12.19.2013

2013 | YEAR IN REVIEW

January
Dom and I got our first pet in January!  We brought home our precious baby hedgehog, Tate.  He liked to blog too!  Sadly, this little ball of spikes is illegal in PA, but he has a new home with a little girl named Emma and I know he gets all the love he needs!

February 
On the blog I reminisced about the day my life changed, and then somewhere around Valentine's Day I shared the meanest thing Dom ever did to me!!
March
There is no secret I love the Bachelor and Bachelorette.  Dom likes to keep it a secret, however he loves it too! So, I had a few cocktails and hypothesized about what Dom would be like if he were the Bachelor

We also made the most of our gorgeous weather and had an amazing weekend of Palm Beach living!

April
I MET ERIN IN DISNEY!  Is there anything better than meeting your bloggy bff in person?  Let alone in Disney?!

I also got accepted to the University of Alabama's Nutrition by Distance Program to start my journey to become a Registered Dietitian!
May
I celebrated my 24th birthday in the most incredible way possible.  Dom surprised me with the famous Sunday Brunch at my favorite place on earth, The Breakers!

June
Oops.  How about that month that I didn't blog?  Even though I didn't document it, June was one of my favorite months!  I celebrated my best friend's bridal shower and bachelorette party, as well as some great friends visiting us in Florida!

July
WOW.  What a huge month in our lives!  Early in the month Dom got into medical school (!!!) and we started planning our move to Pennsylvania.  Mid-July we flew up to NY for my best friend's wedding aka one of the best days of my life!
 
By the end of the month (23 days after getting his acceptance letter) we were all packed up and moved to our new tiny town of Hunker, PA! Population 329.


August
In August my family finally opened and debuted our newest venture, a rental property on my family's land in Puerto Rico!  I'm still gunning for a blogger retreat there.  Who's in?
August was also a hard month for Dom and me.  It was difficult adjusting to medical school, living in a new city, and completely starting from scratch.  I shared a little bit about what was on my heart that month in my post about not really knowing where "Home" is. 

September
In September I headed back to Syracuse for a weekend and spent a weekend going to country concerts, seeing my favorites, and wine tasting with my parents!  Just what I needed :)

October
In October Dom finished his 3 months of hell (aka the hardest 12 weeks of med school) and had his White Coat Ceremony! I was so proud!

November
November was a great month for friendships.
I visited my best friend in Virginia, and Dom and I hosted our first "Friendsgiving!"

December
This month we're celebrating the holidays in the cold!  It is kind of nice to snuggle in during the snow and enjoy the Christmas lights. :) I changed my blog name for hopefully the final time, and got some answers about my health

 I hope in the next few weeks of the year I get to see my family for Christmas and ring in the new year with all the people I love the most! 

12.16.2013

A Bunch of Random Thoughts

It's a list kind of Monday, so we're just going with that!

* This mug came this weekend, and I don't think its timing could have been better! Yes, it jumped into my bag when I was gift shopping on katespade.com.  I had nothing to do with it. 

* I would totally marry Phil Dunphy.  Is that weird?  If he was a real person, of course. 

* At the restaurant last night someone told me he hates skinny people.  How do you respond to that?

* I am writing this right before the Revenge winter finale and I am FREAKING out.  I have been waiting for this episode for so long!

* I will be in Puerto Rico in 2 weeks and I couldn't be more excited!  I need sun and vitamin D. STAT. 

* My finals are over and it is so exciting.  Except I'm just kind of really tired...but hopefully it will kick in soon. :)

* On Saturday I had my first real world snow day!  Little old people are afraid of driving in the snow (so am I, so no judgements) so I got called off from work since we would probably be really slow.  Hot chocolate and Legally Blonde on TV it was! I guess winter isn't so bad all the time...

*  Don't get too excited, I still wish I were in Florida.

* Sorry this blog post has absolutely 0 value...but I can't seem to stop typing random things.
 
