Dear Diet Coke

Dear Diet Coke,

Please forgive me for breaking up with you via my blog, but I think we both know it's time to make the ending of our relationship official.

Like any relationship, we've had our ups and our downs. Like remember back in 2008 when we broke up for 10 days while I did the Master Cleanse?  Or in 2009 when I did the HCG diet and went without you for a month and a half?  We both know I wasn't ready to walk away then.  You've always welcomed me back into your sweet syrupy goodness with open arms.  I know, we have been going strong for some time now.  I mean, as I have gotten older, you have become my morning coffee, my lunchtime libation and my dinner companion.  Sometimes, I even sneaked a quicky between meals.  Oh the hold you had over me.

Well Diet Coke, this time I think I am finally ready to walk away.  

I've always known you were no good.  I knew that behind that sweet, bubbly exterior you were breaking me down (Tooth enamel), making me feel weak (bone density loss), not supporting my goals (and actually helping me to get fatter), putting my life at risk (for diseases and chronic illness) and beating me up every time I tried to leave you (with severely painful headaches).

25 days ago we said goodbye, and I have to tell you, I am not having a single regret.  Sure I wanted to go running back during that first week.  It would have been so much easier to just be with you than to suffer through the pain of letting you go, but I persevered.  Sure, when I saw you with my friends it was a challenge to not give in, but I didn't let you see me struggle.  And Diet coke, I am never looking back.

Without you holding me back, I already have more energy- probably because I replaced your artificial sugar and caffeine with a fruit smoothie in the morning.  My skin is happier without you too.  I've been drinking so much water to replace you that I no longer feel constantly dehydrated.  Oh and those sharp stomach pains I used to get about 30 minutes after we hung out- yeah, those are gone too! Yes, life is better without you. I'm sorry.  I can't.  Don't hate me.

I'm sorry to be so harsh Diet Coke, but you must have seen this coming.  Good luck with all your future endeavors.


Sweating Sexy Back: Challenging Myself

Three weeks into my lifestyle makeover and I have to say this week was the hardest.  

For one it was my birthday.  I did the one thing I have tried so hard not to do and that is treat myself with food.  I ate a slice of cake, a giant cupcake and salted pretzel.  Then on Friday, my roommates and I hosted a wine and cheese party.  Again, I indulged.  Saturday included a day long hangover.  I only went to the gym 3 out of 7 days.  The good news is I still lost a pound.

The old Ashley would consider herself a failure and probably give up.  She would give herself a pat on the back for trying and then go to Olive Garden for an endless pasta lunch.  But instead, today I got up and made a plan.  I set my workouts for the week and my meals.  And I reflected on my successes. 

1. I haven't had an ounce of Soda since August 2nd.  That's 23 days! I have more energy and less headaches than I've had in a long time.  I just put my mind to it and I did it.  I don't even crave soda anymore.  

2. Two pairs of my favorite work pants fit again.  I know I have been successfully losing inches as a faster rate than I have been loosing pounds.  

3.  All week I consistently drank at least 80-100 ounces of water a day.  Something I have never done in my life.

I know these things seem small, but I see them as proof that I am changing my lifestyle.  To keep me focused I have been using the My Fitness Pal app to track my calorie intake and output.  It's a great way to keep yourself accountable.  I've also been educating myself.  I've been watching documentaries and reading articles about health.  You'll see me start to implement some of my learnings over the next month or so.  

But, the biggest factor to my continued success is that I am telling people about it.  Knowing that I have support while also being able to support others with healthy living goals has really pushed me to work harder. 

I'm not striving for perfection. 
I'm striving to better than I was yesterday. 
I'm striving to learn patience. 
I'm striving to put my health ahead of my addiction to food and laziness.  

It's a new week, and this week, I'm going to be awesome!

What do you do to keep yourself going during those particularly hard weeks?


28 Things I've Learned in 28 years

Today, I turned 28.

Last year, I made a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish before another year passed- it went okay.  The problem is that it's hard to know what life is going to throw at you, so instead of following my list, I went off the cuff and just did things I wanted to do, in the moment.  This year, I decided to try something different.  

So instead, today I thought I might share 28 things I have learned over the last 28 years- after writing them all down, I feel pretty wise- wise like a 28 year old!


