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Wedding: The Dress

December 18, 2013

It’s been a while since I did a wedding update, so I thought I’d write a short one here.

Warning: there won’t be any pictures. Tim knows I have a blog and I don’t know if he reads it or not, but I don’t want him to get spoiled on what my wedding dress looks like before the big day.

Right after we got engaged, I told everyone we were going to focus on getting the venue, but wouldn’t do much else before Christmas. I even told myself that I wasn’t going to think about looking at dresses until January or February. Then, while perusing Facebook one Friday, I saw that my sister had tagged me in a post about a big sale at a local bridal shop. On an impulse, I called them and asked a few questions (how long was the sale going to last, what sizes were available, etc.) and ended up making an appointment for that Saturday.

My mom and my sisters met me there and we started looking around. The first thing I noticed: there weren’t as many good sales as I was hoping for. But, determined to give it a shot, we walked around and picked out some to try on. I knew the style I wanted and the first dress that I put on fit that style. I loved it. I ended up trying on a few more dresses, but none stood out to me like that one. The problem was that it was a little over my budget. I wasn’t quite ready to commit to paying that much, so we ended up leaving. I did some research online and realized that dress was the same price pretty much everywhere, so I decided I would just try on dresses somewhere else.

My best friend, Katie, who lives in Dallas mentioned that she may be able to come up sometime and go with us, so we planned out a weekend and she made plans to come. We ended up going to David’s Bridal. I knew they would have a large selection and was optimistic I would find something similar to the dress I originally liked. The first dress I put on was really similar and I absolutely loved it. I remember my consultant asking me what I would rank it and I said, “I don’t want to say 10 because it’s the first one, but I really like it.” We tried on several more dresses, but I just kept coming back to that one. I was a little reluctant because my sister didn’t act like she completely loved it, but there was just a feeling inside of me that told me it was “THE DRESS”. I asked to put it on one more time and the decision was made. The best part is that it was much closer to my budget.

I wish I could share pictures, but you all will just have to wait and see!

The Past Few Weeks

December 17, 2013

Just when I got into the routine of updating my blog again, I got thrown off by Thanksgiving, traveling to Dallas for a long weekend, a snowstorm, and being busy from general Holiday stuff. So, what have I been up to?

1.I spent Thanksgiving at my Mom and Dad’s house with family. I indulged and ate way too much, but it was so good!

2.Tim and I went to Dallas for a long weekend the Friday after Thanksgiving. We visited my best friend, Katie, on Friday and had a second thanksgiving meal with her, her husband, and her family. We then spend Friday night-Monday morning with Tim’s parents. It was a nice, relaxing weekend. I may have partaken of too many “Corona-rita’s” on Saturday night, but I did manage to get a run in on Saturday morning.
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3.The week after Thanksgiving, it was back to work. I had taken Monday off, so I was looking forward to a 4 day week. We had been hearing all week about the possibility of snow that week/weekend, but I was kind of reluctant. We haven’t had any good snow in Tulsa in a couple of years. This storm lived up to the forecast though. Snow started on Thursday (which meant we got to leave work at 2:00) and lasted into the morning on Friday. We ended up with about 5 inches of snow and a Snow Day off of work on Friday. I love snow, so I was definitely excited! Plus, it was fun to relax in my warm apartment for a few days.
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4.I had friends over for a Holiday party on that Sunday. We ate Mexican food, played Cards Against Humanity, and got to visit a lot. We don’t get to all get together as much as we used to, so it was fun.

5.Last week was a full week of work and trying to get back into going to the gym and working out. Since the Half Marathon, I had only run once (3 miles when I was in Dallas) and hadn’t done much else. My first treadmill run last week wasn’t good (30 minutes at .5 mile run, .1 mile walk), but Saturday I did 3 miles with no walking breaks. It’s always an adjustment to switch from running outside to the treadmill for me. I get bored and I want to stop. I have also being doing push-up, sit-up, and squats using apps on my phone. And I got strength training in two days last week.

6.This weekend I finished up most of my Christmas shopping and went to a family Christmas party, which is always fun! I got to see some of my favorite Texas cousins and spend time with the rest of my family, including my nieces and nephew. I also made this fun Christmas Wreath Cake (It was marbled red, green, and white on the inside).
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That pretty much catches you up on what I’ve been doing the past few weeks. I’m looking forward to this last week of work and then a week and a half off (the benefits of working for a University!).

