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WEDDING: 2 MONTHS TO GO!!


Oh my goodness, I can’t believe that in two months Ross and I will be married! I will be a wife. He will be my husband. That is amazing and I am so excited! Also, my bridal portraits are on Monday and I’m super excited about that too!

I feel like I’ve been doing nothing except living, breathing, thinking, and doing wedding stuff for the past couple of weeks. We’re getting a lot of stuff done but there is still a ton to be done before the big day. Ross and I are going to Dallas this weekend to work on wedding stuff with him mom and I’m looking forward to it but I know that it’s going to be really overwhelming too.

Just like every other bride in America in 2012/2013 I started planning my wedding on Pinterest before Ross and I even got engaged. I found so much great stuff on there and I think I’ve found ways to incorporate it into my wedding without all my guests thinking, “Oh, I totally saw that in Pinterest!” (at least I hope so). One of the cool things that I saw was a customized coloring book for the kids at the wedding. It’s available online to download for free but I wasn’t 100% sold on the one that they had available. So I took some pieces from it and added some things of my own to come up with (what I think) is a really cute book for the kids at the wedding!

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I have so much more that I wanted to share with you guys (the flower girl basket, the ring bearer pillow, the flowers for the altar arch, the food card holders, etc.) but I don’t have pictures of any of that stuff! Oops. I guess I’ll just have to share that with you some time next week, along with all the stuff I get accomplished with Ross’s mom this weekend.

I do have a flower for my hair, made by my lovely friend Lynn:

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She also made purple flowers for my bridesmaids’ hair but those don’t have centers yet.

Alex and Hannah both got their dresses! So that’s 3 out of 5 with dresses and two months until the wedding. Not too bad. I think they’v decided they’re going to to with grey shoes but they’re still in the deciding phase on that.

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I know they don’t look it but they’re all about the same color dark purple. My iPhone just doesn’t do well with purple I guess.

I am happy to report that I got my dress for the rehearsal dinner and my shoes are on their way!! I’ve also ordered some of the bridesmaids gifts already and I can’t wait for it all to get here. I want to take pictures of it all and share it with you guys because I’m so excited, but I do need some things to stay a secret. That’s a hell of a lot easier said than done though.

We’ve also finalized which readings we’re doing for the ceremony and our friend Milly has agreed to sing during the ceremony, but I’m going to keep the song a secret for now!

This week I sent out a tentative timeline for the week/weekend of the wedding so that people have an idea of what to expect. I know it’s going to change between now and then but I thought I’d go ahead and share it.

Thursday:

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Friday:

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Saturday:

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If any of you have already been married and have advice on things I’m forgetting or how much time I should allot for something, please let me know!!

Finally, the to-do list is really starting to shift it’s weight to the other side, thank goodness!

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Alright, that’s all the wedding stuff I can think of for now. I will definitely be back next week with a lot more updates!

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FINDING A BALANCE


It seems as though I’ve been MIA lately. I think about writing blog posts all the time but when I finally sit down to do it there are a million other things that pop up that I “need” to take care of.

Wedding planning is time consuming. Thankfully I have a job with a lot of free time so I’m able to get some things accomplished while I’m at work. I cannot imagine trying to plan this thing only in my free time and can completely understand why some people get totally overwhelmed with wedding planning. 59 days to go!!

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This blog isn’t the only thing that’s been suffering lately. I feel like most everything in my life has taken a giant step backwards to allow wedding planning to be front and center and that’s really something that I’m not okay with. Our wedding is exactly two months from today and I couldn’t be more excited about that! I am honestly really enjoying the planning process (most of the time), however, there are still other things I care about in life beside this wedding and I really want to make sure that they’re getting the attention they deserve from me.

Like running. I am most definitely ashamed of the amount of running I’ve been doing (or not doing) lately. So ashamed, in fact, that I’m not even going to give you the details of it. Ross, Lynn and I have another triathlon coming up in April (one week after the wedding!) and they’ve both been training for it. What have I been doing? Sitting on my ass, eating hummus and watching “Say Yes to the Dress” and calling that wedding planning. Not cool, Chasity. I made a training schedule two and a half weeks ago and was super pumped up about it. Then I got home from work that day with every intention to run but Ross’s mom called to talk about wedding stuff. We were on the phone for 45 minutes and by the time we finished talking I had a huge to-do list and no motivation to do anything else. That continued to happen almost every day for the next week. Eventually the running excitement disappeared and I couldn’t remember why I would want to go out running instead of gluing flowers to a basket.

