Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Giveaway getting closer!!

Ms. Morgan's Reality Check is at 44 followers!!

Don't forget whoever is the 50th follower and whoever recommended them (or whose blog hop you found it through) will both get some of my favorite Portland goodies. 

Maybe it'll be a booze and chocolate box? Wine or beer from one of our many Portland wineries or breweries; or maybe some chocolate from one of the our amazing chocolatiers... Who knows? 

Maybe it'll be nuts and berries. Oregon is the only state with a "state nut" (Hazelnuts) and we're also known for our yummy marionberries. Mmmm. Who knows?

When I sent a care package to someone before it included fake mustaches (because we have lots of facial hair men up here), organic handmade soap, a thunder-egg key chain and salmon jerky. 

I love theme shopping and who better deserved than my 50th follower!!

We're so close so start recommending and sharing with friends. 

PS. There will actually be four winners. I'm doing a duplicate contest on Ms. Morgan's Reality Check's Facebook page. So you have double the chance of a goodie box here.

Mr New Jersey (Part 3)

I know I've mentioned "Mr. NJ" a few times and promised I'd talk about him "later". Well here we go. A three part series on my new Mr. New Jersey.



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Mr. New Jersey (Part 3: Falling Hard & Fast)

So if you have been following my blog (or have read parts 1 & 2 of this series) you would know I became (officially) single a few months back and have since rejoined the dating world and met a Mr New Jersey just over a month ago.

Well, about a few weeks ago I deleted my online dating profile. I decided to when I realized I hadn't checked the account (or used its profile search tool) for some while, and didn't feel the need or desire too.

Why bother when I had met someone who makes me smile ear to ear just thinking about him. When I get a text or instant message from him it makes my whole day. He shows interest in knowing me: my past and future, my likes and dislikes, and just gives me the biggest butterflies in my stomach.

He brought up the other day how much he wanted to come out to Portland to meet me in person but just didn't know when he could get away from work. So as an alternative I'm looking to go to him for a quick turn around weekend. (Note: it took the Ex nearly three years to get off his ass and come see me). I've never been to that part of the country; an while he lives IN New Jersey he works in, and lives just across the river from, NYC (someplace I've always wanted to visit). So we found two weekends that might work for both of us and I'm pricing plane tickets.

On more than one occasion he has lamented about how we don't live closer because he would love to "date" me and make me "his".  Then this last Saturday we were just chatting, as I was cleaning the house for a family dinner. We were talking about my (hopefully) upcoming visit to see him, when he mentioned something along the same lines again. I, playfully, said something about how we'll just have to see how things go. Our conversation then quickly changed to LDRs and our past experiences with them. He said how he'd be willing to try one again "for the right girl". I told him how my last relationship was long distance and I learned (the hard way) what makes it work. He then told me how he falls hard for the right girl and is just a hopeless romantic (something else we both have in common).

Now I know my friends are going to read this, shake their head and be thoroughly disappointed I'm looking at another long distance relationship. But Mr. New Jersey and I have talked about how a LDR (not "ours") needs to have frequent visits to help make the relationship work. That's just one of the many things I learned needs to happen (or else) to make a relationship work long distance: frequent visits, consistent communication, and most importantly an "end plan"... but for now I just want to get to know Mr. New Jersey more and see what happens. 

And really, in the end, if it doesn't work. If I get another slow fade or he is not at all what I expected. I got out of the cycle I was in with the Ex. I opened my heart to the possibility of another. And I'm moving forward with my life.

But for now I'm not jumping to an conclusions or skipping all the steps that make dating fun. But for now I freely admit that I'm crushing hard on my Mr. NJ. I fall hard and fast with the "right guy" and he certainly is no exception. He's something special in my opinion and according to him so am I.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Mr New Jersey (Part 2)

I know I've mentioned "Mr. NJ" a few times and promised I'd talk about him "later". Well here we go. A three part series on my new Mr. New Jersey.




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Mr. New Jersey (Part 2: Bonus)

So I'm officially single one month when Mr. NJ emails me on the dating site. Right there I'm impressed if only because he took the initiative!!

The site i have/do use is a dating site designed for men and women who either are themselves (or are attracted) to plus size people (BBW or BHM). On the site you can "Smile" at one another for free but to initiate email correspondence you must be a paying member. More times than I can count I would get a smile from some guy with the note "Email Me" ... meaning he expected ME to pay so we could chat.