Route 66 Half Marathon 2013

November 26, 2013

This was my third year running the Route 66 Half Marathon. The first year, I ran faster than expected, which led to my first half still holding my PR of 2:02:53. The second year, I struggled a lot in my training, but still finished in 2:27:59. This year, I had pretty good training up until my 11 mile run and I struggled through it and my 12 mile run, so I was interested to see what race day held for me.

I woke up at 6:15 and went through my normal race day morning preparation. I got dressed, made sure I had everything I needed (spibelt with 3 gu’s, chapstick, water bottle, phone, ear buds), and ate a little breakfast (a piece of bread with a little peanut butter). I wasn’t sure what to wear for the race. It was much colder than any of the long races I’d done before (in the 20’s with a wind chill in the teens). I didn’t want to overdress, but I also didn’t want to underdress. I ended up going with running leggings, a thin longs sleeved shirt, and a thick running pullover along with a headband and gloves.

My friend/cousin, Minnie, and I left my apartment at 6:45 to go find parking. We ended up finding parking only a few blocks from the start. Because it was so cold, we sat in the car until 7:30 (the race started at 8). It was so cold walking over to the start and even colder once we were just standing there. We said our goodbyes at about 7:45 and I headed to my corral and she headed to hers.

My wave got to start at 8:10. I have been relying on runkeeper on my phone since my garmin died, so I made sure to get it set up about a minute early so I could get my gloves back on and situated. I didn’t even think about the fact that this was going to throw my pace calculations off the whole race. Once we got going, I was so happy to be moving! The first few miles went really well. I began to calculate my pace in my head and I was maintaining between a 10:00 and 10:15 pace those first few miles. I knew this was too fast, but I just kept going. At about mile 3, I realized just how hilly this course was going to be. The route had changed this year and I swear it was way hillier than it had been in the past…at least it felt like it. We would go on a long incline and then go downhill, just to turn around and do it over again. I was struggling on the uphills, but feeling good on the downhills.

At about mile 4-5, I stepped in a hole and almost twisted my ankle. It threw me off for a second, but I didn’t feel any pain, so I kept going. At mile 6-7, I slid on some ice on the ground, but kept my balance and kept running. Mile 8 was about the point that I really started to feel the pain. I could tell my pace was slowing down some, but I was determined to keep moving. I had taken in a Gu at mile 5, which I think helped a little bit in keeping my energy up. I was sweating, but knew if I took my pullover off that I would be freezing, so I kept alternating running with gloves off or gloves on. I think this helped regulate my temperature a little bit.

Miles 10 and 11 were hard. This was a flat portion of the course, but I was struggling. I was cold. My legs hurt. I was so ready to be done! And then I got to the hill at mile 12. I had mentally prepared myself for this hill. I knew it was coming, but when I got to it, I just couldn’t do it. I had to take my first walking break. I was really disappointed at first, but I saw so many other people around me walking too and I knew it was okay. I was still going to finish the half, even if I walked a little. What I underestimated was how hard it was going to be to start running again. Because of the cold, my legs had a lot of trouble getting going again. I ended up alternating walk/run those last two miles, which slowed my pace considerably.

The last mile was hard. I knew the end was near, but it seemed like every time I thought it was getting close, I’d turn another corner and not be able to see it. Finally, I turned a corner and saw it. I ran (or shuffled) the rest of the way to the finish. My chip time ended up being 2:23:29. As I crossed the finish line, I was a little dizzy and wobbly and a first aid person came over to check if I was okay. After a few big breaths, I kept going. I got my medal, pushed my way through the food tent (they were serving spaghetti and the smell was making my sick), and got outside where Tim was waiting.

He led me over to a curb where we could sit down. I tried wrapping the foil blanket around me, but it was so cold that it wasn’t doing much good. After sitting for a few minutes, we decided to walk to my car and sit in the heat while we waited for Minnie to get close. The walk was brutal. We had to go up a hill and walk several blocks. My hands were absolutely frozen by the time we got back to the car. I think my running gloves were a little sweaty on the inside, so once I stopped moving and the cold hit them, it just iced my hands. It was painful. We sat in the car for a while. I couldn’t stop shaking, but finally warmed up a little. I didn’t want to get back out in the cold, but I wanted to watch Minnie finish…it was her first Half and I knew she had worked so hard to get here. We found a close parking spot and walked over to watch her finish. I was so happy for her seeing her cross that finish line!

