3.28.2013

Going to the Chapel...

A couple weeks ago one of my very best friends from college, Becca, told me that her forever-boyfriend had finally popped the question!  She would soon be joining the ranks of the old-married-lady club and I was very excited to have her J 
Little did I know just.how.soon. she’d be getting hitched.  She just told me that they’ve set their date for JULY!  Only four little months away!  I’m beyond excited for her and am hoping beyond hope that I can get there for it. 
Scratch that.  I’ll be there, come hell or high water.  I’ll figure out a way.  I’m hoping that Jake will be able to get the weekend off work so we can drive out there together.  Please keep your fingers crossed for me!  If he can’t then I have a friend in Chicago so maybe I’d be able to swing through and pick her up so we could car pool for the rest of the way.  I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself, though- that is four months away, after all J
I cannot wait to boogie the night away with Becca and Nate to celebrate their wedding!  I’m pretty sure these four months will fly by!
I first met Becca in an orientation meeting for our semester abroad in France.  She was tall, skinny, gorgeous, and I thought I’d hate her.  Well, turns out I didn’t and we ended up living together for our senior year (hilarity and drunkenness ensued).  After graduation we’ve stayed close, and she was even one of my bridesmaids for our wedding!
Here’s a quick photo recap of our friendship up until now:

We cut the bottom off some pants and wore them as a hat... cause really, why not?

We studied in college.  A LOT.

We also spent a lot of time making macaroni and cheese.

Here we are studying again!

At one of our first French restaurants!

At my French host family's birthday party for me.

We took pictures of ourselves a lot - this was on our drunkenly-planned-last-minute trip to Germany.

Us at my wedding!



Cheers to Becca and Nate!  I can’t wait to see where the rest of this life takes you!

3.27.2013

Goal of 70 - first goal hit!

As I write to you know I am officially


pounds lighter than when I started my fitness journey!

21 pounds ago, I could not have imagined making it here, and here I am!  

I'm looking forward to the next 21 pounds, but I am celebrating this accomplishment big-time!

Yesterday as I was getting ready for work Jake was still sleeping so instead of turning on the light I used the light from my iPhone to find my way around our closet.  I put on my pants and shirt and walked downstairs...

When I passed a mirror, though, I realized something.  The pants I had intended to wear were not on my body.  Those were still upstairs somewhere.  The pants I was wearing were pants that I haven't been able to comfortably fit into for quite a while.  This was the BEST feeling in the world!  I will never go back to those other big-girl pants again - but I'll keep them around for a while to see how far I progress :)

Besides my body changing, I've noticed that my opinion of myself is changing as well.  If you had asked me 21 pounds ago if I loved my body I would have said No.  Absolutely not.  I could have given you a list a mile long of things that I hated and wanted to change - legs, arms, stomach, etc etc.

Even though I have more weight I want to lose and I have many more goals to achieve, I can say this with 100% honesty:


Loving my own body for what it is in this exact moment is a great feeling- one that I hope to keep for the rest of this journey and the rest of my life.  The body I have right now is enabling me to make the changes and make my dreams a reality- what's not to love?

I hope you're having a wonderful wonderful day :) 



3.26.2013

Be Still, My Chipotle-loving Heart

Happy wife = happy wife.   That’s how the saying goes, right?
Well today this is absolutely spot-on-perfect!
Jake really outdid himself today, folks.  While I was kind of working slaving away putting in my eight hours at my job, Jake had the day off.  Because of his twelve hour rotating shifts he ends up with quite a few weekdays off- which he loves.  He’s able to get stuff done at the farm without me annoying him to take me on a date :)
We were talking while I was on my lunch break and he was running errands (ok really he was in the McDonald’s drive through as we were talking, but he was most definitely going to start doing errands!) and I realized that he would be in a town which has the Holy Grail of fast food joints – CHIPOTLE.
If you’ve never been, I’m so so sorry for you and I hope that you click on THIS and find your very own neighborhood Chipotle.  After you have GPS’d your fastest route there, please go.  And then come back and finish reading this.  Pretty please? 
Well, now that your tummy is full with epic goodness, let’s continue, shall we?
Now because we live in a pretty small town we don’t have our own Chipotle.  But since he was going to be so close, I requested some for dinner.  And here it is…

 
A one-pound sack of heaven, right there.
Jake is a good, good man J
This leads me to my latest cooking inspiration- Chipotle-inspired meals!
I’ve seen a bunch of these pinned/posted/liked recently, and I really should try some of them out. 
But for now, I’ll be eating the store-bought version instead.
And that makes me very, very happy.

