Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quick update: changes

Well, once again, I've been seriously slacking in the blog writing department. Chase and I returned home from my parents after being gone for a week, were home for two days, then he went to Houston for a job interview, we were home for one day, then we went to his parents' for the weekend, went shopping for engagement pics on Monday, and had our engagement pics on Tuesday. And, he started his new job yesterday...yay!

Engagement pics were so much fun!!! I fell in love with our photographer Kriea Arie at the first wedding show we attended and, thanks to my future MIL, we were able to take pics with her. I chose Bricktown in Oklahoma City as the location and I couldn't be happier! I absolutely love old buildings and Kriea went above and beyond my expectations. She took us to some really obscure places...I fell down in my heels, had glass shards in my feet, we were bitten by fire ants, but I think it was totally worth it! I can't wait to see the pics.

I did my own hair and makeup for our pictures. Our session was at 10 a.m. and, since it was already scorching outside, I was glad it was early! But, that also meant no one was available to do my hair. Doing my own makeup was crazy. I followed a photo of a heavily made-up Kim Kardashian and put more makeup on than I ever think I've worn. I freaked out when I couldn't find my eyelash glue, but Chase made an emergency stop at CVS and I applied my lashes in the car.

They may have been applied a little wonky, but hopefully I was able to conceal that with eyeliner! Kriea took lots of pictures of my lashes and complimented me on my makeup so I guess I did alright.

I also got a spray tan and put some fake nails on. I felt kind of silly going to lunch and the mall all dolled up like I was ready for a night on the town! 

We went to lunch at this amazing restaurant called Whiskey Cake. They are a farm-to-table restaurant, which means that they source their food and materials locally as much as they can. They also had locally made products for sale and a garden on-site. Chase had a burger and couldn't stop "MMMM"- ing. He said it was the best burger he has ever had and the waitress told us they use brisket meat that they grind daily.

I had a chicken cheese melt on sourdough (some studies suggest that that the fermentation used in making sourdough bread breaks down gluten....good news, because I love sourdough bread!). It had the best chicken I've ever tasted...the waitress said they let the chicken marinade in spices for 12 hours and they roast it over a spit. The sandwich also had pesto, havarti, avocado and bacon. So good!

We were stuffed, but took home the restaurant's namesake dessert for later. I can't even begin to explain the whiskey cake, but it was heaven! And it was topped with delicious freshly whipped cream.

As I said before, Chase started his new job and I am thrilled! Except, we are now moving to Tulsa after we get married. I'm excited about living in Tulsa, because I keep hearing what an amazing place it is. I just hate packing, moving and unpacking!!!

Update on gluten, amazing (except for Whiskey Cake!). The joint pain I experienced after my food splurge in Alabama has gone away since I dropped the gluten. Totally worth it! I had to abstain from some treats this past weekend, including some yummy looking sweets at a baby shower, but it was worth it! I found an amazing bakery in Oklahoma City called Green Goodies that makes the best gluten free cupcakes! Apparently, they just won an episode of Cupcake Wars. I want to go back....fortunately, they're located near Whole Foods, so I can enjoy one with an almond milk latte!

Sorry for the randomness! I promise I'm trying to get this thing in order!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vacation, goals and going gluten free (disclaimer: long blog!)

Hello everyone!

I hope you have all settled into the new month of June seamlessly. Sorry I haven't blogged in like, forever, but I kind of have a great excuse and I will get into that in a minute!

For now, I want to discuss goals. I love setting goals. And, I think it's great to take a look at everything the beginning of each month to see what areas you would like to improve in! I just got back home from spending a week with my fun, food-loving family and am feeling majorly soft. Time to get back on the wagon!

Here are some of my goals for June:

1. Drink a gallon of water a day.
2. Eat a serving of leafy green veggies at each meal.
3. Cardio for 60 minutes 5 times a week.
4. Strength training 4-5 times a week.
5. Completely eliminate gluten (more on that in a minute).
6. Embrace and have fun with the time left before my wedding instead of stressing and worrying.

What are some of your goals?

The reason I haven't blogged

My family invited Chase and me to join them in Gulf Shores, Ala., to stay at a condo on the beach. We toyed with the idea of going but decided that ultimately, it was probably best that we stayed in Oklahoma. The day we should have left with my family, we went to the lake. It was windy, there were bugs biting us and the water was cold. We were both sad that we didn't go.

My mom texted me and said, "My heart is sad, because there's not a red truck [Chase's truck] behind us." Chase and I talked about it again, decided to go and were on the road in 30 minutes. We were on the road at 6 p.m. for a 15-hour drive. It seemed like a good idea at the time! We loaded up on snacks and fizzy, caffeinated drinks and hit the open road.

The drive through Oklahoma felt like forever. We both thought if we could just get through the state, the drive would go faster! We finally exited Oklahoma and drove across Arkansas. We had both been to Arkansas, so it wasn't really anything special to us. We stopped at a McDonald's off of the highway at midnight for a quick restroom break and a large coffee. We soon realized stopping was a mistake and we left right as police cars swarmed the gas station next to the Mc D's we were at.