Even though it was cold and miserable, I am so glad I persevered. And even though I struggled, I still have a love for the Half Marathon and can’t wait to do my next one! And maybe someday, to attempt the full again!

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Wedding: The Venue (part three)

November 25, 2013

Part One
Part Two

After touring the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and the Glenpool Conference Center, I knew that one was clearly sticking out as the better option for us, and I knew that Tim felt the same way. The Glenpool Conference center was what we were looking for. I texted my family and a few friends asking what they thought about an October wedding. I got mixed responses. My best friend, Katie, said she loved the idea of a fall wedding. My mom and my sisters had a few questions. They knew how much I wanted to get married earlier, so I think they were a little resistant at first, but once I explained how much we liked it and that that was the earliest availability, I think they were definitely on board.

We went home a did a little number crunching, and even with adding on table and chair rental, it was still a really good deal. Plus, the first availably October date was October 18th. This would be a year to the date of our engagement, so it had to be fate, right?

I was careful not to get my hopes up, but I really wanted that date. Monday morning I tried to call as soon as they were open, but got no answer. Unfortunately, I had to go into a meeting, so I was just crossing my fingers that it would still be available when I got out of the meeting (I’m a little paranoid). I have a pretty amazing fiancé though, because while I was in the meeting, he was able to get ahold of the person in charge and took care of making our reservations!

So, the wedding venue and date are set: October 18, 2014 at the Glenpool Conference Center.

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We have tentative plans to do the ceremony outside (with a back up plan in case of bad weather) and the reception inside in one of the exhibition rooms that opens to the foyer. I am really excited (and nervous) about making it all come together like I want it. We don’t plan on hiring a wedding coordinator, so I know I am going to be relying on my amazing family and friends to help things run smoothly.

It felt so good to get this decision made and off of our plates.

Wedding: The Venue (Part Two)

November 21, 2013

Read Part One Here

The second venue that Tim and I decided to tour was the Glenpool Conference Center. Glenpool is located just south of Tulsa and this conference center has just recently been built. I was drawn to this place because it was new, looked nice, and had a reasonable price. The only downside was that the closest hotel was not in walking distance, so we would have to arrange a shuttle to and from the hotel.

The doors were locked when we showed up, so we snuck in with the people delivering the cake for a wedding reception they were having that evening. We walked around and looked at the different available rooms. Along with a few big rooms, this conference center offered an outdoor amphitheater that could be used for the ceremony. Tim made a comment that if we were getting married at a different time of year that it would be nice out there, but it would be too hot in August (we looked at their online calendar and that was their earliest available date…so much for a June wedding!). I was kind of surprised because he had always said he didn’t want an outdoor wedding.

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We met with a few different people from the conference center and they gave us some information. We discussed several different possibilities for how we could hold both the ceremony and the reception. I loved the way it looked. If you rent the foyer area, you get an area with big glass windows looking out onto the amphitheater and pond area.

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Our biggest concern coming in was that there wasn’t a hotel in walking distance. That problem was solved by the fact that there is a hotel currently under construction right next door! It is slated to open at the beginning of next year, so should definitely be open in time for the wedding.

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We went upstairs and looked at the calendar of open dates. She flipped it to August, where we thought there were openings, and it turned out they were all booked. Starting in March, every weekend is booked until October. I was so upset. I had my heart set on a summer wedding (I’m impatient!). She let us know that we had some time to think about it since they don’t book appointments on the weekend.

I definitely had a mix of emotions when I left there.

Here are some pros and cons I saw with this venue:
Pros-
New and Beautiful
Really good price
A lot of options for ceremony and reception
Allows for outside catering
Separated from everything, so traveling to the venue would be easy for our guests
Hotel right next door

Cons-
Table and chair rentals weren’t included, so that cost would need to be added in
It would push the wedding back later than we originally planned

To be continued…

Getting Back on Track (again)

November 20, 2013

My weight has been something I’ve battled with for as long as I remember. I grew up overweight, gained more weight when I went to college and got my first “real job”, joined weight watchers and lost 140 lbs. to reach my goal weight and become lifetime, stopped weight watchers and gained 35 lbs, and now am struggling to lose it again.

I’ve said it time and time again during this journey: “I’m back on track”. But somewhere along the line, something inevitably happens and I stop making progress. Sometimes I feel hypocritical saying “I’m back on track” because I know I’m still struggling even if I am trying to refocus.

