Friday, June 28, 2013

My Little Norwegian

I'm so excited for this weekend to be here! For the first time in years...since my wedding actually...my whole family is going to be together. That's right all 8 of us. Tonight this guy flies in from Colorado for the week!


So excited for my Benny Boy to be home!

And tomorrow, my little Norwegian gets here from...well obviously Norway! One time I told someone that I had a Norwegian living at my parents' house and they thought we kept her like a pet. No we don't keep her in a cage. In fact, she usually gets my room. So don't worry, no Norwegians were harmed in the creation of this blog post.


At Astroworld circa 2004...clearly a long time ago since it no longer exists! We're babies!

But seriously, I've talked about Charlotte before...here, and other places but I don't feel like searching right now...

I've known Char since she was in 2nd grade. Her and my sister are best friends and she used to live just down the street from us when the girls were in middle school.




Her family moved back to Norway just before she started high school {note: Em & Char are 3 grades younger than me}. After she decided she didn't want to be in Norway, she came to live with my family! It worked perfectly because I was starting college so Char got to take control of my room. This also meant awesome sleepovers when I came home :)


Sometime in 2006 at the Apple store because we're cool like that.

I've considered Charlotte a sister for as long as I can remember. She is an integral part of our family and I couldn't imagine our lives without her.

After she moved back to Norway to finish high school, we all finally got to go to Norway and visit her stomping grounds! It was Em's second time since she visited back before Char came to live with us! We were able to spend Christmas and New Year's in Lillehammer!


Yes, we went on a real live one horse open sleigh. Jealous? Christmas 2007

So naturally when JP proposed Charlotte was going to be one of my bridesmaids! My NOH or Norwegian of Honor of course! I always say that I have 5 siblings. Emily, Ben and Matt clearly have the same blood running through their veins, but I could never forget Charlotte or Kate {my SIL!}.




Not only in Charlotte coming to visit us for two weeks, but she's actually moving in with JP and I! That's right, Charlotte was selected for an internship in Houston, 1 mile away from my house with a Norwegian firm. She was selected out of over 200 candidates and will be with us from August until December. I'm pretty pumped for our big adventure! I'm beyond excited for her to get here and to have this quality time that I've missed so much!

One last thing, don't forget that Google Reader disappears as of June 30th! I'm not sure how most of you follow my posts, but if it's through Google Friend Connect or Google Reader, be sure to switch over and follow me on Bloglovin'! And let me know if I'm not following you!

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So happy Friday y'all! Hope you're weekends are as awesome as mine is about to be!

Until next time...
With love and God bless,

Thursday, June 27, 2013

You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise.

Down a back road blowin' stop signs through the middle every little farm town, with you...

Love me some Florida Georgia Line, but this girl prefers cruisin' on the Mediterranean, not through little farm towns on back roads. So I'm easily distracted {if y'all hadn't figured that out for yourselves} and I haven't finished my cruise recaps. I know I've done so many, but I have too many pictures and these places are out of this world :) Well technically they're clearly on this planet, but far from me and pretty freaking fantastic to visit.

Now it's time for me to share with y'all some pictures from the actual cruise ship itself! We cruised on with Norwegian Cruise Lines on the Norwegian Epic. It's a 4,100 passenger boat that started operating in 2010. So pretty much it's really big and new!


We had an inside cabin on the 12th floor because we knew we wouldn't spend tons of time in our room, but I needed to be higher up to avoid getting sea sick. It worked for us. Next time, we'll probably splurge and get a balcony! The beds were comfy and big which is good for my 6'2" husband who doesn't like to touch anyone while sleeping :)



The room design was unique in that there wasn't a specific bathroom area. There was a curtain divider and both the shower and toilet had glass sliding doors with matted glass so it wasn't completely see through.




The ship was very kid friendly! Luckily there weren't tons of kids running around, but the ship itself had tons of activities and accommodations for children! The Lido Deck or "top floor" was so much fun! They had a jogging track, giant chess board, basketball courts, pools, hot tubs, an adult area and slides!













I wanted to go down those slides so freaking bad, but it was just too chilly. Sad day, I guess I'll just have to go on the ship again. We definitely used the hot tubs though! It was beautiful and sunny outside, but the wind was killer.









