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Posts Tagged ‘weekend’

bilbl_shoppingWhat a spectacular day it’s been, and it’s only about half over! I think every weekend I’m going to start writing a post called either #SaturdayScenes or #SundayScenes, depending on which day is filled with more fun. Who knows, some weekends it might be both. As I was posting photos on Instagram today, I made up the hashtag, and I think it will be fun to keep it as a regular feature on the blog.

So, for those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram (bellablogger), you’ve seen these photos, but I thought it would be nice to be able to write a bit more about each of them, as well.

422367_10151164129475426_268559075_nI started out this morning with my first Zumba class in months, and it felt so great to get back to it. I was so eager to give my Blochs a whirl, and so thankful that my heel is feeling better and the PF is giving me a lot less pain. I adore the energy of the class: the music, the movement, the smiles! I brought my friend Ani with me to the class, and it wiped her out! She said she really enjoyed it, but that she wasn’t sure how much more she would be able to do the rest of the day. I’m feeling sore already, but that great kind of sore where you know you used muscles that you haven’t used in forever. Zumba @ 10am on Saturdays is permanently in my iCal (except when I’m proctoring the SAT).

Today when I met Ani at the gym, she told me that she could definitely tell that I’d lost weight since she’d last seen me (NYE), and that made me feel so good!  This week has been fantastic with food & exercise, so I have a good feeling about tomorrow’s scale check-in.

580689_10151164411020426_1570796410_n Just look at that blue sky! Yes, it was 50 degrees and really chilly out, but the sun was shining and it was so clear that I just couldn’t resist putting the top down on the Beetle. (It’s funny that here in the Bay Area we’re bracing ourselves for the extreme cold (it’s been dipping below freezing at night), and my friend in Pennsylvania was saying that it was 50 there and she was out enjoying her garden. It’s all about perspective!). I felt so invigorated (and so hot) after the Zumba class, that I wanted to feel the breeze as I made my way to Sprouts to pick up my produce for the week for the week.

20130112-162159.jpg My haul from Sprouts. I got veggies, snacks (more on that in a minute), pb, tea, and almond milk for the week for $52. Not bad, at all. My Lean Cuisines/soups/Healthy Choice dinners add another $14, so my total grocery bill is $66 for the week – a far cry from $165/week that I was paying when I was on JC, right? I’m happy to say that my own version of it is working just a well, too. (More on that tomorrow for my weigh-in).

20130112-163344.jpg This is the snack find that made me smile today.  Wasabi Ginger Kettle Corn?  C’mon!  The stats are great, too.  I love the way it tastes, although I wish it was a bit “zingy-er” aka had a bit more heat from the wasabi.  Then again, I love things spicy!  I looked it up for you guys, and it looks like this is sold at Whole Foods and Cost Plus World market, too.  If you try it, let me know what you think of it.

20130112-162210.jpg So that was the first half of my Saturday.  Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but this is an action shot (no doubt illegal) driving home with the top down.

1091185-football_49ers_extended_large And now, I’m going to watch my 49ers kick some Packer ass!

How did you spend your Saturday?

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This month I’m participating in 30 Days of Thanks (#30DaysofThanks) by writing a blog post about 30 things I’m thankful for. To join in, go to the link above. The best part is, you don’t need to have a blog or even be on social media to take part in the project; you just need to be thankful. I can’t wait to see how my life might change by spending the 30 days in November giving thanks for things in my life — every single day.

Today I am thankful that my sister and I found some time in our busy schedules to slip away and go to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower before it left theatres.  If you didn’t get to see it, do.  If you haven’t read the book, read it.  Go buy the soundtrack, it’s fantastic.  Or, if you want, just go listen to it on Spotify:

The movie was beautifully done.  I think it helped that the novel’s author, Stephen Chbosky, wrote the screenplay and directed the film, too.  As much as I loved the book, I think this film might have been even better.  Although that might have been because the actors were so endearing.  It was truly one of the best movies I have seen in recent memory.

Afterward, LC and I went to Starbucks for a bit of an afternoon pick-me-up, and to take advantage of their “buy one holiday drink, get the other free from 2pm-5pm deal”.  I treated myself to a Grande Skinny Peppermint Mocha for 130 calories.  It was a delicious treat.

