Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bye, Bye Car :(

Well it's been a whirlwind the past few days.  As most of you probably know by now, I was in a car accident on Friday evening on my way home from work.  I drove literally 20mph the entire way home down the interstates and after watching two cars lose control on the ice I thought I had finally made it to safety when I got off of the highway.  I even called Jake just to let him know I was finally almost home and off of the interstate...and then I had to call him again three minutes later to let him know I had been in an accident.  I was less than 2 miles from home when a guy heading the opposite direction lost control and spun out across all 5 lanes, hitting me head-on.  It was like slow motion out of no where.  The airbag deployed, which  I had never seen happen before so I didn't realize that there is a lot of dust that comes out with it.  I saw the dust cloud and thought it was smoke so I grabbed my phone and got my door open and got out as quickly as I could, worrying that my car was on fire.  After calling Jake and 911 I went back to my car to try to turn it off because my horn was stuck on.  I was so surprised and in a daze that I didn't even think to put my car in park or turn it off when I got out.  What we found out later is that between the combination of the bent axle and my transmission laying on the ground, the car wasn't going anywhere anyway.  I was still in shock so I got my purse and turned off the car (still didn't think to put it in park, but it was so messed up it didn't even stop me from taking the key out like it usually would if it was in gear).

From Monday when we went to see it in daylight and get my belongings and tag.

It was so cold out so when the cops got there they let me sit in their truck while they were doing the police report and then the ambulance got there to take me to the hospital for some chest x-rays and treating the burn on my hand from the airbag deployment.   I had my seatbelt on, which truly saved me but it still caused a lot of pain from the restraint.  My chest was so sore and it hurt to even breathe, and all across my hips and stomach I was in pain from the seatbelt across my lap.  Those turned into some seriously nasty bruises that are currently a lovely shade of yellow/purple as they're healing.  Luckily the chest x-rays came back fine.  After about two hours we were on our way home.  Jake took such good care of me!  I love him so much.  He helped out all around the house so that I could rest all weekend.

Now we are dealing with all of the insurance settling which is a pain.  Apparently they were having trouble getting ahold of the guy who hit me which was causing issues with my rental car...after lots of headache that was finally figured out and we got my rental car.  Right after we picked it up we got a call from the car assessor that he was ready to inspect the damage to my car and he determined that it was definitely totaled (no surprise to us).  Hopefully all of that will get worked out this week and we will be buying a new car Saturday.  Sad because I loved my old car but also starting to get excited to get something new.

I'm going to the chiropractor tomorrow, which I've never done before so I'm a little anxious.  I know that they can be really helpful, so I'm hoping that my neck and back will feel better with a little adjustment.

So, all very unexpected but hopefully within a week or so it will all be behind us, moving on to better things!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

LASIK: 3 Months Post-op

I have my check-up tomorrow for my Lasik 3mth Post-Op review.  I'm really interested to find out what I'm "seeing" as far as being 20/20 or possibly better.  I've been trying to test myself with road signs for the past couple of weeks, but that's sort of pointless because other than knowing that I can read them, it does nothing to tell me what my prescription might be.  I wanted to sum up what I've had to do the past few months as part of the treatment/healing process for any of you who are considering have laser eye surgery, or know someone who might be.  Let me preface this by saying I am no doctor, so this is my take on my experience and what I remember:

Pre-Op:  Stop wearing your contacts (if you wear them instead of glasses) and pull out those old glasses and learn to love them! Because that's all you will be allowed to wear for about two weeks prior to your Consultation visit.  This is because wearing contacts mis-shapes the surface of your eye and can give false readings at your consultation, thus messing up the course of treatment and possibly causing some big issues. So suck it up, and don't cheat and wear your contacts.  I don't care if it's your birthday and your glasses don't match your cute party dress, or that you want to be able to work out without fogging up your glasses, it's not worth it.  Oh, and also, no baby making!  You can not be pregnant or nursing 6 months prior to surgery.  Pregnancy hormone levels can affect your eye sight, and your prescription has to stay level for 1-2 years prior to surgery.