3.25.2013

My Weekend

Hello hello from this beautiful, perfect, so-happy-it's-here Monday morning...
 
said no one, ever.
 
 
But I suppose I can deal- only five more days until the weekend.  I'll drink to that :)
 
My weekend consisted of a whole bunch of fun, fun stuff. 
 
Friday I worked (duh- thank you, Captain Obvious for that one) and then headed home and did a bunch of this...
 
 
Which reminds me...I should probably fold all that.
 
AND, I got the dishwasher unloaded.  Woot woot for getting stuff done!


While Jake and his family went to a fish fry I stayed home and worked on some projects for the baby shower, worked out and went to visit with all of them when they were done eating.
 
Saturday I had a pretty lazy morning, but eventually got my butt in gear and made it to Michael's for some crafting supplies and made it home in time to start on a painting to use for decoration with the baby shower. 
 

 
 
When Jake came home from work we went to church and then got some Subway for dinner and rented Zero Dark Thirty- it was really good!!  I found myself nervous even though I already knew how it ended- I suppose that shows that it was well-made. 
 
Sunday I cleaned with my mother-in-law and then came home and got caught up on American Idol while finishing the painting for the baby shower!  I am a fan of American Idol, but there is not way in the world I'd choose to watch it live- there are so. many. damn. commercials. 
 
So dvr'ing it is definitely the way to go, in my opinion!!
 
I hope ya'll had a great weekend, too!
 
 

3.21.2013

Frustrated

I feel like I'm probably not alone in feeling how I am in this moment- frustrated.  Believe me, I know how incredibly blessed and fortunate I am, but I'm just not feeling so chipper right now.  I'm not really sure what has me down, but here I am.  I guess if I had to say, it'd be a mix of these things:

Today is Thursday, which means there's still another whole day left until the weekend.  Friday, please come quickly.

I'm really feeling an itch to travel.  Really anywhere, but preferably here:

 
To go along with my travel bug, the fact that I only have one day of vacation at my new job until 2014.  Which pretty much guarantees I won't be making any trips to France this year.
 

I got home from work today and it appears that when Jake used this container yesterday he forgot to put the cover on it completely- so naturally, with my butterfingers, I broke it. 
 
 
Lovely.
 
But I have high hopes that tomorrow gets better :)  And if it doesn't- at least there's Saturday!
 
 

3.19.2013

19...19...19

I'm going to toot my own horn here for a second because I have officiallly lost 19 POUNDS!

This, to me, is so exciting and a little bit crazy!

I'm right on the verge of breaking into 20-something weight loss and I cannot wait until I hit that milestone!  I still have a ways to go, but I am so happy with how things have been going so far that I'm just loving the journey I've started!


This morning I made "cottage cheese pancakes" for breakfast and as weird as they sound they were actually really good!  I've been eating a lot of egg whites and oatmeal for breakfast lately, and today I was just not.in.the.mood for either of those.  So, I did a quick google search for clean eating breakfast options and when I saw those I figured I'd try them out! 

The recipe I used called for:

whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, egg whites, cinnamon, a dash of salt, cottage cheese and yogurt. 

Luckily I had all those things in my pantry (well, besides the egg whites of course. Those were in eggs, in the fridge).  I cut the recipe down a bunch since it was just me eating them, and ended up making three mini pancakes that I ate while also munching on some grapes. 

Yum yum yum! 

I was definitely a happy camper this morning!

Now when I'm able to lose one more pound I will be able to cross another item off my "101 in 1001" goal sheet, and 5 pounds after that I'll be able to give myself my first mini-reward! 

When I first started Goal of 70 I set weightloss goals with mini rewards I would get/do for each one!