Perception really is everything.  You are the only person that can decide how you are going to take the good and the bad. Some times the only way to recover is to adjust your view.

Stepping outside your comfort zone is the fastest way to learn and grow.  Challenge yourself to embrace the uncomfortable.

Failure isn't a bad thing.  If you've never failed at anything, chances are you've never tried something new.  Failure typically paves the path for some of the greatest successes.

Change is constant, but necessary.  Can you even imagine how boring life would be if everything always stayed the same.

Every day is a new day and each new day is a chance to be whoever you want to be. Be awesome.

No matter what, no matter how bad you are hurting, life moves on.

Stop comparing yourself to others.  Comparison is the thief of joy.  Worry instead about being better than the person you were yesterday.

Don't judge anyone else for their choices.  Their path has been different than yours and just as significant.

Make time for yourself.  It's okay to say no to happy hour with friends to drink a glass of wine alone in your bath tub.

Home knows no zip code.  Home is a feeling that rests deep down in your soul.

Places can make life beautiful, but people make life fun.

Be where you are.  Don't spend your days wishing to be somewhere else physically or metaphorically, because chances are you're missing out on some pretty great things happening right now.

You can't please everyone all the time.  You'll kill yourself trying.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone and someday isn't a day of the week.  Do the things you want now and never forget to say I love you.

Don't pursue happiness, revel in it.

Invest in nice undergarments.  I always feel my best in a great bra and cute undies.

Perfection doesn't exist.  Instead, hold yourself to a standard of grace.

Document your life.  In pictures, in words, in bar napkin notes- whatever.  Give yourself something to look back on and smile about.

Never forget how blessed you are.  There will always be someone far more worse off than you.  Be grateful for the life you were given.

It's never a good idea to max out your credit card... never.

Nothing good happens after 2 AM... and if it does, you probably won't remember it the next day.

It's never too late to start over or change direction.  Seek out and follow your passion.

Let your past make you better, not bitter.  Once you finish a not particularly great chapter in your life, don't keep re-reading it for everyone.

Be authentic in everything you say and do, it's the easiest way to live without regrets.

Don't give up on your dreams.  Work hard and have patience.  Sometimes life needs time to get it's shit together.

Forgive people, but more importantly learn how to forgive yourself.

You don't have to "have it all" to be happy.  It's okay to be happy with just having part of it.

Treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect- always.

There you have it 28 years of wisdom.  As a special birthday gift for me, please share some of you wisdom with me!

Now I have a birthday to celebrate!


27 in 27: A Recap

Tomorrow I turn 28.  I thought I would recap my 27 in 27.  Sadly I didn't mark as much off the list as I would have liked.  Still it was a solid year.  

1. Move to a new state-  Boom- accomplished

2.  Lose 50 pounds. Hmmm, well I lost 10 pounds, gained it back and I've almost lost it again.  I seem to be on a roll right now, so I'd like to ask for an extension...

3.  Run a 1/2 marathon.  I keep putting this one off... 

4.  Learn how to paddle board. Fail- but I'm pretty awesome in a canoe.

5.  Again since I will be near the beach, I think it is time I actually learn how to ride a bike.   No attempt made.  FAIL

6.  I really want to do an urban race or one of those obstacle course races.  Meh.

7. Make something old new again. Meh

8.  Go to LA to the new Sprinkles Ice Cream shop. Ice cream didn't seem worth it when you consider the traffic.

9.  Go to Vegas for Meagan's bachelorette party.  Boom- killed it!

10.  Get comfortable in my new job.  Done and done.  Love my job!

11.  Go see the Bethenny Show live. This one isn't my fault.  She hasn't taped and now she's going to be taping in New York.

12. Spend a day at Disneyland with a kid. Well that place is expensive and I'm broke.  

13. Reach 500 followers on my blog.  Holy Guacamole, I made it in under 6 months. I love my blog family so much.  It is truly humbling that any of you give a damn about what I write!

14.  Give up soda.  Seriously this time.  Good thing I have a year to do it.  I did it!!!  I've been clean for over 2 weeks!!