LASIK Consultation:  This will determine if you are a candidate for the surgery and what type of surgery you should have.  This will take about 1.5-2 hours and they dilate your eyes to run tons of tests.  This gives them all of the readings of your eye, like the shape and size of your eye, how much corneal tissue mass you have, etc.  You also go through the regular eye chart test to find out your true current prescription. 

Surgery:  Once you get cleared at the consultation, you are good to go for surgery!  My consult and surgery date were only 3 days apart.  Your doctor might give you a Xanax to calm your nerves, but my body had weird reactions to pain killers when I had my wisdom teeth removed in high school so I don't care for pills like that and opted not to take mine.  I like to think I'm pretty good at keeping cool under pressure, though.  They put in some eye drops to dilate your eyes again and do some other things [I don't remember exactly], then you do one last eye chart test and the doctor checks your dilation.  They also plug up your tear ducts with a teeny tiny little self-dissolving plug.  Then it's off to surgery!  The actual surgery takes less than 10 minutes, and you are awake the whole time.  They do one eye at a time, and you have numbing drops in so you don't feel it.  [Warning: you might want to stop reading here if you get queasy about medical stuff] The first laser makes the "flap" and the second laser reshapes your cornea.  I had sort of built up so many thoughts about the surgery in my head that I was really surprised at how easy and quick it all was.  I was most worried about them cutting the flap, and I didn't even realize they were already doing it until it was done.  Because the numbing drops really only work on the surface of your eye, it was a weird sensation when they opened the flap because I could kind of feel it, not pain, but you can feel it.  At this point you can't see anything out of that eye because they use a stabilizing device that pushes your eye down on your optical nerve and you black out of that eye.  It's just temporary and as soon as the flap is cut and they remove the pressure you can see.  Again, it all happens pretty quickly.   What they don't tell you is that due to that pressure you will have somewhat creepy bruises around your iris for about a week, but they eventually fade away.  Honestly the worst part for me was the eye drops that they put in at the end to help the flaps heal, because they burn! and there is nothing you can do about it.  Your normal reaction is to close your eye when it burns, but they have your eyes held open so you just have to let it go.  One the drop sets they let you close your eyes and you put on your "shields" which make you look like a big bug. 

Post -Op:  Still no baby making!  Ladies, as your eyes will not be fully healed for 6 months, you cannot get pregnant until at least 6 months after surgery.

Day 1:  You are supposed to keep your eyes closed as much as possible for the following 8-12 hours.  They give you an ambien to fall asleep.  My check-in time for surgery was 9am so I was thinking that I would want to go home and just lay on the sofa listening to tv for a bit because I wouldn't be able to fall asleep right away.  Wrong.  They give you a numbing drop before leaving the office, but that wears off within about 20-30 minutes.  For me, it wore off when we were about 2 minutes from home and then the burning starts.  My eyes were watering uncontrollably and they burned like crazy.  I took the ambien before we even got home and went straight to bed.  The ambien knocked me out for about 7 hours and when I woke up the stinging was gone. 

Day 2:  You will have a check-up the following morning to make sure that the flaps are healing properly.  That is the biggest post-op issue, other than following your eye drop regimen, because if the flaps move they will need to be surgically corrected.  This is the appointment when you will be cleared for driving, so make sure that you have someone to take you to & from the surgery and drive you to this appointment.  You have to use over-the-counter re-wetting drops every 30 minutes while awake and a steroid drop once an hour while awake.  Those increments decrease over the next couple of weeks, until you are just using re-wetting drops as needed [for me, maybe 2 times a day].  You also use a gel eye drop at night to keep your eyes lubricated.  Dry eye is caused because during the surgery they have to sever whatever it is that helps to produce tears/lubrication and it has to heal itself.  You will also start your pill-poppin:

FISH OIL:  You will be told to consume around 3500mg per day.  Fish oil pills have filler in them, so you will actually need to read the nutrition label to see how many milligrams of Omega3 are in it.  For instance, a 1200mg fish oil pill often will only have around 750mg of Omega 3.  That means you will actually need to take 5 pills per day.  There are different sizes and manufacturers, so you have to find the one that works for you.  I like Nature Made and I have learned that the key to taking fish oil pills is taking them at night, right before you go to bed.  Why?  Because they make you burp.  And when you burp, you get that nice fish oil taste in your mouth.  Yuck.  So take them at night and they will digest by morning.  Now, I have seen burpless options since so they may be a little bit better, but I have not tried them myself since I still have plenty in my bottle.
Fish Oil 1200mg Liquid SoftGel
DAILY MULTIVITAMIN:   This is just to make sure that your body is staying healthy and properly nourished during your healing process.  Again, I went with the Nature Made Multi pill.   I will say however, that in hindsight I would have probably opted for a flavored gummie option because this pill does not taste good at all.
Nature Made Multivitamin Daily

1 Month Post-Op:  Your vision will be really good!  The tear duct plugs will have dissolved [during week 1 or 2].  I was seeing 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 [better than average] in the other.  By this appointment most of your inner-eye swelling will be gone, although depending upon your pre-op prescription and how much tissue they had to laser off, there may still be some.  My right eye had an astigmatism so they had to do a lot of correcting, and I was told there was still a good bit of swelling in that eye.  You are cleared to finally work out, but ease into it and do not do anything intense.  By now, you have started using Restasis, a prescription eye drop, morning and night.  This is suppose to help your eyes produce lubrication, because during the surgery they have to sever whatever it is that helps your eyes to produce tears/lubrication and it has to heal itself.  This will slowly get better over time.

2 Months Post-Op: Your vision will probably take a step backwards.  I was seeing 20/20 out of one eye and 20/25 [worse than average] out of the other.  Do not get frustrated!  This is all a part of the healing process and your eyes adjusting.  You can go back to your full work-out plan now.

3 Months Post-Op:  Your vision should finally be full-circle and you should be seeing 20/20 or better in both eyes.    After this, you should just need yearly eye exam check-ups.

Of course, this will vary depending upon your doctor.  I cannot say enough good things about my doctors, Dr. Jaben [performed my surgery] and Dr. Rauch [consultation and post-op review] at TLC Charlotte.  I highly recommend them if you are in the area and considering the procedure.

If you have any other questions about pricing, insurance, surgery, etc.  just ask me!


Monday, January 21, 2013

You are what you Eat!

So true.  I took a nutrition class in college and there is one lesson that will forever stand out in my mind.  My professor had glass jars filled with yellow colored liquid.  Each jar was labeled with a common food item..."2 slices of Cheese Pizza", "Snickers Bar", "5oz Chocolate Ice Cream"...pretty much all foods that I ate on a somewhat regular basis.  Then she explained that the liquid in the jars represented how many ounces of fat were in that item.  YUCK.  One of those I think I just threw up a little in my mouth kind of moments.  Now, while I have to say I do enjoy the occasional piece of dark chocolate or some Coconut M&M's, I have been able to pretty much avoid all other forms of candy since.  I also just try to not buy snack items that I know I will not have the will power to avoid if it's in the house.  A great example would be sweet tea--if there's a gallon of it then I will drink every drop until it's gone, but if I just don't buy it, then I always opt for water.  Ever since being diagnosed as hypoglycemic in high school I've cut out all soda and never really been tempted to drink it again.  I have a huge love of ice cream, but now if I buy it I always go for the "Slow Churned" option from Edy's which is 1/2 the fat, or some sugar free frozen yogurt with cut up fruit [kiwi, strawberry, pineapple, raspberry] for sweetness.  Especially when I'm really into a workout regimen, I try to get creative with finding healthy meals and snacks that will still satisfy...and ways to work in chocolate :)  Here are some of my favorites right now:

Breakfast Smoothies | Lean Cuisine Spinach & Artichoke Dip | Tribe Spicy Red Pepper Hummus
| Quaker Popped Quakes - Cinnamon Apple | Yoplait Greek 100 Cal Yogurt |
Bananas | Snack Pack Fat Free Chocolate Pudding | Special K Savory Herb Crackers
For breakfast smoothies, I still follow this recipe.  I like to vary the options with different fruits, flavors of yogurt [vanilla, strawberry, key lime pie, chocolate, toasted coconut] and sometimes I will add in an instant coffee pack. 

