I was unprepared

grief_lossI wasn’t prepared for this loss. For this emptiness. For the dull ache and longing for that what was. For what could be. So quickly the feelings of elation, joy, excitement deflated to a gnawing burn from salty tears of grief from the unexpected, the unexplained. I mourn for that which I never knew, that which I wanted so badly. The physical shock, the pain, the scars, the recovery is bearable. It makes it real, forcing me through the day, but the rolling waves of emotion, the unbridled grief brought about by the unseen, the unlikely, the smallest, most minute reminder – those are the jolting moments that take my breath away.

Yet I am reminded that I must be thankful. I still have Life. Love. Another chance…in time. Nothing in this life is promised. Time is relative. MY time, unimportant. He’ll make me wait, for that perfect moment, for lessons learned, and faith in leaps and bounds. He’ll wait for THE moment. HIS moment. When it’s all right. When it’s all supposed to be.

Even in loss, there is so much to be thankful for. So much to anticipate. So much to love. And for that, I am grateful. I work to not be consumed by grief, to push past wallowing in anger and frustration. I remember His love for me, His sacrifice. His undying love. His blessings.

I wasn’t prepared for this loss…but it’s happened, so I will move on.

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Life

Yesterday Aaron was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Life in prison…at 25 years old. I. Just. Can. Not. Imagine.

I’m so disappointed and saddened by the whole situation – not because I don’t think his punishment was just…to the contrary, actually, and not just because he was a Gator, but because of the heartlessness of Hernandez’s actions and their long-reaching effects. I’m saddened for his fiancee’s sister, Odin Lloyd’s family, Hernandez’s own fiance, family and most importantly, his child. His child, who will probably never know her father. His child who will grow up ashamed of her father, once a powerhouse, reduced to a murderer. And for what? Because he was “disrespected?”

Those feelings of superiority, of being “invincible,”  had to have come from somewhere. At what point do we build men (and women) up so that they feel like gods, like they are better or are entitled to more than the rest of us? Did that start in high school? College? The NFL? At what point do we stop turning a blind eye to the destructive and illegal ways of our peers, our “heroes” our sportsmen and women? Some say that while in college coaches and teammates looked the other way at some of Hernandez’s behaviors because he was a star athlete. I can’t speculate on the validity of those claims, but I can’t help but wonder…when did it start? And who could have help end it?

“You can take the man out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the man,” is what they’re saying now….and in this instance, it seems to be resoundingly true. Money didn’t change a thing, not his heart, not his methods, not his intentions…just how much he thought he could get away with.

I’m not sure of his past, of his relationships or his mental state, but I am sure that Aaron Hernandez is a troubled person. To have had “it all,” living the dream of every young athlete, and being able to provide the whole world for your family, to lose it all in the blink of an eye. What a disappointment.

Justice was served, in that Hernandez is being held accountable for his actions, yet, another young life, gone.

Married at First Sight

married-first-sight

I guiltily admit to getting sucked into yet another “reality” TV show … a bad one, at that. Married at First Sight, anyone???

New episodes debut Tuesday nights at 9 EST on A&E. To me, the shows chronicle a scripted 21st century arranged marriage, and I guess you can’t help but get sucked in and hope, hope, hope that love prevails and that the couples make it. Some of them — bleh, you just can’t help but think it won’t work! Others, you find yourself rooting for. I watched bits and pieces of the first season, and found myself routing for Jason and Courtney and Doug and Amy. They seemed to really be vested in the “marriage” … I write “marriage” lightly, as they all had an “out clause” at the end of the trial, but they appear willing to work to get to know their spouse and commit to the union.

The whole concept makes me wonder about the state of modern day marriage – our generational approach to it, commitment, or lack thereof, and the qualities we search for in our mate. How successful are we, really, when 50% of marriages end in divorce today? Is something to be said for the whole concept of arranged marriage? And what about older, more traditional ideals? I personally think our levels of commitment and search criteria are different than say, that of our parents or grandparents. There were no social media outlets back in the day for people to get distracted by looks, achievements, and “superficial” qualities, and life was much simpler, in general.

