December 19, 2010

Erin & Laura enjoy some Christmas Fun!

Yesterday I was able to enjoy a day of Christmas Fun with my sweet friend, Erin! She had received 2 free tickets to the Dallas Arboretum, so we decided to go check it out.

Even though a lot of the plants looked dead since it is December, Erin and I enjoyed walking around and just talking. We visited the Bamboo forest, the ponds and foundations, and the DeGoyer House which was decorated beautifully for Christmas.

And we even managed to find this tree that still looked relatively alive!

After the Arboretum, we headed out to lunch and were able to catch up there. Then we tried to go to the Allen Outlet mall. After spending 30 minutes trying to find a parking spot, we got to walking around and found that the store we needed had a huge line just to get in. We decided it wasn't worth braving the crowds any longer!

Then we headed to the Courtyard Theater to see the Nutcracker featuring these 3 beautiful girls:

One of my youth had the main role of Clara in this year's show and her younger sister played several dancing roles. Their middle sister was in the beginning party scene and was part of the Glee Club that serenaded us with Christmas carols prior to the show. It was so fun to see the ballet and all of the little kids in the roles of Mice and Angels were absolutely precious! It was such a fun Christmas show to see!

Then we were able to go back to Erin's and just hang out and spend some more time together. It was a wonderful day with a sweet friend!

Now 2 more days of work and then Christmas Vacation!

December 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

So I am aware that New Years is still 1 month away. But today begins a new year for me. I've blogged a little about my weight loss journey over the last year. It all really began last fall. I looked at pictures of me and knew I was unhealthy and finally saw it reflected in those pictures. And as much as it was a New Year's Resolution to lose weight, it was really the thought that I didn't want another birthday to pass without getting in shape.

I was also reminiscing about all the times I've said this before. Each year I wanted to look better by my birthday... but I continued to not make the changes that needed to be made. So here is a little walk down memory lane and all that is behind me for good (even though these birthdays were all WONDERFUL!)



I am starting off this year of being 25 skinnier than I have been since probably the middle of High School. Even my formal dresses from High School are too big. And even though I still have 5-10 that I would like to lose... I feel great and am so excited to see the hard work and changes of this year.

And now to celebrate another year with my sweet friend, Erin!

November 17, 2010

Pies, Pies, everywhere!

16 Teenage and Preteen Girls
8 boxes of pie crusts
10 apples
2 lbs of Peaches
4 cans of cherries
sugar, brown sugar, flour
cinnamon & oats
lots of butter
48 Pies in a Jar!

Last Sunday the girls from our youth group made 48 pies in a jar (cherry, apple and peach) to be sold the next 3 weeks at our their bake sale. Hoping to raise money for the youth mission trip next summer to the Behavioral Health Hospital in Arkansas. They put in a lot of hard work (and had a lot of fun) and the pies turned out wonderful!

Stay tuned for a weekend post about the homemade cinnamon rolls I am making for the sale :)

November 16, 2010

Erin and Laura watch some Baylor Football

So I have said before that I am a big fan of going to football games on Fall weekends. I grew up spending all Fall at the stadium and love the opportunities I get to watch games. This season has been a fairly exciting one for my Baylor Bears. The most exciting part for me hasn't necessarily been the wins (though those are great!) but the fact that our games have actually been on TV! I love spending Saturday afternoon or evening watching Baylor Football. So when my friend, Courtney organized a trip to Waco for the Baylor/A&M game I knew I wanted to be there!

We got into Waco Saturday afternoon and were able to spend some time on campus and at the Spirit Shop before heading to the stadium. After getting some dinner, Erin and I found our way to the stands and posed for some pictures :)

Erin was very excited to Sic 'em! :) We even had half of the game where we were really excited about the score, and we just won't talk about the other half!
Sweet Courtney is always waiting for her appearance in the "Erin & Laura go..." series. It was so fun to get to spend time with her this weekend.

We had a great time going back and enjoying the game! And I look forward to cheering on my Bears this weekend against OU--from my living room.

November 3, 2010

October 23, 2010

Exciting Weekend

It has been exciting around here this weekend!