Mr NJ was a paying member. First impression: he wasn't a cheap penny pinching ass expecting the woman to fork out $14/month to email.

BONUS.

Now I am a strong advocate for getting to know someone. Finding their inner beauty and wonderfulness. But I also know that chemistry happens on multiple layers and the first step has to be physical attraction.

Mr. NJ is taller than me (I'm only 5'1" so him being 5'10" makes him TALL in my world), brunette with brown eyes (he's part Italian, Mexican and Native Mexican-Indian) and a smile that just knocked me over backwards. 

I've always been more attracted to stalkier, solid, built men. Broad chest, large arms, a little squishy so that cuddling doesn't feel like I'm trying to snuggle up against a brick wall. Mr. New Jersey is built exactly how I like them.... and according to him I have his idea of the "perfect body"

BONUS.

While he is currently living in New Jersey, and has for the last two years (work relocated him), he's originally from Southern California. There's something nice about meeting someone from your "neck of the woods". While Orange County (he graduated from USC) and San Diego are two different beasts there is enough cultural similarities that creates a bond. 

And his family (who he is close too) still lives in Southern California and goes back often. 

BONUS.

Speaking about being close to his family that in itself is a bonus. I've very close to my family - from my mother and sister, to my aunts and uncles, even second cousins who I haven't seen in years ... we can call each other at any point, on any day of the week and be there for one another. 

I've always wanted to meet someone who is as close to their family as I am to mine. Someone who, at least, understands the importance of family and staying connected. Someone who knows what it's like to come from a large family (he has four siblings and his mother is one of four), being one of twenty-one cousins is a big part of my identity and finding someone who also comes from a close-big family is wonderful. 

BONUS.

As the days went along and we went from emailing to exchanging of instant messages and finally to phone numbers - we talk everyday, multiple times a day.

Our first email exchange wasn't the only he's initiated. He'll send mid-day texts just making sure I'm having a good day. Yesterday I was woken up with a text message saying "Morning beautiful".

BONUS.

He just keeps racking up the brownie points. 
No wondering I'm falling hard and fast.



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Check back tomorrow for Part 3. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Love My Online Friends 'GFC' Hop


I'm participating in the "I Love My Online Friends GFC Hop" being hosted by The Things We Find Inside. I've been following Tami for a while but just haven't done her Blog Hop. 


Where I'm having a giveaway to the 50th follower of Ms. Morgan's Reality Check I thought a Blog Hop would be a good idea. 

Make sure to jump over to Tami's page and join in the fun. 

Mr New Jersey (Part 1)

I know I've mentioned "Mr. NJ" a few times and promised I'd talk about him "later". Well here we go. A three part series on my new Mr. New Jersey.



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Mr. New Jersey (Part 1: Back Online)

The Ex and I have been broken up two months. While that may seem like too short a time to not only have started "dating" again but also to have found someone and be falling for that person.... I think the relationship between me and the Ex was over long before it was over. I think him coming out to visit during my birthday was a last attempt at desperation to make it work - didn't matter that it was the best weekend ever and we had an amazing time. Things just didn't get better but went right back to the same old routine. 

Normally I have a rule that "an ex is an ex for a reason" and I broke that rule with the Ex. I said all along that I loved him too much not to try again, but in the end I think I should have known all along it wasn't going to work out. He wasn't what I needed or really in the end able to give me what I wanted. So it was and is time to move on.

I rejoined the online dating scene pretty quickly. I'm not one to go out to bars, clubs or ask a stranger at the grocery store if they'd like to get coffee sometime. In today's world unless you have a niche, a community you are a part if (or go to bars/etc) I really don't see how people meet/date. I don't see another way (if you don't have that niche) than online dating (that I and I suppose "set ups).

So there I was back online.

I started off only looking for guys who were in the PNW. I know my family and BFFs would prefer me to find someone local (in Portland) I figure Washingtonians wouldn't be too bad. I take the train up to visit my BFF in Seattle; no reason I couldn't squeeze a date or two in there next visit.

TOTAL. BUST. 

I'm just not attracted to non-smiling mug shot photos or the meth-addict-hillbilly look. I'm not interested in being someone's one night stand, jumping from "Hello" to "Want to be my girlfriend?" and I'm not looking to be your sugar momma. So finding a PNWer wasn't really happening.

