Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Move - Orlando to Charlotte!

Should we just skip the whole 'hey Jenn, you haven't posted anything in seven months' elephant in the room and just move on? Perfect. :)

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you probably already know that our little family has made a very big MOVE! It may have come as a shock to some people, and not to a lot, but I figured I would come here and explain our why a little bit more and give a little update on how things are going! This isn't going to be a super long post, BUT I do have BIG intentions of bringing the blog back and posting a couple times a week. Come back soon to see it go through a total face-lift!

Backtracking a bit; ever since Billy and I met and started dating, we were pretty clear on a couple of things, and one of them was that we wouldn't live in Florida forever. He is from Virginia, which is where his family lives and I just never had any intention of staying put in the sunshine state. North Carolina was always on the top of our list as 'some day' plans.
Fast forward a lot of years (ELEVEN on Thursday, holy cow!), my parents were moving! To North Carolina! When they told us, I think I gave Billy a look and we both knew pretty much instantly that we were going to be right behind them.

The more we thought about it, the trickier things started to get. We just built a house and hadn't even lived in it for a year, we were worried about losing money on it. We had jobs to consider and most importantly our family and friends that we would be leaving behind.

We spoke to a realtor and quickly realized that selling our house wasn't going to be an issue, at all. So we put it up for sale and it was sold 4 days later (sounds quick and painless, but it wasn't - dogs, a kid on spring break, a husband traveling for work and not home to help - they were 4 very long days). Billy's company has been so, SO accommodating, when they didn't need to be and offered to transfer him to one of their Charlotte locations, which we are incredibly grateful for. I work from home (I had SO many questions about this so I am going to dedicate a whole post to it soon) so, my location isn't really an issue.

Leaving our friends and family was definitely the hardest part of our decision, but FaceTime and cheap flights to FL are a beautiful thing ;)

Abigail and I made the drive up a little over a week ago and Billy has been in Atlantic City to train for work for a couple of weeks now. We will meet back up in Florida this weekend to close on our house, rent a Uhaul, drive it, our second car and two dogs up north and then Billy flies back out a day later to NJ for another 4 weeks of training. To say we are very much looking forward to being in the same state together, would be a big understatement. He has been traveling for work since January and I think I've only seen him like 3 weeks of this entire year.

As for how things are going so far here in Charlotte, they are good! We are staying with my parents until we find a property we fall in love with (and when Billy actually lives here), but aside from them, we don't know anyone here. Having to use Maps to get to Target or a gas station, finding Abigail a school, pediatrician, summer camps... is a bit overwhelming, but we are making it all work!

So the moral of the story kids -- if you get an opportunity to do something that seems scary, a little crazy and a lot exciting -- DO IT! Life is short.. Here for a good time, not a long time, right?! ;)

Some of my favorite photos from our short time at the house:

My all time favorite photo that I will print an frame at some point :) 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Eating, Running & Getting Tattooed - LDW in Savannah!

Abigail & I tagged along on a trip to Savannah with my family and cousins family for Labor Day Weekend. It was so much fun to just relax, walk the city and pack our days with whatever we felt like! 
We arrived late Friday night and even though it was 2 hour past Abigail's bed time, we found ourselves in a candy store, waiting for a table at Vinnie Van Go Go's for pizza. After we were done, we bee lined it back to the Oglethorpe Lodge, where we were staying to get some sleep. 
If you are going to Savannah, I can not recommend the lodge enough. It was such a perfect little house for 3 days, a quick walk to River St. and central to everything. The owner was so, so nice (as you'll see below) and the accommodations were excellent.  

We woke up the next day nice and early. I took to the river to get a quick 3.5 mile run in before we got on with the day's activities. We all went and bought tickets to ride the trolley around the city for the afternoon, found ourselves at a restaurant that would accommodate our group of 9, back on the trolley, more walking and then finally back to the lodge to rest before dinner. We ended up settling on a Japanese restaurant that was super yummy for dinner that night. My dad was nice enough to take Abigail back to the lodge to get a bath and down for the night, since she was falling asleep at dinner. The rest of us went to the City Market for a bit of shopping and some drinks before settling in with some catchphrase before bed. 

