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I always find myself starting a new blog post with “It’s been way too long” which probably goes to show just how often I get on here.  I really should get better about posting a bit more frequently and sticking to it.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve definitely made a change of lifestyle over the past few months.  The above photos are two before photos, and the center would be me currently - it was truly mind blowing to see how far I’ve come.  I wish I had taken some full length before photos, but quite honestly, I don’t think I ever really thought my dieting and exercising was going to get anywhere.  I’ve had so many failed attempts at losing weight, that I thought this was just going to be another addition to the list.  However, I’m glad to say I’m just about ONE pound away from hitting my initial goal weight.  So far I’ve lost a good 27 pounds, but I’m thinking I should just go ahead and round it out to a full 30.  Let’s see just how committed I am! :P Totally kidding - looking at these photos have definitely added to my motivation and I’m determined to get there.

So I guess the question is “How did you do it?” right?  It’s really simple.  I knew from the get go that I wanted to do it the right way, no matter how long it took.  I knew that the pay off would be worth it, and that I didn’t gain all my weight overnight, so I can’t necessarily expect to lose it all overnight.  Therefore, the past few months have included a lot of early mornings at the gym, a food diary keeping track of EVERYTHING I ate, and how many calories I’ve consumed and burned each day. 

A typical day would start at 4:45 in the morning.  This is usually when my alarm goes off and I try to drag myself out of bed.  Getting used to waking up this early was a HUUGEEE challenge.  I would start off giving myself excuses.  “It’s too early.  I need more sleep.  Sleep is important. blah. blah. blah.” Finally, I realized, what I had to do was get my fat butt out of bed before I even allowed myself to give excuses.  It got easier as the days went by.  By 5:00am, I was on the road to the gym and on the treadmill by 5:15am.  All I’ve been doing so far, is 30 minutes on the treadmill which, on average, would burn at least 400 calories.  Now that I’ve dropped a few pounds, I’m thinking about changing it up and doing things that focus more on my stomach and arms. Anyway, I’d be out of there by 6:00am, and in the shower getting ready for work by 6:30am.

Being that I work in a cubicle in front of a computer all day, not much more than sitting and clicking the mouse goes on for the next 8 or 9 hours.  With that said, snacks are a must right?! Yes! During all this, I’ve noticed that eating smaller portions more often throughout the day really helps.  I hardly ever ate breakfast my whole life, but now I insist on having something.  Whether it be oatmeal, Greek yogurt, or some kind of fruit, I’m munching on something to get metabolism going.  After that, I’d snack on something every couple hours.  I get bored easily, and enjoy trying new foods (probably how I got so big in the first place! ha!), so I’ve gone through a lot of different healthier snacks.  I went from almonds, to soy nuts, to oat clusters, etc etc etc.  I try to find things that are high in protein and low in calories and sugar (lunch and dinner is no different).  However, my current obsession are PopChips! >.< I’ve always been a fan of BBQ potato chips.

I think what also helps are my current subscriptions to EatingWell Magazine, Fitness Magazine, and my Everday Food: Light Recipe Book - all of which feature a bunch of easy, low calorie recipes!  I’d love to share a few of the meals that I’ve actually tried - but I’m pretty sure this post is getting a lil long, so that will have to wait until my next blog post.  Hopefully by then I’ll be able to share that I’ve made a bit more progress! Until next time!

Photographs taken by my awesome boyfriend: Lauder Corea

Wow! It’s been way too long since I’ve blogged.  A lot of things have been going on with work and my trying to better myself - a transformation from a huge couch potato to going to the gym daily & eating better. Perhaps I’ll blog about that more in detail soon :)

This post, on the other hand, is pretty much dedicated to someone who is really a huge part of my life - thee boyfriend.

Like I said - work has been busy.  Long hours are spent in the offices and some sacrifices are having to be made.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going to work, being busy/productive, since it really makes the time to go by that much quicker - not to mention add a sense of importance to my position!  I guess the downside in this situation is that I hardly get to see the one person who never fails at making my day.

In between work, the gym, and spending what little time we do have with each other - I haven’t really been able to design for fun.  I’ve struggled with the above design for the past week - sadly.  Anyway, I’m pretty sure its obvious what the inspiration was for this:  “Everlasting Light” by the Black Keys.

My iPod has really become my best friend over the past few weeks and every time this song would play from the shuffle, I couldn’t help but think of Lauder :). He’s really been  such a huge motivator, supporter, and resource in everything I have recently been wanting to do.  Even with everything he has on his plate, he manages to always find ways to make sure I’m taken care of and happy. For that, I am eternally grateful.

He is definitely the light of my life who has never left my side since the moment I met him.  And when times are tough, busy, and we can’t seem to be together as often as we’d like - I know that after a long days of work, calling him to simply talk about our day, can really brighten up mine. <3

A few months back, I was paying for my groceries at Fresh & Easy when I noticed they had a table card on top of the register.  Naturally, the two words that caught my eye were “Design” and “Contest”.  Because I was in a rush to get home, I didn’t have much time to look into it, but told myself I would the moment I had a minute to sit down.  I went to their website and read the FAQ’s of this contest.  It sounded like a fun project, especially considering it had been a while since I had worked on anything outside of work.  Also, the grand prize of $5,000 in groceries didn’t sound half bad ;).

So I started to think about how I would go about it. I had quite a few ideas, some that were outside of my element, and some that were fairly simple and more in my comfort zone.  At the end of the day, I felt this wasn’t quite the right project to try something new.  My goal here, was to take all of what Fresh & Easy stood for and interpret that into one image that also represented who I am as a designer.

