Happily Married for 3 Years.

Today is the Artist and I’s 3rd wedding anniversary.  It also marks about 3 years and 9.5 months of dating, and about 3 years and 11.5 months of knowing each other.  That’s right, we were married less then 1 year after the day we first met, and the rest is history.  I was looking for a room to rent in a house while attending Georgian College, but wanted to live in Barrie instead of Orillia (I was attending the Orillia campus).  There was a cheap room for rent in a great location near the Barrie campus, but close to the highway for easy access to get to my campus.  Everyone thought I should live at home and drive every day- but I wanted my own space again, and it is a pretty far drive.  On a whim, I decided to view the room for rent with my mom at the last minute.  I had just got off work, I was working as a nanny at the time, and went right away.  I felt like I needed a shower, and instead of putting on some makeup I threw on some sunglasses and off I went.  The Artist answered the door and showed me around, he too was renting a room there, and his family owned the house, so he helped them out my giving tours and posting ads online.  My first impression: what a cutie!  Holy crap.  The first things I noticed about him here his cheeks- man they looked so soft and squishy and kissable, and his smile- nice, full lips with perfect straight, white teeth, and those eyes- the lightest shade of blue I have ever seen, that now melt my heart every time.  He showed me and my mom around, and was super nice.  Meanwhile, I haven’t taken my sunglasses off because I wasn’t expecting such a good lookin’ guy, and my mom embarrasses me by telling me to take my sunglasses off because we are in the house!  Haha!  Oh well, he saw me with no makeup, unwashed hair, a coral coloured top and a white skirt.  He always tells me how he remembers because to him, apparently I looked good au natural.  I don’t even remember what he was wearing, I was too busy looking at his gorgeous eyes.

So afterwards, in the car, I am chatting with my mom.  We both agreed that for a student house it was incredibly clean, organized, in great shape, and that the Artist seemed nice.  The room was really small, I think something like 10ft by 8 or 9 ft, but it was really cheap and I had access to the rest of the house.  So I took it, without viewing any other place or even looking into anything else.  I moved in just after the Labour Day weekend.  The Artist and I quickly became good friends, best friends actually.  We were super close.  We shared groceries and split the bill, ate meals together, went to the gym together, hung out together, did everything together.  I really started to like him.  In fact, people assumed we were dating, even though we weren’t, he was actually dating someone else at the time, so I didn’t say anything and denied my friends’ accusations that I liked him.  But one drunken night, our true feelings came out, and we became officially boyfriend and girlfriend.  We were best friends who were in love with each other before we even had our first kiss.

Less then 2 months later was Christmas, and the Artist got me a promise ring, which I wore on my right hand ring finger.  He said that it was a promise that the next ring would be for “this finger” as he grabbed my left hand ring finger.  When we went to bed that night, he said to me, “just so you know, I am going to ask” and I replied, “just so you know, I am going to say yes” and that we shared one of the best embraces ever.  As we finished up the school year, we were driving home from a Trivia Night event and the Artist mentioned something about “when we get married….” and then realized he had mentioned getting married and started stumbling and trying not to “scare” me.  But I just looked at him and giggled, saying I had been thinking about it too.  We talked about what we wanted in a wedding, which ended up being very little.  Neither of us seemed to care too much about anything other then being officially married.  So we decided that despite having no money, we could still manage it.  So we picked out an engagement ring together, and made the announcement that we were getting married in 2 months.  There was availability at the Station on the Green in Creemore, and since we didn’t have the means, nor the desire, for anything fancy, why wait?  It sounds crazy, I know.  But if you knew us, and saw us together, it just fits.  My parents weren’t really surprised, they saw it coming, and other close family members predicted it as well.  We literally planned everything and bought everything in 1 day.  We bought the rings, my dress, and the Artist’s suit, all of which were “off the rack” because they fit perfectly and didn’t need to be ordered.  We decided who would do the flowers, who would marry us, that we would get married at 7pm and serve appetizers and desserts, and a family friend would take the photos.  Family friends helped serve the food, tend the bar, set up the music which was just an iPod, and decorate.  The only person we hired was the one who married us.  I wore a necklace the Artist gave me for Valentine’s Day, shoes I already had, there was no bridal party, themes, colours, or dinner, I made the invites and the cake myself (which was cherry cheesecake!), etc.  Super simple, cheap, and small- approximately less then 50 people.  But it was a very intimate wedding, we got to visit with everyone.  Neither of us wanted to be a part of the billion dollar industry that weddings have become these days, which is why we invited only our immediate family.  And since we are each other’s best friend, we wanted only us up at the alter.  We wanted to highlight our future lives together, and for the day to be about our marriage, and not about the wedding.  A wedding is one day, but a marriage is forever.  This is why we did things the way we did, and even though some didn’t agree, we were extremely happy with it.  We have the same attitudes for most things, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc.  There is a lot of “buying for the sake of buying” and lots of unnecessary stuff.  We try and make our holiday celebrations to be about spending time together, and any gifts we exchange are just a bonus.  Often, we don’t even exchange gifts, but rather just home made cards, loving words, and do something like have a movie night in, or go to the park for a picnic, or something along those lines.  And we often do little things for each other on a regular basis, because who says you need a holiday to do so?