Whoops! I almost forgot about the most exciting part of Saturday! After we got off the trolley, we were walking through the City Market and saw a tattoo shop open. We popped in and asked if they had any available time to do something small for me. I have been wanting to get a tattoo on my ribs for a while now and haven't. Turns out, the guy only had one hour available between appointments to fit me in (don't worry, I researched, read reviews, asked questions and got an overall good vibe from the place). The tattoo took all of about 10 minutes and I LOVE the way it turned out! 
(Abigail's birthday in roman numerals)

The next day, Sunday was another early one. I woke up and went for another 3 mile run around the river and then got ready for the day. We walked around River Street to do a littler shopping and then ended up making a last minute plan to go on a walking tour, hosted by the wonderful man who runs the Oglethorpe Lodge. He took us to each square around Savannah, explaining the history and a couple of ghost stories. 
This is the moment Abigail declared she was 'having a rough day' and didn't want any more pictures taken. Love her to pieces! She was a trooper on this trip - lots of walking, little sleeping. 

Later that night, we had reservations to take the Savannah Slow Ride out (the 16 person bike that takes you to different bars). We didn't have the best experience, which had nothing to do with the actual company/driver and more to do with who we were paired with, so I'll spare the details. After our two hour ride (that our group of 6 got a SERIOUS workout on), I turned in, back to the lodge to put Abigail to bed (she stayed back with my cousin....second cousin.. I don't know - Lexi, what are you to me?? LOL) and ordered some TOGO fish tacos from the restaurant next door. I put on PJ's and watched SVU until everyone else got home later that night. 

After another run, this time around Forsyth Park, we packed up and made the 4 hour drive home - which I thankfully slept through most of. 

We were so happy to come home and see Billy, who had to stay back because of work; and even though we thought we would be leaving for a cruise on Saturday (it's officially been cancelled), we are thankful to be staying put and safe and with Abigail while this hurricane decides where it's going to hit. 

Hope everyone stays safe and dry over the next couple of days! 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Thirty Pound Weight Loss - Q & A

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I recently posted about my thirty pound weight loss. Almost immediately after posting my 'before & after' photos, I got a bunch of questions from people who wanted to know 'how'. I figured this would be the easiest way to get it all out there.

Left: April 2017 - Right: September 2017

First let me say, I've tried for a very long time to get myself motivated to lose my extra weight. I was heavier than I would have liked before I got pregnant with Abigail and never lost the baby weight after I had her. So, it's been a struggle for a while.

Shortly after our miscarriage I got really sick... a really bad sinus infection/upper respiratory situation. I went to urgent care and they prescribed me a steroid and after taking it for a day and a half, I almost wound up back in the hospital. The steroid destroyed my body in every way. I ended up making an appointment with my PCP and had a bunch of tests done that all came back normal. I also mentioned how bad my headaches were getting again (I've always suffered with them) and she mentioned visiting my eye doctor, which I did the very next day. From there, I got an MRI of my brain done to rule out anything serious. It thankfully came back clear, but I was still so confused why I felt so bad still. It wasn't until I walked past the mirror on some random day and thought to myself 'you've seriously let yourself go. Maybe this is why you don't feel good'. A few minutes later I was signed up for a weight loss website and determined to get myself feeling better. I didn't wait for a Monday or a new week, I didn't have 'one last good meal' and I didn't use shakes, wraps or patches to do it - just every bit of determination I could muster up in me.

The first 3 months I used the weight watchers app on my phone. I tracked my points and worked out 3 or 4 times a week on the treadmill for about an hour each day. I had a dedicated weigh in day on Thursdays that I stuck to as well. After those 3 months, I switched to counting macros because I felt like I hit a plateau and carbs were the reason for it. ---> I explain how macros work a little more, below. To count the macros, I started using MyFitnessPal on my phone, paying for the upgrade of $10/month. That is what I am still using today and I love it. 

