Cracks. Me. Up.

Jarmaine cracks me up! I don't wear tons of make-up, but her awesome tutorials make me want to. Haha! Check her out.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Life's been insane around here. I promise to check back soon though and add some more substantial posts. Hope you're all doing well!



This morning I am...

...killing this.

...wearing these.

...lying here.

...eating this.

...attempting to do this.

...and tackling this.

It's amazing what taking a morning for yourself can do for your mind, body, and soul.


My Current Addiction

I've recently discovered this great cover duo on Youtube, justinrobinett.
Check 'em out! Not only am I addicted to their sweet talent, but also the occasional
random dudes and dudettes in the background. =)


Struggling to Find My Happy Weight

"Step off the scale! Judge your weight loss on how your clothes fit, how you feel both inside and out, and the choices you make."

"Why do I want to lose weight? Is it out of self-loathing or self-love?"

These are a few of the many words that jumped off the screen at me today. I was reading an article on Yahoo! about 8 Weight Loss Transformations and struggled to keep myself from crying.

From the time I was born until the year I started high school I had always been a toothpick. My mom dressed me in leggings all the time because jeans just weren't small enough to stay up. But as I started high school, I gained and gained and gained until I went from a size 4 to a size 10 between my freshman and sophomore years. I know this is normal during puberty and other changes during those years, and I never felt uncomfortable in my skin until something broke the ice. My sophomore year of high school, my mom and I were out shopping and I wasn't fitting in the size 10 jeans, when she said, "I guess we'll have to get a size 12, Chunky Chick."

 This picture was taken right before my dad and I left for Europe between my sophomore
and junior year of high school. Approximate weight = 150.

She didn't say this to be mean. She didn't say it to purposely hurt me. But that one comment made me hate myself, my habits, and the "chunky" body I lived in. I've never battled an eating disorder like bulimia or anorexia, but overeating became the way I dealt with my depression. Food tasted good. Food looked good. Food smelled good. And food wouldn't judge me. Food wouldn't call me fat. So I turned to it as a way of hiding the fact that I was afraid of my body. I ate because I figured eating would keep people from thinking that I considered myself fat. And during those first two years of high school, I gained and gained and gained some more. 

But surprisingly, without any reason at all, during my junior year I dropped at least 20 pounds. I didn't do it purposefully, I didn't diet, I didn't exercise. And for the first time since middle school, I actually loved the way I looked. And so did everyone else. I kept getting comments like, "Wow! You look great!" and "Have you lost weight?" These comments, and people noticing how great my body looked made me feel incredible. So incredible, in fact, that it made me want to take better care of myself. And I did. I didn't necessarily change what I ate, but how much of it I was eating. And I drank water like crazy. My junior and senior years were the best years for me, weight-wise. But that would all soon go down hill.

 One of my senior pictures. The skinniest/happiest I ever was with my body. 
Approximate weight = 125.

The fall following my graduation from high school, I moved out of my parents' house and into my cousins' house in Michigan to go to college. I attempted to buy healthy food for myself, but money was tight and finding time to cook meals seemed like too much of a hassle. I also hated the school I was at and started the self-loathing again because I knew how much money my parents had shelled out to make it possible for me to go there. On top of this, I had gotten 2 jobs. All of this kept me either too busy or too tired to cook healthy meals for myself, so I turned to frozen pizzas and chicken tenders as a quick fix. 

Pretty soon, everyone started noticing my weight gain, which by now was almost 20 pounds between graduation and the end of my first semester of college. I hated how groggy I was. I hated how easily I caught a cold. I hated the way my clothes fit. And I hated that the way my clothes fit made me feel even more depressed. I was angry at myself. And I was angry at my parents. Why hadn't they taught me healthy eating habits? Why hadn't we been more active as a family? But I couldn't blame them as much then as I can now.

In November 2010, I weighed my heaviest.
Approximate weight = 180.
After that horrible first year in Michigan, I decided to move back into my parents' house because I thought it might be easier to change my unhealthy ways. Boy, was I wrong. As soon as I moved back in I had even easier access to Doritos, mayo, white bread, and even less control over what I was putting in my mouth. I had no job, so buying my own groceries was not an option. And any time I asked my mom to pick up something healthier at the grocery store, she refused, saying, "When you pay for the groceries, you can buy whatever you want."