* I am 95% finished with my Christmas shopping and it really feels amazing.  The only thing I need to do is wrap, which is the most fun part!  My best friend, Felicia, is an actual artist when it comes to wrapping!  My goal is to make mine at least look like someone over the age of 5 wrapped them.  And to schedule a lesson with Felicia for next year. #babysteps

*  Is there such a thing as too much hot chocolate? For real though...I drink a lot of it. 

* My baby fever is reaching new limits this holiday season.  Like, get in my belly.  For real though. 

* I skidded while driving for the first time yesterday!  For once it was a good thing I live in the middle of nowhere.  I was driving down the big hill right by our house, and was all good and started braking at the top but it was like there weren't brakes at all.  I just kept on going right into the street.  Then I had a panic attack and tried to get Dom to drive me to work but he insisted I was fine and so I went.  And I was fine. 

12.13.2013

LIVING COLORFULLY: The Final Rebrand


Welcome to the blog formerly known as The Sunshine Diary! Yes, I just stuck that picture in there in case you forgot where you are.  It's still me!

I may have jinxed myself with this post title, but I really do think this will be my final blog rebrand.  I think my biggest problems with my previous two blog names was that they related to where I was in my life, and not me.  So, as my life changed, the blog title just didn't seem to fit!  I still love me some sunshine, but it's weird to be writing in The Sunshine Diary when I'm in cold dreary PA.  Yes, we plan to get back to Florida ASAP, but with the nature of the medical profession we could be anywhere.  I want a title that can grow with us and our life, wherever that is!

While my life, interests, and personality are all constantly evolving, one thing has become very apparent: I love color.  I mean, just look at this blog design! I think I'm the first person to tell Erin when she was doing my design that I want my blog to "feel like a tropical vacation minus the 80 degrees and yummy pool boy."  It's amazing she still loves me. ;)

Anywho!  I crave color.  I love Florida because bright colors are everywhere.  I wear my bright Lilly scarf all year round because I think color makes people smile, especially in the dead of winter.  Friends text me obnoxiously bright things and say they remind them of me.  I just love it!  

Along with my literal love of color, I am realizing that life doesn't always work out how I want (aka our living situation) and I want 2014 to be a year of happiness.  I want to be able to live colorfully no matter where I am, and find happiness and color in every day (and plan to document it with a 365 instagram challenge, but more on that later).  I think this new blog title will be a great motivation to "rebrand" my life as well.  I don't know if anyone has successfully lived colorfully in Hunker before, but I'm determined to be the first!  :)

I hope you all love the new name as much as I do, and stay with me while I try to move my blog to the new domain www.livingcolorfullyblog.com over the weekend! 

12.11.2013

In Defense of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

aka one of the few nights of the year there are no arguments over what we're watching on TV!

Now, you probably know that I stay pretty neutral about most things on this blog.  Some people like to be really controversial to get hits, but I prefer to keep my opinions to myself, since I think everyone is entitled to their own.  But, today I'm speaking my mind in defense of the VSFS. 

I am absolutely one of those girls who counts down the days until the show, and almost requested the night of from work so I could watch it, but realized that was a little crazy.  Last year, I posted a status about how excited I was for the "greatest thinspiration" of the year.  Then, I proceeded to be attacked by the few random feminists I went to high school with about how I was so clearly pro-anorexia, and am only furthering the notion that young girls have to be anorexic to be beautiful.  Umm. What?  Apparently loving this show makes you think anorexia is okay and makes you have no heart for the insecure girls who hate themselves because of this show.  I also like to objectify women. At that point I apologized to her for her insecurities, but assured her that my loving the show was perfectly fine and to please get off my Facebook.


Apparently really wanting to see this stunning $10 million bra isn't an actual reason. I must just hate young girls.

