Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Catching Up: Skiing, Fertility, & Awards

A series of epic storms swept across California last week. They flooded Long Beach and closed mountain roads.

So did we end up taking our ski trip to Tahoe? No.

We decided it was too risky to spend the time and money trying to get to Tahoe only to deal with closed airport, closed roads, and stormy skiing.

But did that keep us off the slopes? Nope!

The siren call of the snow-capped mountains east of LA called our names. So Sunday morning at 3:30 AM we loaded up our Toyota Solara with skis, snowboards, and chains and headed up to Big Bear.

It was a bit of a tense drive up, but in the end it was all worth it!

The sun was shining and the the powder was unreal!

Big Bear was the prettiest I've ever seen it!

The resort was pretty much empty (due to the closed and icy roads)

And we had an amazing time!
(Please excuse my lack of makeup, I just can't be one of "those girls" that gets all glammed up for skiing)

Switching topics...

A few people have asked me how I've been doing since my "Taking Charge of Your Fertility Post" (men, just skip this section).

Welp, I didn't get myself preggo yet. So that's good news!
I've been doing the charting, although I don't think I'm ovulaing yet due to the fact I was on birth control for a while (temperatures don't show a pattern at all yet). I love not being on birth control. I was worried about bad cramps or bad skin from going off it - but so far, so good!

And finally...

A few wonderful bloggers gave me awards! I'm really bad about responding to these or posting about them. I don't know why, but I am really honored to get them!

The Life of An Army Wife , Newlywed Giggles, and Angry Julie all gave me awards! Thanks ladies!

Two of these awards asked for seven random things that you didn't know about me. So here are my seven random things:

1. I love organizing. When I was kid, I’d organize my friends’ closets… for fun. The container store is pretty much my heaven on earth. I heart the show, “Clean House”.
2. I am a giant Microsoft Excel geek. I make fancy Excel work plans at work and for tasks at home (like furnishing our condo or planning our Wedding). My Wedding Planning excel document is legendary. If It can be managed via an excel doc, I’ll make one.
3. The Mr. and I are the world's worst painters. We painted two rooms of our condo and then had to pay someone to fix it. We learned an important lesson about home improvement... hire someone.
4. I love the snooze bar. I will hit the snooze bar 2-3 times a morning. This drives the Mr. crazy!
5. My favorite red wine is Cabernet Sauvignon (although Syrah has been moving up my rankings lately) and my favorite white wine is Sauvignon Blanc (although I love Viogner too)
6. I come from a long line of only-children. My Grandma is an only child, my Dad is an only child, and I am an only child. Sometimes I think I want to have an only child.
7. Your sweet comments about my wedding album and pictures make me so happy! Sometimes I get a serious case of wednvy (wedding envy) when I look at other blogs, but your comments help remind me what a wonderful and blessed wedding I had. Thank you!!!

Want to know more random stuff about me? Check out my 20 questions post!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We're getting our wedding album. Finally!

After one year and 5 months of marriage, we've finally ordered our wedding album!

At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to pay for an expensive, high-quality wedding album. I figured that I could make my own on blurb.com. But after doing some thinking and looking at professional wedding albums like the one that That Wife ordered, I knew that it would be something that I would treasure.

So I worked with my photographer and ordered a 40 page 12x12 album with approximately 130 images in in it. It covers getting ready for the wedding, the ceremony, the couple/family/friends pics, the reception, and our "Trash the Dress".

I just finalized the proofs and I am so excited! I love all of the layouts but I think my favorite are the panoramic two page spreads.

Here are a couple of previews....

{Click to enlarge -- Wedding Ceremony }

{Click to enlarge -- After the ceremony}

{Click to enlarge -- Wedding reception details}

{Click to enlarge -- Panoramic page, Trash the Dress}

Can't wait to show you more pictures of the album when I get it!

How about you other married gals out there? Did you do a professional wedding album? Make your own? Have not yet made or ordered one? If you posted about your wedding album on your blog, please link to that post in your comment. I'd love to see other people's wedding albums!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ski Bum

Long time readers may have noted that I love skiing more than almost anything in the world.

It may seem odd that a girl who grew up in San Diego would develop a passion for such a winter sport. But thanks to my amazing parents I fell in love with skiing at a young age and never looked back.

