Exactly one year ago today, Stephen got down on one knee and asked a question that changed my life. Would I be his wife? You bet your Kate Spade slingbacks I would.
2011 was the best year of my life.
I always identified worldly success by the status of my career, the size of my waistline and the amount of money I had in the bank. Strange things happen though when you fall in love, though. It makes you re-think and re-evaluate every priority, every decision you make.
All I want in this world is to succeed in this marriage. I want Stephen to know every day that he matters more to me than life itself.
Next weekend, my paternal grandparents will be celebrating 60 years of marriage. They've celebrated 60 New Year's Eves together.
Here's to celebrating 59 more with Stephen.
Be blessed in 2012, lovelies-
I was recently contacted by sweet Shalane, a representative for Thirty-One Gifts, about doing a giveaway for a monogram thermal tote bag (seen below!)
To show me just how great these little totes were, Shalane sent me one in my choice of fabric AND with my name or monogram...fabulous, right? And the result:
I chose the monogram thermal tote in Herringbone pattern fabric with Hot Pink letters for the monogram! Love it! Since these are thermal, they are perfect for toting beverages to tail-gates (SEC Football, anyone?) or also perfect if you carry your lunch to the office! They would make GREAT diaper bags, as well, since they are spill-resistant on the inside.
You can visit Shalane or Find a Consultant in your area!
How to Enter:
1. Leave a comment telling me which fabric you'd choose for your monogram thermal tote, as well as which thread color you'd pick. To see the complete list of fabrics and threads, click here.
-The giveaway ends on Tuesday, January 10, 2011 at 10:00 p.m. CST.
-Limit only one entry per participant.
-Contest IS open to non-bloggers. Just be sure to leave your email address within your comment!
*If your blogger comment are not set up to auto-populate your email address, you MUST leave your email address within your comment.
Alright ladies, get to entering!
Be blessed, lovelies-
It's the most wonderful time of the week, girls - Confessional Friday! (Not to mention, the last Confessional Friday of 2011...crazy, right?)
Let's get right to it, shall we?
1. We are having some of our wedding day pics "recreated" next month with the amazing Maliah Pinkleton and I'm so excited! Unfortunately, our photographer captured very few pics of just the two of us on the wedding day (I'd need an entire post to expound on this little debaucle), so we're enlisting the help of Maliah to get those shots. I met her at the Maude Boutique Photo Shoot at the end of October and LOVED her work. We are pumped to see what she creates...pumped!
2. To be fair, he did get several really nice pics, just not as many as we would have liked of Stephen and I.
3. I literally JUST got my pen pal letters in the mail! (Sorry for the delay, Sara and Kerstin!) I was so busy hooking everyone else up, I neglected my own. #PenPalFail
4. I confess that I haven't ever read any of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books, but I'm so intrigued by the movie. Has anyone seen it yet? Thoughts?
5. I love our two big furry babies SO much, but I must admit, I do miss having a cuddly little dog. I loved getting to play with Max and Lucy, my parents' dogs, over Christmas. I wouldn't trade Ari and Cash for anything, but I wouldn't be sad if a little fluff ball arrived on our door step next week either : )
6. I am thisclose to buying the black Tory Burch Reva Flats I've been coveting forever. I found some previously owned via Ebay last night that were in impeccable condition! Should I?? Yes??
7. Stephen and I are having a wine night on Saturday to ring in the new year...and I fully intend to wear a sparkly dress and heels while doing so. Yes, that's right kids...I wear cocktail dresses around the house on special occaisions.
8. I'm announcing a special giveaway at 12:00 p.m. CST for a monogrammed pretty from Thirty-One Gifts. Be back to enter...it couldn't be easier and you will LOVE what I'm giving away!
Be blessed, lovelies-
|via Preppy Pink Lilly Lover|
So last year's excitement of the engagement threw off my blogging game a bit, (and that was A-Okay with me!), and I didn't get to write my annual New Year's Intentions list. Remember this one from 2009? Yeah, what's funny is I've actually done most of the things on that list...so obviously something stuck.
With that little forward, I'd like to present to you dear readers, my 2012 New Year's Intentions:
1. Get More Involved with Our Church
|Central United Methodist - Where we were married.|
We LOVE our church (Central United Methodist in Rogers) and have already joined the 2012 Evangelical Committee, but want to continue to stay involved throughout the whole year. I know that the church has a senior citizen outreach program and S and I are far better with old people than with kids : ) We owe our marriage and our countless blessings to God and want to find even more ways to give back in the coming year.
2. Start Saving for a Trip to Italy
Stephen has family that live in Italy (yep, he's as legit an Italian as you get) and he's never been to their country. I went in 2007 and fell in love with the beauty of Tuscany and the magnificence of Rome. I'd love to go back, this time with the love of my life.