Last night the Texas Rangers made their playoff history by beating the Yankees and putting themselves into the World Series! I have never been a big Baseball fan, but it is still very exciting for the Rangers to have made it this far.

Mama Reed loves the Texas Rangers and we often go to games together, so I was even more glad that she and my brother and sister-in-law were able to go to the game last night and be there for the history making moment. My mom sent me this picture that she took after the game:

And this weekend was also Baylor Homecoming. Since I had the opportunity to see the Bears play at the Cotton Bowl a few weeks back, I decided to forgo the trip to Waco for Homecoming this year. Just in the last few days I started getting very sad about missing it, but I was cheering on my Bears from home!

After a long weather delay of the game, Baylor beat Kansas State 47-42 for their 6th win this year (and to give them a 3-1 conference record) making them Bowl Eligible for the first time in over a decade! Such an exciting night for my Baylor Bears!! And we still have some exciting games to come... 4 more conference games where we will face Texas and Texas A&M along with OU and OSU who are both fairly highly ranked. It should be an exciting rest of the season.

And hopefully the networks learned their lesson by not televising today's exciting game and I will actually get to watch the rest of the season unfold...but even if not I will be closely following the games cheering on those boys.

Sic 'em Bears!!

October 16, 2010

Erin & Laura go to the State Fair (again!)

The State Fair of Texas has been up and running again the past few weeks. The last time I went to the Fair was 2 years ago. And since it had been a couple of years, Erin and I decided it was time to head back. We decided to go a cheaper route this year and go on one of the deal days. So we looked at our Calendar and found the 1 free weeknight we had during the time the fair was open (yes, seriously). We gathered our Dr Pepper cans and went on Tuesday night for $3 :)

We started by splitting a Turkey Leg for dinner. Then we headed into the Car show and looked at some of the new cars. We made our way to the Midway and looked at the games and rides. We decided to skip the Texas Star (Ferris Wheel) this year for the cheaper option of the Texas Skyway. As you can see, we were very excited to ride the Skyway above the crowds:

Then we continued walking around to see what all of the options were for fried food. For a few minutes, we almost considered branching out and trying something different... But in the end we split the tested and true Fried Oreos & Funnel Cake.

It was a great night at the Fair! And bonus: we figured out that each of us only spent around $20 for parking, admission, ride and food!

October 10, 2010

The Cotton Bowl Hosts: Baylor vs. Tech

So I absolutely love to watch football. I have been going to football games for a very long time. My parents had season tickets to our High School games starting when my brother played on the team his sophomore year (which was when I was on 4th grade). So every weekend in the Fall from then until I graduated High School was spent at the football field.

When I went off to Baylor I loved going to the games (despite our less than perfect record). It always made for a great Saturday when we got dressed in our Baylor shirts and headed to Floyd Casey for the game. Now that I am not in Waco, I love it when I can occasionally catch the Baylor games on TV.

So when I found out they were coming to the Cotton Bowl, I was excited to find a way to go. So I called up my friend Kristen (who I haven't seen since graduation) and we made plans to go. It was exciting to be at the Cotton Bowl at to see the Sea of Green & Gold:

It was a very exciting game, but sadly my Bears lost in the end. They looked as though they might make a comeback, but no such luck. For most of the game it was a close score and it was fun to be at the game!

Here is my pre-game smile:
By the end of the game I was sunburned and my hair was up and my smile had faded a little. But it was a great experience... there is nothing like spending a Fall day at the Football Game.

It also made me very excited for my trip to the State Fair on Tuesday with Erin!

October 2, 2010

Waiting a Year for Cowboy Boots

This afternoon I bought something that I have been wanting for a long time. I am the proud owner of these cowboy boots:
I know it's not the best picture... but these boots are so much fun and I am excited to have gotten them just in time for Fall!