How passionate am I about skiing? I almost quit college to work at a ski resort when I was 19. The front license plate of my car has a frame that says "I'd rather be skiing". And I actually did work in the ski industry for a winter between college my real job.

My ski season is supposed to start this Friday in Lake Tahoe. I've got my gear all packed...

Ski Time!

But unfortunately a set of giant storms is barrelling down on California all week. Which could prevent our passage into Lake Tahoe on Thursday! NOOOOOO!

Don't get me wrong, I love that we're getting a ton of snow, I just don't want it to ruin my ski weekend!

Last year I only took two ski trips due mainly to lack of time and funds: One to Breckenridge, CO and one to Lake Tahoe, CA. (click the links to read about those trips).

(My Dad and I in Lake Tahoe, 2009)

But this year one of my New Years resolutions this year is to ski more. So the Mr. and I have a set of trips planned...
- January: Lake Tahoe
- February: Breckenridge
- March: Mammoth Lakes
- April: Back to Tahoe?

But if this weekend gets snowed out the whole schedule could shift. Boooo.

Does anyone else love to ski? Snowboard? (Don't worry, the Mr. snowboards so I have learned to love snowboarders.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Reading List

Rachel from In No Simple Language and Erin from Blue-Eyed Bride both recently did really fun posts about the books they read in 2009 and what they are reading in 2010.

I thought that I'd steal borrow their idea and do my own 2010 reading list:

January – The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
Wally Lamb is the author of one of my favorite books, I Know This Much Is True so I was excited to get this book. I'm 60 pages in, and really liking it.

February – Leading Change by John Kotter
I need to read this book for work.

March – The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth by Frances Wilson
The Mr. gave me this book for Christmas. Looks interesting.

April – What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
I loved Outliers and Tipping Point so I'm excited to read this.

May – Midwives by Chris Bohjalian and Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
I'll be in Europe so I think I'll be able to read two. I heard about Midwives from That Wife and Firefly Lane from Blue-Eyed Bride.

June – Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian and Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
Power of a Praying Wife is a short Christian book that Kelly from Kelly's Korner recommended so I thought that I could do two again this month.
I really liked Jennifer Weiner's other books, Little Earthquakes and Good in Bed.

July – Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Barbara Kingsolver is the author of another one of my favorite books, The Poisionwood Bible. I've had this book for a while and have been meaning to read it.

August – Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin
This is another work-related book.

September – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This book is a favorite of many and it was given to me as a gift.

October – Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
Another book that I've had and I've been meaning to read.

November – The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
This was recommended by Rachel from In No Simple Language.

December – Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall
Blue-Eyed Bride and several other bloggers have been talking about this book.

And if time permits (or next year...)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Do you think I can do it? I promise to bring you book reviews of all of these books, so you can keep me accountable.

I must admit that I wish I had read more in 2009. Between work, blogging, and other distractions I didn't read as much as wanted to. So I'm hoping that I can read more this year.

What I read in 2009:

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld - Highly recommended. See my review of it here.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell - Also highly recommended. I wrote a bit about it here.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld - I read this because I loved American Wife. It's OK but I didn't love it.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers - I know a lot of Christian women love this book. I thought it was pretty good, but not my favorite book.

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult - Jodi Picoult is like a Lifetime Movie (Like Rachel from In No Simple Language put it). She's entertaining and addicting, but her books are a bit repetitive and formulaic. I actually liked Plain Truth as summer beach reading book, but it's not great literature.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - I re-read this book in preparation for seeing the movie. I read it over six years ago when it first came out. It's a great book. But sadly I think the movie will pale in comparison.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman - This is a great relationship book and it helped me to understand a lot about how the Mr. and I relate to each other.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler - Great book. I talk about it here.

Speaking of books, I'm pretty excited that Southern Web Girl turned me on to Paper Back Swap. Have you guys seen this site? It's awesome! You can trade your old books for new ones for free! (just pay shipping for books you send out) It's already saved me SO much money. A bunch of my 2010 books are from there. Plus it's a great way to recycle old books! Check it out at http://www.paperbackswap.com/

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thank you to the top linkers!

I did a little "year 2009 blog analysis" via Google Analytics. In doing so, I figured out the top blogs/bloggers that linked to me.

These lovely ladies drove a ton of traffic to the Newlyweds Next Door and I’m so grateful for their friendship and support.

