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The Successes and Failures of my 30 for 30 Plan

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So I had every intention of updating all of you on my 30 for 30 progress every day…or at least once a week. And yet, here we are on October 25 and I haven’t given a single update. Shame on me. I’ll give you guys a brief recap, a funny story and then send you on your way.

In case you don’t remember, my “30 for 30” plan involved two goals. First, to exercise for 30 minutes every day. The second goal was to eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies 6 days a week, hence giving me 30 servings. I have not been very good at keep up with the veggies and fruit. I’ve definitely eaten more than normal, but rarely have I gotten to 5 servings a day. I can usually get in three servings pretty easy. I make smoothies in the morning with two servings of fruit and sometimes vegetable juice. Then I eat a vegetable with my lunch. But by the time dinner rolls around, I’m super tired and don’t give a rat’s butt about being healthy. So unless 1 of the 5 other adults I live with has made dinner with some vegetables in it, I’ll usually just eat a pb&j, gulp a glass of chocolate milk and vow to try harder the next day. But it’s not all bad news on the veggie front. I told my master chef husband about my plans and he has made an effort to find more recipes with veggies in them, so that we aren’t just eating plain raw veggies every night (i know that’s healthiest but its so boring!). So we are definitely changing our eating habits, its just a slow process.

The exercising part of the plan has been much more successful. In the past 25 days I’ve only missed 5 days of exercising. Two of those were because I was super tired and genuinely believe that my body needed a rest. One of those days I missed exercising because I didn’t plan my day right, and the last two days were missed because of pure laziness. Now, this may not seem like a success to any of you, but to me it’s huge. I’m notorious for coming up with great ideas, starting to act on them, and then not following through. So the fact that I got back on track even after missing a few workouts is huge for me. I think that learning the discipline of working out has been more beneficial to me than the actual workouts. The workouts themselves have not been that hard (except for my boot camp classes that I started this week. But more on that in a minute) but making time to work out everyday has been. I’m really hoping that this newfound discipline carries over into other areas of my life, such as daily devotions and blogging. I may have to come up with another 30 for 30 plan for those…

And now for the funny story I promised you. So, I signed up for boot camp classes for the same reason everybody signs up for anything they’ve never had a strong desire to do…I found a Groupon. I figured it would be a good and fairly cheap way to step up the intensity of my workouts. “Step Up” is an understatement.

Day one was super intense. It was a lot of cardio and some weight training. We worked every part of the body so when it was done, I was left with a dull ache over my whole body. But, it really wasn’t that bad so when they told me to come back the next day, I listened. Ho-ly crap. Day two we focused on thighs and butt. I don’t think I’ve ever done so many lunges and squats in my life. The last round of lunges the instructor had to hold my hand because it was physically impossible for me to continue on my own. After fifteen minutes of that torture, the instructor told us to sprint across the room. His exact words were “go as hard as you can the first four steps, then slow it down the rest of the way.”

Here’s the thing about this boot camp class. I paid good money for it. Even thought it was a Groupon and way cheaper than normal price, it was still $50. That’s a pair of boots I could have gotten for my New York trip. So because I spent my hard earned money on exercise, you can bet your booty I was going to work out as hard as I could, as often as I could, and get the most out of that month. So when Instructor Steve told me to go as hard as I could the first four steps, that’s what I did. Only I didn’t make it four steps. I only made it two. And then my legs completely gave out and I fell. Crumpled to the floor. The weight of my huge ass was just too much for my jello legs. Instructor Steve said that was a great display of motivation. I said that I’d been scammed and boots would have been a better option.

After all that, I still had 15 minutes of class left with running and crunches and leg lifts. I could barely walk or sit for two days. But I went back this morning, so ya me! I can guarantee there will be more boot camp stories to share. Until then, have a wonderful night my friends!

52 Date Night Ideas

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Two weeks ago I went to my best friend’s bridal shower and presented her with a book of 52 Date Night Ideas, one for every week of her first year of marriage. Here is a list of the ideas I gave her. Do you have any other great date night ideas? Share them in the comments below!