These boots may have seemed like a last-minute splurge, but let me explain the journey to get my new boots (I know this sounds ridiculous, but there is a point ;) )

A year ago I started a long road. I went for my yearly check up with my doctor and when I had to step on the scale, I realized I was the heaviest I had ever been. I was so upset with myself. I've never had a fast metabolism. I've been overweight since I was in High School and then college added on a few more pounds. But it really got bad once I got into the working world. Being on the road all the time I tend to not eat all that well. And in the Summer of 2009 my caseload at work spun out of control and I barely had time to sleep much less work out or plan good meals. And I am definitely a stress eater, so this stress led to me feeling like I could eat whatever I wanted. Not to make excuses, because there are none... this was just part of my journey.

So last October I went to my doctor and knew that I needed to make a change that I tried to make several times before. With my family history of illnesses, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. I knew if I didn't get things under control it could have a lot of bad consequences. From October until Christmas, I was able to lose about 5 pounds. Then in January I started really keeping track of everything I was eating and getting intentional about working out.

Part of my loss has been having small rewards for myself. I know that being healthier should be a reward in and of itself, but I needed an extra incentive. I love buying clothes and shoes, so I set goals where at each 10 pounds I lost I was able to use my gift cards from Christmas, or a few pairs of new shoes, or spend a certain amount of money on new clothes.

And since I have wanted Cowboy boots for such a long time (literally, I have talked with my friend Erin about wanting boots for years lol) I decided that once I reached my final goal I would buy cowboy boots.

As of 2 weeks ago I had lost 45 pounds since last October, and I made sure I had maintained that for 2 weeks before I let myself shop. So today, sweet Erin went with me to Cavender's and I bought myself a pair of Cowboy Boots.

As I said before, I love my new boots. But I also love the way I feel right now. I currently weigh less than I did even through most of High School. And me trying to make healthier choices has inspired others (such as co-workers and family members) to try to make lifestyle changes as well. Not that I have it all figured out! I still splurge on foods I definitely should not eat and have days where I do not want to work out. But I have tried very hard to be consistent and to take it slowly (um obviously, I think I just said it took a year... it could have been a much quicker journey). Making small changes and being conscious of what I am eating as much as possible.

I still have some toning and slimming down that I would like to do, but for the first time in a years I am at a healthy weight and I truly feel good about myself.

And I am super excited to wear my new boots... and knowing how hard I worked for them just makes it that much better.

September 26, 2010

Running and Walking

So I know I posted about my recent running adventures. I have recently found a track at a Community College near my apartment and it is perfect... and even better one of my co-workers lives in my apartment complex and wants to jog more, so we go together! Because I have a buddy, I feel safer going in the morning (when it's still dark) so I can get my workout in before work!

And today the cool Fall weather has finally arrived! So I took Allie for a nice loooong walk this evening. And I used my FitTrack App GPS to keep track of my pace and mileage. And I had a crazy discovery.

All of my jogs are still a combination of running and walking... 1.5 miles is the longest I've run consecutively, then I walk a bit and run again. I email myself my FitTrack results after each session to keep track of if I'm actually getting better... here is what I found:

One of my most recent runs I went 4.19 miles with an average pace of 10:47 (this includes my warm up, cool down, jogging, and walking between jogs)

Tonight's walk with Allie we went 6.43 miles with an average pace of 10:53

So why am I killing myself running? I walk so fast it averages out to almost the same pace... and I go longer because I'm not dying.

I still really enjoy the feeling I get when I run and how accomplished I feel. But it was also helpful for me to see this to know that it's okay if I just walk.

And on another note (not completely unrelated) how the HECK did Allie gain another pound since the end of August when we take 6 mile walks?!

September 24, 2010


Even though you might not be able to tell when you walk outside, Fall is officially here! This morning I went for a jog and it was before sunrise... Heat Index of 92 and 94% humidity. Seriously Fall weather, anytime you want to come would be awesome.

Although my favorite thing about Fall (the weather) is not quite here, many other things are! I love the changing of seasons every season, but there is something wonderful about the beginning of Fall.

After months of miserable heat and humidity and very little rain, there is a promise of relief! And as much as I love the relaxed days of summer, I also am a big fan of getting back on schedule with the start of Fall.

And the busyness has begun! Work is going strong, BSF started again last week and we are in full swing with our year at Youth.

