Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Me and my wedding flowers

Perhaps it was the arrival of spring but I'm suddenly in full wedding flower mode at home! Ever since picking out the pattern for my flowers, I've known I had to actually make them but it never felt like something immediate I should do.

Then I made a to-do list of what I still had to complete for the wedding and when it topped out at almost 60 items, I figured I'd better get on the flowers! And so far, it's bee a lot of fun.

The first - and most time-consuming - step was to cut out all the petals and leaves. To make sure I made enough, I made a chart of how many flowers of each size (large, medium, small) and each colour (red, purple, book pages) I'd need for each bouquet (bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets x 5). I'm currently working with 18 flowers for mine and 12 for each of my bridesmaids. That works out to 18 + (12 x 5) = 78 flowers. Or, a LOT of cutting.

Fortunately, I have an amazingly talented card-making bridesmaid/sister-in-law who lent me her Silhouette, this magical machine that connects to your computer, reads a template and DOES ALL THE CUTTING FOR YOU. All I have to do it listen to it sing along as my petals are made.

The Silhouette and my laptop, hard at work
While the Silhouette hummed along, I did dishes, ironed, vacuumed and folded clothes. Best multitasking ever! I was even a little sad when all the cutting was done (which happened because I ran out of paper). But I did manage to squeak out everything I need, which is great. Of course, all those pieces needed to be organized; good thing I have lots of baking sheets around the house.

I won't be making cookies for awhile (also: toes)

After cutting and organizing comes assembly and, really, who can assemble flowers without TV to watch? I set up a station in the living room with all my supplies and began making flowers. I've spent two evenings so far making flowers and have assembled close to 18 of them; at that rate I'll have my bouquets made in no time!

Large red blooms come to life!

Large purple roses join the mix   

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My new-and-improved, wacky-and-wonderful eating habits

It would be easy to blame it on spring, if spring had arrived when it was supposed to. To be honest, I'm not really sure why it happened and I can't definitely point to when it happened, but it happened and it's great.

My eating habits have become pretty awesome.

Maybe it was because I decided to step away from the scale and Weight Watchers for a bit. Maybe it was because spring kept flirting with me. Maybe it was because I subconsciously felt kind of blah and decided to fix that. Whatever it was, I'm suddenly eating apples; obsessed with salads; not really wanting carbs; seriously craving protein; and starting most days with a smoothie.

Sure, I was a bit hung over this past Saturday so I had pizza and chicken bites but the next day I had a smoothie and a super healthy dinner of fish and vegetables. I still drink coffee every morning (okay, often more than one) and I still have a beer or a chocolate bar when I want one but for the most part I suddenly feel wired to want to eat better.

I was talking to the Beau about this and he told me about when he made a serious change to his eating habits many years back (before I even knew him); he wasn't looking at the scale but was focused on being active and viewing whatever he ate as what would be good fuel for his body. So maybe taking a break from the scale was the impetus behind my new habits. I have to admit, it's very tempting to hop on because I want to believe that my new habits have magically helped me lose all the extra weight I'm carrying.

But I'm going to stick to my commitment to stay away from the scale until May 22. When I do weigh in again, I'm going to have to seriously think about how I want to continue on. I know that Weight Watchers is a good program (I had great success when I first started) but maybe it's just not the program for me. Maybe the program for me involves staying off the scale while making sure I properly fuel my body.

For now, though, I have no plans to stop eating well because I'm really enjoying how it makes me feel and when I do weigh in again, it may even show up on the scale too!

And here's the smoothie recipe I'm currently obsessed with. I may add some strawberries or raspberries next time, to make it more like a PB&J in a cup!

1 cup skim milk
2 tbsp protein powder
1 1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 medium banana, sliced

Blend together and enjoy!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Running scared

I'm through the first three weeks of the Couch to 5K program and it's going well. Since I've been here before, I know that I can do it and that it just takes a bit of work on my part to stay motivated and to run regularly. And I could be running more regularly, but I'm doing my best with it.