If you've never used it before, here's a very simple breakdown. When you sign up, you go through a series of questions which determines how many daily points that you are allowed to have. On top of that, you are given a certain amount of weekly points to use throughout the week, as you wish. So if you went over your daily points, it would pull from your weekly. Or if you wanted to have a big cheat meal, you could use all of your weekly points for that. Make sense? This helped me lose the first big chunk of weight (pun, VERY much intended), before I felt like I hit a plateau. 

I'm sure you've heard of macro counting, as it's become quite popular however, it's important for me to stress, this isn't some sort of 'fad' diet. You don't cut anything out, you get to eat carbs and dairy and wheat and french fries! That was so important to me while on this journey. I did a lot of research on how many macros I should be eating each day and it was super confusing. So, I decided to go into the MFP app and set a caloric daily goal and from there, it sets your macros for you. You can adjust if you would prefer it to be more carb centered, protein centered or fat centered and it calculates everything automatically for you. So the gist of it is, you track everything you eat (weighing food is a must!) and you try your best to meet your carb, fat and protein goals for the day, while also staying within your caloric goal as well. Sounds a bit much, I know, but it's very easy. The first full week I switched to macro counting, I lost 3.5 pounds! I was definitely eating too many carbs and not enough protein (I already keep a pretty low fat diet). 

Once a week I indulge in a meal (just a meal, not a day) where I don't track. I usually save it for a date night or family dinner to really make it count. These meals are so important to keep me sane! 

The first week or two were difficult. I felt like I was always hungry and it was irritating. But after week two, when I was down 5 pounds and could feel a difference in my clothes and my double chin started to go away, it made it SO much easier to stick with it. I also took A TON of pictures, which I recommend. 

Some other things to note based on some of the questions I received: 

- This might not sit well with most people however, I pretty much cut alcohol out of my life. I've only had one drink in the past 5 months. But before you start getting the shakes, listen.... my headaches were so bad and only got worse when I drank. Drinking = food, to me as well. I couldn't fully commit while still indulging in drinking and munching and wanting cheeseburgers at 1am. And it seriously wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. I've been on vacations, to concerts, BBQ's, parties and was able to stay within my points/macros the entire time and the best part for me was waking up the next day not hungover or feeling guilty (or placing an UberEats order for greasy food!). 

- If you aren't ready to really stick with it and devote a lot of time, energy and WILLPOWER to losing weight, it's not going to happen. And I say that with SO MUCH experience. Like I said, it took me 4 years to lose the baby weight from Abigail. I hit rock bottom and just knew I was done feeling like crap all the time. I truly think until you hit that point (or your equivalent to that point), you won't have the willpower to stick with it. I know I didn't. 

- Working out helped me stay super motivated. I'm lucky enough to have a treadmill in my home office where I work, with a TV, so it was very easy for me to put on a show and do an hour run/walk during my lunch breaks. I also usually always work it in on the weekends during Abigail's nap time (because Billy is usually working on the weekends). For me, I would never want to blow my day of eating after working up a good sweat. 

- Comparing pictures was super helpful to see my progress. Some weeks the scale didn't change, but I would take pictures of myself and compare them to weeks prior to see what a difference I had made. 

Billy and I are supposed to be heading off on Saturday to get on a cruise boat to sail to Cuba. Now that Hurricane Irma is threatening that, we don't really know what the next few days have in store for us. The cruise line hasn't cancelled our cruise but we are also preparing our house for a hurricane. It's very strange. BUT, my plan all along was to go on the cruise, have a GREAT time without tracking and come back and start a macro program with a trainer. Someone who sets your personal macro goals and gives you workouts to get you optimal results. That is still my plan, because I still have about 7 pounds to lose and a lot of toning up to do. If we don't end up on the cruise, I will be signing up for a program within the next couple of days, preparing for our make up cruise! :) 

Ok - I think that covers most of it. 
If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to leave a comment or DM me. 
I'd be happy to answer anything! 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A long overdue 'hello'.

Hi friends, it's been a while!
I never intended to stop blogging, but life got to be a bit much and I just needed a break. I honestly couldn't even remember the last thing that I wrote about, so I just went back to look and holy moly it's been almost FOUR MONTHS!