I thought I'd spread my search to men on the Western Coast. Found one that lived not far from my home town in Southern California. We hit it off pretty well, had lots in common, talked every day all day for about a week ... but I was given the "Slow Fade" and he was gone.

Really? Fine. Time to open it up to the whole USA. There has to be someone, somewhere. You never know where you'll find Mr. Right - or at least Mr. Right Now. Right? A week later I get an email from a Southern California man transplanted to New Jersey.

Enter Mr. New Jersey.....

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Check back tomorrow for Part 2.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Week S.O.F.A.R.

Not connected to Ms. Morgan's Reality Check over on facebook? Too bad that means you missed these awesome links and more. 


An 8-year Old Girl's Awesome List of Why Women Rule - Number one on her list "We have vaginas"


Our Obsession with 'Plus-Size' Role Models - While I agree with a few points in the article (i.e., curves ≠ fat any more than all skinny women look like prepubescent boys and the fact that so often the pro-plus size movement turns into the anti-skinny movement where we should be looking at equality) I disagree with the title and the message that role models of the "plus size" (whether 8 or 28) aren't needed. How can we have size equality with out equal representation in role models and society's view of what is "beautiful". 


First Female U.S. Astronaut, Sally Ride, Comes Out in Obituary - Okay, maybe this is considered "old news" by now but this article was so beautifully written it made me cry. Cry from joy that Sally and her partner had been together so long and finally shared their love with the world. And cried that this role model for women would now be a role model for young (and older) gay boys and girls. Cried at the thought of how we still live in a world where people, even after all she accomplished, will look down on Sally because of who she loved. 

Beauty DIY

I wish I had more time for all the fun DIY ideas I find on Pinterest. Mostly I end up using it for dinner ideas and beauty tips. Today I found a number of beauty tips I wanted to share*

(*I have not tried any of these yet so if you try them before me let me know what you think. I'll make sure to review them as I do them myself)

BEAUTY TIPS


1st Tip - Everlasting lips: I don't typically wear lipstick - I use tinted lip balm though (Burt's Bees makes a wide range of colors I love). I always feel I have to reapply over and over again because it just wears off so fast. This tip (below) makes so much sense. I do the same technique (translucent powder base) for my eyes to help eyeshadow last longer. Will have to try this out Monday for work. 




2nd Tip - Extending the life of mascara: "Mascara dries out (usually) before it's half gone. So add a few drops of saline solution or eye drops to the tube and it'll rehydrate and help save you money." Damn! Wish I had seen this before I went and bought a new tube today. Well at least I hadn't thrown away my dried out one yet and can still give it a try. 



3rd Tip - Homemade Makeup Remover:  I buy makeup remover wipes to take off the majority of my eyeliner and mascara (I tend to do my eyes heavy on both) - they help not get soap in my eyes and/or looking like a raccoon when washing my face at night. But like the author of this blog and idea; I hate how expensive they can get.  I don't have all the ingredients at the moment but think this is a great idea I hope to try out.

Find instructions here.

4th Tip - Perfect Paint job: I don't get to the nail salon anywhere near as often as I wish. So I usually end up doing my own pedicures. I can tell you I usually do a pretty good job except when it comes to my pinky toes. The way they are curled I tend to paint my toe just as much as my toenail. haha. I don't know why I hadn't heard about this tip sooner. I'll have to give it a try soon.

Find this great tip here.

What is your favorite beauty tip?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Giveaway for 50th Follower!!


Hello my lovely and faithful followers!! I'm excited for my first giveaway - are you!?

Ms. Morgan's Reality Check has 39 (GFC) followers and I'm excited to see if we can get it up to 50!! 

The 50th person (and the person who recommended them) will be sent some of my favorite Portland Goodies!! So get out there and start recommending this page!!

(If you become a new follower please comment below with if you've ever been to Portland, OR and who recommended you to this page). 

I'm also doing this contest on Ms. Morgan's Reality Check facebook page. So if you're following me there you could double your chance of winning fun Portland-swag. (4 winners will be selected. 2 from here and 2 from Facebook).


Best Compliment

Last day of the 15 Day Challenge...okay I know it took me way more than 15 days....haha. But I finished it! :)

So what is the best compliment I've ever received? 

I'm not really sure. 

I know I've mentioned that I have an "award winning" smile before... literally. This last May at the "Making a Difference Awards" (something that happens annually at work) I was nominated for both the Leadership Award (which I won) and the Helping Hand Award. 

