June 29, 2011

Fruit & Veggie FUN FACTS!

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Do you have fun fact to share about your favorite fruit or veggie?
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June 27, 2011

You can't live a positive life with a negative mind.

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"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church....a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes." - Charles R. Swindoll
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June 24, 2011

When is it gonna be our fucking turn?


I wish that one word of what I am about to share was fabricated, but not even I am creative enough to come up with something this ridiculous:

My boss at the restaurant packed up all his personal belongings, the food in the freezers and fridges, the paper goods, the plates, the paintings on the walls, and simply drove away on Monday at 2am.

{This is the really lame letter I got in the mail yesterday with my Money Order paycheck}

Customarily, when someone quits their job they give a two week notice, no? This coward of a man gave zero notice and little inclination that over twenty of us would be unemployed this weekend.

I have bills to pay, just like anyone else. I work with women who rely on this job to feed their three children, and others who rely on it to pay off hefty student loans. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with waitresses wage - here in Massachusetts the waitressing minimum is $2.63 an hour. What this means is that I rely solely on my tips to pay my bills, and it's never a steady or consistent income. On a very slow six hour day shift I could be standing around for hours at a time waiting for a table to come in, and leave with less than $30 in my pocket. On a busy night I could be making over $30 an hour. It's inconsistent, yet somehow always ends up working itself out in the end. But as you can imagine, I definitely live and pay my bills on a week to week basis.

What? We don't make millions? I'm sure that this is an unbelievable concept to a handful of you who think that TJ sleeps with a blanket made out of one hundred dollar bills...{alright, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit}...but trust me when I say that we do stress and struggle financially, and that we do rely on me working to help pay the bills....especially with our upcoming wedding and with a majority of TJs salary still in Germany.

Trust me, I've heard it all; from people telling me "Oh, it's so nice that you have a job" {like I'm doing it for charity or something}, to people flat out saying, "You don't deserve tips, your boyfriend makes millions and you don't appreciate money." 

Uhhh...really? That must be why we're living in my parents basement.

Thoughts running through my head right now?... Needless to say, I'm stressed to the max.

Both TJ and I are unemployed. We have a wedding to pay for, and we would like to be able to think about starting a family. Will he get a contract for next year? Are his agents really working for him? Do we need to start thinking about retirement? The reality of the importance of having a backup plan has smacked the both of us across the face and punched us square in our stomachs. Should TJ put together a resume and apply for a job? Should I do the same? What happens if we're both hired somewhere and then he's offered a contract?

The agents keep telling us he's getting something, but this waiting game sucks and it's terrifying. 

And I'm tired of answering the "Where are you going next year?" question.

I hate that I think like this, and I never thought that I'd ever actually say it...but at what point is doing what you love truly worth this much anxiety and frustration? I'm trying to stay positive, I really truly am...but this whole having GMs and organizations and coaches and agents dictate if, when, and where the both of us can work is really breaking me down. 

I have so much joy and happiness for our friends who are signing all over the world, but I've exhausted myself of turning to TJ everyday when we see that another friend has signed and saying, "When is it gonna be our fucking turn?"

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June 21, 2011

Happy 1st Day of SUMMER!

Let's celebrate with a favorite '90s THROWBACK!



Do you have anything fun planned for the summer?
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June 19, 2011

Inspired by YOU! Sunday L♥VE

I apologize that I am a bit late with this, but here is my list of beautiful, inspirational and motivational blog posts published by some of my favorite Blog Authors this past week. Check them out and remember to leave a comment if you have another favorite to share. Happy Sunday!

Kassi at My Road to Mrs. announced that due to the Wallow Fire, she decided to move her wedding date back an entire month. She certainly reminded me to not sweat things that are beyond my control during our wedding planning process. I'm praying for your area, Kass!

Vic at A Cup of Frecks posted a super cute and informative video of how she makes her daily iced coffee. She finally made me realize how easy it is to make my own cup 'o joe, and that my daily $2.63 is really adding up at the end of the week!

Ash at After 9 to 5 wrote an AMAZING piece entitled 'Living Outside of The Internet'. She made me realize that I don't need to update my blog every.single.day, and that taking some time away will inspire and motivate me to create more...for you and for me!

Sam at Sam I Am published the thought provoking question Have You Been Grateful Lately? Well, have you?

Katie at Love is Everywhere posted an adorable photo collage of her younger years - when she was dancing her tush off and living fearlessly. She certainly inspired me to create a similar post in the future :)

Ashley at Ashley Plus 3 wrote a really funny post answering a question about SEX! I've often considered testing my writing limits here at Travel Babbles, and she may have convinced me to be a bit more open with my content...anyone have a dirty/weird/inappropriate question they want answered? ;)

Lindsay at Scenic Glory opened her new Scenic Glory Shop this week! Go check out her beautiful creations!