I grew up in the dance world, so eating disorders are something I take very seriously, but that accusation is complete crap.  Have you seen these women?!  Yes, they are 5'11, stunning, and tiny.  But they also have abs.  And killer legs.  Did you see the workout segment?  These girls train and exercise like crazy for this show.  Sure, some might go on crash diets which aren't healthy, but the majority watch what they eat and work out like crazy.  Plus, how many athletes carb load before events?  Don't all professionals go to extreme measures for their craft?  If they were simply starving themselves, they would look emaciated, and not have those crazy abs.  They work out all day every day because that is their job.  This show always motivates me to hit the gym, not starve myself. 


I don't mean to come of as insensitive, and I am saddened to think that young girls watch this show and feel bad about themselves.  It is really sad, but they need to know these women are spray tanned supermodels who work out every day because that's what they get paid to do!  If I got paid to workout every day I could have that body too!  Well...if I grew 7 inches over night.  Will I ever have that body? Probably not.  I am too thin, not at all toned, with ribs showing and cellulite that just won't go away.

But that's ok!  When I watch the Olympics I don't hate myself because I can't ice skate like they can, or swim as quickly.  They are at the top of their field, and the VS Angels are at the top of theirs.  Not looking like an Angel doesn't make you not beautiful!  Yes, some girls might get down on themselves, but that is the nature of this media driven world.  It is up to them to recognize their individual beauty, and not see a supermodel and think that's what they have to look like.  

I see this show as a night to watch the most stunning, confident women on the planet rock some incredible outfits with great hair on the sparkliest runway ever.  It's fun, it's glamorous, and it gets me motivated to go to the gym.  To me it is a win all around!

Now, to lighten the mood, here are some of my favorite looks from last night!





I basically really like white.  Also, am I the only one that got super excited when she recognized the Lilly model? Not exactly what I'm used to seeing her wear! ;)


At the end of the night I went to bed happy.  I had as much fun watching the show as I do each year (although I wish they'd bring back the huge wings a la Heidi Klum), I still loved myself, eating, and had a new drive to work out.  I hope you all went to sleep feeling the same way, whether or not you watched the show!

12.09.2013

A Strange Thing Happened This Weekend...


I'm glad I took pictures because I definitely would have thought it was a dream, but on Saturday, Dom and I actually had a date night!  Not the wine and couch kind either, the actual get all dressed up and go to dinner kind.  These days it takes a lot of planning and a small miracle to make it happen, and I'm so glad it did!

Saturday was technically LECOM's LE-Prom that we had been going back and forth on going to.  I wanted to go because I wanted an excuse to get dressed up and get out of Hunker, but Dom was hesitant because going with a huge group would mean lots of money, time, and drinks, meaning Sunday would be useless.  Since we're both about to start finals we need to be as functional as possible!  So I requested the night off from work anyways, and we got all dressed up and went to a fancy restaurant in Greensburg...just the two of us. :)

I had planned a cute black dress, tights and black booties number, but discovered soon before we had to go that I managed to lose all my tights in the move!  I had none!  Let me tell you, going bare legged (a word?) when it's 28 degrees is no bueno.  But, I really have no nice cold weather date outfits so it had to do!
No, you are not hallucinating.  That is in fact me, Robin, wearing an animal print.  While it is still so not me, I decided to try it out in scarf form, because I think it is possible to not look tacky if it's only a little.  I'm still very anti-animal print...but I'm trying!

Once we I got over the freezing cold, we arrived at the restaurant and had the best dinner!  My autumn spice martini went perfectly with my apple glazed pork chops, and Dom's steak was amazing too!  'Round these parts people think that Olive Garden is really fancy, so finding an actual nice restaurant with great food is an accomplishment!


I can't tell you how nice it was to be able to sit with Dom and just talk about whatever.  With his new schedule he is home a lot more which I love, but one of us is always studying or I'm at work, so we don't have a lot of quality time together to reconnect and just have fun.  This night made me extra excited to get a whole week of vacation with him in 3 short weeks and to plan more of these nights!

12.06.2013

Sometimes Doctors Don't Know Best


Now don't go thinking I hate doctors or anything, considering I come from a family of doctors and am dating one.  But, as much as they might want you to think so, they are not always right, and it is so important to know your own body.

Without giving any dirty details, I've been having GI symptoms for awhile and when they got worse a few months ago I met with a GI doc in Pittsburgh to start getting some answers.  Before I went I'd done some research into my bizarre array of symptoms and found Fructose Malabsorption and knew it was what I had.  Not like I went on WebMD and convinced myself I was dying of cancer, but more like reading people's stories and knowing I had gone through the exact same random things.  The seemingly random foods I can't eat all tied together with this one diagnosis. 

When I went to the appointment I went over everything and mentioned it to my new doctor.  He kind of brushed it off because some of my symptoms weren't quite as bad as he thought they would be if I had FructMal.  Then, he went on to prescribe me an antispasmodic that gave me the most intense pain I've ever felt, and sent me for multiple rounds of blood work that all came back negative.  Then, he sent me to get tested for angioedema, which was kind of funny because that gives you symptoms that are way worse than what I was experiencing.  When that came back negative, he wanted to proceed to scopes.

HOLD UP.

My symptoms aren't bad enough to test me for FructMal but they're suddenly bad enough for me to need an endo/colonoscopy?  No, thank you.  Plus, I had an endoscopy a few years ago and if nothing was structurally wrong then chances are nothing is now.  I knew my body, and I knew it wasn't necessary.

So, I stood up for myself and told him I wouldn't do any scopes until he sent me to get the FructMal test.  They only do it at one hospital in the area, and I was able to get in yesterday. 
After lots of fasting and drinking a grossly sweet concoction, they started testing the hydrogen in my breath every 15 minutes for 3.5 hours.  Basically, if you're absorbing the fructose like you should, the level of hydrogen won't change.  If you're not, it will raise.  If the level of hydrogen in your breath goes up 20 points, it's considered a positive test.  

I went from 1-71.  
It was so positive they let me stop the test early.

I am so thankful I didn't just sit back and waste the time, money, and discomfort on getting unnecessary scopes done.  Moral of the story?  Know your body, and speak up!  Doctors are amazing, but you know your body the best, and it's so important to take an active role in your health!


Now...who can find me a food to eat with no gluten or fructose? ;)

12.05.2013

Ending the year with a bang!



I'm probably echoing what every other person is saying this week, but I honestly cannot believe it is December already.  I feel like 2013 flew by, and I can't say I'm sad about that.  I feel like 2014 has a lot of happiness ahead, and I can't wait to get there!  In the meantime, here are a few goals to say goodbye to this month with a bang!

1. Declutter my life. Yes, I want to keep my house clean, but I mean more electronically, if you will.  I've started defriending some of the 1,000+ friends I have on Facebook (if our only connection is GWU, where 10k students went, then I don't need you on my newsfeed).  Not to be mean, but I don't like scrolling through a ton of posts I don't care about to reach the ones I do care about.  I love keeping up with friends all over the country on FB, so I'm cutting out the excess.  I'm also going to go through and unsubscribe to the millions of spam emails I get.  I always delete them and ignore them, but taking the extra minute to unsubscribe will be worth it for my sanity. :)

2. Learn Lightroom 5.  I love taking pictures, but I don't know much about editing beyond the simple iPhoto tools.  But, on Black Friday there was a killer deal and I got Lightroom 5 and over $450 worth of presets and instructional videos for $100.  So now that I have it all, I want to learn to use it!  I'll be taking tons of vacation pictures later this month, so I want to make them fantastic!

3. Get my tan on in Puerto Rico! 24 days.  But who's counting?

4. Do well on my finals.  Next week is finals week, and hopefully I'll knock 'em dead and keep my nice pretty 'Bama GPA before I load up on a crazy semester in the spring.

5. Find out what's wrong with me!  When you're reading this I will probably still be in my 2-5 hour hydrogen breath test to test how my body absorbs carbs and such... should be fun. ;)

6. Rebrand my bloggy blog. I already have the new name and domain, and I think this one will stick.  I think my problem has been basing my blog name too much on my stage of life, and not me.  Since my life changes so much from year to year, I feel like I have moved on from my blog name, and that's no bueno.  My new name fits my personality, and how I live my life, so I think it will be great inspiration! 