15. Join a team. Happening in September- again, can I get an extension?

16. Pay off  a good majority of debt.  Slow and steady.

17.  Visit a state I haven't been to.  Virginia- done!

18. Take a vacation with the boyfriend.  Well, I don't have one of those anymore...

19.  Buy a DSLR camera.  Nope.

20.  Go on a cruise with all my girlfriends.  Sad that this one didn't happen.

21.  Make a definitive decision about Grad school. I thought I decided, but now I'm thinking about it again.

22.  Start working on a book.  I have some awesome ideas, it's really more about setting aside the time to get it going.  I've been writing a lot, but I don't think a book is the right medium.

23.  Find a permanent place to live, preferably near the beach. Lived 2 miles away for 8 months, now I live 6 miles away.

24.  Embrace being comfortable with who I am. I posted my chubby pictures on the internet- I'd say I accomplished that one! 

25.  This might sound weird, but increase my water intake. I gave up soda, I drink water now.  

26.  Get organized.   Lets just call this "in progress".

27.  Really appreciate and enjoy this next year. Boom- killed it.


Sweating Sexy Back: My Story

First, let me start off by saying the support, encouragement and health tips I have gotten from everyone has been incredible- truly.  Close friends, acquaintances and even strangers have been in my corner from the moment I hit clicked publish on the most terrifying post of my life.

All of your sweet comments made me...emotional.

Like any major change, these first two weeks haven't been easy, but it seems like every time my motivation or commitment was tested, I would get a text message from a friend I haven't talked to in a while saying she believed in me, or a comment from a blog friend saying she was struggling with the same things, or a Facebook comment from a friend with a tip on how she stays motivated.  You all have not only helped me from stress eating and skipping workouts, but also reminded me how truly blessed I am.

Thank you.

I'll be updating my stats on September 1st, but to see my starting stats, click here and to read Julie's story, click here.

So, how did I become, what is scientifically described as obese? (sidenote:  isn't obese such a nasty word.  Every time I say it I shudder a little.)  It's no secret, I ate crap and I wasn't active, but I wasn't always that way.

Back in high school before I had "good child bearing" hips and my hip bones jutted out so far I would complain that they got bruised by the desks, I was a dancer.  At 5 foot 9 and 125 pounds I could eat anything I wanted (which I did) and my rigorous dance schedule (of about 15-30 hours a week depending on conventions, competitions and extra practices) kept my naturally athletic body in tip-top shape.
My comp cards from back in the day

Then I decided I wanted to be an actress/model.  So I found myself an agent and they said, "Ashley, we really need you to get down to about 110."  Holy hell, was that even possible?  For about two months, I skipped the chicken mcnuggets and opted for boiled chicken, salad and a lot of ice chips or nothing at all.  I started working with a trainer who came to the house on top of all the dance I was still doing.  I felt like crap, but got down to about 115- also, I looked like a bobble head and some of my muscle definition was missing.  The agent wasn't pleased that I hadn't reached my goal.  I was miserable.

It was around that time that I was walking down the hallway to the bathroom at school and I just passed out- right in the middle of the hallway.  I remember my vision getting blurry, then black and white, then just black.  Somehow, I ended up in the nurses office. I told the nurse I had forgotten to eat breakfast and she gave me some crackers and sent me on my way.

It happened again a few weeks later when I was working as a "fragrance model", more commonly known as a spritzer girl, at the mall.  I was half way through my four hour shift when my vision blurred again.  I practically sprinted to the bathroom so I wouldn't pass out in the middle of Macy's.  I was able to get into a bathroom stall and prop myself against the wall when the blackout came.  When I came to, I went home saying I wasn't feeling well.  If I had been a starlet, I'm sure the tabloids would have said I was suffering from exhaustion.

I knew I had to eat more, but I also knew I was expected to lose 5 more pounds.  So I did what a lot 16 year old girls do when they think they aren't skinny enough, I purged.  I wasn't committed to the idea.  It was gross, it made my throat hurt and it made my face sweat.  Plus I hated lying to people and sneaking off to do it.  I did it probably once every couple of days after any particularly fatty meals. Now I was not only miserable, but I felt guilty and I started to hate myself.

