Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter Storm Leon

I am the girl who is crazy about winter. I look forward to boots and peacoats, scarves and gloves, hot chocolate and freezing temps all year round. You will almost always hear me complain about the summer heat unless I am at the beach. But this year was different. Christmas flew by, so it has felt like this winter season has dragged on, and that I don't like. I had just told C 2 days prior to this winter wonderland that I was completely over the winter and I wanted it to be gone. I was sick of freezing temps because all we have had is rain and ice. It wasn't any good unless we got one snow in. So I was over it. I was dreaming of what vacation C and I would take this October for our anniversary, and I was praying that involved a trip to the Caribbean. I was dreaming of lounging on sandy white beaches with a fruity adult beverage in hand. Then Tuesday came.

While I was standing in the boss' aka, my dad's, office at work, I saw snow falling. I laughed to myself because I knew it wouldn't stick. Then 10 minutes later, I looked out the window again, and my car had a thin layer of snow on it. I began to panic a little because I was pretty sure that meant it was all going to be gone by the time I left. Boy was I wrong. Lucy was covered with nice layer of snow at the end of the day.


The amount of snow that my boots accumulated from walking around my car was crazy. There wasn't a whole lot of snow on the ground, or at least not on one side of my car. And ignore the dirty car okay?


I was sucessful in driving towards home. The roads weren't that bad yet. As I went around the curve before the front of my subdivision, I was prepared to turn in and park on the side of the road and wait for C to get home so we could walk home. Little did I know that everyone else had the same idea. The entire entrance was crowded with cars, and so was most of the street outside of the entrance. I continued to drive and ended up in a large parking lot that had no ice or snow. There, I sat for an hour waiting on C. I didn't have much to do, so I ended up doing and redoing my make up. Yeah, I am just as shocked as you are that I had make up in my purse. 


When C finally made it, we decided to go to the near by grocery store to pick somthing up for dinner because all we had was stuff that was going to take an hour to make. I was completely shocked that they still had tons of milk and bread. Chattanooga was not prepared for this storm, but Bi-Lo sure was. 


By the time we got back to our subdivision, the entrance was worse. Cars were parked in the grass, on the road, and blocking several people in. Here is something to know about our neighborhood. It is full of hills. The main road looks like this : /\_/ And there are several other major hills throughout the neighborhood. We ended up parking in someone's yard and walking home. We literally planned on walking a mile, in the snow, up hill. We got about half way home and a nice old guy with one of the Razor ATV's picked us up and took us home. I was more than thankful for that. 


But we did manage to get a funny face or two in while we walked. 


All I have to say is I am so thankful that I that I decided to wear boots because I was thisclose to wearing flip flops. Looks like I will be paying more attention to the weather from now on. 


We got home, baked our frozen pizza, and curled up in bed watching several episodes of Revenge. We went to bed around 9, because we had no clue what was going on the next morning as far as work goes. We woke up at our usual time, got ready and started our mile long mostly downhill walk back to C's car. I of course slipped and fell. All it hurt was my pride. When we made it down, we got C's car out of the subdivision with no issues. We made it to my car, and I went to work. I only ended up being about an hour late, but when I got there, the parking lot was empty and covered in snow. 


By the time I got home, all the snow was gone. Go figure.  hope everyone had a fantastic Snow Day 2014. Stay warm! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

I need a vacation.

I swear that C and I have been occupied every weekend since way before Thanksgiving. I think we may have had one or two free weekends, but in all reality, we just haven't had a chance to breathe. I thought that business would stop after the new year, but no, things keep piling up that we have to do. This weekend was no different. Well, sorta. Friday, was a stressful day at work, so when I finally got home, I decided that it was going to be a dinner and a bed kind of night, and that is what I did. I ate dinner, and went straight to bed.

Saturday, C and I got up and went grocery shopping. We got only healthy foods, and I was actually pretty darn happy about it. Breakfast was by far the best breakfast that I have had in ages! It was a simple breakfast of eggs, yoguts, an english muffin, and tons of fresh fruit. It mafe my day start off pefrect. The rest of the day was spent cleaning and moving. It seems like the only thing I can do on the weekend is just clean. There is no way around it.

Sunday I woke up with a massive migraine. That right there made my decision for me as far as what I wanted to do Sunday. C and I laid in bed all day. We only got up to make breakfast, and he went out to grab dinner. It was the best Sunday ever. That is why I said this weekend was no different than our busy busy weekends before. We had plans for Sunday, but that migraine kept me in bed, and I loved every moment of it.

I didn't take any pictures again this weekend. I really need to get better at that. Add that to the never ending to-do list I have.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Getting back in shape.