One thing I want to commend is Norwegian's on and off boarding process. It was a breeze! The neat thing about our specific cruise is that people were able to get on the ship in various different locations. The main port is Barcelona, but people got on in Rome {like us}, Marseilles and Naples! Since people were constantly getting on and off, it made the process go by much quicker.

Once we on boarded in Rome, we took advantage of the near empty ship {since most people were off exploring Rome!} and headed straight for food and the pool. This girl needed a drink in her hand :)






After soaking up the rays for as long as possible, {aka before the yucky wind was too cold for a bikini} we explored the ship, listened to the on boarding presentation and then it was time to get ready for our first dinner! We decided to get dressed up and go to the nicer restaurant for our first night. Really I got dressed up every night :)



Norwegian has an interesting form of cruise dining called Freestyle. Pretty much, unlike other cruises, you do not have a set dinner time at a set restaurant with a set dress code each night. Instead there is a "formal" restaurant, a more casual restaurant, the buffet, an Irish pub and several specialty restaurants that cost a relatively small extra fee.

The cool thing about not having a set dining time is that you can eat when you're hungry. You don't have to go too early or too late. The bad thing is that there is often a wait. I'm not convinced it's too much of a problem because you get a free glass of champagne while waiting! I love me some bubbly :)

Overall the food was pretty good. Standard cruise food. Sometimes my food wasn't hot and once we had a terrible waiter who practically ignored us. Most of the time everything was fine though!






Apparently I took zero pictures during the day we were supposed to be in Florence. I blame it on the pouting and the fact that I was feeling pretty crappy and sea sick all day. I did snap a few at dinner time though!



After dinner we went to see the dueling pianos at Howl at the Moon! I love Howl at the Moon and I've been in Houston, New Orleans and Destin, so it was fun to see it done on our ship!





The entertainment and bars on the ship were fantastic! So many options on where to go, what to do and what to see! The Epic has the only Svedka Ice Bar at sea. There are only about a dozen ice bars in the world, so it was a blast to go on the ship with our friends we met the night before.

The bar is literally made of ice, so are the cup and the statues and the chairs...etc...


 


Y'all, it was freezing in there. I was wearing a short dress, a light cardigan and sandals. I'm dumb. I was frozen despite the 2 pairs of gloves that I'm wearing. I had to leave the bar twice to thaw out! To get into the bar you paid $20 and got 2 drink tickets. Apparently we look like fun because people were getting too cold and giving us their tickets! We ended up with about 15 between the 3 of us, so we were good to go for the night!




Yup, we look like fun! Unfortunately, Tiffany was packing and didn't get to join us until later! I did learn my lesson though, next time I find myself going into an ice bar, I will wear more clothes. And close toed shoes.


 We went to a specialty restaurant after Barcelona to celebrate our anniversary about a month and a half late. It just seemed right though since we spent our honeymoon in Barcelona and this cruise was a combo anniversary and birthday trip for this year!

We had the French restaurant and it was delicious! So many delicious foods that we hadn't tried before! I had the swordfish steak as my entree and it was amazing.

Desert stole the show though. Creme brulee {sp?} and chocolate fondue with fruit. Yes please. I want it now.




Our planned day at sea was wonderful. It was sunny and not too cold or windy, so after a workout and quick breakfast, this girl was in the sun all day! Poor JP got very sunburned, but he was a tooper!





That night was the Capitan's cocktail party followed by dinner with a view! We were excited to have such a great seat and view of the sunset!


He asked me to help him poor! So fun :)




On our last evening, we were spent. We had dinner at the Italian specialty restaurant, played around in the casino...I WON...and I sang karaoke.  It's tradition. I had to do it. My inner Madonna came out and I sand Like a Virgin. Because I'm cool like that.






Crappy pic, but proof that I'm on stage channeling Madonna.

The cruise was amazing. I want to go back now. Sorry this is like one of the longest posts ever and that I didn't proof read this because it took forever to write. More than likely, most of you are not even reading this part because you didn't make it to the end. It's okay, I forgive you. For those of you that are still reading...thanks! You're the best and I love you forever. Now go have a wonderful Thursday and tomorrow I promise I won't torture you with the longest post ever again :) K love you bye!