I decided that my first change would be my blog design :) Decorating my apartment for Fall will come this weekend... and I am stocking up on supplies to make pumpkin muffins next weekend! I love fall baking (not that anyone should be shocked by this!). And I am excited to continue my jogging routine outside as the weather cools off!

On my walk with Allie tonight, there was a nice breeze and I was reminded of my awesome Creator who thought of seasons! A God who makes things new every day and gives us changing seasons to remind us of newness and give us a time to re-focus on Him. *Still I notice You when change begins* And I am braced for colder winds *I will offer thanks for what has been and was to come* You are Autumn*

September 11, 2010

Pies in a Jar follow up

So I had people ask me to let them know how the Pies in a Jar turned out. I finally baked one today and it is WONDERFUL! I baked one of the cherry pies and am currently eating it along with a mug of vanilla ice cream (yes I realize that is a Christmas mug and it's September... but I don't drink coffee so the only mugs I own are Christmas mugs).

I baked it at 375 for 50 minutes and it is perfect. I took it straight from the freezer (took the lid off) and put it on a cookie sheet in the preheated oven. So yummy!!

And I also decided to try out some 4 oz jars... so earlier today I made some pumpkin pies and blueberry pies. These ones are very little, but the jars were much easier to line with pie crust (since I haven't been able to find the 8 oz jars that are short and squatty) and I think 4 oz is a perfect individual size! :) Just thought I'd experiment a little with different sizes, but here are today's goodies:

I will admit that pie is probably not my favorite dessert... I would rather have cake usually. But I think these are sooooo cute and would make fun gifts. And on cold nights (which I am dreaming of today with our 103 degree heat index!) there is something wonderful about a warm dessert... especially one you wouldn't have to make up if you keep these stored in the freezer.

So for all who asked: the pies turned out GREAT! :) As I eat and share more of them, I'll let you know if any of the fruits or recipes don't work out as well as others!

September 5, 2010

Let me see if you can run it, run it

So I have recently started something new: running. Now I have tried to pick up running many times in the last 5 years or so. When I was in college there were several times that I tried to run on the treadmill or on the wonderful Bear Trail. And my senior year, our College Group's Community groups trained for a race and even with all of that I still could barely do half a mile.

Since graduating, I have tried at various points to build up my endurance through training programs such as the Couch Potato to 5k. I liked how I felt after I ran, but still pathetically I could never run for more than 5 minutes at a time. So I basically gave up on the idea of being able to run and focused on walking and other types of exercise.

Well at the beginning of August, I was on the treadmill at my gym and the program I was doing had a short jog in between the two walking hills and I realized I wasn't dying afterwards. So I tried a mile and made it! Since then I have jogged several times on the treadmill and built up to running 3 miles.

And today I jogged outside for the first time ever. There is a 2 mile bridge near where I live that is perfect for training and I ran 3.5 miles! There is nothing like turning on some fun music and just jogging! And it doesn't hurt that this was my view this morning:

I will still be continuing with my Kickboxing and Step Aerobics classes, but I am excited to add jogging into the mix too! And it definitely helps that I have sweet and encouraging friends who put up with me randomly texting and emailing my latest jogging accomplishments!

August 28, 2010

Pies in a Jar!

A few weeks ago, I went with our youth group's youth council to plan out our next year. One of the discussions we had was about fundraisers for our mission trip next Summer. In the past, we have sold cookie dough and coffee around Thanksgiving and Christmas time, but wanted to try something different this year. We discussed making and selling frozen pies for people to use around the holidays and that is when I remembered hearing about Pies in a Jar from Our Best Bites. I mentioned this to the youth and they thought it sounded fun.

So since I am home on a Saturday for the first time in 6 weeks, I decided I should test out some recipes to see how it all works!

I started with all of the necessary ingredients:
I made the Pie Crust. Then I cleaned, pitted, peeled, cut and diced all the fruit and made the fruit filling for Apple, Cherry, and Peach pie
Then came the fun task of filling the pies with the crust and filling
And topping them... I used 2 normal round toppers, crumb topping for 2, and I made a mini lattice pattern on one of the Apple Pies
Now they are stored safely in the freezer to bake at a later date:
And just because I'm all about the honesty and I always say how messy I am when I bake, I thought you might like to see what my kitchen looked like right before I put the pies in the freezer:

And I couldn't resist showing off one of the pies and my adorable apron that sweet Erin gave to me last fall:
I am so excited to dig into these pies one day soon!