Ashley at Eisy Morgan published a step-by-step tutorial, complimented by beautiful photos, of how to carve a watermelon for your next summer BBQ. 

Nancy at Style 'n Decor Deals found an awesome 1 year subscription of Woman's Day Magazine for only $3.94

Victoria at Garden of Eden Designs published a super cute post with all kinds of funny photos - she encouraged me to not be so Camera Shy and to start adding more personal photos to Travel Babbles.
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June 15, 2011

Food for Your Face.

Let's just start off by putting it this way, dolls: You are what you eat and your skin is a direct reflection of that.

When I go to the grocery store I follow what I like to call 'The Rainbow Rule", I choose fresh fruits and veggies from every color of the rainbow. For example: bright red peppers, strawberries and watermelon; orange carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes; ripe yellow bananas, pineapple, and lemons, dark green spinach, broccoli, asparagus and zucchini; juicy blueberries and blackberries; and fresh purple grapes, eggplant and plums. These delicious foods are chuck full of necessary nutrients and vitamins A, C and E which reduce the development of skin cancer cells, iron out wrinkles, and act as an antioxidant to help protect the skin from UV rays and damaging free radicals. 

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Fish {salmon and tuna, in particular} contains high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which fight redness and inflammation of the skin, helps to make it soft and radiant, and also strengthens and improves elasticity. Fish Oil Supplements are also acceptable; TJ and I picked up two giant containers of fish oil pills for under $10 at Walmart - and no, we don't have fish burps :)

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And last but not least - drink more water! Minimize dehydrating beverages such as soda and alcohol, and try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Create a habit of drinking a giant glass of water right when you wake up in the morning to help kick start your day and add moisture back into your skin.

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Remember that in order to look healthy on the outside, you must have a clean inside. Instead of treating your largest organ with harsh chemicals to fight breakouts after they occur, take a little time to educate yourself and make healthier decisions each day. A clean and healthy inside will give you the confidence necessary to help you shine on the outside.
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June 14, 2011

If I'm not your friend in real life then I'm not your Facebook friend, either.

Over the weekend someone Googled "What do I say to someone who asks why I unfriended them on Facebook?" and they landed at Travel Babbles.
I wrote a post right at the start of the New Year that explained how I had spent a majority of one day going through my Facebook 'friends' list and deleting people. I've continued to do this every so often, and now my Friends List is right under 200 people. For me, Facebook is a way to keep in touch with the people with whom I have a current and/or real connection with. Regardless of if I grew up in the same town or went to the same school as someone, I don't need or want to have 800 people stalking my wall, creeping my photos, or knowing my personal information.
I've contemplated deleting 'the book', but instead chose to shut others notifications and my wall off.  I did this in an attempt to cut back my time on Facebook, buy Holy Mary, one would have thought that I committed a mortal sin when I did so. I received FIVE messages within 24 hours, and three additional messages since then, questioning why I was no longer friends with this one, why I was mad at that one, or why I was hiding info from another one.

What boggles my mind the most about these messages is that six out of the eight people who sent them  to me don't even have my new cell phone number. Five of them I haven't talked to since 2004! Since when did the Facebook Wall and Facebook Chat become more important than actually picking up the phone or planning a lunch date, to have a real, live, vocal, not typed, face-to-face conversation with someone?

I guess it depends, really, on what you use Facebook for. I've heard of people who use Facebook much like a Twitter account; to network with and meet new people -- but I'm choosing to stick to my motto: If I'm not your friend in real life then I'm not your Facebook friend, either

Thank you, Mr. Kimmel

What are your thoughts on Facebook? How would you handle someone questioning why you unfriended them?
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June 12, 2011

Inspired by YOU!

I've decide to start wrapping up the week at Travel Babbles with a list of inspiring, fun and thought provoking posts that were published during the week by fellow Bloggers. I hope that everyone enjoys this new 'feature' and that it enables you to find a few new favorite blogs to enjoy.

Meg at Magnificent Life shared that her father was recently diagnosed with throat cancer. Despite her distractions, she is choosing to focus on the good things in life and remain optimistic. I'm praying for you Meg! xo

Ashley at The Shine Project wrote a beautiful piece entitled Self Esteem in Black and White that you should definitely go check out and read word for word for an extra boost of confidence.

Jenna at A Home Away From Home shared a delish sounding Pumpkin Pancake Recipe that I can't wait to try on my next cheat day.

Em at A Life to Bragg About wrote a wonderful piece about a marriage retreat that she went on with her husband, and she shared a few interesting tips to strengthen your relationship, too.