Until next time...
With love and God bless,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's Beautiful Wednesday

At the beginning of May, I started the Under Armour What's Beautiful challenge sponsored through Fitfluential. I was able to state my goals and create a team to encourage other women to join me in this fitness journey to discover the true meaning of beauty.




I did my initial post to inform and update my lovely readers on how to get involved.

I stated my goal.

To set a new half marathon PR (sub 1:50) in 2013. And along the way, I will challenge myself with yoga & short distance races and challenge my friends to follow their love of fitness. I WILL!

I gave you links to my site and asked you to join my team!

I told you about the prizes and awards from Under Armour.

What I didn't really get the chance to talk about is what truly is beautiful.




As women, we have a tendency to nit pick our bodies. {Yes, I understand this is a generalization, just work with me here.} I know that I am in shape, but even I can find issues and "problem areas." By doing this, we are just bringing ourselves down. We say that the scale is just a number, but do we let it define us? Sometimes I think we do. Instead of reaching down from within, we take our external appearances and tear them down. Not always and not necessarily everyone, but we all have weak moments when we can't help but notice our imperfections.

But aren't our imperfections what make us unique? Don't our imperfections make us who we are? The Dove Real Beauty video that went viral hits the nail on the head. We don't see ourselves as others do because it is so easy to be critical of the one person you should appreciate most: you.




So what is beautiful?
Society makes us think that beauty is external. How thin are you? How pretty are you? How feminine are your features? Or for men, how muscular are you? But that isn't what we should let define us.

To me, beauty is confidence.
Beauty is being comfortable in your own skin.
Beauty is walking around with a smile on your face.
Beauty is kindness.
Beauty is being proud and knowing what you are capable of.
Beauty is finding what makes you, you.
Beauty is working towards something you love.
Beauty is developing your strength.
Beauty is sweat.
Beauty is working towards bettering yourself in any way possible.
Beauty is feeling beautiful.

After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We all need to feel more beautiful on a daily basis. My goal is to hold myself in a high regard {without being self-righteous}, to stop nit picking my body, to continue working towards being the strong, confident woman that I know I am.




Thanks Under Armour for helping us to take the time to really look at what's beautiful. It's something we should all focus on more often!

What's beautiful to you?
What will you do to become the most beautiful you?

Until next time...
With love and God bless,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

An Open Letter to the Office Candy Bowl

Dear Mr. Candy Bowl,

I would like for you to state your true purpose for being in the office lobby {which is inconveniently located next to my office.} I ask this because I am often confused by your role in this company. Is it to taunt me and pressure me into eating chocolate? To make me crave candy that I would not eat if it wasn't for your presence? Is it to secretly make me gain weight? Or are you really just trying to be nice and provide me a pick me up on a bad day?


Can't you see his beady little eyes willing me to come closer?

No matter what, I'm over it. I don't care if your motives are good or bad. If I could, I would fire you. A lot of days I'm really good at avoiding you. No eye contact. Take different routes around the building. Sprint past the front desk. You know, the usual. But there are other times...or a specific week of the month...in which I cannot resist your chocolatey goodness! After careful consideration, I have decided that this is not okay and you should be let go. Unfortunately, this is not my decision to make and there are far too many people that appreciate your role here.

That being said, I'm thinking of petitioning for a new company role. Since the role "Candy Bowl" is filled, I'm thinking we could use a sister role such as "Fruit Basket" or "Veggie Tray." I'm not too sure how that will go down, but I'm digging it.


Pure Evil


Until then Mr. Candy Bowl, we're in a fight. Your interfering with my bikini body and even though you taste oh so good, you make me feel like crap later.

Now it's time to get to work and attempt to ignore you all day long.


Until next time...
With love and God bless,

Monday, June 24, 2013

#recreunion weekend

You know, weekends really are the best. We complain about the work week, but let's be honest...the weekends wouldn't be nearly as fantastic as they are without the build up and stress of the day to day M-F. It's kind of like distance makes the heart grow fonder :) Speaking of which, I had a fantastic reunion weekend and I'm convinced that I need to see these girls far more often!