Love is totally an emotion, a choice, a feeling….the little butterflies you get from a text from your beau, tugging at the heartstrings caused by a simple “see you later….” You get my drift. We are all twitterpated at the beginning of our relationships/marriages, and as we settle into life, and get less focused on our spouses and relationships, those feelings can (and often do….if we let them), fade. Part of being an adult in marriage, I think, is CHOOSING to continue to love someone, to be committed to them, even when it gets hard, and when the ooey, gooey, lovey stuff isn’t there, or when you’re so focused on making it through the day-to-day. Marriage is a life-long commitment, for better or for worse, not until one gets bored or feels unhappy or unloved. Don’t get me wrong, there are some instances in which marriages do fall apart and just don’t work or should not work, for that matter, but I think overall, we fall in and out of love, thus in and out of marriage, more often than not.

Talk to me: What are your thoughts on the show “Marriage at First Sight” or others like it? Do you think they degrade the whole concept of marriage? What are your thoughts on marriage in today’s society?

Marriage and Career

I love this post about Marriage and Career!

This is so true:

The most important person in the world is YOUR SPOUSE!

Not your boss… or your employees….or your client.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the world of work — climbing the corporate ladder, making work “the” priority, feeling validated by what you do and how much you’re able to contribute, and the list goes on and on.

This post points out some things that can easily get ‘lost in the sauce’ and provides great recommendations for staying focused on your better half.

Enjoy this read! Jack and Suzy Welch on Marriage and Career.

The Great Debate

I’m curious to get some feedback on a product that some swear by, and that I spent a pretty penny to try myself….

Re 9

Arbonne Re 9 Instant Lift Gel

I was invited to an Arbonne party a month or so back, and not knowing much about the company and its products, I attended to support my friend. I did the facial, tried the whole RE-9 line, and thought the RE9 Instant Lift Gel was most impressive. The smallest amount of product was applied just under the eye (it said you could apply on the whole face), and once it dried, I could immediately feel my skin tighten and it appeared to “lift.” The cleansers, toners and moisturizers were light and left my skin feeling clean and moisturized, but I just couldn’t and still can’t wrap my mind around a $400 investment in facial products every six months.

Additionally, I’ll admit it…I was overwhelmed at the though of integrating all of those products into my morning regimen. That just seems like a lot to me, but some of the girls who were there, and the rep, all swore by them — from the natural ingredients all the way to the lack of chemicals in the product content.

Arbonne has everything from makeup, weight management products, cleanses, protein all made of the finest, natural ingredients, and when compared to some of the household names we use every day, is much “cleaner” in terms of chemicals. I guess that explains the $50+ pricetag for 1 fl oz of product of Gel. While I do like the instant lift, I was disappointed that the effects weren’t more long term, and it was explained to me that the lasting effects would come from using the whole line (the $400+ investment)….so, I guess that explains that.

I also tried the energy fizz sticks, (which weren’t bad)  and the protein. Hubby and I drink protein shakes (GNC Total Lean pre-made) daily. I didn’t real care for the Arbonne vanilla shake. It was ok, but as far as taste and protein content goes, wasn’t my favorite.

My makeup routine hasn’t changed much since I was a teenager…lol…I wash my face with St. Ives Exfoliating Facewash, and moisturize with whatever lotion I have on hand, usually Jergens. I use Maybelline BB Cream with Sunsreen daily, and my makeup routine is pretty basic– bronzer (Ulta)/blush (Elf), highlighter, mascara (Maybelline), eyebrows (Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade — AMAZING!)  and nude lipstick (MAC). This is me on the daily…

This is me with my "face on..."

This is me, (no filters), with my “face on…”

Pretty minimal. I’m not a fan of foundation for day-to-day use. If I need the coverage, I’ll use a foundation stick for problem areas – Maybelline has a decent one, which isn’t super heavy, but for most part, I like to keep it light and simple.

So all that said, I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of products and chemicals in my makeup and probably my face wash that are not the best for my skin or body…And maybe I’m trying to rationalize here, but since I don’t walk out donning a full mask, is it bad to say I’m not completely sure the amount worn justifies the expense of a “cleaner” line of products….I don’t know. On the one hand, I do worry about my skin’s health/aging/wrinkles/breakouts, etc., but …is it that serious??