After 25 pounds I'm buying myself Midnight in Paris.
After 40 pounds Jake and I, along with whoever else of our friends/family wants to join, are going to stay overnight at the casino.
After 50 pounds I'm going to go clothes shopping!
And after 70 pounds Jake and I are going to get new professional pictures taken.  I wasn't very happy with how my engagement pictures turned out, so this will be really exciting when we get them taken!

Did anyone else watch The Biggest Loser last night?!  I thought it was so much fun to see how everyone looks today, but I'm always a little sad when the season's over- it's the only show I get really invested in!

I hope you have a happy day :)




3.18.2013

Vintage Circus

Baby Fever is in the air!

Not for me, but for my brother-in-law and his girlfriend.  They are due in the beginning of June, and I'll be hosting my first big event since Jake and I got married!  It'll be fun to do something like this for the first time.  Before getting married my mom generally handled showers and things like that... now it's my turn!

Jake's brother is a dairy farmer, and his girlfriend is a large animal vet, so I definitely wanted to do something to incorporate animals into the design.  Call me crazy, but I didn't want to just go the easy route and do "farm" or "farm animals".  

Jake says I'm just making it hard on myself, but I want to have fun doing it and farm just seemed too cliche- so I decided to do a vintage circus theme!

I'm hoping to do "fair food" like caramel corn in cute paper cones, mini donuts, caramel apples, hot dogs because my parents have an old-fashioned hot dog spinner and for drinks to have a couple drinks set out with nametags around the neck of the serving bottle.  It will be for both men and women and children so I'm going to have an art area set up for the kids, and Jake will be around to hang with his brother and the other guys.  

Here are some of my "pinspirations" for the day:







What do you think of my ideas?  Do you have any ideas for games to play?



3.15.2013

Kristen Thinks I Rock



Yay ME!  One of my favorite blogging gal, Kristen from This Radiant Life nominated me for a Liebster!

Now I'm running super super short on time this morning, so I'm going be be a total buzz-kill for the Liebster goodness and not go through and add my own questions and such.  BUUUUT... that being said, I'd love to see the Liebster love float around- so if you're reading this and would like to do it yourself, consider yourself nominated- and answer the questions Kristen asked! 

I was nominated once before and spent what seemed like an eternity going through, nominating, informing, etc etc I just can't squeeze it in today :(

But thanks, Kristen!  I love this :) 

Five Random Facts About Me:

1)  I can say the alphabet backwards, probably more quickly than I can in the right direction.  

2)  My feet are ALWAYS cold.  100% of the time, even in the summer.  

Except, of course, when I'm drunk.  Then my red high heels come out.

3)  I've gone skydiving, and it was one of the most amazing things ever!  Except for the fact that on the way up in the plane the man I was jumping out with farted... let me tell you, I was ready to get out of that plane!

4)  I spend way too much of my free time online looking at financial planning websites.  But someday when I have every bill paid off and money wasting away in savings I'll be oh-so-glad I do!

5)  Philippa Gregory is, hands down, my favorite author.  

Now for the questions from Kristen:

1) What was your motivation for starting a blog?

When I was online one day I remembered a blog I had started for a semester-long English class in college.  This was a loooong time ago, but it's still up and running and it was so much fun to go back and read about everything I was going through!  I thought it'd be fun to get back to doing that :)  

2) What is your favorite song by Queen?

Cliche, I know, but it's gotta be Bohemian Rhapsody.  My friend Becca and I found ourselves in a little college bar in Tubingen, Germany while we were studying in France, and we got a little tipsy.  The song came on, and we SCREAMED it in its entirety in this bar.  It is still one of my favorite memories ever, and whenever it comes on I can't help but smile :) 



3) What is the best brand of lip balm?

I have to be honest here- I have no idea.  I never wear the stuff!  Like ever.  I'm basically a "I put on mascara in the morning and never bother with anything else" type of girl, so I have no profound wisdom on this!

4) If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what would you pick?

If I had to wear the one color for my entire outfit, I'd probably go with black?  Not because I'm emotionally distant and need to listen to death rock every day, but because it's classic, slimming and generally will match alright.  But if it's that I only get one accent color, I'd probably go with a maroon-y type of shade.  I just think it works for me :) 



5) Jillian Michaels: Yes or No?

