Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sweet Summertime Part 2: Purple Cows and Fireworks!

So there are lots of fun things to do in the Summer, right? Maybe when we were younger! For those of us who are not teachers, summers are just warmer days in which we still have to work! Here are a few other ways to have fun this summer - without breaking the bank! Celebrations Galore!!!!

Go out for a Dessert Date to celebrate National Donut Day 06-02. Obviously Rolling Pin has the best donuts in this area, but my favorite is the Apple Fritter! Oh mylanta! That counts as one serving of fruit, right?!? If you aren't into doughnuts, I also HIGHLY recommend the Ek Mek at the Famous Bistro in downtown Owensboro.

Throw together a Crawfish Boil for the First Day of Summer. There are several different variations, I have never cooked with crawfish before, but I have used shrimp! This is a wonderful way to celebrate with friends. My mom and I attempted to do a "Shrimp Boil" last summer, and it was good - however we overcooked our shrimp and undercooked our potatoes. Wah Wah - Practice makes perfect though!!

Head to the Movies with your Best Friend for Best Friend Day 06-08. The coolest movie theatre experience that I have had lately has been at the Royal Suites in Evansville. You can order food and drinks directly to your seat! Oh and your seat, yeah, you get your very own recliner!

Celebrate National Iced Tea Day while drinking tea and playing Bingo 06-09. My favorite tea is McDonald's Half Sweet/Half Unsweet, but Sonic's Diet Green Tea is a close second!! Don't overestimate your Bingo ability either, I made the mistake of buying six books when I played for my first time - and I found out quickly that I could only handle two!

Father's Day is in June. So whether you are a dad yourself or you are celebrating the father figure men in your own life. Be sure to take Father's Day to do something fun for Dad!!

Pina Colada Day 07-10 No explanation necessary.

Poker Night/Macaroni Competition to celebrate Macaroni Day 07-07. Ray doesn't play poker, so we have different games we play in place of poker. But the men in my family LOVE it. Have everyone bring their favorite macaroni (Panera IMO) and spend the night eating cheesy pasta and playing card games for quarters!!

Celebrate Ice Cream Day 07-16 with Clue or Mystery Dinner Party and Sundae Bar. I have always wanted to throw one of those Mystery Dinner Parties, but have not had the chance to do so. If timing or money is an issue - the good old fashioned game of Clue will work too! National Ice Cream Day sounds like a dream come true, doesn't it ?!? Put out all the fixings and let the Murder Mystery begin!

Celebrate Root Beer Float Day 08-06. When I was younger, I sometimes visited my Aunt Linda in Nashville, where she taught me how to make a Purple Cow. I am not sure that this is what was intended with the start of Root Beer Float Day, but it is close enough. Add ice cream to Grape Soda if you don't like Root Beer - and voila! The Purple Cow.

Fourth Of July! Makes me want a hot dog, real bad. One of my all time favorite stories about Ray was our first fourth of July together. We were on the beach at Panama City, relaxing at dusk waiting for the fireworks show over the ocean (Bucket List Adventure by the way), when the rednecks at the beach chairs next to us began lighting bottle rockets and other various fireworks. I voiced my concern to Ray, because anyone that knows me knows I love fireworks - but they make me extremely nervous. Ray dismissed my concern with a flippant "Those fireworks won't hit you! And even if they did, it will be okay, we used to shoot bottle rockets at each other when I was younger, etc." Surprisingly I was able to perk up a bit and think, he's right - I am 30 years old, I shouldn't be scared of fireworks. And then it happened, I heard "Shit!" from the rednecks next to us and the fireworks shot straight for us. Ray rolled out of his beach chair, as our other friends spilled their beer and hit the sand, our friend Deanna took off running back towards the hotel and actually got hit in the back. As the dust settled and the explosions stopped, I looked at Ray and said mockingly "Those fireworks won't hit you!" We still laugh about that story to this day.

Back To School Another opportunity to celebrate! We have made a tradition of Orange Leaf and Back to School Shopping, but I am sure there are other ways to celebrate. Even though summer is coming to an end at this point, you have to find the Silver Lining!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Sweet Summertime

As promised, I would like to do a series on Date Night Fun. Last Christmas I put together a "Date Jar" for Ray's sister and Brother in Law. This basically consisted of 52 dates written on popsicle sticks. I even went as far as to color-code them according to the season they were appropriate for (ie Summer Dates written on yellow and red sticks, Fall Dates written on Orange, etc) With Summer just around the corner - here are the date ideas I came up with.