3. Learn to Make Coq Au Vin
This is supposed to be one of the most difficult dishes to master, but I feel like I'm equipped to take it on. I've branched out a lot with my cooking in the past year and have lots of fancy new cooking tools now. And if it doesn't pan out (pun intended), our two monster pups will love assisting in the clean-up : )
4. Start Learning to Speak Italian
Stephen and I want to start taking Italian language classes. His Nonna and Nonno speak fluent Italian and we want to pay his family's heritage homage and learn it, too.
5. Learn to Bake My Great-Grandmother's Rolls
Grandma Ruth is now very old and can no longer bake, but I want to learn how to make her famous rolls to carry on her tradition. Few people have been able to replicate them (my Memaw is the only one that comes to mind), so I feel like if I can learn, it would honor her.
6. Finally Buy Those Tory Burch Ballet Flats
Because I had to throw something semi-selfish on this list and I think they'd look great on my tootsies : )
7. Cultivate New Friendships and Old Ones, Too
Kind of speaks for itself...I just want to keep being a good friend to others and continue to make new friends. Sometimes we lose touch with our old pals because of jobs, life events, etc., but it's so important to remind those people that they're important to us and we prize their loyalty. It's also important to open ourselves up to those who come from different walks of life; we can learn so much from them.
8. Continue to Give Starbucks a Large Portion of My Paycheck
Because I had to put something on here that I know I can accomplish...without a doubt.
9. Convince Stephen That I Need a Goat
This is sort of a running joke, but I have a thing for goats. Maybe it's because I grew up on a farm, maybe it's because it's because I like goat cheese. I think goats are cute. And the fact that they can eat and digest tin cans is just awesome. He says it would go against the covenants of our subdivision, but to that I say, "Pish posh!" Bring on the goats.
10. Make This First Year of Marriage Amazing
Our marriage comes first, now and always. I want Stephen to go to sleep every night knowing that I love and respect him more than anyone else on this planet.
What are your 2012 Intentions?
Be blessed, lovelies-
Winter is synonymous with comfort food, it's true. Loaded baked potatoes, creamy soups and warm pies and cakes dominate our tables and when warmer weather hits, we're left with nothing but 10 extra pounds and an ugly food hangover.
Changing your eating habits is about making smart choices day after day until they stick and you don't have to consciously decide whether to eat the apple or the apple pie. Changing your eating habits also means changing the choices you make when eating out. No more Tour of Italy-sized portions. No more super-sized orders of fries at Mikey D's.
It's unrealistic to think that you'll never eat out again once you're on a diet. Eating out is a pleasure and one we should enjoy with the ones we love. It isn't, however, an excuse to undo all the good you've done on the dieting front though.
|via With Love Gabrielle|
Here are a few examples of what to eat at some of the most popular restaurants out there to ensure you don't completely bomb your diet:
Instead of a Sausage Biscuit for 430, indulge in an Egg McMuffin + Small Coffee for only 300 calories! Skip the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal, which contains over 32g of sugar...yikes!
Instead of the Classic Chicken Sandwich + Medium Waffle Fries, which add up to 820 calories, go for a Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich + Fruit Cup for only 340 calories!
I'll be honest, I LOVE Sonic. But most of their items aren't really the healthiest choices. However, if you do have to eat here, order the Jr. Burger + Small Tots for 470 calories. It's not great, but it's better than the Extra Long Chili Cheese Coney : )
Y'all know I'm a 'Bucks junkie. Although I'd love to indulge in a 380 calorie Pumpkin Spiced Latte every day, my usual beverage is a Tall Vanilla Latte w/ Non-Fat Milk for only 120 calories.
Honestly, if you're dieting, steer clear of this place at all costs. BUT, if you have no choice and wind up here, stick to their Guiltless Grill menu. For example, the Guiltless Grill Salmon with Veggies will only run you about 480 calories.
Olive Garden has some surprisingly healthy options on their menu these days. My personal fav? The Cappellini Pomodoro lunch portion for 480 calories. Steer clear of the Tour of Italy. It'll run you around 1,450 calories!
My favorite menu item here is also one of their healthiest. The Ahi Tuna Sashimi rings it at a mere 376 calories, containing no trans fats and little sugar, with TONS of omega 3s.
Wherever you eat out at a place where nutritional info is unavailable, remember to steer clear of:
-Creamy sauces, heavy dressings and dipping sauces. These are the fastest way to rack up calories.
-Items heavy on sugar, like BBQ ribs and wings. Barbeque sauce contains as much sugar as maple syrup!
-Fried items. This is a no-brainer.
