Wedding Wednesday: The Proposal

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to have a place to document all of the the experiences in my life — good and bad. I’ll start with the good: since today, April 22, 2015, is exactly four months (!!) until my wedding day, I decided it is the perfect time for my first Wedding Wednesday post!

I am beyond excited for this time in our lives. The past 6 months have been a roller coaster, and I’ve learned so much about relationships, wedding planning, myself…and a million other things during this milestone. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Today is about ground zero of the wedding craziness: The Proposal.

Friday, August 22, 2014

It was really just an ordinary Friday. I don’t remember much of it. I had a half day of work (thank goodness for summer hours) and went home to enjoy the afternoon off. It was beautiful out — sunny and not too hot or cool for an August day in Chicago. Tom and I had made plans for dinner earlier in the week, which really wasn’t unusual at all since we went out to eat often. He said he’d choose the place. When he came over after work, he decided to take a short nap before leaving. Everything was just so regular.

I dressed up for dinner because I didn’t know where we were going and dresses are my go-to in the summer anyway. We started heading north on 294 and I thought nothing of it. But then we kept going farther and farther and my typical Allie questions started popping up, “where are we going?”, “how did you find this place?”, “is this place really good?” , “you couldn’t find anywhere closer?”.  I made my guesses (Gurnee Mills? Great America? Wisconsin?). And of course, Tom responded as he usually would “you’ll see when we get there.”

Shortly after getting off the highway, Tom turns into a random neighborhood. I am confused. There are literally no restaurants around where he stops — just a bunch of houses. He simply says to me, “Look where we are” and I look out my window and see Allyson Ct. (with a y!). I have always wanted to find a street with my name spelled correctly. We both run out of the car and to the sign, but he gets there first and starts taking selfies. Um, okay. I stand there, slightly annoyed, asking if I could take a picture since it’s my name. To this, he hands me his phone and asks me to take one of him, so I grab his phone and try to take a picture, trying to hurry to get to my turn. He then takes his phone back, says to try one more time.

When he hands me his phone the second time, I look down and notice one of his selfies is on the screen. It’s the same scene I’m standing in front of, but in the picture, the Allyson Ct. sign has a piece of paper underneath it that says “Will you marry me?” I start to cry and the rest is literally a blur — I don’t remember much of it after that (I swear I blacked out from all of the excitement), but I know it was one of the best moments of my life.

I love hearing about other people’s engagements (and watching them on YouTube, of course), but I still say ours was perfect, and it always will be because it’s ours.

Becoming a morning person: Day 21

So apparently today marks Day 21 of my first 21 Day Challenge! And I didn’t even realize it! I swear, I’ll get better at this.

Can I now call myself a full-fledged early bird? Hard to say. I do know that I am finding it a lot easier to wake up early, and I definitely enjoy the benefits of the extra hour before work each day, but I will wholeheartedly admit that I didn’t keep up with my new wake up time for the entire 21 days. I’m still young so the weekends were rough, and I am an awful sleeper, so yes, some days I favored the “one more minute” of sleep for the sake of my health (okay, fine,  it was actually closer to 30 more minutes…). And did I mention that I gave up coffee for Lent? Today was my first morning cup o’ joe during this whole challenge. The struggle was so very real.

That being said, I do think my life is better because of this challenge. After the first few days, I realized how hard it was going to be and knew it wasn’t just my waking habits I needed to change: I needed an entire lifestyle change. There are still so many more improvements I can make in my life, but this was definitely a good starting point. Just in these past 21 days, I have found myself doing all of the following more consistently:

  • Drinking more water
  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Reading
  • Being more productive at work and home
  • Thinking positively
  • Sticking to a routine
  • Having more energy

With all of these benefits, I’m hopeful this will become a new lifelong habit, and have officially broken up with my snooze button. It’s bittersweet, but I know it’ll be better for me in the long run. Early bird gets the worm, right?

More challenges to come!

Becoming a morning person: Day 8

It’s been awhile, but here’s a quick update on where I’ve been on this: not doing so well.

 The first few days of this challenge were great — I woke up bright-eyed and energized, ready to take on the day. Then it hit me. My insomnia caught up to me and I begged for just one more hour of sleep on Friday. Then the weekend was here and a mini road trip to Detroit made it impossible to get back on track.

So currently, I’m back where I started with a ‘wake up, get ready, and rush out the door’ kinda morning. Oops. Luckily, tomorrow is a new day.

A reminder

Hello, welcome to another lazy Sunday. I just wanted to share this quote I read the other day. I am someone who is prone to refreshing my Instagram feed to see my “likes” go up and feels that twinge of jealousy while scrolling through Facebook statuses. This helps put things into perspective. Be happy and grateful always 🙂

 

The original Instagram user that posted this is on there, but I found it from this article — a great read and something I definitely should try to remember more often. 

Spring List

Each year, I write a 100+ item list of things I want to accomplish during the summer. It’s kinda become my thing now and it’s something I look forward to during every other season. But maybe once a year isn’t enough. Maybe it’s about time I stop favoring summer and give spring, fall, and winter a chance. Alright, let’s do it!

And since today is the first official day of spring, here its: my first ever spring list. It’s not as extensive as my summer list, but it does give me a few things to look forward to for the next couple of months. Happy Spring!