I sat down and looked through my phone the other day. When I went through all my old pictures, I came across pictures from back in 2011. I was simply shocked at how bad I looked. I was mad at myself for allowing me to get there, but I was also mad at C. He didn't ever tell me how bad I looked. He never told me anything. So I was upset because I felt like he hadn't been honest with me about how I looked.



Fast froward from 2011 to 2013, and in February I had joined a gym and was getting back in shape. I was doing it for me and no one else, so I was making serious progress. Then some things happened about 6 months later, and I can't explain it, but I just didn't feel like I was worth anything anymore. I didn't feel like I deserved to be healthy or happy. So I quit with my healthy lifestyle. Fast forward to now, and I am over the depression that hit, and I am ready to be happy and healthy again. I've got everything I need to get back in shape, and I am having the hardest time doing it. I can't seem to find time to workout. Eating healthy isn't a problem, but when pizza is so convenient, it makes it hard to want to cook.



Getting back in shape is not going to be easy for me. I will constantly struggle with my self image, but it is time I focus on getting healthy and happy with myself again. It is a new day! I decided yesterday that I was going to start getting back in shape for myself. When I got home from work, I put on my workout clothes, and I headed outside for a walk. I'm started the Couch to 5K again, and this time I am including not only myself, but my wonderful pup Chaco as well. I am making it a priority to walk her more often, so I am hoping that this keeps me accountable as well. I will also be making a workout book. I plan on taking a spiral bound notebook and filling it full of workouts so that way I have no excuse. All my workouts will be planned.



Healthy eating is a bit harder. I need quick easy meals to make. So I have scoured Pinterest and found a few things that I am just dying to try. I can't wait for spring to get here so C and I can plant a garden and have fresh food. Winter is always harder for me to eat healthy, because I love fresh produce and in the winter, it just doesn't taste as good. I have made progress as far as cooking with butter and salt. I don't usually use either. Before I loved both and cooked with both for every single meal. Now I only use them if a recipe calls for them, and then I usually half what it calls for. Now I just need to cut out the sweet tea and junk food.

Getting back in shape is going to be hard, but I know I can do it. Being held accountable, to me, is key. So I am going to find an accountability partner and get this thing going!


Linking up!

Fit + Fab

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

N & M Engaged

I love taking pictures. Of course you wouldn't know that based on the lack of them on this blog, but I do. I have been blessed enough to be able to take some very important pictures for my sisters. I took my younger sister's senior pictures, and now these. These pictures are from back in August. I had the pleasure of taking pictures of my sister and her fiance'. They traveled up to Chattanooga for some pictures downtown. I am so blessed that they asked me to take these for them.











If anyone is in the Chattanooga area and is interested in a session, please let me know. Currently I am trying to build my portfolio, so sessions are free! 


Monday, January 20, 2014

Homemade Brownies and Revenge for the win!

How is it Monday already? It seems like the weekends are just flying by. And can you believe it is already January 20th?!?! How did that happen? Where has 2014 gone? This weekend went by crazy fast. Friday night we celebrated my oldest sisters birthday which included dinner at my favorite sandwich shop, The Spiced Apple in Dalton, GA. 

Saturday, we got up early, and helped a friend start moving. And of course, that meant breakfast at Chick-fil-a which was the best. After we were done moving for the day, C and I headed home to just lay around. We ended up finally taking down the Christmas tree, and got our home back in order from the holiday season. Now to get Valentine's day stuff out soon! Then, somehow C got the urge to make chocolate, which turned into a full on baking afternoon. We attempted to make chocolate, and well, we made a really fancy chocolate syrup. It was pretty good though. We also made homemade brownies, and I can officially say that I will never buy a box of brownie mix ever again. There are the BOMB! I'll share the recipe soon. Promise. 


Sunday we helped our friend do some more moving, then came home to do massive amounts of laundry. We moved a TV into our room, something I am not sure I want to keep, but we did. And that meant we started a new show on Netflix. We went with Revenge, and I am hooked! I can't wait to watch more of it. 

 

All in all, it was a great fast weekend. I am really looking forward to a weekend of nothing but relaxing! I hope y'all had a great weekend! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Bella Bar

**All opinions are my own. Rogue Fitness did not ask me to write this post or compensate me in any way. I am doing it because I love this bar. This review is my own opinion about this product. **

If you follow me on IG (@_caitlong) you may have seen this picture.


C and I got each other lifting bars for Christmas. We had both been eyeing the Rogue bars for quite some time. We got one bar, the stubby axle bar, and a few weights for C's birthday, but I hated that bar, so I never used it. I kept talking about the Bella Bar, so when I got it, I was beyond excited and ready to try it out.