I was talking to Ross about my running over the weekend and we agreed that I do not like running short distances. I don’t mind running 5k races because they’re still races and I love a good race. But when it comes to going out for a training run the only ones I get excited about are those that are over eight miles. I would choose a 12 mile run over a five mile run just about any day of the week. This is a good thing once I get farther into my training schedule but it’s not good when I’m out of shape and have no business running more than six miles right now.

I really want to do well in this race and I don’t want to let Ross and Lynn down, so all of the wedding related excuses stop NOW. I am going to share my training plan with you and I am going to start sticking to today. I am going to get back to running five days a week because that’s what I love.

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So for the next week and a half I am going to follow the above schedule. After that I will have exactly 8 weeks until the triathlon and I’ll start on a different training schedule that involves some tempo runs and some long runs. Since I’m so out of shape right now and haven’t been running consistently for the past two month I am going to have to be really careful in increasing my mileage to make sure that I don’t get an over-training injury. That would sure piss me off.

The weekend after the triathlon there is a half-marathon in Dallas that I told my friend Lyndsey I would run with her. Originally my plan was to train my butt off so I could PR (personal record) at that race but a PR seems unlikely given the amount of running that I’ve been doing lately. I hope I can still PR at the triathlon (another 10k distance, same as the last one) but only time will tell.

Even though I haven’t been running much lately I have still been cooking! I keep going back and forth between eating really healthy and then not. I still try to start off every morning with a green smoothie, which is actually starting to become difficult. I have to take my vitamix into the guest bathroom to make my smoothies now because the thing sounds like a jumbo jet in our kitchen and wakes Ross up. The results sure are delicious though!

Here are some things that I devoured and didn’t share with you:

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Above we have a yummy green smoothie for breakfast: water, lots of kale, chopped frozen banana, strawberries, blueberries, ground flax seed, hemp protein, chlorella, maca, and spirulina.

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Here we have a delicious hummus pizza: Engine 2 Sprouted Grain tortilla, Hope Hummus brand sweet potato hummus, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

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Next up is maple banana bread with chocolate chips on only half because Ross doesn’t like chocolate chips on his banana bread. He also doesn’t like banana bread warm so he waits several hours after it comes out of the oven before having a slice. He’s crazy.

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Oatmeal raisin cookies. I think I may have eaten seven of these in one day (they only lasted one day).

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Apple Hemp muffins. I made these last night so Ross would have something quick and healthy to eat between training sessions at work. They are absolutely delicious. I used this recipe and instead of adding raisins I added chopped apple which turned out to be a great idea.

I talked in my last post about how I almost always eat healthy when we go out to eat. Below is a picture of an ELT (eggplant, lettuce and tomato) with a cashew mayo and a side of kale avocado salad. Super healthy and super delicious.

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Every now and then I just completely let go and order something like this deep dish  pizza from Conan’s on a whole wheat crust with mushroom, onion, tomato, garlic, pineapple, and Daiya vegan cheese:

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Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

Now, to bring this blog post to a close I would like to make some promises to you.

  • I promise to stick to my running training plan and keep you updated on my progress
  • I promise to blog more than once a week (I used to blog every single day! I’d like to find a balance)
  • I promise to share more of my cooking with you – pictures for sure and hopefully some recipes too!

Tonight I’m planning on making spaghetti for Ross, spaghetti squash for me, and rosemary tofu balls to go with it all — expect pictures soon!

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EATING HEALTHY (AND VEGAN) WHEN DINING OUT


Compared to our society as a whole Ross and I don’t go out to eat very often. Honestly, the first few years we were dating we hardly ever went out to eat unless we were invited by other people. We love just chilling at home together so our weekends were usually filled with eating in and watching movies from our couch, or hikes at the greenbelt with sandwiches in tow.