Weekends like this one, where my sister and I get to spend a lot of time together (we lounged around for much of the day yesterday, too) are all too rare, making them all the more precious.  I’m so grateful that my sister is my best friend and that she and my nieces live right next door.

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I had huge To Dos this weekend, and I’m glad to say I got most of it done.

On my walk with Sofi Saturday morning, I was reminded just how beautiful the everyday can be.
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My front yard has been looking a bit dull lately, what with the summer flowers gone. So I made a quick trip to OSH to buy some mums. Sofi was a big help.
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On that same trip I stopped by Sprouts/Sunflower Market to pick up loads of fruits & veggies for the week.
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Sofi’s new Molly Mutt bed arrived. We both love it!
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This morning I was encouraged to see a nice drop on the scale (from yesterday). At this pace, I could lose 3 lbs this week.
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After a quick happy dance, I was up and at ’em with more laundry, cleaning, and gardening, and somehow I got this battle wound:
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I prepped food for the week, including a really delicious salad that I can’t wait to try. It has romaine, spinach, mixed bean sprouts, mung beans, red bell pepper, and edamame. I’m going to pair it with TJ’s Spicy Asian Peanut dressing. Yum!20120930-233306.jpg

The main focus this weekend was grading…glad that’s done! (For now).
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All in all, a busy, satisfying weekend. What did you do?

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I just saw this on Facebook and new I had to post it:

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What a great weekend I just had! It was an excellent mix of fun, organization, planning, exercising, and healthy eating. I love weekends like this one because they make me feel like I used the two days off to the fullest.

Saturday

The weather was gorgeous and I shot out of bed really early for a Saturday (early for ANY day, really) at 5:45.  Why?  I have no idea other than the fact that my back was feeling much better and I got enough sleep the night before.  LC and I took the pups to Bark in the Park and had a great time.  Lots of sun, lots of wagging tails, and lots of walking. I think I was as worn out as Sofi, so I kept things pretty mellow for the rest of the day – laundry, reading, tv, bed.

Sunday

Today Sofi and I were up and at ’em early at our Puppy Kindergarten class, at which she makes me one proud puppy-mommy every single week.  I like that the class is at 9am every Sunday, because it forces me to get up and out of the house early.  No lazing around on Sundays, which is good for me.

After chatting with my sis for a while (our weekend coffee klatch), I headed to Yin Yoga with a colleague.  My yoga studio is offering a great “gift” to their members in honor of their impending move to a bigger, better studio – throughout the month of September I can bring 5 friends with me to a yoga class and both they and I get to attend the class free.  Such a great deal!  I have plenty of friends who said they’d like to try that studio, but few of them seem to want to make an actual date with me.  So strange, but I guess everyone is just so busy.  I’m really hoping I can get a few more people to join me, because it’s a great way to be social and get a free yoga class.  Win win.  The yoga class itself was a new one for me, and I really enjoyed it.  It’s all about holding deep stretches for long periods of time.  I could feel my tight muscles eventually relaxing, and it was great.  The teacher was awesome, and promoted a calm, spiritual atmosphere in the class.  Sort of a combination of church/therapy.  I liked it enough to want to make it a habit – I’m not sure I can afford to go every single week, but I’d like to go biweekly, if possible.  I left the studio feeling great physically and mentally.  Really uplifted and serene.

The rest of the day was spent getting organized (grocery shopping, meal planning, folding laundry) and taking care of me (going for a long walk with Sofi, waxing my brows/lip, and setting out my outfit for tomorrow, and making a good dinner).Getting everything all set and organized is the best way I can insure that I’m going to have a great week.  If I don’t have to think about my dinners, I’m one step ahead of the game.

I plan on spending the rest of tonight lounging around, watching all my Sunday shows, including: RHWNJ, Drop Dead Diva, and a DVR’d version of Ali Vincent’s new show, Live Big.  Have you guys watched it yet?  I have no idea if I’ll like it or not, but I figured that since I like all things BL, I should at least give it a shot).