August 12, 2010

Craziness and Clutter

So this summer has been a little busy with trips and activities and as a result my apartment has gotten a little out of control. So I had planned to spend my next free weekend (which I believe is on the 28th) doing some major cleaning and organizing.

One of the tasks for this weekend was going to be cleaning out my closet. I have so many clothes that I don't wear and it's become even more of an issue as some of my clothes no longer even fit. I have been excited about this task, but also a little anxious.

Well tonight I've been home doing laundry and getting ready for a retreat this weekend... and when I went to hang up my clean clothes I realized I was out of hangers! So I started by just folding up some of my shirts that I could... but then I thought about all of the clothes that are hanging up that I don't wear, so I took on the closet cleaning task a little early.

Here is a little peak of my evening:

What all I got rid of because it no longer fits...
And after:

(I know these clothes look very squished together... but that's how close all the clothes were before, so I felt it was the only fair representation)

Um yeah... I decided it was a good thing that I'm not planning to change jobs anytime soon because I have absolutely no dress pants or skirts... at all. The only pants I have that fit are my capri's and my jeans that I just bought last week.

It feels a little crazy, but so good. I have now officially lost 40 pounds since last fall and I have never felt better. I still have about 10 more that I would like to lose to be at my ultimate goal, but just seeing the difference tonight was huge.

I also went through a little moment of anxiety as I looked at the pile that no longer fits. Do I keep it stored away in case I gain weight again? Do I get rid of it and hope for the best? It's a little scary... but I think it's all going to get donated.

So that was my adventure for the evening. And after an hour and a half of trying on all of my clothes, I am absolutely exhausted! But so glad to feel a little de-cluttered

August 8, 2010

Girls' Weekend

I got to spend this past weekend with 2 of my very best friends! Both of these beautiful ladies are friends from Baylor and it was great getting to catch up with them. Nicki is in San Antonio for a couple of weeks visiting family, so Erin and I decided to drive down for a weekend with her.
It was such a great (but short) time with these wonderful girls! I loved it all. Late Night Talks, Early Morning Walks, Breakfast Tacos, Shopping, Dinner Downtown, Margaritas and Chips & Salsa, and lots of great conversation!!

I am so blessed to have both of these amazing girls in my life and am glad our friendships have grown even since our time in college.

It was a great and busy weekend. And today's drive home was kind of a beating... so now it is time for bed! (I know, pathetically early...)

August 4, 2010

Orlando Vacation

I spent all of last week in Orlando for a family reunion of sorts. My cousin Christy and her family are currently stationed in Japan for 4 years, so they took a 3 week trip to the states to see everyone. Since my Aunt's 60th birthday is this week (today actually!) we decided to take advantage of them being in town to all meet up for a fun trip!

We spent 3 days at Disney and it was so fun getting to see it through the eyes of the kids (my cousins' kids). Our first day was at Magic Kingdom where we:

Rode Rides
Waited in lots of lines
and ate lunch with the characters from Winnie the Pooh

Our trip also included lots of good food! Here is the only picture of all of us taken during the week (my cousin Rian was sick on matching shirt day at Epcot):
and just in case you are wondering... the wait time for a party of 17 at Olive Garden is an hour and a half, even at 9:00 at night

One of the coolest parts of the trip came on Thursday. My sister-in-law Aja and I dragged my brother to Universal Studios to see the new Magical World of Harry Potter! It was such a neat exhibit even though it was super crowded! They recreated all of the stores from the books and had a couple of rides--one that went through the Castle where you got to see all of the classrooms, and one that was riding with the dragons. I know we are huge dorks, but we LOVED it. We even got to have some frozen Butterbeer. It was so hot, but a fun day.

We also spent lots of time relaxing by the pool, eating (I think I mentioned that already?), watching movies, and hanging out. It was a great week with my family!