Tuesday, December 30, 2014

twenty seven

With my birthday a month and a half ago, I guess it's finally time to write this post that has been swirling around in my head.

I feel like there's something about the "sevens" that really makes you feel older. I can't speak for my seventh birthday, but can recall the same feeling with seventeen. Somehow it felt much older than sixteen, like I wasn't really a young teenager anymore but actually becoming more mature. I'm not sure that I did, but that's at least how the age felt!

With twenty seven I felt the same thing. While twenty six officially put me into my late twenties, it felt just like twenty five. But twenty seven, just the sound of it, it sounds and feels much older. It sounds like an actual adult age. This might sound absolutely looney, but it's the only thing I could think about as twenty seven approached.

Like every birthday since school I took the day off work and can't understand anyone who wants to work on their birthday. All of my big plans for the day this year were much more adult oriented than in the past. We ran around and were out of town for a lot of October so I spent the day getting the house in order, doing mountains of laundry, and hanging out in my pajamas. Mr. Young surprised me with a few friends gathered at Graffiato for dinner, I'm still dreaming of the brussel sprouts.

The best thing about adult birthdays in my opinion is the opportunity for a day to yourself. No raging parties, no big cake with candles, but time to do whatever you please and truly enjoy the day. And if you're lucky enough, you might also get to meet Mike Isabella from Top Chef!

So here's to twenty seven and enjoying a little less than three years until thirty. That will be quite the post.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Six Months

Time surely flies right on by! How is it possible that Mr. Young and I have been married for six months already? We were out shopping yesterday when I looked at the calendar on my phone and was amazed that it was December 28th. When I asked him if it he knew what day it was it took a while, but he's usually pretty good with important dates so I threw him some slack.

With the holidays and seeing family and friends we haven't seen in a while we keep being hit with the "How's married life?" question. I'm still not quite sure how to answer this. We've practically been married since June 2012 when we moved in together and completely intertwined our lives. At that point we began splitting holidays between our families, we became each other's emergency contacts, and we started to merge our finances. Since then and before the wedding we've made difficult decisions and experienced loss together.

So I can't say that life has felt incredibly different minus the name change, but I think what has changed has been the planning. Creating goals and a shared vision for our life together and what we hope to accomplish as a team. And we have started to create a list of goals that makes me incredibly excited for the future!

I'm sure that the next six months will fly by as well and somehow it will be June 28, 2015 with a blink of an eye. My favorite thing is breaking out our awesome wedding video to relive that amazing day which was such a blur for the both of us. Here's our wedding highlight reel below, Chris from emotion Pictures is brilliant!

Cheers to half a year bud, I love you to the moon and back!

Photos by Sean DeWitt Photography

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Motivation

I really need today's motivation tattooed on my inner wrist so I see it every time that I'm peaking at my watch...

Not to point fingers but the world today makes this so hard to remember. I feel like there's always a countdown running for the next big event or moment and I'm consistently looking forward to things to come instead of enjoying where I currently am. This doesn't only create personal stress but it is incredibly unfair to those we're interacting with as genuine encounters become rushed conversations of wondering when we'll move on. 

I'd say a part of this goes back to my need to be early which makes me run around like a crazy person some days. I've been trying to remember these words more and more these days and even found myself thinking them when I made the mistake of grocery shopping at Walmart on a Sunday afternoon yesterday. That definitely wasn't the easiest but when I took the time to not care about all of the inconsiderate people leaving their carts all over the store I found some great things: Chobani pumpkin which I've been hunting for all season, Natural Bliss' new hazelnut flavored creamer, and Hardywood Pumpkin. Super score!

As you get into this week I dare you to adopt this mantra and try to think of it often. You'll be surprised with yourself when you remember to live in the moment and take in scenery you didn't even know was there. 

Cheers to a new week!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekly Round Up

We've done it again, made it to Friday! After another busy week I am so glad for the weekend and especially with having a lot to celebrate. Here are some highlights from this week not to miss...

1. My Best Friend's Wedding
As I've already excitedly shared, one of  my best friends is getting married this weekend and I am so excited to celebrate and be a part of this special day! Now that all my best gals from growing up are going to be hitched I'm feeling a bit old...

2. Spider Dog
I have no words. You just need to go and watch this awesome video, I promise that you won't be disappointed!

3. #TS1989
Alright, who else downloaded 1989 on Monday with me? I was so pumped for TSwift's new album and it met my expectations and more. It's fun, upbeat, and catchy. That girl is just as smart as she is talented with the smooth transition she made from country to pop. I know it was in her this whole time and she was just waiting to release it to the world!
ps. Definitely consider adding it to your workout playlist like I recommended earlier

4. Real Love is a Choice
With four months of marriage under me (but feeling more like years since not too much has changed!) I'm no one to give a lot of advice yet, but I absolutely love this article. I think it's so easy to get caught up with the love you see in the media or displayed in movies--and that's not real love. Real love is hard, it takes work and compromise and it's not always pretty. There are so many people I know, myself included, who are sometimes jaded by this and it's a great reminder.

5. Big Dreams
I just can't stop now that I've started! If you didn't read yesterday's post, then go read it. Now that I've finally started taking some actionable steps towards big dreams I've had for a while I can't do anything but think about them and get excited. There will be plenty to more to share in time.

Happy Friday y'all and enjoy yourselves tonight for Halloween whether you're throwing down with friends, or on your couch with a big bowl of candy!