* For the purposes of this list, spring starts today (March 20 – the first official day of spring!) and ends on Memorial Day weekend (May 22 — because that’s when my summer list starts)

  1. Really (like really) spring clean — purge and organize and everything I love
  2. Make Easter desserts
  3. Plant a tree or plant or anything
  4. Throw a barbecue
  5. Go to the Morton Arboretum
  6. Take a quick weekend trip
  7. Volunteer
  8. Make DIY Mother’s Day gifts for all the mamas in my life
  9. Host a game night
  10. Eat outside

Becoming a morning person: Day 3

Hello new day. Time is now 7:53 am. I’m winding up my morning before the work day starts and this is my view right now: TED Talk (currently – The Power of Introverts | Susan Cain — really good and relevant to last night’s post), tea, and chia pudding with blueberries while natural sunlight is pouring in through my blinds. I wasn’t planning on posting about this challenge every day, but I’m really excited about everything I’ve accomplished this morning. Worked out, got ready, and even had time to make my March Madness bracket since i forgot to last night. It’s a beautiful way to start the day. Have a good one!!

For all my introverts

As a 100%, definite, not-even-a-little-on-the-fence introvert, I sometimes worry that my natural tendency to keep to myself will somehow get in the way of achieving my career goals. That’s why I loved reading this article on The EveryGirl. There are some great tips for all the other introverts out there!

Becoming a morning person: Day 2

Hello again! The time is now 6:45 am, and yes, I am up (obviously) and feeling…tired. This will get easier right? So, I forgot to mention that I’m also tracking my sleep through this process. I wear the Jawbone UP 24 every day and use it to keep track of my steps, water intake, and sleep patterns. I wish I could tell you why I chose this fitness tracker, but the truth is, this is what was offered by my company so I just went with it. I’ve had it for almost a year now and like it for the most part. There are a few things that bother me like how you need to use the app to see your results instead of it being right on the band and sometimes it doesn’t sync correctly, but it does the job.

Anyways, here are my sleep results for the past two days:

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Day 1 Sleep

 

Day 2 Sleep

Confession: I fell asleep on the couch last night and forgot to set my Jawbone on sleep mode so Day 2 isn’t exactly accurate (you’re able to plug in the times you think you fell asleep and woke up to account for any days missed).

I love a good graph and this one’s easy to read: orange is awake time, dark blue is sound sleep, and light blue is light sleep. Pretty straightforward. I’m not exactly sure what the “ideal” sleep is, but I can tell you that even though I technically got more sleep on Day 2, I’m feeling a lot more tired than I did yesterday. So I’m just going to assume that sound sleep > light sleep. Also, I remember waking up from my neighbors’ footsteps last night (the floors upstairs are soooo creaky!!), and it doesn’t look like it caught that on my band. I’m sure it definitely has something to do with this groggy morning though.

I’ll keep sharing these every once in awhile because I think it’s interesting to see. Plus, it’s a good way for me to be more aware of how my sleep affects my mood. Definitely anticipating a bit of a struggle today.

Becoming a morning person: Day 1

Good morning! Current time is 7:19 am and I’ve been up for over an hour now. Oddly, I’m feeling good, despite jumping right into this instead of easing into it 15 minutes each day or something, as suggested. I guess we’ll see how tomorrow goes. Anyways, here’s my morning so far:

5:52 am: My alarm goes off and I fight the urge to throw it across the room. Instead, I avoid the snooze button, turn it off, and lay on my back with my eyes closed while focusing on my breathing. I calm down and fight pass my sleepiness, manage to do a few full body stretches, and pull out my journal for my morning entry. Then I finally get out of bed and change into workout clothes. (5:52 might seem like a strange wake up time, but is was inspired by this article. He makes some good points about starting at on off time.)

6:06 am: I did it! I’m up! The hard part is over. I walk over to my living room and start my morning workout (currently the Blogilates beginner’s calendar). It’s a struggle, but I get through it.

6:35 am: Workout is done. I’m sweaty and tired so I take a few minutes to rest and mindlessly catch up on social media.

6:40 am: Into a nice hot shower I go. It feels amazing not having to rush. I finish up my getting ready routine, which is and always will be, very simple.

7:10 am: I start making breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries. I actually sit down and eat, pull out my laptop and start writing this blog post.

I will admit, I had more of an incentive to wake up early today due to an 8:00 am meeting, but hey, gotta start somewhere. Day 1 is in the books.

 

21 Day Challenge – Becoming a morning person: The Beginning

used to be a morning person. It seems like a dream now, but I swear it was not that long ago that I’d wake up at 5:30 am without ever touching the snooze button. I’ll admit, it was mostly out of necessity (my morning commute could vary from 30 min to 2 hours depending on the day), but those times are long gone. Now I’m lucky if I can get myself to sit up before 7:30.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m on a mission to make my mornings more productive. I’ve read plenty of articles about the benefits of being an early bird, but I think it’s time to see for myself. So tomorrow will mark the beginning of my first 21 Day Challenge: Becoming a Morning Person.

21 is not an arbitrary number. It’s the number of days it takes to form a habit (I’ve heard this from a few different sources, but I’ll credit Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project for making it stick.). There’s probably about a trillion things that I would like to make a habit that I just never had the willpower to do. I’m hoping to change this with these 21 Day Challenges until I finally find myself consistently practicing good habits.

So tomorrow marks Day 1 of my first ever 21 Day Challenge. My alarm is set for 5:52 am (insert uneasy face emoji here). Wish me luck!