Yes, yes yes a million times yes.  I love Jillian Michaels.  Though if she were ever going to be my personal trainer I'd probably cry.  And she'd yell at me.  So I'd cry some more.  But after several months of that circle (including her walking away, throwing her hands in the air, and me pretending to pass out) I'd probably leave the gym with a killer body. 

So yes!
Thank you, Kristen for nominating me, and I'm sorry to be a lame-o and not do the whole thing.



3.14.2013

RIP, Google Reader

Well the big news around the blogging world is the untimely demise of Google Reader.

I've made the switch over to bloglovin', and if you're currently using Google Reader, I'd love to have you stay on as a Local Postcards reader!

Here's the handy-dandy link :)



Looking Forward to Boredom

There's a very good chance I'm lame.

And by very good, I mean 100% chance, maybe bordering on 110%.

Why?

I. Am. PUMPED. for tonight.

I have no plans, nothing that absolutely must get done, nowhere to go. And I absolutely love it!

I feel like for the past week or so I've been busy, busy, busy and I'm beyond ready for an entire evening where I can just do whatever the hell I want.

My big, exciting plans for this pm?

1) hang out with Jake before he goes to work
2) workout
3) eat
4) figure out this whole Bloglovin' business

Beyond that?  I have NO idea and I can't wait :)

Does that make me lame?!

3.13.2013

Goal of 70 - Oops!

On my second week of tracking my "goal of 70" I thought I should get an award for sticking to it for two weeks in a row... and I even managed to squeeze in a post on week #3 as well!

...now it's been 2 1/2 weeks since that post.

Oops.

But better late than never, right?


In the meantime I've kept up with the Insanity and I've joined a 12-week challenge group with other people who are doing various Beachbody workouts (Insanity, P90X, Chalean Extreme...)

For this we've made meals plans, set goals, printed and posted "inspiration" pictures and have talked a lot about what we want for our lives.  We're only a little bit into the twelve weeks, but I'm already so glad to have made the leap and share my journey with these other women.  It's been great!

I've been less tired, less emotional, more qctive and just all around in a better mood as of late- all of this makes me so happy!!

As I shared yesterday, I had a bit of a bender on Saturday night- and that's going to be the end of that for the next 12 weeks.  Really, it's only 3 months!  I'm going to focus on not cheating myself out of what I really want long-term for my short-term "wants". 

I'm down 15-16 pounds so far, and am so excited to see where this continues to take me!




3.12.2013

Weekend Catch Up

Here I am on Tuesday- as far as the blog-land knows, I didn't exist yesterday.

Truth be told, I might have still been hungover from Saturday night. 

Honestly. 

I had a great weekend, though, so I suppose it was worth it!

Friday I hung out at my house (Jake was working nights so I had the whole thing to myself!)  I miss having him around when he's not there, but at the same time it's kind of nice to control the remote for a night :)  I worked out, went to the grocery store, paid some bills and then watched Taken 2 and the first half of Ruby Sparks.

I LOVED the first Taken movie, and this was just as good!  Two thumbs up from me!  Ruby Sparks was also really good, though they're definitely very different.  If you're in the mood for a movie night, either of these would be great choices!

Saturday I went up to my hometown area for my nephew's birthday and to see a bunch of family- and then stayed up until 630 in the morning.  Crazy, I know. 

Daylight savings helped this happen.  As did wine.  And skinny girl margaritas.  And vodka.  And tequila. 

Liquor cabinet: 0.  Ashley & Friends: 27.

Sunday saw me taking a nap at my parent's house to kill my hangover as my mom made lasagna for me for Monday night.  Basically she's the greatest.  She actually made two pans of lasagna- we had one last night and have one in the freezer!

I'm hoping that tonight I can catch up on some sleep that I've been missing... wish me luck!




3.06.2013

Blog Love

Today I'm joining up with Erin- and I'm sure a million other people because everyone loves Living In Yellow- for her Blogger Crush Link-Up.  Because isn't there always more room for love in the world?  I'm pretty sure there is :)


I'll start with Helene from Helene in Between

Helene in Between

There are a ton of reasons why I love visiting her- but perhaps the number one reason?  She unknowingly taught me the ONLY way I've found so far to keep my hair up while working out.  Seriously.
How?