Then I weighed in again.
I was back up to 120.  How could this be happening?  Outside of sawing off one of my arms, there was no way I was ever going to be thin enough.  So, I quit.  I distinctly remember the moment I decided I had had enough.  It was simple really.  I was eating pizza with friends.  During that time, I would have stopped after two slices and politely excused myself to quietly vomit as much of the two slices as I could into the most discrete toilet. This time though, I kept eating.  I decided right then and there, that I was in control, that I was tired of trying to live up to an impossible expectation and that I would forgo being a model and opt for an athletic action movie star instead.

I never became a movie star.  Instead, I got an attitude.  I rightfully told myself, that my body was beautiful no matter what the scale said and that I could eat whatever I wanted.  However, I took it to the next level by eating everything. I got a chip on my shoulder about it-like being skinny was the anti-christ.  I regularly choose the most fattening thing on a menu.  Which was fine until a knee injury took me off the dance floor and those eating habits didn't change.

By the time I graduated high school, I had gained 20 pounds, which didn't concern me.  I was still in the normal weight range for my height.  Throughout college my weight yo-yo'd a bit.  My hips began to fill out along with my chest.  Alcohol, late night binge eating and ramen noodles became a regular part of my life and naturally my weight went up.  It was manageable because I took some workout classes at the rec center, occasionally worked out in the dorm gym and walked all over campus.  Over the course of college I slowly packed on another 40 pounds.

This is a pretty good illustration of how I gained weight...  When I see it like this, it makes me a little sad, but then it makes me want to go to the gym.

Post college I tried a lot of diets.  Low carb, low fat, smart ones only, the getting ready for your wedding diet, the getting divorced diet, the HCG diet, but one thing remained the same... I didn't like to follow the rules.  I would stick to it for a couple months and then I would gain everything back plus 10 more pounds. I wasn't ready to give up "the good things".  Even when I was on diets, I would pick up fast food and eat it in my car, because if no one saw me do it, it didn't count.  I felt comfortable with my size until I saw myself in pictures, so I stayed away from cameras.  Ironic, since this story started out with me trying to get in front of them.

But here I am, two weeks into a complete lifestyle shift. Note I said lifestyle shift, not diet.  I don't plan on going back.

I'm keeping track of everything I eat and the calories I burn- that's key!  By arming myself with the knowledge of what I am putting into my body and how much I should be putting in, it keeps me from eating things I shouldn't.  I make better food choices.  And I still have control.  I allow myself one cheat meal each week. This week I chose gourmet street tacos and a mini gelato flight- and I enjoyed them.

So yummy!

I gave up soda. Which was hard.  Especially when the caffeine headaches started.  They lasted for a solid week, but the headaches are gone now. It's really hard for me to resist the stuff, but so far I am 16 days strong!

I hit the gym 5 days a week.  Which I have actually enjoyed a lot.  Some days I still dread it, but more often I enjoy my time in the there!  Some part of my body is constantly sore, but that actually makes me kind of excited.

I drink more water than I did, but I could still squeeze in some more ounces.

And most importantly I don't make excuses.   I just do it.

So that's the short story of how I gained weight.  Thanks, as always, for reading and more importantly for being a part of the story of how I lost weight, changed perspective, improved my lifestyle and lived happily ever Ashley!


Who's Lost?

I once heard someone describe your twenties as "the lost years".  Now, I'm no expert considering I am only 27, but I'm going to have to wholeheartedly disagree.

I don't think your twenties are about being lost at all.  I think they are about finding out who you are and figuring out how to forge a path to get to where you want to be.  The word lost implies that there is laid out path to follow or a correct way to go.  The word lost implies that you have no direction.

In my experience, I have had tons of directions, but in many cases, I lacked the courage to take the first step.  Courage to take a leap over that obstacle.  Courage to keep going even when all you want to do is turn around.  Your destination may change, and chances are you'll go around in circles from time to time.  Don't let the journey discourage you.  Don't stop looking forward.  If you happen to be in one of those valleys, have faith that the view from the top will be worth the struggles of the climb.

Find your path, or forge a new one.  Your life is yours to live!


Unexpected Inspiration

I had just finished my run on the elliptical. I was sweating buckets, but proud of every drop because I had just run a personal best.  3 miles in 33 minutes on the random hills setting.  I know it doesn't sound like much to anyone who is a runner.  I, however, am not a runner.  The first mile I completed in 9 minutes and 25 seconds, another personal best.  The second two miles took a bit longer averaging at 11 minutes and 45 seconds.  Still, I was proud.  Happy even.