But I'm also getting scared. It looks like spring has finally decided to join us and I'm worried about my allergies. Last summer, I was making great progress and was all set to do the zombie run when allergies hit and I couldn't breathe...at all...even with two inhalers and allergy medication. And I'm scared of this happening again, of my hard work being negated by circumstances beyond my control.

Normally my fears are irrational as they are the result of me assuming the worst will happen in any situation and then magnifying that by about a bajillion. But this time I know my fears are actually based in reality and - worst of all - there's not a lot I can do about it.

Sure, I can keep running - and I will - but it feels like it's just a matter of time before I'm struck down and forced to start again after months of allergy-induced breathlessness.

And after spring comes the horrible humidity that is a Toronto summer, which also makes breathing hard. Then fall, with more allergens, then winter, with cold air that burns. Now that I'm running regularly outside I don't want to go back in on the treadmill; I love feeling the sun on my face, having the wind blow through my hair, smelling the freshness of spring.

I just have to keep trying (and keep reminding myself to keep trying).

It ain't easy being wheezy.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stress is okay; bridezilla is not

When picking out linens for the reception, we decided we wanted ivory table clothes with a purple overlay. Our contact at the reception venue showed us the linens; they were ecru.

"I don't want ecru linens! I want IVORY!" I screamed at her, before throwing the table cloth in her face and storming out.

That didn't happen at all. And it won't happen for several reasons: 1) our reception venue contact is a wonderful woman and I would never scream at her; 2) I would never throw anything in anyone's face; 3) ecru and ivory are pretty much the same thing to me, regardless of what wedding dress manufacturers and paint companies will have me believe; and 4) I will not become a bridezilla.

Ever since we started seriously planning the wedding, I've been very aware of what might constitute bridezilla behaviour and I've done my best to avoid it. Sure, I've had my moments (with the centrepieces and with other small things) but mostly I've just driven the Beau nutsy. I've never vented/yelled/swore at any of our vendors or suppliers and I don't plan to. But that doesn't mean I haven't felt the need to vent or yell or cry or stomp or eat a lot of ice cream.

Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking; I didn't really realize how huge until I made my "Still To-Do" list yesterday.  I thought we were making great progress because of all the things we have done:

- date set
- ceremony and reception venues booked
- officiant confirmed
- bridal party set
- dress/veil/shoes bought
- mens' suits picked
- flowers picked (though not yet made)
- save-the-date cards mailed
- invitations picked (almost ready to order)
- hotel rooms booked
- dinner menu set
- photographer/DJ booked
- bridesmaids' gifts bought
- centrepieces decided on

I mean, that's a lot, right? But it's nothing compared to the 55 items I put on the list yesterday. And it really stressed me out, seeing all those things so carefully itemized. It was like they were taunting me, saying "Nyah nyah nyah nyah, you have to do us!" And I wanted to have a huge freak-out, just bridezilla all over the place.

But I didn't. Because I know I can handle this. I just don't understand why people would do this more than once! I also know that it's okay to feel a little stressed about things because we are planning a rather major life event.

And one of the things on my to-do list is picking linens for the reception but I know it will involve neither yelling nor throwing; it will be just fine.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Clothing sizes: not just hellish for me

I've written about my frustration with clothing sizes before, and also about the psychological impact those numbers can have on me. I know women's sizes are messed up and an article from Best Health magazine reinforces this knowledge.

It's really interesting, actually but the most important piece of information is that
"Women’s sizes aren’t standardized in North America. “Voluntary standards were created in the 40s and 50s, but manufacturers don’t follow them,” says Lucia Dell’Agnese, associate chair of the School of Fashion at Ryerson University in Toronto. “So depending on the company, the ‘ideal’ 34-28-34 woman could be a size 4, 6, or 12.”"
 It also horrifies me that, for some, the 'ideal' waist is 28" and that is synonymous with a size 12. No wonder women all over have such trouble shopping for clothes!