I started my weekend a bit early :) Sarah, Ashley and I took off for North Dallas a little after 10:00am and were at Katie's house by 3-ish! We started the afternoon with some drinks and learning how to twerk {the usual of course} while everyone arrived. Then we were off to Uptown Dallas for dinner, drinks and dancing! {a lot of D's for one sentence}

Clockwise from top left
one. Lauren - Sarah - Alison learning how to twerk
two. Sfuzzi's menu! Delicious pizza and wine!
three. Back seat snuggles on our way to Uptown
four. Mid-afternoon drinks. The best way to start a reunion weekend.

Saturday was a nice slow morning. We sat around, had breakfast and coffee and just chatted for a while. Then it was time to move our conversation to the pool. Somehow we managed to stay out there for about 5 hours...with a lunch break of course! After quick showers and primping, we were off to Fort Worth for dinner and drinks. Of course we were drained from Friday night and the pool so we only made it to about 11pm before calling it quits. #whendidwegetsoold


Clockwise from top left
one. Obligatory toes and pool picture.
two. La Familia for dinner. Hello yum.
three. Group shot!
Bottom: Sarah - Katie - Alison - Ashley
Top: Gretchen - Lauren - Jenny - Me!

All in all, it was pretty much amazing. I ate too much food. Drank too much booze. Laughed too hard. And had too much fun overall! Definitely not a bad thing in my book. Looking forward to #recreunion 2014 in College Station! I love you girls!


Sami's Shenanigans


Until next time...
With love and God bless,

Friday, June 21, 2013

Euro Fashion Friday

Happy Friday my lovelies! Can you believe that we made it through another week? Sometimes I question whether I'll be able to make it or not. This week was one of them. It was long and I was feeling off! Luckily it's Friday, I'm not longer "off" and I get to see my Texas A&M group exercise girls all weekend. Let's just say I'm pretty pumped for our reunion after how much fun we had last year!

On to today's oh so important topic...fashion. Ha just kidding. I love clothes and looking cute, but I am far from a fashionista or fashion blogger. So excuse my sometimes awkward poses and just look at my pretty clothes from my European Vacay!



one. Jacket (Zara in Marseilles) - Top (Mango in Barcelona) - Shorts (J. Crew) - Pumps (Target) - Necklace (Kiki La Rue)
two. Dress (Kiki La Rue) - Sweater (Francesca's) - Necklace (gifted)
three. Dress, Sweater, Sandals (Target)
four. Dress (Cotton On) - Belt (Marshall's) - Shoes (Aldo) - Necklace (Charming Charlie's)
five. Dress & Scarf (Francesca's) - Watch (Fossil) - Champagne (Complimentary - Whoop!)


One of my favorite parts of cruising is getting to dress up all pretty each night! I love wearing dresses and feeling put together. I'm a total girly girl. Always have and always will be.





one Barcelona. Skirt (Victoria's Secret) - Top, Watch & Sandals (Target) - Necklace (Francesca's)
two Palma. Top (Zara in Marseilles) - Shorts (J. Crew) - Watch (Fossil) - Sunnies (Airport in Pheonix)
three Pompeii. Top (Mango in Barcelona) - Shorts (Cotton On) - Jacket (Columiba from college) 
It was windy :) - Not pictured: Tennis Shoes (Under Armour)
four Marseilles. Top (Forever XXI) - Blazer (Marshall's) - Pants (Gap) - Shoes (Tom's)
five Rome. Top (Francesca's) - Jeans (Express) - Shoes (Tom's) - Purse (Tory Burch)


The key to most of these outfits was comfort based on the activities we'd be doing and the weather. The weather was pretty crazy while we were there! Windy one day. Hot the next. Chilly one day. Couldn't make up it's mind the next. Luckily, I managed to pack well!

If you aren't caught up, here are my city recaps: Rome, Marseilles, Palma and Barcelona!

What's your favorite go to outfit when you're on vacation?
Do you enjoy getting dressed up just because?


Until next time...
With love and God bless,

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