The gym at my apartment complex was quiet.  I was the only one, so it was easier to push myself to the point of panting. (It wasn't pretty.) There was no one to hear me struggle and I liked it that way.  Next, it was on to my circuit for the day.  There is no real method to my circuit except that I just go through all the weight machines in my little apartment gym, 3 times. The first two rounds, I do 12 reps at a weight that challenges me, and quickly move on to the next machine.  On the third go-round I lower the weights and go until exhaustion.  There's no real science to it, I just use what I've got.

So I was just finishing up my second machine when I heard the door open.  Immediately I'm concerned.  What if this person not only interrupts my solitude, but what if they need one of my machines.  Instantly I'm a little annoyed.  Then I see her round the corner.  A blonde about my age, with a very fit body.  But then my eye catches something unexpected- a prosthetic leg.

I've never been one to stare, but as I move to the next machine in my sequence, I see that the pretty blonde has not one but two prosthetic legs. And in another glance, I notice her right arm only goes to her elbow.  She climbs on the treadmill and begins to walk at an impressive incline. Instantly, I am not only impressed, but also inspired and motivated.

I keep going through my circuit.  With each rep I push harder, simultaneously counting my blessings and admiring her strength.  I don't know this girls story.  I don't know how she became a triple amputee or perhaps she was born this way.  I do know however, that she is strong, she believes in herself, she takes care of herself and she doesn't let anything hold her back.  Those qualities make her my hero.  Those qualities inspire me to exude those things myself.

As I leave the gym, I catch her eye and she smiles.  I smile back.

I learned two things in the gym today; use what you've got and never give up on yourself.  What keeps you going?


Ashley in Wonderland

Have you ever woken up one morning and said, "Oh, there I am!"?  That happened to me a couple weeks ago.  You see I moved to California, completely on my own, with a mission.  I was trying to find myself.  I fell down the rabbits hole for a few years.  I wasn't sure who I was, when I was simply struggling to be anybody.

But being on my own has done everything that I wanted it to.  It forced me to get to know myself.  It forced me to think, to write and to figure out what I want.  It's taught me to trust myself again- to trust my gut.  It's allowed me to see all of the incredible blessings that make up my life! Blessings that had been clouded by self doubt.  Independence, solitude and adventure are priceless when it comes to self discovery.  It's as if my spirit was kidnapped by self doubt, but time finally helped set my spirit free.

 I know it's going to sound superficial, but I think this inner change has something to do with the girl I see in the mirror.  After over three years, I see myself again.  You can take that literally and metaphorically.  I dyed my hair back to it's natural color.  A color that I changed when I didn't want to have the life I was living anymore.  I realized a few weeks back that I missed it, something inside me longed to see myself in the mirror again.  Dying my hair was more than  just a refresher to my look,  it refreshed my soul.  It also made me realized, I'm done coping.  I'm done pretending.  Pretending to be okay with everything that has happened.  Now I really am okay.  I still question myself. The difference is that now I seem to be okay with admitting that I don't have all the answers.  I'm not sure if that comes with resolve or with maturity.  Either way, I'm excited to be looking and feeling like the girl grew up with in the mirror.


Sweating Sexy Back, from another view!

Thank you Ashley for giving me an opportunity to share any insight on our journey, and what I can contribute will hopefully help not only us, but many of your readers out there.
Have you ever almost won a contest?  Almost had that first kiss from the high school prom king? Almost made the team?  Almost won the position in your sorority that you thought was yours? Almost been offered that amazing dream job or promotion? Almost thought you found lifelong friends? Almost thought you found the person of your dreams? Well, If you answered yes to any of these example questions, you certainly are not the first, and you won’t be the last. I too, have had many almost’s in life. The reason I point these out, is because the challenges I choose to discuss below are something that I am not going to “almost” accomplish. It’s something that I have my head and heart set on and WILL accomplish.  Great accomplishments and let downs have been something that most people including myself have faced for much of their life not this time.
My name is Julie, and I have known Ashley for many years, as we were both in the same major in Communications at Northern Arizona University, and both involved in Greek Life as Ashley is in Tri Delta and I am Alpha Omicron Pi. After college, I moved to Washington DC, where I resided for almost 6 years. In that time, I kept in contact with a lot of people when I was there, and would see them often when I came to visit Arizona. After moving back, it gave me a chance reconnect with many people and create even greater relationships.
A few photos with Ashley!
The two things that I am going to write about today, as an introductory to myself, are very important to me, and anytime I think of giving up, I think about those who cant fight for themselves and it keeps me going.