Anytime

  1. Happy hour at Cannons
  2. Spend an afternoon looking at open houses and planning your future home
  3. Bike ride to Kaylanis by North Beach
  4. Pack a picnic dinner (with wine and beer) and head to the Montage in Laguna. You can park for free on the street and walk down to the park with picnic tables or go all the way down to the beach.
  5. Bowling night at Bowlmor or Lucky Strike
  6. Walk the beach trail in San Clemente and end with drinks at Fishermen’s
  7. Evening at Downtown Disney. Get dessert at
  8. Hot air balloon ride at the Great Park in Irvine.
  9. Beach day
  10. Movie night out
  11. Themed movie night in. Pick up dinner that goes with the theme of the movie you’re going to watch.
  12. Split an ice cream sundae at Farrell’s ice cream parlor.
  13. Shop at the local farmer’s market then go home and make dinner together.
  14. Go stargazing at the Griffith Observatory
  15. Play naked Twister, strip poker, or any other sexified game.
  16. Go rock climbing at the YMCA or Rock City in Anaheim Hills
  17. Go to Top of the World in Laguna Beach an watch the sunrise or sunset
  18. The first Thursday of every month there is a free art walk through the art galleries in Laguna Beach. Spend a night looking at spectacular art.
  19. Play Frisbee golf at Huntington Beach Central Park or Frontier Park in Tustin.
  20. Go snorkeling in La Jolla
  21. Hike through Saddleback Mountains
  22. Flip through hard copy and online travel magazines and plan a big anniversary trip
  23. Enjoy drinks, appetizers and a comedy show at Encore Theatre in Tustin. Tickets are only $10.
  24. Build something together. Ikea furniture, a model car, a 3D puzzle, anything!
  25. Go on a whale watching tour out of Dana Point Harbor
  26. Go wine tasting out in Temecula
  27. Go kayaking in Newport Beach
  28. Laugh off the week’s frustrations at the Improv Comedy Club at the Spectrum
  29. Explore the tide pool at Crystal Cove
  30. Head down to the South Bay Drive-In in San Diego for a movie experience under the stars.
  31. Go line dancing at InCahoots in Fullerton. They give free lessons at 7:30 and 8:30 on Friday nights.
  32. Head to Starbucks with a board game or puzzle and spend an evening sipping your favorite drinks and playing games. It’s also fun to do this in the lobby of the Grand California Hotel.
  33. Hike, bike ride or take Dakota for a long walk on Back Bay Loop in Newport
  34. Enjoy live music by local bands at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Tickets are usually $10-$20.
  35. Enjoy drinks and a stunning view at the Rooftop Lounge in Laguna Beach
  36. Fighting? Put a halt to the verbal aggression and go fight each other in a game of laser tag at Laser Quest in the Kaleidoscope.
  37. Take a free cooking class at Whole Foods
  38. Movies under the stars
  39. Free concerts
  40. Food truck fair at the OC Fairgrounds every Wednesday
  41. Take a day trip to Catalina
  42. Look up at performances at OCPAC. They have
  43. Go play in the arcade at the Balboa Fun Zone

Seasonal

  1. Go to an Angel game-
  2. Head out to the football stadium for a professional, college or high school game
  3. See the Christmas lights at the Ritz Carlton
  4. Take a culinary trip around the world at the Orange Street Fair- labor day
  5. Celebrate Oktoberfest at Old World Village in Huntington Beach- sept- oct
  6. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, tackle that long over due home improvement or cleaning project. Then celebrate by going out for sushi.
  7. During the off-season, it’s fairly easy to get a camping spot last minute. Spend a weekend at Casper’s Park, Bolsa Chica State Beach, San Onofre or O’Neill Regional Park
  8. Watch the boat parade at the Dana Point Harbor

Best Bridal Shower Gift EVER!

