thirty and thriving

when you’re a kid you can’t wait to grow up

well guess what folks, i think i can officially say i’m all the way grown

this weekend i turned the big 3-0. i thought i was going to have a hard time accepting this milestone, but surprisingly i am handling it pretty well

if you would’ve asked me way back then, i would’ve told you i wanted to be engaged by 24, have a year to plan the perfect wedding, and be married by 25. my husband and i would enjoy a year to ourselves traveling and being head over heels in love. i would have my first child, nicholas, at age 26, and my second child, gabriella, at 28. i would be a young, cool mom (not a boring soccer mom of course!) and i would live happily ever. then real life happened.

i spent 7 years in the wrong relationship. it wasn’t a bad relationship, i just always knew he was never “the one” and probably should’ve ended it way sooner than i did. ps: he now lives a quarter mile down the road from me with his girlfriend and daughter. yikes.

after that, i spent close to 3 years in another dead end relationship.

i didn’t even meet my soon to be husband until i was almost 27. kind of puts a damper on that fairy tale i had planned huh? lol

here are the revisions that have since been made…i just got engaged a few months ago. we will be saving for the next 2 years and have compromised on a reasonable wedding. depending on my age and how getting pregnant/being pregnant goes for me, we may have one child or possibly none at all.

i go to work. i pay my bills. in my free time i read, blog, run, and sew. if i’m feeling froggy i might have a bowl of ice cream or a glass of wine after dinner.

i don’t party like a rock star or drink myself stupid on the weekends. i don’t drive a luxury car, over spend on clothes or get botox injections, lol.

i no longer compare myself to my neighbors, my coworkers, or women in magazines. i’m just humble little old me, and it feels greater than expected. i am discovering new things about myself every day, and pushing myself to be the best i can be.

my family is nearby. they are all healthy and happy. i have an amazing fiance and a handful of very supportive friends. in short, life is good! my heart is so full, and i am so thankful for all that i have been blessed with.

i am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. everyone always says if they could go back they would do certain things differently. and i used to be like that too. but i now know that i had to go through all of those tests and trials to be where i am, and who i am, today. so, from here on out, i strive to accept things as they are, have faith that they will work out as they should, and enjoy the little things.

have you ever heard that song by tim mcgraw called “my next 30 years?” if not, go give it a listen. i think that should be my new mantra.

as always, i want to thank you for taking the time to read what i have to say. i’m not a writer by any means, just an ordinary girl. i look forward to what the future holds for me…even if that just so happens to be a boring soccer mom ;)

#watchout30 #thisis30 #lifeisgood


ultimate 30 before 30 reading list

here is a break down of the 30 books i’ve just completed. some books are listed in more than one category. thanks so much for following along on this journey with me. so happy i achieved my goal! it appears that young adult seems to be my favorite genre. hmmmm, what does that say about me? lol


a girl named zippy

history of a suicide

stealing buddha’s dinner

heaven is for real


young adult

tell the wolves I’m home

forgive me Leonard peacock

the fault in our stars

somebody up there hates you

3 willows


to all the boys I’ve loved before

side effects may vary

gathering blue

we were liars

everything I never told you

dash and lily’s book of dares

th1rteen r3asons why

poisoned apples



the time keeper

the storyteller

the night circus

gone girl

the red tent

turn of mind

the husband’s secret

the orphan train

the rosie project

mr. penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore



chick lit







the time keeper

the red tent

heaven is for real



a girl named zippy

the rosie project




the storyteller

the orphan train



history of a suicide


books about suicide

history of a suicide

forgive me leonard peacock

everything I never told you

th1rteen r3asons why


books about cancer/illness/disease/disability/impairment/etc.

tell the wolves I’m home (HIV/AIDS)

the fault in our stars (Cancer)

turn of mind (Alzheimer’s)

somebody up there hates you (Cancer)

wonder (Facial Deformity)

side effects may vary (Cancer)

the rosie project (Autism/Asperger’s)



turn of mind

gone girl

the night circus

the husband’s secret

we were liars


books abandoned in the process

i will plant you a lilac tree

the raven boys

every day

the unlikely pilgrimage of Harold fry

seating arrangements

why men love bitches

where’d you go bernadette

me before you

oliver kitteridge

the light between oceans

(and many, many more i can’t remember)


books made into movies/will be future movies

the fault in our stars

the night circus

gone girl

heaven is for real

th1rteen r3asons why




poisoned apples


part of a series

gathering blue


if i could only recommend one book out of these 30, it would be, “we were liars,” as that book intrigued me the most while reading it, and left me with the most questions afterwards.




