Day 8- Short term goals for this month and why

Well, since September is tomorrow, these are my goals for September:
1. Lose 8 pounds - 2 pounds a week is realistic and the Battle of the Bulge competition has started at work, so if I win it, I get $50 and a day off of work! Also, I started a Couch to 5K program last night, so this should be doable.
2. Sing more often - Singing in the car is not good enough, I need to find a choir, vocal coach, or a Church to sing with.
3. Skype more - If you have Skype, let me know your screen name! I'd love to talk to you and see you :)
4. Start training for RAGBRAI - Do you really need to know why? I'm doing RAGBRAI next summer!
5. Make the most of every day - self-explanatory
Well, there they are...so exciting I know.  The exciting part is that it's nearly September, fall is just around the corner!! My favorite season ever should get me motivated and keep me happy.  Who else gets motivated by fall?


Day 7- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you

There are many people and things that have a big impact on me, each one in a completely different way.  But I would say that losing someone important to me is the one thing that impacts me for years, probably for my whole life.  When I was a junior in high school, I lost a very close friend of mine and to this day, I still wake up with memories of her.  Unfortunately, I just lost another good friend less than two months ago...it just doesn't seem right when good people are taken so young.

Right now, the death of TJ is so new and still so difficult to deal with, so I am still experiencing the negative impacts quite strongly.  I am so angry and so sad.  But as difficult as it is to admit, there can be positives that come from these losses.  I remember when I lost Lindsey I experienced a great deal of pain, but after the pain came a choice...move on and remember the good times or stay angry and bitter.  Though anger and bitterness still linger quietly, I was able to honor her and think about her in happy ways.  Also, I was able to stay close with her family, who I had basically considered my family.  To this day, I still keep in touch with her brother and I occasionally have dinner with her grandparents.  Her grandparents also came to my wedding and it felt so right to have them there.

Even though it's not quite here yet, I know losing TJ will bring something very positive into my life.  He was one of the best people I know, definitely the most caring.  I think that's what makes it so hard to accept.  But I've already noticed that I go back and forth from days that I am angry and crying, to days that I am laughing and reminiscing.  I think if anything, I am learning to try to be more like TJ...to roll with the punches, dust yourself off and move forward, because any situation can be good if you are willing to look at it from a different angle.  TJ would have wanted us all laughing when we think about him, and I'm slowly getting to the point where I can do that.  And most of all, TJ was a good person who loved unconditionally and of all his characteristics...that's the one I admire the most.

I hope that someday I can be half the person TJ was and I hope that Lindsey's family is ALWAYS my family too.  Losing someone is not easy, and it impacts you in both positive and negative ways.  And everyday, you think about that person (or people) and you'll either smile, or cry.  Either way, you are remembering the essence of that person and the impact their life, and death, has had on your life.

Lindsey's grandparents and I on my wedding day


Day 6- Favorite super hero and why

I'm not a huge superhero fan...but there is one that is pretty obvious for two reasons:
1. He can fly, and I wish I could too.
2. I tried the whole monogrammed t-shirt thing back in the day, and no one rocks an "S" like he does...so jealous.

And therefore, my favorite superhero is SUPERMAN!!!

Sunday Special - Lindsey A

Lindsey has been in my life for about 14 years.  I feel like through the years, our friendship is always growing and we're always getting closer.  Over the past couple years, Lindsey has been a true rock in my life...always there to help me with spiritual and emotional struggles (often times one in the same).  Lindsey is now living in Morocco embraced in God's arms.  Thank goodness for modern technology because facebook, blogger, and especially Skype have made the thousands of miles seem smaller.  I feel blessed to have Lindsey in my life and I can't wait for the next 14 years that are to come!
Freshman year
Definitely do not know what we're doing =)
During Camelot our junior year
On our random photo op day...so beautiful
Ready for our manicures!
My perfectionist P.A.

The Sunday Special

I have been thinking about doing a "series" on my blog for like a month now, so I'm finally starting.  Each Sunday, I want to do a post about an individual or group who is important to me.  These will be in no particular order of importance or anything like that, probably just the last person I thought of or talked to.  Friend, family, or otherwise, you are all very important to me and I love you very much.


Day 5- A picture of somewhere you've been to

I bet you all thought I would pick Costa Rica!  Nah, there are already pictures of Costa Rica on here.  I have been to New York City three times and I hope I go many many more times!  This picture was taken on my third trip on the Statue of Liberty Ferry as we passed Ellis Island.  I have many good memories from NYC and I have been there with a variety of friends, and even my sister and my mom!  I can't wait to make more good memories there, hopefully sooner rather than later.