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Amanda is one of my dearest friends. We met ten years ago in what was arguably the worst PE class ever and we’ve seen each other through good boyfriends, bad boyfriends, the college years, family drama, work frustrations and the occasional boat explosion. She is an incredibly special person in my life and when I got the invitation to her bridal shower a couple weeks ago, I knew that I needed to her a super special gift.

I didn’t even bother looking at her gift registry. Instead, I reach into the creative crevices of my brain and came up with this brilliance:

bridal shower gift

It’s a scrapbook with 52 different date ideas, one for every week of their first year of marriage. It was a pretty big undertaking, so I got some of our other friends involved and made it a group gift.

date night ideas

I created 12 spreads, one for every month, and put 4-5 date ideas on each one. Some of the date ideas were seasonal (like going to the Orange Street Fair or looking at the Christmas lights at the Ritz) so I made sure to put them on the month when they should be done.

homemade gifts for brides

I had a really hard time deciding how the scrapbook should look. I literally spent 2 hours in the scrapbook section at Joanne’s staring at paper and stickers. At first I would decorate each page to match the season or holiday that took place in that month. But that looked to juvenile, so then I thought about doing a black and white theme but if you know me, you know that I always have to have some kind of color in my creations. In the end, I found some really cute vintage paper, stickers and cut outs. Amanda is going for the shabby chic look at her wedding and the scrapbook fits that theme pretty well.

wedding gifts

After each page with the date ideas, I inserted two blank pages with the idea that Amanda would take pictures of her and her new husband actually implementing the dates ideas. Amanda’s not super crafty, so that will probably never happen, but its a nice thought.

bridal shower gift ideas

In addition to the book, we also gave her a few presents related to the date ideas. One idea was to have a picnic at the beach, so we got her a picnic basket with wine and snacks. I came across a Groupon for archery lessons so I got that for them too, and my mom got them a gift certificate to the Improv in Irvine.

Amanda in her signature color, purple. Me in my signature color, bright.

For those of you interested, here is the complete list of 52 date ideas.

3 Years and 3 Pieces of Advice

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We celebrated our wedding anniversary at The Loft at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach. Best eating out experience EVER

In June, the Hubs and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. Seriously, three years has gone by so fast. It seems like just yesterday I was laughing at my bridesmaids as I made them try on ugly dresses, and husband and I were arguing about the wedding color scheme (both true stories).

On our anniversary, I asked Husband what has surprised him most about marriage. He said he was most surprised by how easy it was. I couldn’t agree more. You see, when most people get married all they see is rainbows and butterflies. They imagine a life of perfect bliss and then are sad and disappointed when they realize that marriage isn’t a fairy tale, it’s real life. Husband and I were the opposite. We expected the worst. Okay okay, not the worst. We wouldn’t have married each other if we had expected the whole thing to be a giant poo storm. However, we were very realistic about the whole thing. We have two couples to thank for that- my parents and Joe’s second oldest brother and his wife. Both those couples have awesome marriages that started out rocky. And both were very honest with us about those struggles and how they overcame them. We took those lessons very seriously and as soon as we said “I do,” we braced ourselves.

But a funny thing happened. In listening to those couples, and our premarital counselors, and other strong couples, I guess we actually learned some things. Without even realizing it, we put their advice into practice. The way that they solved their problems was the way that we avoided many of our own. And sure, there have been some not-so fun moments and some difficult situations we’ve had to overcome, but overall, we are both extremely happy with the way these first three years have panned out. I think we have built a solid foundation so that if, in the upcoming years, some truly crappy things do happen to us, we’ll be ready to battle them together.

After only three years, I am by no means a marriage expert. However, I’ll end this post with three pieces of advice that have helped Husband and I over the years. As wedding season continues and more people head into wedded bliss, I hope you’re able to make your first few years of marriage a little easier by following this advice.