I was so excited to drive through Louisiana because I am dying to go to New Orleans. I really don't care how dangerous or dirty that people tell me it is; I want to see it for myself. It was dark (obviously), so we really didn't see much. There seemed to be a white-steepled Baptist church every mile and we drove through a town called Transylvania. We rolled down our windows and let the cool, humid Louisiana air wake us up.

The night crept on and we began to get tired. We finally exited Louisiana and started our drive across Mississippi. I loved Mississippi — trees were everywhere and they were beautiful! Unfortunately, the novelty of being in a new state soon wore off due to our sleep deprivation. We stopped talking and both just stared at the road. We both said that we would stop and get some coffee and breakfast, but we were both so ready to be in Alabama.

We FINALLY drove across the state line of Alabama and it was everything I had hoped for: trailer houses and confederate flags. With the tune of "Dixie" playing in my head, we valiantly braced ourselves for the last leg of our trip. One thing I love about living in the lower 48 after 12 years of living in Alaska is the ability to drive to different states and see different things! In Alaska, you are very limited to what you can see. I mean, of course the mountains, glaciers, rivers, and oceans are spectacular! I just enjoy seeing different things.

Alabama was the worst, especially when we arrived in the town of Mobile shortly after 7 a.m. We were trapped in stop-and-go traffic for what seemed like forever. We had to drive through this scary tunnel. Sorry for the crappy photo! Chase was putting the pedal to the metal :)

We finallllly arrived in Gulf Shores and it was absolutely beautiful! Our condo was literally right on the beach. Chase and I napped for a couple hours and then joined my family playing and relaxing by the ocean.

The view from the balcony of the condo.

We had such a great time and were both so happy that we made the night drive to 'Bama. We sat on the beach, played in the roaring waves, fell asleep to the sound of the ocean and enjoyed the company of my crazy family. One day, my mom, sister and I decided we needed to get out hair done. I found a salon with good interviews on the Internet and we booked an appointment. 
My sis and me
 My sister and I had our hair cut by the same young lady. My mom, however, ended up with an older woman. My mom is notoriously picky about her hair (NOT a bad thing, Mom!!! :)) and my sister and I were both worried. The color was gorgeous. The cut was looking good until the stylist pulled out a curling iron and began setting my mom's hair with the oddest looking curls. She kept puffing up the top of my mom's hair and pushing the bottom down against her neck. The look on my mom's face was priceless. The icing on the cake was when the stylist pulled out a bottle of some mystical potion that she told my mom would "put some bang in your hangar!" Not knowing exactly what that meant and too scared to ask for an explanation, we waited until we were out of the salon to burst into laughter. 

We were able to take some of the bang out of my mom's hangar before going to dinner. The rest of the trip, we kept threatening to put some bang in each other's hangars.

My man!
We chased down the times of the Krispy Kreme hot light for my mom and enjoyed some amazing food! Our favorite place was a little shack on the beach named Bahama Bob's. Our favorites were their fried mushrooms and ranch and the Bob's burger, which was a 1/2 pound best-burger-you've-ever-tasted covered with two slices of swiss, bacon and grilled pineapple. 

We also ate a ton of yummy food at the condo. I guess I kind of forgot that I have a wedding to get ready for! Oops. :) It was fun to let loose and not worry about ANYTHING. I haven't been that relaxed in such a long time. On the drive back, we stopped at the USS Alabama. I spent the first 18 years of my life as an Air Force kid, so I really enjoy military things, for lack of better word. My dad and brother toured the ship and the rest of us toured the grounds. 
We looked at the memorials for the Vietnam and Korean Wars. We spoke to a Vietnam veteran who brought tears to our eyes as he explained to us that he was traveling the United States, visiting the Vietnam memorials. His eyes watered as he explained they were instructed not to wear their uniforms home because people would spit on them. It's so sad to think about those men that were made to go away and fight in a war across the world; they were just doing what they were told. To come home and fear that your fellow Americans would spit on breaks my heart! There was also a WWII vet signing books he had written in the gift shop. It was a neat experience!

Now, to the gluten free part! I had been avoiding gluten for the most part, except for a few minor things, before we left for Gulf Shores. When we arrived, my mom bought me some salad stuff, told me the cookies she made (my mom seriously makes the best cookies) didn't contain flour and I ordered a salad with fish and picked around the croutons my first night there. Then, I decided to throw caution to the wind. I began eating what everyone else was eating. I noticed something weird; my elbows started hurting like crazy.

By the time we left, the pain had spread to my hands. I was in so much pain that I had to take some medication and I hate taking meds. I googled it and found a lot of sites and forums where people had experienced the same symptoms due to gluten consumption. It is either that or rheumatoid arthritis and since it flared up out of nowhere after a period of avoiding wheat, I'm thinking it could be the gluten. I'm going to eliminate gluten the rest of this month and see if it improves. I have some family gatherings coming up, so it will be tricky!

Thank you for reading and have a fabulous Wednesday! :)