Yeah, so my stomach doesn't look like hers, but when I'm sweating my ass off my hair stays up!  So thank you, Helene :)

Another reason to love her?  She combined Travel and Blogging into her new link-up, Travel Tuesdays.  Just might be my new favorite thing.  (okay, let's not kid ourselves here, it is my new favorite thing!)

Another one of my favorite blogs to check out is Eat Yourself Skinny.


This should be pretty self explanatory.  She shares her recipes so that we can actually feel like we're eating a full meal without just piling a plate full of junky food that sticks right to the hips!

Plus, she takes pictures that are just out of this world.  Jealous, party of one right here.

Some of my favorites are:


And there are seriously two hundred more that are on my list to try- it's insane how good everything looks! (though believe me when I say that when I try they are definitely not as pretty as she makes them!)

And of course, there's Erin.  But who doesn't love her?


Even mac n' cheese loves her- and I'm 100% sure it's a mutual love.  In the same post where she posted that picture she put another one.  But I would never tell you to go look at it. 
Ever. 
Regardless of whether you chose to search on her blog for it (because I'd never tell you to go there, for fear that she might hate me), I sure we can all agree that her blog is real, honest, funny and inspiring all at the same times. 
I can't wait to see what blogs other people love!








The Leftovers

Does anyone else have a severe case of wanderlust after Helene's link-up yesterday?
I definitely do!  Now if only my bank account felt the same way as I do- or the "money falling out of the sky" gods, perhaps.  Probably never gonna happen, but my mama always taught me to be positive!
I guess I'll escape to the land of literature instead... though it's not nearly as exciting as a trip to anywhere!
Today I'm putting the spotlight on the latest book I read- and I absolutely loved it!  It's the book for my book club that comes up in a couple weeks, and I'm so glad we ended up choosing it!  We have a really high-class version of book club. 
Basically, one of us will go to Barnes & Noble and check out their discount book section.  If we find a book that looks interesting and has enough copies, we buy six of them and tada! we have our next book :)  We don't always find the greatest books ever by doing this, but often they're really good and they're definitely not something we'd normally read!
In The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, we enter into a society where previously a large portion of the population has mysteriously disappeared.  No explanation, to reason, no hope that they'll ever be back.  They simply vanished into thin air, and we're never left watching their loved ones and acquaintences grapple with coming to terms with their disappearance. 
There are people who lost their entire families, and some who didn't lose anyone in their immediate circle, but everyone is affected.  It's interesting to experience this type of phenomena through the eyes of these characters, because they all react so differently.  Some join cults, others try to pretend as if nothing is wrong, and some just say screw it and live as if no one has a tomorrow. 
I thought this book was absolutely worth the $5.98 we spent on it and I would've happily paid full price for it as well!  The characters were believable, and the premise was interesting.  It was fun to see how people would react, but a lot of the times it was absolutely heart-breaking as well. 
I gave it four out of five stars and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new book!
There's even the bargain priced sticker on there!
This is officially my first book of the 150 for my 101 in 1001!  Good way to start!
What have you been reading lately?



3.05.2013

Harry Potter has come to Florida!

Today I'm linking up with Helene from Helene in Between for Travel Tuesday!  I'm pretty much sure I know how I'll be spending my night tonight- reading about everyone's travel!
 
Helene in Between
 
 
 
For my first post I went to my most recent plane flight- Florida!
 
I went about a year ago with my mom, grandmother and cousin Stephanie.  We spent two days at Disney and one at Universal (though really we only went so we could go to Harry Potter Universe!)
 
It was such a blessing to have time with them before the wedding planning got stressful, and it was nice to get out of the darn Minnesota winter!  (Last night we got over 6 inches here- horrible!)
 
So although I could show pictures from all over the parks, I'm going to stick with just one- HARRY POTTER!!!
 
Us doing what we do best- finding any excuse to drink!

Just after entering the park!


In the Herbology class- note the strange looking woman behind them.  Muggle?  I doubt it.
 
Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom- Harry, Ron & Hermione would show up in the balcony :)

Butter Beer! 

A full keg of butter beer!

Oh, you know- just hanging out in Hogsmeade. 


Have you ever been to Harry Potter Universe?

Link up with Helene and share your travel stories!