2.25.2013

Valentine's Day/Anniversary Weekend Recap

Our Valentine's Day and anniversary weekend in pictures. 

Victoria's Secret {To Die For}
I set up a fun little movie night on the living room floor. It was fantastic fun.
We spent the weekend in Chicago and my parents surprised us with a hotel room in the city. 
Josh is a huge Snoopy fan so we saw the Charles Schulz exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. He was like a giddy kid. :)
Rest In Peace, Charlie.
That evening we saw a comedy show at The Second City - where Bill Murray, Tina Fay, Steve Carell and more got their start in the comedy world. Hilarious!
Us at The Second City.
Josh's full rack of ribs at Ditka's. I dug into my food too quickly to take a delicious picture, but this was some of the best food I've ever had.
Happy 2nd Anniversary, Joshie Poo! 

2.24.2013

PDY 2013 - Week Three




What is something off of my "Do You" list that I attempted this week?


A. Number 2 - Make fitness a hobby! Still loving the Kinect! This week I played Dance Central 2 on fitness mode. I love exercising when it feels like fun.
Number 6 - Get a hair cut! I have yet to get a mani/pedi, but money's been tight so I'm waiting until later. But that hair cut? Necessary!


Number 7 - Read books! Marriage books up the wazoo, baby.
Number 11 - Attend one-on-one therapy! If you don't have a personal therapist, I'd highly recommend that you find one. Especially if you're going through major life events or have anxiety like I do.
Number 12 - Go places/do things solo! Josh had a midterm Wednesday night, so I spent the evening at the library...reading in a quiet corner in a comfy chair. :)

What did I do this week to indulge in my passions?
A. I spent a significant amount of time cooking this week. More than usual. It's a sickness.

What did I learn about myself this week?
A. I learned that my "old self" was ugly on the inside and I am seriously ashamed and embarrassed by the person I used to be. That's a work in progress, for sure.

What made me happy this week?
A. Spending the weekend in Chicago to celebrate our anniversary and our (now regularly scheduled) dedicated J&M Time is proving to be a success.

What made me blue this week?
A. A difficult morning with bus routes and schedules made Saturday morning...not so good.

Who did I meet this week and how can I further my relationship with them?
A. I didn't meet these people for the first time this week, but Josh and I went on a double-date with an old friend of his who also attends U of I (we'll call her LM) and my sister-in-law spent the weekend with us. I'd love to get to know these girls better. Any ideas on how to further a new friendship as an adult?

How do I feel today after my experiences this past week?
A. Today I'm feeling okay. I've been better, but I've been worse. Instead of getting down on myself, I'm choosing to stay positive!

*Feel free to develop your own Do You goals and link up with Sara and I!*

2.17.2013

Giveaway Winners!

Just checking in quick to announce the winners of my Birthday Bash/100 Follower Giveaway


PDY 2013 - Week Two

 



If a brand new friend asked your mother, significant other, or best friend, "What does Sally like? Who is Sally? Tell me more about her," what do you think they'd say? Wouldn't it be interesting to get to know yourself from someone else's perspective? Next time you're working out a problem or picking something out at the store, be nerdy dig a little deeper and ask yourself a simple question - what makes me think this way or why do I like this?

This week (and the purpose of this year-long project) I focused on getting to know myself - who I am and why I am that person. And it was great timing because about 2 weeks ago there was a slew of Instagram screenshots of people's ArchetypeMe results and I, of course, joined in on the fun.

My results. I'd say it was pretty spot-on. 

ArchetypeMe is one of those basic, run of the mill personality quizzes you see everywhere online...or so I thought! The first part is just that...basic. But after you take the quiz you're directed to a webpage geared towards your specific archetype! There are articles, pictures, polls, and more. Fun stuff, huh?

It's an entertaining site, but it's interesting to see how well (or how poorly) the content pulls you in, based on your strongest archetype. Check it out here!

Another great way to get to know yourself? Date yourself!

I ran across a little article on Shape Magazine's Twitter this week and thought, "You know what? Yes! I'm going to date myself!" Noooooo, this does not make me a sad woman who goes to the movies alone because I have no one to go with me. You need to "date" yourself for the same reason you'd date a new crush - to get to know yourself better. This also ties into my goal to be more independent, as I've never been to the movies or gone out to eat (not the drive thru!) all by myself like a big girl. *gasp!*

*I'm not answering any questions this week, as I was a slacker and focused on other things this week. But make "dating yourself" a priority this week. Do something you love all on your own. You'll be amazed by how liberated you feel!*

2.14.2013

Finding A Therapist 101, Pt. 2

After storming out of the therapist's office, I got in my car and slammed the door as hard as I possibly could before screaming, "I HATE THAT BITCH!" at the top of my lungs and dialing my dad. He answered the phone to a sobbing daughter who'd just been sucker punched. I explained what had happened between waterworks and he said exactly what I needed someone to say at that moment - "That's not what a marriage therapist is supposed to do at all."