Back to the wedding haha.

There was this 1 moment that I will never forget- walking down the aisle.  We did not follow tradition, not only did the Artist see me before the wedding, he helped me pick out my dress and we did a lot of photos before the ceremony.  So we came to the venue and went in the back to wait a few minutes as everyone sat down.  Then the officiant came in and said all was ready and the Artist went out with him to the alter.  My dad had a tearful talk with me about how proud he was and how much he loved the Artist, I took his arm, and emerged out the doors.  I saw Steve, the Artist’s cousin’s now husband, playing the guitar as I began to walk- Rod Stewart’s have you ever seen the rain, just an instrumental version.  I turned the corner and he smiled as he hit the part of the song “I know…” and that is when I saw the Artist at the other end of the alter.  That moment will be forever frozen in time.  Nothing could have changed the way that I felt at that very moment.  I am even getting teared up as I type this story, it is very special to me.  I could have been wearing pyjamas, it could have been in a courthouse, it could have been raining- nothing would have changed the way that I felt.  Seeing the Artist’s gorgeous smile and walking down the aisle to marry him was the most important thing to me, and watching me walk down the aisle to marry him was the most important thing to him.

As we progressed through the ceremony, we both held back our tears, and became husband and wife.  Following that was a few more photos, and then we had our first dance.  No speeches, no seating chart, no nothing, it was a free for all.  There were hot and cold appetizers, munchies, desserts, and a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.  We had a great night visiting with our immediate family, and arrived at our hotel in the wee hours of the morning, chauffeured around by my father.  We had a huge heart to heart, and I cried my make up off with all my happy tears.

By this time we were living in Newmarket, I was finishing up school- both a degree and a diploma.  The Artist was done is BFA, and was applying for grad school, exhibiting his work, and working part time.  After I finished up at Georgian, we moved to Toronto.  There, I finished up my degree, and started working as a nanny, and the Artist as a cook in a fine Italian restaurant, still applying to grad school and making art.  We had loads of adventures in Toronto, and then as the Artist was walking home from work, we crossed paths as I was walking to the TTC stop to go to work.  He had been listening to a message on his phone- he had got accepted to Washington University in St. Louis for a Master’s of Fine Art, with a hefty scholarship.  I cried.  I was so happy for him.  I don’t know how, but somehow, we managed to move to St. Louis, Missouri shortly thereafter.

We have been here a year now, and it has been amazing.  I dearly miss the family I nannied for, and hope we can visit with them soon.  But St. Louis has been one crazy adventure.  My parents have drove down to visit twice now, the first time my aunt and brother came along too.  Geez, I love my family so freaking much.  They have been so helpful, supportive, and generous through all of this.  I can’t wait to see them again.  The Artist’s family has been incredibly supportive and generous as well, we are very lucky to have such great families.  Since being in St. Louis I have been able to make some great steps for my own career by meeting some great people and experiencing some great opportunities.  The Artist is out right now on his second day of his Teaching Assistantship for this year, and his first day of class.  This next year is going to just fly by, and who knows where the next opportunity will take us.  We are mobile right now, and are taking advantage of it while it exists, because it won’t exist forever.

These last few years have been a whirlwind, but what an amazing one.  I can’t imagine it any other way ❤

Cheers to the second half of our St. Louis adventure, and whatever may follow 😀

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A Sweaty Reality

Having just come back from Ontario, man do I ever appreciate the weather there.  The nights cool off to a reasonable temperature, sometimes it is even so cool you have to close the windows!  And the days are enjoyable.  Hot, but enjoyable.  Tolerable, in fact.  One can go outside and not struggle to take a breath, or even be outside sitting on a patio chit chatting with family and friends for a length of time without becoming drenched in sweat.

The heat is so intense here, it is unbearable.  And for those who don’t know us, we do not have air conditioning.  Well, there is central AC in our building, but we do not turn it on.  It costs way too much.  Last year it was costing like at least $250/month just to keep the apartment at 85 F.  It would be double that price by now, because on a regular basis, the apartment goes over 90 F.  That expense is just out of the question.  We do not have cable TV, cell phones, or even iPods or other music devices of that sort, just to save the money.  So an expense like that- ha!  But one day, we shall enjoy that luxury.  But when I tell people it is hot, the usual responses include:

“Ya, it’s summer.”

“Ya, it is hot here too.”

or

“Today it was really humid for us as well.”

And several other variations of these.  But, it is not the same.  So I am going to tell you exactly what it is like here, and paint a very clear picture about the intense heat.  The following contains no exaggeration, embellishing, fluffing, or the like, of any sort or degree.  It is the true, exact, sweaty reality.  All examples are real.

– I was unpacking from our trip, and had a towel on hand as a “sweat wiping towel”.  And I am not just talking about moist arm pits or a few beads of liquid above your lip.  I am talking streams of it running down my temples, my bra was saturated, and my back had drips.  I had to take a shower afterwards.

– Cold showers are not what you think, not room temperature, or a little cool.  The hot water tap doesn’t get touched.  It is pure cold water.  Just so you get the idea, next time you want to take a “cold shower”, try not touching the hot water tap at all, or if it is the kind where you turn it based on red and blue lines, turn it 100% to the right so it is full blue.  This, is how we shower.  And it is so beautiful and refreshing.  We frequently do this several times a day, even just for a quick rinse to avoid wet, greasy, uncomfortable skin.

– When lounging around the house, ice packs are stuffed in our clothing.  And sometimes a small towel is soaked in cold water and placed in the freezer until “crispy” to place on our neck or head.

– When I unpacked the groceries today, I was so sweaty there were streams running down my chin and temples, my hair became moist, as well as drips of sweat running down my back.  Even though I only wore my dress for a few hours, it became a biohazard- stinky and soaked.  I had to put it in the laundry.  And then take a shower in the same means as above.

– I walked to the bank yesterday.  It is about 5 minutes away.  My skin felt like it was being scorched.  I couldn’t take a deep breath comfortably.  Sweat was beginning to pool and drip.  Yes, it is a 5 minute walk away.  It feels like somewhere tropical, like Dominican, where the sun is really strong and after a while you just need some shade.

– Based on the above, obviously doing our usual nice cooking is out of the question.  Anything other then using the microwave or eating something cold is out.  As is cleaning.  I save cleaning for days where it is overcast- which is almost never. Because even though it is hot, I drink copious amounts of water while doing it, and the usual sweat pooling and dripping everywhere occurs, at least the sun is not belting in on me.  And if we close the blinds, it will block any hint of a breeze that may come in and circulate some of the stuffiness out.  Or if it rains, usually a few minutes of cool breeze comes in- which is glorious.  We put towels down around the windows so we can leave them open and not soak everything and still get any breeze that is out there.

– There hasn’t been a single time all summer that my face hasn’t been full of blemishes, bumps, and pimples.

Here is a photo of the Artist’s shirt, you will see the large dark area on his back, which is sweat.  He wasn’t doing anything particularly strenuous, just stuff around the house like reading, tending to the plants, drawing, etc.  I don’t have any pictures of me, because I usually don’t usually wear much clothing…mostly to avoid having to go through several clothing items a day due to sweating and therefore spending lots of laundry (we have to do coin laundry).

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Oh Canada, how I miss your cool nights.  I would love to be bundled up in those Smurf blue slippers and a sweater right now.  Hopefully only another month of this before is cools down to nice temperatures where we can go outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Right now, I seem to have managed a comfortable level.  I have a cold towel and am sitting directly in front of our fans.  A glass of cold water, and I just had a cold shower.  Hopefully, this will last 😀

To Canada and Back.