Unfortunately, at the end of the design, I can honestly say I wasn’t too thrilled about it.  I knew there was plenty of room for improvement.. but the deadline was creeping up and I figured I had nothing to lose so I went with it.  Days, weeks, went by and I’m sitting in a meeting at work when my phone rings.  I don’t recognize the number, so it goes straight to voice-mail.  The minute I got out, I listened to it, and it was a representative from Fresh & Easy saying I am a potential Finalist.  I freaked out and told my boyfriend & family right away.

Before I knew it, I was officially a Finalist, the contest and my design were broadcasted on 8 News Now (view here), and I had an interview with Brian Nordli from the Las Vegas Sun (view here).  It has been such an awesome and unexpected experience so far and I can’t wait to see what talented artist wins the grand prize on August 14th!

Today is the last day to vote for your favorite design.  If you haven’t voted yet, you can sign up as a Fresh & Easy Friend here.  Once you are a member, log in, click on the ‘Friends’ tab in lime green, and at the bottom should be a box linking you to the voting page.

For those of you who have voted for me this past month, thank you so much!  Words can’t explain how appreciative I am for all of the support! <3

This past weekend I’ve had the pleasure of visiting beautiful San Diego, California.  It was definitely one of those trips that I wish could’ve lasted longer than it had.  San Diego has so much to offer, and I’m sure all we did was just the tip of the iceberg.

When we first got to San Diego, we met up with a good friend at the Yard House which was then followed by a trip to Coronado Island.  I’ve heard so many positive things about their beach and I can see why. This beach was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and it was just overall a good place to just relax!  I haven’t been to a beach in quite some time and it was definitely needed.

Afterwards, we headed out to our room at The Westin Hotel.  With a friendly staff, breathtaking view, and bed sheets I so wish I could’ve taken home, this hotel was totally worth the extra bucks.  I wouldn’t hesitate on booking another room with them again.

Later that night, we did a bit of research on where we wanted to go for dinner.  I found this place, The Gaslamp Strip Club - A Steak Place, that sounded perfect.  We got there and decided to sit outdoors, which was actually kind of nice.  You can’t really sit outdoors for dinner in Vegas, in the middle of summer, if you actually want to enjoy your meal. Anyway, we were able to pick out a couple of steaks, which we then took to a community grill, and grilled/seasoned it to our liking.  Also, each steak came with grill-ready garlic bread and a salad.  Although, we still ordered their 3 cheese mac & cheese and garlic & herb fries as our sides (fatty status).  Everything was delightful! If you’re ever in the area, and you want a decent steak without the stuffy shirt & tie maddness, you have to check this place out.  The food was great, our waitress was pleasant, and it was just an overall fun dining experience. 

Dinner was then followed by some stand-up comedy at The American Comedy Company where we saw Jacob Sirof and Freddy Lockheart.  It was my first time ever really seeing stand up comedy, so this was great.  Freddy Lockheart was definitely a favorite of ours.  Hilarious!

We didn’t really do much the next day.  We were able to grab brunch at The Grand Central Cafe and walk around the area to take photos before heading back to Vegas. 

Overall, the San Diego trip was great - definitely no complaints, other than wishing I could stay longer.  I hope to find myself back there soon to check out even more!

Not too long ago, my boyfriend and I had a pretty serious conversation about the future and what it could possibly hold.  Naturally, me being a typical woman, freaked out about the “what if’s”.  However, once I got my sanity back, the words “I shouldn’t worry about the future and lose track of today” came out of my mouth.  Thus, the inspiration for this design.  I found myself thinking so much about the future and what could or could not happen - thoughts that made me sad, made me happy, and made me worry all at the same time.  It was ridiculous.  I finally realized that half the issues I was worried about were all hypothetical and, for a second, made me forget what was good about today and now.

Can’t wait to start trying out some of these recipes!

Wednesday was my 23rd birthday, and I was able to spend some much needed quality time with my amazing boyfriend.  It was a fairly simple and laid back day of relaxing, feasting, and napping.  And yes, I loved every single minute of it >.<!

Anyway, it seems to be a tradition of his to design & surprise me with a birthday card.  I am so lucky!  Last year he made me a huge 22”x28” birthday card/poster (view it here). This year he had flowers delivered to my work, with a card linking me to that took me to the above image. <3

Another one of our lil traditions is to give each other gifts way before the actual occasion.  Meaning, even though his birthday is in August, he has already received, and is currently using, the new computer speakers I bought him.  So naturally, a few weeks ago, for my birthday, he bought me my Apple TV and a Mobee Magic Mouse Charger which I absolutely love!

My Quirky Space Bar Organizer came in the mail yesterday, and I have to say.. I’m pretty impressed.  I needed something that would give me more space and help conceal some of the cable madness that happens behind every computer setup.  I absolutely love how the aluminum matches all of my other Apple equipment and the additional USB ports aren’t bad either.

If you’re looking to get one yourself, you can easily purchase one here for $80.

Because of this recent purchase, I am now selling my Twelve South BookArc for the Macbook Pro (pictured above) for $25 or best offer.  Email me if you’re interested:  :)

For the longest time I’ve been wanting to start some sort of blog to post this, that & everything else. However, every time I start one, I find myself not updating it as often as I had hoped to.  BUT!!! I’m determined with this one, so we’ll see how this one goes! Fingers crossed!