My dad talked to me for a few minutes to try to calm me down (without success) until Josh came out to the car. When I hung up with my dad, Josh said that it probably wasn't a good idea to ever see that therapist again. And that was that.

We were lucky enough that I accidentally scheduled an appointment with our new therapist immediately following that disaster. If it weren't for that appointment, I probably would have given up on trying to salvage what little is left of our relationship. It's hard enough as it is to save a dwindling marriage without someone telling you that your efforts are worthless. Upon seeing me with my swollen eyes and a hundred soggy tissues in hand, R.J. asked what had happened. Josh explained everything and our new, compassionate therapist responded, "Well, I don't believe that one bit. You could have given up a long time ago, but you're here, aren't you? That means there is hope."

That appointment was such a blessing. R.J. had us explain what our individual Number One need was in our marriage; for Josh is was personal time to relax, for me it was quality time with Josh with no distractions. Pretty conflicting, huh? But R.J. saw Josh's lack of enthusiasm and suggested a simple compromise - each Saturday morning from 10 to 12, Josh has committed to spending time with me without phones or computers and engaging in casual conversation and I have committed to being relaxed and keeping the conversation light (no marriage talk) during those 2 hours together. Baby steps. It was as simple as that. He gave us direction and understanding, something we never had with our old therapist. I immediately knew that this was going to be good for us.

The horrific experience I had with our first therapist doesn't have to be your experience. My advice?

1. Thoroughly investigate a therapist's qualifications and specialties before making an appointment. Because Military OneSource referred us to her, I assumed this woman had experience with counseling couples. Boy, was I wrong! Only after we were halfway through our 12 sessions did I wise up and research this horrible person. Turns out her specialties include eating disorders, depression, and anxiety...I don't see anything in there about couples' counseling, do you?


2. I said THOROUGHLY! Look that bitch up on Yelp, Psychology Today, etc. It's important that you know what other people thought of their experience with this therapist. If enough people put up red flags, steer clear. 



3. If, at your first appointment, you feel uncomfortable and closed off, don't panic. It's a new and very difficult experience to open up to a complete stranger, but give it time. Personally, I think three appointments is sufficient time to get comfy with your therapist. If you still feel a knot in your stomach after Appointment #3, find a new therapist. You don't want to get to Appointment #7 and realize your confidant is an asshole. 



4. A good marital therapist will NEVER tell you that your marriage is over or that your efforts are in vain. A good marital therapist WILL give you direction and insight into steps you can take to better your relationship with your spouse and with yourself. 



5. A good therapist will not treat you like an afterthought. He will remember why you are coming to him, what you talked about in all the previous sessions, and ask you how you're doing and how you've progressed since you last met. If your therapist has to ask you what you discussed during your last session, get outta there! You obviously aren't important enough for him to remember why he's helping you in the first place. 


If you're searching for a therapist, having trouble with your current one, or are unsure if therapy is right for you, PLEASE don't hesitate to give it a try. You might find that therapy is good for your soul and good for your marriage. And if you have any questions at all regarding your personal search for a therapist or about my journey, shoot me an email - I'm an open book.

Valentine's Day Link-Up


Happy Valentine's Day, loves! 
Today I'm linking up with The Life of a Not So Ordinary Wife and a handful of wonderful women for their Valentine's Day post. I always love seeing how well couples know each other, so this should be entertaining. Our answers are below - enjoy! 



HIS ANSWERS
How long have you been married?
2 years.
Where was your first date?
A party.
Where was your first kiss? 
Outside her friend's house.
Who first said, "I love you"? 
Her.
What were your wedding colors? 
Purple and white.
What is her most commonly used phrase? 
"Take out the..."
Who is her celebrity crush? 
Paul Rudd.
If she was ordering drinks for both of you what would you each get? 
Sugar and a little flavored vodka for her and a blue moon for me.
What is the best meal she has ever cooked you? 
Cashew chicken.
What is the worst meal she has ever cooked you? 
The first time she made pad thai.
What is the most-played song on her iPod?
Some catchy pop song.
What would she say is your most annoying habit? 
My good looks.
What is the last thing she does before she goes to bed? 
Checks her Twitter.
If you could throw out one item of her clothing what would it be? 
All granny panties.
What would you say is your favorite thing about her? 
When she scrunches her face. 
What's her go-to drink at Starbucks? 
Frappuccino. 
What's her blog's name?! 
Local at Last. 