Linking up with Lauren for H54F

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Big Dreams

I created this draft a while ago and have slowly added to it, like a secret online diary I wasn't quite sure I could share with the world. Not sure what gave me the urge to finally hit publish this morning, maybe my extra strong coffee,  #TS1989 blaring as I work, or an extra little nudge from Jess Lawlor's Get Gutsy Newsletter in my inbox reminding me to step outside of my comfort zone. All of those things together were probably a good recipe to finally take the plunge.

My first few years working full-time have been a huge period of reflection for me. I absolutely love my job and have no plans to change things up any time soon, but I do have plans to venture into the life of side hustling. I've always had such a passion to create, build, and own--projects, programs, anything really. The more I read about entrepreneurs, devour Inc. every month, and learn about awesome ladies who are rockin' it out there on their own I am convinced that it's time to finally take a leap.

While my current job is a wonderful fit for me, I have such a diverse array of interests and throughout all of my almost 27 years I've had a hard time with this, especially throughout education. It's difficult to think about pursuing a variety of opportunities instead of taking the "normal" societal approach to find your niche and stick with it. As a career advisor, I'm taking my own good advice that I share with students everyday: your 9-5 job is not your life. It's not the beginning and end of your work, or you, or what you do. There is life outside of that and plenty of opportunities to continue exploring.

Now that I've gotten you all excited I'm sorry to share that I'm not quite ready to spill the beans on what's to come--but I am over the moon excited about it, and thrilled to finally share it more broadly than just with Mr. Young and a friend that I dreamed up this dream with. There's a lot I'm tackling in the next few months to learn everything I can and kick things off and two of these things I'm most excited for are the Creative at Heart Conference and Jess' 30 Days of Gutsy email course.

Even though I'm not putting it all out there yet, there is a way for you to help me out. For any of my Virginia readers (especially those in the Richmond area) who are currently engaged or have been married in the past three years, shoot me an email at chasingyoungblog[at]gmail[dot]com if you're interested and I'll share more information. It's nothing time intensive but will be extremely helpful for my current project, if you don't fit into that category and know someone who does I would be extremely grateful if you could pass the word along.

Phew! It's so exciting to have all of this out there--and to know that I'm now going to be held accountable to living up to these big dreams of mine. If you've had an idea or dream that you want to pursue I urge you to take the first step, whether that's taking time to sit down and get your thoughts out on paper or something more actionable like speaking with someone doing similar work to learn more. After dreaming up this dream on a snowy day last winter I'm excited to start making it a reality!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fall Fun

Last week was one of the craziest at work this semester and I am glad to have it behind me! Lots of wonderful student programs, but I'm excited to hopefully catch up on sleep and emails soon. Thank goodness daylight savings time is this weekend, holla for an extra hour of sleep!

After Mr. Young and I both worked all day Saturday we got to have a little play time on Sunday with my parents who were in town visiting. We headed up to Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville and luckily it wasn't raining like last year.

It was however incredibly crowded and swarming with children and we actually had a tough time finding apples. We had to dig deep into the orchard rows and there were a few times Mr. Young had to hoist me up to grab apples from the top of the trees, which I thought made things a bit more fun!

At the end of the day we did get a decent number of apples though and of course didn't leave without fresh hot apple cider doughnuts #sugarcoma. After making apple cinnamon muffins with last year's crop of apples I'm wondering what to make this time around. Any suggestions for your favorite apple recipes? I'm not sure I would be up for a pie but was maybe thinking about an apple crisp, or maybe applesauce in the crockpot? Would love to hear your favorites!

Even though we're still in October I feel like fall is quickly getting away with seeing so many bare trees already and the temperatures finally dropping. I honestly wouldn't mind if it just stayed like it is currently until spring comes again, but I have a feeling we're in store for another nasty winter with how mild this summer was.

For now we'll enjoy what's left of fall so don't be one of those people getting into the holidays until we savor and finish this season! We've been so incredibly busy we haven't had the most time for fun fall activities--what are your favorite things to do in the fall and especially any local Virginia suggestions?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekly Round Up #TGIF

It's the return of weekly round up! This time around I'm not thinking about just awesome articles and information I've found throughout the week, but a top five round up that will include that and more about the past week. And I can't sing enough #TGIF praises this week, seriously!

1.  Ashley Brooke Designs--New Mugs!
This has been the week for following ABDesigns. The Amy Poehler mug giveaway was awesome to see, and then a whole new line of mugs? I am digging the "Go Big or Go Home" one, might need to be the next addition to my adorable mug collection.

2.  There's More to Life Than Being Happy
I sat down and took the time to read through and reflect on this article. Especially with the career oriented work I do, there are many conversations I have with students tied to this subject of happiness vs. meaning and I see it playing out among people I know and of course all over social media. Highly encourage you to take a few seconds to read it.

3. THIS Kate Spade Inspired Wedding
Don't need many words here. I cannot stop oohing and ahhing over every bit of it. Well, except those massive paper flowers at the ceremony. But the rest of these details have my heart swooning!

4. Early Morning Runs
I got my act together to get up and run this week and it's been glorious! I've missed watching the sunrise and getting to take advantage of this beautiful quiet time with myself before the rush of the day. Hopefully these extra miles put in will make my long run this week even sweeter.