  1. Always keep Christ at the center of your marriage. His relationship with the Church is the perfect example of what a perfect marriage should look like. Read the Gospels, see how Jesus served the people on earth and the way he talks about the church, and apply those principals to your marriage.
  2. No marriage is an island. I can’t tell you how many times I was worried about something in our relationship only to realize that one of my girlfriends had experienced the exact same thing in the past and had great advice on how to overcome that particular struggle. It’s so important to stay in fellowship with other Christian couples who are just as committed to their marriages as you are to yours, so that you can all encourage each other, pray for one another, and give advice.
  3. Learn how to communicate with your spouse. There are a ton of books on this, some you may find helpful and some you may not. But the reality is there is no one magic formula for perfect communication. It’s a lot of trial and error and it takes a lot of patience. Husband and I still don’t communicate even close to perfectly, but we are much better than we were 3 years ago. Learning to communicate effectively has helped minimize fights, misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

YOUR TURN! What marriage advice do you have for all the 2012 newlyweds?

Donating Blood is Awesome

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we both got neon green bandages without knowing the other one was getting the same color. we are just that intune with each other and awesome.

Joe and I donated blood for the first time today. Our church, Crossline, brought onto LifeStream donation busses on campus and for every person that donated, $20 went to our Haiti Missions Ministry. Now, my whole life I’ve been squeamish about donating blood. Its not the blood that bothers me, or the needles. Its the veins. Veins freak me out. Remember my phobia of tree roots? Its the same thing. Spidery, veiny rooty things really really freak me out. But, Joe and I love the fact that our church has an ongoing relationships with ministries in Haiti and we try to do what we can to support that ministry. Since we didn’t have $40 to contribute, but we did have 2 pints of blood, it was off to the donation bus.

The experience was not nearly as bad as I imagined it. It was a very long process (which was partially our fault because we didn’t make an appointment) but the actual act of giving blood wasn’t bad at all.  One of my biggest fears was that it would be hard for them to find a vein and that they would have to poke me multiple times. But, the tech/nurse found the vein immidiately and only had to poke me once.

Myother fear had to do with the blood pressure cuff. I once had to take 3 hour polygraph test and the blood pressure cuff was so tight it turned my arm purple and I almost failed the test because I was freaking out over my purple arm, to which the test administrator said “I’ve been giving this test for 40 years and no one’s arm has fallen off yet so stop whining.” Ever since then I’ve been a little hesitant about situations that require prolonged contact with a blood pressure cuff. However, the cuff was only tight for a minute while she inserted the needle and then it was fine. Possible crisis averted.

Yet another fear of mine (are you starting to realize why I had never done this before?) was that there would be nothing to distract me and I would just be sitting there for ten minutes thinking about veins and would end up crying or literally pulling all my hair out. But, the staff was super friendly and talkative. I asked where the blood went and they told me that it went to hospitals in Southern California and Arizona. I really liked the fact that the blood would stay local. I mean, it doesn’t really matter where it goes because its going to help someone no matter what, but I’m big on people helping local communities and it was nice to know that my blood was going to help people in my general vicinity. I also asked how long the blood could last, which led the tech/nurse to give me a bunch of interesting facts about blood and donations. 

Did you know…

  • Whole blood can last about 40 days, however there is such a shortage of blood donations that blood is always used before that 40 day mark.
  • Overall there is only about a 3 day supply of blood in America. If a national disaster happens, we’re screwed.
  • Only 10% of the population considers donating blood, and then only 5% actually donate. But, if we could raise that by just 1% we would have enough blood to go around in case of a disaster. 
  • Most people that donate blood have either received blood, have known someone who received blood, or they were taught about the importance of donating blood by their parents. If you have kids, seriously consider teaching them about the importance of blood donation.
  • Alot of blood banks get great participation from high schoolers. For one thing, high schoolers love any excuse to miss class. Plus, peer pressure can work for the good, and in this case a lot of kids who are nervous give into peer pressure and do it anyways.

By the time she was done telling me all these fun facts, the bag was full and I was ready to go. I got some sweet neon green tape, ate a delicious cookie and juice, and was good to go!