But before I sign off to get in front of the boob tube, let’s talk about this post’s title, shall we?  I did get a lot done this weekend, that’s for sure, but what I’m really referring to is my “get to pre-op weight goal” plan.  Doing what I need to do to get it done.  This was my first weekend following the exact same food plan as I do during the week:

  • Breakfast: Premier Nutrition Bar
  • Lunch: Premier Nutrition Shake
  • Snack: protein-dense (a choice of : raw almonds, laughing cow cheese, light string cheese, hummus with veggies, etc)
  • Lean and Green Meal: Last night I had TJ’s Marinated Ahi Tuna with zucchini and tonight I had a hamburger patty and spinach salad with tomatoes, blue cheese, and oil/balsamic.

My calories stay under 1200 and I make sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in each day.  Today I had 2 hours’ worth! I’ve been getting in at least 64 oz of water (today I was way over that), too.

I’ve found the main thing that keeps me on track on the weekends is staying busy.  I can’t allow myself to have too much down time, otherwise I start wanting to eat.  Even if I’m not hungry.  Since that’s the key, I’m going to make sure that I don’t allow myself too much time to just laze around, especially these first few weeks while I’m building the habit again.

It really hasn’t been difficult at all, and I’m enjoying the lighter feeling I get from keeping my carbs in check.  I’m not saying I’m never going to eat pasta and rice again before the surgery, but I will say that I’m going to make those foods a treat rather than the norm.  Because once I start with carbs, I want more, more, more.  When I don’t eat them, I don’t miss them at all.  There’s definitely something to that.

So that’s my weekend.  If I could hit “repeat” on this weekend for the remaining months of 2011, I gladly would.  I’m going do my best to make sure that every weekend left in this year feels as balanced and as accomplished as this one did.

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Debuting the new Bellina About Town with Sofi!

Another fun-filled, action-packed weekend, which I really enjoyed.

I am so glad that I started doing the household cleaning and chores a little each day so that I could have the entire weekend to have fun and enjoy myself. I’m going to do my best to continue this practice in the fall, although once school starts and I’m back to working full time, it’s going to be a challenge.

Friday I finally broke out of a funky mood that I’d been in for a couple of days. The morning started with a trip to the vet that changed everything – now Sofi is able to go on walks, to the dog park, and to get groomed. She can go anywhere – training classes (which I need to sign us up for soon), doggie boutiques, Pet Food Express, friends’ houses, etc. It’s been a long time in coming and I’m so happy that we’ll be able to do more things out and about. She’s still learning how to go for a walk because I’m determined that she learns loose-leash walking, which is more difficult to train at first, but so worth the extra effort. After all the puppy fun during the day, I spent the an hour going to Friday night Zumba, which was a blast! I’m definitely going back, weekly. .

Saturday we celebrated my niece’s 4th birthday with a family lunch and it was nice to see how grown up my nieces are getting. It’s always nice to spend some time with my family, and as a few of you point out, I’m so lucky to have them all so close. No matter how great your friends are, and I have some fantastic friends, there’s nothing like the love and support you can get from family. At least in my experience.

Saturday evening I took Sofi on another walk, but this time I decided that it was a good idea for the whole gang to come along. And by “whole gang” I mean: Minnie, LC’s 2-year old dog whom Sofi idolizes and adores; my nieces, who are eight and four; and my sister. They say that sometimes you have to learn from experience, and this was no different:

I think Sofi’s love of Minnie gets her way too excited and distracted from the task at hand, namely, walking with a leash. So, until she masters that, I think we’ll be going solo. Which is actually just fine, because walking the dog is such a great way to bond, and I relish my Sofi time.

The rest of the time on Saturday was a combination of a bit of freelance work, light cooking and meal planning, and a much-needed at home facial courtesy of Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Mud Masque.

Sunday my mom and I made a trip to the farmers market, which was long overdue. I haven’t been in months because of my wacky eating plans, and I can’t tell you how great it was to peruse the aisles of summer fruits and veggies and be able to buy anything I wanted. I ended up buying some peaches, dino kale, beautiful variegated summer squash, and some delicious blackberries.

After the farmers market, Mom and I headed to the international market near our house to pick up some Baharat seasoning blend that we needed for this delicious recipe Eating Well Magazine tweeted about this morning. Turkish lamb and eggplant kabobs? Delicious. The recipe actually calls for you to make your own Baharat spice mix, but since we have the luxury of having quite a few Middle Eastern markets just minutes from our house, we figured we’d save ourselves some time and money and get the pre-made spice blend. My mom plans to make it for dinner on Tuesday for her and my dad and I’m going to make it this coming weekend for LC. I’ll definitely report back and let you know how good it was. On a side note, have you guys seen Eating Well magazine? It is phenomenal, and I knew noting about it until Scale Warfare gave me a subscription for Christmas last year. I love it!!

After all the food shopping, it was time to eat lunch, play with Sofi, and get some more freelance work done. Then LC and I went to Restorative Yoga, which was a brand-new and very relaxing experience. After the class, I was calm but hungry, so I put together a fairly quick meal that featured my farmers market summer squash, which were divine:


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Summer squash, TJ’s turkey meatballs, and TJ’s harvest grains medley.  Just hearty enough to fill me up while keeping things light.

All in all a really wonderful weekend that I hope to replay at least 4 more times before the summer ends.  🙂

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Even though Sofi has her own blog, where I write all about our experiences together, I thought that since today she’s moving into a whole new stage of her life, I’d highlight a few things on this blog.  Just in case you needed a cute puppy fix for today.  🙂

Today Sofi is 4 months old, which is exciting for so many reasons. Now she can go on walks, visit the dog park, get groomed, and do pretty much anything we decide we’d like to.  It’s opened up a whole new world for her, which is great for me, too.  Now we an really have fun and we’re not limited to only staying around the house or the backyard.  I can bring her out and about, and I think she’s going to enjoy being a social puppy.

Yesterday Sofi also took her first car ride, which she loved.  Then when we got home and I thought she was just going to chill out for a while, she decided it was frolickin’ Friday.  If you do nothing else, please watch that video – I guarantee it will make you giggle.

I hope you guys have a fantastic weekend – I have some fun plans of my own that I’ll catch you up on in a post tomorrow.  Let’s just say that I plan to make the most of each day of the weekend!!!  I hope you do, too.

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What a terrific weekend I had! This post may seem a bit scattered, but hey, it’s Sunday, and I don’t have to keep it linear if I don’t want to, right?
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Yesterday I bought myself these gerbera daisies and I am happy each time I look at them. It’s like having a bit of the summer right inside my house. I haven’t done it in a long time, but buying flowers for myself is a simple way that I can enjoy the beauty of time. These were on sale for $3.99/bunch, and so I got 2 arrangements for $8 – a very reasonable price for a week’s worth of happiness, wouldn’t you say?

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This little vase on Lulu’s table makes me smile every time I see it.  I’m going to treat myself to some beautiful bouquets this summer so that I can bring a little joy into everyday.

Today is Father’s Day, and this year my sister and my dad spent the morning just the two of them, rather than our normal, big bbq dinner.  She wanted to make him a special breakfast and spend time one-on-one with him.  She made the most fabulous looking Uova Benedetto (think Eggs Benedict, Italian style: homemade polenta fried, then topped with priscuitto, a poached egg, and pesto sauce).  I thought it was a great way to show my dad how much she appreciates him without spending a ton of money.  And it was right up my dad’s alley – he’s more of a simple pleasures sort of man.  I did get to spend a tiny bit of time with him and wish him a good day.  He and I are going to celebrate Father’s Day and his birthday (which is this weekend) by going to an SF Giants game.  We have amazing seats right behind home plate (I love Stub Hub!).  They were expensive, but my dad is worth every penny, and I know we’re going to have a great day together at the ballpark.  Can’t wait.

Yesterday I had my friend Neeka over for a puppy playdate.  Her cockapoo, Riley, is 5 months old, so he’s the perfect in-between for Sofi and Minnie.  He’s got the full-of-energy puppy giddiness that Sofi loved and he’s the same size as Minnie.  They had an absolutely amazing time together, and I hope we’re able to do it again and again.  (If you want to watch the puppies playing, click here.

The best thing about SBD is that it’s so liveable, even on Phase 1.  Yesterday I served this:

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Now, I ask you, does that seem like “diet food?”  The weather’s been warm here, so this was really light and refreshing.  (I also had pretzels for her, just in case this was a veggie overload). Neeka enjoyed it, and so did I.  It’s so nice to be able to hang out with friends again and not feel like I just have to sit there with a glass of water.  I have a lunch coming up on Tuesday with a friend, and I’m not one bit worried about finding something SBD-friendly to eat.  The pitchers are filled with Crystal Light (iced tea and sunburst grapefruit, respectively).