5. Family Visits
I've gotten to see almost all of my family this week! My sister stopped by on her way up from college for fall break and even if just a for a few hours it was nice to cuddle on the couch and catch up, or did we cuddle on the couch watching HGTV and fall asleep? Whoops! My parents are coming tonight to stay the weekend in Richmond and I can't wait to see them, share some wonderful meals together, and go on a fall adventure!

What's been a highlight of your week? Any great news, articles, or pieces of happy to share? Would love to hear them! Pour yourself some extra coffee and make this Friday great!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Training" Update

Just as planned I will still be running the American Family Fitness Half Marathon here in Richmond in just under three weeks. Unfortunately I will no longer be running the race with Team in Training, though I still am continuing to fundraise for the organization and everything already donated still goes straight to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This was definitely not the season for me to run another half! Truth be told I really could have gotten myself in shape to do it, but was lazy during the summer enjoying my freedom from wedding planning. I still wanted to run the race but didn't find the best fit with the team training so opted not to re-commit to my hefty fundraising goal.

Scenes from this weekend's long run
I've previously talked about the reasons why I enjoy running and one of those is that it's an individual thing for me. While I have lined up by myself at starting lines and felt a twinge of envy at pairs and groups of running buddies I know that I'd prefer to be by myself. I want to go at my own pace and only have myself to worry about. I thought that I could get in the groove but it just didn't click into place, I want to train when I want at my own pace and in the areas that I want to run.

House of Cards is what has kept me going with indoor runs!
I'm grateful for all of the support I've had in training for this second race but will have to admit I'm getting sick of answering questions about how it's going--because it's not! Being lazy I started way too late to really get running and so am hoping to get to eight or nine miles before race day, but we'll see what happens. I'll probably end up walking big chunks of the race and am OK with that, I'm just trying to get to the finish line no matter how it happens. Nothing will be as satisfying as the first half marathon that I ran, that was the big achievement and now I get to do it with a bit less pressure.

Who else is planning to run some races this fall? Let's band together for some extra motivation!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Motivation: The Great Return

For the first time since May 2010 I went an entire month without blogging. Before this there was always at least one post, even when I busy I would think "you can't look back at the archives and have nothing for this month!" But nothing is what you will find for September 2014. And I'd have to say I feel great about it.

After the craziest summer (ya know just gettin' married and going on a big 'ole fabulous honeymoon to the Mediterranean!) and coming back to a crazy new academic year with big changes in our staff and new job responsibilities blogging was on the backburner.

During my training runs for my upcoming half-marathon I've thought a bit about why I didn't have the urge to blog and few things came to mind. First, I just didn't feel like it was my space. My last blog designer did a great job but at the end of the day it didn't feel like me. Hence the shiny new layout and branding making me feel more like a grown up. Secondly, I was living life. While I've always loved documenting certain parts of my life through this blog there have always been plenty of unpublished moments. But missing my outlet for creativity and the fact that I love to poke through my archives going back to previous points of life has me back.

While I've shared this particular piece of motivation before, it's one of my favorites and I try to keep it close as a daily reminder. A reminder that every day I am not going to accomplish something big and amazing. And that life doesn't have to be grand and spectacular to be enjoyable.

I think one can easily get caught up in the game of the internet. You know, the one where everyone posts happy, shiny, positive things and perfectly posed and edited pictures. Sometimes a good break is in need to remember why I specifically choose to blog and what exactly this blog is for me. Yeah, you could say I'm an over-analyzer. I do not live to blog, but blog about the beautiful life that I have.

So take a few minutes to really let these words sink in for you today and remember to enjoy the day ahead.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Motivation

Just like that it's the start of my third academic year on the campus that I work at. How did that happen? I can still remember my first day, and the first day of classes that we had students back just like it was yesterday. And I hear it only keeps going faster each year. Yikes!

With some new responsibilities at work this year I must admit that I've succumbed to a bit of self doubt about my knowledge and abilities to succeed. I am excited to dive in, but y'all--just a bit nervous! A twinge of imposter syndrome has given me a few moments where I've felt that I'm not sure that I'm up for the challenge, even though I'm certainly more than capable.

This quote has been one that I've always kept close to me, knowing that it is all too true. There have been many things I haven't pursued in life because of the challenge and I know at this point I would have been able to succeed in all of those if I had gotten past the fear of failing. Today and this year I'm going to be reaching into the light and pulling out everything that I've got as I pursue these new responsibilities and tackle some side dreams that I have.

After a good pep talk from Mr. Young yesterday, this week's Monday Motivation will hopefully bring power to all of y'all reading out there. While I've seen Mr. Young coaching, I've never been a part of his huddles or pep talks and I can certainly see why his players appreciate him so much. I am lucky to have him around to challenge and inspire me for the rest of my days.

So as you encounter that task today that you don't think you can handle--go for it. Self doubt will get you nowhere y'all!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Everyday I'm Hustlin'

T. G. I. F. friends! Is anyone else as excited to see Friday this week as me? We have students back on campus this week and after having a day full of back to back appointments yesterday I'm feeling a bit out shape from the summer. Seriously, I came home and fell asleep on the couch after work which is something I never do. With the weekend kicking off at 5pm, my bestie coming to town this weekend, and throwing a party here tomorrow there are many reasons getting me jazzed about today!

Another one of those would be getting to take this sweet new mug to work today:

I can't even remember how I first stumbled upon Ashley Brooke Designs, but I have been obsessed with her items ever since. Whenever I'm on a site where I love the design or see stationary that makes me drool I always try and find where it came from and I'm pretty sure that's how I landed on ABD a few months ago. Since then I've followed her on Instagram and after a few flash sales I finally gave in and got myself that mug that I've been lusting after.