I also know that this is nothing new, that clothing sizes have been wonky for a long time and, as the article mentions, that some manufacturers size their clothing based on their target market. And I also understand why clothing sizes can't be standardized because women's shapes differ as well.

But men have it easy with sizing in actual inches rather than arbitrary even numbers. I understand that women can be vain when it comes to sizes (like me cutting size tags out of my clothes so the Beau doesn't see them when he does laundry) but why can't the switch be made for women's clothing? Why are we forced to labour over the desire to be a size 2 or size 4 or whatever number is deemed 'perfect' at any given time?

Since I know that will never happen, I guess it's up to me to overcome my fixation with the number on the tag and go with what fits, regardless of size.

One day I'll overcome that. One day...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hotels: the new source of wedding stress

When the Beau and I decided to get married in Kitchener, we knew we'd need hotel rooms for our guests. While we both have family in the Kitchener area, the majority of our guests will be traveling from out-of-town so we have always planned on setting aside a block of rooms. Our reception site is close to a number of hotels so we figured we'd have our pick of them and would be able to go with the best rate.

And then we discovered there is a curling qualification tournament in Kitchener the weekend of our wedding.  And not just any qualification tournament: the winners will compete for a chance to represent Canada at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.

What this means is the hotels near our reception venue that we were counting on are now full. One hotel has 5 rooms left; another has 8. So what became a wealth of choice has now become rather dire.

The other catch? Most hotels will only set aside 10-15 rooms. Sure, once those are filled they will set aside more, but our invitations aren't going out for a couple more months so by the time our guests know about the rooms available, they may be all that's available.


I know that it's not our responsibility to make sure that all of our guests have somewhere to stay but with 180 people being invited (we're estimating 160 will come) that could mean up to 80 rooms.

I think we've hit upon a solution that will involve two hotels but the details still need to be confirmed. But if the details don't work out in our favour, I'm going to be pretty stressed. I'm trying to find what wedding etiquette says about how many rooms should be set aside. So far, no firm answer but I'm trying for about 70 rooms. If I can get that I'll sleep much easier.

I'll also be both cursing and cheering our Olympic curling teams in Sochi.

Friday, April 12, 2013

WW hiatus

I have decided to take a brief hiatus from weighing in each week. I'm still part of Weight Watchers and I'm still doing my best to follow the program, but my body has been going through some weird stuff lately.

It may be from our trip to Prince Edward County and all the delicious food we ate, but I've been feeling off recently. To look at me, I don't appear to be any heavier (and have, in fact, been asked if I've lost weight and told that I look really good) but when I get on the scale the number keeps going up.

One culprit, I'm sure, is that I feel backed up, so clearly I need more fibre in my diet. But there are other things I need to change and I need to spend some time focusing on that and not worrying about what the scale will say each week.

So what's my plan? I'm still figuring it all out, but it will involve smoothies, more fruit, more fibre, regular exercise, more weightlifting all while still treating myself when I want. I also want to keep up the good habits I have, like how much water I drink, walking whenever I can, lifting weights while watching TV and eating vegetables/salads every chance I get.

I'm not doing a detox or a cleanse; rather, I see this as a reset, a way to get myself - mind, body and soul - back to a place where I'm happy and comfortable and confident. And knowing that I have to get on the scale each Wednesday has been stressing me out of late so I need to step away and focus more on myself, rather than the numbers.

But I'll still post here, even if it isn't about my weight. And I'll be back with a weigh-in on Wednesday May 22.


Monday, April 1, 2013

A beautiful day for a run

Ha, just kidding! Happy April Fool's Day!

Today was actually a terrible day for a run but I still manages to do it, no foolin'!

We're at the Beau's folks for a couple of nights before heading off to Prince Edward County for a few nights. I'm bringing my running gear to PEC but who knows if I'll actually use it so I wanted to get a run in today. It was a frosty -13 this morning an the winds were at 40 km/he and I was damn chilly and my lungs hurt but I'm pretty proud of myself for doing it!

This is what it looked like on my run - brrr: