All I Want For Christmas Is You

Something extremely exciting happened to me this Christmas.

Christmas is our anniversary, but since nothing is open on Christmas Day we decided to celebrate our anniversary on Christmas Eve Day instead. I had just gotten off work and was starving, so Josh and I met up at Red Robin for a late lunch. After our yummy food and great service (considering they were working on Christmas Eve), we headed to the movie theater across the street to see The Social Network. I was expecting the movie to be boring and matter-of-fact, but the acting was great and quirky, probably not too unlike the real Mark Zuckerberg. Great movie.

After enjoying the movie, we headed to Josh's parents' house to pick up a few last minute Christmas gifts. Then we visited our church's midnight Christmas Eve service. It was absolutely beautiful! Each person was holding a lit candle as we sang Christmas songs and hymns. Christmas is my favorite time of year for that reason; everything is beautiful.

We chatted with some friends after the service, and as we walked to the car, Josh suggested we see the lights in our local downtown. I love Christmas lights, so I happily agreed! We drove around downtown, pointing out spots we'd visited together, admiring the lights and the newly fallen snow. As I've said before, I love all things beautiful, so I was enjoying the scenery as Josh drove us through the
fresh snow.

Before I knew it, he'd pulled up to the intersection where we'd had our first, and scariest adventure. We sat in the warm car, talking about our history in this spot. I love reliving our memories and this was no exception. Snow was lightly falling and the streetlights glowed. As I sat looking out the window at this memorable intersection, Josh got out of the car, opened my door, and helped me through the snow to the sidewalk. We stood there, holding each other, 6 inches of snow covering our feet, and he said, "This is the spot where I first realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you." Then he got down on one knee, looked up at me, and continued, "Meagan...will you marry me?"

I have to say, when I imagined the day a man asked me to marry him, I assumed I would cry. But I didn't! In fact, I was so excited and nervous and surprised that I couldn't stop giggling! I obviously said yes in between giggles, but the rest of the night (morning?) I had a smile a mile wide and couldn't stop kissing Josh, so much so that at one point he had to stop me to say, "So do you want the ring or not?" Haha!

Anyway, this is the most memorable Christmas I've ever had and I don't think I'll ever forget it.
Merry Christmas, everyone!!!


Our Love Story, Part V

Click here if you'd like to read Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop thinking about him or talking about him. I didn't mean to do it, but I talked about my new friend so much that my boyfriend would snap at me any time I mentioned the other guy's name. And by the end of the summer, as I was packing up my room for the move to Michigan (for college), my boyfriend came out and said it, "I don't think this is going to work." It hurt, but I secretly agreed with him. We were in no place to continue a relationship from a distance and the fact that I had another man on my mind didn't really help the situation. So we broke up. 

About a month went by and over Labor Day weekend I traveled home to see a few friends. As I was hanging out at a friend's house, I got a text from my secret crush. He said he was in town and wanted to spend time with me. Less than 20 minutes later he showed up at my friend's house, I ran out to kiss him, he hugged me so tight I thought I'd suffocate, and he said he'd meet up with me the next day. Needless to say, I was on Cloud 9 the rest of the night. 

As he promised, we met up the next day with a friend of mine and her boyfriend (double date!). He got along so well with my friends, it was charming. We all had a great time and didn't want the night to end, but a few of us had work the next morning, so we decided to be responsible adults and head home. Once again, I fell asleep with a smile plastered on my face as I thought of this incredible new man in my life. But things would very soon change. 

After he went back to D.C. at the end of the weekend, he asked me if I'd like to be his girlfriend and make our relationship "official." I, as indecisive as I am, told him that I wanted to, but that long-distance freaked me out and that I wanted to get to know him better before I made any kind of commitment. He understood and we spent the next few months chatting on Skype, texting, and calling each other as we fell more and more in love. We had so much in common, but were also extremely different. He had this way of making me want to glue my cell phone to my ear so we would never have to hang up (and he still does). I'd never fallen for anyone as hard as I'd fallen for him and I couldn't wait to see him again, so when he told me he was coming home for Christmas, we agreed to spend as much time together as possible. 

That Christmas Day, after getting my wisdom teeth pulled the morning before, I met him at Potbelly's (best sandwiches ever). When I walked over to the booth where he was waiting, I noticed my Christmas present sitting next to him with a big, shiny, red bow. It was one of his dad's gorgeous paintings. One I'd been admiring for months since he first told me his dad was an artist. 

The painting Josh gave me for our first Christmas together. 
Original work by John Nixdorf.

He stood up, gave me a light kiss on the cheek, and told me I looked beautiful (even though my cheeks were swollen and I was wearing no makeup). He bought me soup and we he talked about how much he missed me and how great it was that we were able to see each other again. I wish I could have smiled and said how much I missed him too, but I'm sure he felt it in the way I was holding his hand the whole time we sat in the quiet little sandwich shop. That day, we made our relationship "official" and I can't help but thank God for him when I remember the circumstances. 

From that day forward, we've spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets and hotels so that we can see each other. We even changed each of our phone plans so we can talk for free. And once a week we make it a point to have a Skype "date." Through our time together we've gotten to know each other, fallen in love, and deemed ourselves "best friends." I can't imagine my life without this man and I hope that someday, somehow I can be as wonderful to him as he is to me. 


Chrome For a Cause

A blogging friend of mine over at Relevant Notes recently posted about Google's creative way to spread Christmas cheer throughout the world this holiday season. I loved their "Chrome For a Cause" campaign's mission. All you have to do is download the Google Chrome web browser, download the Chrome For a Cause extension, and surf the web! For every tab you open in Chrome from now until the end of December 19th, Google will donate money to one of five charities listed on their website. Personally, I don't think anyone can give an excuse NOT to participate! It's probably the easiest way to spread joy (other than offering a hug or a smile) this Christmas season. So get surfin'!


Peace on Earth

Today was a rough day. Nothing terribly bad happened in my little Meagan-sphere, but many small things got on my nerves today and a few big things really got to me.

Let's start small and work our way up, shall we?
Last night, Josh and I both fell asleep while we were talking on Skype, so when Josh woke up at 0530, so did I from the sounds of him getting ready. It was great to get to see him in the morning and we even talked for about 5 minutes before he headed out the door and I fell back asleep. Because I got a good dose of love first thing and because today was the last day of the semester, I thought today would be easy-going. But when I walked into the bathroom (that I share with my younger brother) to get ready for the day, I realized the floor was flooded near the base of the shower. Someone had forgotten to keep the curtain inside the shower and water was everywhere. My brother has had this problem before and in the past, the water had leaked all the way through the floor and through the kitchen ceiling. So, just to be safe, I ran down to the kitchen and lo and behold...water. Dripping from the ceiling onto the kitchen table. Wonderful.

After mopping up the bathroom, dabbing off the ceiling, and getting ready for school I headed out the door. And since today was the last day of the semester our campus bookstore was hosting a "Book Buyback" where you can sell all your old textbooks back to the school for a little cash. I was really looking forward to getting about $100 for my old books, so as soon as I parked on campus I headed for the bookstore. I waited in line for 45 minutes behind everyone else selling books back, watching as each person received cash (in hand, mind you) as easy as 1, 2, 3. But as soon as I got up to the counter, the woman behind the counter said, "I'm sorry, but your books are a semester too old and we won't be using them next semester, so we can't take them." I was more than bummed. Almost pissed.

Then I headed to class, got my grade for the semester (not too shabby, but could have done better), and headed off to work to pick up my paycheck so I could do a little Christmas shopping before my laser appointment (more on that at later date) and work. I deposited my check, withdrew a few bucks for gas, and headed to my doctor's office. My appointment was supposed to be for 1130, but apparently everyone was on their lunch break while I sat in the waiting room for 20 minutes without hearing or seeing one person. Then, when they finally did bring me in for my appointment (which is supposed to take 30 minutes if they're thorough), the woman in charge of my appointment rushed to get my treatment finished, barely even doing anything,  and basically pushed me out the door. I'm sorry, but you are the one who was late for my appointment and my parents are paying you thousands of dollars to do my treatment correctly and thoroughly so that I get the results I was promised and you're slacking!

After my less than satisfactory appointment, I headed off to Nordstrom Rack to find a watch for Josh's Christmas present. He's the kind of person who likes to know what he's getting ahead of time, so I sent him pictures of watches I thought he would like. And of course, he didn't like them. So I drove over to the mall to see if I could find anything for Josh, my parents, and his parents there. I walked through almost every single store. No such luck. So I plopped down with some Panda Express and ate my feelings.

Then I ran home, got dressed for work, and headed out the door. Now, I know it's probably not right to dish about work on the internet (much less a personal blog), but tonight was kind of frustrating. I felt like I was the only one actively working; picking up toys, keeping an eye on the kids, greeting parents, etc. But that was only part of it.

While at work, I found out 2 things.
1. Josh was driving a 20-pack (a 20 passenger bus) full of soldiers on post in the nasty, slippery, icy conditions and lost control of the vehicle. The bus hit an industrial dumpster and one window shattered, as well as his pride. As a driver, and as a man, he was responsible for the safety of the others on the bus as well as the vehicle itself. Thankfully, no one was hurt physically, but things like that really take a toll on a man when they're responsible for others.

and 2. One of the men in Josh's barracks committed suicide this morning. I can't give details, but this really brought to light how precious life is. When Josh told me the news I was dumbfounded that this had happened in such a close vicinity to him and I was heartbroken for this man's family. I cannot imagine spending the Christmas season mourning over a loved one.

Those 2 incidents really made all of the other "bad" things that had happened to me today seem miniscule, and they are. Realizing how quickly life passes, whether planned or unplanned, reminded me that my "bad" day wasn't really all that bad. I was reminded to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I am alive. I have a home. I have heat. I have food. I have a job. I have a loving family. I have a man that loves me. I am part of 70% of the richest population in the world. I have a fantastic education. I am alive.

And as I walked out of work tonight, I realized what inner-peace really is. It was eerily quiet, there was a gentle snow falling, and it glittered like the fake snow you see in movies. It was beautiful, and instead of being frustrated that it would take me longer to heat up my car, take me longer to scrape the windshield, and take me longer to get home, I just let the beauty of life sink in and I stood outside my car and let the snow fall. I let it fall in my hair. I let it cover my car. And I let it remind me that today was a good day.

 Glittery snow is the best kind.


Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

As time goes on and as our relationship grows deeper and stronger, it's become much harder for me to be separated from Josh. Loving and growing together from 800 miles is no easy feat and I am thankful that God gave me such a patient and understanding man to encourage me when waiting has me at wits end.
But no matter how encouraging and how supportive Josh may be, the time in between visits seems to drag on and on.
Lately, I've had an even tougher time surviving the days, weeks, and months in between visits. This fall, we were blessed enough to be able to see each other 5 times between August and November, but for some reason, I still was not satisfied. In the early months of our relationship, we often went 2 months without being together (in proximity) and it was hard. But as our love has grown, so has my impatience. I love Josh so much that even being away from him for a week has me crying into a pillow. How did this happen? When did I go from being strong and able to get through months without holding his hand to weak and falling apart as soon as we hit the "one week apart" mark?
I've realized that absence does, in fact, make the heart grow fonder. But it also makes the girlfriend go crazy! I mean, it's hard enough to do long-distance, but when your man is also in the military and working a backwards schedule and your free time never matches up for a phone call or a Skype date, it's hard to say that your heart is  growing fonder. Instead, I think I'm growing weaker. My love for him is so strong and I long to hear his voice so much, that when we have to go weeks at a time without Skyping (yes, I made that word up) I find myself in tears after getting home from a long day of school and work and not being able to call him because I know he has to be up by 0430 for PT.
I miss him terribly. But I've found something that helps me focus on the love we have instead of the time apart is sending Josh little "love texts" telling him how much I appreciate him or detailing all of the adventures we'll have when we see each other again. They look a little something like this, "Thank you for working so hard even though you're having a rough day," or "I'm so excited to see the lights in Chicago with you!" So simple, and yet, he always responds with something along the lines of "I can't wait to kiss you under those Chicago lights!" or "I do it all so I can take leave to see my beautiful girlfriend." It's incredible how much joy a simple text can bring when you choose to focus on the good and leave the bad at the door.

After my little rant, I'll leave you with what I believe to be the most romantic long-distance quote in the history of man.
John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace, wrote a letter to his wife of 35 years while she was away visiting a sick relative. In the letter, he talked of how nothing had changed at home and how thankful he is that they are both alive and well. And in closing, he wrote,
"I am too fully employed to feel time hang heavy upon my hands in your absence; and, if I am permitted to come to you, the thoughts of the journey's end will make the journey pleasant."


Mother's Day!

Before you freak out and run to the nearest Hallmark to grab a Mother's Day card, think. Today can't possibly be Mother's Day! It's not sunny and warm (at least not here in Chicagoland!) and stores haven't started mailing out reminders. BUT, today is MY mother's day. Yep, that's right. Today is my mommy's birthday! And in her honor, I'll be posting a little about her today. {Hi mom!}

Where to start? Ok, so my mom is one of those moms who always attended every school activity my brother and I were involved in. She's one of those parents who calls from the grocery store multiple times to make sure you'll eat what she's buying. She's one of those people who is loud and obnoxious, but totally loveable. My mom is not only my mom, but she was also a stand-in mother for many of my friends during high school; "No food in the basement! Put on your coat, young man! Let me make you some brownies!" and so on. She's an amazing cook, photographer, mother, wife, and friend. She may get on my nerves sometimes, but she's my mother and I love her more than anyone in this world.


 My mommy and I a few days after my parents brought me home from foster care.

 You'll almost always find her either behind the camera or in front of the stove.

 My mom and her best friend, Lori, at Ed Debevick's for her birthday 2 years ago.

Always supportive, my mother helped me finish assignments and studying while
I had mono during the last 3 weeks of my senior year. Without her, I would not have graduated on time.


Love and Death

"Love of mine, someday you will die. But I'll be close behind. I'll follow you into the dark."
~ Death Cab for Cutie

Do you ever fear the day someone you love will die? When I was 16, my grandma passed away after years of battling the effects of numerous strokes. It was a long time coming and we all knew that even the slightest illness could take her from us. In the days leading up to her death, after the director of the nursing home called to tell us about her "unfortunate condition", I had this indescribable fear. Most people, when they hear they're about to lose someone they love, mourn. But I couldn't. I had lost many other people in the past, so death was a very real concept to me, I knew exactly how devastating it was. But for some reason, I couldn't mourn until my grandma had really passed away. My fear was the only thing I felt until the day she died. 
I don't know if my fear was for her or for myself. I knew she was in pain and I knew that the past few years had been terrible to her weak, little body. But I also knew that with her passing would come much change for our family. Without her, my brother and I would only have one grandparent left (who passed the following year). We would no longer have a reason to get together with my dad's distant sister's family for holidays. My grandma would never be able to give me her lipstick kisses again. Traveling to Michigan just wouldn't have the same purpose anymore. Everything would change. 
But when she did pass away in October of 2007, when my parents showed up in my 8th period chemistry class, the fear melted away and I cried right there in front of my entire class without explanation, because all that mattered was that my grandmother would never give me a lipstick kiss ever again. I cried for days even after her beautiful funeral. I cried because I missed her. I cried because I loved her and never told her enough. I cried because I would never get to hear any of her smart-ass comments when we would normally go to visit at Christmas or Thanksgiving or for her birthday. I cried because I knew she was an incredible woman and deserved my tears. 

Christmas 2006. My grandma's last Christmas.

Before my grandma passed away, death devastated me. When she passed, I was more devastated than ever before. And now, I have a new fear. I have nightmares about it, I think about it when he's driving long distances or practicing combatives or out in the field shooting military strength weapons, I pray more when one of us flies than I do in an entire year. I scare myself silly with my vivid imagination sometimes of all the possibilities. There's a new love in my life. And this time he's a man. And this time he's the Love of my Life. And this time I feel as if I would also die if his life was ended in any way. The fear is here, the love is here, and the tears are here anytime I hear a song about death on the radio or on my Pandora stations. They're here anytime I hear about anyone dying. They're here when I wake up crying from a nightmare. When any of these situations arise, I feel this indescribable need to call or text him immediately to tell him how much I love and appreciate him and can't wait to see him again. 
If I'm like this while he's still alive and healthy and in the prime of his life, what the hell will happen to me when he dies (if he dies before me, which is NOT preferable)? Ideally, we both live happily until we're about 75 and then I die. And then a few years later, he dies. But life is unpredictable and teenagers die in car accidents and buses roll over and trains fall off tracks and drunk drivers hit pedestrians and planes have mechanical errors and terrorists are constantly aiming at Washington D.C. and people die of pop-up diseases overnight and psychos shoot innocent people and THE WORLD IS SO UNSAFE! 

In short, I'm terrified of Josh dying before me. I honestly feel like my life would end. I would want to die too. And dying of a broken heart is the worst way to die. The movie P.S. I Love You breaks my heart in so many ways and sometimes, just once in a while, I feel like maybe I'd be able to heal. But movies are made in Hollywood, not in real life. Josh is a real person. No one else has ever had such an impact on my life and on my heart. And I know this post made me sound like a maniac, and no, I don't think about this ALL the time, but I just needed someone to know how scary this is to me. Does anyone else ever get these feelings? Has anyone ever experienced the death of a boyfriend or spouse?


Thanksgiving Update!

I know, I know. Bad me. I said I'd give an update on how my Thanksgiving break went and I haven't really had the time...until now! So here goes.

This year for Thanksgiving break, I flew to D.C. to spend an ENTIRE WEEK with The Boyfriend! Yes, I know I seem way to excited about this, but when you live 800 miles apart and your man's in the military and you're in college and working part-time...a week together is a HUGE deal. It was absolutely amazing. Incredible. Awesome. Indescribable. Here's the breakdown:

Monday: Arrive in D.C. and spend the night chilling with The Boyfriend at our friends' home in Fairfax.

Tuesday: Spend the day at our friends' home doing homework, while everyone else is on post or working. When My Man gets back for the night, head out to our other friends' apartment to watch The Hangover and eat delicious pumpkin cheesecake with them. Head back to Fairfax (where we stayed the entire week) to hit the hay.

Our friends' dog, Mack. He looks little here, but he's about the size of a miniature pony!

Wednesday: Head to post with The Boyfriend (at 0430, mind you) so that we can do some grocery shopping after he finishes PT. Then back to our friends' home in Fairfax to cuddle on the couch and watch movies all day. For dinner, hittin' up Carlyle in Shirlington for The Boyfriend's birthday! Scrumptious!

 Enjoying lobster bisque, caesar salad, jambalaya, and pecan crusted trout at Carlyle!

 About to indulge in a delicious banana pudding (his favorite) in honor of The Boyfriend's birthday.

Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner at My Soldier's platoon sergeant's home in Woodbridge. A few other guys from their platoon were also there. Ate a delicious meal and watched football until we were too anxious to get back to Fairfax and cuddle (yes, we love cuddling).

Friday: Chill on the couch watching movies and awesome TV shows (like Ice Road Truckers) all day.

Saturday: Rinse and repeat Friday's agenda.

Sunday: Clean up the house, do some laundry, eat up the rest of the food, pack up, cuddle until the cows come home.

Monday: Sneak into The Boyfriend's barracks while he works, finish up some homework until he can take me to the airport. Head to the airport, fly through security (good job BWI!), and cry. Cry a LOT. Almost all the way back to Chicago.

In short, we cuddled a lot, ate great food, spent time with good friends, and may or may not have enjoyed house/dog-sitting for our friends (the doggies/horses drool EVERYWHERE and bark all night long, but they're cute). It might seem like a boring, everyday experience for most, but for couples who are long-distance, those little moments mean the most. Lounging around in our PJs together isn't something we get to do often, so we took advantage and loved every last second of our lazy week. It's incredibly hard to leave after such an amazing week. But I can't wait to seem him again in only 2 weeks! We've truly been blessed with the amount of time we've been able to spend together in the past few months. Last second work trips, extra leave, and time off of work = 4 visits in 3 months! How lucky can one girl get?


Inside the Mind of Man

So you know how last week I told you I'd give you a peek inside the mind of a dude when it comes to marriage? Well, I'm just now getting around to it. Haha! Needless to say, this past week and a half has been insane around here with traveling for Thanksgiving (more on that in the next post), working, and getting back to school.
You know how I had to write that reflection about marriage from a woman's point of view last week, well I had to re-write it from the opposite perspective for another assignment. So here's my little hypothetical reflection on marriage, from a man's perspective.