All of the mugs are adorable, I would love to have the whole collection but this one is my favorite for obvious reasons. What better motivation at work each morning than having my coffee from that sweet mug? Should also be a good convo starter with students!

As if I wasn't excited enough to see a little package when I got home yesterday, I really appreciated how ABD puts thought into their packaging. That polka dot tissue paper...swoon! The extra touches that so many companies are branding their packing with these days really make me smile.

I just have a feeling that I'll end up with another one of her mugs in my collection so soon. It's tempting to just click the button and put all of them in my cart. In addition to having the most clever sayings and an awesome handwritten font I love how they are so classic--just a plain white mug with the text. Haven't quite decided but I think this might my next pick:

Even if you're starting your day with coffee in a boring mug this morning, I hope this can bring some brightness and cheer! Seriously, go check out ABD right now--you won't regret it. Happy weekend friends!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Motivation

After spotting this on Pinterest ages ago it's become one of my favorite pieces of motivation. We are so often searching for the next big thing in our lives or thinking "If only lived here..." or "If I only worked there..." thinking that big changes would make us more happy or successful. Life is truly lived when you work with what you've got and focus on how to be your best self in that situation.

Maybe you're living a life you've never imagined or stuck in a situation that is not the most ideal, but think about how you make the best of it and truly bloom. You can't always choose the hand you are dealt in life, but you can certainly strategize on how to play. So take some time this week to think about how you can make the best of what you've got--if not, all of that negative energy will just turn you into a weed!

ps. I love this little saying so much I painted a little canvas with it for me office that I'll be sharing soon and possibly more for my Etsy shop.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Every Mile With a Purpose

While everyone has been taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, I have decided to accept a different philanthropic challenge. It was no easy journey to finally completing my first half marathon last October, but once I crossed that finish line I knew that it wouldn't be the last time. For that first half I would meet up with friends occasionally for longer runs, but mostly trained solo and at my own pace. As I started to feel ready for my next half I wanted to change things up a bit this time.

Read more about my first half marathon here!
At this time in exactly three months from today I will be running the streets of Richmond in the American Family Fitness Half Marathon with Team in Training (TNT) to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

There are several people within my online social circles who I've seen participating in TNT and I've been intrigued about the organization for a while. Everyone gets so into it--I knew that would be a kind of energy that I could get behind! In addition to going through my training with a team I was really interested in also blending my training with philanthropy and so TNT was a perfect option for me.

TNT raises both funds and awareness for the LLS and while I do not have a direct personal connection to either disease, I've had friends who have had to lose loved ones too soon to blood cancers. I am so incredibly grateful for my good health and able body and I hope to be able to put it use for something greater than my own personal gains. Not only will I have that awesome feeling crossing the finish line again, but I'll know that I have helped the effort of curing blood cancers.

Let's look at the facts...

Did you know that in 2013 there were an estimated 48,610 new cases of Leukemia? 
Approximately every four minutes someone in the US is diagnosed with a type of blood cancer. 
Over 1 million Americans are living with or are in remission from leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma.
About every 10 minutes we lose someone in the US from blood cancers.
Leukemia causes almost 1/3 of all cancer deaths for children under 15.
Sources: Dosomething.org & LLS

Here's where we can get together and help to fight blood cancers together. As you get up tomorrow morning and maybe plan to go grab a leisurely Saturday morning latte, skip out for just one day and instead donate to LLS. The next time you're in Target, skip The Dollar Spot and instead send a few dollars over to LLS. Fundraising is so much about engagement and participation, each amount and every dollar counts no matter how large or small.

After my first TNT training run!
So join me as I train for 13.1 miles and also work towards a goal of raising $1200 for LLS. If you're interested in donating, you can learn more on my personal fundraising page (thank you!). I hold myself accountable to blog weekly updates of my training to keep you in touch with my progress and also share more information about the blood cancers we're working to fight and the unreasonable amount of lives that they take from us each year.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Music City

This past spring my younger brother hemmed and hawed about whether or not he would walk at his college graduation. A few weeks before our wedding he decided to move forward with plans to walk across that stage. Great timing! So as I continued to wrap up wedding and honeymoon planning my mom started planning for our trip. My brother went to school at Middle Tennessee State University which is close by to Nashville so we took advantage of the opportunity to explore!

Since we were pretty tapped from wedding and honeymoon expenses and getting a flight from Richmond to Nashville a month in advance in about a bajillion dollars we decided to go old school and road trip out there. This trip truly showed me just how wide the state of Virginia is. We just kept driving and driving down 81 and Mr. Young kept asking, "Are we in Tennessee yet?!!" The good thing is that it was an easy drive, we saw only a few cops, and hit no traffic on either leg of the trip.

We spent Friday exploring Nashville and y'all...I LOVE this city! I have always wanted to visit and had friends who'd told me I'd probably enjoy our time there, let's just say I'm already trying to plan a trip to go back and see more. We hit up a lot of the big touristy stops like the Johnny Cash Museum, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Even though it probably had the least amount of artifacts to look at, the Ryman Auditorium was my favorite. It's such a historic icon within country music and the music scene overall and it was awesome to be there and think about all of the legends who've played on that stage.