Ashley at After Nine to Five explained why she deleted the Google Friend Connect widget, and why you should maybe think about doing the same.

Stephanie at A Beautiful Mess offered readers the opportunity to post secrets anonymously, in a Post Secret type of fashion. She sparked my interest to host something similar in the future.

Kelsey at Eat, Drink, Be a Tourist explained how to drink beer and save the environment. Rock on sistah!

Liesl at Fabulous Fashions for Sensible Style shared some tear jerking wedding ceremony videos that definitely convinced me that we need a videographer!

Natalia at Ma Nouvelle Mode wrote a very thought provoking piece entitled Does it Matter if You're Black or White? where she questions your views on interracial children and brings stereotyping others to the forefront.

Do you have a favorite blog that you want to pass along for others to enjoy? Leave the link in the comment box below! :)
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June 8, 2011

Eating Up to Slim Down

Since meeting with my trainer last week and sticking to my 6-meal-a-day plan, I'm already down 2.6 pounds. WOOOHOOO! 

I am usually not hungry for my first meal until about 10am, but then it's full steam ahead every 2-3 hours. I've agreed not to give my meal plan away, but what I'm basically doing is eating certain combinations of select food groups, and upping my protein while lowering my sugar intake. 

TJ and I went to GNC last week to purchase new supplements and protein. I am currently taking Fish Oil, Biotin and Prenatal Vitamins, and my protein God send is:
CytoSport™ Muscle Milk® Light - Banana Creme
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I was super weary about buying a banana protein, but it was on sale for $16 {compared to the regularly priced $36} so I went with it. Let's just say, I'm in love. Once you go banana, you never go back to vanilla...or something like that?

I've let TJ take a sip, my brother take a sip, my sister take a sip, and we all agree - it tastes like a Banana Laffy Taffy. Protein that tastes like candy? SOLD!

I mix two scoops every morning with frozen strawberries and a little water to make strawberry banana smoothies, I mixed two scoops yesterday with a sugar free raspberry frozen yogurt for a protein packed treat, and when I want a late night snack I mix one scoop with a sugar free Jello chocolate pudding. MM MM good!

Have you discovered a healthy new food, supplement, or great tasting treat that surprised you?
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June 6, 2011

My Summer Reading List

"Donald Van de Mark spent more than 25 years interviewing prominent people for CNN and CNBC. He discovered that some people are not just successful, they're extraordinary. And more, these people share many of the same traits. Confirming the theories of psychologist Abraham Maslow, Van de Mark brings to life 19 specific personality traits that you can develop within yourself to emulate the great and the good."


"The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. The Glass Castle is truly astonishing -- a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar, but loyal, family. Jeannette Walls has a story to tell, and tells it brilliantly, without an ounce of self-pity."


"Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails."

"In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed "Hansel" and "Gretel." They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called "witch" by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children. Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story."


"Weiner spent a decade as a foreign correspondent reporting from such discontented locales as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. Unhappy people living in profoundly unstable states, he notes, inspire pathos and make for good copy, but not for good karma. So Weiner, admitted grump and self-help book aficionado, undertook a year's research to travel the globe, looking for the "unheralded happy places." The result is this book, equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and philosophical, a journey into both the definition of and the destination for true contentment. Apparently, the happiest places on earth include, somewhat unexpectedly, Iceland, Bhutan, and India. Weiner also visits the country deemed most malcontent, Moldova, and finds real merit in the claim. But the question remains: What makes people happy? Is it the freedom of the West or the myriad restrictions of Singapore? The simple ashrams of India or the glittering shopping malls of Qatar? From the youthful drunkenness of Iceland to the despond of Slough, a sad but resilient town in Heathrow's flight path, Weiner offers wry yet profound observations about the way people relate to circumstance and fate. Both revealing and inspirational, perhaps the best thing about this hilarious trip across four continents is that for the reader, the "geography of bliss" is wherever they happen to find themselves while reading it. "


"A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven. Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each."


"Alexandra Horowitz offers readers a fresh look at the world of dogs--from the dog's point of view."


"The unforgettable inspiring memoir of one extraordinary doctor who is saving lives in a most unconventional way Ask Me Why I Hurt is the touching and revealing first-person account of the remarkable work of Dr. Randy Christensen. Trained as a pediatrician, he works not in a typical hospital setting but, rather, in a 38-foot Winnebago that has been refitted as a doctor’s office on wheels. His patients are the city’s homeless adolescents and children. In the shadow of one affluent American city, Dr. Christensen has dedicated his life to caring for society's throwaway kids—the often-abused, unloved children who live on the streets without access to proper health care, all the while fending off constant threats from thugs, gangs, pimps, and other predators. With the Winnebago as his moveable medical center, Christensen and his team travel around the outskirts of Phoenix, attending to the children and teens who need him most."