About a year ago we established Friday Night Date Night. I suppose we could easily enjoy our Friday night date night at home like we used to, but for whatever reason we really like to get out of the house on Friday nights now. We’re pretty simple people so we never really choose anything fancy – usually Panera Bread, Kerbey Lane, Whole Foods, or some local dive that we drive by and think looks good. While I manage to make a healthy vegan choice about 95% of the time, this isn’t something that I was always able to do.

Eating out has always felt special to me. When I was growing up our family only went out to eat for special occasions – birthdays, graduations, etc. Even then it wasn’t always a guaranty that we’d go out for such an occasion so each time we did it felt like a real treat. Dining at a restaurant meant that I got to enjoy foods that I wouldn’t normally get to eat – chicken Parmesan, chicken fried steak, baked cheese tortellini, Cajun Alfredo pasta, chips and queso, fried calamari, bread and olive oil, etc. Those are not foods that my family ever cooked at home so when I would go out I felt like I needed to really take advantage of what was being offered to me.

Those feelings stuck with me all through college and even for a while once I started to lead a healthier lifestyle. I am happy to say that as the years go on I feel the need to indulge less and less. That’s not to say that I won’t occasionally throw caution to the wind and order terrible things. Last night we celebrated Valentine’s Day early and I enjoyed a black bean burger, fried pickles, french fries and chips and salsa. And beer. Hey, it happens. For the most part, though, I do a really good job of ordering food that’s good for me but also taste delicious. I find that I leave the restaurant feeling much happier if I enjoyed a meal that was absolutely delicious but also good for me. It’s a win-win situation. Ross still has a harder time with this and almost always orders something with french fries and a coke when we go out to eat. He’s working on it though!

So, how do I manage to resist temptation when I’m eating out? Really there are two big keys to my success.

1. Plan ahead.

If I know that I’m going to be going out for dinner somewhere I try to look at their menu online before we arrive. It’s much easier for me to focus on the healthy choices when I’m alone and not feeling any pressure, and  then when we sit down I don’t even need to look at the menu. It also helps to tell people, “I looked at their menu earlier and the Southwestern salad sounds great! That’s definitely what I’m going to get!” If you talk it up a bit to the people around you then it helps to sell it to yourself even more and solidify your choice. It also helps that the Southwestern salad at Kerbey Lane is honestly the best tasting thing I’ve ever eaten there. I get it with portabella mushrooms and no cheese. So. Frickin. Good. And it really fills me up.

Planning ahead doesn’t just help with healthy choices, it also helps make it easier to be a vegan eating out in an omnivore’s world. If I look at the menu before hand I’m able to quickly see what meat- and diary-free entrees are available, see if there’s a dish I really want but will need to be altered slightly, and see if they even offer anything remotely close to what I’d call edible. Sometimes there are literally no options for me on a menu. It doesn’t happen often but it does occasionally happen. If I’m looking at the menu ahead of time and I see that there’s nothing there for me to eat, then that gives me time to pick between my three options.

  1. Call ahead and ask the chef if they’ll prepare something for me with ingredients that they have on hand. Yes, I have actually done this before (at a steakhouse in Shreveport) and they were happy to accommodate my request.
  2. Call whoever I’m going out to eat with and see if they’d mind going somewhere else instead. Chances are whoever you’re going with will be fine with this, especially if you come armed with a really good alternative restaurant.
  3. Suck it up and eat before hand. I’ve never actually done this one. I’m a jealous eater (I get jealous when other are eating and I’m not) so there’s no way that I could stand to go out to eat with people and not eat something. It is an option though if you’re too scared to do one of the above, or if the people above all tell you no.

2. Don’t arrive hungry.

Okay, clearly you want to be hungry when you’re eating out, otherwise what’s the point of eating? I’ve learned that there’s a fine line between arriving hungry and arriving starving. I always eat something small at home before we leave for the restaurant. Sometimes it’s a plain piece of toast, sometimes an apple or a banana. I just need something in me so that I don’t attempt to order all the appetizers while everyone else is mulling over the menu, or get so hungry while waiting that I second guess the entree I decided on at home. This also helps to keep me from inhaling my food the second it’s finally set in front of me.