Day 4- A habit that you wish you didn’t have (or wish you did)

         Hmm...I'd rather not talk about the habits I have right now, so I'm going to change the post to a habit I wish I DID have!  I wish that I liked to run; on a day like yesterday or morning like this, all I really wish is that I had the motivation and stamina to go for a short run.  No desire to run a marathon, but still, I wish it was FUN to me.
         In hopes of remedying this situation, I am starting a "Couch to 5k" program on Monday which should get me prepped for the annual Turkey Trot, a 5k run held on Thanksgiving morning.  I am running the race with Brooke, so I'm sure she'll be motivating me, but I need all the help I can get so PLEASE SEND ME INSPIRATION!! =)


Day 3- A picture of you and your friends

I know this picture is pretty old...but it's still one of my favorites!  These are my best girls friends from high school just before we all left for college.  It was an amazing night, minus Shae getting sick (poor baby!), and those memories will last me a lifetime.  I do wish the post was "pictures of you and your friends" but you know I would have gotten carried away!  SO here is the one picture I narrowed it down to.  There is another day post with another picture, so watch out college friends...it's coming! =)


Day 2 - The meaning behind my blog name

Pura Vida literally means "the pure life," but in Costa Rica, it is the quintessential greeting.  They say hello, goodbye, thank you, and your welcome with it.  To them, the meaning is more like "full of life", "purified life", "this is living!" So after our honeymoon to Costa Rica, I thought the phrase was quite fitting...because I have just started a new life with my husband and as I get older, I want to look back at my time and say, "that was living!"


Day 1- Recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself

On my wedding day
1. My favorite color is purple, but only because black gives off a negative vibe, otherwise, black would defintiely be my favorite color.
2. When I have kids, if I have a girl, her name will be Lindsey.
3. I LOVE to ride bikes, it's the only working out I really enjoy.
4. I'm shrinking!!  In high school, I was 5'10" and then at the beginning of college, I was 5'9 1/2" and now I am 5'9".
5. I watch Gilmore Girls every night before I go to bed...I have now been through all seven seasons three full times.
6. I am chlosterphobic...and please don't tickle me!  I especially hate being tickled when I am in small spaces.
7. I have two cats, Peter and Cali...and until three years ago when I adopted Peter, I was a total dog person.
8. I wish I spoke German
9. I love to sing and dance...just wish I was better at the latter. ;)
10. Most girls want lots of purses, or shoes, or dresses...I want books and movies.
11. I strongly dislike the "Real Housewives Of...", do not try to make me watch it.
12. I really like "Top Chef", new one tomorrow night!
13. I have been the bride, and can't wait to be the bridesmaid, hopefully more than once!
14. I am a pretty big fan of Silly Bandz...and I know that's pretty silly.
15. In another life, I would like to be a pilot.


30 Days of Me

I've been wanting to be more commited to this blog and I think this will be a good way to do it.  I saw this on someone else's blog and maybe you'd like to participated as well!  Stay tuned =)

day 1- recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself

day 2- the meaning behind you blog name

day 3- a picture of you and your friends

day 4- a habit that you wish you didn’t have

day 5- a picture of somewhere you've been to
day 6- favorite super hero and why
day 7- a picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you

day 8- short term goals for this month and why

day 9- something you're proud of in the past few days

day 10- songs you listen to when you are happy, sad, bored, hyped, mad

day 11- another picture of you and your friends

day 12- how you found out about blogger and why you have one

day 13- a letter to someone who has hurt you recently

day 14- a picture of you and your family

day 15- put you ipod on shuffle: first 10 songs that play

day 16- another picture of yourself

day 17- someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why

day 18- plans/dreams/goals you have

day 19- nicknames you have and why you have them

day 20- someone you see yourself marrying or being with in the future

day 21- a picture of something that makes you happy

day 22- what makes you different from everyone else

day 23- something you crave for a lot

day 24- a letter to your parents

day 25- what I would find in your bag

day 26- what do you think about your friends

day 27- why are you doing this 30 day challenge

day 28- a picture of you from last year and now, how have you changed since then?