Today, January 18th, 2011.
Approximate weight = 174. 
And now, as I'm sitting here staring at my size 14 wedding dress that I barely fit into, I can't keep myself from crying because I see the consequences of my mindless, depressive eating habits and I see the consequences of staring at the computer for hours, rather than taking a walk or getting on the elliptical. And I hate it. And I hate myself. And I hate that stupid size 14 wedding dress that I barely fit into.
Today is the day that all of that changes. No more excuses. No more letting my mother control what I eat. No more lounging around on Facebook when I could be doing my 20 minutes of 30 Day Shred. No more being afraid to go shopping for clothes. No more crying because my jeans won't button. No more. Today is the day I change my life for the better and today is the day I take control.

*I'm starting another blog, in addition to Long-Distance Love, all about my weight loss journey, beginning TODAY. If you'd like to check it out, offer support, or even join in the journey, you can follow me at The Chunky Chick Chronicles.*


Love/Hate Relationship...So Far

For Christmas I asked for the Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred DVD and a pair of hand weights. Obviously, as my fiance is so good at keeping me accountable, Josh gifted them to me! I was psyched to receive them, but only did the workout once between Christmas day and January 8th. FAIL.

So in order to accomplish my New Year, New Life Goal #1, I've decided to rehash my workout plan for myself you as a reminder. Here we go!

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred
Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday: 20 minutes on the elliptical

And along with my daily workouts, I'm going to attempt to eat cleaner. Less preservatives, more real food. Less eating out, more cooking healthy at home.

So far, as I've "re-started" my cleaner, leaner 2011 plan (just this morning) I'm doing well! I successfully  completed Level 1 of 30DS and I only cussed out Jillian once! The first time I attempted 30DS I couldn't make it all the way through and I got so angry at Jillian that I literally turned off the TV. No joke. So today was quite the accomplishment for me!

The workout is awesome, but it is an ass-kicker (and you do some literal ass-kicking in the DVD. See for yourself)! She really means it when she says that the results don't just get handed to you. It's tough, but totally worth it to push yourself through the full 20 minutes.

But in order to keep myself on track (lose 20 by June, another 20 by December), I need YOUR help to stay accountable. Any one interested in doing 30 Day Shred with me? I plan on going longer than 30 days, but you can join in and do as much as you'd like. If not, what are your workouts like?


I Heart Goodwill

Alright people. Listen up! Goodwill is AH-MAY-ZING.
Do you want to know why? Good, because I'm about to tell you.

Goodwill is amazing because they have awesome stuff for even awesomer (yes, it's a word) prices! Take this couch for example.

Last Wednesday I purchased this couch at my local Goodwill store/donation center for $4. Yes, you read that right. Four buckaroos! You'd think for that low of a price it'd be smelly and stained and torn and full of bed bugs. And you'd be wrong.

It's fresh smelling, there's only one small stain, the corners are only a teeny bit worn, and there are NO bed bugs (thanks to Goodwill's furniture inspection policies). And I snatched it up for only $4! Needless to say, I was ecstatic and called up my daddio so we could load it in his truck. It's now sitting in my parents' front room waiting to move into its new home in Arlington in May.

Another reason, or rather, ELEVEN other reasons why I love Goodwill?

You'll just have to wait and see...


New Year, New Life

As you know (if you've read the past few posts), Josh and I are tying the knot in April! We are beyond ecstatic and can't wait to start our new life together. Getting married is a big life change, but that's only the tip of the iceberg for me/us/him this year.

1. We're getting married.
2. I'm moving from Chicagoland to D.C. Metro-land (aka "my whole life will be uprooted").
3. We're moving in together.
4. I'll (hopefully) be starting 2 part-time jobs to start paying off student loans.
5. Josh will start applying for colleges at the end of the summer.


