Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review!

This year was quite a busy year!  So many things happened in 2013, some good and some bad, but they all were memorable.  I think it’s important to remember not only the wonderful things, but also the not-so-wonderful things.  Those are what make the good moments much more precious and reminds us that life is to be celebrated and lived to the fullest.  Without further ado, here is my 2013 in review by category (because it’s just more organized that way :) ):

  • Celebrated my 2 year wedding anniversary
  • Rugby and Juno (our pups) both turned 1
  • Tantalum (our kitty) turned 2
  • Birth of my handsome nephew, Aiden
  • My younger brother graduated law school, passed the CA Bar, and got a job
  • Underwent a bone marrow biopsy and learned I have Familial Platelet Disorder with a Predisposition to Myeloid Malignancies (predisposed to MDS or Leukemia)
  • Had surgery for the first time and "went under" for the first time (completely unrelated to my diagnosis above, and I’m OK!)
  • Cousin graduated from high school and started college
  • Cousin turned 21 and the family went to Vegas to celebrate
  • Big brother got a new job in consulting that he loves
  • 1 year anniversary of my beautiful Mom’s passing
  • 2 year anniversary of my incredible Grammie’s passing

  • One of my oldest and dearest friends got married, and I was honored to be a bridesmaid
  • 2 friends got engaged
  • Lots of incredible dinners with friends

  • Attended to Lakers games
  • Attended Angels games
  • Attended Galaxy games, including the International Champions Cup tournament
  • Attended Ducks games including playoffs
  • Trained for a marathon
  • Ran my first marathon in memory of Mom while raising awareness and funds for MDS
  • Raised nearly $10,000 for the AA&MDS International Foundation
  • Had my first radio interview with 100.3 FM talking about the AA&MDS International Foundation
  • Rode our bikes during the summer to our local park for concerts and movies in the park
  • Learned to snowboard
  • Saw Justin Timberlake in concert for his 2020 Experience Tour

  • Traveled to Montana, Las Vegas (a couple times), Catalina Island
  • Drove cross country (south to north) on a 22 hour road trip, non-stop (and drove back)
  • Bought a new car (SUV)

  • Successfully completed some challenging projects at work and saw our company CAHPS scores improve significantly year over year because of those projects
  • Moved up the ranks on the FORTUNE 500 list

The Little Things
  • Organized our home office and guest bedroom (they were filled with boxes and donation items)
  • Started watching some awesome new TV shows like Breaking Bad, Masters of Sex, How I Met Your Mother; and kept watching amazing old shows like Dexter, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Walking Dead
  • Hubby and I got tattoos of a quote from one of our favorite books with our wedding date, “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite. 12-3-11”.  I got mine on my rib cage; he got his on his bicep.

What's Next For 2014
  • Hubby’s 30th birthday
  • More snowboarding
  • Iceland
  • Friend’s wedding in NYC
  • + more!!

Cheers to a memorable 2013!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Back in the Gym!

This past Saturday was my first day back in the gym since being cleared by my doctor on Christmas day to workout again.  I made it a leg day, and it was killer!  My heart rate got up to 185, and it felt so good!  Lifting weights and pushing my self again felt unbelievably rejuvenating.  My workout consisted of the following:

Warmup:  20 squats, no weight

15 squats with 40 lbs
10 standing hip extension (straight back) on each leg with 10 lbs
10 standing hip extension (angled) on each leg with 10 lbs

15 squats with 50 lbs
10 standing hip extension (straight back) on each leg with 15 lbs
10 standing hip extension (angled) on each leg with 15 lbs

15 squats with 70 lbs
10 standing hip extension (straight back) on each leg with 17 lbs
10 standing hip extension (angled) on each leg with 17 lbs

15 squats with 70 lbs
10 standing hip extension (straight back) on each leg with 17 lbs
10 standing hip extension (angled) on each leg with 17 lbs

20 single leg lunges on each leg with 30 lbs
10 single leg hamstring curls on a stability ball
Repeat 3x