I have quite a few celebrations coming up – my dad’s birthday, my birthday, 4th of July, and yet I’m not worried about a single one because I know that I can easily incorporate this SBD lifestyle.  Luckily I timed it perfectly, and I’ll be one Phase 2 beginning on my dad’s birthday.  Meaning, I’ll be able to have some fruit and grains (if I want to) as well as up to 2 glasses of wine per day.  I will make sure to amp up the activity around those days, just to counteract the fact that I may indulge in more than 2 glasses of wine.

Speaking of which, I’ve been really bad about activity and I don’t know why that is.  I think part of it is the fact that with Sofi here now, I’m  trying to establish a new morning routine.  Because I always do better if I hit the gym in the morning.  That way, it’s done, and if I get more activity in throughout the day, that’s just a bonus.  So I need to commit to exercising this week, to you guys (for accountability) but to myself as well.  Here’s the plan:

Monday – 9am: Aqua aerobics
Tuesday – 6:30pm: Afro-Belly Boogie
Wednesday – 4pm: swimming with my nieces, which will be more like doggie paddling than anything.
Thursday – OFF.  Giants’ game with my dad.  Although we will be walking several city blocks from the train station to the ballpark and vice versa.
Friday – 9am: Aqua
Saturday – 10am: Zumba

Then next week I want to begin introducing weight training into the mix.  I’m thinking that if I get their 30-40 minutes before the classes start, I can do a circuit and then do the cardio.  Because I know that most of the time after the cardio workouts, all I want to do is recover and rest at home.

This afternoon my sister and I were talking and she started asking me all about SBD.  I think she’s seeing how easy it is for me to follow it, and so she’s been inspired. 🙂  She’s going to start tomorrow!  It’s going to be nice to have someone to do it with who lives right next door.  My sister said she wants to lose about 80 pounds, and when we crunched some numbers, she could very conceivably lose the weight by April.  I’m so happy that she’s starting to put herself first.  She’s really blossoming lately – she had her hair done the other day, had her curls blown out for the first time ever, and is starting to wear really cute outfits to work.  I think the heaviness has lifted and now that her divorce will be finalized soon, she’s feeling happier.  I’m so glad for her.

I’ll end the post on a really positive note…this morning I peeked at the scale and I’ve lost a very impressive amount of weight this week! 5.8 lbs since beginning SBD last Monday!  Wednesday’s weigh in should be great.

How was your weekend? What was the highlight?

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Each year when I plant my summer flower garden, it’s the signal that summer is just around the corner.  Some years are so busy that I wait until after school gets out. Other years, my mom and dad have surprised me by planting all the flowers for me.  This year I decided the long Memorial Day weekend was the perfect time to plant my flower garden.

As is our yearly tradition, my dad and I met up in the morning and headed out to a few of our local nurseries to select, purchase, and plant the summer flowers.  This year I wanted to make sure there was plenty of color in both my front and back yards.  I’m so grateful for everything I have in my life – a wonderful family, a fabulous place to live, and soon a new puppy companion – and I wanted that joy to be vividly shown in my garden.

The photos were taken yesterday (and a few this morning) and I think they show just how successful we were in capturing that feeling.  See what you think:

First we’ll start in the front of the house.  My sister has a green thumb, and as I look out my window or front door every morning, I see a beautiful array of roses and lilies.  I wanted to make sure that my sister (and anyone else who might see my front yard) had a view that was just as pretty.  My front yard is mostly shade until around 4pm, when I get a few hours of hot afternoon sun.  I think the combo of flowers we selected will do really well with this light.

This is the view from my sister's house (front yard).

I love how unique these square containers look. Flowers: impatiens, dianthus, fiberous begonias

Flowers: impatiens, dianthus, petunias, begonia

Flowers: impatiens, dianthus, petunias, begonia, fiberous begonia

Flowers - impatiens, dianthus, fiberous begonias

Next, we’ll go to the back yard.  My backyard is very lush and green, thanks to some nice plants and trees that have been there for years, but I have always thought that it lacked color.  Yes, the bird of paradise have color, but they in need of some serious pruning, and I really hate those plants, but since the landlord likes them, they stay.  Also, I enjoy the bottle  brush tree and the holly berry tree, but other than that, my backyard is pretty blah.  That is, until yesterday.  I think the combination of potted flowers really adds a lot of life to the yard.  I get great light all day in the back, but the sun really hits around 1pm and lasts the rest of the afternoon until sunset.