Monotonous Sex and the End of Guy’s Night?
            So we’re getting married in less than five months and all I can think about is how my life is going to go straight down the can (or so they say). Don’t get me wrong, I love my fiancé to death. But just about every guy I know tells me that as soon as the ink is dry on the marriage license, so is the sex. And the thought of having to watch chick flicks for the rest of my life without getting laid afterward, now that just makes me want to punch a wall. Is marriage really that unsatisfying? I mean, you marry the “love of your life”, your best friend, and then spend the rest of your days eating pot roast and mashed potatoes and staring at each other? What is that?!
            Last time I checked, being married to your wife was supposed to be awesome. Sex a few times a day, dinner on the table when you get home from work, watching football with the guys on Sundays while she’s out with her girlfriends…Marriage is supposed to be fun! Right? I watched my parents’ marriage while I was growing up and I see it now and I realize just how much love and fun there is in their relationship. Granted, they’ve had a hell of a lot longer to fix their issues than my fiancé and I have, but hopefully one day we’ll reach that point where life is life and we enjoy it together because it’s all we’ve got.  I really hope we end up my like my parents. Happy and still lovin’ the sex! Oh yeah!
            I know it’s not going to be easy to get there though. Like, I know it’ll be hard to be a good husband and still have my independence, but you do what you gotta do. I know she’ll want my help around the apartment and that she’ll want to spend more time together (which drains my guy time). And I know that I’ll probably come home stressed and tired after work when she’ll want to talk my ear off, but I guess those are just little things, right? No big deal. What I’m really worried about though is the money. We don’t have to live a life of luxury or whatever, but I still want to be able to give my wife nice things and have a sick car and live in a good neighborhood, you know? Hopefully my teaching job can help with that.
            I guess you just never know how things will work out. You just have to do your best and work with what you’ve got. And plus, I love her, so I’m pretty sure marriage won’t be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. 

What do you think men fear about tying the knot? Any thoughts from husbands or boyfriends (aka potential husbands)?


How To Be a Good Wife

I can't lie. I've got the "M" word on my mind a lot lately. And because it's been consuming my thoughts, I've chosen to write about it for a reflection assignment for one of my classes. We were asked to reflect and write about something that our gender often thinks about. So, I obviously chose the "M" word...but more specifically, a woman's personal role in it. I've copied and pasted the paper into this post so you can get a glimpse inside my ridiculously over-analytical brain. It's a little long, but hopefully you'll enjoy it and maybe even relate!

P.S. No, The Boyfriend and I aren't engaged to be married, but I chose to write this as if I were getting married. Just a clarification. =)

What makes a “good wife”?

            As we’re approaching our wedding day, I can’t help but panic. No, I don’t have cold feet. No, I’m not nervous about the wedding being perfect. No, I’m not worried about getting it on on our wedding night. What I’m freaking out about is what happens after the wedding. After it’s all said and done. After we’ve said our “I do’s.” After we’ve thanked all of our guests. After we’ve hopped in bed for our first night as husband and wife in a swanky hotel. Even after we’ve returned from our honeymoon.  What happens then? I know what it takes to be a good bride on her wedding day, but do I know what it takes to be a good wife until the day I die?
            If I’m being honest with myself, I’m not sure I do. Part of me feels like, “If you love him, you’ll be a good wife no matter what,” and another part of me feels like, “Well, love isn’t enough. You’ve got to have other ‘wife-like’ qualities as well.” So what does it take? Does it take having an exquisite dinner on the table every night when he comes home from work? Does it take having mind-blowing sex 365 days a year? Does it take never-ending patience and never nagging? Does it take saying “Yes, Dear” even when I know he’s wrong? According to The Good Wife’s Guide (Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May 1955), this is what it takes to be a “good wife”;

 In some ways, I feel like this was written by a man (but what do I know). And in other ways, I wonder if this is actually feasible in today’s world of dual income homes. Yeah, most women back in the fifties didn’t hold full-time jobs as well as create a welcoming and damn near perfect home for their husbands, but in our world today, that seems to be the reality. Or at least the expectation.
            Don’t get me wrong; I’m no stranger to hard work. But working nine to five and having time to do all of those things listed above just seems insane! How am I supposed to live up to that without becoming a domesticated robot? I know that for me, that exact lifestyle will not work. I can tell you that right now. If I even attempted to live up to that, I’d be cranky and rude and I most definitely would not be in the mood to get it on when my hubby gets home from work. However, I do have my own notions of how I can recreate The Good Wife’s Guide in my own way to suit my lifestyle as a working woman, student, and wife.
            I know that I can keep our home tidy, sanitary, and safe. I know that I can always have the laundry done and put away so that we both have clean clothes to wear. I know that I can put together a delicious and healthy meal in a slow cooker so we’ll have warm dinner when we get home after stressful days.  I know that I can sit through hours and hours of football on the couch with my hubby if it means we’re relaxing together and enjoying each other’s company. I know that I can learn when to speak my mind and when to keep my mouth shut. I know that even if we don’t have sex every single night, we’re still incredibly attracted to one another. And I know that no matter what, as long as I stick to my guns and work hard at strengthening the love we have, I’ll be a “good wife.” Maybe even a great one.
            I know that there will be nights when we just grab take-out. I know that there will be days when I blame my crankiness on PMS just for the hell of it. I know there will be times when we’re so mad at each other that we don’t even bother to kiss each other goodnight. But I also know that commitment and love take hard work and energy. And I’m willing to put in the effort if it means that my husband loves me for the strong, loyal woman that I am rather than resent me for the fifties, Mrs. Cleaver-style, robotic wife that I’m not.

So how do you relate to this? If you're married, did you have these worries before you tied the knot and how have they changed? 

More to come...a look into the mind of man when it comes to being a husband.

Countin' Those Calories (and other things, too!)

I know I haven't posted in a while, but this one will be short and sweet (because I should be writing a paper). More posts to come though within the next few days!

Recently, my favorite thing has been tracking down what I eat. I know. I'm a weirdy. But I honestly do love keeping track of what fuel my body gets! Not only do I get to find out what the nutritional value is on EVERYTHING I'm eating (even restaurant meals), but it's great motivation to keep my portions down and eat food that is good for my body. So how do I do it? Sit back and let me tell you about my little secret (or not-so secret).

Livestrong.com has this AWESOME tool called MyPlate. Have you heard about it? Well, if you haven't, you're about to! MyPlate is so nifty. You create an account (spam mail free), enter your physical information (height, weight, fitness goals), and proceed on to the calorie/fitness counting monster! I absolutely love this part. After entering all of your fitness information, MyPlate calculates your recommended calorie intake according to your current habits to help you reach your new weight goal. It allows you to enter your meals, drinks, and fitness daily so that you can keep track of how many calories you're putting in your body and how many you're burning. Not only that, but MyPlate also calculates other recommended nutritional goals such as sodium, protein, water, etc.

I know that there are TONS of calorie counting tools out there (as I've experimented with many), but so far, I have yet to find one that satisfies my cravings as much as MyPlate. Way to go, Livestrong!


Early Thanksgiving

Today we're having an early Thanksgiving at my parents house with their Bible study group and their families. Why early, you ask? Well, let me explain.

- One of my cousins has joined the Marines and will be heading out to basic just after the "Official Thanksgiving," so my mom's side of the family is having Thanksgiving dinner in Michigan to send him off with a great meal and family celebration.

- I will be in Washington, D.C. with The Boyfriend for his birthday/our 11 month anniversary/the "Official Thanksgiving." So it'll be a week-long celebration out in D.C. with the love of my life. =) Definitely can't wait for that!

- My parents love entertaining (specifically my mother) and having their Bible study group over for an early Turkey Day is the perfect opportunity to show off her awesome cooking and baking skills.

So that's why we're celebrating one of my FAVORITE holidays a few weeks early. In keeping with typical Thanksgiving tradition at our house, I think it's only fitting to list a few of the many things I'm thankful for. So here goes...