The last 2 weeks the Artist and I have been in Ontario, Canada to visit family and friends.  It has been amazing.  I found myself not taking too many photos, in comparison to the huge amounts of fun adventures we embarked on, and that “urge” to snap shots of fun times just wasn’t there.  But all for a good reason- I was too busy talking and visiting with everyone, time passed me by in an instant.  I was too consumed in enjoying the moments that taking photos seemed unimportant next to actually experiencing the adventures.

The drive there took 17.5 hours, which is pretty long….too long actually.  There was traffic, construction, and a line at the border, all of which added up.  We stopped overnight at a cheap motel, which was such a treat.  We ate late night junk food from burger joints and convenience stores, enjoyed the most comfortable bed and pillows ever (waaay better then the fancy places!), a hot shower, and cable TV.  It was just glorious.  The Artist and I fantasized about what it would be like to vacation like this for more then 1 night…….one day.

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our room

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Smurf milk for breakfast.

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After we arrived, right away we had “business” to take care of with things like health insurance, doctor’s appointments, etc.  On the way home from these, we got some Pad Thai.  I have yet to find a restaurant that tops the Mango Tree in Barrie for Pad Thai.  There are no words to describe it.  It is perfection.

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Of course I also had to try on my wedding dress.  Not only does it still fit, but it is loose fitting!  The Artist and I are about to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary this month.  Every time I put on this dress, I am transported back to our wedding day.  What an amazing day.  Simple, small, and cheap, but it was everything I wanted in a wedding- because all I wanted was to marry my Artist.  Nothing else mattered to me.  I wasn’t after the “dream wedding”, but rather, the dream marriage.  And I have it.  Nothing could have changed the way I felt holding my dad’s arm walking down the aisle to marry the Artist.  Nothing.  I could have been wearing pyjamas, and I still would have felt the same.  I get a little teary every time I think about it, I am so truly happy with my beloved Artist, there are no words to describe the feeling.

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On another note, Creemore was freezing!  It was so chilly I borrowed Char’s slippers.  They were pretty big on my tiny feet, but they were so fuzzy and warm!  They reminded me of the Smurfs.  And I only had brought 1 sweater, which wasn’t very thick, but I layered up.

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I even made some homemade peach popsicles, the same as on my previous posts, because they are my favourite snack, even when it is cold.  My mom had these moulds from my childhood, they were really tiny with little bears on the sticks.  She always made us homemade popsicles, the most common flavour being Tang.

 

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We did lots of eating while in Canada, and here are some spicy peanut kabobs I made when everyone else was having steak- I am not a beef lover.

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And then of course we did some camping with my parents and sister and brother-in-law.  The photos are dark, but this was Sherilee’s first time eating s’mores!  Obviously being the chocolate lover that she is, she loved them.  The 2 of us had them for lunch the next day 😀

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Pork souvlaki kabobs with BBQ roasted mini potatoes with cheese and sugar snap peas….not too bad for roughing it eh?

 

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My Artist is so good at making and maintaining camp fires.  Awww, look at that face!  I just love him so much ❤

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We woke up on the last morning to find some animals had gotten into our food, and left no trace of an entire loaf of bread!!!!!  So my mom improvised, and used hotdog buns to make grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.  I was a little skeptical, but everyone who knows my mother- don’t under estimate her 😉

 

 

 

 

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We went for walks, shopping, watched satellite TV (we don’t have cable, so we caught up on our favourite shows!), went sailing, driving, I practiced driving our standard car lots, met up with friends, went swimming, went to the beach, and countless other adventures.  We did lots of visiting with family, and friends.  Ate lots of good food.  Had countless great laughs, until my eyes watered and my cheeks hurt.  Great heart-to-hearts, conversation, and we even squeezed in a trip to the Creemore Farmer’s market (where we ate Mama Marie’s perogies, Angie’s Place jerk chicken, and a local farmers muffins and butter tarts- we were stuffed afterwards) and out for ice cream at Mr. Norm’s Nephew.  I even got to satisfy my poutine craving!  I am so lucky to have such an amazing family, everyone is so supportive and generous, and love the Artist like their own.