-Items with the word "loaded". This implies it's not only loaded with bacon and cheese, but also with calories!
I hope this helps you to make a smarter choice the next time you're out for dinner. Remember that eating out is no excuse to throw your healthy lifestyle out the window!
* Caloric information from Men's Health Magazine
Be blessed, lovelies-
Last night, Stephen and I had our "Christmas night" at home. We decided to wait until all the family get-togethers were finished so that we could be alone and just enjoy every second. We exchanged gifts and had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Bonefish Grill. And guess what else?! I discovered that my new camera, (the b-day present from Stephen), came equipped with a timer! This may have been the best part of the evening.
|Coat from Victoria's Secret last year, pants from Dillard's by Chelsea & Violet, sweater by Ann Taylor and scarf was a gift from parent's 3 years ago.|
|New shoes were a gift from Stephen!|
Among my favorite gifts he bought me, the shoes in the above pic, an adorable Judith March coat and one shoulder ruffle dress for dressy parties this year! (Yes, my husband is daring enough to pick out clothes for me...and in the PERFECT size, nonetheless!
|Love the pleated ruffle detail....|
After dinner, we came back to our house and had some cuddle time with Ari and Cash. They are mostly outside dogs, but once in a while they get to come inside and hang out : )
|I have no idea why his eyes look so crazy...his eyes are brown!|
Whether your husband buys it for you or not, all of us girls are going to be needing something cute for this weekend's NYE festivities!
New Year's Eve will always be special to me, since that's the night that Stephen proposed to me : ) However, I've always thought NYE was a great excuse to throw on a sparkly party dress, super chic pants or a dressy blazer, just because. Even if you're celebrating at home this year, you can incorporate some high style into your look.
1. I don't like this dress. I lurve it. The Warehouse Sequin One Shoulder Dress is a great little frock for stylish parties!
2. I LOVE this One Shoulder Metallic Jacquard dress from ASOS. Perfect for a super dressy party or get together where black tie attire is required.
3. This Icicle Elegance Necklace from ModCloth is just the right amount of shine for your NYE.
4. These One Avenue Drop Earrings by Kate Spade scream glamour, don't they?
5. Rachel Zoe can do no wrong. This amazing Double-Breasted Metallic Jacket proves just that.
6. Chevron print sequin heels? Can it be? It is. And you can get them here.
So tell me, what are your plans for New Year's Eve and, more importantly, WHAT WILL YOU WEAR?
Be blessed, lovelies-
We had a really good (but exhausting) holiday! We spent two nights at Stephen's parents' house in Fort Smith and then a night at my parents' in Heber Springs, located about 3 1/2 hours away. We got lots of great presents, but the real fun was in getting to spend time with the ones we love...cliche, but true : )
|With our niece Ava...she's a special kiddo to us!|
|Stephen and his nephew Reed...such handsome guys in this pic : )|
|Pretty decoration on Mom's mantle|
|My parents' dog Lucy...she was tired from all the Christmas craziness : )|
|Max was still going strong yesterday!|
Here are some things you can look forward to this week on the blog:
1. A FABULOUS giveaway from Thirty-One Gifts! I'll be giving away something monogrammed, so you won't want to miss it!
2. The 3rd installment of New Year, New You! I've seen lots of chatter on Twitter from you ladies about getting in shape in 2012, so this segment would be perfect for helping y'all do just that!
3. Some more pictures from our wedding!
Sorry for the short post today, but I'm getting ready for mine and Stephen's gift exchange and dinner date tonight : ) We wanted to do something special between just the two of us since it's our newlywed Christmas!
Be blessed, lovelies-
|via Style Me Pretty|
It's finally Christmas Eve, Eve! Tonight, we'll be heading to Stephen's parents' house for a 2 night stay, then off to my parents house in Central AR for a night.
I didn't do a link-up today, just pressed for time this week and haven't had a moment of spare time to sort all that out. It'll be back next week though, so join in for Confessional Friday.
1. I'm still not finished with my shopping : ) Hey, until midnight on 12/25/11, I'm still golden. Besides there's something to be said for being a part of the last minute hustle and bustle of the stores...I like it.
2. I feel like Christmas came early for me on September 17, 2011 when we got married. That day was the ultimate gift, really. Shopping for "stuff" has been harder than usual this year, only because everything seems so trivial after a life-changing event like getting married.
3. I had fun buying toys and teeny clothes for our baby nephews and niece for Christmas. This does NOT make me want little ones anymore than I did before, but I do think we'll be the aunt and uncle that spoil our nieces and nephews rotten : )
4. I've never been so relieved to have something over than the Pen Pal match-up. The last match was sent yesterday...whew! I don't believe I'll be doing that again, so y'all better get along real good with your match, ha!