1. The opportunity to attend a safe and skilled college.
2. Living in a house with heating and air conditioning.
3. Never having to worry where my next meal will come from.
4. The fact that The Boyfriend is stateside and not deployed.
5. My supportive and loving parents.
6. My incredible boyfriend who knows me better than myself and makes me want to be a better person.
7. Easy communication through technology.
8. Having the resources to travel and experience new places and things.
9. The incredible joy I get from children giggling.
10. Full use of my body.

What are you thankful for?


The Joy of Autumn Weather

Today is one of those "perfect" fall days. It's sunny with blue skies and a few clouds. There's a slight breeze, just enough to hear the leaves rustling outside. It's about 55 degrees and I am loving it.

My favorite things about this time of year?
- The lovely weather
- Oversized hoodies
- Homemade soups and chilis
- Snuggling up under warm covers when its time for bed
- The gorgeous colors of the leaves
- The fact that the holidays are coming up soon

A pile of newly raked leaves on campus between the buildings and the parking lots.
I am so blessed to have such a beautiful, tree-filled campus!


Deliciousness to the Max

So I got home from class today and was SUPER hungry, so I headed to the pantry. There I discovered a can of artichokes and many cans of diced tomatoes. I thought to myself, "Hm...that sounds pretty good!" Until I got to the box of spaghetti noodles and thought, "Mmm. This could be pretty darn tasty together!" So I grabbed all of my exciting ingredients, lined 'em up on the kitchen counter and decided to utilize to my trusty MacBook Pro to search for a tasty recipe.

I started by searching through recipes on EatingWell.com, my recent go-to site for all things delectable, but I didn't find anything to satisfy my cravings. So I hopped on the Google train and, lo and behold, I discovered MY DREAM RECIPE! I was so excited, and all I had seen was the first picture!

Picture by Pioneer Woman

Doesn't that just scream, "Eat me!"??? I love artichokes, tomatoes, onions, and tons of other colorful veggies, so this was definitely my cup of tea  plate of spaghetti. I was so inspired that I even threw in a few fresh mushrooms to add my own little twist.

Now, I'm no Iron Chef, but I gotta say...this meal was INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS! It's got the perfect balance of cream and tomato. And it's only 410 calories per serving. You get all your veggies (fresh and canned), a small amount of carbs, and one appetizing meal that the whole family will love! My little picky-eater of a brother even said it was good! 

Below are a few of my personal photos cooking along the way, but they're no where near as good as the ones on Pioneer Woman's website. So check 'em out! There are tons of great recipes (and other things) scattered there. 

Onions, garlic, EVOO, artichokes, and mushrooms. (Picture by me)
 Ingredients listed above, plus canned diced tomatoes. (Picture by me)
 Ingredients above with heavy cream. (Picture by me)
 It was so delicious that I forgot to take a picture of the meal all lovely on my 
plate! So here's a picture of the leftovers, enough for lunch tomorrow! 

Needless to say, this is my all time favorite recipe (so far). Mmm. =) It makes me all happy just thinking about how yummy it was. I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!


Our Love Story, Part IV

If you'd like to read Part I, click here. If you'd like to read Part II, click here. And if you'd like to read Part III, click here.

Although my new friend had gone home, I couldn't stop thinking about him the next day. I found myself creeping looking at his pictures on Facebook and contemplating breaking things off with my current man. But I'm too much of a wimp, so I couldn't bring myself to actually do anything. 

But later that afternoon, this new guy I'd fallen for sent me a text asking if I was free. Of course I said "YES!" And the next thing I knew, he shows up at my house and we spend the night talking and walking around my neighborhood until the sun goes down. 

There was one point in particular when we stopped on a corner and he looked down at me (he's 6'2" and I'm 5'4") and I thought I wouldn't be able to control myself anymore. He was so charming and had a lot to say. However, I was a big girl and knew my limits. I kept my hands and lips to myself and we kept on walking back towards my house. 

When we arrived back at our starting point he thanked me for a great time (all we did was walk around the neighborhood...?) and gave me the most gentle, but most protective hug I've ever received. I was so tempted not to let go. And so was he. I could tell by the way he kept holding me and by the way he said "I wish I didn't have to go back to D.C. tomorrow." At that moment, my heart shattered. In all this time we'd spent together over the past two days, I'd forgotten about the fact that he had a home far away from where we were. 

But he left my house that night, and flew 800 miles back to D.C. the next morning. There was nothing I could do. I figured I should just let him go and enjoy the memories. I thought I'd never see or hear from him again.  


My Happy Place

We were two teenagers, crazy in love.
It was my first visit to D.C. since we'd jumped into the LDR pool and we were excessively enjoying ourselves.
He had surprised me with a fancy dinner.
There we were, sitting in the luxurious Carlyle sharing meals we had ordered to complement the other.
We were giddy and laughing, genuine smiles plastered on our faces.
The lights were dimmed, I was wearing a new sweater, and The Boyfriend was gently rubbing his foot up and down my leg.
We kept holding hands across our small table until the waiter would bring out a dish to separate us.
I couldn't stop staring at him.
I didn't want to.
This dinner was so perfect. The food was delicious and I had shared it with the man of my dreams.
And just when we thought life couldn't get any more heavenly...
Our waiter brought out the creme brulee.

(Please excuse the glasses glare)


Unexpected Debt

I got a letter from Direct Loans in the mail today. Apparently, they were never notified that I enrolled in a different college and assumed I had just dropped out of my previous school, meaning that I am expected to start paying off my $7,000 in debt IMMEDIATELY. However, that is not the case. As soon as I moved back into my parents' house I re-enrolled in the local community college, so now I have to submit a "loan deferment form" to prove that I am, in fact, still enrolled in college, therefore pushing back the day that I have to start paying off the loans.

Oh, but that's not all. Nope. I asked my dad if this loan of mine was covered by the money left over in my college fund and guess what the response was...

Yep. You guessed it. I am now responsible for paying off over $7,000 in education-related debt. I was totally caught off guard by this because I was under the impression that there was enough money left in my college fund to cover the payments. But now that I know that's not the case, I'm wondering how in the WORLD I am supposed to pay that off. Being unemployed sucks. Especially when you have other monthly payments to make and another year of school that you have to take out more loans for. Oy.

Now, I know that my amount of debt is minor compared to what most people are paying for college these days, but I still can't pay it. So I still consider it a lot of money.

I guess there's always a time to start being a "real" adult, right? Thankfully, this past Wednesday I got a call from a local fitness center where I applied for a child care job to let me know that I got the position! YAY! Unfortunately, I don't start until the beginning of November, but hey. It's still a job!

Right now I'm just trying to figure out how I can cut corners on my spending and how I can afford to go to school next year while still making all my monthly payments for regular living expenses.

Oh, dear Lord.


My day today...

...was pretty good, for the most part.

0730: Hit the snooze button on my Samsung Intensity II.

0800: Wake up and groggily walk from the spare room (where I sleep) to my actual bedroom to get dressed and brush my hair. No shower today because I decided to hit the snooooooze.

0810: Brush my teeth, use the loo, and wash my face.

0815: Head downstairs to the kitchen, gawk at the mess of dishes that need to be washed, make myself a Goober sandwich for breakfast and taquitos to take with me for lunch, and pack my too-heavy-for-my-achey-back book bag.

0835: Head out the door to my lovely school, Waubonsee Community College.