My mom is so thoughtful, she sent these home with us so we could have a little Canadian homey touch in our St. Louis kitchen.  We LOVE Swiss Chalet, but there are none here, so she bought us some marinade and dip.  And the cookies are not only delicious, but a chlidhood favourite with a wonderful nostalgia attached to them.  They remind me of bummin’ around at home in the summers outside on the farm, watering the garden with my dad when I was in my pyjamas and supposed to be getting ready for bed, and hanging out with my mom.  The Golden Graham bars are a new product that are a variation of a discontinued childhood favourite as well, bringing back the same great memories, and are of course delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have the best family.  My mom is like my best girly friend, my dad and I have the greatest talks about life, I enjoy just hanging out with my brothers and being goofy with Sean, I look up to Sherilee and Allan- you guys are so awesome I don’t even know where to start!  My aunt Char has been like a second mom to me, my grandparents are the most generous, supportive, hilarious people I know.  I love listening to their anecdotes about life, and learning about my family history.  I could seriously so on and on about each family member and how incredible they are, and the same goes for the Artist’s family.  But I don’t need to say it, you all know.  Thanks for a wonderful visit, we can’t wait for next time!

P.S.  It is still hot as heck in St. Louis!  I was sweating to death while unpacking…yuck.

A Stitch…

I have had a “stitch” in my upper side for 2 days now….it comes and goes.  I hate it.  It is on my upper left side and hurts when I take a deep breath.  I thought it was because I didn’t have any water and it was going on noon, so I started guzzling. But I have been being conscious of drinking more water for 2 days now and it won’t leave me alone.  I have also tried Advil, and taking a hot shower.  The hot shower seemed to work while in the shower, but as soon as I got out it was back.  It seems to alternate between being almost nothing, usually while sitting, to being quite uncomfortable.  And the worst part is, I can’t think of what I did to cause this.  Maybe I am just getting out of shape this summer because my normal exercise classes don’t start up again until September, and my lack of exercise is what caused it.  Ugh.  It is driving me crazy.  This is the longest “stitch” I have had I think, maybe it is from lifting weights on Friday.  Waking up this morning it felt completely better, but as I got my day going it creeped back.  Maybe I am just sleep deprived from these last few days of 6 hours or less of sleep per night.  And this, ladies and gentlemen, does not fly with me.  I need my sleep.  A good 8 hours minimum to function, but too many nights in a row of just 8 hours won’t cut it.  The perfect amount is 9 hours.  I feel refreshed and energized.  I have a zero tolerance to feeling sleepy the same way I have no tolerance for feeling hungry.  And if I am tired I can’t control it at a certain point….I will fall asleep on a bus, subway, in a car, on a couch, sitting up, laying down, in the middle of the day- anywhere, anytime.  If I am tired enough, I will sleep.

To get my mind off this lingering stitch, the Artist and I got some Pad Thai.  This place we have been going to for years whenever we are in the area serves the best Pad Thai ever.  It is the right amount of spicy and sweet, with the egg whisked in really finely (I don’t like big chunks), the noodle is not too skinny but not too fat either, and there are some delicious ground peanuts on top as the perfect garnish.  And the portions are large, so there is usually enough leftover for lunch the next day 😀  I love a good Pad Thai, and this hit the spot.

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The Artist also makes a really delicious version of this.  He is such an amazing cook, he can make italian, chinese, thai, and mexican dishes better then take out places.  Especially pastas, I don’t generally order them at a restaurant anymore because I always find myself thinking “The Artist can make this waaaay better at home”.  Although certain things are just better for take out.  A nice greasy pizza, or deep fried chicken wings, are among the best to order out.  But as for fine italian fare, the Artist is the best.  Typing that made me think of Kenny Bania on Seinfeld…”The best Jerry, the best!”

Here is one of my favourite pizza dishes the Artist makes, it is homemade dough (we have really been enjoying thin crust with our home made dough), homemade sauce, low fat mozzarella, basil pesto (often home made), baked chicken breast, and grilled red peppers.  Sometimes we add diced tomatoes too.

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And then we convert the flavours into a pasta dish, not using any tomatoes, and adding onions.