HER ANSWERS
How long have you been married?
2 years on February 25th.
Where was your first date?
Our first date was kind of unofficial, so I'd say it was the party we went to together Labor Day weekend of 2009. 
Where was your first kiss?
At my friend's house the night before that party. :)
Who first said, "I love you"?
Wow...honestly, I can't remember. I'd like to say it was me, but it totally could have been Josh. He was smitten, after all. 
What were your wedding colors?
No problem if you don't get this one, babe! We had a lot - aubergine, sage, ivory, and sky blue.
What is her most commonly used phrase?

"Babe, can you do this for me?"
Who is her celebrity crush?

PAUL RUDD!!!!! *swoon*
If she was ordering drinks for both of you what would you each get?
We would both get water with lime or Dr. Pepper. Alcoholic beverages? I'd get a Fuzzy Navel or Godiva chocolate martini and he'd get a Blue Moon with orange slice or Corona Extra with lime. 
What is the best meal she has ever cooked you?
Cashew chicken is his favorite, hands down.
What is the worst meal she has ever cooked you?
Raspberry hoisin chicken. I experimented with it when we'd first moved in together. Big mistake!
What is the most-played song on her iPod?
Anything country.
What would she say is your most annoying habit?
Hm...either giving me the silent treatment or not cleaning up after himself.
What is the last thing she does before she goes to bed?
Take out my hair tie, take a drink of water, and put on Carmex.
If you could throw out one item of her clothing what would it be?
Maybe all of my non-yoga sweat pants?
What would you say is your favorite thing about her?
Either my butt or my boobs. 
What's her go-to drink at Starbucks?
Now? 8 pump chai tea latte with steamed soy, no water. 
What's her blog's name?! 
If he doesn't know this, he's sleeping OUTSIDE tonight. ;)


We had pretty similar answers for most of the questions, but the man had to double-check the name of my blog! ;) All in all, we both had fun answering these questions. Thanks for hosting, ladies!!!

2.12.2013

Finding A Therapist 101, Pt. 1

Fall of 2011, we had been having rough patches in our marriage that were getting too recurrent for comfortability, so we sought out a marriage therapist through Military OneSource. As helpful and as compassionate as MOS is, they set us up with a therapist who never returned our call to set up an appointment. We called and called and never heard from him. And according to MOS's policy, we weren't allowed to find a new counselor for 60 days. By the time the waiting period had passed, Josh and I had doubled up on work hours and were preparing to move, so there was no point in finding a new 12-session counselor with a cross-country move quickly approaching.

So we put off the search and for a while, we thought we would be okay.

But the stress of 2 moves in one summer and starting life over in a new city proved too much for my sanity and our marriage. We started the search for a therapist again, still using Military OneSource, and were set up within 2 weeks. In October we had our first session.

I was uneasy with her - for some reason I couldn't open up to her and I didn't feel like I could trust her to be unbiased with the information Josh and I shared in her office. At first, I thought to myself, "This is a brand new experience for you, maybe you just need time to get comfortable with her," but as time wore on I knew the knot in my stomach was a huge red flag. My mistake? Ignoring that red flag. But at that point, I was just happy that Josh had agreed to couples therapy and didn't want to mess that up...so we stayed.

A few months and 6 sessions later, Josh had his individual session with her (I had already had mine). That night, we had gotten into an argument - I was angry because he wouldn't tell me where he wanted our marriage to go. I pushed and I pushed to get an answer out of him and he told me he'd like to take the discussion to the car. So we took a ride and, as he drove, he told me he had talked to our therapist about wanting a divorce. I was crushed. Floored. Devastated. There is no way to accurately describe how I felt.

I knew the therapist hadn't talked him out of it. I knew she'd just listened to him say he wanted out of our marriage and agreed with him, not giving him any other direction to go but out, never advising against it. And all of this was confirmed during our most recent, and LAST, appointment with her.

The appointment started out well, with her asking us how we were coping together and what our expectations were for the next 6 months. When I said that I'd continue working my ass off to save us, her response was, "Do whatever you want, but understand that nothing is going to change." With that, I chucked my teary tissues in the trash and said, "You know what, I don't have to listen to someone tell me my efforts are worthless," and stormed out.

*Come back on Thursday for Part 2.*

2.10.2013

PDY 2013: Week One

 

*PDY is more for yourself than anyone else, so write from the heart and make the post as long or as short as it needs to be. People might read it, and maybe they won't, but this Project is about your self-discovery so write for YOU. If you do participate, feel free to link up. Sara and I would love to be your cheerleaders  and encouragers during this journey. :) *

This week I tried to focus on relaxing and letting my subconscious gravitate towards what it wanted - no plan, no to-do list - and I wasn't too surprised (just reminded) by what it showed me.