The first thing I did was back squats. I just wanted to get a feel of the bar. Back squats probably wasn't the best way to get the best feel, but squats are my favorite, so that is how I started out. The bar itself is smaller than the average lifting bar. It is designed for a woman's hand, so the feel of it was amazing. I always feel like my grip sucks with the larger bars. 

Once I did back squats, I tried a few Clean & Jerks, and that is really where I fell in love with the bar. The bar was perfect and it allowed me to keep a good grip on the bar at all times. The fact that it weighs a little less is great too, especially if you are just getting into working out/lifting. The end of the bars, match the size of the bar that C got, so our weights fit both. 

Once I moved on from the C&J, I went into dead lifts. It probably wasn't my most thought out workout, but it was one really to just get to know the bar. Dead lifts with the Bella bar sealed the deal for me. I would always have to readjust my hands when using the normal size bars, and it always took me longer than I wanted to when it was time to dead lift. I got through all my dead lifts in a much quicker time than I usually do. I wasn't having to adjust my hands all the time, so it was a much better workout. 

I am a huge fan on Rogue Fitness. We have several things from them. We love that a lot of Rogue's stuff is American made. If you are in the position to purchase some Rogue equipment, do it! It will be money well spent. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Married young.

So I have seen several bloggers post their responses to this post about "23 things to do instead of getting engaged before you are 23." I decided to jump right on that bandwagon because I have a whole lot of opinions on that.

Short version of our love story is this, we dated in high school, broke up, 3 years later, we got went on several dates over 2 months, officially started dating, then a whopping 3 months later, C popped the question, I asked if he was sick, then said yes. I was 19. C had just turned 20 earlier that month. What is the response I got you may ask? Simple, the ever popular, "are you pregnant?" No I wasn't pregnant. I had people tell me we were too young to get married if we weren't already pregnant. That is our society for you...


We were young and in love. We had several people try and tell us to wait. It even got to the point where there was some serious family drama going on. People kept trying to tell us to wait because we were so young. Looking back, if I had to do it all over again, I would in a heart beat. Why? Because I wouldn't be who I am if I had done a single thing different.




After a 13 month engagement, we wed at the ripe ol' age of 21. We had a beautiful wedding, and we are striving to have a marriage much more beautiful. At 21 years old, I knew where my life was headed. I knew what was in store for me. I had no regrets as C placed that ring on my finger. I wasn't thinking, "man I should have dated 2 guys at once to see how long it takes to blow up in my face." I was thinking, "wow, I am so lucky! I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend."





I have been married for over 3 years now. In that 3 years, I have accomplished so many things with my wonderful husband by my side. He supports me. He is my biggest fan, my loudest cheerleader. He is always there right beside me as I discover myself. He wants me to be the best me I can be. I would not want my life to be any different.


I am a firm believer in marriage. My parents were divorced when I was young, and divorce is very present in my extended family. So many people today believe all marriages between young people are destined to fail, but I don't believe that for a second. I've never regretted my decision to marry young. C and I have a wonderful life together. We are there for each other, through thick and thin. We strengthen each other. We encourage each other. We are always there for each other. My 20's are such an amazing time of my life, and I am just so thankful that I get to go through them with my wonderful husband by my side.


When I asked C about his feelings about us getting married so young after I read that post, this is what he said.

"Being married young has it's benefits, but it also has it's drawbacks.We have gotten to grow up together, and establish habits with each other and break habits that we had formed before it got really hard to break. Sure, growing up together has some difficulties because we still have things we need to figure out, but it is a little easier to figure them out together. It is tougher being married young and before we established careers, but I think it makes us stronger for later years. I have no regrets about getting married married young. I would do it again."


''It is completely worth it. Best thing is waking up next to you every morning and knowing somebody loves me."


Getting to grow up and grow together with my husband has been the best experience I could ever imagine. We all are allowed to have our own opinions, so I commend the girl who posted her list. It has allowed so many others to share their opinions as well. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Weekend Fun!

This weekend went by way too fast. I feel like I actually skipped Saturday and Sunday. I am praying that this next weekend doesn't go by that fast.

Friday, we kicked of the weekend with Fajita Friday! We started this several months back, but stopped when we weren't cooking as much. We decided to start it back up again, and I must say I am so glad. Left over fajita chicken for a midnight snack is the bomb!

After dinner, we were lazy and just laid around. I threw on comfy leggings, cozy socks, my favorite pajama shirt, and cuddled up on the couch under the best blanket in the world. It became overly obvious as the night went on that we really need to take down our Christmas decorations.


I ended up munching on popcorn while sipping sparkling grape juice out of a champagne glass. I totally pretended it was champagne. 