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The Artist also makes this really good brushetta and broccoli pasta.  He makes a home made brushetta topping of freshly diced tomatoes, olive oil, a splash of canola oil, loads of fresh pressed garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley.  He mixes it all up and it is so yummy on toasted baguette, so wonderfully fresh.  It is even good to “marinade” a little in the fridge, if you make it the day before you use it, the flavours really settle into one another.  But he boils some noodles and tosses them in this mixture along with baked chicken breast slices (we often bake a bunch of chicken breast with simple seasoning like just salt and pepper for example, and keep them in the fridge and slice off as we need them), and some briefly steamed or blanched broccoli.  I love my broccoli only briefly cooked so it is nice and super crunchy.  This is a favourite staple dish in our house.

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My Artist is such an amazing chef, he always cooks for us on special occasions, and a lot on weekends, and sometimes even lights candles for dinner, and serves me my plate all fancy looking like in a restaurant.  And then he cleans up and does the dishes afterwards!  He likes to spoil me, and I love to be spoiled.  We both definitely love being spoiled, as well as doing the spoiling.

I have the best marriage ever ❤

Botanical Gardens

The other day the Artist and I went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens.  We have been once before, and it is just beautiful.  It is so huge, that you definitely need to go several times to see everything, and I think having been twice we still haven’t seen it all.  The best part is, for residents of the city and county, which we are, it is free admission on Wednesday and Saturday mornings before noon.

We went the first time for the Artist’s birthday.  I know, we got in for free, but it was still his present from me.  It was the thought that counted, and when I realized it was free it was just a bonus.  The Artist had been curious about plants and gardening lately, so I thought he would really enjoy going- and he loved it.  Right away he started his own plants and reading all about the things he saw, and got super excited about it all.  This time when we went, he was an expert on a lot things, and I got a “free tour” of sorts.  He could name everything and tell me interesting facts about them, much like the style when we go to an art museum, he knows all the details.  He is such a learner, reader, and thinker on so many topics and such, it amazes me.  I love this quality about the Artist.  It is something that you don’t see too often, and I treasure it.  His curiosity is not only utterly amazing, it always awakes my own.  And I think that when 2 people really bounce off one another like we do, it is refreshing.  We feed off one another- with support, encouragement, motivation, and love.  The Artist says that I am so smart, he is just trying to keep up with me.  It makes my heart so happy that I make him feel motivated and determined.  But, that is also how I feel about him.  Which motivates me to take steps further in my own career and goals.  And this circle is always in motion.  But this particular day, it was curiosity that we were bouncing around, and it was great.  We had a great time.  Got some sun and fresh air, it was a nice leisurely, long walk through the trails, and we went out for doughnuts before hand, despite my last post about healthy living.  I restricted myself to just one.

There is this little local doughnut shop that is a big hit in St. Louis, called World’s Fair Do-Nuts.  So we decided to check it out.  By the suggestion of a friend, I tried the buttermilk cake doughnut, and the Artist tried a regular glazed, and a buttermilk cake as well, and got a coffee of course.  For 3 doughnuts and a coffee, it cost like $2.50.  So cheap.  This buttermilk cake doughnut was so mouth-watering delicious, it was gone in 2 seconds and I sad I didn’t buy more.  It moved me almost to tears- it was that good.

Here are some photos from our visit to the gardens.

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A crazy looking aloe plant.

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When these flowers grow, they become like a huge ball.

When these flowers grow, they become like a huge ball.

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A Cardinal.

A Cardinal.

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The Artist having his coffee.

The Artist having his coffee.

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These fish were huge.

These fish were huge.

The Artist capturing me at my surprise.

The Artist capturing me at my surprise.

These leaves were huge.

These leaves were huge.

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Dwarf pomegranate tree.  I want one!

Dwarf pomegranate tree. I want one!

These were gorgeous.

These were gorgeous.

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Beautiful area to walk in.

Beautiful area to walk in.

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Taking a break, it was crazy hot.

Taking a break, it was crazy hot.

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This building is super humid, is has lots of tropical plants and stuff needing high heat and humidity.

This building is super humid, is has lots of tropical plants and stuff needing high heat and humidity.

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And oh boy was it a hot one.  Lots of sweating and water bottle refills.  It was quite humid and sticky.  But we still have a fun time.