SSDD (same stuff, different day)

sorry i’ve been mia, but i haven’t really had much new to report…

as of late, we are pet sitting my parents’ dog, sydney. really she is the family dog, because i grew up with her, and even suggested her name (insert kuddos here), but now that all of us kids are out of the house, it’s just my parents and sydney. she is an amazing hunting dog; she won several awards in the class she took. the instructor even wanted to buy her, but we weren’t going to let that happen. more importantly, she is just a sweetheart. my  mom sent me this picture when she was on the way to our house, lol


she has a lot of energy and needs a ton of love. she is really shy and doesn’t like to look at the camera when you try to take pictures of her; however, i forced her into some selfies after she and i went on a morning run lol


it has been very hard getting my sewing done with her around, because she literally likes to sit right on top of whatever i am trying to do. needless to say it has been the sydney show for the last couple of days!

as always, i’ve been trying to maintain my weight loss, and lose even more. here are some progress pics i posted a while ago


on instagram i shared that this shirt was snug when i graduated from iu in 2007, so i never really wore it. i’m proud to say it fits perfectly fine now, and i even have some wiggle room! i also fit into some EXTRA small tshirts i wore back when i was on the rowing team at iu. that was an awesome moment.

homecoming was actually this weekend, but obviously we didn’t go…which was just as well, because we got our butts kicked by the spartans! boo!


this weekend i posted this picture on instagram


here is that caption i put under it:

the picture on the left is from summer 2012. besides the fact that bangs look God awful on me, take a look at my face, neck, and arms. the picture on the right is from today; same dress, fall 2014. i feel like so much has changed for the better #onestepclosertomygoal #weightlossjourney #oldnewclothes

between instagram and facebook i’ve gotten over 120 likes, and several comments. you all really know how to make a girl feel good about herself! i honestly couldn’t keep up with this without the love, support, and encouragement of my friends and family, it has been such a rewarding experience.


here is the next challenge i am setting for myself. i have also recruited brian to participate, but we shall see if he actually sticks wit it


speaking of the handsome devil, we had a nice relaxing weekend together. we were supposed to go to the pumpkin patch, but it started raining pretty bad, so we decided to wait. we went to lunch instead, as i felt guilty leaving sydney at home alone for too long


that’s my future husband y’all! isn’t he the cutest?!

and i hate to end on a sad note, but today is the day i lost my father, 7 years ago. i wish smart phones were around back then, because we don’t have many pictures together, and i really regret that now. i miss him every day. sending love and hugs up to heaven



love is in the air!

this weekend we attended the wedding of our good friends kara and elliott. the event was right after work on friday, so luckily my co-teacher decided to be nice and help me out by doing my hair on our lunch break.


we went to the party store to get our students some whistles, and we had a little too much fun while we were there. now we are ready for someone to invite us to a masquerade ball, lol. i love working with her, there are constantly laughs coming out of our classroom!


we had home visits all day, so my ghetto self had to finish getting ready for the wedding in a starbucks bathroom. eek! lol


you know i am a picture fanatic so i made brian participate in the selfie taking too

wpid-img_20140919_162852.jpgyeesh look at those crows feet! i’m getting old :(

the wedding was in downtown indy…the ceremony and cocktail hour were outside and the view of the skyline was amazing!


here’s another one, just because


they also had a photo booth with props, and you know how much i love those! we both decided to don wigs and other hair pieces for the photo shoot, lol. too much fun!


here i am with the blushing bride…she is such an amazing lady!