A good tip for the Hall of Fame is that if you go during the last hour of the day you can get your ticket 50% off for only having limited time in the museum. While there is a ton to see at there, so much of it is going wayyy back to the birth of country music and while I appreciated learning some new information I didn't spend nearly as much time looking at the first floor that we were on. So pending on what you know and what you're hoping to learn this could be a good option to save a few bucks as they have a pricey entrance fee ($30). Growing up outside of DC makes you a bit of a snob when it comes to having to pay to see a museum.

After having a late breakfast we also stopped for a late lunch/early dinner and decided to head to Honky Tonk Central to hear some music while we took a break from sightseeing. Each bar/restaurant on Broadway had music blaring out of it and I loved how there were three floors to this place and each one had a different band playing. As a pick me up on our way out of downtown we stopped at Mike's Ice Cream (which also has coffee) and I think that their Frozen Cappuccino was seriously the best cold coffee drink I've ever had. If you like coffee do not leave downtown without grabbing one of these!

The day ended at the Grand Ole' Opry house because I knew our trip wouldn't be complete without this experience. We saw so many awesome performances, discovered some new talent, and got to see teenage girls rush the stage when Hunter Hayes finally came on at the end. Y'all, he was so stinkin' adorable! While it was late and we were dragging a bit we did a backstage tour after the show and it was totally worth it. We got to see all of the dressing rooms, walk out onto the stage into the infamous circle from Ryman Auditorium, and we even ran into some of the performers who were lingering after the show.

With Friday's sightseeing under our belts we had a much more relaxed Saturday. After my brother's graduation we had a long and leisurely lunch and got to see his new house. It's crazy that my younger siblings are becoming real people which is starting to make me feel very old. But we couldn't be more proud of him graduating and snagging and awesome first job in the real world!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Motivation

For someone who really enjoys routine, I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of it. This summer has been amazing, but has been anything but routine and I'm looking forward to getting back into my daily rituals--including this poor blog which I have neglected for far too long.

What better way to get back into routine than with Motivation Monday! After spending nearly twenty hours in the car this weekend going to and from Nashville (more on that later!) I am in need of some motivation and extra caffeine this morning.

I think this one is the story of my life, hand picked for me via Pinterest. Whether it's over thinking or keeping an idea or dream in my head for far too long I feel like the queen of this quote lately. After a lot of thinking the past few years about some big dreams of mine I have finally taken the first step towards making it a reality and I am both incredibly excited and nervous. But what kind of big dream would it be if it didn't make you a bit anxious?

Now it's time to do. It's time to roll my sleeves up and grab an extra cup of coffee because while I know it's going to be a fun ride, it's also going to take a lot of hard work. And time, lots of time.

So whatever it is you've been thinking about whether it's painting your kitchen or making career moves--today is the day friend. Stop thinking and take some action steps towards making it happen!

Friday, July 11, 2014

June 28, 2014

It's hard to believe that this time two weeks ago I was loading up my car with all of our decor and booze to drop off at our wedding venue. June 28 was such a spectacular day and I can't wait to share all of the details with you! There will be much more to share as I start to collect my thoughts on the day, and as we get our pictures and video back from our vendors.

But for now, I'll indulge you...

Photo by Sean DeWitt Photography
To kick off the weekend we had absolutely perfect weather for being crazy enough to do an all outdoor wedding the last weekend in June in Virginia. I mean, killer weather! We had highs in the high 80s with good breeze and just enough sunshine to be pretty but not melt you. We also had amazing friends and family come into town from around the country and world to be with us. It would be fun now to map out where everyone did come in from--we couldn't have felt more blessed. I had the absolute best group of gals, and my favorite guy besides Mr. Young, to spend my wedding day with and I couldn't have picked a better bridal party.

Photo by Sean DeWitt Photography
In addition to actually getting married it was so overwhelming to have all of our favorite people in one place. We had a welcome gathering on Friday night after our rehearsal dinner and it may have been one of the highlights of the weekend to see a new friend coming in every five minutes. Sometimes the hard part of having so many great chapters in your life is having good friends spread across the country and not being able to see them regularly. I couldn't have been luckier to have them all there: my best friends growing up, my sorority sisters and college friends, the gals I worked and traveled with at Tri Sigma, my grad school friends, and now our friends that we have made here in Richmond.

To top that off, I couldn't have been more lucky than getting to say "I do" to this stud. Man he cleans up well!

Photo by Sean DeWitt Photography
Mr. Young gave me the most thoughtful and sweet wedding gifts and wrote me words that were unimaginable. We opted to write our own vows (more on crafting our own ceremony later), and funny enough said pretty much all of the exact same things to each other.

It was all absolutely magical and a blur at the same time. As much as people tell you it will go fast, I really couldn't believe it. It almost felt like we left the hotel for the ceremony and then I woke up Sunday morning and it was all over. However, we were able to truly enjoy our wedding and hope that all of our guests did as well. We couldn't have loved our wedding site, Historic Tredegar, anymore--it was the perfect spot for us. It also made some pretty amazing pictures possible!

Photo by Sean DeWitt Photography
This is just the beginning of wedding recaps, I can't wait to share the whole weekend and all of our details. After working on something for so long there's now plenty of time back on my calendar to get back to blogging. More to come, and now one week until our honeymoon on the Mediterranean!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: 490 Days

490 days is the length of my engagement to Mr. Young. 490 days of wedding planning. 490 days of being asked about wedding planning. 490 days of researching vendors, making decisions, and having a few of them back out last minute. 490 days of countless stamps, thank you notes, and trips to the post office. 490 days of incredible family and friends who have helped to pull everything together. 490 days of attempting to "get in shape", realizing that I'm fine the way I am, gaining five pounds in the month leading up to the big day, and not caring one bit.

Engagement pictures. Three showers. A bachelorette. And cake, so much cake.

Photo by Sean DeWitt Photography
About 90 days of being asked if I'm getting excited. Which by the way, what do you expect a bride to be to say when you ask that question? And why does it need to be asked so frequently? I think I'm more excited to no longer hear this question than I am to get married. Just kidding...maybe.

After sleeping, eating, and breathing this wedding for just about 490 days we have three days left. And I really couldn't be more excited for it be here and just be married. I can't wait to read some books for pleasure again and start training for my second half marathon. And I really can't wait to have some money back in my bank account.

But I promise I'm not wishing it away, I'm just so ready for it be here. I'd like to compare engagement to purgatory--and I have just been waiting so patiently to get to the other side and be married. As excited as I am to see 490 days of my blood, sweat, and tears (literally, all three have been present in this endeavor) come to fruition on Saturday, I still often have fleeting dreams of a simple and sweet elopement in a little white dress with our closest family and friends nearby. Focusing on what really is important when it comes to a wedding and not the nitty gritty details that I can't wait to stop thinking about.

However, it's going to be so worth it because every bone in my body knows that Saturday is going to be the best day. All of our best friends and family in the same place, our favorite foods, our favorite drinks, and our favorite music to celebrate spending the rest of my life with my favorite person. And I don't think it gets any better than that.

490 long days, all for one big day. It's time to get married y'all!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Powerful Beyond Measure

Keeping these words close to me lately and excited to have time for some projects after this wedding...

Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure! It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a Child Of God: your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

– Marianne Williamson

Thursday, May 8, 2014

To Me, I am Perfect

This post is a long time coming.

Yesterday evening I went to a group exercise class called Fit Fusion (similar to Body Pump) and afterwards went for a mile jog around the track in the gym. I didn't have my headphones and you can't hear the gym's music up on the track so it was one of those rare moments of the day where I am completely unplugged and alone with my thoughts.

Lately I've been trying all kinds of new tricks like the juice diet (overall thoughts coming soon) and getting back in tune with the nutrition plan from Tone It Up (love me some K&K!) as we get closer and closer to the wedding. I've always known that my wedding would be the one thing to "get me in shape". But...am I really out of shape?

I work out at least three times a week and stay pretty active. Usually I'm pretty good about what I eat, though my sweet tooth can catch me sometimes. I never order french fries (always a side salad or veggies), rarely eat fried food, and never drink soda or sugary drinks. I have all of the knowledge I need about eating healthy and working out, but sometimes I completely disregard it.

With a 16 month engagement it finally hit me...if "getting in shape" (whatever that idea is in my head) was that much of a priority, I would have done it already. I can definitely tend to be a procrastinator but when I set my mind to a goal I reach it. I wanted to run a half marathon so I did. I had a setback with my hip stress fracture and worked hard to run a 10k while recovering. I ran my heart out my last semester of grad school and finally shed the 15-20 lbs that was lingering from college. If I want it, I will get it.

What's funny is I actually made this image the background on the home screen of my phone in early January. I wanted a healthy message to be reminded of for 2014, and I have completely disregarded it and instead have been counting calories, trying crash diets, and mad when numbers on the scale don't drop. And we all know I should have tossed that scale out the window months ago.

So I think that I have come to terms with accepting my body, yet still succumb to the societal messages that are out there. Everytime I hear about a "bridal bootcamp" or see the hashtag #sweatingforthewedding I continue to think about how I should be perfecting myself for the big day. What do I have to sweat for? I have a partner who knows what I look like and rather than running away he put a beautiful ring on my finger and asked if I would be his for the rest of time. It's certainly not for him.

Would I love it if I could slip into a size six rather than an eight? Heck yes! But considering I spent 2009-2012 anywhere from size 10 to 14, it's still a sweet little victory every time I pull on a size eight dress. I've also gotten past the point of sizing. I own items size small through extra large and I just buy clothes that fit me, no matter what the label might say.

I've come to terms with the fact that my hips will always be significantly larger than my waist, and know that some gals would kill for an hourglass shape. Healthy is my goal: continuing to be active, maintaining good nutrition, while also letting myself indulge sometimes, is really all that I need to reach what I'm looking for.

To me, I am perfect. And who's approval is more important than my own? I hope you'll take this journey back towards being healthy and away from "perfection".

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Motivation

Sometimes it's as easy as that for a motivating Monday morning. Starting the week right really makes a difference and after working out, taking a nice shower, and putting on a outfit I love I got to work and conquered massive piles of paper all over my office. I really should start doing that on Friday afternoons...

As I was cleaning out these papers I realized that it's detrimental to my work flow to get on the computer as soon as I get into my office in the morning. I've now decided on a daily ritual of using the first few minutes each morning to clean up and tidy my office and try to read something that can't be found on a screen before I get to it. 

How do you start your work today to ensure your productivity level stay high?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Juice Cleanse: The End

So there wasn't really a day three of my juice cleanse. When I woke up yesterday my first thought was, I do not want to drink that damn juice. Before I started the cleanse I told myself that if there was a point where I had absolutely no desire to continue, then don't.

First I thought maybe I could turn the juice into a smoothie by blending it with ice. That was a major flop and the texture made me want to vom. The "smoothie" went down the drain and for breakfast I had a Naked juice so it wasn't wildly different, except that it tasted a million times better than the green swamp I had been trying to chug down. I still packed up my juices for the rest of the day and headed to work.

I was fine for a while once I was in my office but then around 10:00am this happened...

That was that, I was officially done with the cleanse. And completely happy about it. I felt a lot better at the end of yesterday, there wasn't a point during the two days I was drinking juice that I felt tired, starving, or lethargic. I didn't necessarily feel super energized but I felt cleaner and lighter which is what I was going for.

After cleansing my body I'm attempting to stay as clean as possible with my eating. For both lunch and dinner I mostly had fruit and veggies with some lean protein and small amounts of dairy. I was afraid of not feeling too well after my first meal but I was perfectly fine. I also felt like I could eat slower and enjoy my food a bit more because for the first time in a while I hadn't spent all morning thinking about what I might eat for lunch.

Overall, it went fairly well for the two days that I lasted. I think that length of time might be the sweet spot for me to do anything like this. Would I do it again? Yes. Would I do it differently? Yes! I would definitely try and find days that I have a busy schedule at work and maybe some commitments in the evening as well which would make it much easier to not even think about the cleanse.

Have you ever tried a cleanse of any kind? How'd it go? Would you do it again?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Juice Cleanse: Day Two

As you read yesterday, day two started out pretty well since the scale told me I was four pounds down! I'm usually never a numbers person because for me it's so much about how I look, fit in my clothes, etc. but hey I'm a girl, I was excited. Before getting in the shower I did also notice that my stomach seemed a bit flatter, but I might chalk that up to the fact that I didn't eat food for 24 hours...


I started with my first green juice a bit earlier than yesterday, I think because it took me so long to finish them all during the first day that I just wanted to get it started. I sipped some water along with it and finished it before I got to work which I wasn't able to do the first day. The morning followed pretty much the same as yesterday, I took my green tea and mid-morning juice to an hour and a half staff meeting which kept me pretty occupied.


Lunch juice took me almost two hours to finish and just before three I started getting pretty tired. Not sure how much of this can be accredited to the fact that I had the heater on in my office (yes, in April--I'm not happy about it), it's disgustingly gloomy outside, and I had no student appointments which makes for a boring day at work. The lemonade juice went down easy just as the first day and before I knew it we had reached the end of the work day.


I had no interest in drinking the beet/carrot juice again. It was the worst for me on day one and I also didn't have it made because I ran out of carrots. Running to the grocery store in the rain was not ideal so I decided to skip that juice. I had about a 1/4 of a bottle so I drank that and then just went on to the last juice. I savored that one just like the first day, but definitely gulped it down a bit quicker.

Overall, day two was meh. I still wasn't particulary hungry but it wasn't fabulous, just another day down!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Juice Cleanse: Day One

If you're reading this that means that I survived day one of my juice cleanse! Here's a recap of the beginning...


When I woke up I was not immediately hungry, but I might chalk that up to the massive dinner I ate at 10:00pm the night before I started the cleanse. I typically eat within the first 30-40 minutes of waking up and I decent breakfasts so I was worried about wanting to eat my hand off.

Typically I tend to stay pretty healthy with breakfast and rarely deviate. It's the one meal of the day where I can eat the same thing and not get bored. During the winter I usually eat oatmeal most days along with some fruit and nuts or nut butter. When it starts to get warmer I'm back to plain Chobani with fruit and Kashi Go Lean cereal as a granola substitute. I eat breakfasts that are protein heavy to keep me going until lunch so I was most worried about being hungry in the morning.

Thanks to my friend Kelly for sending me some motivation yesterday!
Around the time when I usually start to get hungry I did, and so I grabbed my first juice of the day, a beautiful green bottle of liquid. She's got apple, kiwi, kale, spinach, pineapple, and a random handful of celery, bell pepper, and sugar snap peas just because they were sitting in my fridge and I figured they matched. The juice isn't half as bad as I thought it would be, but not quite as sweet as when I taste tested last night. I think sitting in the fridge overnight really brought out more of the veggie flavors.

After my first juice I probably had 12-18 ounces of water as well as a cup of green tea with just a pinch of stevia. At 10:30am I started feeling hungry although I also felt full from all of the liquid, it was an interesting feeling so I just went ahead and grabbed the next juice and it took me an hour and a half to finish it. These are definitely sipping juices, but in my defense I also had a 30 minute student appointment where I wasn't going to whip out my bottle of swamp looking juice.


My office ordered Jimmy Johns for lunch so I stayed inside my office until the threat of seeing or smelling a sandwich had passed. Honestly though I wasn't hungry and I think only felt hungry when thinking about food. I'm usually someone that eats at 12:00pm on the dot if not a few minutes before. I didn't open up my "lunch" juice until 1:00pm and finished it just before 3:00pm.

The spicy lemonade was next and it really wasn't so spicy, so maybe I should have added more cayenne but I was nervous about my mouth burning off. I threw it back in time to leave the office a bit early at 4:15pm. We had to take the cats to the vet last night (just a check up!) so that preoccupied me for a good hour and a half.