Nothing pleases me more then spending time together.  When it is time for special occasions and gift giving, I always say I don’t care what we do, eat, or even if we exchange gifts.  But it is the truth- I don’t care.  Just having the time together is what I am looking forward to.  The restaurant or the home cooking or the movie or place or whatever, is not important.  What is important is that I get to be with my Artist.  And the Artist feels the same way, he doesn’t care either- which makes for a long drawn out decision making process of what we will do because neither of us care about the where or the what, but rather, the who- that is, being with each other.

Almost a Year With my New Lifestyle.

It has been almost a year since I made a big change in my life.  About a year ago, the Artist and I were talking and we decided we wanted to get gym memberships at his school.  We had been doing “home workouts” here and there, and were really excited to start working out in an actual gym again.  I had been been a little displeased with my body, and found myself wondering how to maximize these workouts.  The Artist is an expert in all things fitness and food, so when we were talking he was able to explain to me how the body works with regards to eating and exercise- my mind was blown.  This conversation changed my life.  With the incredible knowledge the Artist had, I was able to re-evaluate my lifestyle and decide what I wanted to change.  We are such a good, supportive, encouraging team.  The Artist was supportive of me in my goals to change my lifestyle, and I couldn’t wait to get home to tell him about my workout or how I had improved on something, and he was so happy for me every time.  And I was encouraging and supportive of his workout goals too, and on the weekends we would exercise together.

So not only am I proud of my body, but I am proud of how I changed it- with a healthy lifestyle.  For me, it is not about how many calories I consume or how many hours I spend exercising each day, it is about where my calories are coming from and the type and efficiency of my exercise.  I eat like 5-6 times a day LOL!  I treat myself about once a week, and try to do a variety of exercises including strength, cardio, core, and yoga.  I also like to do fun classes like kickboxing or zumba for cardio, I am not much of a runner.  Another goal I had was wanting to ride my bicycle more, so I rode it to and from each workout.  Even in the winter (in St. Louis…what winter? HAHA!).  It has taken a long time, weight has come off slowly, but that means it will be off forever, because I have a whole new outlook on food, exercise and being healthy.  Learning about foods and exercise and how they effect my body sort of “shocked” me into change.

So all in all, I have dropped about 20 lbs.  My pant size before: 14, other clothes: S-XL, weight: 170-175lbs.  My pant size now: 14 (maybe a 12 if they are stretchy), other clothes: S-XL, weight: 150-155lbs.  Now much change right?  Well actually, there is a huge change.  I have much more muscle, less fat, I am stronger, I have a lot more endurance and stamina, I am more flexible, and I have tons more energy and am often in a happy mood.  My body is very different, but based on the scale and my pant size, it doesn’t look like much.  Which is why I don’t pay too much attention to those, but going by how I feel- and I feel great.  Yes, some of my clothes are much too big to wear now, but mostly, my clothes fit nicer, my “muffin top” has shrunk, oh it is still there for sure, but definitely smaller. and I feel more comfortable and relaxed in my clothes because I am not constantly thinking my stomach is hanging out or having my pants dig in because they are too tight.

And just to make myself a little more proud, I continue to do all this while combating a pretty hefty thyroid condition and a little genetics, none of my female relatives have small frames, we are curvy 😉

I love how good I feel.  I love to exercise.  And I really love food.  That’s right, I ate/still eat pasta, pizza, etc. on a pretty regular basis, and I did not go running/jogging every day for hours, and I still lost weight.  But most of all, I love my Artist.  I am so lucky to have him as a coach, and to have shown me good fitness routines and eating habits.

I feel much healthier, and have more energy.  And therefore, the energy to embark on lots more fun adventures with the Artist.  ❤

I don’t have any “before” photos really, but here are some recent photos of me, down 20lbs and feeling great 😀

New Jammies :D

New Jammies 😀

Heading to the gym.

Heading to the gym.

Sewing project complete

Sewing project complete

The Zoo

The Zoo

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park

Moments That I Love.

I love our bed, and I love to sleep- it can be a dangerous combination.  It is just so soft and comfy.  Our sheets are soft, my pillow is fluffy, and we have an assortment of cozy blankets for all weather conditions.  I love all things that are soft.  I love blankets, pillows, teddy bears and all other stuffed animals.  I love the blanket section of stores.  I also love soft sweaters, housecoats, and robes.  And I love to be cozy.  There is nothing like waking up and your nose is freezing but you are cozy under the covers.  But the softest, coziest, cuddliest thing I love most- my Artist.  He is always so cozy warm, has the softest, smoothest skin, the nicest hair, and the best smell.  Yes, that is right- the best smell.  When we were first dating, he said to me “this is going to sound really weird, but you smell so good all the time”.  Since then, I began to notice how good he smelled so good all the time.  The combination of just him, plus his hair gel and any other scented things he used, is ultimate perfection.