Saturday and Sunday were spent cleaning. I'm totally hoping that I can have all my spring cleaning done before spring even gets here. I hope you guys had a fantastic weekend! Here is to hoping that Monday will be great! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

First Love List of 2014

The first full week of 2014 has been a whirlwind of crazy. We had this crazy "winter storm" that closed down schools and for what? Just a tiny bit of ice on the side of the road you don't even drive on. They were calling for several inches of snow, and we got flurries. No surprise there. It was cold as the North Pole though according to my weather app. We had low temps of a whopping 1 degree at the same time it was showing 1 degree for the North Pole. Santa needed to send snow along with those freezing temps. Needless to say, I kept my butt parked on the couch staying nice and cozy warm.

But on to the real reason for today's post. It is the first love list of 2014 people! Shall we get started?



Columbia Ice Scraper (Amazon) : Amazing. Simply amazing. When I had to scrape ice off my car, this was a life saver. It is lined, so my hand stayed nice and warm. I got it Santa got it for C in his stocking, and I have taken over it.



Mongstad Mirror (Ikea) : I have had my eye on this for a few years now, but I never wanted to brave the Atlanta traffic to go to Ikea. On New Year's, I finally convinced C to go, and we got this! It looks so great in our living room! Though I can't wait until we move, or build a house, so that this can go in our room so I can finally have a full length mirror for when I am getting ready.


Threshold Bar Cart (Target) : This was on my Christmas list, and since I didn't get it for Christmas, I knew I wanted it as soon as I could get my hands on it. Several Targets were already sold out of it, so it was nice to be able to finally find it. I am just waiting on my house to get back in order after we finish taking down the last of the Christmas stuff to set this baby up!


1/4 Zip Jacket (Old Navy) : I got this for Christmas, and I have worn it like 5 times already, though none of those times was I running. It is super comfy, and that royal blue is the best!


UGA Tervis (Amazon) : This is not the tervis I have been using, but I can't find mine anywhere online. I got my Chevron UGA tervis for Christmas from Acadmey. It has been great for this crazy weather. It keeps my tea and water ice cold, but it will also keep my hot chocolate the perfect temperature.

Here is to hoping we have a decent week next week weather wise! Happy Friday!

Linking up for Five on Friday!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Renewing in 2014

So I am linking up with Jessica from Little Baby Garvin and several others today for their link up on Making 2014 Count.

I decided to pick a word to live by for 2014. It was not an easy decision because there were so many I wanted to use, but after some serious soul searching I guess you could call it, I came up with one. Renew. It is simple, but so complex. With everything C and I have gone through in our 4 and a half years together, I can honestly say that it is way past time to renew lots of things.

I spend so much time trying to please others that I forget about myself. I try and make so many people happy that I put my marriage on the back burner from time to time. I have made some serious mistakes in my 24 years on earth, and this is the year to just start over. Start fresh. Renew.

Between renewing my self confidence, renewing my commitment to my husband and my marriage, renewing my commitment to God, renewing my desire to get out of debt, and renewing my desire to learn new things there will be a lot of changes taking place in our home. C and I will be turning half a century old this year, and that is a real eye opener for me. I am not where I planned to be, and I want nothing more than to get to where I want to be.

2014 is the year when all things are renewed and we make this our year!

 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Blogging 2014!

I want to change up some things here in 2014 in terms of my blog. I love blogging, so I plan on spending more time on it.

I am currently looking for a new design. If anyone knows of someone, let me know. I am also looking into having sponsors, product reviews and guest posts. So again, if you or anyone you know would be interested, let me know.

I plan on bringing on a few new series/topics this year. I will stick to the Weekend Recaps and Friday Love Lists, but I want to add a few other things. Some ideas I have are :

*Healthy Living - Anything related to the healthy lifestyle like workouts, recipes, tips that work for me, etc.
*Tasty Treats - Recipes for any and everything.
*Long Lasting Love - Getting to know the Long's, who we are, what we like, etc.
*Gift Giving - Gift guides and wrapping tips.
*Festive Fun - All things festive including decorations, food, date ideas, etc.
*Date Nights - Ideas for both in home and out on the town Date Nights.
*Exploring Chattanooga - Our adventures exploring this city that we love.
*Adventures! - Vacations, camping, hikes, etc.
*We Did It! - All things DIY.
*CML Photography - My journey as an aspiring photographer.
*A Day in the Life - A hourly play by play of my day because we all know how exciting that will be!

