Jan 27, 2013

Sometimes we just need a Lazy day!

I must say I have been nothing but LAZY this weekend. Minus my workout each day I have literally laid around and watched TV. I am gearing up for a busy week so I will excuse myself.

On Tuesday I am heading out to Tallahassee, Florida for a few days. I love work trips. Sounds crazy I know. They all tell me one day the traveling will get old. So far it is not getting to me. Since I am still so new I think that helps. I am getting to see places, properties, meet people and staff's that I have never met before. Each trip brings something new to the table for me to learn. I went from having a portfolio of 3 properties to now having 25 and growing. It is a different world but I LOVE what I do and I LOVE the student housing industry. "Find a job that you love to do and you will never feel like you have worked a day in your life."

During this trip I will be helping a start up property market, host focus groups, and make connections with the local Universities. For those of you who know me I LOVE to talk. All of these things involve talking, talking and more talking. Even more exciting I will be doing this with one of my co-workers who is from Mississippi but currently lives in Cincinnati. His nickname is Big Country. Let's just say they are sending the two countriest (not even a word) people to take on Tallahassee. CAN NOT WAIT. 

Once I get home Thursday night I will re-pack my bag and leave Friday morning to head to my second home Tuscaloosa. Ryan and I are having our first wedding shower this weekend. There are so many exciting things about this weekend beyond it's out first wedding shower. 

On my way down to Tuscaloosa I will stop in Birmingham at the airport and pick up one of my best friends Landi. You can check out her amazing blog here. I have listed our history before but let me give a short rundown again. Landi actually was a Community Assistant for me at one of the properties I was a Leasing Manager. In other words I was her "boss" is you want to call it that. Landi needed no boss. She was WONDERFUL in every sense of the word. She always went above and beyond anything I ever asked her to do. The more time we spent together the more we began to talk on a non-work related level. Even though she is younger than me, she is mature beyond her years. I have never met anyone with such a giving heart in all of my life. She will do anything for anyone who needs it and even those who don't. It is not everyday that you come across people like her. I am so thankful to call her my friend. She is now back at TCU finishing her degree in Interior Design. We may not talk as often as we would like but the minute we pick up the phone it is right back to where we left off. With that being said, I have not seen her in over a year. I am literally jumping for JOY that I get to see her for 2 days this weekend. 

After I get Landi I will head on to Tuscaloosa to get my hair done by the wonderful Emily. To say that I love my hairdresser in Tuscaloosa is an HUGE understatement. I miss her so much. I am so happy that I booked her in enough time to make sure she will be doing my wedding day do. It says a lot for your work when a client is willing to take a day off work to plan a hair appointment and be coming form Atlanta. Let's just say I have got her a mess of a head of hair to work on. These roots are out of control.

What I looked like when I walked in to see Emily on one of my last visits. 

What I looked like when I left. New highlights and some beautiful curls. 

Saturday, my bridesmaids are hosting our first shower. It is going to be a gift card shower. These have become very common in the past few years and I am thrilled they chose to do this for me. All of my friends that had one said it was super helpful to get the final things that you need that you don't happen to get. The invitations were the absolute cutest things ever. My friends know me way to well. Ryan and I can't wait to see all of our friends-wedding party. Get ready I will have a large post coming up after this weekend. 

The most important/exciting part about this weekend is we get to see a lot of the people who have played an important part of our lives-relationship. I would not be half of the person I am today without all of the relationships that I have made along the way. Tuscaloosa is my home away from home. I would live there forever if I could. I spent the last 8 years of my life there. When I packed up and left for my new job venture it was really hard. I was leaving my Church, being close to my family, friends, and a life that I had made for myself. I am so proud of the decision I made with taking this job. It is just so nice being able to go back and be in my comfort zone for a weekend. Get ready Tuscaloosa I'm coming home and I CAN'T WAIT. 

Just a few pics that bring back great memories. I could pull old pics for days!!!

Jan 24, 2013

Furniture that gets better with time

Have you ever bought something that you really really love?? Of course we all do but then we get over it with time.

Well a few years ago when I got my second promotion(the first one with a true sign of financial growth) I decided I wanted new bedroom furniture. I was still using the furniture that I had when I was growing up. I love it and I want to keep it but I wanted something grown up, something that was up to date, and something that fit me. I talked with my dad and asked him to help me purchase it and I would pay him back with each paycheck. He agreed to do so and we went on the hunt.