Afterwards, I ran intervals for a mile and kicked my heart rate up to 190!
It was such an exhilarating workout.  The next day I was very sore and it felt great!  I love being sore from a workout because I know I worked hard and pushed myself.  I'm ecstatic to be working out again, and look forward to pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and get my muscles and endurance back :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

This Christmas was so wonderful!  My big brother flew out from TN and my cousin flew out from London (it’s been 5 years since she has been here)!  Christmas Eve is our big celebration which is always at my parents house.  The whole family comes over, about 20 of us, and Dad makes his famous spaghetti and meatballs, which is an old Italian family recipe.  The evening was filled with delicious food, lots of wine, many laughs and great stories.  Growing up, Santa always called our house so we could talk to him and tell him what we wanted for Christmas.  Well, all the “kids” in the family are grown up now, so Santa hasn’t called in years.  This year, however, my little cousin is 4 years old, which is old enough to talk to Santa!  So Santa called the house and my cousin spoke with him and told him what he wanted!  He was a little shy about it at first, but then his face lit up with joy and he told Santa what he wanted.  It was very exciting!  The night continued with more conversation, laughter, and music.
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
The next morning, Sean and I hosted Christmas breakfast, a tradition my Grammie used to do.  After she passed nearly three years ago, Sean and I took over the tradition.
Our Christmas breakfast table
After a hearty and absolutely delicious breakfast of baked eggs and beef hash with gravy, we gathered near the tree to open presents.  I love watching people open their presents and seeing the delight on their faces.  After breakfast, we went to my in-laws to celebrate Christmas with them.  After spending a wonderful afternoon with my in-laws watching the Laker game, talking, laughing, eating, and opening presents, my hubby had to go to work, and I went to my Aunt’s house for Christmas dinner.  Our Christmas dinner tradition is lamb, potatoes and broccoli…yum!

Then there were more presents!  The best part was watching my little 4 year old cousin open his presents one at a time with such poise and thanks.  My other cousin received a flabongo, which naturally we had to test out immediately:
Christmas Dinner
Testing out the flabongo with my brother and cousin
My husband and family absolutely spoiled me!  Here is a montage of some of the amazing gifts I was blessed with:

1. Sam Edelman boots.  2. Halogen polka dot wallet.  3. “I Don’t Sweat, I Sparkle” workout tank.  4. House Targaryen fade out tee (I LOVE Danaerys).  5. Purple gemstone earrings.  6. Multicolored gemstone necklace.  7. Polka dot iPad neoprene sleeve.  8. Motorcycle jacket.  9. Sequin “Pink” tee.  10. VS sweatpants.  11. Lululemon running top.  12. Chocolate button Ugg boots.  13. Nordicware waffled pancake pan.  14. “Keep Calm and Run On” tank.  15. Alice in Wonderland shoe ornament.  16. Mickey police officer ornament.

There were more wonderful things I received too.  Like I said, I was spoiled and yet I didn’t ask for anything this year…my hubby and family know me so well.

Another amazing Christmas present I received was my doctor’s clearance to work out again!  I haven’t been able to workout for a month, and boy was I getting antsy!  Needless to say, I went for a run and it felt so good!!  I really missed being able to go for a run or lift weights and I am extremely excited to get back to where I was fitness-wise.

Christmas 2013 was absolutely wonderful.  I love my family more than anything, and the holidays are all about family.  We remembered loved ones we’ve lost, and embraced each other extra tight.

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Always Thankful

This time of year is a time for reflection.  When I look at  my life, there is so much I am grateful for, and I count my blessings not only this time of year, but every single day of the year.  Some of the things/people I am grateful for are:

My Parents
For giving me the gift of life, and loving me to the fullest unconditionally.  I’ve always been crazy close with my parents, talking with them multiple times a day about important things and trivial things.  My Mom passed away last year, but during the 25 years we spent together we were best friends and had many many unbelievably fun times together.  She was kind, intelligent, giving, genuine, loyal, funny, beautiful, courageous, and so loving.  She was always there for me…she was my rock.  I miss her with all my heart every day.  My Daddy and I have always been close too and still are!  We have so much fun together!!  From cooking, to talking shop (we’re both Finance majors and have our MBA, and he was in the healthcare industry as I am), to traveling, to taking dance lessons together, to rockin’ out in the Vinyl Lounge at home, my Dad is one of the smartest, most fun, goofy men I know.  I love him to the moon and back!