I was reminded that I love to cook, read, and sing. I was reminded that what my body REALLY craves is to feel good and that carried over into the foods I chose to eat. I was reminded that dressing better made me feel more confident (and wearing lingerie for myself made me feel super sexy). I was reminded that turning off the TV or phone and flipping open a good book is rejuvenating. And a new discovery? I love exercise that feels like fun (thanks, Kinect!).




But most importantly, I was reminded that I've allowed myself to forget who I am and what I need to be happy. I've thrown myself so fully into work and Josh that I completely neglected to take care of myself - mind, body, and soul.

What is something off of my "Do You" list that I attempted this week?



A. Number 2 - Make fitness a hobby! Rather than torturing myself with a "run," I decided to get a workout in using our Kinect. That's what we bought it for anyway! And I wasn't disappointed. After 30 minutes of various Kinect Adventures I was feeling the burn and my heart rate was up - and I didn't even care that I had just EXERCISED because I was having fun. Success.
Number 5 - Start a blog series! Sara and I have partnered up to start the series you're reading at this very moment - Project: Do You. It's been on my heart for a long time, but some recent events in my life have reinforced my desire to get to know myself better. Here's to self-discovery!
Number 7 - Read books! I've had mornings off for the 3 weeks, so I've enjoyed reading a few books. The Hunger Games, A Royal Pain, Project: Happily Ever After, and now Boundaries in Marriage. I can't tell you how great it feels to have an hour or two of quiet time to delve into a good read.
Number 11 - Attend one-on-one therapy! A month ago I started seeing a personal therapist and I already feel ten million times lighter. My appointments with her leave me feeling refreshed and reassured. I highly recommend seeing a personal therapist if you're having trouble juggling, coping, or surviving through life as I am was.
Number 24 - Sing more! A few weeks back I signed up for the choir at our local community college. Two Mondays ago was the first class and I couldn't be happier. I've missed singing SO much since leaving high school choir. Now, every Monday night I have the opportunity to meet new people and express my passion for music with others in my community. Music, to me, is as good as therapy.

What did I do this week to indulge in my passions?
A. Cook, read, and relax.

What did I do this week to get my body moving?
A. Kinect Adventures!

What did I learn about myself this week?
A. I learned about a few simple things I need to be a happier me. Things like 8-9 hours of sleep, quiet time to read each day, scheduled quality time with Josh, and healthy food.

What did I do to become more independent this week?
A. I would say shopping by myself, but I do that pretty regularly. I guess carving out time for myself (while Josh was home! gasp!) counts as a big step towards independence - I've never done that when he's home! Usually our time together is so limited that I hate being away from him when he's home. On Thursday night I told him, "I just need 45 minutes to myself tonight. I'll be in the bedroom," and I closed the door. Pretty sure the man was shocked! Haha!

What made me happy this week?
A. Treating myself to a few birthday purchases was really nice. I don't usually buy impractical things for myself. Selling the car made me REALLY happy - no more unnecessary payments! Having an impromptu lunch with Josh Thursday was a nice mid-day treat. And having a good 2nd session with our new marriage counselor was such a blessing.

What made me blue this week?
A. Our unfortunate experience with our OLD marriage counselor on Wednesday night. I can't even go into it without fuming and wanting to cry.

Who did I meet this week and how can I further my relationship with them?
A. At choir this week I met another second soprano, Geraldine. She seems to be a few years older than myself and was really sweet. Remember to talk to her more next week, Meagan!!!

Who is someone I helped and loved this week?
A. Honestly, myself. And I think that's really important. If you can't love and help yourself, how can you expect to be able to do that for others?

How do I feel today after my experiences this past week?
A. Today I feel...mellow and mending. I did my best to relax this week, because I'm always wound waaaaay too tight, and it definitely paid off. And mending because I'm nowhere near where I want to be personally or in my marriage, but I'm slowly getting there. Something I learned this week - strive for progress, not perfection. - reminds me that this week was a success.

2.08.2013

LAL's 100 Follower/Birthday Bash Giveaway!

Happy February, lovelies!

A while back, I mentioned that I'd host a giveaway when I hit 100 followers. That happened back in December (when I wasn't exactly blogging, due to the holidays), so I'm going to COMBINE the giveaway for 100 followers and the one I had planned to celebrate my birthday into one giveaway extravaganza.