So, if this has you in the mood to pick up some of these items next time you're at the grocery store, or just thinking about healthy snacks you love, here is a nice little meal planner printable that I've created.  I like to think about my actual meal plan for the week so that I don't end up buying a bunch of extra items that either go to waste or get lost in the back of the pantry closet for months.  There is no space for lunches on here because I usually bring dinner left-overs or a quick Lean Cuisine to work:


XO, Stacey

Friday, January 18, 2013

Scary Stuff!

Last night I went to a friend's house for an Arbonne spa party.  I had never really heard of it, but I found out that is an organic line of skincare, beauty, hair care, and even some other random items like energizing tea and men's shave gel.   I think that everyone was convinced they needed to go home and throw out every beauty product that they owned because of the scary information the sales consultants gave us.  I have a whole new-found appreciation for organic skin care products.  I have not gone through what I own yet, but holy cow.  Let me paint this picture for you...

Think about how you are driving down the road and see an animal--a big deer or raccoon, if you will--and you think how nasty it is and you drive on.  Well, the next day when you drive down that same road, the carcass is no longer there.  Where did it go?  Let me tell you.  To a Rendering Plant.

A rendering plant is a processing operation where dead animals are recycled into products from human food to biodiesel. The remains and waste from slaughterhouses are the primary contributors to these facilities. Heads, hooves, bones, blood, offal (internal organs) and anything else that cannot be used ends up at a rendering plant.
Carcasses of dead animals from livestock and confinement operations are the secondary contributors. A rendering plant will also take dead horses, llamas and other farm and zoo animals. Remains of dogs and cats, roadkill (deer, skunks, rats and raccoons) end up there as well. Veterinary clinics and animal shelters also rely on rendering plants for their euthanized animals. They also accept throwback or rejected meat from supermarkets.

Yeah, disgusting.  What's even scarier?  When the rendering plant cooks up all of the animal parts and rejected, spoiled meat, the mixture separates into solids on the bottom and greasy liquid on top.  Then, the rendering plants sell that mixture for a variety of things--including taking that greasy top layer of liquid and selling it to beauty product companies to use as filler in make up, shampoo, lotion, etc.  And then we put that onto our faces and bodies every single day.  Sick to your stomach yet? 

For all of you with little kids, Arbonne also has baby care products and I made myself a mental note to definitely remember them for the future when we have little kiddos because of this scary article about cancer-causing elements found in Johnson & Johnson baby products!  Most people think J&J is the go-to baby brand, when in fact many hospitals no longer use it because it's not considered safe.  J&J products have also been found to cause conditions like eczema in little babies. 

Overall, what was my take on it?  Well, I'm always a bit hesitant with any of these at-home, sales consultant party type of things.  They are usually always fun and you get good information, but then the catalogs come out and depending upon the sales consultant, the high-pressure sales tactics start.  Thankfully, last night the sales girls were really nice and were not laying on the guilt trip trying to make you buy more and more so that the host can get free stuff.  Or nagging everyone else to book parties, because that's the worst.   Although, with the information they shared about rendering plants, who wouldn't be pulling out the checkbook for this stuff?  I did end up buying while crying over how much money I was spending a few items--one for myself a couple as gifts.  

You now have permission to run to your bathroom cabinet and check every product label you own!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Get Fit!

Yep!  Pretty much sums it up.
I am on day 3 tonight, and my muscles already feel ripped apart.  Love that burn!
Also, I wanted to share a free website that you can go to that helps you track your meals.  This is awesome!
You go to www.Livestrong.com and click on "My Plate".  You can make a free profile and it is crazy how much information that they have loaded into it.  You type in whatever you have eaten--down to the brand and portion size.  They have many fast food chains and family restaurants pre-loaded so you can build your exact sandwich from Subway or type in exactly what you got from Chili's.  They even have vitamins so I can add in my Women's One-a-day multivitamin and my Fish Oil pills that I have to take from my LASIK surgery.  What I like about it is that not only does it tell you what your calorie intake should be for your age, height, and weight, but it also calculates all of the carbs, fats, calories, sodium, etc. of that food.  That way, people who usually count calories can see if they are actually eating an unhealthy diet since it's high in sodium or cholesterol.  It was surprising to me because by tracking the last three days, I have actually been significantly under my recommended calorie intake, but one day I was almost 20% over my daily value for sodium.  Just gives you things to think about.  AND if it could get even more fantastic, they even have exercise workouts that you can add in with the time that you did them so that you see the calories that you should have burned with that workout.  They have everything from running to golfing to trimming bushes with garden shears.  Yes, seriously.  They don't have all names of specific workout programs, like Insanity, but I enter it in as "boot camp" since it's an intense cardio/strength training workout.

And, for those of you Iphone users, there's an app that you can put on your phone.  I haven't checked to see if they have the app on Android.

Have a good night!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Getting Organized

I've been on a little bit of a kick to get more organized lately.  I have to admit that I am definitely a creative mind so while everything in my home has its place, sometimes I am the only one who understands that junk box organization. So, seriously organizing has been my focus...I don't really know why.  Maybe that happens after you're finally settled into a house with your husband/wife?  When you first move in together it's a merging of "his" and "hers" elements and making compromises.  But over time as you're married, you get "ours" stuff.  And slowly but surely, you purge the old items, or box them up for the attic and a rainy day.

What are my plans?

1.  The previously mentioned & newly decorated bookshelves in our living room...the new photos should be arriving at the end of the week so that they can be placed in frames and I can post pictures on here!  Even though they are photo-less...just the new layout seems so much more purposeful and less like random bookshelves of stuff.

2.  I'm finally getting around to the giftwrap organizer in the closet of the 4th bedroom, lovingly referred to as the Man Cave.  I am seriously excited for when this is finished.  Tutorial to come, using this pantry organizer:
Grayline Back of Door Storage System from Amazon
They also sell this at Target, but it's $9 cheaper, plus free shipping on Amazon! Gotta love a deal.
3.  Organizing the rest of the above mentioned closet.  It was seriously a pile of random things ranging from bed linens to giftwrap to massage chair boxes to luggage to folding chairs...Get the picture?  Well, I completely cleaned out that closet yesterday and was extremely surprised to realize that there is not really that much in there, it was just all piled on top of each other and really mis-using the space.  After throwing out some of the boxes and random items, I placed the good items back in there.  All except for the linens, because I need some shelving for those. 

4.  Getting rid of old clothes that I no longer wear.  While many of us are less toned than we were in our high school days, some of us have stayed about the same clothing size.  Yay for us!  However, the downside of that is you somehow end up with this closet full of clothes you've acquired over the past 10 years and at some point you have to start eliminating pieces from your wardrobe.  Also, like many sorority girls, we end up with collections of semi-formal and formal dresses that we honestly won't wear half of ever again.  Unless maybe you marry rich.  But for most of us, finding a charity to donate to sounds like a better idea.  I never just throw away clothes.  There's always somebody else out there who could use it. 

5.  Finally get around to our backsplash.  This isn't necessarily organizing, but I will be able to finally feel like our kitchen is complete.  I'm trying to narrow down ideas and products.  Also, painting one of the kitchen walls and hanging a valence over the sink window if I feel really ambitious.

That's all for now.  Starting back with Day 1 of Insanity tonight, the Fit Test [essentially, maxing out on 8 different exercises].