I can't even wrap my mind around all of this yet. I'm pretty used to moving around, so that shouldn't be a huge deal, but this time I'll be moving into my own apartment with my own HUSBAND! It'll be our home, albeit, temporary. And I'm used to working my booty off to pay bills, but running around an unfamiliar city alone kinda freaks me out a wee bit. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it, but at the moment, I'll confess, I'm a scaredy-pants.

Although we've got plenty of major changes and transitions headed our way, I'm still determined to throw in some "New Year's Resolutions", if that's what you'd call them. They're not too insane, but they're goals I'd like to accomplish for my own benefit and the benefit of others. Here goes nothin'!

1. Lose 20 pounds by our June honeymoon, another 20 by Christmas 2011, and keep them off!
When Josh and I met, I weighed 40 pounds less than I do currently. I'm not saying that my excuses are valid, but what with moving out of my parents house, working 3 jobs, going to school, traveling monthly, and moving back into my parents house all in a year and a half, I'd say my stress levels definitely reflected in my weight gain. Not good.

So how do I plan to lose those 40 pounds? Right now, my plan is pretty simple. I got the Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred DVD and a pair of 2lb weights for Christmas and have realized that doing the workouts every day hurts my body too much (as of right now), so I've decided to alternate days.
M,W,F - 30DS
T,Th,S - 20 minutes on the elliptical
As far as eating healthy goes...well, considering the fact that I'm flat broke and currently living with my parents, eating healthy/buying healthy foods isn't really that easy, so I'll do what I can until I get my own place with Josh. Then we can cook "clean" for ourselves!

2. Cook at least one new recipe every week!
Now, for some of you domestic divas this may seem like a cinch. But for someone like me who pops a frozen skillet bag meal on the stove and calls it dinner, this might be a challenge. As with Goal #1, living in my parents' house might make this a little difficult (since my mother is practically a 5-Star chef and controls the kitchen), but I assure you, as soon as Josh and I get our own place I'll be experimenting with the stove every now and again. And I'm sure he'll appreciate having someone with time to make dinner!

3. Revamp my wardrobe!
If you know me, you know that my clothes are kind of "blah." I work at a fitness center where my uniform is a t-shirt, sweats, and tennis shoes and I wear my hair in a ponytail about 5 times a week. Needless to say, I need a change. Especially if I wanna look HOT for my soon-to-be-hubby! He works hard all day with people wearing digi-print ACUs. The man deserves to come home to a loving woman who cares enough about him and herself to put on a little make-up and a cute sweater.

4. Be more adventurous!
After years of feeling "safe" in the realms of child care and education-land, I'm ready to move on. Marriage will be a giant adventure in and of itself, but I want even more. The last true adventure that I had was in between my sophomore and junior years of high school: I traveled to the Czech Republic with a group from my church to teach English and it was the most amazing experience on earth. I want to go completely out of my comfort zone. I want to learn D.C. like the back of my hand and feel confident going places alone. I want to learn to build a bookshelf or a bed or something. I want to go rock-climbing (for real, not the indoor junk). I want to...I don't know! I just want to enjoy life for more than just going to movies and taking care of children and sitting on the couch. Give me some ideas!


Big Questions

Since our engagement over Christmas, many people have been congratulating Josh and I. It's so wonderful to be encouraged with hugs and kisses and "Let me see the ring"s. I've kind of just been soaking it all in amidst the behind-the-scenes craziness.

But there's one thing that's been hard to explain and difficult to ignore. Josh and I are having a very short engagement. We just got engaged on Christmas Day and we're tying the knot at the end of April of this year. Many people have expressed their disagreement, given quizzical looks, and asked "Why so soon?", so I thought I'd explain here.

No, Josh did not knock me up. No, we're not getting married for the military benefits. No, we're not "rushing into this" because we're immature teenagers who think marriage is more money, rainbows, and butterflies.

Being long-distance sucks. Plain and simple. And after bawling my eyes out every time one of us drops the other off at the airport, not knowing when we'll see each other again, we're both ready to close the gap. It's just time. For anyone who's ever been in a long-distance relationship like ours (800+ miles apart, military, college, various jobs, pricey plane tickets) you'll understand that being long-distance for a year seems like two. I know that many people may not understand our take on things, but we need encouragement and support as we take this next step in our relationship. We're doing our best to be gracious and patient with those who disagree with our time-line, but sometimes it's easier when you have positive reinforcement from those close to you (and even not so close).

Josh and I have known for a while now that marriage is the next step in our relationship. Not only because it would close the 800 mile gap between us, but because we know each other inside and out and yet, we still love each other. Marriage is the next step because we've been through rough spots and have come out of them as better people and a stronger couple. Marriage is the next step because we know what it means to work at keeping our relationship strong. Marriage is the next step because, after all we've put each other through, we're still 1,000% dedicated to loving each other and getting to know each other more and more every day.

We can't wait to start this new chapter of our relationship and we appreciate all the encouragement and support we've received thus far.

To close off this post, I'd like to ask for encouragement and wisdom as Josh and I venture into this totally new and unpredictable time in our lives. What has helped your marriage thrive? What have you learned about being married that you never understood before being married? Any tidbits of wisdom are appreciated!

Wedding Planning Madness

Whew! Since Josh proposed a little over a week ago things have been CRAZY around here! Not the bad, mad-scientist versus Godzilla crazy, but the we're-getting-married-in-less-than-5-months crazy!

Last Thursday, my mom and I had an appointment at David's Bridal to try on wedding dresses. We went in thinking that I'd just try a few on, not find "The One", and make appointments at other bridal shops to accomplish the goal. I tried on about 10 dresses altogether. Towards the end of our appointment I was in love with "The Dress" so much so that I didn't even have to beg my mother to buy it right then and there. She just pulled out some moola, paid for it, and we took the dress home THAT DAY. *le sigh* It's so tempting not to try it on every day, but occasionally I unzip the bag just to get a peek of the beauty. I wish I could post a picture, but I know that someone periodically checks up on the blog and I don't want to spoil the surprise. Anyway, that's Wedding Adventure Numero Uno.

Wedding Adventure Numero Dos? Well, I collect antique blue Ball mason jars. I think they're absolutely gorgeous, and since I love them so much, they'll be used as our centerpieces! I'm psyched about this, just so you know. I love these jars, but they're a little expensive, so I didn't have too many just lying around (maybe about 15?), so I hopped on Etsy to see what I could find. After searching for juuuust the right ones I found a few listings of the jars I needed and blew about $250 on about 30 of these lovelies.

Photo from Etsy seller snydershomestead.

Wedding Adventure Numero Tres was finding a location that had openings for such a last-minute wedding. More on the last-minute-ness later. But thankfully we found a beautiful, helpful, flexible location that has 2 openings...the exact 2 dates Josh and I were hoping for! How perfect is that? 
Mill Creek Golf Club in Geneva, Illinois is a great balance of charm and affordability and the event coordinator, Nichole, is absolutely amazing. She's been awesome about the date flexibility and when I leave messages for her she responds within the hour. That's pretty awesome if you ask me! I'm all about great customer service. Anywho, we'll be putting a deposit down by THIS THURSDAY!

Next on the list (as if you haven't had enough of my excitement), is our photographer. A few years back a friend of mine got married and when I saw her wedding pictures online I knew that when I got married I just had to have this guy. The photos were gorgeous and you would never be able to tell that that was his first time shooting  a wedding! He also did the photography for a  wedding I was just in earlier this summer (I recommended him to my friend without ever meeting him), and he made everyone so relaxed. He was funny and had this great way of making sure everyone was comfortable and not stiff for the pictures. That's a characteristic every photographer should have. Ever since, I've been in love. I just called (and emailed) him today, so hopefully we'll hear back from him soon. Wanna fall for his work as hard as I did? His name's Tim Tabailloux of Tim Tab Studios in Wheaton, Illinois. 

That's all of the major progress for now, but I've got a few more big things to get done within the next few weeks. Florist, hair/make-up, cake baker, buying more decorations, bridal party stuff, etc. I'll keep you updated (as if you'd die if you didn't know what was going on). But for now, on to more wedding planning!