5. We've watched Elf no fewer than 4 times this month.
6. This week, I discovered the joys of cooking with wine. A splash here, a Tablespoon there and a few sips in-between. Our food tastes miles better and I'm pretty sure I feel like Emeril Lagasse in the kitchen, all cool and professional and whatnot.
7. I'm terrified to light our pilot light in the fireplace. Like, scared stiff. Stephen does it and it makes this big 'poof!' noise. I watched an episode of Nip/Tuck years ago where some lady got her face seared when she lit a kitchen stove pilot. Ever since then, I've been skiddish about lighting a pilot light.
Y'all have a great Christmas.
Be blessed, lovelies-
The very word ignites dread in the hearts of many an exerciser. (And by "many an exerciser", I mean ME.) For as long as I can remember, I've dreaded doing cardio. Weights and toning exercises are no problem, but when it comes to cardio, I start finding excuses to skip working out.
It's not that cardio is that much harder than weights, I just tend to get extremely bored. I joined a gym in 2010 where the only options for cardio, it seemed, were the treadmill and the elliptical. But then I learned that my gym offered a TON of fun, challenging cardio classes that were anything but boring. I also found lots of fun alternatives to pounding away on the 'mill for 2 hours.
|I like to do my cardio in heels, wearing a ballroom skirt at random truck stops, like this Vogue model.|
Below, I'll tell you guys about a few fun classes I've discovered, as well as some upbeat, non-boring cardio plans for the non-gym goers:
If You Have a Gym Membership, any of the following are GREAT:
Zumba: SO fun and upbeat! Zumba is a dance-based, usually hour long class that incorporates Latin dance moves and heart-pounding cardio. You'll sweat and get your groove on at the same time : )
Step: Step classes aren't what they used to be, girls. Most people think of the 80's when they think of Step classes, but the classes now are much faster and more fun. If you've never tried it before, make sure that you start with a Beginner Level class; I made the mistake of jumping head first into a Master Level Step Class once and greatly regretted it.
Spin: Spinning has been popular for a while now and for good reason - it works! This indoor cycling class incorporates speed, interval training and endurance for a killer cardio session.
If You're an At-Home Exerciser, try alternating these plans:
Family Circle Interval Walking/Jogging Plan: I used this plan when I first started trying to get in shape last year. You can walk (if you're a beginnner) or jog (if you've been at it for a while). It's a lot like the Couch to 5k program that's so popular.
Cardio Workout from FitSugar: This plan incorporates LOTS of fast movements, including jump squats, in-place marching and jumping rope. I lurve this one, especially for the bonus toning moves interspersed throughout the cardio.
Health.com's 30 Minute Cardio Workout: This plan is terrific if you've only got half an hour and want to work out. I love the jumping jack and side lunge segments. Lots of bonus toning moves, too!
If you're looking to LOSE weight- Try going for 40-50 minutes of cardio, 4-5 days per week.
If you're looking to MAINTAIN your current weight, (like me)- You'll need about 30-35 minutes of cardio, 3-4 days per week.
Alright girlies, that's what I've got! Remember to enjoy all that yummy food this weekend, but in moderation. There's no harm in indulging in a holiday treat, it'll keep you from going 'diet crazy'.
Be blessed, lovelies-
|via Design Sponge (found on Pinterest)|
We're on the precipice of a new year, which got me to thinking...
I'm still in disbelief that this blog has been alive for 2.5 years now...that's crazy to me! It's also rather embarrassing to look back on early posts when this blog had no clear direction or theme. On that note, I'm not entirely sure it has direction or theme now, but at least it looks prettier : )
In the early days of 'ye olden blog, I chronicled my fascinating daily life that included riveting posts on "What I Like to Eat for Breakfast!" and "Happy 10th Birthday to My Dog Max - Isn't He Cute?!"
It was really something, y'all.
But the years have passed; I've learned that people don't want to read about my preferences of laundry detergent, my site design has become less of a hot mess, and I've made quite a few friends in blogland.
So I'm asking YOU to tell me what you want to read about in 2012.
|Uncle Sam wants your ideas, too! He loves A Blonde Ambition and wants it to be awesome for you.|
More fashion? More cooking and DIY posts? We can talk about TV shows, working out, shopping, foreign policy and Justin Beiber's hair. Whatever you want, I'll give it to ya, (within reason that is.)
So shout it out, ladies! What would you like to see in 2012 from A Blonde Ambition?
P.S.- Come back tonight for the second installment of New Year, New You, where we'll debate bananas, as well as my own personal weight ; )
(Probably not funny unless you read last week's comments.)
Be blessed, lovelies-