What I Am Doing

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Watching: Planes for the millionth time.

Reading: Allegiant by Veronica Roth. The third book in the Divergent series. Meh.

Listening: Hold On, We’re Going Home by Drake. It’s also Cameron’s favorite song right now.

Making: A custom Kiki for Hayley!

Planning: A weekend of cleaning house. Meh.

Loving: My awesome birthday gifts. A UP Band by Jawbone and THIS necklace.

Stay tuned for posts next week from MaryAnna, Amanda, Erin and maybe a few surprise bloggers!

35 Favorite Books

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It’s birthday week around here!  Yes, I am once again turning 29 for the 7th time.  I know, I am so lucky.

I have a couple posts planned for the next few days all about my past year, but today I wanted to list my fave books.  Because I am turning 29, there is 29 plus a bonus 6!  Lucky you!

They are really in no order except for what I see on my bookshelves and what I remember easily.  Also, these my top favorites.  The list could go on and on.  I think almost every book is my “favorite” because when I am reading a book, I get so engrossed in the story. Most of them are not the most scholarly choices, but I love what I love.

  1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  2. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  3. Anne of Green Gables (and the entire series) by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  4. Harry Potter (and the entire series) by J.K Rowling
  5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  6. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  7. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  8. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  9. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  11. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
  12. Open by Andre Agassi
  13. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  14. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  15. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
  16. Band of Brothers by Stephen E Ambrose
  17. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
  18. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
  19. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  20. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
  21. The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory
  22. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  23. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  24. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
  25. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  26. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover
  27. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  28. We Band of Angels by Elizabeth M Norman
  29. The Firm by John Grisham
  30. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  31. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
  32. Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon
  33. The Stand by Stephen King
  34. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  35. Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell

Did I miss your favorite?  Tell me what it is in the comments…

Rachel is Getting Married!

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I have been married for almost 8 years. This, however, does not change the fact that I love weddings and love. I am so interested in how couples are planning their weddings these days with so many ideas out there (yay Pinterest!).

Rachel is one of three brides I will be featuring on the blog! I have known Rachel since high school. She is a funny, happy, amazing girl. I WISH I could have had Rachel read this post out loud, because I can just see her telling the funny part of the story. It makes me laugh every time I think about it. I cannot wait to see this wedding planning unfold! Thank you for sharing Rachel.

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November 28, 2013 my boyfriend Cass and I got engaged! We had been dating a little over two years.

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This past year we have traveled A LOT. Especially towards the end of the year. Here was our travel schedule:
July 4 Spokane and Brewster WA for a week for the Fourth of July holiday.

August 15-19 Brewster ,WA for his Family’s Annual Pig Roast.

September 18-22 Sonoma, CA to visit friends in wine country.

September 26-29 St.Germain, WI for a wedding.

October 3-7 Spokane, WA for a wedding.

October 12-19 Oahu, HI for a family trip with my parents.

November 23-December 1 Maui, HI Thanksgiving with his parents.

Before each of those trips people would ask me before we left if I thought he was going to ask me on that trip. After each of those trips people would ask me if I had any news or come into my office to try to see if I had an engagement ring. I even had a co-worker friend me on Facebook while we were out of town because she wanted to see if we had gotten engaged.
Don’t get me wrong I know that everyone had our best interests in mind and were only hoping for some exciting news. I thought it was funny and sweet.
The week of Thanksgiving this year my boyfriend and I and his family went to Maui. Partly we went to see Gonzaga play basketball in the Maui Invitational Tournament. Mostly we went to just to go Maui.

We were having an awesome time in Maui enjoying the beaches and the ocean. Most of Cass’s mom’s side of the family was staying at the same hotel as we were. It was a fun family trip. Aside from Gonzaga not doing very well in the tournament.

The night before Thanksgiving Cass asked his dad if he could borrow the rental car so that he and I could drive up to see the sunrise at Haleakala ( A national park and dormant volcano). This was a little out of character for Cass because he is NOT a morning person and we were going to have to get up at 3 am to get to the park in time to see the sunrise. I didn’t really think anything was up though because I thought he just wanted to see the amazing view.