I decided to go with a set from Pier One. The headboard is light blue and fabric covered. It also has a bench that matches the headboard that I sit at the foot of the bed. The nightstands as well as the dresser are mirrored. It is so me and beautiful!!! The other day I was cleaning my room after a trip for work. I looked at my dresser and thought I am so proud that I bought this for myself. Even more than that I fell in love with it all over again.

This furniture will forever be a reminder of my second promotion, my responsibility as an adult with managing money,  and my first large purchase of value!

Take a peek at why I am so proud!! Yes, Ryan and I will be a football family so the football is from our engagement pics...I had to keep it.

Jan 23, 2013

Working on my Fitness

So I mentioned a few weeks ago at the beginning of the month that I was starting to eat better to become a HOTT BRIDE for my Ryan. Well I am happy to report that I am down 10.9 pounds.

I have been working really hard and making exercise a daily part of my life even if it is from my own home. When I am tired or just don't want to work out with a lot of people I do my "Walk away the pounds" DVD. It is great and let me tell you Leslie does not play. I sweat more than if I were laying out in 100 degree weather with no water to cool off with. It sounds easy but it is by far the fastest walking I have ever done. I have worked up to doing 2 miles back to back she does 5. I am going to keep working on it but it will be a while before I can do all 5 and make it out alive!!

I drink enough water a day to supply the Pacific Ocean. I have not had a diet coke in over 2 weeks....MIRACLE. Ryan wanted Mexican this weekend and i only ate about 5 chips...another MIRACLE. Mexican is my FAVORITE food without a doubt. I have been so proud of myself for watching what I eat. I use My Fitness Pal which is a lifesaver when it comes to traveling and dining out.

Next I would like to introduce you to my little friend.....

Worst thing ever meet my friends

Let me tell you stopping working out when I moved to Atlanta was a bad decision. It is so much harder getting back in the swing of things than I ever dreamed. Biggest Loser is one of my all time favorite shows. They always use the "worst thing ever" and shed pounds like crazy. I know they are doing so much more than just this but it is a fast calorie burner. I see the contestants never giving up and just pushing through. That is when the trainers tell them they are really getting their best workout. I usually do the worst thing ever for about 15 minutes and feel like I am dying. Tonight I decided to push myself and try to make it to 30 minutes. I made up in my mind that I was going to do it no matter how bad it hurt. WIth my determination along with a text messaging Fiance who is supportive, I DID IT. My body hates me right now but I DID IT!!! I could not be more proud of myself. It really is mental...the pain is horrible but if you keep pushing you can do it. I am proof of it. Why yes, I will give myself a gold medal tonight!

Friday starts my company Peak Biggest Loser contest. I really really want to win it because their is money involved. More than that it would mean that I worked really hard to accomplish becoming a HOTT BRIDE. I can't wait for it to start so that all of my co-workers and myself can encourage one another to get fit. It's actually fun getting healthy when you have others around you doing the same thing. I will keep you all updated where I stand each Friday on weigh ins.

Jan 21, 2013

Heart to Heart

This weekend I had the pleasure of being with my main squeeze for 4 whole days (that is why I have been missing a few days)!! For those of you who don't know this NEVER happens except during 1 week of our holiday break. He is a college football coach so he is recruiting during this time of the year and I am always traveling with work. It was so nice to be able to run errands together, cook together, hang out with friends, and most of all spend time together. It almost seemed like we actually lived in the same state for a few days.

Ryan and I have shared our past with each other and really got to know each other over the past year. He has also been a good sport and answered any other random questions about life I have had for him. You all know we women want to know ALL the details about any and every event. Men not so much. They just want to give the minimum answer possible. Well this weekend Ryan asked me a few questions about some guys from the past? Ryan is not much of a talker about the past so this really stood out to me.

I started thinking of all the really really crappy guys I have liked, dated, had interest in...etc. Then I thought how AMAZING the Lord is with his timing and the people he places in your life. Ryan could not have entered my life at a more perfect time. He could not be a bigger Blessing than he is. I could not possibly be treated any more like a Queen than I am when I am with him. He is so loving, encouraging, cares about my every want and need, strives to serve me, goes above and beyond to prove his love for me, and when no one else ever did he always makes me feel like I am the most beautiful woman on this earth.

When we finished talking about the questions he asked, he looked at me and said.... " I thank God everyday that they did not think of you the way I do because that means you might have been off the market when I came into the picture. Their stupidity has made me the luckiest man alive." I'm sorry where did he come from and can I make a lot more that are like him for the other women in this world that need to be loved??? I do not know why the big man upstairs thought I deserved to have someone as wonderful as Ryan but I am so glad that he created him just for me. I don't tell him enough how much he means to me. If I can make him feel half as special as he makes me feel then I will have him floating on cloud 9.

Weekend in Atlanta before I moved here.

He also said something that  touched me more than anything this weekend. Out of no where he said "Lara Ellen I want you to know you complete me." Once again Thank you Lord for this blessing. It hit me in May I will be saying I do...it keeps getting closer. I have been repeating that line in my head over and over again "you complete me." At the time all I said was awwww. This is exactly why God made marriage so important. He wanted us to find the person that completes us. He wants us to honor, love, cherish, serve, and commit our lives to the ONE that completes us. Ryan, I have never felt as special as I do when I am with you. I have never been shown the love that you chose to give to me. I have never been served and pursued (as the Bible says we should be) by anyone like you in my life. Without any hesitation or doubt I know you are the one that completes me as well. I'm not the cheesy type and I don't think there is anything cheesy about it when it is Biblical and of the Lord.

As stressful as it has been to plan a wedding, I can't wait for it to happen. May 25th I will say I Do to the man that the Lord made just for me. Thank you Lord for holding true to your promises and in your timing bringing me the biggest blessing I could have ever been given.

The night we got engaged!

Jan 17, 2013

From Sunny to Snow

I just spent the last 4 days in Orlando Florida for a Leadership Conference with my company. I love the company I work for and I love trips like this where we are all together. I am the "new girl" so the more I get to meet people the happier I am. I love building relationships with people. As a matter of fact I remember in my interview I told the President of the company that was the number one thing I loved about my job ...building relationships. I think to be successful in any area of life you have to get to know people on more than a hey how are you basis. Getting to know everyone's story really is amazing to me. Ok so enough about how much I love meeting people!!

On the first night we were in Orlando we had a vendor fair. Numerous business's team up with Peak each year for different reasons. You have to have different vendors on call at all times in the student housing industry because you never know what will happen! This night is a way for the Vendors to say Thank You for using us here are some goodies now please keep calling on us!! Lets just say I love Tervis Tumbler cups and one vendor gave me a set of 4...SCORE!

Even with amazing food like this all week...I did so good. 

The second day we had half a day of leadership sessions and then the rest of the day free. We could do whatever we wanted and our company gave us $75 as happy money. I don't know of many companies that do amazing things for their employees like Peak does. To say I am thankful/grateful for my job is an understatement. I have never been to Disney World in my 27 years of living. I have always heard of how great it is so I made that my activity for the free time. Several of my other co-workers wanted to go as well. It was so much fun and I am so happy that we got to experience that together. I loved Cinderella's Castle and the light show with fireworks at the end of the night. I will say that I am so glad I went but I still love my childhood memories at Dollywood.

Let me insert that walking through Disney I sweated like crazy. It was 83 everyday down there and in Atlanta is was sleeting. Yes from Sunny to Snow.

The final full day we had a guest speaker, break out sessions, as well as the Annual Black and White Ball. This is where each year Peak gives out its awards for the properties, manager's, and employees that went above and beyond that year. I am so proud of my East Coast properties. They racked up on the awards this year!

My amazing Boss Jessica

One of my Wonderful East Coast Property Manager's

Some of us Corporate Office Ladies

Finally....Peak is very involved in employee wellness. We will begin the Biggest Loser Contest on January 27-May 24th! I am so excited and I am looking forward to winning some money!! This is a huge encouragement to me to get Hott Bride Ready. Tomorrow is once again weight in day. So far I am down 3.3 pounds I want to get over the 5 pound hump...wish me luck.

Jan 13, 2013

Busy Bee

If you follow along with my day to day life you know that on Friday I came home from a week of work in Gainesville. Tomorrow morning I leave for Orlando for the week. Beyond working, I am trying to also plan a wedding. Let's just say any down time that I have is spent doing anything i can to towards my wedding. When I got home Friday I was excited to see that my 2nd set of Save the Dates had arrived.

My life as of lately...My Suitcase!

Let me explain. I have been doing anything that I can to save money when it come to my wedding. I went to college for Advertising and Human Development. I'm pretty creative so I decided to make my own Save the Dates and have them printed through Vista Print. When I got my proof I loved them. I printed them out to make sure they would look good printed and they did! I was so happy that I got them done for super cheap and exactly what I wanted. When I received them it was a different story. They were extremely blurry. So blurry that you could not see the date that we were getting married. I decided I did not have the money to re-do them I was just going to have to send them as is or not send them at all. Inside the box they had a card that said if you are not 100% satisfied call us. I decided to give it a try. They were very nice and after an hour on the phone they completely redid my Save the Dates. The only problem it was not exactly how I had designed it but I guess close enough. Whatever, they re-did them for free!!