My Hubby
My soul mate and everything bright in this world!  My husband is truly one in a billion, and I am the luckiest girl in the world to have him as my partner in life.  We have shared so many wonderful experiences together over the last seven years from the mundane of watching Walking Dead on our couch to the luxury of traveling to exotic locations abroad.  Each day is an adventure with him, and I look forward to all the future adventures life has in store for us.  I couldn’t imagine sharing this life with anyone but you my love!

My Family
Growing up, my family and I spent every Friday or Saturday at someone’s house cooking dinner, listening to music, and just hanging out.  Now that I’m older, not much has changed, and I love it.  My family is my rock, and without their love, support, comfort, and craziness, I would not be who I am today.  From our silly evenings at someone’s house to our travels together, I am so grateful for all our laughs, cries, singing, etc!  I love my family!

My Friends
My friends are true gemstones, and I know that they are there for me no matter what.  You know who you are.  Each and every one of you makes my life so much brighter, and I am so grateful for your friendship.  Some are close by, others across the country, but no matter how far apart, we always pick up right where we left off.

Our Furbabies
Our two puppies, Rugby and Juno, and our kitty Tantalum make our world so much happier.  Nothing beats coming home from a long day at work to three loving furbabies who are beyond excited to see you!  Their love is unconditional, and our love for them is unconditional.  They are our babies, and I can’t imagine life wihtout them.

My Health
Over the last couple months I learned that I carry a genetic mutation that my mom and grandmother carried, that predisposes me to MDS and/or leukemia.  I could be depressed and heartbroken and fall into a deep dark place thinking of a terrible fate, but that’s not who I am (there’s no room for negativity in my life).  Instead, I fill my life and heart with positivity!  I am grateful that I can breathe each day, that I can work out and push my body beyond it’s limits, that I can explore the world with through site, sound, smell, touch, and taste.  I am a very healthy 27 year old, and I’m going to be one very healthy 90 year old down the line!!

Our Home
We are so thankful that we have a roof over our heads and a place to call home.  We were able to buy a home two years ago, and it’s been so much fun remodeling and decorating and really making it “ours.”  This time of year is especially exciting because we have our Christmas tree (this year we bought a monster one at 11 feet!), Christmas decorations around the house, and Christmas lights outside.  It was so fun decorating for the holiday with my hubby while we listened to Christmas music :)

My parents always believed that travel provides knowledge, insight, and experience that cannot be obtained in a classroom.  Don’t get me wrong, school was always number 1 (I was always a straight A student and went on to earn my MBA), but seeing the world enlightens you in a way that is so profound and mind-opening.  I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world including, France, Spain, Italy, England, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and more!  We have several adventures planned for 2014 including Iceland!!  Stay tuned!

Education is embedded in who I am.  My parents gave me the gift of education, for which I will be eternally grateful.  I was always an over-achiever (and still am), and wanted to excel in school not only to impress my parents, but to give myself a sense of gratification in knowing I absorbed and learned everything I possibly could!  I recently earned my MBA, and I continue to look for ways to expand my knowledge and grow!  As cliché as it may be, knowledge is growth and knowledge is power.  Keep on educating yourself!

I am so grateful for technology on numerous accounts.  First, I am grateful for my iPhone and the ability to communicate in real-time with my family and friends around the country.  Second, I am grateful for the internet and social media for keeping me up to date on current events and acting as a tool for sharing my own stories like I am right here on this blog.  Third, I am grateful for medical technology to help fight diseases and find cures!