Thanksgiving morning we got up at 3 am and started getting ready to head out to Haleakala it wasn’t as bad as getting up at 3am in Colorado because there is a 4 hour time difference between Hawaii and Colorado, it still seemed pretty early.

Before we left our hotel Cass grabbed his winter coat. I thought we wouldn’t need it because it had been a steady 80 or 81 degrees all week. He said that we would be at 10,000 feet and it would probably be cold. I reluctantly brought my winter coat along.

We got to the summit of Haleakala at around 6 am, I was very glad I brought my coat. It was really cold out there were a bunch of other people there who had brought the comforters from their hotels because they didn’t bring winter coats to Maui.

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Cass brought his backpack with him from the car as we were walking to get a good spot to view the sunrise. I asked him what was in there and he said “stuff” I was secretly hoping that meant snacks.

We got a pretty good spot that overlooked the dormant volcano crater and the ocean and we waited just a little while and we got an amazing view. As I was taking pictures and taking in the view , here is the story that I tell people:

7 Menehune’s (sort of like a Hawaiian leprechauns) rose from the bottom of the dormant volcano crater they carried a beautiful diamond ring and brought it up to the edge where I was standing. Just as a rainbow started emerging from behind a cloud Cass got down on one knee and proposed. I said YES! The Menehune sang a beautiful Hawaiian marriage song and then retreated back into the volcano cater.

What actually happened was as we were admiring the sunrise Cass told me to close my eyes and hold out my hand. He does this a lot and he gives me things like a gum wrapper or a tissue so I was peeking and I saw that it was a ring! He then asked me to marry him and I said YES! There was a guy that sang a Hawaiian song, I don’t know if he worked there or was just singing because he liked to sing but it was pretty cool.

We then had some very nice strangers take our pictures. As it turns out a couple of them were Gonzaga basketball players. I thought that was a funny coincidence.

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We were both very happy and I was surprised. Cass busted me for peeking but it was ok.

On our drive back to our hotel I called my parents to tell them the news. They knew it was coming because Cass had called them earlier in the week to ask their permission.

When we got back to our hotel room Cass’s brother was there so we told him but his parents were out on a walk. Some good friends of ours were also staying at our hotel and they were up and on their balcony so we went and told them the news. They happened to have a sleeping baby at the time so we had to be excited very quietly.

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We then saw Cass’s parents and most of his family members in the courtyard of the hotel so we were able to head down there and share the news with his parents, grandparents and other family. Only a few people started asking us the date and the location for our wedding. We had made no decisions at that point we had only been engaged a few hours!

The rest of the morning was spent making to phone calls and texts to friends and family sharing our news. Then some much needed time by the pool and beach.

It was a perfect day!

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The Whole MaryAnna #2

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Well, would you look at that … I’m actually quite strong! Shit! Who knew? Not me, that’s for sure. But, for the first time in my life, I’m not giving up on me.

I’m proud of me.

I am incredibly humbled by the support I’ve received. Humbled isn’t even the right word. Inspired! Awestruck! My cheering section is loud, proud, and I’m pretty sure, holding glitter signs to cheer me on!

My support team. You’re awesome. Texts that cheer me on first thing in the morning, friends stopping me in the hall checking in and giving a ‘woo hoo’, my teammate who everyday says “you’ve got this girl” and today told me that I’m a fifth of the way through, to everyone who has in some way said “ok, how can I support you,” you are incredible. My bestie even affectionately now calls me twitchy. For the last 5 days, there has been a vein in my right eyelid that keeps twitching. Driving me bonkers. It makes me smile! The name bestowing, not the twitching. The twitching is awful. To the ‘victims’ of my cooking, thank you for eating whatever concoction I throw in front of you. I even got a loved one to eat AND enjoy Brussels sprouts. My work is done. Wait, nope, not yet … 24 days to go ….

My parents. Holy crap they’re awesome. While I trudged through Progress Report writing, they took on my shopping list with fear in their eyes. With the promise that I would answer my phone (I hate answering the phone), they went off to Whole Foods and King Soopers!