So getting into a comfy bed at night, with soft sheets, fluffy pillows, cozy blankets, and resting my head on the Artist’s shoulder while he wraps his arms around me and I become engulfed by his huge chest, is a recipe for one of favourite moments.  He usually kisses my forehead, and we chit-chat a little, before surrendering to heavenly feelings of all the senses being pleased at once, and falling asleep.

We watch movies, TV, and the like, in bed, and quite often I fall asleep in the middle of it.  And then the Artist just turns it off and reads when he discovers me asleep on his arm because he says “he likes to watch it with me, so we can share the laughter, or whatever it is with that particular thing”.  But honestly, it is not that I am not enjoying the show, or movie, it is that I am so happy, relaxed, comfy, and feel so safe and secure that I can’t help it.  It is the most comforting combination for me.  When the Artist was away in New York, I felt like I had to sleep with one eye and one ear open.  Man, I sure missed him.  But he called me every night to tell me all about his day, tell me how much he loves and misses me, and wish me goodnight.

Here is a look at our bed with the new headboard the Artist made me for my birthday.  There is a home made card in the pillow, a new plant on my night stand, and a cold glass of lemonade waiting for me.  He gets me.

headboard headboard2

He wanted to give me this early, because the next day, my birthday, needed this to go with it.  Breakfast in bed ❤

birthday

Our old headboard was wobbly and had a shelf, so you couldn’t lean back on it like this.  I had been talking about that for awhile saying I wanted to be able to sit up and lean on it to use the breakfast tray and just be able to sit up to read or watch something.

The Artist made this headboard.  He spent a lot of time getting it just right, and sweating like crazy working with his tools in the spare room on hot days, and sneaking around so I wouldn’t know what it was.

Mornings where we don’t have to go anywhere are also another favourite of mine.  However, if one of us has someone to be bright and early, it is not the same.  You read how much I love sleeping and being cozy, but having to leave before the Artist is awake and miss “the morning Artist” is so sad.  The morning Artist is so cute and cuddly, I love it.  This morning was one of those mornings- no where to go right away.

I was up earlier then the Artist, and checked my email, etc. and then went in to wake him up.  The morning Artist takes a while before he can talk, and communicates with subtle things like nodding his head ever so slightly, twitching, and saying “mhmm” when I kiss his cheek or stroke his hair (as do I when it is the other way around).  He was laying on my side, as he frequently does when I am not in the bed, and so I crawled in behind him.  I gently wake him up with kisses, rubbing his back, and whispering.  At this point I am starving for breakfast, and you all know what happens when I get hungry.  I told the Artist I needed to go get something to eat, but whenever I say this, generally he doesn’t let me sneak out of his arms.  He holds on tighter and maybe wraps a leg or two around me as well.  All the while, his eyes are still closed, but there is an ever so slight mischievous smile on his face.  This is something that just amazes me.  Most adults, as referenced in the movie Step Brothers, “lose their dinosaur”.  They lose that mischievous look in their eyes and curious grins on their faces as they grow up.  But the Artist, well into his adulthood, has never lost his dinosaur- and has resurrected mine.  Now I am faced with the ultimate inner turmoil: food or cuddles?!  How can I possibly choose just one, especially when the Artist is signalling non-verbally that he wants to snuggle.  So I bring us blueberry-oatmeal muffins in bed, I decided to choose the best of both worlds.  The Artist became verbal, and we had a little sillyness session of giggling and witty banter before we got up for the day.  Sometimes, the Artist needs a drink or to use the bathroom before he becomes verbal, and he staggers out of bed, eyes still closed trying desperately to open them (but the brightness of the day prevents it), and messy hair before he flops back into bed.

But, the funny thing is….when he has somewhere to be early in the morning, he is up right away, showers, eats, gets ready and bam!– out the door in no time.

So I fetched him a breakfast of coffee, a large helping of plain Greek yogurt with blueberries, and a side of strawberries.

My favourite way to start the day.

I love my Artist.