day 29- in this past month, what have you learned

day 30- your favorite song

A Weekend in Pictures

Last weekend, we made the trip up to the Des Moines/Ames area.  We originally planned to go floating and camping on Saturday, but with all of the flooding, I wasn't able to cross those activities off of my bucket list quite yet!  However, I had a really great time with my friends that started with a night out in Des Moines, which led into Saturday hangover remedy time with Ashley enjoying a delicious dinner at a diner!  Saturday night, a large group of us went out in Ames and on Sunday we ended the weekend in Adventureland, which was crowded and expensive, but way fun with good friends.  It brought back a lot of memories, not only of my childhood, but of our good friend TJ.  So it was a bittersweet day for me, because they were definitely happy memories...I just wish he could have been there with us.  But it was a wonderful experience with the beautiful people in my life, I don't have any pictures from Adventureland, but enjoy the rest!
Enjoying martinis at The Lift
Jessi and her fiance, Brett
Our martinis: Appletini, Key Lime Pie, Mango Slut, Bloody Marytini
Laura and I rocking our candy necklaces
Yum yum yummy necklaces
Sangria Sisters: Emily and Ashley
Toasting to people getting arrested (across the street!!)
Dancing at The Liars Club
It was packed on the dance floor!
Brunch with Ashley at the Drake Diner! She had a Veggie Bene
while I went all out and enjoyed Cap'n Crunch French Toast Sticks
Andy was absolutely floored that they sold 40s at Es Tas
Another Ashley in my life <3


My Mom's Birthday!

My mom's birthday was on Sunday and we celebrated fair style!  We started the day with brunch at Granite City (yum!) and then we went to the mall for a little bit before heading to the Mississippi Valley Fair!

It was HOT at the fair, but we had cold drinks and ate delicious fair food, making it more enjoyable.

The whole reason we went to the fair at all was because Blake Shelton was putting on a concert that night!  I'm not a huge country fan, but for some reason, I absolutely love Blake Shelton.

We sang along to his songs, cheered loudly and fell in love with his beautiful blue eyes.  I had a great night with my Mom and I think she had an awesome birthday!

September 5th

September 5th is going to be a GREAT day!  We got tickets to the Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field!  I am so excited, I have always wanted to go to Wrigley Field and we are making it happen!

Someone at work sent out an email to everyone (like 400 employees), four tickets for $130, and before the email even completely finished loading, I emailed him back and I was the first one!


Summer Bucket List

Yes, I know the summer is almost over, but I still have things on my list that I'd really like to accomplish:

1. Tubing
2. Attend two concerts
3. Read more books
4. Go to the farmer's market twice a month
5. Take more pictures
6. Go to Adventureland
7. Go camping with family
8. Go camping with friends
9. Visit friends on Labor Day Weekend
10. Hang out with my brother every other week.
11. Buy a bike (I'm almost there!!)

Some of these things are in progress, or will be completed soon!  I can't wait for Tubing, camping, and Adventureland next week. =) Also, I just went to a concert Wednesday night and am going tonight and Sunday...the fair is making #2 easy.  I also have several bucket list items I have already completed:

1. Golf Lessons
2. Write more letters/cards
3. Weekend in Omaha
4. Visit Ashley in Ames
5. Start a blog =) (OK...I just threw that one in there!)
6. Be outside more
7. Go to Six Flags
8. Spend a weekend in Chicago

But considering it's already August, I'm looking forward to checking things off my list.  There should be more complete items by now.  I'm glad I made the list though, it reminds me daily of promises I made to myself that I need to keep this year.  I always say I'm going to do something and the I forget or something comes up and it gets put on the back burner.

I think that learning to keep promises to myself will help with some other more long term promises I'm trying to keep like eating better, being happier, and loving more.  Which reminds me, I am SO excited to see Eat Pray Love...I'm going to add seeing that to my bucket list!


The Zoo

I love going to zoos, as my Chicago post explained.  I don't exactly know why.  And some part of me really feels uncomfortable with so many wild animals being caged up instead of in their natural habitat.  But I also believe, if experienced correctly, zoos are a great way to learn about these animals from other countries.

About a month ago, I took my brother to the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley.  It's not a very big zoo, but I do really love it and I try to go multiple times a summer.  Here are some pictures from our first trip to the zoo this summer.

Waiting for the train
We got the back seat of the train!

The lions were very active when we were there.
Look at the size of those paws!
Aww little baby =)

The tortoise really liked Alex

Just hanging out
A monkey posing with another monkey.
It was a wonderful day at the zoo, but we left just in time!  A big storm was coming our way.  We'll have to go again sometime soon!  Let me know if you'd like to join us.


You'll never know...

Maybe it's because it's a Monday, or because it's finally hitting me in a different way...but I feel like you'll never know how much I miss you.  You'll never know how much I wanted to see you one last time.  How much I want one last hug, one last text, one last laugh...

TJ, I am missing you so much today and I don't know what to do.  I'd like to think that you are watching over me, over all of us, and that you DO know how much we miss you.  But I'm scared you'll never know how much you meant to me...

I love you TJ, I hope you're up there and I hope you know how I feel.