Picnic Date - Whether you head to a local park or simply put a quilt in the backyard, pack some sandwiches, fresh fruits and vegetables, and some chips or pretzels and head out. Don't forget drinks! We recommend a pitcher of Pineapple Mango Mimosas and bottles of water. For our Pineapple Mango Mimosas we used Kroger Orange Pineapple Juice and Svedka Mango Pineapple Vodka.

Mexican Date - On night's where a Taco Bar just seems like too much energy, we head to our local favorite Mexican restaurant - Papa Grande. Try something new! It will make a staple restaurant feel like a fresh new experience. If you go to Papa Grande -
try the Burrito Tropicale! And don't forget to make your margarita a Jumbo Margarita!

Grilling Steaks - Be sure to pick your favorite cut of meat, bake some potatoes and head outside for dinner a la fresco. We add in some Louis Armstrong Pandora for an added romantic element.

Riverfront Date Night - If the Riverfront is not an option, pick your favorite scenery spot - whether a park or the top of hill - for a leisurely walk. Hold hands and make a point to smile, only if it's comfortable. I have found that it makes walking and nature feel a little romantic.

Outdoor Movie Date Night - Whether you can project a movie on the side of your house and get comfortable with pillows and blankets, or attend the drive in movie theatre and get comfortable in the back of a truck. Popcorn and outdoor movies are always fun to share!

Baseball Game - Whether it is at a 5 year old's tee ball game or at a sunset Cinncinnatti Reds game, we have had so much fun at the ball field. The Bowling Green Hot Rods and Evansville Otters are both fairly close!

Nacho Bar & Tequila Shots - Brown some ground beef, Shred some chicken and sautee some shrimp, once you add all the fixings - the Nacho Bar will let you eat as much as or as little as you want. Add in some tequila shots (we chase with pickle juice) for some adult fun.

DIY Project Date Night - Recently we planted an herb garden and lit up our back deck in DIY Project Dates. This is a fun way to get things done while enjoying each other. Plus who doesn't love watching a hard working man ?!? ;)

Miniature Golf and Go Karts - Competition keeps things fun, you could always add "stakes" to the game (ie feet rub, back scratch, etc) Cotton Candy, Soft Pretzels or Funnel Cakes are an added element of fun. There is something refreshing about acting young for the night!

Board Games and Home-Made Pizzas - Yahtzee, Monopoly, Sorry are some favorites of ours for game night. The trick to Home-Made Pizza is CHEESE. Wine goes really well with Board Games and Pizza. (We added some of our fresh basil to our pizza from our above mentioned Herb Garden)

Barbecue & Beer - Another night of fun is firing up the grill - barbecuing some hamburgers or chicken thighs. Anything goes with burgers and chicken to drink, but there is something about an iced cold bud light (or in my case a Cherry-Rita) at dusk. If you put on some 90's Pandora - it makes for a relaxing nostalgic night.

Winery Date - There is not much better than unlimited free wine tasting! Different cheeses add varieties of tastes to wine - so consider tasting a couple different types. We have recently tried a wine that both of us highly recommend called Frost Bitten. While I have not yet been to the winery here in Owensboro - I have heard good things!! We traveled the short distance to French Lick, because the French Lick Red Wine is my jam!!

Enjoy your Dates this summer with someone you can easily vibe with! Whether it be your best friend, an old friend, your love, your mom, your dad, a new friend or a group of people! I have found if you focus more on the experience and the people you are with - you can turn any outing into a damn good time! In encouraging my little brother to get out and date, I often use the line "Go on dates! Some of them will be bad - but those make for good stories. You have to have bad ones with the good ones!" In all honesty though, I haven't had a bad one yet!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Falling in Love and Lists

To start, I would like to say that this blog is no longer going to be focused on the physical aspect of my health. I will, undoubtedly get into my physical health at some point in my blogging, but for reasons I will explain later, this blog is now going to explore different aspects of my health as a whole. Emotional, mental, spiritual, financial (yikes!), social all of these aspects I will touch on and elaborate on. I can still promise honesty, humor, and rawness (at times I am sure you will still think - TMI) I still promise my foul mouth and anecdotal memories. I just want to take the focus off of my weight. Can I say that again?!? I. WANT TO TAKE THE FOCUS OFF OF MY WEIGHT.