0915: Attend my Sociology class. Today's subject was on intersexuality, babies born with both male and female genitalia. I won't get into our discussion, but it was interesting.

1045: Head out of class and run into my Monday/Wednesday friend, Kyle. We meet every M/W after class to catch up for a minute. He's pretty awesome and one of my only friends from high school that I still keep in touch with.

1100: Hop in the car, drive to the opposite side of campus, eat my taquitos, and head to my next class (early, I might add) to finish up some homework.

1130: Get a call from a local fitness center letting me know that I GOT THE JOB!!! I'll be working in their child care. PERFECTION. Now I can work with kiddos (which I love) and get a free gym membership! 

1230: Attend my College Studies Class (total bull, but actually kind of helpful).

1345: Head out to pick up a grill from someone on FreeCycle! The boyfriend has been wanting one for some time now, so I snatched one up for FREE!

1500: Laze around the house for a while. Chillaxin'. Camping out on the computer.

1700: Whip up some sloppy joes for myself and the fam, only to find out that the fam isn't going to be home for dinner. Something about mom and brother going to church like they do every Wednesday night. Totally forgot about that. And dad's outta town for work...so I ate alone and watched When In Rome. Super cute! Laughed a lot.

1930: Head to the dreaded basement and streeeeeetch before jumping on the elliptical for 20 minutes while watching one of my FAVORITE shows, House Hunters. Then added in a few crunches and (girl) push-ups.

2000: Hop in a nice, cool shower to unwind and then jump right out of said shower due to SPIDERS EVERYWHERE (there were about 3, but whatever). Have brother kill the nasties and run to the bedroom where I sleep (I've got 2 rooms, remember?).

2020: Finish up this blog post, check Facebook, and head to bed.


Changing It Up

So...I've decided that I'm not so sure how I feel about sticking to such a strict schedule on the blog. I'd kind of like to have more variety than what I've got already and I've found that I miss talking about real life situations, personal experiences, random thoughts, etc. So back to square one.

Now to develop my "blogging voice."

I'm not quite sure how to go about creating my voice on the net, but I'm guessing it just takes trial and error. Kind of how it was with the "schedule." I'll attempt to write in my own personal voice and to make make this blog unique to myself. Hopefully, my readers will be able to sense who I am and what I'm like in real life after a while. We'll see how this goes...


Toned and Trim Thursday

So, I know this post is 3 days late (my bad), but I thought I should post it anyway just to keep the blog on track. Better late than never!

Today is just going to be boring. Nothing too exciting or interesting. On Thursday I decided that, since I hadn't worked out in a few months, I should probably hop on the super snazzy elliptical my parents own. So I stretched, did 15 minutes on the "fat burn" cycle and added 30 crunches and 30 push-ups to top it off. Decent exercise. But still wore me out. I guess that's how you know that you're WAY out of shape (that and the fact that last years' jeans don't fit).


Our Love Story, Part III

After deciding to let him drive, we headed off to Meijer so we could pick up a few energy drinks, singing all the way there. I normally don't get that comfortable with anyone the first time I hang out with them, but I just felt so safe and free with him. It was awesome. When we arrived at the store, we got our drinks then wandered around for a while and ended up leaving with the movie 1941. He asked if I'd seen it and was appalled when I told him no. So, of course, we just haaaaaad to watch it. However, heading back to his parents' house to watch this amaaaaazing movie we had quite the relationship-altering experience.

As we were about 3 minutes away from his parents' house we approached an intersection with stop signs on the east and west corners and yeild signs on the north and south corners. It was about midnight, pitch black, and there were very few cars on the street. There was one car driving in front of us (we were on the "yeild" corner) and just as they were passing through the intersection we saw this speeding white blur t-bone their car! My new friend immediately slammed on the brakes, put the car in park, and we both hopped out to help the people in this shocking accident. Thankfully, the driver and her passenger were completely unharmed (thank the LORD!), just extremely shaken and their vehicle was obviously totaled. We helped them out of their car and pushed it off to the side of the road, just in case. Then we called the police. This was definitely not a situation one just walks away from.

After making sure the t-boned drivers were alright, we tried to help the driver of the vehicle that had run the stop sign, but her passenger refused. He yelled at both of us to get away and yelled at the woman to keep her mouth shut and stay in the car. My new friend and I tried to calm them, but they were obviously so intoxicated that there was no reasoning with them. Eventually the police showed up and asked my friend and I to stick around as witnesses, so we stood there next to one another in utter disbelief at what we had just witnessed. What an adventure this night was becoming!

After about an hour at the scene we were dismissed and headed back to my friend's parents' house to FINALLY watch this movie. We went up to his sister's old room, the only room with a TV and DVD player...but it was also only equipped with one twin sized bed. Hm...So we sat down next to each other and starting watching 1941, definitely feeling the chemistry, doing our best to resist a steamy make-out session. Thankfully, we were interrupted by my mom's desperate plea for me to come home (she's a worrier when I'm out too late), so we grabbed the movie and headed on our way back to my house.

But when we got back to my place, we totally scrapped watching 1941 and opted for a more creative, edgy film and popped in Across The Universe. Um...fail. We didn't even end up watching it! We actually spent the entire night, and part of the morning just talking. It was incredible. We had so much in common, but also so many things unique to ourselves. Definitely the best conversation I've ever had in my entire life. But my current boyfriend didn't feel the same way. At about 3am he texted me asking if this guy had gone home and if we had a good time and I had to admit that he was still at my place and we were having a great conversation. This definitely upset said boyfriend (I'm sure he sensed the chemistry), and I decided to respect him and send my new friend home.

What a crazy, adventurous, tempting, caring, incredible man! What is a woman to do?

Stay tuned next Wednesday for Part IV of Our Love Story...

Our Love Story, Part II

*Affectionate Sigh* Where were we? =) Ah, yes. The obstacles keeping me from this extremely handsome man...

1. I currently had a boyfriend (but our relationship was already going downhill).
and 2. This "new guy" lived 800 miles away. SO SCARY!

Considering those factors, I kind of just let myself "window shop" while we were at the Bible study, knowing that I'd probably never see this guy again. Everyone else would be hanging out after the study was over, but my boyfriend and I were headed to his parents' lake house for 4th of July weekend and were leaving immediately after. So I spent the weekend with my boyfriend and his family in Wisconsin and had an a-okay time, but as soon as I came home (my boyfriend had stayed back in WI with his familia) I couldn't stop thinking about this "other guy."
A sunset, viewed from the dock at the lake house. 

Ironically, my boyfriend suggested that I "get to know a few of his friends", so I took the opportunity and added the Army stud on Facebook. We got to talking and realized that both of us were bored out of our minds as everyone else was still on vacation for the holiday weekend. So I texted my boyfriend, explained the situation, and he agreed that I should invite this guy to hang out as a nice gesture. Now, this wasn't unusual for me since I try to be a very social person and I had a load of male friends in high school, so none of us thought anything of it. Little did we know how crazy this entire situation would turn out.