So in order to thank them I wanted to share the top 10 blog that linked to me in 2009 and little bit about why these blogs and bloggers are amazing.

And the #1 linker is….

Jimmy Choos and Tennis Shoes!
Tara is super cute, and sweet and is always having a great time. Plus she has more fabulous party dresses than a girl can imagine.

2. First Comes Love
Jen is total doll and makes the cutest crafts, like onesies and diaper cakes!

3. Chic Runner
I’m proud to say that Danica is my real life friend from Long Beach! She’s an amazing runner and person! Love ya!

4. Just Another Day In Paradise
D.A.R. and her hubby are SO cute. They have survived deployment and law school and are all the stronger.

5. Simple Yet Classic
Mrs. Classic is so adorable. She’s a total weight watchers success story and a dedicated Young Life leader, which is makes her pretty awesome!

6. Sweet Simplicity
Lindsey and Ty are HS school sweethearts and got married on their college campus which I think is so fun! Lindsey was a sorority president and we’ve had some fun conversations about sorority life. All and all, she’s a total sweetie.

7. In this Wonderful Life
Megan is pregnant with her sweet baby boy, Cohen. She had quite a struggle with infertility but in the end it was all worth it. She is a total inspiration!

8. Chapters
Amy is absolutely gorgeous and super fit. In fact she runs her own fitness center! And to top it off, she’s a total devoted woman of faith.

9. Writefully Yours
Shalay is another newlywed blogger from Southern California, so I can definitely relate to a lot of her posts. And of course, she is super funny and really pretty!

10. A Suburban Housewife in Training
A H.I.T. is also pregnant with her first baby is already brining hilarious stories of pregnancy. She is so fun and funny. I can’t wait to hear her tales of motherhood!

If you’re not reading these blogs, I suggest you start today!

I know that there are a lot more wonderful bloggers out there linking to The Newlyweds Next Door and I thank all of you as well!

I may not always be commenting on your blogs but believe me, between meetings, during lunch breaks, or while watching my favorite TV shows I'm reading. I'm so thankful for your blogs and your bloggy friendships!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Our Weight Loss Story

Before you all knew us as the Newlyweds Next Door, we weren't always the fittest couple.

We both were Varsity High School athletes. But once we went to college and lost our team workouts we definitely let the fitness slide. Add in a steady diet of beer and Del Taco and our weights shot up.

But even after college, the weight didn't melt away. In fact for me, I hit my heaviest weight in Summer 2007 (by that Summer the Mr. had already taken off a few pounds from his heaviest weight in 2006).

In Summer 2007 I decided that it was time to lose the weight for good and over the next year I lost 25 pounds!

Take a look at our befores and afters:

How did I do it?*

  1. Weight watchers. Religiously counting points and sticking to it. I've gone on and off it, but it always works for me if I don't cheat.
  2. Cutting out ALL artificial sugars. That means no yogurt with fake sugar, no diet sodas, not sweet & low in my coffee. If I want sugar I eat the real thing and count the points. To this day I don't eat fake sugar.
  3. Eating small dinners of mainly veggies and protein. I realized on weight watchers that by dinner I only had about five or six points left. Which meant that most dinners became pretty light, which is funny because usually dinner was the heaviest meal of the day. Not to say that I don't eat big dinners sometimes on weekends, I just try to limit myself during the week.
  4. Working out three or four times a week. This is an area where I could do better. But for me weight loss is more about food intake than workouts. The fact of the matter is I often don't have time to work out during the week with my work and travel schedule, so I just try to eat healthy.
  5. Drinking lots of water. I try to drink at least 60 ounces of water a day.

*Quick caveat... I know I'm still not the thinnest girl out there. I never have been. I've been 5 feet, 8 inches since I was 13 years old and I'm built from large Scandinavian stock. So growing up I felt "fat" a lot even thought I was just tall and broad. After losing the 25 college lbs I am now at what is considered a healthy weight for my height, and I finally feel happy with my size.

But the Mr's weight loss story is truly incredible. Over two years he lost 60 pounds! He doesn't even look like the same person!

How he did it:

  1. Joining a gym and working out four or five days a week
  2. Cutting out fast food
  3. Eating smaller dinners

No special secret sauce there, huh?

My health goals for 2010 are to continue to do weight watchers and eat more organic food. I know that I would be healthier if I ate more organic, but it's so much more expensive. Sometimes I just can't bring myself to spend the money on it even though I know I should, ya know?