The entire process is community facilitated. Nominations are sent in by students, staff and faculty members. You nominate a person for a specific category and give a few reasons why. When the winners are announced at the ceremony a few of these "quotes" are read aloud. 

Nearly all of the quotes read about me were about how I smile through it all. How I am always willing to help, no matter what, and I do it with a smile. At first I was extremely flattered but then after awhile I realized I was given a "LEADERSHIP" award and all that was mentioned was my smile. Not really what I was hoping for. 

...best compliment....??

Maybe it would be the fact my boss automatically thought of me and promoting me in our department the second she suspected my coworker was leaving. She saw potential in me, she knows that I can take on these extra responsibilities (violence prevention program, disability accommodations, international students, etc). Her asking if I'd be interested in advancing in the school was a really nice compliment.

No, I think if I had to pick the BEST compliment it would be the one I got (indirectly) from baby sister (CC)

About a year or so ago, my mother mentioned how CC (who btw is 4 inches taller than me and a size 2) told her how much she liked my style. CC said that she worried sometimes that I was unhappy with my size but she saw how much I love fashion and how well I dressed my shape. Aside from just thinking I "dressed my size" well CC also said she loved my style - the clothes I chose and the way I accessorize. 

It's never been easy being the short-round sister when CC was the tall-skinny one. Always hearing how gorgeous CC was. How beautiful CC was. How boys always drooled over and gawked at CC. To have CC be the one to compliment my style and fashion meant a lot. 


Gimmie Shelter

If you haven't already heard about Playing for Change you don't know what you've been missing.

"Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world." -Playing for Change website

On their facebook page they posted this rendition of Gimmie Shelter (which already is an amazing song but this foundation takes it to a whole new level).

 

The entire project is moving, inspirational and just phenomenal - this song in particular is just so moving.

Gimmie Shelter lyrics


Oh, a storm is threat'ning 
My very life today 
If I don't get some shelter
 Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away 


War, children, it's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 
War, children, it's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 


Ooh, see the fire is sweepin' 
Our very street today 
Burns like a red coal carpet 
Mad bull lost your way 


War, children, it's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 
War, children, it's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 


Rape, murder! 
It's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 
[Repeat 2x]


The floods is threat'ning 
My very life today 
Gimme, gimme shelter 
Or I'm gonna fade away 


War, children, it's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 


I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away 
It's just a kiss away 
It's just a kiss away 
It's just a kiss away 
It's just a kiss away 
Kiss away, kiss away

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Okay. I know Spring Sprung and now it's Summer but I wanted to start sharing some of the photographs I take.

Ch-Ch-Changes

In the last few months I've had a number of changes happen in my life. 

  • Younger sister and her boyfriend moved out and it's back to just Mom and I.
  • More family moved up to Portland area, which I'm so happy about. 
  • Broke up with the Ex for the second and last time.
  • Months of restructuring jobs in my department.
  • Meeting Mr. NJ online (more to come on him later).
  • Finding out about being promoted to Assistant Director.
  • And in six months I'll be entering my Dirty Thirty.

So many changes... and I've realized this blog has undergone some changes too. I've added some of the older blogs from my Surviving 20-Something (entries about the Ex and rejoining the dating pool) as well as entries from my Epicurean Enthusiast blog (recipes, restaurant reviews, and food porn). 

I created Caution! Reality Check when my 30s came closer and closer and was trying to find my voice and place as a plus size fashionista. It was my way of giving myself a place to "reality check" myself; and in turn helping others with their own through my POV. 

With the changes over the past few months though I feel this blog has changed some too - or maybe it's just me. I don't feel like I need a reality check anymore. I think I've learned so many life lessons and experiences that I'm just going with the flow (and experiencing life) more than being slapped by "reality". 

What this means for Caution! Reality Check I don't know. I'm not going to get rid of it but be prepared for some changes and edits. I want it to grow as I feel I have the last few months. Thank you for sticking with me and being a part of my journey. 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Liebster Award

On Monday I was awarded the Liebster Award by Kim @ Kimberly's Quest. The award is for up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers (liebster is German for beloved/sweetheart/etc).

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Rules:
1. Each person must post eleven things about themselves
2. You must answer the questions the tagger sets for you plus 
create eleven questions for the people you've tagged to answer
3. Choose eleven upcoming bloggers and link them in  your post. 
4. Go to their blog and let them know you've nominated them!
5. No tag backs

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11 things about me!