Sunday, January 6, 2013

World Market Love

Well, my hubs was busy working out of town this weekend so it provided me with lots of free time for catching up with friends and catching up with laundry!  I made a day trip to Columbia to see my parents and one of my best friends, Eden.  While visiting with my parents we had lunch at Panera, possibly the best place in the world for a good soup/sandwich combo, and then went to World Market.  I feel like World Market can be hit or miss, and I wasn't finding tons of wonderful things however I did find this little gem...
Turkish Peach Jar Candle from World Market

Smells soooo good.  I love fruity scents and this one has a little bit of spice to it, too.  I wanted something to switch up from all of the Evergreen and Apple smells I've been using all Christmas season.  

Also, I was super excited to find these to use for grilling out on the boat...

World Grill Appetizer Skewers from World Market. 
For some reason, these are not on their website.  I purchased them from the location in
Sandhills, NE Columbia.
These are the perfect size to get all six skewers to fit on the grill, and can still hold a nice amount of food.  Plus, they are a fun, curly shape :)

Have a good night, bloggers!  Back to real 5-day work weeks tomorrow.  Also, starting back with Day 1 of Insanity tomorrow...I can already feel the burn!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Photo Ordeal.

Well...it has not been fun the past two days trying to order some items from Shutterfly.  It all started because I had a coupon code for a free 8"x8" custom photo book from Shutterfly because my parents bought something from Best Buy and they were doing a promotion that you would get this coupon.  Well, my parents did not have a need for the photo book so they gave it to me.  I've held on to it for months, saying that I would make the photo book when I had more time.  I was really looking forward to it because after our wedding, I made a custom photo book of all of our wedding photos and it turned out very well!

So, fast forward to last night around 10pm, I wasn't tired and I was catching up on some DVRed shows, so I decided to make the book.  I spend over two hours on the Shutterfly website, making my custom photo book of all of our honeymoon pictures, and then uploading other photos to use for the redecorated shelves in our living room.   So of course, what happens when I click the little "place order" button?  All these messages pop up saying that it couldn't save my pictures and I couldn't order until the pictures were saved...blah, blah, blah...After about 5 minutes of frustration, I just decided to close out of it, shut down my laptop, head to bed and say a prayer for the best.  When I revisited the site this evening, no photo book to be found.  So, I patiently re-made the book and placed the order.  What was different this time?  Last night, I used Shutterfly's "Import from Facebook" option and imported about half of the photos.  For whatever reason, that function must not be working properly and it doesn't fully import the photo information so it won't let you process the order.  Tonight, I went on Facebook and saved all of the photos I wanted to a file on my computer, then uploaded from my computer documents.  There were no issues with that and everything was good to go!  I just had to pay about $8 shipping, which I thought was pretty good.

I decided that the price of the prints & shipping for the photos I was going to get for the living room was a little excessive, so I went to the Snapfish website (since I need some larger scale prints) and ordered those through them instead.  They are doing a promotion right now for large scale [5x7 and 8x10] that if you use the code BIGPRINTS you get half off!

I also decided that I'm going to do a mixture of photos and artwork instead of just photos like I had originally planned.  I think it will be a good way to incorporate my new chalkboard too.  Yes, I decided to join that craze.  I thought it would be cute to have little messages that I could change for whatever season, occasion, etc, was going on.  We already had a small photo easel that is perfect size to hold the chalkboard :)