3. Love food.

I know I said there were two keys to my success and here I am listing a third. This third piece of advice is very important but it may not come as easily for some people. Part of the reason that I’m able to follow a healthy, plant-based way of eating when I’m in a restaurant is because I love food. I mean I really love ALL food. Oven roasted veggies? They make my mouth water! Rice and beans topped with pico de gallo and avocado? That hit’s the spot. Mediterranean veggie sandwich with a cup of black bean soup, or a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette? So comforting. Mushroom barley soup? Warms me up just thinking about it.

It’s easy for me to make healthy choices when I go out to eat because I love food, including vegetables. It’s harder for Ross to make healthy choice because he’s a much pickier eater than I am. I encourage all of you to slowing start trying to develop a taste for some of the foods you don’t like and overtime you’ll begin to like them.

I remember my parents telling me this as a kid and I genuinely thought they were crazy or just flat-out lying to me. I was so picky back then that I wouldn’t eat spaghetti if there were chunks of anything in the sauce, I dipped all vegetables in ketchup (and sometimes still didn’t eat them), and I wouldn’t eat my food if it had touched another food on my plate. I pretty much liked meat, potatoes, and corn. I even disliked strawberries because they had seeds. Clearly I was the crazy one. Now I’ll eat just about anything and I’m even trying to teach myself to like the few foods that still linger on my bad list. For instance, I used to gag if I took a bite of my McDonald’s cheeseburger as a kid and got a bite of pickle. Last night Ross and I shared an order of fried pickles and I definitely ate half of them. This is because about two years ago I decided that I was tired of hating pickles. Every time Ross would buy buy pickles and eat them at home I would take a bite. It started with just one, then after a while I’d try to get down two bites in a row. Now I love them!

I know that nothing I said here is truly ground breaking but sometimes just knowing that someone else is out there doing it helps to make it easier.

I’m also sharing this post with Healthy Vegan Fridays! If you haven’t checked it out yet then you really should!

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WEDDING: CHECKING THINGS OFF MY LIST


Hey guys, long time no post, right? Sorry about that – I’ve been busy with wedding planning! I promise I will post stuff soon related to healthy eating and living! I’ve got a couple of simple recipes that are delicious and I also want to update you on my running (or lack there of…).

Quick update on what’s been checked off the list just since the last update:

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  • We got table cloths for the reception tables
  • Invitations and RSVP cards are designed and printed! Still working on the information inserts

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  • There ceremony is finalized on my end – now it’s up to John and Elaine to figure out what they’re saying in their parts
  • All 13 boutonnieres are made! 

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  • I met with Whole Foods to discuss the menu for the rehearsal dinner, the wedding day brunch, and the reception
  • We selected a location for the rehearsal dinner (still have to decide on a time)
  • The photo information cards have been finalized and printed


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  • Pretty sure I’ve figured out my gifts for my bridesmaids
  • Ross’s mom has been hard at work making these water bottles (and the invitations, RSVP cards, inserts, programs, and photo cards. She’s also making our wedding favors, printing the menus, making stencils for the signs, and who knows what else that I can’t think of right now!)

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  • MY dress fits PERFECTLY. Well, I had to get bra cups sewn in because I have tiny boobies, but that was minor and only cost $25. No alterations of the dress should be needed!
  • Two of my bridesmaids have picked out their dresses! Alex is wearing this one from Target (taking the flower off) and you can see Lynn in hers below

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  • I scheduled my practice hairdo and bridal portraits for February 25 (I think bridal portraits are silly but they come with the photography package we picked)
  • We’ve picked out a grooms cake and finalized the design for the regular cake (think purple, not pink or grey)

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Grooms cake!

  • We also decided on a red and a white wine for the wedding. We’re doing boxed wine to cut down on costs and we’ll also have 2 kegs of beer but we haven’t decided what kind yet 

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Alright, I think that’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with the 2-months-to-go update hopefully some non-wedding related blog posts too!

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RACE RECAP: THE BIGGEST LOSER 5K


This is going to a race recap that’s short on words and heavy on pictures. If you want a refresher about why I wanted to run this particular race (while being 100% out of shape) you can read this post!

