals. Cooking shrimp is something new to me. Even though I'm a vegetarian, I still cook all kinds of meat for Danny. I also lucked out for the fact that Danny is very picky about the type of meat he eats so he usually only eats ground beef or chicken, making it easier on me. Danny does like shrimp though. I have only tried cooking shrimp for him once and it didn't turn out so well, so tonight I was up for the challenge. This recipe was so easy to follow and turned out well. I served it over rice, but you could easily just eat it on its own too.

I also put together a Pinterest craft tonight. I had pinned this craft awhile ago, but just now got around to putting it together. It is a weekly food chart to plan the different meals we will eat. Since joining Weight Watchers, we learned quickly that half the struggle is planning your meals out. Since I still work second shift and we only spend three nights together for dinner, I wanted to make sure I had this craft ready to go when I do go to a normal schedule in a few weeks. It's important to me and Danny to continue this tradition when we have a family to provide some stability and organization for dinner time. To see the actual Pinterest craft, click here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sun Dried Tomato Penne

Danny and I continued our Weight Watchers Lifestyle for dinner tonight. Last week on Pinterest, I stumbled across a blog called Eat Yourself Skinny. This is an amazing blog for Weight Watchers recipes. The blogger, Kelly creates delicious-sounding recipes and she tracks old and new Weight Watchers points while including colorful pictures of each dish. Since tonight is my weekend and I am home, I chose one of her recipes listed on her site for Danny and I to try. Originally she cooked this recipe with tuna, but since I'm vegetarian and Danny doesn't eat tuna, I made Danny's plate with chicken and mine just straight vegetarian. I love sun dried tomatoes, but I had never tried cooking with them, but it turned out delicious. This dish is something that we will definitely try again. To check out the original recipe click here.

Danny and I finished the night with a happy hour drink at our favorite local restaurant/bar and came home to a relaxing night with the kitties. I cherish these comfortable nights at home with our little family. It lets me de-stress from the troubles of the "big day" in our future.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Weight Watcher Tuesday

I went to my first Weight Watchers class in over 3 months today.  Danny and I joined Weight Watchers soon after we got engaged because we knew we wanted to get fit and look amazing on our special day (I mean, what bride or groom wouldn't?).  I joined back in July and found a lot of success with the program.  After I had lost over 15 lbs from the program, I started to drift a little and before I knew it, I was back in my old habits.  I was eating out on the weekends, getting food from my favorite takeout restaurant, and forgetting about tracking my consumption of food because lets face it, it wasn't the healthiest foods I was consuming.  Just when I thought I was at the top of my game with the Weight Watchers program, I had stumbled a few times which unravelled everything I had been working towards.

Luckily, after going to the meeting today, I realized that even though I struggled with losing weight for the past three months, most of the struggle was owning up to my eating and exercising habits.  Matter of fact, I still have a 12 lbs weight loss since starting the program meaning I maintained most of my weight loss.  This accomplishment made me feel good about how far I had come.  Even though I hadn't lost any additional weight, I wasn't starting over.  I was picking up where I left off and that was an amazing feeling.  I know I will have to battle with my weight my entire life, but it's good to know that if I struggle I can pick up where I left off and develop healthy habits that will help me maintain my weight and healthy lifestyle.  A healthy lifestyle is important to me and my new family.  I want to make sure I can do everything I can now to prepare myself to have a long, healthy life for me, Danny, and our future children.

My next steps on this journey are to always go to my weight watcher meetings at work.  These meetings really are my anchor and they continue to inspire me every week.  I noticed when I struggled the most, it was because I didn't have this awesome support system.  Another goal of mine is to cook more at home.  I feel like I say this so much to Danny, but when the weekends come, I never seem to pull through! Once I finally have a normal work schedule, I'm hoping to be able to apply this on a daily basis or at least more often than I do now.  My last goal is to be happy with my weight and my progress.  Throughout my success with Weight Watchers, I was always concentrating on the number and not how losing weight made me feel.  It always mattered how much I lost and how much closer I was to the "ideal" weight.  I spoke to my Weight Watchers leader about choosing my weight goal and she said now that I am in a healthy range, it doesn't matter about the number, Its all about feeling comfortable within myself to know this is the healthy weight for me.  That was important advice for me to hear. 

That's enough Weight Watchers talk for now.  Hopefully soon I will blog about the many new and yummy recipes I found to try out!

Less than 70 days!

This weekend Danny and I visited my parents in Columbus.  After the holidays came and went quickly like they do every year, we knew that we would have to hunker down and actually get some wedding tasks crossed off of our list or we would be stuck doing everything at the last possible second.  Since we are getting married in Columbus, we usually have our wedding weekends in Columbus and stuff it full with everything we can possibly do for the wedding, and this weekend was no different.  We met with our venue contact this weekend to finalize plans.  I didnt think I would be having this meeting for awhile, but unfortunately the Country Club that we are getting married at closes for the month of Febrary and this was the only time that we could make this meeting. The whole country club was decorated for Christmas and was beautiful.  It was hard to believe that in 70 days, Danny and I would become husband and wife at that very place.

After the meeting, it was craft time.  My mom, being the crafty woman she is, helped me with my ideas for the escort cards and other important items that needed to be put together for the wedding.  We were on to Hobby Lobby and ended up working on a variety of dyi projects that we found on Pinterest.  I can't wait to see the final results and I hope my plans come together.  With less than 70 days left, this wedding will be here before we know it!

Reasons why I know my wedding is getting close:

-Diet and exercise regimes are in full swing
-I just scheduled my first dress fitting for later this month
-Danny is dreaming about the honeymoon
-Response cards have been filling our mailbox
-We just had our final appointment with the venue

Us at The Lakes

The Lakes Golf and Country Club decorated for Christmas.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Happy New Year friends! I hope 2013 will bring you many blessings! Danny and I had a great first New Years together last night. We were supposed to go to my coworker's ugly Christmas sweater NYE party, but since Danny had food poisoning this past weekend and I went to urgent care yesterday, we decided to stay in and take it easy. Although we stayed in, it was a nice night together relaxing after a heavily traveled Christmas week.  We watched Dick Clarke's NYE special and of course the ball dropping at midnight. For some reason growing up, I never remembered watching the ball drop or watching any of the specials. As I got older, I never watched it either because I was always doing something else.  It was fun just sitting at home being old people.  I even put together a cheese and sausage tray for me and Danny to munch on.  There are no diets on the eve of a new year, right?

I'm sure this year will have plenty of surprises for us along the way.  Too bad everyone and their mother will be at the gym starting tomorrow to get started on their New Years Resolutions.  Oh well, these next 74 days until the wedding will fly by! Happy New Year!
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