Have a wonderful first weekend of 2013!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Ohh, the year ahead...Can I just say that I am very much one of those dorks that gets way too  excited about new office supplies--i.e. my new desk calendar.  I just love getting a brand new calendar/agenda and writing in all of the important dates--anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, showers, due dates, vacations, etc.  I guess it's because I get to see so much of what is to look forward to that year.  What else do I love about office supplies?  When I find them on a bargain, and thanks to the lovely Target Dollar Spot, I've found just that.  How can you beat a mini monthly desk calendar, already printed and professionally bound for $1.00?  You can't!
However, if you're not planning a trip to Target anytime soon [yeah, right] and you want a different option, this one is extremely cute, colorful, and you get to print it for free :)  2013 Printable Calendar from The Tomkat Studio.
So, last New Year's we were looking forward to our 1st wedding anniversary and our vacation to Las Vegas.  This year?  I'm sad to say that not much is already planned!  Usually I have things like vacations planned pretty far in advance, but I've been considering checking out some Groupon Getaways and Living Social Escapes, which you can't purchase that far in advance.  It's our 2nd anniversary, so I'm thinking it will be less of a splurge but still a nice, relaxing vacation.  Somewhere beachy and tropical seems appealing.  Minimum of 4 days, because I want to get there and enjoy  my time, not feel rushed.   
One thing much in our future for this year is plenty of pontoon time!  Now that the holidays are over I am so ready for warm weather and sun tans!
What else? Babies and weddings!  Jake's cousin is due in the next couple of weeks with her second little boy.  They are so close and grew up together so she's more of his big sister and we're like Uncle Jake & Aunt Stacey :)  One of my best friends is also due with her second, a little girl coming in March!  I can't wait to spoil them both rotten.  As previously mentioned, we also have four weddings on the books this year, which are always great times to get together and celebrate important moments with friends!
I've never been one for new year's resolutions, but now that I've been cleared for workouts after my Lasik surgery, and Thanksgiving and Christmas meals have passed, there will be Insanity and a bigger focus on healthy meals.  I don't diet, mainly because I really enjoy healthy food so I don't see it as a chore, which dieting always sounds like.  If I've eaten a healthy breakfast and lunch, why can't I have my bowl of slow churned chocolate fudge brownie ice cream after dinner? 
I'm also looking forward to the unexpected!  This past year, the opportunity for my Lasik surgery was such an unexpected blessing.  I'm 2 months post-op and my eyesight has never been better!  Even with contacts, I would find myself having to squint sometimes because the astigmatism in my right eye would make my contact shift around. 

Cheers to a new and exciting year!



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I've learned I need to take more photos...

It has become so clear to me that I really suck at remembering to take photos.  I get so caught up in the fun time that we're having that I always forget to whip out the camera or my phone.  So, unfortunately you don't get to see any cute pics of the holidays, but we have had such a great time!  So, where to begin...

I guess the first of our festivities started with April & Jeremy's annual tacky Christmas sweater party.  It was so much fun again, just like last year!  Although this year ended up staying a little bit more sane than last year which was nice, and we took the party to the bar instead of staying at their house the whole time, which I know must have worked out a bazillion times better for them!  Entertaining at home is so much fun but there's always that one person who has to break something sometimes the cleanup can be excruciating.

Following that came my company's Christmas Dinner which was at Del Frisco's in Charlotte.  Jake and I had never been there before and the food was amazing!  I got the crab cakes and Jake got one of the steak specials.  They also have the BEST calamari I've ever tasted.  It's seriously like heaven in your mouth.  Instead of serving it with marinara sauce like most places I've been, albeit they were Italian restaurants, Del Frisco's serves theirs covered in an Asian glaze, similar to what comes on Orange Chicken or General Tso's.  YUM.  I also had my first ever Celebrity sighting.  After narrowly missing Vince Vaughn and Kevin James on the elevator in Chicago and not seeing a single celebrity in Las Vegas for a week, who knew that I'd see my first celeb sighting in good ol' Charlotte.  Who?  Ric Flair.  Don't recognize the name?  He's this guy...

From the great world of WWE.  I recognized him but never knew his name because my family was never big into wrestling.  He still pretty much looks the same.  He's no Vince Vaughn, but it was pretty cool to be standing less than a foot away from him at the bar in Del Frisco's.

After that comes our Christmas visit to see my Grandpop and some others from my Dad's side of the family down in Mount Pleasant.  We don't get down there a lot so it was nice to see them, and my Aunt Kerri was home visiting from India.  We watched the new Bourne movie, which I really enjoyed, then exchanged gifts and had a nice traditional holiday meal--ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, wine, etc.