Talk to me. What are your go-to products for your facial hygiene? How much are you willing to or do you spend on facial products/makeup? Do you see value in the more expensive, higher end makeup/facial product lines? (Mary Kay, Avon, Arbonne, etc) Using these products, have you seen improvements in your skin as far as aging/wrinkles/breakouts, etc. as compared to store-bought products (Maybelline, Loreal or even higher-end cosmetics such as MAC, Sephora, etc)? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Fitness Faves

Today begins week three of my adjusted fitness/healthy eating regimen. My biggest frustration with this process is that 1. I let myself go too far to the left, and 2. I lose inches before pounds, which makes it difficult in the beginning to realize a tangible improvement and to stay motivated.

But, keeping positive about this whole thing, let’s talk about my fitness faves and must-haves.

Favorite Fitness Attire – This is more of a requirement than a “favorite.” A good sports bra is a total must have for a good workout, especially cardio. 🙂 The Incredible by Victoria’s Secret is my fave. Outside of that, I go for comfort when it comes to attire, and typically pair of Nike tights with a t-shirt or flowy tank top.

Favorite Healthy Thing to Eat – I try to eat pretty lean when on ‘the plan.’ My go to meal would be ground turkey, brown rice (no later than lunch time) and mixed veggies.

Favorite Protein Shake – The GNC Total Lean, Lean Vanilla Shake is my favorite. It’s not gritty, doesn’t leave your mouth feeling filmy, and is rich, without being too sweet. This is a good meal replacement for me when I’m busy at work or in a pinch, or is good post workout.

Favorite Form of Cardio – said no one, ever. Uggghh. I used to really, really enjoy Zumba, and still do, I guess, but have found that I don’t burn as many calories or see results as quickly as I do with running. So while Zumba is most enjoyable, I running outside is most effective because it requires the most work and triggers the most change throughout my entire body.

Favorite Body Part(s) to Train – Chest and Biceps. If you had asked me this two years ago, I would have said legs because my legs are the strongest part of me, but I’ve seen the most growth and improvement in my upper body. I was soo, soo weak before I started training with my trainer. It was sad. So, it’s been cool to see my gains and improvements over the past year or two in those areas.

Must-have during a workout – Some would say water. Not this chica. I actually don’t drink much, if any, water during a water and especially during cardio…I get cramps super easy so this only slows me down! I’ll definitely chug a bottle or two after I’m done though! So, my fave would have to be a good set of headphones (preferably wireless). A lack of headphones can seriously deter my workout! No headphones, no cardio!! This pretty much sums it up:

headphones

Favorite Part of the Process – Realizing changes in my body! I lose inches first, so I’ll usually (and never quickly enough) notice that my bras/clothes fit differently before I see any changes on the scale. I also react quickly to water intake. It’s amazing how quickly you get used to having a gallon of water every day…. (Sidenote: how blessed are we to even have that option to have as much water as we want?!?! In some parts of the world, this is nowhere near possible!)

Favorite Time to Work Out – Early in the morning before I can talk myself out of it and most importantly, before life happens. The whole late night workout thing never happens for me, and working out right after work has proven to be a challenge. It’s easy for my schedule to get derailed by work, impromptu date nights, girls’ nights, and just plain old exhaustion. Working out early in the morning gets my day started right, plus, I have a harder time eating crap knowing how hard I worked already that morning.

Favorite Fitness Tool – OK, for this one, I have two faves. I could not get through a weightlifting session without my Versa Gripps. I  tried all types of wraps, gloves, etc., and my hands still got torn up! Versa Grips are great…pricey, but sooo worth it! They allow a good firm grip and you can adjust for pulling, pushing, as needed.

As far as training support, I love MyFitnessPal. This app is my FAVE!! I use it to consistently log my food, water and exercise, and I find that it helps keep me honest and accountable for what I’ve eaten (or not eaten) throughout the day. In addition to being able to manually add the things you’ve consumed, you can also scan food items for easy tracking using their individual bar codes. MyFitnessPal also provides as much or as little community as you want. I can connect with friends, allow them to see my food/exercise diary or post comments. It’s always encouraging to see others working toward the same goal as you and to give/receive encouragement along the way. In addition, you can link to other fitness apps such as FitBit Trackers, MapMyRun, RunKeeper, etc., and you can see your progress over the years. I started using it in 2013, and all of my progress is still saved.

Talk to me: What gets you to the point when you’re “in it to win it,” and focused on achieving a fitness goal? What are some of your fitness faves and why?