SInce my arrival home I have been cleaning, 4 loads of laundry, taking out trash, addresses envelopes, and trying to get my actual wedding invitations ordered. That will be taken care of at some point this wee.k. I am realizing that it is getting closer and closer to my wedding date. The more I look at what I need to do the more I realize I am going to be an even busier bee than I already am. It's ok this will be the one and only time in my life that this event takes place. I don't mind working hard for something that means so much.

All the envelopes I addressed today.

Speaking of something that means so much...my better half! He has a really important day ahead of him tomorrow. I ask that you please say a prayer that God opens doors if it is the right door that needs to be opened! I will update everyone later about what is going on but at the moment I can't really disclose any information.

I think we're pretty cute together :) Gotta head to bed I have a early flight in the AM.

Jan 12, 2013

Don't give up

So this morning when I weighed in I had only lost 4 ounces. Yes, you read that right 4 ounces. I was so discouraged. I instantly texted Ryan letting him know I was not happy. I had to tell myself "DO NOT GIVE UP, you did amazing all week no matter what the scale says, keep doing what you are doing and maybe you will start seeing results." I am the type of person who needs instant gratification when it comes to diets to be able to stick with it. Then again I did not gain weight in a day so I am not going to lose it in a day. I remembered a little later on that I forgot to get my body measurements for the week. Thank goodness I remembered because I got a little bit of hope. I have lost at least an inch in all areas some areas of my body even more!!!

I am now more determined to work out more, keep drinking my water, and continue eating healthy. I want to see the number on the scale drop, drop, drop. I have got to become ONE HOTT BRIDE.....no excuses! My goal is 10 pounds a month until my wedding. I do not think that goal is out of reach. I still have 3 weeks left in the month of January to hit that goal. I am hoping this week I drop a little more than 4 ounces. The good news is the number on the scale did not grow so that is always a plus!

Funny thing when you are trying to diet everything comes your way. I just got the call today that our cake tasting is next Sunday! Looks like I will have to do super amazing until Sunday!!! Can't wait to let you all know what flavors we decide on!!! I love this part of wedding planning...to bad my diet does not feel the same way!!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Jan 11, 2013

Ready for my Own Bed

Have you ever been longing for your own bed to sleep in? That is how I feel after a week of traveling. I am so excited to be back home but it's only for a few days. I head back out Monday morning for Orlando.

I sm so excited that I am going to the land of Mickey and Minnie!!! I have never been to Disney and I have heard my entire life how amazing it is. The main thing I want to see is the huge castle, Princess, whatever you want to call it. Yes, I am going to Orlando for work but we get one day of play and that is where I am choosing to go!

Now for what you really want to see.....the pictures from my trip in Gainesville! I'm still not happy that they would not upload while I was traveling.

First off I am a huge BAMA fan so I'm used to Crimson and White. I was heading to Gainesville on the day of the National Championship. I did wear crimson loud and proud.  However, I arrived and I was not in BAMA anymore. This is what greeted me when I got off the plane.

And he was not just at the airport...he was everywhere

One of my favorite things about Gainesville was the Mossy Trees....Ahhhh Beautiful. You may not be able to see it well but it is very simular to what you would see in Savannah, GA.

Food was a plenty in Gainesville. When I travel one of the things I like to do is visit local places that you cant find anywhere else. Here are just a few that we went to...

I had naked wings at Gainesville Ale House.

I am dieting which is not easy while traveling. However, I had tilapia at Ballyhoo and it was wonderful. Plus it was within the diet regulations!

We had the suggestion to go to Satchel's. It was the biggest hippy hole in the wall place you have ever seen. It was one of the best places I have ever been! I even bought some of their "secret" vinaigrette dressing to bring home. DELISH

And finally, I mentioned that BAMA was playing in a National Championship on Monday night. I was not going to let being at The University of Florida stop me from showing my pride!! I watched the game from the comfort of my hotel bed. I am soooooooo happy that we brought home #15. I could not be more proud!!! ROLL TIDE

Can't wait to try out some new places in Orlando! Tomorrow is my weigh in....please wish me luck after this week of traveling. Now I will get in the bed that I have been dying for. Goodnight