Hubs, on the other hand, had a slightly different experience. Before going in he was talking a big game, claiming he could donate twice as much as me because he was twice as big. And I encouraged him, telling him he could totally double fist it. Well the poor guy almost passed out. He sat up and immediately had to lie back down again. Then the nurses kept him a litte longer than normal (normal is 15 min) because he was so pale! Seriously, he looked sick. And while he was able to walk to the car, he definitely wasn’t able to drive it. But we got some lunch at Bruxie, then went home and watched a movie, and after that he was fine. The nurses told him that next time he needed to drink more water before hand and that would probably help. Who would have thought that blood donation would be the thing to bring down my big strong husband?

So there you have it. I would encourage EVERYONE who is eligble to go donate blood. If you live in the Riverside or San Bernadino area, I suggest going to a LifeStream donation site. They are a great organization and the money they get for blood goes back into the community. If you live in Orange County, you  can donate directly to a hospital such as Hoag, St. Joseph’s or CHOC. And of course, the Red Cross has donation sites pretty much everywhere. If the thought of donating blood freaks you out, then let me know and I’ll go with you. I’m able to donate again in August 🙂

Best Mixed C.D. EVER!

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So over the weekend I was attempting to organize and clean our room in preparation for our upcoming move (more on that later). Just as I was about to literally rip out my hair in frustration, I cam across a C.D. case. Opening it was like opening a time capsule. I found a wonderful collection of CMA music (Rebecca St. James, anyone?), some random bands I don’t remember and a fair share of mixed C.D.s burned by myself and friends. One in particular caught my eye. It was labeled “Best Mixed C.D. Ever!” I wonder what music past Brianna thought was the best ever…

Song #1 is “California” by Phantom Planet, which is pretty crazy because I JUST burned a roadtrip C.D. with that song on it. Clearly my fanatic love for all songs about California has not phased over the years.

Song #2 is “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. That song always reminds me of my trip to Maui right after graduation. Naphtali and I sang that whenever the clouds covered the sun.

Song #3 comes on and I laugh to myself. “You’re just to good to be true/Can’t take my eyes off of you/You’d be like heaven to touch/ I want to hold you so much.” I tried for MONTHS to make this me and Joe’s special song. See, for some reason it always bothered me that we never had a song, especially since Joe loves music so much. I wanted him so badly to tell me one night “This song reminds me of you.” Or for us to go to dinner, hear song, look deeply into eachothers eyes and know that we would be together forever. At the very least he could send me a singing telegram! But he never dedicated any songs to me, no romantic songs ever revealed themselves organically, so I tried to force one. But Joe, the hopeless practical, refused to particpate so this day, we are still songless.

Tracks 4,5, and 6 confuse me a bit. “Forever Young,” “Hey Jude,” and “Rock the House” are all great sounds, but I would never put them on something dubbed “the best mixed c.d. ever.” That’s an honor I usually reserve for trashy pop music and Ludacris. Then I realize that these are all songs that Joe really likes and I must have still been in that stage where I was trying to impress him with my good taste in music. Which, of course, I don’t have. My taste is bad, like i-voted-for-clay-aiken bad.

Track #7…YOU’S A HOE! There’s the Luda! Glad I didn’t completely sell out to impress my future husband. This song always reminds me of my good friend, Holly. For some reason we got the biggest kick out of this song in college and would sing it regularly. I think at one point we could actually sing every word. Such a classy bunch, those Vanguard ladies 😉

Layla by Bruce Springsteen is track #8. Now, this is a song that Joe introduced me too and that I actually really do like and would but on a “best mixed c.d.” again today. I love this song so much that I named our dog Layla. One day I’ll teach her how to dance to it and we’ll be a one hit wonder YouTube sensation.

Champagne Supernova by Oasis comes up next. Okay, maybe I do have some good taste in music. Did you know that the two guys that made up this band are brothers? But one walked out right before a performance one night and they haven’t talked since. Sad.

Song #10 is “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.” Suddenly I know what year this C.D. was made in, 2007, the year I graduated and was sure my world was going to end because I was so ill prepared for life outside of college. Five years later, I still feel ill prepared. Maybe that will change one day. Or maybe I’ll just die.

“Chocolate” by Snow Patrol. Not sure if my love for ALL Snow Patrol albums confirms or denies my terrible taste in music. I’ll let you be the judge while I rock out to “Chasing Cars.”

Stairway to Heaven? What the heck? That was DEFINITELY put on there to impress Joseph. That song is sooo boring.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers win the 13th spot on my C.D. with “Free Fallin.” Honestly, I don’t really have much to say about that so…ya…

“Bad Moon Rising” is number #14 and I immediatly start bouncing and dancing, which is probably why it made it on the C.D. in the first place. I’m a sucker for songs that make me dance.

Not sure what song #15 is, and I’m too lazy to look it up. I’m afraid this post is getting long and boring and that most of you have tuned out. COME BACK! There’s just one more left.

OUT HERE IN THE FIELDS, I FIGHT FOR MY MEALS! Even though I wouldn’t but “Baba O’Riley” in my top ten today, I remember being in love with this song in college. One of my favorite managers and I used to sing this song alot when I worked at In N Out, and by sing I mean yell the first line really loud and mumble the rest while we played air drums. Good times.

And there you have it, a list of 16 songs that 20 year old Brianna thought were “the best.” What  about you? What was on your best songs list when you were 20? How about now?

 

January’s Pinterest Challenge

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So at the beginning of the year, I set some goals for 2012. One of them was to do at least one thing from Pinterest every month. The purpose of this was 1) for me to try new things and 2) for me to justify the massive amount hours spent pinning crap.

For January, I choose to do one of the many exercise routines floating from pin board to pin board.

exercise at home

*originally taken from http://prettyfitbody.tumblr.com/

I choose this work out plan mostly because it allows me to use the spiffy green jump rope my sister got me for Christmas. Plus, its a great cardio work out and since I hate running but have the cholesterol of a 65 year old who has eaten bacon every day of her life, I really needed to find a creative way to pump up my heart.

Admittedly, I have only tried this three times so far and I have yet to make it through the entire routine. In my defense, I just started it last week and I’ve been sick this entire week, so I’ve had to stick to yoga and intense ice cream eating routines. (I put a little weight on my spoon to give my muscles a workout…just kidding I didn’t, but thats a good idea. PATENT PENDING! Don’t steal it).  But even though I’ve only done this routine thrice, I’ve enjoyed it. It’s really hard, and my calves hurt like hell afterwards, but it got me to work up a sweat and get my heart rate up without having to leave my house. For all you “to do” list lovers out there, this routine is awesome because during your 30 second break you can mark off the activity you just did. Fun times!

A few tips:

  • Get as far as you can the first time and make a note of how many activities you did. The next time, try to to do one or two more activities. Keep it up till you can get through the whole routine.
  • Create an LMFAO station on Pandora. Although these guys are arguably the most immature, vile, disgusting bands in current existence, their music, and music like theirs, has a beat thats perfect for cardio workouts. Plus, what better motivation to exercise than to to be sexy and know it?
  • If you don’t know what an activity is, just look it up on YouTube. There were quite a few that I hadn’t heard of before, so I just typed their name into YouTube and up popped tons of videos from exercise instructors.
  • Do as many of the exercises as you can, but if there is one you really don’t like (for me that would be Burpees) substitute it with an exercise you do like (for me that would be skaters).

Let me know if you try this routine and how you like it. Or tell me about any other things you’ve tried from Pinterest!

Book Review: Wuthering Heights

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Alright readers, lets have a little discussion, shall we? I just finished watching the movie Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I was supposed to read it for book club, but since 1800s English Lit isn’t my thing, I took the easy way out and watched the movie. The question I’d like to discuss is this: Were Heathcliff and Catharine in love or lust?

I would argue that they were in lust. For Heathcliff, it was always lust. Not just sexual lust, but emotional lust as well. He loved Cathy because she loved him. She made him feel good and she was the only person who truly cared for him. That is the only reason why he wanted to be with her. The second he saw her slightly more “civilized” he assumed she wouldn’t treat him the same way and so he started acting like a jerk. For the rest of the story he manipulates her and makes decisions based solely on raw emotion.