So...I asked my new Batman-loving friend (remember the t-shirt) if he'd like to go see Transformers 2. I thought, "It's a neutral, non-date movie so we should be good, right?" But theeeeeen I find out that he's never been to Red Robin! *gasp!* This was unacceptable, so we planned on meeting at Red Robin, which was conveniently located next to the movie theater, and then see Transformers 2. Everything was going just I had planned; totally neutral, no romance, just friends...until he called me while I was on my way and asked what he should wear. WHAT? Who does that? He was asking me, "Batman t-shirt or American Eagle t-shirt? Vans or tennis shoes? Hat or no hat?" I couldn't stop giggling while he was bombarding me with all these decisions! It was just too adorable. It was a sign that he wanted to look good when I saw him. ;) 

I arrived at Red Robin and waited for him out front, trying not to get nervous. This wasn't a first date, after all. We were just friends who had nothing to do and wanted to catch a good movie, right? Or so we thought. But when he showed up we awkwardly said hello then headed inside. As we ate our dinner, the conversation got lighter and less awkward and when the bill came we each agreed to pay our own halves, seeing as this was NOT A DATE, then we walked over to the movie theater and paid in the same fashion.
During the entire movie I could sense that he was trying not to look at me. You know that little out-of-the-corner-of-your-eye glance? Yeah...I could feel it. And I was trying to do the same. There was definitely chemistry and it was red-hot. No denying it. However, being mature almost-adults with self-control, we kept our hands to ourselves because neither of us are cheaters (remember my boyfriend...yeah) or instigators. So we finished the movie, recapped about the parts we liked and the ridiculous acting by Megan Fox, and started heading back to our cars. I was ready to say goodnight when he asked if I'd like to keep hanging out because he "wasn't tired just yet" and I happily obliged.

Stay tuned for Part III of Our Love Story to be posted later tonight...

Sentimental Wednesday Kickoff - Our Love Story, Part I

Yay for Sentimental Wednesday! I thought it would never come. I am very excited for today's post because it's all about how I fell in love with The Boyfriend. Cheesy, I know, but I'm psyched to tell you our love story. Just don't get too attached, because not every Wednesday will be a post about The Girlfriend and The Boyfriend. =P

How I Met the Man of My Dreams

It was the end of June 2009 and I was attending a Bible study with my current boyfriend in his church's youth pastor's home. I'd been a few times before so I knew all of the people there...except one. Everybody else seemed to know him and be uber curious about his "new life." On the outside, he looked a little nerdy, but kinda cute. He was wearing a black t-shirt with the Batman logo, glasses, Vans with black and white checkered shoelaces, and a high 'n' tight. Essentially, he looked like this...
Everyone seemed so into this guy and I really wanted to know why he was oh-so-interesting. I caught him glancing at me a few times (probably because I was the only person he didn't know either) and I was pretty sure he knew I was eying him too. Now, I was sitting next to my current boyfriend so I just asked him "Who is that guy?" and he explained to me that this guy had gone to the same church before joining the Army.

Woah. Stop right there. He's in the Army??? I know this is super shallow of me, but that instantly made him smokin' hot. He wasn't just nerdy-cute anymore. This guy was sizzlin'. Of course I couldn't tell my boyfriend that I thought this. Oooooh no.

But then...as if it couldn't get any better...he spoke. Oh, my heart! Unlike all the other scrawny, wimpy guys at the Bible study, this guy had a MAN'S voice. His voice was deep and commanding, but also gentle and light-hearted. He had people laughing and he answered questions so matter-of-fact. Needless to say, my heart melted into my shoes.

Unfortunately, my new heartthrob came with two very large problems.
1. I had a boyfriend (with whom the relationship was already on the rocks).
and 2. He lived 800 miles away.

Stay tuned later tonight for Part II of Our Love Story...

*South Park imitation compliments of The Boyfriend.*


Travel Tip Tuesday Kickoff

Ready for your very first travel tip from Long-Distance Love? I know I am!

This week's travel tip is one for risk-takers, so buckle your seat belts.

Have you ever noticed that, while chain hotels (i.e. Hilton, Fairfield, Comfort Suites, etc.) are super convenient and have all the typical amenities, the prices are never quite as low as you'd like them to be? That's something I've always resented about chain hotels. They're comfortable, most often safe, and have the pool, fitness room, and hairdryer, but I don't want to spend $110 a night to stay there. So how can we save money and still have those amenities?

LOCAL HOTELS! Yes, I know a few (or maybe a lot) local hotels that give others a bad name, but when you do your research you can get a great deal and the amenities! Sounds awesome, right? That's because it is awesome. But how do you know if these local gems are safe, clean, and have the services you're looking for without trying out the actual hotel first?

A great way to get a feel for what a local hotel (or any hotel for that matter) offers and for a great rate comparison, check out Expedia. It allows you to enter what you're looking for (flight, hotel, car, activities), the dates you're traveling, how many rooms you need, and what city you'd like to stay in. Once you enter this information, the search will automatically grab the results and sort them according to "Expedia's Picks." This often does not give you the best rates, but shows you hotels based on their ratings. To search for hotels based on their nightly rates, simply click the tab that says "Sort by Price."

Now comes the tricky part. You see the low rates (woohoo!), but what can you tell about the quality of the hotel? Good question! Click on the listing and you'll be taken to a description of the hotel. On the left hand side of the screen there's a tab that says "Photos." Click that tab to see pictures of the rooms or the lobby. Also on the left hand side is a tab that says "Traveler Opinions." Now, be wary of some of these reviews. The hotel may have low "star-value", but that doesn't mean it's not actually a great find. Many travelers that write negative opinions are either people who set their expectations high or who like to be picky. If this is you, stay away from local hotels because you will be disappointed. If this is not you, if you're looking for a great deal and don't care that the rooms might be a bit dated, then you'll be just fine.

Another idea to consider would be to stay away from major cities. I live right outside of Chicago and The Boyfriend lives right outside of Washington D.C., so prices tend to be pretty high for hotels. However, if you'll have a car or are comfortable navigating public transportation, checking in to a hotel in the surrounding areas would be a great way to save some dough. For example, the first time I traveled to D.C. to see The Boyfriend I spent the weekend in a hotel right in the heart of downtown. Not so great for the wallet. But the next time I came in town I decided to stay in Fairfax, which is about a 15-20 minute drive from downtown. Just by adding a little time to the commute I saved over $80 and that was with adding in the cost of public transportation!

Now that I've shared my very first travel tip with you, I'd like to hear about your experiences with local hotels. 


Music Review Monday Kick-off

Today's the first day of my new "editorial calendar", so please bear with me as I find my blogging style here. Here goes nothin'...

Weekly Fave

I've recently been addicted to The Band Perry . Now, they're country...(yes, I know, not everyone's cup of tea), but they've got such a unique sound. They're Alabama-raised siblings, Kimberly, Neil, and Reid Perry. Labeled as "country" but with a much more pop-ish feel, I'd say they're creating something of themselves beyond a particular genre of music. The tunes are catchy and the lyrics are cutesy, but somewhat weak. However, I find myself tapping my foot and singing along with every word. Feel free to take a listen here. My current favorite of theirs is "If I Die Young."

Weekly Abomination
Miley. Cyrus. Disgusts me. I mean, how in the world do you go from adorable role model for pre-tween girls to a complete musical failure who dresses like a slut? Excuse my language, but I think we all know its true. Having worked at a daycare and nannying for Miley's previous demographic, it kills me to see how she's "re-created" herself. Since when is it okay for a 17 year old to only wear underwear and a tank top and display it for the world to see? I used to be supportive of Hannah Montana, and even Miley Cyrus when she first dropped her Disney character, but now she's gone too far for my liking. Her lyrics (and videos) are tasteless and show a complete LACK of maturity, the exact opposite of what she was going for. Watch her most recent body-flaunt here...just be sure your kids aren't watching.

*Photos courtesy of Gossip Teen and Grand Ole Opry.


Setting the Stage

Earlier this week I read an article about creating an "editorial calendar" for your blog. I thought, "Hm...that would be a great way to stay organized, but how would I brainstorm that many topics in advance?"

Solution: Create a weekly editorial calendar dedicating one topic to each day of the week.

So here's what I'll be attempting to stick to as I blog away;

Music Review Monday: The first day of the work/school week is always the longest and most boring, in my opinion, so why not spice it up? On Monday's I'll be reviewing my current music vice and hopefully providing links so that you can listen along to see what you think.

Travel Tip Tuesday: Considering the fact that I travel a LOT to see The Boyfriend, I have a few travel tips up my sleeve and I'd love to share them with you. Traveling should be a great, stress-free experience and hopefully these tips will be of great use to you.

Sentimental Wednesday: Since this blog is written by a girl in a long-distance relationship, it's only fitting to include struggles, triumphs, tips, and stories from myself and others regarding love from a far. Occasionally I'll post personal tips I've learned from my relationship with The Boyfriend, tips that I've gathered from relationship experts, cute love stories, ways to stay close, etc.

Toned and Trim Thursday: Let's be honest, it's not easy to get in shape and stay in shape, especially for those of us who know nothing about losing weight and getting healthy. So Thursdays will be dedicated to my personal weight-loss journey (to encourage others), work-out tips, and healthy (but tasty) recipes. I also personally vow to you that, before posting any of these said tips and recipes, I will try them first.

Frugal Fridays: Who likes to save money? Me, me, me!!! Fridays will be set aside soley for the purpose of sharing fun, creative, smart ways to save money on everything from travel, groceries, utilities, cars, and anything else that might come in handy.

Weekend Ramblings and Reflections: On Saturdays or Sundays I'll post any random thoughts or rants I've held inside throughout the week.

Hopefully this structure will allow for me to post daily without having writer's block! I'm actually very excited to get started, but I've got to put the finishing touches on a paper due tomorrow. Thanks for reading. Blog ya tomorrow!


Don't update, Stand up!

Recently there's been an epidemic of seemingly risque Facebook status updates. Women and girls everywhere posting their status as "I like it on the kitchen table" or "I like it in the passenger seat." At first I was a bit confused and kind of disturbed that people would be disclosing this kind of information, but when I found out that these statuses were to raise awareness for breast cancer I literally did a face-palm. Not only did I feel stupid for assuming the posts were regarding people's personal sex lives, but I was also slightly upset that this is ALL people were doing for the cause.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think it's a creative way to create awareness of breast cancer, but what is your Facebook status going to do to FIGHT this cancer that is stealing our wives, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, bosses, and girlfriends??? NOTHING. I've seen a few of my friends lose mothers or grand mothers to breast cancer and it is horrifying and heartbreaking. Not only do you know that you could lose your loved one, but you also have to watch as they deteriorate before your eyes.

This is something far bigger than just our Facebook statuses people! Raising awareness is just the tip of the iceberg. People already know it exists. They already know that it's sad and painful. But what are we doing to HELP?

If you want to help, if you feel led to give to those who are helpless against this life-taking cancer then here are a few ways to be sure that your resources are going towards a genuinely life-SAVING cause.

1. Purchase an approved item whose proceeds truthfully go towards a breast cancer foundation, such as the ones Yahoo! Shine posted today. I personally just purchased the Glowology candle and am so excited to have a reminder in my home of the women fighting the battle against breast cancer everyday.

2. Donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. You can donate funds, become a breast cancer advocate, participate in a Race for the Cure and so much more!

3. If someone you know has breast cancer or has lost the battle, there are often resources available to donate to a breast cancer charity of their choice. For example, a girl I knew in high school lost her mother to breast cancer only last year. Her mom knew that the cancer would eventually win (after battling it for over 13 years) and decided to make a difference by completing races and marathons to raise money for breast cancer research. Steph Lesiecki's story is extremely powerful and makes me cry when I read of her life to this day. To donate to breast cancer research sponsored by a Rush University Medical Center patient, click here.

Now stop reading this and join the fight! Sign up for a Race for the Cure or spend just a little cash to make a HUGE difference in the lives of the women we love. God bless!!!


Back to Work!

*Sigh* This weekend in Lafayette turned out to be more than wonderful. The Boyfriend was out there for work and thought he would be on call all weekend, but his corporal gave him all of Saturday off to spend with me. How thoughtful! We spent the day driving out to see some friends of The Boyfriend's and playing Halo on their HUGE screen. I'm pretty sure he was jealous. Needless to say, we had a great time with them and even got some alone time together. I love spontaneous visits with my Love.

Gettin' down to business...
Today I've grabbed some simple ways to score an upgrade when flying, staying at a hotel, or renting a car, thanks to today's article on Yahoo! Finance. Anyone can pull these off, so don't be shy! Get the biggest bang for your buck. Check out the article and feel free to let me know of any sweet scores you've made while traveling!


Square One

Well, hello there!

You've officially entered the realm of young love and thrifty adventures. I know you're probably thinking to yourselves, "Greaaaat, another blog about two people in love who want to document their lives for the whole world to read." And you might be right, but I'm hoping to build this blog into something much, much more than that.

Here on Long-Distance Love you can walk with me as I journey through life. You'll find recipes, tips on maintaining a healthy long-distance-relationship (or LDR), travel resources, DIY projects that I'm working on, the never-ending battle with finding a "happy weight," and so much more! 

Let's start building, shall we?

First things first. Who are these Long-Distance Lovers?

Meet Me (The Girlfriend)
 I'm currently going to school to earn a degree in Travel and Tourism and am in love with the Czech Republic. I also love butterflies, dark chocolate Lindt truffles, lighthouses,
photography of all sorts, country music, giggly babies, worshiping the Lord through music, trying 
new foods, and exploring new places with the man of my dreams (who you will meet.....NOW)!

Meet Him (The Boyfriend)
Now here is the man I'll be posting about pretty often. The Boyfriend is in the U.S. Army and stationed in Virginia. He's extremely supportive, loving, laid-back, and funny. He truly is my better half.

Currently, The Boyfriend and I are in a long-distance relationship. After going to school in Michigan for a year I've moved back into my parents' house in Illinois (where he and I are both from), while he's stationed all the way in Virginia. Needless to say, we do quite a bit of traveling between the Midwest and the East Coast and it tends to get expensive, so we have to get creative if we want to spend some quality time together. Thankfully though, this weekend The Boyfriend is on what's called a TDY, or temporary duty. TDYs are essentially just overnight missions. And this weekend, his TDY is bringing him all the way to Lafayette, Indiana!!! That means I can meet up with him without having to pay for a plane ticket! Yipee! 

Anyway, after all this excitement I'm a little worn out, so I guess it's time for bed. But be sure to check in next week for a few posts all about my favorite tips for saving on airfare!