1. I love orange juice and tomato juice but hate mimosas, screwdrivers and bloody marys. I'm a OJ/Tomato juice purest. Don't mess with my juice! (Although I do love a bellini)

2. I don't like scrambled eggs or anything similar (i.e., quiche or frittatas) and would rather have over medium or poached. 

3. I hate the taste of wasabi and other horseradish. It's a flavor thing its not heat - I like heat. 

4. I spent some time at a Buddhist's community one summer during college. It was on a silent retreat and was crazy hard not to talk. 

5. I'd pick chocolate ice cream over vanilla any day of the week but if I had to pick I'd prefer mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

6. I like most music - rock n' roll, opera, folk, indie... even some country and hip hop. But I just can't find the enjoyment or even the appeal to rap. 

7.  If I had to pick one type of food to eat for the rest of my life it would have to be sushi. Salmon skin rolls, unagi, sesame balls, tuna hamachi....mmmm. Yum. 

8. Oh, but the place I crave the most is a mexican taco shop called Cuca's. They have a number of locations in Southern California and one right around the corner from where I went to college. Every once and a while I get a massive craving for (and would do anything to get) a chicken, rice, tomato and guacamole burrito. *Drool*

9. I lived in ten houses by the time I graduated high school - and that's in about six different towns. 

10. Fall is my favorite time of year in the PNW. Getting to wear sweaters and scarves but not too rainy so I don't have to wear gloves, heavy coats and can still wear my flats. 

11. I'm not usually a very open person. I tend to keep my inner thoughts/feelings inside. It's not that I don't "trust" my friends/family but sometimes I just don't feel like others want to hear what I have to say and therefore why bother. But blogging is a way to share these without the trust issues I have getting in the way. 

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Kim's Questions

1. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? Oh, wow. Just one book? Shoot that's hard. I guess it would be Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic. It's the book the Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman movie was based off. I love the movie but the book just has so much more depth and character. 




2. What is your favourite color? I guess black. But I prefer color combinations. 

PinkBlack      RedBlack     GreenBrown

3. Spring or Fall? Fall for sure




4. Share your best birthday memory! Haha. I don't know about "best" (I'm hoping that comes with the Dirty Thirty) but definitely the most "memorable" would be my 19th birthday. Let's just say it was in a college dorm + beer + handcuffs = crazy time. lol





5. Would you rather bake cookies or cook steak? Bake cookies... while someone else cooks the steak. Haha. 





6. What was the name of your first pet? Salome (she was a Siamese)





7. What is your favourite board game?  Oooo... probably have to go with Apples to Apples





8. What movie do you most relate to? That's a tough one. I'm not really sure if I've come across a movie I relate too. I'll have to get back to you on that. 





9. On vacation do you go camping or stay in a hotel? Oh hell! No contest. HOTEL. 





10. What is your favorite burger topping?  Tomato is a must. 





11. One word to describe your day. Sick. :( 



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11 Liebster Award Nominees



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My 11 questions

1. What blog entry have you been wanting to write and just haven't gotten around to yet?
2. What's your ultimate guilty pleasure? (tv show, food, hobby, etc)
3. What song do you listen to when you need a pick-me-up, and why?
4. Who is your BFF and how long have you known one another?
5. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
6. Why did you start blogging and how long ago was that?
7. Last movie you saw in the theatre?
8. Where is your dream vacation spot (that you haven't yet visited)?
9. What tradition do you have for celebrating birthdays/anniversaries that is special to you?
10. Favorite pizza topping? 
11. Would you rather know when or how you were going to die?

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And with that. The Liebster Award entry is over. Thank you again to Kim for the nomination. 
Have fun with this everyone. 


15 Day Challenge: Only One Movie

If I was only allowed to watch one movie for the rest of my life it would be a tough decision. My first instinct would be A Home at End of the World with Colin Farrell.  It's a movie about Bobby Morrow's journey in this "big, noisy, beautiful world where anything can happen" and "there's nothing to fear". Falling in love, making family with who you have and finding your passion. 




 Come to think about it. I think I'm going to watch it right now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

15 Day Challenge: Favorites

I'm not really the best at "What's Your Favorite...?" I have so many "favorites". Multiple favorite color combinations. Multiple best friends. Multiple favorite television shows, etc. But I'll do my best to play along.

Favorite Song: I have many sings that I enjoy and certain songs that I can listen to on repeat.