For example, I’m pretty sure he planned his return to occur right after Cathy’s marriage to Edgar. He didn’t want to stop the wedding, he wanted it to happen so he could come back and make Cathy miserable. That’s not love, that’s crazy.

Heathcliff all but admits his twisted ideas of love when he tells Isabelle that the fact that she sees good in him is almost enough for him to try to love her. He only loves those who love him. You may argue that this is admissible given his upbringing and that, though its twisted, its the only love he knows. On the contrary, he was shown the greatest and most sacrificial love when Mr. Earnshaw brings him in from the street. Mr. Earnshaw loved Heathcliff unconditionally and for no reason, yet Heathcliff never learned to do the same. Actually, scratch that. He eventually does learn to do the same when he commits suicide so that young Catharine and Hareton can be happy together and not deal with his crazy.

As for Cathy, I think her feelings started out as love. Like her father, she really did love Heathcliff unconditionally for who he was. But again, she wasn’t willing to make sacrifices to keep that love going. His brooding depression made her uncomfortable so she started hanging out with Edgar. Yet she wouldn’t release Heathcliff from her charm, not even after she was married. She would still flirt and kiss and give him a reason to return time after time. That’s not love, that’s selfish lust.

So, who does demonstrate love in this story? I think Nelly is the best example. She is mistreated and talked down to by everyone at least once in the story, and yet she continues to faithfully serve the Earnshaws and take care of Cathy and young Catherine. Another example is Edgar. Although he’s a pushover and sometimes stupid, he does honestly try to put Cathy’s feelings first and makes sacrifices in attempts to make the marriage work.

And then, of course, there is Young Catherine and Hareton. My sister told me that the its worth it to read the book simply because of the ending. She was right, its definitely my favorite part. Those two young people learned the power of humility, of saying “I’m sorry” and of learning from the mistakes of those around them. Young Catherine, though she was attracted to Hareton from the beginning, chose Linton and stayed faithful to him until his death. Only then did she turn her affections to Hareton, so as not to mislead him or break the heart of her dying husband. And when they were together, they did insult each other. But they also apologized and administered forgiveness. In the end, they are rid of all the crazy that proceeded them and someone learn what it means to truly love someone.

Now it’s your turn. Have you read Wuthering Heights and, if so, do you think Cathy and Heathcliff were in love or lust?

The Great “Eat-Through-The-Cupboard” Experiment

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britheblogger

We've made Jello about two times since we've been married. Why do we keep buying it?

On January 12th Joe and I went grocery shopping. Before going, we looked at what we had in the cupboard and planned meals that used those ingredients. We were looking forward to a smaller than usual grocery bill since we already had a lot of ingredients. Instead, we ended up paying $100. For just us. Ridiculous.

So we decided to experiment. For the next three weeks, we wouldn’t eat out and we would only go grocery shopping for perishables (fruits, veggies, lunch meat). The goal was to 1) get rid of things in our pantry and 2) save money. The experiment isn’t over yet, but so far we are doing pretty good.

Week one was easy. Since we had just gone grocery shopping we had tons of yummy things to eat. We made the meals we planned and had didn’t have to sacrifice on snacks. There was a team conflict when we got a  coupon for LoneStar that would let us get an appetizer, two entrees and a dessert for $20. The coupon expired before our experiment was up and I wanted to cheat and go. Joe wouldn’t budge. So I tore the coupon up to make a dramatic statement and that was that.

Week two was a little more difficult. We ate at a friends house one night and my parent’s house the next, which means we didn’t have any leftovers for lunch. We had also run out of lunch meat and bread. One day I was super desperate and was frantically searching through the pantry for anything I could bring to work for lunch. I found a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle-o’s. I added some the canned vegetables from the night before and a CRAP TON of lemon pepper and voila, a barely edible lunch.