“Is pink sea salt ok? I only see pink. Oh wait! Red Hawaiian Sea Salt!”
“Meanna, your dad is going to read you the label from the spicy brown mustard.”

Rock stars. Both of them.

Kroger brand low sodium bacon doesn’t have sugar! Who knew that finding no sugar bacon was going to be a challenge?! Not me!
Did you know that there is sugar in Morton’s iodized salt?!? Sugar is in everything.

I’ve digressed. And I sound like I’m giving an acceptance speech.

In my journey, who you should feel sorry for is not me. Nope. You should feel sorry for the 26 2nd Graders who, for the last 6 days, have experienced an uncaffinated, sugar detoxing, and eye twitching crazy person, as a teacher. Those poor kids. Sigh.

In all seriousness though, this has been an incredible experience. For my entire life, I have felt that food was in control of me. However, in the last 6 days, I have shown that I am, in fact, much stronger than I ever thought I could be. The first and second days were the hardest. Let’s talk about teaching in an elementary school where cupcakes, fruit snacks, and chocolate are readily available. Sigh. For the first two days, there was a constant voice in the back of my head telling me I was only one day in and that if I cheated that I could easily start over. What the whole 30 has taught me is that the only person getting cheated is I. Am I worth less than a handful of fruit snacks? Am I worth less than a frosting laden cupcake? 6 days ago my answer would have been yes.

I also greatly took to heart the Whole 30’s philosophy of hitting the reset button on ALL parts of your life. What I have come to realize is that at least 90% of my social interaction with friends and family revolves around either food or alcohol. There is nothing wrong with that … unless your relationship with food is unhealthy, which mine is. Was. Is.

This last week I made one of the hardest decisions I have made in a long time and decided to put my health and me first. Some of my best and dearest friends were coming to Boulder for a reunion of sorts, which from my experience, heavily revolves around food and copious amounts of alcohol. A Half-Fast Sub. A drink at the Dark Horse … just kidding. drinkS at the Dark Horse … eating and drinking at The Sink, a 2 am gyro and delicious jelly peach rings from the Smelly Deli. Our memories and traditions revolve around food and I knew I wasn’t strong enough to spend the weekend around food and alcohol. I put my FOMO (urban dictionary that … it’s what all the kids are saying) in the back part of my brain, and made the conscious decision to not go for the whole weekend. I was disappointed. I knew people were going to be disappointed. But I want to be able to see these friends 30 years from now and on the track I was headed, that wasn’t guaranteed.

This is hard. Yes. But it’s not that hard. It’s hard to resist the candy bowl in the middle of the table at a meeting. It’s hard to not drink coffee because I refuse to drink it without creamer (yuck!). It’s hard to not have Chipotle. It’s hard not to pop just one piece of chocolate. But it’s not that hard.

I am putting me first. I am putting my health first.
I am strong. I’m doing this. 24 days to go. I got this! Right?

In case you aren’t on the ‘gram, my dinners thus far …

Day One:
Pork Burgers stuffed with (sugar free) bacon and eggs
Roasted Balsamic Brussels sprouts!

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Day Two:
Lime Dijon Chicken
Roasted Green Beans

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Day Three:
My first dining experience out! Boulder Chop House
Steak and Brussels Sprout Slaw

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Day Four:
Spaghetti Squash
Homemade paleo meatballs

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Day Five:
Leftovers for dinner, but I roasted some awesome Pepita Seeds for snack!

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Day Six:
Roasted Broccoli (I LOVE any veggie that’s been roasted!)
Cracklin’ Chicken from NomNomPaleo

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Want more from MaryAnna? Post #1 HERE

#iseeyounorthcounty

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I live in The north part of San Diego county. This area is referred to by locals as simply, North County. I love it here. I love North County. I love the sunshine. I love the plants and trees. I love the ocean. I love the trains. It’s a major love-fest.

I also love Instagram. More than FB. There, I said it! Follow us on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/kearneygoodlife

I decided to start my own little Instagram hashtag #iseeyounorthcounty
It is kind of me saying to North County “I see you. I’m picking up what you’re putting dow North County. I’m not missing this. I love it.”

I have been taking photos of my surroundings and hashtagging it. I am hoping to make my own little book at the end of the year. I have only a few pics so far, but there will be more. Follow along with us and check our North County right along with us!

(FYI: the pic below represents what hashtags are all about. A simple way to search for all of the items tagged with one descriptor! In this case #iseeyounorthcounty

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The Whole MaryAnna #1

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MaryAnna is a friend I met through teaching.  She is one of the greatest gals I know.  She is an INCREDIBLE teacher.  If we lived in Colorado still, my kids would be going to whatever school she taught at, just to be in her class.  I value her opinions and friendship.  She is graciously sharing her story with us on the blog.  Again, feel free to leave comments (you can still comment on blogs, not just FB and Instagram!).

MaryAnna is an Instagram goddess.  Follow her at: mountainsun16

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Here I sit on the precipice of change, fear in my heart, and ‘chocolate pot de crème’ on my spoon.

Tonight is the last night of the me I know; the me who relates food to emotions, stuffs herself full of her favorite foods, is an admitted carbaholic and could eat Mexican food till she bursts.  I shall mourn the loss of flour tortillas, sea salt caramel gelato, Illegal Pete’s burritos, and bagels.  Especially, asiago bagels …

I digress.  Tonight is the last night of the me who is sick.  The me who is achy, foggy, bloated, stuffy, overweight, anxious, unfocused, depressed, cranky, and suffering from an auto-immune related disorder.  Goodbye to the sicknesses that have become my identity.  Goodbye!  I am so excited.  And scared shitless.  Scared isn’t even the right word.  Terrified?  Terrified of losing ‘me’, terrified of failure, terrified of the unknown.

Tomorrow I start the ‘Whole 30”, the elimination diet.  Tomorrow I cut all “psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days”.  Tomorrow I start healing my body.  Tomorrow I hit the reset button.  Tomorrow I change.  Permanently.  And that scares me.  But my goodness, it excites me too!

To declare to the world that this is my new journey, I posted on Instagram my collection of resources as I dive in.  How else would I announce?  Duh.  Anyway, you can follow me (follow me!) at mountainsun16.  You will currently see pictures of the sky, Colorado beauty, and doughnuts.  Starting tomorrow, just sky, Colorado beauty and my new Whole 30 journey. And maybe a selfie or two.  Maybe. My dear, supportive friend Jenn asked if I would blog about my reformation.  Why? Why not?  Why expose myself to the world?  Because I’m terrified I will fail.  And if I put that out there, the world won’t let me.  I believe that.

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Although I may be one of the more adorable ADD sufferers around, I actually spent a lot of time researching this decision.  It all started with the information that the auto-immune related disease that I suffer from (idiopathic hypercalciuria – how’s that for a mouthful!), is directly related to leaky gut.  Rather than spend the rest of my life avoiding oxalates (another discussion for another time), taking Potassium supplements and a diuretic everyday, I decided to research how to HEAL my leaky gut.  How anti-Western medicine of me, right?  Don’t get me wrong, I love my adderall and celexa and my … and my … but it would be nice to not NEED pills to function.  To my trusty friend Google I went, and found numerous articles and resources on how the Paleo diet can heal one’s leaky gut.  Click after click after click I followed the trail to www.whole30.com.  It is here that I found guidance, resources and a platform from which to start.

I have read just about everything on their website … I would highly recommend everything, but if you’re pressed for time, I got the most from their “program rules”, especially the last page, “It’s For Your Own Good”.  It was the kick in the ass that I needed.  So I bought It Starts with Food, printed just about everything I could from Whole 30, pulled out my copy of the Power of Now by my dear friend Eckhart Tolle, and pulled on my big girl pants.  I can do this!

I have just returned from Whole Paycheck, wait, I mean Whole Foods, armed with Whole 30 approved ingredients and one last indulgent Chocolate Pot de Crème.

I hope you will join me as I discover the new, and healthier, me.  I’m pretty sure I’ll still be awesome, but less achy, foggy, bloated, stuffy, overweight, anxious, unfocused, depressed, cranky, and suffering from an auto-immune related disorder … and less gassy.  At least that’s my hope.