I've got an armful of prizes to pass along to my lovely readers and I can't wait to share them!
Thank you so much for being such fantastic supporters. I'm so blessed to have you here.

Five (5) winners will receive a few of my favorite things:
Bubble Bath - Paper Soap - Post-It Notes - Fun Tape Dispensers - Ulta Nail Polish - Scented Candle 


And one (1) grand prize winner will win all of the above and a few more of my favorite things:
Scarf Knitted by My Madre - Big, Cute Mug - Victoria's Secret Lipgloss - Bath & Body Works Shower Kit - $15 Starbucks Gift Card


Enter to win from today until Saturday, February 16th at midnight CST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



2.04.2013

Project: Do You 2013

I have one New Year's resolution this year.
To do me.
 

For the first time in 12 years, I'm not taking care of a miniature human 24/7. And of course, husbands don't like to be smothered, so taking care of Josh is minimal work. That leaves me. I have to get to take care of myself.

For once in my life, I feel entitled to pamper, exercise, and indulge in my passions, so I'm going to do just that. I need to become more independent and find ways to work my mind and body's energies so they're not bottled up and causing trouble. This year, I'll be looking out for #1 and making sure that she knows herself and is at peace with the woman she is becoming.

Here's what I'll be working on this year to make 2013 the year of "Meagan."


Each Sunday, I'll be asking myself (and posting) these questions.

What is something off of my "Do You" list that I attempted this week?
What did I do this week to indulge in my passions?
What did I do this week to get my body moving?
What did I learn about myself this week?
What did I do to become more independent this week?
What is something new that I tried this week?
What made me happy this week?
What made me blue this week?
Who did I meet this week and how can I further my relationship with them?
Who is someone I helped and loved this week?
How do I feel today after my experiences this past week?

I feel that these questions will be a great way to keep track of how I develop my independence and passions throughout the coming year.

I'm getting really excited to see myself grow this year and I hope, that if you're interested in "doing you," you'll join with my super sweet co-host, Sara, and I in our journey of self-discovery. Feel free to answer as many or as few of the questions as you're comfortable with (or even add your own!). We're hoping to turn this into a link up each week, if you're interested, so feel free to give us some feedback! 

What have you resolved to do this year to make yourself priority #1?

2.02.2013

BG Cosmetics Review

Happy February, my dears! 

A few weeks back I discovered that an old friend of mine had launched her own custom nail polish business. I'm super new to the world of indie polish, but after seeing her shop on Etsy and the sweet selection she's got going (and continues to add to!), I just had to get in on it. 

Meet Ketlyn, founder/owner of Bitch Glitz Cosmetics. 

Credit: Ketlyn Austen
Ket has lived all over this great, green earth - New York, Texas, Germany, Illinois - so she's experienced quite a bit of diversity in her lifetime. And I definitely think it shows in her passion to create custom polish for those of us who can't find exactly what we like in O.P.I. or Essie. Just take a peek at her Etsy shop - the options are endless and she can even mix a custom color for you! 

I love nail polish, but have a hard time keeping my nails long (chronic nail-biter here!) unless I have a really good reason to grow them out. When Ketlyn offered to send me a preview of her Valentine's Day collection to review, I immediately stopped biting. No lie. 

And I'm glad I did! I mean, look at these sexy things. 

Adorable packaging. :)
Candy Coated Innocence, Chocolate Treasure, and Strawberry Sunrise

The day after I received them, I decided to paint my nails, even though they were still...ugly. But chocolate treasure was my favorite out of the three and I couldn't resist! 


I've always loved brown and aqua together. The aqua and gold flecks of glitter in Chocolate Treasure popped fantastically against the brown. Love!
It held up so well too. Want to know why? Bitch Glitz's polishes are made of diamond dust, making them super strong. It's like getting a no-chip mani at home! The polish didn't start chipping off until a week later, and even then it was only because I was scrubbing pots and pans. 

Something else I like about BG Cosmetics? Their polishes are 3-free, so you don't have to freak out about what's in the bottle. Safe for little hands!

Candy Coated Innocence and Strawberry Sunrise (accent).
Not the greatest picture (no thanks to you, iPhone), but I LOVED the pale pink hearts in Candy Coated Innocence. The perfect flirty touch for Valentine's Day. :)
If you're obsessed with nail polish and want to try something new and fun, as well as support small business owners, check out Bitch Glitz Cosmetics! You won't be disappointed. 

Website       Etsy       Facebook

P.S. BG Cosmetics is hosting a giveaway on their website! Enter here! 
P.P.S. Ket recently debuted eyeshadows in the shop! I'm saving up my pennies as we speak. :)