"Twenty-four-year-old Natalie Taylor was leading a charmed life. At the age of twenty four, she had a fulfilling job as a high school English teacher, a wonderful husband, a new house and a baby on the way. Then, while visiting her sister, she gets the news that Josh has died in a freak accident. Four months before the birth of her son, Natalie is leveled by loss. What follows is an incredibly powerful emotional journey, as Natalie calls upon resources she didn’t even know she had in order to re-imagine and re-build a life for her and her son. In vivid and immediate detail, Natalie documents her life from the day of Josh’s death through the birth their son, Kai, as she struggles in her role as a new mother where everyone is watching her for signs of impending collapse. With honesty, raw pain, and most surprising, a wicked sense of humor, Natalie recounts the agonies and unexpected joys of her new life. " 


What is on your Summer Reading List?
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June 2, 2011

Somewhere, over the rainbow...

Right now, I can't find more than a few words to type.

I feel blessed and give a thousand thanks to those who sent me Twitter and Email messages with your thoughts and prayers. I am overwhelmed by the catastrophic devastation that touched down in virtually every town that surrounds mine. I am humbled that we were spared, that my family is safe and well, and that we still have a home to sleep in. I am awakened to the reality of the power that is Mother Nature.

I laughed at 5pm when we received a recorded message from the town telling us to stay away from the windows and to take cover in the basement. We never get tornadoes in Massachusetts, nor do we ever think about or know how to prepare for these types of disasters.

Within just two hour, our Governor had declared a state of emergency and 1,000 National Guard Troops had been called in. The windows and roof of my high school were gone in twenty seconds, and I felt like I was living in a movie.

I watched as swirling clouds ripped by, and right when I thought it was over, the Newscasters came back on to the TV to say that my area had a second tornado warning until 11PM. I watched the sky turn a strange shade of yellow, an eerie shade of green, it got incredibly bright, then went black. Lighting shot out of the sky for hours, the unknown was terrifying...and then it went quiet.

Right now I am just so saddened at the mass destruction, and my heart is grieving for the families who lost their homes just a few miles away.

I don't mean to offend anyone, sound like a "Jesus Freak" or make any of you uncomfortable, but I am having such a hard time believing in God today. Why is He allowing this, and what is He trying to teach us by allowing this to happen:

  
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Please keep Massachusetts in your thoughts and prayers.
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June 1, 2011

I love being a MissFit

Yesterday, my Maid of Honor Danielle and I met with my personal trainer for a hard core ass whooping. Bridal Bod 2011-2012 is ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!

For those of you near the Boston/Wellesley Massachusetts area, get your buns over to The Miss Fit Club ASAP! Even if you aren't that close, training with 'Miss Fit' is totally worth it - hence why I drive an hour and a half to see her! The womens only facility is decked out with hot pink equipment, glamorous photos of Marilyn Monroe, chandeliers, and haute zebra print couches in the lounge area.

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Katie, owner of the MissFit Club, likes to tell many of her clients about the first time that I trained with her because it was so epic and special.

Actually, what she mainly enjoys doing is laughing about my first session with her when I puked in the hallway in a plastic bag. 

Yep, true story. I joke back that I had eaten an old banana - but the truth is, Katie kicked my ass.

If you look on the Miss Fit website you will see that Katie specializes in pageant fitness training, but pageant girls are certainly not the only group of women that she caters to. Katie specializes and is certified in Sports Nutrition and Personal Training. She doesn't play games and she tells you like it is. For example, when she took my measurements yesterday we both had no problem with her grabbing onto my ass and saying "WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM?" Sometimes a girl {like me!} needs that reality check. She's no nonsense, inspiring, hilarious, and incredibly motivating. I'm a firm believer that everyone needs a Katie.

My daily workouts will now consist of eleven different high intensity interval training exercises with LOTS of squats, lunges, arm work, and ab work. I am also back to following a strict but super easy and delicious meal plan. I love following Katie's customized Miss Fit Meal plans because I eat double what I normally do in a day. SCORE! I am scheduled to go see her again in four weeks and I honestly can't wait. I haven't been excited or motivated to truly take care of my body since I last worked extensively with Katie two years ago for Miss Massachusetts USA.

Without giving her secrets away, I do look forward to sharing some of the helpful tips and knowledge that  she has passed on to me over the last couple of years of training with her.

For example, she brought to my attention yesterday that Splenda is essentially bleach. What?! I've been adding Mr. Clean to my morning coffee? I did a little research and found SplendaExposed.com - Check it out!

Have you made any recent changes to your workout routine or eating habits?
Happy June 1st! - It's officially bathing suit season my friends!
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