Two years ago I turned 27 in May. As I sat and thought about how I wanted to celebrate, I wanted to do something different. I have always been active in sports and fitness; however, I wanted to challenge myself as I emerged into my “Late twenties.” Running started to become very popular, especially living in the DC Metro area, and after knowing a few heavy girls twice my size, who had finished not only a half marathon, but a full marathon, I thought this would be a perfect challenge for me.  With the right training there was no reason I couldn’t do it. On May 15, 2011 (My actually birthday) I took a challenge with a couple friends of mine to run my first half marathon in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but felt a rush of emotions after I completed it, because I knew that this was something people only talk about doing, and was one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment I’ve ever felt.
Rebecca and I post finishing the race
I then got the itch to run more races. It was not till the late fall, that I decided I was going to challenge myself with more races. A past boss of mine, decided they were going to run a 5K each weekend for an entire year, and raise money for the American Cancer Society. This got me thinking about what I could do to make a difference. My ideas concluded me with this:

My dad and I many many moons ago!
It will be 8 years ago this September, which I lost my dad to Lung Cancer. It has truly been the hardest thing my mom, brother and I have ever gone through, and still deal with it today, as any person does when losing someone close to them. I decided to coordinate a fundraiser with running, but tailor it to fit me. Anyone who knows me knows I do not have time to run a 5K every weekend and travel for all of them. I have way to busy of a schedule and working in sports would not allow me to do so. So I came up with the idea, to run a race each month, and finish at the end of the year with a full… yes full marathon. (That was quite scary to put on paper!) I also had a large number of weddings  and still do, so this was a perfect excuse to run in the cities of the weddings, or travel around to states I wanted to run in.
So I was off to the planning. This was really going to happen. I built a donations website and after a long process, I decided I wanted to incorporate my Dad’s name which was Phil, and show my future accomplishments as well. Hence, I came up with fulPHIL 2012. I was determined to fulfill these races and goals. I chose to have the money go to the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, as it is ran by Mark Neidig, who him and his wife Debbie I consider my 2nd parents. I had researched a lot on the Kanzius Foundation, and feel as though that money is going to do great things there and really find a cure for cancer.
With Mark and Debbie, Florida January 2012

My “rules” were I could run any race I wanted in whatever city, half marathon, 5K, 10K etc. and I would document it along the way finishing with a full. Below are a few photos from my adventures.   I decided my goal would be $7947. July 9, 1947 was my dad’s birthday. So after a full year of runs, support from friends, family and complete strangers, people running with me, and finishing a full marathon, my challenge was not over. I wanted to keep going, keep training. I was not at my complete dollar goal yet either, as some people donated directly to the website and not my donations page. So I have chosen to continue this through 2013 (maybe even next year too!) I have done more local races in Phoenix, but still venture out every so often to a different city. This has been an amazing experience so far, celebrating not only my Dad, but others who have lost their battles with cancer or another horrible disease, or those who have fought and won their battles. Each month I dedicate a race to someone different. It doesn’t have to be someone I know, so if you have someone I would love to hear about it and dedicate a race. This has been something I am excited to experience with Ashley soon, as she will take the challenge hopefully soon to run a half with me! Not letting the word almost get in the way. If I can do it, ANYONE can!!

To learn more about my fundraiser or to donate 
 please visit:

Throughout all the running and support I have gained, and finishing what will be my 9th Half Marathon in Erie, PA this coming weekend, I can’t express how much it means to me to have all the support I do. Especially one person that has been there to talk me out of quitting, ran some amazingly fun and challenging races with me, and has stood by me as my Running Partner. Her name is Kristin Braley, and I can’t even put into words what her friendship and encouragement means to me. The one thing I am guilty of is making excuses at the races. While I do have a lot of ankle issues, I always think I am going to do worse than I do. Yes, Kristin is faster than me about 15-20 minutes, however, she is always there to cheer me on at the finish line. My next goal is to beat her or stay at her pace for a race! However, its about finishing not being #1. I have learned so much from her, and we have had such a bond, but especially with running, and I look so forward to future races. Its something we can continue a healthy life style together, and encourage one another to go those extra steps. For that I am truly grateful that I have her as such an inspirational friend, and my RP.