On Christmas Eve, we just slept in and relaxed, then went to church and dinner with Jake's mom, sister, and brother.  His stepdad was sick with a stomach virus the whole week so he didn't get to participate in anything :(  We went to their church in Lake Wylie, and I always enjoy getting to see different churches, especially when they are all beautifully decorated at Christmas.  It was a neat candlelight service but visiting other churches always makes Jake and I really realize how much we love our church, Allison Creek Presbyterian.  It's technically in York I guess but it's only about 10 minutes down the road from us since we're out here on the edge of Rock Hill.  Churches are so personal and everyone has different tastes, but we really love the community within our church and especially the delivery of the sermons.  I don't like feeling like I'm getting yelled at by the preacher if they have a harsh, excited delivery.  And I don't like being bored to tears by someone who is monotone.  We feel like our Pastor has the perfect balance and neither one of us ever gets bored or zones out during the sermon so we always feel like we really get something out of what he shares.  

On Christmas day we had Jake's side of the family and my friend Karen over for a brunch of waffles, fruit, casseroles, eggs, bacon, cinnamon rolls, etc.  TONS of food.  We exchanged gifts and just got to hang out for a while having some good conversation.  Then, we got to relax for a little bit and clean up before my side of the family arrived for Christmas dinner.  We had glazed ham with pineapple, seasoned green beans, steamed corn, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and then desserts.  It was a good thing that we only ate two meals all day because holy cow was it a lot of food.  I did the ham and the mac & cheese both in crock pots, which was nice and easy for me so that I could sit and enjoy socializing instead of cooking in the kitchen all day.  It worked out extremely well for the ham, and the mac & cheese was good but I think I would use a different recipe next time.  I found one recipe that uses evaporated milk, which I thought I had but it turned out that I had sweetened condensed milk, both are from Eagle Brand and I didn't pay attention to the label.  So, last minute I had to switch to a  different recipe that only used 2% milk and I think it would have been nicer and creamier with the other recipe.  For dessert, I made a cherry crumb pie and some "brooksters" which are a combo of chocolate chip cookies & brownies.  The cherry crumb pie tasted really good, but good Lord did it make a mess in my oven.  I would highly suggest that if you attempt one of these pies, put a cookie sheet on the rack underneath your pie because that nice filling will just bubble out over the edge and create a huge puddle of burnt mess in your oven.  Thank God our oven is self-cleaning, but that makes such a smoky mess that I haven't done it yet.  I did cook dinner in the oven two nights ago and some of the cherry mess burnt off but that is a headache that I'll be dealing with for a couple more weeks I expect...However, the brooksters, or as I always mix up and call them, "Brewsters," are like the best combination in the world.  Here is the super easy recipe:


--Prepare chocolate chip cookie mix from scratch as directed on bag of chocolate chips.
--Prepare brownies as directed on box of brownie mix.

Put paper liners in cupcake trays and fill 1/3-1/2 of the way with brownie batter.  Top with one scoop in each of the cookie batter.  

Bake as directed following the Chocolate Chip cookie recipe.  You may need to add 5-10 minutes to the time since brownies take longer to cook.  You will know they are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  

Easy and seriously delish!  These were definitely a crowd pleaser.  

..And what have we been doing since Christmas?  Well, I enjoyed the after Christmas sales and picked up some adorable wrapping paper for next year (so prepared, I know!) and decided to re-decorate our bookshelves in the living room.  I got tons of new frames and decorations from Hobby Lobby, TJMaxx, and Ross.  I cleaned off the bookshelves and have figured out the new frame placement, but now I just need to get the correct size and orientation of photos printed.  So, pictures of that to come!  We also celebrated New Years/Jake's 25th Birthday!  He has not been feeling too hot following the celebration but we did it up right at the Longbranch last night!  He is also very excited about his birthday gift, a new propane grill for on our boat!  With all of the time we are going to be spending out there now that we have the boat, I figured we would get tired of pb&j's or turkey sandwiches REAL quick.  Now we can do burgers, hot dogs, chicken, steaks, kabobs, you name it!  Now, if only this weather would get back into the 70's..........

Have a great day back at work tomorrow!

<3 Stacey