I was not nervous at all going into this race because I knew I was completely out of shape. I didn’t really have a time goal so much as I had an estimate of when I thought I would finish. I ran a 5k back in November when I was in really good shape an I finished it in 25:36, so I estimated that I’d finish this one in 28-30 minutes. I would be a little sad if it took me a full 30 minutes to finish the race, but considering I’d only run three times total leading up to this race (after a full month off) I couldn’t really be too upset.

A few pre race photos: The starting line! It was gloomy and chilly that day – perfect weather for running a race!

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The MC for the race was Dan Evans from season 5 of the biggest loser!

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He was talking to some girl before the race and I heard her says, “Yeah, and I’m vegan!” I immediately cheered (so did Hannah!) and started taking more pictures!

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Then I noticed she was wearing the KALE shirt, which is one of my favs, so of course I found her and asked if we could take a picture together. She insisted that she hold up a picture of her vegan personal trainer so that people could see how hot you can be when you’re vegan. Haha!!

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They even had a Biggest Loser scale for us to pose on.

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Here I am looking like a nerd before the race started.

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Hannah snapped one of my just as we were taking off.

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The beginning of the race was a hot mess. There were kids and walkers participating too so I spent the first three minutes or so weaving in and out of people, trying not to trip on kids who don’t know how to run in a straight line, reminding my self that I’m happy that all of these people are out here on a cold Saturday running a race, even if they are a little bit in my way at the moment.

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As we got father and farther into the race and I passed more and more people I could see that there was only 20ish people in front of me. It felt surreal that I was doing so well in a race when I was so out of shape. I thought to myself, “Could I win an age group award?” and immediately pushed the thought from my head. How could I be so ridiculous and think such a thing? I’m not fast enough for that crap. And how could I jinx myself like that? Even if it was true before it certainly wouldn’t happen now.

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I just kept running a long, even though it looks like I’m skipping.

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You can see in these pictures that my thumbs get cold when I run, so I tuck them inside my fists. It looks a little ridiculous.

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As we got closer to the end of the race this woman (below) and I kept passing each other. She’d slow down and I’d pass her, then she’d sprint a head of me, then I’d pass her again… Once the finish line was in my sight I decided I’d had enough of that and I sprinted to the finish. This may sound crazy but that was the first time I’d EVER sprinted across the finish line. I know that’s what your supposed to do in a race but I’ve just never cared before. (Side note: that woman ended up coming in first place in her age group! Whoo-hoo!!).

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About 20 minutes after I crossed the finish line they had the results posted. Hannah found my name first and said, “Hey, you came in 24th place overall!” Wow, that’s pretty awesome. I quickly snapped a picture and got out of the way so everyone else could see how they did in the race. That’s when I saw that I CAME IN 3RD PLACE IN MY AGE GROUP and my final time was 28:28. Seeing that made me so happy and made me fall in love with racing all over again! I quickly scanned the rest of the results and saw that the girl who came in first place in my age group got 26:52. Seeing that just made me sad. All I could think was that my other 5k time was better than that and I could have come in first place in my age group if I had been in better shape.

Having that thought go through my head really made me dizzy. “Am I really sitting here seeing that I came in third place, feeling disappointed that I didn’t come in first place? Who am I?” I felt so amazing that I’d done so well in the race and it was nice knowing that I had a previous race time that would have put me in first place in different circumstances. It was really motivating and right now I really need some motivation!

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A while later they announced the overall male and female winners for the races and then they announced the age group winners. I go to go up and be recognized in front of everyone, I got a pretty white 3rd place ribbon, and I got to take a picture with Dan and his mom, Jackie, who was also on the show with Dan! I was giddy with excitement over getting to meet them – maybe more so than I was over the fact that I was getting a ribbon!

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After my race there was a Kids K race to encourage kids to be active and help combat childhood obesity. It was awesome seeing so many kids out there, and excited to run!

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I had so much fun running this race and it definitely lit a fire in me to want to race again soon! I’ll be back with more details on that later in the week! : )

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WEDDING: 3 MONTHS TO GO


Hey guys, sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. I have things I want to share with you but I just keep putting it off. Like my race recap from The Biggest Loser RunWalk that I did this past Saturday! They’re providing us with free downloadable pictures of the race and I haven’t received them yet so that’s why I keep putting it off. Soon though!