When we got home it was time for "dinner" and this beet/carrot/apple juice was the roughest all day. It really didn't taste that bad but I think I was just so over it and Mr. Young was chowing down on a bowl of cereal right next to me. This was the toughest part of the day, but I think that being home and seeing my easy access to food was what made it the most difficult.

We met with our awesome wedding videographer last night at Panera, and I was sure that this is when I would crack. After ordering a hot green tea I found us a table near the door that faced the door/outside windows so I could look at as little food possible. Worked like a charm, we had such a great conversation that I didn't think once about wanting to grab every pastry and bagel from behind the counter.

The best part of the day? Definitely the last "juice" which is an almond milk and banana concoction. It was sweet, creamy, and almost brought me to tears. It was the best thing I had all day and I savored every sip of it for almost a half an hour (the shortest time it took me to finish a juice all day) while we caught up with TV.

So overall, it went better than I was expecting. I wish that my schedule at work was busier because that would definitely make it easier to quickly move throughout the day without thinking much about not eating. I felt pretty good this morning, and was not hungry at my usual time although I've started sipping my "breakfast" juice already since I saw yesterday that it takes me forever to finish one.

While my goal of this cleanse is not to lose weight, of course this girl was curious. I weighed myself several times this morning because I was in disbelief, but I'm four pounds down. I know weight fluctuates for many reasons and mine does a lot, so I wouldn't credit all to the juice.

Day two has begun so check back in tomorrow for more updates!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Juicy News

Welp, I guess three posts this month is better than no posts this month! It seems like just yesterday I was writing about the first day of April and May is now a mere 48-ish hours away. Someone stop the clock.

The odd thing is that I feel like the closer we get to the wedding, the more of an urge I have to shove junk food and sugar into my mouth. I don't know where this is coming from. Not that I'm the craziest health nut to ever live, but I'd like to think I usually have a pretty good handle on my nutrition. I always order a side salad or veggies instead of fries, rarely eat anything fried, and usually have big salads for lunch. I also judge other people's carts at the grocery store. It's a problem.

I think my problem came from giving up sweets for Lent, and the idea that giving into your cravings can be a good thing has been reinforced for me. My bridal shower was three weeks before Easter and I said "What the heck!" and went for it with the desserts. So many desserts. Beautiful little butter cookie sandwiches with buttercream filling. I can't. From there I feel like I've been binging on sugar every chance I get. Donuts in the office, cupcakes at a gathering, pints of gelato stashed in my freezer. Don't even start me on Easter candy this year.

At this point, enough is enough. I'm ready for a reboot because my body feels like it's been hit by a truck and thrown down a mountain. Twice. I'm not sure I've really felt hungry in a few weeks and have been eating abysmal amounts of vegetables. It's cleansing time.

I've always been highly intrigued by juice cleanses but have not wanted to foot the bill for a juicer. Lucky for me I have a mother who tends to buy appliances that sit around and collect dust. OK, not piles of them but some. Like the Ronco rotisserie cooker, remember "Set it and forget it!"? I borrowed the juicer which hasn't been used since it's Christmas arrival and finally took that baby for a drive tonight. She's a beaut, thanks Mom!

Trolling through Pinterest I found the DIY Ritual Cleanse and mashed it up with the Blueprint Cleanse (which would be so easy to just buy if I didn't live on an education salary) for a three day cleanse. Six juices a day, water, and green tea. Let's hope Mr. Young is still alive on the other side of this cleanse. I spent three grueling hours last night prepping, juicing, and cleaning. Who knew it could be so intense to pulverize the juice out of things?

Afterwards I made sure to have a nice dinner of deviled eggs, pasta salad, and baked beans (leftover from our BBQ shower this weekend--more to come on that!), finished off with a beautiful piece of cake. I savored every last bite and since I ate so late I'm hoping that it will also hold me over through some of today.

So I'm back to blogging because I'm going to need something to do with my hands since they won't be grabbing food and shoving it in my mouth for the next few days. I'm prepared to share a recap of each day along with some lessons learned from my juicing experience. The first...kale is a bitch.

Hopefully you'll hear from me again soon if I make it through day one.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Motivation

Oh hey it's that girl that occasionally blogs making an appearance this morning. I think until August you can expect me to be pretty sporadic on here, I've been trying but it' just not happening these days. 

I saw this pretty little piece on Pinterest a bit ago and fell in love. It really strikes a chord especially with life the past year. Sometimes I often wonder if I'm wanting something because I really want it, or if it's a societal thing. 

Oftentimes I tend to over analyze everything and think about a lot of "what ifs". One of my favorites is to think about if I was to move to a big city all by myself, maybe even half a world away, where I knew no one...how would I live my life? What would I prioritize? Would I still have a "professional" career or maybe just be happy as a barista or renting chairs and umbrellas at the beach. Honestly, I think I would be 100% happy doing either of those things. Plus I'd either get free coffee or a free tan while I work. Maybe some things that I like to say I love and are my hobbies--I'd actually do. Like yoga, wandering aimlessly through city streets, and spending hours in used book stores. 

Before I go all Eat.Pray.Love on you (that movie and book gives me the worst case of these what ifs) I've also been trying to find ways that I can go into my own wilderness in my current life. It can be easy to have those freak out moments where I think "I'm on 26, is this really what the rest of my life will be like?" Well, too many of those moments are leading me to more consciously think about my decisions and the way I choose to spend my time. 

Today's Monday Motivation was brought to you by Anna's sense of wanderlust, tendency to over analyze, and dream about "what ifs". Use it wisely!