The opening credit sing to TrueBlood by Jace Everett "Bad Things" is not only my Default Ringtone but also my Ringback tone.




When I need a serious energy booster or am feeling the to just dance I'll play exactly that. "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa


It really just depends on how I'm feeling at the moment.

Favorite Quote:

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." - Marilyn Monroe



"Just breathe" - Ever After (movie quote) because after all



Only picture of a palm
I had....
Favorite Vacation Spot: I guess I'd have to pick San Diego. We went all the time when I was growing up (I was born in San Diego and most of my father's family lives there) and I moved there after college.  I miss it. 

When we'd vacation there we'd usually stay at the Hilton Resort on the Bay. Beautiful hotel right on the water, not far from the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. 

The blue waters, tan sands and palm trees... when I went to San Diego this last November for a best friend's baby shower I remember getting out of the airport and just being so happy to see the palm trees. Haha. Guess it doesn't have to be San Diego, just as long as there is ocean and palm trees. 

Favorite Photo: How can I pick between these?

My self, my sister and my mother at Pirates Plunder in Newport, OR

Last summer when a number of my BFFs and I got together for drinks.
The expressions on our faces here say it all. I don't even remember what was so funny.

My aunt was coming to visit before she moved to Portland; she brought my
mother's other sister with her as a surprise for my mom!! It was the best reunion
weekend ever - having all three sisters together. Here's the three sisters, my sister and I.

Monday, July 23, 2012

15 Day Challenge: Next 6 Months

Oh wow! 

What am I most looking forward to in the next six months? So many things!

In less than two months (September) I'll be official promoted to the Assistant Director position at work. It's something I've been waiting and wanting for a few months now; a few weeks ago I was given the final "APPROVED" by the school president and today I found out the $$ that goes with it. 

In six months I'll be turning 30!! And I'm planning on a "Dirty Thirty in Sin City" celebration with a number of good friends. I'm spending the next few months picking a hotel for us to stay at, shows to see, and restaurants to try. 

And (fingers crossed) I'll be getting to meet Mr. NJ - the man I've been chatting with online for a few weeks now (over a month??). We've gone from talking on the dating site, to chatting on yahoo  and now we've exchanged phone numbers and talk at least once a day. He's eager to meet in person and I am too. We'll see what happens. 

So I have many things to be excited about in the coming six months and I don't know if I could pick just one to be MOST excited about. 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

15 Day Challenge: Never Change

For many years I had low self esteem. Who hasn't right? But this went beyond just a year or two of acne filled teenage angst. Mine went on through college and for a few years afterwards. I didn't see myself as attractive - inside or out. It took a lot of work and a lot of love and support from friends and family but now I think I'm a pretty confident, self-loving woman who does what she can to help boost others.

So while there are things I'd never change (like the closeness of my family, the choice to attend the college I did, quitting certain jobs at certain points in life, etc) I'm going to try and focus on things about ME that I would never change.

MY SMILE: I've been told I have a "million dollar smile" that just lights up the room. Friends and family can tell when my smile in pictures is real or not because the glimmer in my face just isn't there. I love my smile - from my lips to the gap between my teeth.

MY CURVES: While there are times I wish that it was easier for me to lose weight, and times when I was a few dress sizes smaller - in the end I love my curves. Hips, breasts, butt and stomachs are what makes a woman and woman and I have all four (with some to spare. haha). I've finally found a love for my curves and that there are men out there who love them too. *winkwink*

MY SENSE OF HUMOR: Dark, sarcastic, dry and a dash of dirty. My two favorite comedians are Robin Williams (his Live on Broadway makes me cry I'm laughing so hard) and Eddie Izzard (who doesn't love a man in eyeliner and heals?)

And Henry VIII, a big hairy king, went up to the Pope and said, "Mr. Pope! I'm gonna marry my first wife, then I'm gonna divorce her. Now, I know what you're gonna say, but stick with me. My story gets better. Second wife, I'm gonna kill her! Cut her head off. Ah, not expecting that, are we? Third wife gonna shoot her. Fourth wife, put her in a bag. Fifth wife, into outer space. Sixth wife, on a rotissamat. Seventh wife, made out of jam..." and the Pope is saying, "You crazy bugger! You can't do all this, what are you a Mormon? It's illegal. What have you been reading? The gospel according to St. Bastard?" -Eddie Izzard

WHAT WOULD YOU NEVER CHANGE ABOUT YOURSELF?