A view of the backyard, taken from my patio. I really am lucky to have such a nice-sized yard.

This is the memorial garden I made for Lulu; the hydrangeas were there (although now they're blooming). I added the sunflower pot.

Close-up of the sunflower pot. Flowers: dianthus, fiberous begonia

I love the firecracker red salvia!

These pots originally held the hydrangeas, but I repurposed them, and I'm very happy with the way they turned out. I get to see these beauties every morning when I look outside from my dining table.

I love the bright-orange zinnia coupled with the colorful petunias.

Whenever I'm on a walk, I'm always drawn to geraniums, so I decided to plant some of my own. They're coupled with petunias here.

This was the plant I had on my patio table, but I thought it would fill in the corner of the yard nicely and add some much-needed color.

This azelea has seen better days on my dining table, but I'm hoping it will come back now that it's roots have room to grow.

I can’t wait until all of my flowers really take root and begin to flourish!  As my dad and I were planting them yesterday, I started to think about how nice it will be to take a few quiet moments to water each of these plants and think about my day.  Right now, while school is still in and things are hectic, it will be a short relief from the stress.  Later, when summer is here, it will be a wonderful way to begin or end my day, reminding myself of the beauty that can be found in the simplest things.

As much as I say that I’m not a gardener, I do think I have the soul of one.  I love everything that goes along with it, even getting my hands dirty.  Maybe with a bit more practice and a dash of confidence, I’ll become a full-fledged green thumb after all.

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Because I love to have plants and flowers in the house, too, I thought I’d share the newest additions.

Dalias have to be one of my favorite flowers ever, and this pink./yellow combo is gorgeous.

The thing I love about Pathos plants is that they thrive in low light. This one is going to do really well in my bedroom.

Do you garden?  What have you been planting, lately?

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What a great weekend! There really is nothing like a family celebration to make a weekend special, is there? Ever since I took on the task of teaching that extra (6th class), life has become really hectic, and it seems like the only thing I do on the weekends is run a bunch of errands I couldn’t get to during the week. Which makes weekends like the one we just had all the more special because I was able to relax and spend some quality time with family.

Friday
Friday evening my sister and nieces had me over for a nice dinner of shrimp scampi. While I drooled over their pasta with butter and cheese, I ate my steamed zucchini and roasted cauliflower that my sister had for me. I ended up eating one piece of the pasta (literally one piece), just to satisfy the craving. And it was just as delicious as I knew it would be, but that one piece was enough. After 20 minutes my body registered that it was full and the craving for the pasta died down. I think that I gave in to the craving because I knew that I was going to eat carbs on Sunday at our Easter brunch. Not that I think eating one piece of pasta is a problem, but let’s just say I’m glad that I don’t have it in my house because it would be difficult to resist on a daily basis.

The girls were beyond excited that they were going to die Easter eggs after dinner. I forgot how much fun that whole process is. I’m so glad that my sister and my nieces are living next door now, because I realized on Friday night how much of their lives I missed out on when they lived 45 minutes away. Even though I’d see them at all the major holidays and on weekends when they’d come and visit, it’s not the same thing as being close enough to walk across the driveway. It’s so much fun to be a part of their daily lives. And the egg decorating was fun, too. They even made me a hot pink swirly egg.

Saturday
Most of the day on Saturday was spent doing housework and errands.  You know, the fun stuff – mopping the floors, cleaning the bathrooms, doing laundry, changing the sheets, dusting.  I actually don’t mind housework at all because I love the sense of accomplishment I get afterward.  Not to mention how much I love a clean house.  Plus, I just put some good music on and the tasks  go a lot more quickly.

The rest of Saturday was spent braving the grocery stores (I needed to go to two), and I kept kicking myself for not stopping at either of them on Friday night instead.  You would’ve thought they were giving food away for how busy it was in the stores.  Still, I had to get the  berries that I needed to make my fruit salad, so there was nothing to do  but deal with the crowds.