but the highlight of the evening for me was really my dress. ok, not my dress per say, but more so what it represented. i apologize if you already had to read this on my instagram, but i’m going to write about it again…

as you know, i have been working hard to eat right and become more physically active. here, side by side are pictures of me from june (left) and from friday (right). in just three short months i have lost 16 pounds. for my little sister’s graduation, i had to buy a size 16 dress, the heaviest i have ever been. that was an all time low for me. that is when i decided i needed to make a drastic change, and fast! i began counting calories (1200 a day) and trying to run or do some sort of sustained physical activity (to raise my heart rate) at least 3 or 4 times a week. when i was in maryland for my cousin’s wedding a few weekends ago i bought a new dress for kara and elliott’s wedding…it was a size 10! i’m still not where i need/want to be, but i am still very happy with how far i have come so far, and am never looking back! if anything i am a happier, healthier version of me. i posted the picture on both instagram and facebook, and have almost 150 likes and several encouraging comments/compliments. i thank you all so very much for putting up with my million pictures, blog post, complaints, etc. you all keep me motivated and staying strong!


as always i like to share a little humor. i saw this shirt on instagram the other day and immediately laughed out loud. i’ve kind of been down in the dumps lately because i just can’t seem to get past a certain week on the couch to 5k running app. i hate running! i just can’t do it, and it’s just not my thing! currently i am doing intervals of running for 60 seconds and power walking for 60 seconds…for a total of 30 or more minutes. sometimes if i am up to it, i try to increase the running portions to 2 or 3 minutes at a time. although i’d like to ultimately be able to run consistently for 3 or 5 or MORE miles…and keep getting upset with myself that my stamina sucks so terribly…i have to keep reminding myself that it’s a process, at least i am trying and not giving up, and anything is better than sitting on the couch. it’s not about the number on the scale, or the number on my jeans, but how i feel and how i feel about myself. and right now, i feel pretty damn good! :P


we were supposed to go to a bridal show today, but since we won’t be getting married anytime soon, and i was feeling just overall stressed in general about everything from my job to the clutter in my house, we decided to just take it easy instead. we went to lunch at bdubs, did some chores, watched the colts game, and now brian’s mom is here helping us yet again with our landscaping, because you know there is nothing green about my thumb!


other than that, it’s back to business as usual tomorrow…boo. my little sister was in town this weekend from purdue, but she went to a concert with her best friend, and had to be back early today for an intramural soccer game, so unfortunately i did not get to see her :(

i’m getting old…weekends are just too short!

until next time,

c & b

is that a shot glass in your pocket, or do you want to marry me?!

without further ado, i’d like to finally announce the very special news that brian and i got engaged last wednesday!

wpid-img_20140903_211839.jpgit’s been a long time coming, and i am so impressed by all of the hard work and behind the scenes effort he put into making the proposal memorable. he’s not usually an over the top romantic person, but this time he knocked it out of the park.

we had been looking at rings for a LOOOOOONG time. a very long time, lol. i’m pretty picky, and we aren’t millionaires by any means, so between my taste and his budget, it wasn’t going to be a quick find.

after awhile we got smart and started shopping online instead. we realized you could get a much bigger/better diamond for way cheaper, leaving more money to spend on side stones and the matching band. at the end of july or beginning of august we sat down and got really focused, and agreed on two different sets we really liked.

after that, i went into the craft room to sew, and i think brian played video games or something. unbeknownst to me, he purchased the ring he knew i favored over the other right then and there! he told me that he had to wait to see if he was approved for the credit card or not.

the next day at work i was SO excited, i showed some of my coworkers the ring i was hoping to get…but to my horror, it was gone! i was so distraught and upset i texted brian right away to let him know the sad, sad news. he was very comforting and reassured me that we could pick out something else i would like just as much, but i wasn’t convinced.

when he received the actual credit card in the mail a few days later, i was still bummed and in no mood to go through the process of looking for yet another ring, only to get my hopes up again. i told brian that at this point he knew well enough what i liked, and i no longer wanted to participate in the shopping. (how evil genius of him to lead me on like that huh?!)