Okay, so a lot has happened in the past 4 years of my life (while I took a break from blogging). I have had several new experiences, traveled to various new domestic locations, experienced loss and joy. But perhaps the biggest news in my adult life, I am in love for the first time. A fun, exciting, feels like home type of love. Falling in love has been the most ridiculous, fun, scary and confusing thing I have ever done.

In March of 2014 I was pretty busy on the internet dating scene. Beings that I was in a fresh new body had a new lease on life - I was ready to have some fun! Initially I thought that I was interested in dating! Like going to dinner, seeing movies, going to ball games. All these are things that my peers had been doing since they were 16 or 17 years old, but I had not yet experienced them. Here's the thing though - I HAD experienced them. I had experienced them with friends. I had experienced them with family. I had conditioned myself into thinking that I was missing out because I didn't have a boyfriend. If I had only known then. So, back to what I was saying, I THOUGHT I was interested in dating. But the more I experienced online dating and men of an appropriate dating age - the more I realized that it wasn't them that I was after. It was attention!! It was approval!!! It was a "good morning beautiful" from a total stranger? I know it doesn't sound right, but anyone of you that suffers from low self esteem knows what feeling I am talking about. After meeting several different guys and developing what are still what I consider great friendships, I met Ray. Lord, have mercy! THAT SMILE. Initially, I dismissed Ray as being too cute or too much of a ladies' man - but as he pursued me I thought to myself "Okay? Let's try this! Let's have dinner and hang out, at the very least, maybe he will become another great friend!" In April of 2014 I invited Ray to have dinner with myself and a couple of my friends. I was going to cook my famous Baked Spaghetti (like I always do when trying to impress). Ray showed up with his million dollar smile and two bottles of wine and the rest is history. We caught like wild fire.

We were INSTANT friends. Both of us had convinced ourselves that we didn't want serious relationships but that we really enjoyed being around each other so we were just going to do our best at communicating our feelings and see how that went. It was fun, but it was rough too. Like anybody that involves too many people in their business, the more people there are involved - the more opinions are shared. And not all of them are welcomed OR encouraging. I will be the first to say that in 2014 - my friends and my family were my "other half". If that makes sense to anyone, they were who I called when I made a big decision or when I got a promotion or when my car broke down or if I simply needed someone to go to the movies with me. So it is 100% my fault that so many different opinions and advice were given.

Cut forward to May of 2017 and here we are. We have traveled to Panama City, Cincinatti, French Lick, Nashville, New Orleans, Huntsville, Boonville, Buzzard Rock. We have tried new foods like Alligator, Ek Mek, Veal, and Haricot Vers. This year it is an effort, but we have been able to maintain our Weekly Date Night Routine. Whether it is Grilling Steaks and listening to jazz music on our deck, going to Lowe's for new flowers and herbs for our garden, or attending a Paint and Sip Painting class. So ... that leads me to the second point I was wanting to make.

I am addicted to lists. It started when I was much younger. I would spend hours practicing my penmanship in both cursive and print. I would go through the alphabet for various topics and try to think of words to associate with each (ie Fruits: Apples, Bananas, Concord Grapes, etc; Girls Names: Alivia, Beverly, Caroline, etc) Literally hours of my childhood and teenage years were spent on such lists. This past time/hobby of mine, while making me an incredible Scattergories player, never proved to be much of an asset to my adult years - or at least it hasn't so far. I do, however, get the occasional text from one of my girlfriends saying "Help me! AK has a show and tell tomorrow and the letter is Y. I am stuck!" However,lately I have combined this weird quirky hobby of mine to use with something that else that I am addicted to - PEOPLE. Date Night, Girls Night, Dinner Dates, Coffee Dates, etc.and have come up with several (52 to be exact) fun, new date night ideas!! I want to REITERATE that this does not have to be "dating your spouse" only. As my first 30 years have proven - Mother/Daughter Date, Dad/Daughter Date, Girlfriend Dates, Group Dates - they ALL count. They are ALL experiences to be had, all experiences to be enjoyed. So my first blog series is going to be on Dating Ideas!!

Hope you guys enjoy! It has been way too long. XOXO