Obviously not all this will be posted in a week. I am sure that new topics will come up, like things that relate to my 2014 Resolutions, so this list will grow or shrink as needed. If there is anything you guys would like to see more of or less of, let me know!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 Resolutions

Even thought I failed miserably in my 2013 resolutions, I have once again decided to make resolutions going into 2014. So here is the list!

1. Go to church more and grow closer to God. : C and I slacked on our church going. Most of that was my fault because I had some serious frustrations I had to get over. It is really important for C and I to get back into church and to grow in our own individual relationships with God as well as our marriage relationship with God. 

2. Make my marriage a priority : C and I struggled quite a bit in our relationship this past year. We has some really really really big storms come through our life and we are still working on getting back on track. So it is important to me to make my marriage more of a priority. 

3. Take more pride in myself. : I am lumping all it in one here. I want to get back to eating healthy, exercising more, actually taking the 30 minutes it takes me to get ready instead of sleeping those extra few minutes. 

4. Read 100 books. : They can be books I have already read, or new ones, but I want to read more instead of being on social media or in front of the TV.

5. Simplify my life. : We have so much crap that C and I have just gathered over the past 4 years, and we started the process of getting rid of it all in December, but it has carried over to 2014. We are going to get rid of the crap and stop buying things we don't need. 

6. This resolution included talking about a little bit of our financials, and I have decided to remove this from my blog for now. 

Now : I've decided not to share this on my blog anymore. 

7. Learn a new skill. : Last year, C and I bought a bow and some arrows and we used it once. I've been talking about learning a new skill for a while, and I really want to do that this year. It can be learning how to use a bow and arrow, or it can be a new language. I simply want to learn something that no one can take away from me. 

8. Get more organized. : After such a hectic past 6 months, I am in some serious need of getting organized. I had such a hard time finding what I needed the last few months, and I don't want that to happen again! 

9. Become more self sufficient. : C and I talked quite a bit about this, we both agree we want to become more self sufficient. We plan on starting a garden, and actually growing something, along with making our own mixes (cake, seasonings, etc), breads, sauces, etc. 

10. No buying clothes/shoes/jewelry for an entire year. : I saw another blogger do this last year, and I am vowing to do it thins year. I spent so much on clothes, and i go so many clothes for Christmas, and I don't wear half of them. So I am challenging myself to no buy any of it all year. Obviously with working on getting healthy, some weight will be lost, and I might HAVE to buy some clothes because I will need stuff that will fit, but I have saved some gift cards to use, and so I plan on using those for that. I am really going to try and not spend anything other than gift cards on clothes, and that is only when I have no other choice. 

I'll be checking in every so often on these here on the blog! Feel free to join in as well. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hello 2014!!

Surprise Surprise! 2014 is here, and we are already 1/5 of the way through the first month! What? Somehow this year is already flying by! So I shared all of the pictures I have taken already for Christmas, and honestly New Year's was not any better. I think I took 1 all night. That is what I get for just laying around the house.

So just a quick recap on New Year's. I worked basically all day which was a complete bummer. Who wants to work that day? But I did work, and it wasn't actually that bad. Then commence the sheer panic of it being the last day of the year as I drove home. Somehow it hit me on the way home that 2013 is already over. All the resolutions I had set for 2013 were wasted because I certainly didn't complete any of them. I slacked quite a bit this year. Opps.

The rest of the evening was spent lounging on the couch and relaxing. I kissed the man of my dreams at midnight, then my old woman self rushed off to bed because it was about 3 hours past my bedtime and I couldn't hold my eyes open any longer. I'm such a party animal!

We woke up the first day of 2014 and made the most random decision to go to Ikea. Our first ever trip to Ikea. Bad decision? Maybe. I got my much anticipated mirror, and ended up leaving with a few shelves, and night stand tables. Needless to say, I am ready to go back. I have a dining room table that is just calling my name.

While we were at Ikea, C finally talked me into something that I am pretty sure he never thought he would. C has been talking about buying land and building a small house on it so that we can live in it as we build our larger house. I was against it for the beginning because I did not want to live in a tiny house. However, walking through Ikea, I saw how they had complete homes set up with small amounts of square footage. Obviously, it looked bigger than it was because of the no ceiling thing, and because of the big open wall where people walked in and out, but I was completely on board after seeing it all. C was pleased with the lay out of several of the "homes" and was glad that I was on the same page as him finally.

The next several days were spent getting our Christmas decorations down, and getting our house back in some kind of order. We agreed that we were going to go through the house and finally get rid of the things we weren't using or hadn't used in the past 2 years. So that is what we are doing. It has been really refreshing to get a lot of the unused crap gone, and we are marking off something on our Resolution list. Win win.

All and all 2014 has been off to a pretty great start and I can't wait to see how the rest of the year goes!


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