every once in a while i would ask him if he had picked out a new one yet, and he would say no i’m waiting for you to do it. this went on for a few weeks, me getting even more upset in the meantime, but trying to trust God and His timing. REALLY been trying to work hard on that!

wpid-img_20140904_192542.jpgin all of this time, brian had talked to not only my parents, but also my brother, my sister, and my best friend! he asked everyone’s permission, and i think for a few helpful pointers from my best friend too ;)

after the fact, brian told me that he had planned to propose to me at home, in indiana, but my parents wanted him to ask my grandparents for permission as well, before popping the question. he thought about either doing a scavenger hunt with one of our close family members or friends at each new location, or somehow leading me to a surprise party at our close friends’ house with all of our friends and family watching while he proposed. either of those would have been lovely. see, i guess he can be romantic sometimes when he puts his mind to it huh?!

wpid-img_20140903_180949.jpgfast forward to our recent trip to maryland. one of my cousins was getting married, and we decided that since we would be driving up for that anyway, we might as well make a vacation out of it.

my grandparents, and three sets of uncles/aunts/cousins live in maryland, and my other aunt and uncle from florida were in town for the wedding too. we got together quite a few times and it was a lot of fun! wish i lived closer to them all!

on tuesday night, we took my grandparents out to a vietnamese dinner, and i presented them with the surprise quilt i had been working on for them. they kept hassling me about my age, and us about when we were going to get married. when i slipped off to the bathroom, brian took the opportunity to ask them for their blessing, and now he was all set!

wpid-img_20140830_180030.jpgwpid-img_20140830_180104.jpgwhich leads us to the big day…my other cousin works in D.C. and is very familiar with the area. she had the day off and agreed to be our tour guide, which was already awesome, because we didn’t know the first thing about taking the metro or how to efficiently see all the sights in one short day.

IMG_0047IMG_0051brian and i have a shot glass collection. although we haven’t been to many places together (yet) we try to bring one home from every interesting place we travel. before lunch, we stopped by the visitors’ center to shop for our new keepsake. there were actually two we liked a lot, but being the frugal person that i am, i said we really only need one, and we could get another one from baltimore. after much debate, we finally agreed on one, and were on our way.

wpid-img_20140903_112901.jpgat lunch, sitting next to brian in a small booth, i felt the shot glass in his cargo pocket pressing up against my leg. instinctively, i reached out and felt it…only i didn’t just feel one box, i felt two! the first place my mind went, was that brian broke down and bought both shot glasses, lol. so i asked him, “what’s in your pocket?!” he of course said, “the shot glass.” and i said, “but i feel two!”

after being together for quite some time now, i can read his face pretty well, and i knew something just wasn’t right. something was up! but again, i thought he felt guilty for purchasing two shot glasses, when we had made the decision to stick with one. he told me to leave his pocket alone and finish my lunch.

knowing that we still had a lot of walking ahead of us, i went to the restroom before we left. i guess this was brian’s opportunity to fill my cousin in about the real contents of his pocket, about his grand scheme, and to request her help.

after lunch we went to a few museums, but were getting pretty tired. as we headed back to the metro station, my cousin “suggested” the botanical gardens. brian already knew from talking with my best friend beforehand, that i really wanted to go to the botanical gardens. i thought they were beautiful and would be very romantic. it didn’t take much to persuade me.


IMG_0097all of the monuments and museums closed at 5:30 pm, but for some ODD reason, the botanical gardens closed at 5, and it was already about 4:50, not leaving us much time. brian’s mom is a master gardener, and didn’t get to see the gardens when she went to dc. so here i am trying to get pictures of orchids, and lilies, and all kinds of gorgeous plants and flowers to show her. little did i know that brian was trying to look for a specific location in the gardens that he had seen online.