For now I’d like to do a wedding update!! Here are the two countdowns that I use – one from our wedding website that shares it in number of days until the wedding:

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and also a wedding countdown app that I have for my phone.

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As you can see from the photo above, the title for this blog post is a little deceiving. My 3 Months update is a late simply because I didn’t have anything exciting to report 10 days ago. I’d gotten things accomplished but not the kind of things that people want to read about on a blog. So you’re welcome for me not sharing boring shit with you! : )

My last update showed you my enormous to-do list for the wedding. I am pleased to share with you that it is definitely getting smaller! I am sure I’m forgetting lots of things (help me out if you know of something that’s not on my list!) but I still feel good moving things from the columns on the right further over to the left!

timelineMy wedding dress should be arriving from the designer either today or Tuesday (they’re closed on Mondays). At first I wasn’t that excited about seeing my dress again and trying it on, not because I don’t like my dress but just because trying it on doesn’t make the actual wedding day get here any faster. I’m super anxious for the big day to get here but going in for my first fitting doesn’t really sound that exciting to me. Well, that was true until I watched 6 episodes of Say Yes to the Dress last night. Now I’m really excited, though I’m also now terrified that I’m going to have one of those, “I don’t love the dress as much as I thought I did” moments.

Some of my bridesmaids are coming over again this weekend so we can get some DIT (do it together) stuff done for the wedding! Right now we’ve got it planned that they’ll come over every other weekend between now and the wedding to help get stuff done. I hope that’s enough time! Luckily my bridesmaids are all awesome women and they all genuinely like each other so we always have a blast when we get together. Each time we get together I get a text from at least one of them the following day exclaiming how much fun they had the day before and that they can’t wait for the next time we all get together. What more could a bride ask for? : )

I already told you that Ross and I are having two officiates for our wedding – two of my good friends from college, John and Elaine.

elaineHere’s a photo from Elaine’s rehearsal dinner where John, Hannah, and I are apparently pretending to worship her… Too bad I don’t remember the back story from this photo. Anyway, John, Elaine, and I have been working hard at creating the actual ceremony and I am so freaking excited about it. I’m not going to share it with you before the wedding but I probably will afterwards, in case anyone else needs inspiration for their ceremony!

Here is a draft of what the programs are going to look like. This is almost exactly what they’re going to look like, but the real ones are going to be more awesome!

programAs people arrive for the ceremony my lovely friends Emily and Becca are going to be passing out the programs, customized water bottles for the guests (that’s all Ross’s mom’s doing), and little cards to let people know they can take pictures during the ceremony and reception and that we’d love for them to share the pictures with us! We’ll also have some in the reception hall in a basket so people can grab one as they leave for the night. I do not expect them to hold on to that tiny card from the moment they arrive.

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I’ve been worrying a lot lately about what the tables at the reception are going to look like. I’ve already got the center pieces picked out and we’re in the process of making them all, but since we’re not doing a plated dinner that’s the only thing that’s going to be on the tables. I don’t really like that (a little too plain) but I don’t want to spend a ton of money on ridiculous decorations either because that just seems like a waste. I brainstormed for a while the other day and finally came up with a solution! I am going to print mini menus to set on the table at each place setting! They’re going to be printed on white paper and glued to purple card stock. I think this will provide the perfect amount of color/something extra to the tables and they’ll also serve a purpose!

menu cardsWe don’t have our menu completely finalized yet but this is pretty close to what we’ll be having. Does anyone have any good suggestions for boxed red wine? We’ve already got the white picked out but we’re still deciding on red. We also don’t know for sure what kind of beer we’re having, and the appetizers might change some too.

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In addition to the flower poms that my bridesmaids and I have been working on we’ve also started making the boutonnieres! These are still a work in progress and we don’t have the design exactly finalized yet, but they’re going to look something like this.

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My bridesmaids and I are going out shopping for dresses again on Tuesday and hopefully we get lucky! Target just released their line of bridesmaid dresses in plum (for a while their colors were really limited) so that’s also an option that we’re looking at.

Alright, that’s all I can think of for now. I’ll be back again soon with more updates. I am getting so freaking excited for this wedding and to finally be married to Ross!!! : )