I love that I have a brand new and reliable car that not only gets me from point A to point B, but also carries our precious cargo with ample space (our pups love their car rides!).  This was my first car purchase completely on my own, and I am very proud of myself for that.

What can I say other than music is so fun!  I enjoy listening to and singling along with music in my car, during my workouts, and just singing and dancing around the house!  There is music for every mood, and it’s wonderful!

My Career
I am grateful that I have a job, and more importantly that it’s a job I love.  I have been with my company for nearly 5 years now, and I love each day.  I am tasked with many challenging projects, and I enjoy every bit of it.  My team is making huge strides and I couldn’t be more proud of our accomplishments!

Be thankful for all the blessings in your life this holiday season and always!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Iceland, Here We Come!!!

Back in November, I wrote about how 2014 is going to be a year of adventure for my hubby and I!  You may find that post here.  For the last couple months I have been looking into Iceland, a country filled with natural wonders and unmatched beauty.  One of my friends went there last year with her husband, and her stories and pictures were jaw-dropping!  I had to investigate further.  Just take a look at these pictures:
Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland
The Crystal Cave, Skaftafall National Park, Iceland
The Blue Lagoon, geothermal spa, Iceland
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Gorgeous!!  After seeing these breathtaking places and reading about them, how could we NOT travel here?  After all, we said 2014 is going to be our year of adventure!!!

I built our itinerary on Expedia and after a month of it sitting in the "Unbooked Itinerary" section, today we pulled the trigger and booked it!!  We are beyond excited and cannot wait to explore Iceland and everything it has to offer!

Cheers to our future adventures!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Very Busy Thanksgiving Week!

This year I didn't write a Thanksgiving post not because I didn't want to, but honestly because I was so busy.  Thanksgiving week was one of the busiest weeks I've had all year, and my time for writing a blog post slipped away.  My Thanksgiving week in a nutshell:
  • Friday 11/22:  My baby bro passed the CA bar! 
  • Saturday 11/23:  My big bro flew in for the week! 
  • Sunday 11/24:  Sibling night with the brothers celebrating big bro’s birthday and baby bro passing the bar!
  • Monday 11/25:  Doctor appointment then surprise birthday party for big bro with all the family!  This turned out to be one wild night!  So fun!
  • Tuesday 11/26:  My boss’s birthday celebration at work!
  • Wednesday 11/27:  JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE CONCERT!!  An early anniversary present from my wonderful hubby!!!
  • Thanksgiving Day:  Turkey Trot; Thanksgiving breakfast and Duffy boat ride to Mom’s spot; Thanksgiving cooking; Thanksgiving with my in-laws; then Thanksgiving with my family!
  • Friday 11/29-Monday 12/2:  Vegas with the whole family to celebrate my cousin’s 21st birthday, my big bro’s birthday, little bro’s bar passing, and Sean’s and my anniversary!
  • Tuesday 12/3:  Our 2nd anniversary!!!  Dinner at one of our favorite restaurants followed by a gondola ride through the canals while admiring Christmas lights!

Needless to say, it was one of the busiest and most fun-filled weeks ever!!  I love my family so much, and we always have the absolute best times together, and I am beyond grateful for that.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary!!

Happy 2nd Anniversary to my wonderful husband!!  I remember our wedding day like it was yesterday...it was crystal clear, the sun was shining, and I was so giddy with excitement that I could hardly contain myself.  Not much has changed since we said "I Do" two years ago.  I still get giddy with excitement over my husband.  I love spending time with him whether it's cuddling on the couch watching "Walking Dead" or "How I Met Your Mother", or a big adventure like traveling to Italy like we did for our 1st anniversary.  No matter how big or small the adventure is, it's the adventure of a lifetime, and I wouldn't want to share it with anyone but my hubby :)  He is the best husband I could have ever asked for.

Seven years ago we fell in love.
Three years ago he proposed, and I said "yes!".
Two years ago we said "I Do.
Here's to the many adventures we will share over the next 20, 30, 60+ years together!!

I love you baby!!  Happy Anniversary!!