7. Listen to Christmas music, all day every day. 

***

So, I could have done a little better during November...

Help Dom raise money for No Shave November.  
Oops! I'm glad I'm reading this now.  I was waiting until the end of the month so I could "pay him to shave it" and forgot!  I'll be donating a little late as soon as I finish this post. :)

2. Throw a Friendsgiving! Success!  It was so much fun.  You can read all about it here!

3. Make at least 1 new meal a week.  Eh, could have been better.  We tried some new things, but working late kind of got in the way.  Definitely adding this to my December goals list!

4. Be more intentional about blogging.  Yes and no.  While I haven't been too awesome about posting, I have a lot of ideas for kicking off 2014 with a bang. 

5. Help my best friend celebrate turning 25! Check!  It was so much fun! 

6.  Get home to visit. Yes!! SO happy.

7.  Have our Christmas tree up by December 1. Done.  Love our little tree!

8. Use all my cute fall clothes that were stored away all last year and make some cute outfits!  Yes sir.  My amazing stitch fixes have helped a ton too!

9. Try to get most of my Christmas shopping done by December 1.  So thankful about this.  I did some work on Black Friday, and almost all of my main presents are purchased...just need some gifts for some members of Dom's family!

10. Wear lipstick when out in public. Yes. Love it. 

12.04.2013

Colorful Celebrating!

I found this circulating around Pinterest, and it is too amazing not to share!
Kate Spade does it again, with some fabulous ways to celebrate this holiday season.


Could this list be any more fun?!
Happy celebrating! 

12.03.2013

The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't.

So much to be thankful for in this picture...wine, candles, Christmas tree and snuggles with my honey.

I think the thing I am most thankful for this holiday season is luck.  Or fate, or divine intervention, whatever you want to call it.

So much could have gone wrong this Thanksgiving, but karma was on my side!
First, I was so lucky to get Thanksgiving day and the day after off from work.  That meant I could leave Pittsburgh around 5 or 6 when I got off work and arrive home around midnight.

But then the snow storm hit! Mama Avocado got really worried and decided she wanted to come to Hunker and drive home with me, since I have virtually no experience driving in the snow. This turned out to be a huge blessing, because by the time I got off work we were driving home in this!

It was a long and scary ride, but we made it and were greeted by my father and key lime cosmos!  Not only was my mama driving me so much safer because of the snow, when we got back to Hunker after doing some grocery shopping, my brakes went right out!  Had my mom not come to get me, they would have gone out while I was driving home in this.  I cannot get over how thankful I am she decided to come!

Once we got to Syracuse, it was a fast 38 hours before we had to head back so I could work the weekend.  We had tons of yummy food and drinks on Thanksgiving, and Friday I had some girlfriends over for brunch and mimosas!  It was so much fun to see them, and I was almost homesick a little bit.  Why must I have the most amazing friends so far away?!  

Even though it was super quick, I am so thankful I was able to get home to see my friends and family.  Here's to hoping I get to do the same for Christmas! 

11.26.2013

Everyone should have a Friendsgiving.

According to my instagram feed, Dom and I were two of many who hosted Friendsgivings this weekend!
This was our first year having one, and I have a feeling it will be the first of many.
{Bonus points if you do a Native American and Pilgrim theme}

We made it easy on ourselves and had everyone pick a dish to bring so we only had worry about the turkey and the pies.  It was our first time attempting a turkey, and Dom wanted to try a new "upside-down" recipe that was supposed to make it extra juicy (it did!), so we were really nervous. We would have had 14 very hungry people if it didn't work!  There was no need to worry, everything went perfectly. :)


{had to...my favorite outtake in the history of ever}
 {Food!}


{Mustache will be gone so soon!}

The holidays are always so fun, but living far away from family can also make them super stressful.  We had so much fun having friends over (minus Tallie and Alicia :( ) so we could kick start the holidays with lots of food, laughs, and no traveling!