Other victorious moments for us include the times we went out to a restaurant with friends and didn’t order anything. Joe went to Denny’s with coworkers after closing and completely forgot about our “no eating out rule” until he was sitting in the booth. So he just had water and someone’s toast. I got invited to dinner with some girlfriends and made sure I stuffed my face at home before I went so I wouldn’t be tempted to order anything, not even an appetizer.

Other highlights include force feeding myself a bowl of cornflakes and completely bypassing the candy and snacks aisle when I went shopping at Sprouts last week. But, the experiment hasn’t been all about sacrifices. We’ve benefitted a lot from it. Joe has gotten really good at making homemade bread. I think that even when the experiment is over, we’ll eat more homemade bread than store bought. Also, money that we would have usually spent on eating out has gone towards saving for vacation and paying off our credit card debt. Plus, we’ve discovered some delicious things that we didn’t know we had. Here’s a tip for you: white chocolate Jello = amazing! And of course, we have A LOT more room in our fridge and cupboard.

The experiment ends this Thursday, February 2nd. People have warned us that our next grocery bill will probably be giant because we’ll want to restock everything. But I don’t think so. For one thing, we’ll still have some stuff in our cupboard that we’re gonna use up ASAP. Plus, our shopping mentality has changed. Before, we would get new things before we finished off the old ones. For example, we’d get a new box of cereal before the old was gone. Then we (or more accurately, I) would be so excited about the new cereal I would eat that and forget the old box until it went stale. No more! I vow to always (or at least a majority of the time) finish my old stuff before I break into the new.

The overall lesson in this whole thing is that we can live happily on way less than we thought we could. Joe and I already live pretty minimalist lives but this experiment taught us there is still so much room for improvement. And its not about giving everything up and living in complete destitution. Its about really prioritizing and sacrificing today’s happiness for an even greater adventure tomorrow. Which, hopefully, will include a dinner at LoneStar 😉

 

Happy Birthday To My Little Bro

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Today is my little brother’s 22nd birthday. Its very strange to say that my little brother is 22. Am I really old enough to have a little brother that is 22? Yes, I am old enough to have a 22 year old brother. Do you think I’ve said “22” and “brother” enough in the first 4 sentences of this blog? Well in case I didn’t, and in case you missed it, this blog is dedicate to my little brother who turns 22 today.

I admire my brother for many reasons. For one thing, he is super relational and cares a lot about people. You can always count on him to help you move, go out to a bar, host a game night or help you solve a conflict. If you need help, he is always willing to drop everything and be supportive. He’s also a good time guy, always cracking jokes and brightening people’s day. If you have a super boring obligatory event to go to, bring my brother. He finds ways to make EVERYTHING entertaining.

My brother is also super talented. He’s an excellent musician, specifically, an excellent drummer. He is super laid back, normally, but when it comes to music he is all passion. He practices for hours and when he plays he gets super intense (they had to build a wall around him at church because he played too hard and too loud.) I’m so proud of him for using his musical talents to serve God on the praise and worship team at church. He’s been doing it for years and, even when I gave it up because of crazy church politics, he stuck it out and just kept drumming as best he could for Jesus.

Not only can he play instruments, he’s really good at drawing as well. When we were kids we had big dreams of creating a children’s book together…me writing and him illustrating. We haven’t talked about that in a while but, honestly, I really hope we make that dream come true some day.

Lastly, I admire the fact that my brother grew up inbetween two sisters and survived! He is very different from me and our younger sister…much more laid back and much more rebelous. He always got into way more trouble than we did growing up, partly because he did more bad things, and partly because he got caught more than we did 🙂  He’s had to listen to us whine and cry about boys, bra sizes, fights with best friends, etc. Plus, our little sister is currently dating one of his really good friends, and he has handled that suprisingly well (although not without a few sarcastic remarks and very strict ground rules, let me assure you). Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a better brother.

So here’s to you, AJ. Hope 22 is beyond what you ever imagined or hoped. Love you!

P.S. My brother, despite being quite the ladies man, is currently single. If your interested, let me know and I’ll hook it up *wink*