IMG_0119there were different rooms you could go into, such as the rainforest, or the medicinal, or the fragrance room…all i remember brian saying is, “well we aren’t going into the desert,” lol. the overhead speaker came on informing us that the time was now 5 o’clock, and we needed to exit. my cousin said, “what? it’s only 4:55.” lol

i’m trying to hustle up and get on out of there when brian grabs my arm and says, “stop! come here!” i try to shake free and am like what?! we’ve gotta go! the next thing i know he is handing all of our stuff to my cousin.

due to a time crunch, the actual proposal was very short, sweet, and to the point. and of course i was so elated i can’t remember the SPECIFIC words, but it went a little something like this:

“the reason you felt two boxes in my pocket at lunch is because i’ve been trying to hide this from you all day. (here is where he pulled out the ring and dropped to one knee) i love you very much, i always have and always will. will you marry me?” or something like that! of course i said yes! no i did not cry lol, mostly because i felt like security was going to bum rush us at any moment, lol. i immediately took off the ring he had gotten me for our anniversary, put on the new one, jumped up and down, and gave him a big hug and kiss! true story.

wpid-img_20140904_085059.jpgwpid-dsc_6353.jpg wpid-dsc_6354.jpgwpid-dsc_6364.jpg wpid-dsc_6365.jpg wpid-dsc_6366.jpgi really wish i would’ve looked CUTER for this event!! but having these photographs means so much to me nonetheless, lol. yes i know i have on a diamond shirt…no i didn’t do that on purpose lol but it was pretty convenient ;)

wpid-img_20140903_211933.jpgbrian said he didn’t know if he was going to do it while we were in dc, or while we were by ourselves in baltimore. but since i “found” the ring, he knew he had to do it sooner rather than later, and having my cousin to photograph the event was priceless. plus he ended up getting sick for the next two days and we never went to baltimore, so i guess everything happens for a reason!

it’s funny because every time we went into a museum, we had to go through a metal detector. brian always went last, which i thought was just him being a gentleman. luckily i was distracted with sending my own purse down the line and retrieving it to keep track of what brian was doing. he had to continuously take the ring out of his pocket and hide it in the camera case, then explain to the security guards what he was doing. he would then go to the bathroom to put it back in his pocket, in case i wanted to use the camera. all day long i thought he either had a super weak bladder or a case of the bubble guts. lol!

IMG_0031we are beyond thrilled to be engaged, and to be able to call each other husband and wife soon. we are blessed to have such supportive family and friends. thank you so much for all of your kind words and warm wishes we have received already! we hope to get married next september…but being catholic has a lot of requirements, and due to our current financial situation it’s looking like it will probably be two years :(

now vacation is over, and we are back to the daily grind and routine…but every time i look down at my finger, it brings the biggest smile to my face.  ps, here is my amazing ring! it’s an asscher cut, which is essentially a square emerald…not to be confused with a princess cut! don’t mind my chubby finger haha

IMG_0105lol ok just kidding obviously! that’s the hope diamond!

wpid-img_20140903_181827.jpgi’m trying to enjoy the excitement a little longer and not allow myself to get too stressed…after all, the most important fact remains…i get to marry my best friend and everything will work out in the end!

<3 c & b



ice, ice, baby

well, i was hoping i would luck out and not get nominated for the als ice bucket challenge, but unfortunately i did lol. it’s not that i don’t want to help raise both awareness and donations for the association, i just didn’t want to get drenched with ice cold water…and i knew brian would have way too much fun at my expense!

in other news…

this was the first week of having students again, and it was tough! and i got sick after only 3 days with them! on friday night i decided that i needed to have fun! not worry about counting calories, not stressing about work, just kicking back and relaxing. brian and i made pizza and played donkey kong and it was the best!

wpid-wp-1408908067687.jpeg wpid-wp-1408938914113.pnggotta admire that concentration haha

 on saturday i ran. then i worked on a quilt. then we went to a few stores so i could try to find a dress for my cousin’s upcoming wedding. no luck. we ate at olive garden and came back home. that was about it lol.