Kristin and Julie at some great races!

The other challenge I have taken on for a healthy life style, is becoming a member last year, of Body By Vi shakes. I am the worst when it comes to diet pill, diet meals etc. They just do not work, taste horrible and you end up starving. I heard about this from a childhood friend, and began the challenge with one of my best friends who was getting married. I started off and was not doing it right. You have to eat and snack is what I learned!! But once I started again in the late spring, I have been on the path to lose weight and gain muscle with the Vi Shakes. My friend Carly has done asbsolutely amazing,losing over 60 pounds, and the support from fellow Vi team members, some I don’t even know has been absolutely phenomenal. I feel better, have more energy, want to challenge myself even more in the gym, and have started to notice a difference. It is truly the one thing I can stand tall and say that works and will not make you starve. They also taste amazing too, and with over 300 recipes why wouldn’t it. As a promoter now for the company, its something that you can make money, and lose weight? Seems fixed right? Nope!! Not at all. In fact with enough challengers on board, you can even drive a new BMW. Its taking over the world, and I am so excited to be a part of it!!
If you are thinking about losing weight or even living a little healthier, I challenge you to watch the video on my site, and take the challenge with me. Its one of the best feelings in the world to have found something that works, and I love that my friends and I can share shake or baking ideas with each other, and motivate one another no matter what state were in!  What is the wrost that can happen if you try? You too are bringing sexy back, losing weight and become successful? Or you hate it and get a full refund! You cant lose!!
 So there you have it, a few challenges I have set for myself, along with the one with Ashley that I am so excited to continue to work towards. It’s been so fun thus far, and I have thrown in Circuit and boxing training as well, which has helped tremendously! I will be updating once a month or so with Ashley, to show where I am, results coming and hopefully a new Lu Lu Lemon outfit!! Never give up, and challenge yourself. It’s the only way to succeed!
Make an Almost a Definite!


Why Being Single Doesn't Suck

Last night I pulled back the covers on my pretty Anthropologie bedding, situated all six pillows just the way I like them and found that sweet spot right in the center of the bed.  I proceeded to stretch my legs to opposite sides of the mattress and began to drift off to sleep to the lightly playing mix on my Ipod when something occurred to me.  I couldn't do this if I weren't single.

If I were married, or in the serious relationship that my heart longs for, I would probably have to share my bed.  I would probably have to give up at least 2 pillows, if not more. I might have to find gender neutral bedding.  And there is always the chance that my mate would need to sleep in silence.  Gasp!

This got me thinking.  There are a lot of reasons that being single doesn't suck. So I decided to make a list of all the reasons being single doesn't suck.  I figured there are probably some other lovely single ladies out there that could use the reminder too!


1. You get the whole bed to yourself!  Want a girly comforter?  Have it!  Want to sprawl out like Rose on top of that floating wood in the middle of the Atlantic, leaving "no room left" for anyone else?  Go for it!

2. Your razors will last longer. You don't have to worry about brushing your prickly stems up against your love.  In fact, in the winter, you might as well give your razor a little vacation!  Which means you can sleep in 5 more minutes since you won't need any extra time in the shower. Win!

3. No inflated expectations on Valentine's Day or any special day for that matter. A bottle of wine and a chick flick movie marathon always lives up to my expectations.

4.  You can eat whenever and whatever you want.  Want to eat lucky charms in bed for fourth meal at 10 PM?  Go for it!  Want to eat Ramen noodles for breakfast?  Enjoy to your chicken flavor loving hearts desire!  There is no one else to feed or to judge you!

Painting and photo by moi

5.  You have more time for yourself.  That doesn't mean you should fill that time with sitting on the couch eating ice cream feeling sorry for your single self.  Do the things you love.  Read a good book, join a sports team, a workout class or a cooking class. Paint a picture!  At some point your life will revolve around the family you've built, but right now it revolves around you.  Enjoy that!