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Love is…

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Valentine’s Day 2014

Valentine’s breakfast…

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Homemade Valentine’s…

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Funny new books…

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McDonald’s Happy Meal Picnics…

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Silly selfies…

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Tulips…

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A new LiteBrite…

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Writing thank you notes for your Valentine’s from your classmates (could it get any cuter?)…

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Tastes Like Cheap Chicken – #3

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Lindley is back with some more awesome, money-saving advice. As always, feel free to leave comments or questions. Lindley responds very quickly. She’s pretty rad like that.

Where For Art Thou Coupon?

So you’ve got your shiny new scissors and your coupon organizer all lined up and ready to go. Now it’s time for your own little hunting and gathering expedition. Here are some of the more well-known and some of the more borderline-OCD resources for collecting your coupons:

1. The Sunday newspaper- the oldest and easiest way to find coupons. At least one or two booklets come nearly every week. Some people purchase multiple subscriptions to the Sunday paper or ask friends or family to save the coupons. If there is a good set of coupons on any given Sunday, I will make pick up an extra copy or two of the paper at the grocery store or gas station.

2. Online coupon generators- select the coupons you want and print them out at home. Most sites will allow you to print a particular coupon twice. It’s easy and requires no fine-motor skills, but there is a minimal cost involved since you are using your own paper and ink. Coupons.com is a pretty user-friendly site, but I highly recommend joining Swagbucks.com because every time you redeem a coupon from their generator, you earn 10 Swagbucks (what the heck is a Swagbuck, you ask? It’s a “virtual” buck that can be used to purchase a bunch of different prizes, including gift cards.) I have been a member of Swagbucks for years and I love it and use it every day. More on my Swag crush in the next installment of TLCC, but if you want to check it out, please use my referral link- you will get 50 Swagbucks when you enter code “FreeGiftCards” to get started and we will be BFFs forever. www.swagbucks.com/refer/LindleyAlston

3. Some stores have their own online coupon generators (such as Safeway/Vons and King Soopers/Kroger/City Market). These websites allow you to load coupon offers directly onto your shopper’s “club” card and are automatically redeemed when you checkout. These stores sometimes even have offers you can load for completely free items! Target also has a coupon generator where you can print out both manufacturer and store coupons. As a side benefit, once you become an online member, you will occasionally be mailed coupons or special promotions.

4. Liking Facebook pages or joining websites for grocery stores or companies you buy from frequently are another great way to get coupons. For example, I am a member of the Box Tops for Education website (www.btfe.com) and pilsbury.com because they have higher value coupons for products I buy a lot AND they mail out free samples to boot.
Besides saving you a load of dough every month, these shiny paper weapons are also great for warding off the incessant junk food pleas from your children (or possibly your spouse as well). When they beg for the cookies in the store, I just say “sorry, we don’t have a coupon for those”. Boom- end of discussion .

Please share if you have any other resources for couponing! You can never have too many . . . .Never.

Sorry….

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I had great blog intentions for this week. But, life happens.

I went to Omaha on Sunday and Monday night witnessed Justin Timberlake in concert. It will never get old. For the rest of my life, I will make every attempt to attend whatever concert he is putting on near me. Pure talent.

Two hours after the concert, a nasty stomach big decided to rear it’s ugly head and today is the first day I haven’t felt like tossing my cookies. Let’s just say, flying home with the stomach flu and a captain that says “the Midwest has had very unstable air for the past two weeks, so be prepared” are not my favorite things.

Posting will resume next week. I have a few new guest bloggers as well as more from Lindley and Erin! Yay. Until then, enjoy this sexy man.

What I Am Doing

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Watching: The Olympics!
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Reading: The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I have only read one chapter, but I know I will love it. I love a solid cryfest.
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Listening: XO by Beyoncé.
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Making: A Project Life scrapbook of our early years 2004-2006.

Feeling: Like I may freeze in Omaha this weekend. But will gladly be warmed up by Justin Timberlake at his concert on Monday.
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Planning: a trip to Disneyland for my nephews Golden Birthday!

Loving: Cam’s curly long hair. He wants to grow it long like a California surfer. Rian and I are totally fine excited for this!

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