Want to see more weight loss stories and ideas? Check out Kelly's Korner this week!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Memories of an "Ex"

A few weeks ago I was helping my Mom clean out some closets in my parents' house. While in one particular closet I may or may not have found a moderately-sized box that houses all of my my memories of my high school boyfriend (aka first love). Pictures, letters, movie ticket stubs, dried flowers, notes passed in class... you name it. We dated on and off for three years in high school and college, so I amassed a small collect of memories and boxed them up years ago.

I didn't go through the box and reminisce. But I didn't toss it out either. I simply shoved it back up into the closet to deal with at a later time.

So here is a question sure to divide readers...

Do I save these memories (at my parents house) that relate to my ex because they are cute, and funny, and were a large part of my former life?

Or do I throw them out because obviously I've been dating and have been happily married to the Mr. for over a combined six years years now, and I don't harbor feelings for a former flame?

Is holding on to memories of an ex disrespectful to my marriage? Or does it allow me to remember a part of my youth?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Life plans, Pete, mattresses and other random ramblings...

Happy Monday everyone!

This post is a bit all over the place because I didn't think that any one of these topics warranted a full post, but had some things on my mind...

First of all, I am devastated.

My hero (and major DILF), Pete Carroll, is leaving his head coaching job at USC. It's the end of an era. My era. As a Freshman I watched coach his first game at USC. And now the dynasty is over. You all know I love USC Football, so of course I will still be a fan. I just fear many years of "rebuilding" and will miss Pete terribly.

Second, I am officially old.

Why? Because I am SO excited about a big purchase we made this weekend. We bought a brand new Stearns and Foster mattress! It will be delivered on Wednesday and I can't wait. Shouldn't a 20-something gal be more excited about shoes or purses? Nope, I'm excited about a mattress.

Third, the Mr. and I mapped out a five year life plan last night on the white board in our conference room.

Conclusions we drew... Our condo is a giant albatross. Can't sell it, can't rent it. I'm mad that we thought buying was a good idea. Thinking about the economy makes me bitter in general. At any other time in the past 60 years this condo would have been a great investment. Post-graduate education is costly and time consuming. Is it even worth it? We'll never be able to afford kids. Seriously. And it all relates back to the stupid condo. Dang American dream. (sorry for the pitty party, but it's my blog and and I'll whine if I want to)

Fourth, here is random fact for you.

I am 5 ft. 8 inches tall. I had a reader tell me that she thought I was short because I always look so short in pictures with the Mr. Well, the Mr. is 6 ft. 5 inches tall. So he does make me look like a shrimp. Isn't that funny?

Fifth, I was thinking of getting a netbook for personal travel.

Do you think they are useful? Does anyone have one that they like?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Back to the Grind

After having almost two weeks off from work, it's back to the daily grind at Large Consulting Firm.

I fly to San Jose tomorrow at 6:15 AM with my laptop and roller bag in tow.

And I. Am. Dreading. It.

These two weeks off of work made me realize how much I enjoy NOT working. Ha! Too bad I really like being able to pay my mortgage and go shopping.

So if I'm a bit MIA this week it's because I'm buried in meetings, emails, and 12 hour days.

Just for fun, I wanted to recap on what I did over my corporate Christmas Break:

  • Celebrated Christmas with my family
  • Did some cleaning and home organizing (I heart organizing!)
  • Went shopping the day after Christmas and again the week after with my Mom and got some cute new work clothes, a dress for a friends wedding in April, and some discount Christmas decor!
  • Took down all of my Christmas decorations (my house looks so empty!)
  • Caught up on work and personal emails
  • Pondered over and recapped the entire "zeros" decade
  • Chose and submitted our wedding photos to my photographer for our wedding album (FINALLY!)
  • Had dinner with Danica from Chic Runner at The Yard House
  • Planned the dates and locations for our summer trip to Europe
  • Celebrated New Years Eve
  • Helped my Mom take down all of her Christmas decorations

(The only thing I didn't do much was work out or cook. But that is what New Years resolutions are for, right?!)

Overall, it was a fun and productive break. I'm so sad it is over. Sometimes I feel like January is such a let down, don't you?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the Newlyweds Next Door!

We are currently watching football and recovering from our big night on the town. Hope you are having a great 2010!
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