This summer I decided I was going to rejoin Weight Watchers. Although I had hit lifetime, because I had gained so much weight, I was going to have to become a paying member again. So I jumped back on and started slowly, but steadily, losing weight again. I liked that rejoining weight watchers helped me break up with the scale again. I tend to get into the habit of being a “daily weigher” when I am really focusing on my weight loss. When I rejoined WW, I stopped weighing at home and only weighed once a week. Over the course of a few months, I lost a little weight, but I could feel myself heading towards an unhealthy path again (don’t eat very much on the days leading up to weigh in and then splurging too much afterwards). This, of course, wasn’t giving me the results that I wanted.

All of that, on top of the fact that I am now planning a wedding and needing to save money for that, led to me deciding to stop Weight Watchers again. I know Weight Watchers works. It worked a miracle for me once. But right now I need to figure out how to do this on my own and how to do it in a healthy way.

Unfortunately, when I stopped going to WW, I also relaxed too much. Because I don’t have a formal weigh in every week, I have decided not to weigh at all and to relax my eating. Not my smartest move!

Here is my plan to get refocused:
Get back on the scale-I know I shouldn’t be reliant on the number, but it will help keep my accountable. I still only want to weigh once or twice a week though.

Drink Water- I used to be so good about this, but I have fallen off the wagon lately. I know the importance of staying hydrated, so I am determined to get back to that.

Eat more fruits and vegetables- Once again, I have just been too relaxed. I love fruits and vegetables. I am still eating a couple of servings of fruit each day, but my vegetable consumption has been really lacking.

Come up with an exercise routine- Because I have been so focused on Half Marathon training, I haven’t really been doing much else. I have managed a strength workout about once a week, but I know that’s not enough. I was doing really well when the weather was nice. I would get up and run in the morning and then go to the gym in the afternoons. But now that it’s cold, I have been running after work instead of early in the morning. I still think this is going to be my plan, but I am going to have to make an effort to make it to the gym every afternoon and only take once rest day a week.

Hopefully making these few small changes will get me focused. I have a wedding dress that I want to look good in! Plus, I definitely don’t want to gain weight because then it won’t fit!

Wedding: The Venue (part one)

November 18, 2013

When Tim and I got engaged, we tentatively chose June as a good wedding month. We knew that one of the first things we needed to choose was a place to have the wedding because venues book up so fast. We did a lot of researching online and threw around a lot of ideas, debating on whether we wanted the venue and reception in the same place, whether we wanted the ceremony in a church, where we wanted it to be, etc.

We did have a few criteria:

In a hotel or in walking distance to one-So people could have fun at the wedding and get to their hotel safely
Not outside-Because in Oklahoma the weather is really unpredictable
Allowed alcohol-For obvious reasons
Not ridiculously overpriced-We don’t want to go broke paying for a wedding

After doing some research online (and realizing how expensive everything is!), we narrowed it down to two places we wanted to go visit. Both of these places allowed for outside catering, which we knew was going to save us a bunch of money and both met at least some of our criteria.

The first place we visited was the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. It is housed in an old train station in downtown Tulsa. The reason I was drawn to it was that it was a unique venue (and I knew it would make for some really good pictures!).

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When we got the venue for our appointment, the doors were locked, but this gave us an opportunity to talk to a dad who was preparing for his daughter’s wedding that day. He told us he loved the place, but you really had to stay on top of the owners. Once we got in, we looked around on our own for a little bit. We were able to get an idea of what a wedding reception could look like because they were setting up for that evening. It really was a beautiful place, and it was unique. I mentioned to Tim that it had a little bit of an “old building” smell, but he said it didn’t bother him.

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We were given a tour by the owner and he explained to us how a ceremony/reception combo could be done (they would tear down the room after the ceremony and set up tables). The earliest availability they had was July. He was very nice and helpful and we left there with some definite pros and cons.

Pros-
Unique Venue
Allowed for Outside Catering
Reasonable price for a combined ceremony/reception
No hidden costs-one up front costs covered everything, even labor to switch from ceremony to reception
It is a non-profit, so money went to a good cause
Hotels were within a couple of blocks and offered free shuttle

Cons-
They have had money problems in the past, so paying the full price up front was a little scary
Our warning from the dad about having to stay on top of the owners
Not being able to control setting up tables and decorating for the reception (I want to know it’s going to look perfect)

Overall, I left with a pretty good impression of the place as a possible wedding venue.

Stay Tuned for Part Two

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