 I really think everyone should have a Friendsgiving.  Not only is it so fun, but it's a great dry run before you have to host a big family holiday!  This way you know if you mess something up everyone will still love you.  The same can probably be said about family...but if yours is anything like mine or Dom's, they will never let you hear the end of it! 

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!  I scored 2 days off from work, so I'll be doing a quick 36 hours in NY.  Keep your fingers crossed for me driving in that snow!

11.22.2013

Delicious Scentsy Gifts...{70% Off!}

I am a self proclaimed candle lover.  I absolutely love coming home at night, lighting some delicious smelling candle, and curling up on the couch to relax.  Sometimes I even go a little candle crazy and have way too many candles burning with way too many smells and suddenly my house smells like Bath & Body Works exploded. But I digress...

I had heard of Scentsy before, but never tried it, or known anyone who had.  So, when Kim from Kimberly's Korner contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing some I was so excited!  Anything that is pretty and makes my house smell delicious is something that needs to be in my life.

 
Kim sent me the scent Cider Mill, and a warmer that makes my Florida loving heart so happy.  The smell is light but delicious, and gave my living room the perfect amount of smell in minutes.  Just enough that you know it's there, but not enough to be overpowering.  Even Dom commented on how good it smelled!  I love it because it's cute and smells good, and Dom loves it because the on off switch is fun to play with... hey, whatever works!

Kim's site has so many different options for warmers and scents.  There are fun colorful warmers, and deluxe fancy ones for all you classy people out there...and everything in between!  There really is something for everyone.  With the holidays coming up, these make for great gifts for others, or yourself.  The best part? This weekend Kim is running a sale with up to 70% off!  So, if you've thought about Scentsy but never tried it, or have someone you still need a gift for, this is the perfect opportunity! 
Plus, if you buy some and accidentally send it my way I won't complain. :)

Start shopping now!

*I was sent the warmer and cider mill bar in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

11.21.2013

Santa Baby!

I don't know about you, but to me it seems like the minute I go on a budget I immediately find myself surrounded by things I want.  It's like I'm a magnet for cute "totally me" things that leave me sad and suffering from serious FOMO.  Or, in this case, with a very long Christmas wish list.

A little birdy told me that Santa sometimes frequents my blog, so I thought I'd share a few things I'm hoping Santa leaves for me this year!  I mean, I moved to PA and all, so I'd say I've been really good.

In an effort to make our Hunker home as homey as possible, I've started seeking out cute home decor ideas.  I find no matter where I look I'm drawn to bright, Florida-esque things, but I'm going to embrace it!  Shop Dandy has some of the cutest decor that would not only liven up our Pennsylvania home, but also look amazing if we get to head back down south!

I have also made it a conscious effort to stay bright and sunny no matter the temperature outside.  As Lilly said, "No matter the weather, live like it's spring!"  My favorite way to do that is with bright jewelry!  I've always kind of stuck to pearl studs and no necklace, but lately I've been venturing into statement necklace territory and I don't think I'm looking back any time soon!  I have been loving T + J Designs recently, and have my eye on almost all of their necklaces! The pictures are coming out a little dark, but the pieces are so bright and lively...I just love them!

Lastly, Lulu's.  Have I been living under a rock?  I just discovered their site and literally fall in love with everything I look at.  My style is evolving as I'm figuring out how to transfer my summer clothes to winter without sacrificing my love for color and brightness, and I love how versatile their selection is.  One minute I'm planning a layered winter outfit, and the next I see a skirt I just can't wait to wear on our vacation to Puerto Rico!  3 words.  To die for.

Needless to say, I'm excited for December 25. :)  I also want to point out that this is in no way a sponsored post, I just really love all three companies and my entire wishlist is made up almost entirely of these three places (and Lilly, of course ;)).  What are you wishing for this year?!

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