See more of my Pinterest wedding HERE

6.  Your Pinterest wedding is still possible.  Trust me when I tell you that it's a little depressing when you realize your wedding day is over. It's a day you have probably thought about your whole life.  Pinterest only perpetuated the problem.  But right now, while your single, all those options for name cards, color combinations, flower arrangements and tablescapes are still possible.

7. Watching football on Sunday is an option, not an expectation.  Don't get me wrong, I like a good game as much as the next girl, but do I like being glued to a couch or a bar stool all day, EVERY Sunday?  No.  I have always felt that Sundays are for adventures.  There are few adventures that happen in your living room or the closest sports bar.

8.  No boys in the bathroom.  Again, I happen to really like my black and white vintage Hollywood inspired bathroom.  I like that the toilet seat is always down and there is never the lingering aroma of last nights Mexican dinner.  I like that I don't find tiny little beard hairs covering my sink. I like that there are no unexplained stains on my crisp white towels.  And my decorative towels are never used to dry someone hands!

9. Control of the remote.  Want to watch The Wedding Date for the 1,000th time?  Who can resist Dermot and Debra anyway.  Want to keep up with the Kardashians?  Go for it!  Are Bravo, E! and Lifetime your go-to channels for lazy afternoons?   Immediately tune into Sex and the City even though you have seen every single episode enough to quote?  Go ahead and get "Carried"  away! I try to keep my reality TV addiction at bay when I'm in a relationship, but single- I can give you a recap on all the Housewives drama.

10.  Your lobster is still out there.  My person is still out there and darn-it, that's exciting! I get to hope for, pray for and dream about Mr. Right.  My stomach gets to jump a little every time someone has potential.  I get to be in the giddy, "just started dating" phase again. Single isn't a life sentence.  I can't stand it when people say "all the good ones are taken", because if all the good ones are taken, what does that say about me?

So sure, we all want to find the one, but maybe we should stop and consider that we are already spending our lives with someone pretty awesome- Ourselves!  Enjoy it.


You Know You Were In A Sorority When...

Carolina Fireflies

When I saw that Kelly was doing a link up about being Greek, I knew this was something I had to get in on. 

It's been almost 10 years since I became a Tri Delta.  On August 20th 2003 (my 18th birthday) I walked into info night of sorority recruitment.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I got will last me a lifetime. Accepting my bid to Tri Delta is still one of the most significant days of my life.

There are so many memories.  Four years of bonds that go deep.  To this day, I would drop anything to be there for one of my sisters.  My Deltas made college amazing and have made the years post college even better.  

We are always there to pick each other up.  Literally and figuratively.  

No matter how many years pass, our little sis' will make us proud.

Did someone say theme?  Just like a boy scout, a sorority girl is always prepared.
Farm Days

    Famous couples date party

Mis-match date dash

80's date party

Despite what stereotypes may have told you, most Greeks are extremely attached to their national philanthropy.  Some of the most meaningful moments of my life happened because of Tri Delta's partnership with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

You have an entire wardrobe of letters that you wore with pride.  

You get to dress up for formals at least twice a year.  Who doesn't like getting dressed up.  I loved formals mostly because of the getting ready process.  Everyone swarming about to help each other with hair and makeup.

You'll find your sorority symbols everywhere. Deltas, dolphins, pine trees, pearls, pansy's...

You've mastered the photo squat.  Delta's assemble!

Even with Delta's in training in tow.  You've got to train them young!

You've probably all danced in unison at some point.  

Derby Days Stomp
You're known to travel in packs...

And often wear matching shirts.

You might even have some strange traditions like mattress slip and slide after initiation.  

And you'll craft.  Paddles, letters, big/lil gifts and then after college you'll need your craft fix, so you'll throw crafting parties.  

Your bond will last through college.  You'll attend each others weddings, baby showers and major life events and you'll regularly throw up your gangs sign.

I can't explain to you what it means to be in a sorority.  It's something that you have to experience for yourself.  And when you do, you'll understand what it's all about.  Here's a letter I wrote last year to the girls that were about to graduate, that sums up our special bond.

To my Delta's:  Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.  Within the bonds.  Delta Love and all of mine!