So much has been going on that I feel overwhelmed just thinking about it! But probably the most exciting thing is that we finally moved into our house! We've been in for about three months now and love it so, so much! Having a 'tract' house built has been really fun for me and I've been super busy making each room feel more like 'us'. So far (with the help of my dad) I've redone our laundry room, half bathroom, Abigail's room and we are in the middle of renovating our backyard. We are building a large, open concept paver patio, which should fingers crossed, be done this weekend!

Is anyone interested in a house tour or some 'before and after' photos of the rooms I've redone? If so, I would love to share them! Let me know in the comments below!

Billy started a new job (yep, another one ;) )! He was offered a position that was too good to pass up so about a week after we closed on the house, he started training. I told ya, it's been a busy couple of months! I've also traveled for work, Abigail had her first dance recital & we both have turned a year older!

Coming up, Billy and I have an exciting couple of months -- July and August we have 3 concerts on the books and we booked a cruise (TODAY!) for September which is taking us to Key West and Cuba! It's our first real vacation by ourselves since before Abigail was born and to say we are pumped would be an understatement.

There's so much more to catch up on, but for now, I'll leave it at this and maybe come back this week and do a photo dump of the past couple weeks.

Until then, here are some pictures of our house so far. I took these weeks (if not months) ago, so things don't even look the same, but they'll do for now :)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sunday Chit-Chat & more house updates!

Ok, it's really Saturday night, but I sound less lame if it doesn't seem like I'm sitting at home on a Saturday night typing words on a blank screen, by myself (& a glass of wine and grey's episodes on repeat), right? 

Anyways, it's been a while, so I wanted to pop in and give a quick update. Things have been SO. BUSY. Let's start with, we finally have a closing date on the house!! March 22nd. If all goes smoothly, that won't change and we will be moving in the weekend of the 25th. Because our closing was pushed past the date that our apartment lease is up, we decided moving in with my parents during that time was a must. We also decided, kind of last minute on Thursday, that we couldn't stand to spend one more night in the apartment, so we packed up our stuff and moved out on Friday. We still have some furniture and odds and ends to move out, but we are hoping to be completely done with it by Wednesday. If you are local to me and looking for an apartment, reach out to me privately to find out which apartment to NOT move into. So glad that is over with... 

I've been super busy with work and packing and doing all the background paperwork on the house, I haven't really had time to focus on anything else. Billy pulled his back out three weeks ago and we can't really get it back to normal and he's also been putting in so many hours at work, all while trying to move us (twice). Times like these I am so, so thankful that I work from home full time, otherwise we literally wouldn't see each other. Usually around night 8 of putting Abigail to bed and eating dinner by myself, I have a full blown exhausted breakdown, so I'm taking full advantage of living with my parents for the next 3 weeks ;) 

I am six weeks post miscarriage and feeling much better! I still get sad and cry when I need to (especially when I check the mail and continue to get hospital bills... miscarriages, especially one like I had, are EXPENSIVE. And the fact that you have to shell out (A LOT of) money to pay for something so devastating is a punch in the gut every time you get a new bill). 

We went to visit the house today, which is in the finishing stages. Our complete walk-thru is next Wednesday (!!!), where we go through with the builder and make sure everything is exactly the way we picked it out, make sure everything is working properly and that there aren't any flubs anywhere. Our kitchen cabinets are in, our floors are in... it's so crazy to see everything we picked out so long ago, come together. It's also been a little stressful and we already have a list of things we want to change because they didn't turn out the way we wanted. Overall, though we are so in love with it! The only big thing we haven't seen yet is our kitchen back splash, which if you read my design meeting post, you know we went with a bold choice, so I'm a bit nervous/anxious to see how it turns out. Oh, and we also ordered (read also: spent a shit ton of money that we didn't want to spend) a new couch and refrigerator (the builder offered theirs, but we decided to pick one out ourselves because we wanted a specific kind). 

I feel like I'm babbling now and this post has been everywhere but Antarctica, and it's late and brunch is calling my name in the morning. I'm so excited to share photos of the inside of the house, once we are settled! 

Hope you are having the best weekend! XO.