Late Saturday afternoon the breeder where I’m getting my new puppy posted new photos after their first bath and a video of their first time eating puppy food.  Too much cuteness!  I still have my favorite (Winnie), but I really think all six of those puppies are adorable, and I’d be happy with any one of them.  The selection process begins somewhere around the 5-week mark, which is coming up later this week (Saturday).  I have pick 4, which means there will be 3 puppies to choose from.  I know I’ll be on pins and needles until I know which one is mine.  If you need something to brighten your day, take a look at those photos, because I don’t think you can see them and not smile. (And now you know where the title of this post comes from.  Although my nieces are pretty cute, too).

On a side note, I can’t say enough about how thrilled I am with Heather and the LilyBits community that she’s created.  Heather is the type of breeder that we should all hope to have.  She’s so nurturing and sweet, but she also maintains such order and organization.  And she keeps things so clean! She’s definitely a woman after my own heart in that respect.  And she’s set up a wonderful community of LilyBits “parents” on Facebook who post photos and videos of their little loves all the time.  I can’t wait to become a full-fledged member!  If you’re in the market for a Shichon puppy, I highly recommend contacting Heather. 

I spent a quiet night at home on Saturday finishing up A Dog’s Purpose  (with puppies on the brain I just had to finish it) and looking for a new book to read.  I quite a few on my “to read” list, but I wasn’t in the mood to start The Girl Who Played with Fire because I’ve realized that I need to be in the right mind space for those novels because they are so dark.  Two of my favorite “fun read” authors, Jen Lancaster and Jennifer Weiner both have books coming out in early May and early June, respectively. But nothing else was jumping out at me.  Please leave recommendations of books that you’ve recently enjoyed.  I like a wide variety of genres, so any and all suggestions would be great.

Sunday
Sunday morning I made a beautiful berry salad. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t missed having things like this these past 10 weeks.  I’m looking forward to being able to eat fruit (and other carbs in limited quantities) again.  I mean, just look at how good this looks…

Our family brunch was delicious,  and I’m glad I allowed myself the day to enjoy the food.  I was up on the scale this morning, but I should be able to take that weight off before Wednesday.  Beyond the food, it was nice to have all of the most important people in my life together and for the atmosphere to be light and happy.  Now that my sister’s ex isn’t around, there isn’t that dread that something is going to go wrong.  Toxic people really take so much joy out of life, don’t they?  I’m so thankful that we never have to spend another family holiday with him.

After brunch my mom and I headed to Target to buy my dad and her some workout clothes.  They just joined a small gym and both of them feel like they don’t have the right clothes to workout in.  I really wanted them to join 24 Hour Fitness since my sister and I both belong there, but the gym they joined was less expensive and more suited for their needs.  So I’m disappointed that we won’t be able to work out together, but I’m so happy that they’re going to start working out on a regular basis. Our trip was cut short due to the fact that Target was closed, which was surprising.  I’m glad that the employees got the day off, though.  So my mom and I are headed there this afternoon instead.

Sunday afternoon and evening was spent getting ready for the week ahead and relaxing with mindless reality shows that have become such a staple of my Sunday evenings.

Monday
I know this post was a weekend wrapup, but I have some time on my hands this morning because the students are taking state-mandated standardized tests and I’m all caught up on my grading.  That’s why this post is so long.

This morning I woke up and checked Facebook on my iPhone as I do every morning.  The difference was I had a message from a friend of a friend whom I don’t speak to very often.  She had seen the Easter photos I posted on FB and wanted to let me know how great I looked.  What a nice way to start the day, right?  The fact that this person whom  I really only keep in touch with via FB noticed a change in my appearance really makes me feel great. I have to say that when I saw the photo I thought I looked pretty nice in it, which is a reaction I haven’t had in quite some time when seeing a photo of myself.  It makes me look forward to the future where all of the photos I take will show improvement.

Finally, the Daily Challenge for today is awesome and I’d like to encourage you to participate in it, even if you’re not doing the actual challenges.  It will definitely brighten someone’s day, and it’s easy to do, so why not?:

Draw a smiley face on a little piece of paper, sticky note, or wherever you like. Add a short message like “Have a great day!” or “Keep smiling!” Hide it somewhere your favorite person will find it tomorrow while at work, school, or home – in a drawer, desk, lunch bag, briefcase, coat pocket, purse, or book bag.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and that your Monday is going well, too.

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