oh! kohl’s was one of the stores we went to. i found a scale on sale for $20, and had a $10 off coupon, so it ended up only being $10. i thought that was a great price for being a nice, glass, digital scale. i’ve never owned one before, so hopefully i don’t get obsessed, especially with all this weight loss i’m trying to do. which leads me to some good news…i have now lost 14.5 pounds!!

wpid-wp-1408908089232.jpegcan i please use this picture again because i’m just so thrilled that i am now on the third tier?! still have some work to do!

fattoday i did some more crafting, made a roast in the crockpot for tomorrow night’s dinner, ran again (tried different intervals today and liked it way better! and even got a bit of a tan while i was at it, lol), did laundry, babysat, and went grocery shopping. (well brian did those last three things with me)

 and completed the als ice bucket challenge (strategically done after my run in 88 degree weather, lol)

now i’m beyond tired and am headed to bed. only 5 work days until i am off for 9 whole days!! i think i can, i think i can!

c & b


Making :  lots of progress with my reading goal!
Cooking :  lots of things with fresh veggies from ashlee’s garden. up next, zucchini brownies!
Drinking :  lots of water. shocked right?!
Reading:  just finished “everything i never told you,” book 23 on my quest to finish 30 before 30. don’t know what to read next. suggestions??
Wanting:  to live closer to my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents
Looking:  for new chicken recipes!
Playing:  the music video for “all about that bass.” LOVE that song!
Wasting:  plastic water bottles :(
Sewing:  anything and everything!
Wishing:  for a bigger house, with a bigger/better craft room, and more storage room, especially in the kitchen!
Enjoying:  orange is the new black
Waiting:  for labor day, when our week vacation to washing dc will begin!
Liking:  my new classroom and how great it looks! (will post pics in a later post)
Wondering:  how my baby sister is going to do at purdue
Loving:  losing weight and feeling great about myself!
Hoping:  i can keep up with the couch to 5k app
Marveling:  at how time flies
Needing:  to save more money for future goals
Smelling:  eucalyptus mint. yum!
Wearing:  a new dress. and a size smaller at that!
Following:  a million people on instagram
Noticing:  more and more gray hairs. ugh!
Knowing:  he loves me!
Thinking:  i need a mani/pedi
Bookmarking:  new blogs to read
Opening:  lots of emails. trying to keep my inbox uncluttered
Giggling:  at brian’s doing the als ice bucket challenge
Feeling:  anxious about my first day with new students tomorrow

this weekend we took my baby sis out to eat for a belated birthday dinner. we made a quick stop at gardenridge to look for a few things, and my mom goes, “let’s take a selfie.” LOL

wpid-wp-1408326424519.jpegthen today we dropped her off at college :'( here’s my mom testing out tori’s new bed in her dorm. she said it was actually pretty comfy lol

wpid-wp-1408326416731.jpegapparently tori’s RA loves pokemon, because these are the signs she made for the girls’ doors, lol

wpid-wp-1408326410147.jpegi’ve been feeling pretty good about myself lately. at the school where i teach, they make us have a photo shoot every so often. the last two or three i did were hideous, and i was determined to make this one cute for once. the theme was “back to school, nerd/geek/dork/etc.” here’s me on the way to work with curly pigtails and glasses. my smurf shirt says, “geek is the new chic,” lol. once they “release” the ones we took, i will for sure share them here. they were pretty fun to take!

wpid-wp-1408326438579.jpegparent orientation was the same day, and although many of my fellow teachers told me that my hair was cute, and to keep it that way, i decided to change into a more professional look, lol

wpid-wp-1408326455167.jpegone of the dads asked if i was going to be teaching the kids spanish…ugh! i’m asian people!!

and finally…the other day at target i found a really cute dress at a really great clearance price. the only problem…it was a size smaller than i usually wear. today, i went to a baby shower and decided to try it on…

wpid-wp-1408326397065.jpegblack is slimming, but i am 12 pounds down now, and still going strong! i had lunch with a friend the other day that i hadn’t seen in a while and she said that even my neck looks smaller. what?! lol. at least it’s a compliment i guess. and tori’s best friend said my arms look smaller too. love it when other people notice my progress. makes me feel awesome!