Misconceptions About Marriage As Told By a Newlywed

Entering marriage with my husband was an easy, and might I add, well thought out, choice. When we met, neither of us were looking for relationships. In fact, we had just been a few months shy of just ending our previous relationships before fate stepped in and knocked us off our feet unexpectedly. After dating for almost a year and a half, Philip popped the question and six months later we said ‘I do’ in front of our closest friends and family in Las Vegas.

June 28th marks our very first wedding anniversary and I can’t help but sit here in reflection of where this year has taken us and how we’ve evolved and grown into the spouses we are today. Nothing could have prepared me for marriage and being a wife, but yet here I sit waiting in anticipation for the years to follow. Here are my top three misconceptions about marriage, especially within the first year.

When it comes to advice on marriage there are so many opinions and suggestions out there, some more valuable than others, that sometimes it’s difficult for a newlywed to navigate these uncharted waters. Some believe that marriage will simply fix whatever problems may be in the relationship or that time is running out so there’s a sense of urgency to find ‘the one.’

nothing changes about your relationship after you say “I do”

One major misconception about marriage is that people believe that somehow their relationship will change because they’ve taken this ’next step.’ This isn’t true so take off those rose colored glasses. You as an individual will be the same exact person the next day and so will your spouse…the only difference is that you’ve just paid for your family and group of friends to eat an expensive meal and drink all of your booze. If you have issues in your relationship leading up to your wedding those issues will still be there afterwards. So, enter your marriage with realistic expectations and consider working through the emotional stuff beforehand.

happily ever after is attainable

Irregardless of how long you’ve been married, ‘happily ever after’ isn’t just for fairy tales. Finding happiness in your marriage should be the goal to which both partners strive to experience with one another. It takes work, however, it should never feel like work. It begins with compromise, learning to combine your passions with your spouse’s, and I will always say that communication is the key to a happy and healthy relationship. Happy should be the first word to describe your marriage and if it isn’t, take a look at what you can do to attack those happiness-killers that might be lurking around.

If you’re looking for a start on how to achieve happiness, consider checking out this podcast series from my local church called The Pursuit of Happiness. It’s been a fantastic series and I have been able to gather many take-aways from each message. It’s so easy to apply to your life and does a great job at putting things into perspective.

my husband doesn’t have to love me

He chooses to. Every. Single. Day. And I, him.

Just because you’re married doesn’t mean that you get to stand along the sidelines and become a spectator to your relationship.

I suppose this is when people tell you it’s work. Look, it’s easy to get comfortable, maybe gain a little weight here and there, have sex less often, or become more involved with your cell phone, kids, or career. It happens. However, the important thing to keep in mind is that you chose to be in your relationship, so, make it work.

This comes in different forms. Here’s a few: 

  1. Give quality attention to one another. Put away the phones and other distractions.
  2. Sex is important and intimacy is vital to a lasting marriage. It shouldn’t be a chore, but something you and your spouse both enjoy.
  3. Stay in shape. You’re a reflection of your spouse and vice versa. Keep him wanting you the way you did when you first met. Plus, self-confidence is one of the most attractive qualities men like in women!
  4. Remember to put your relationship first before your kids. If your relationship is happy your children will notice. The same can be said for unhappy marriages, too. Children see everything so set a good example for them.
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Saying Goodbye: A Grateful Heart

Saying goodbye is never an easy thing to do. Even if it’s to a car. For me, it was saying goodbye to a car that had extraordinary meaning and was a reminder that anything is possible through hard work and discipline.

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

To begin…
I am lucky enough to say that I was able to gain a quality education and even graduate with a master’s degree at 23 years old. Not to mention I was the first in my family to do that. So, it was kind of a big deal for me. During that time, as a part of my studies, I had to complete a year of intense student teaching and an internship of which I couldn’t work and therefore earn an income. 
Introducing my first experience with credit. I had to get my first credit card to pay for my bills during that time I was out of work. I considered myself financially conscious and was aware of the pitfalls of having credit, which could get me into trouble. I did what I could, but before I knew it I had reached my balance and ended up getting a second card to help with my additional expenses. By graduation, I had two maxed-out credit cards and was swimming in debt, only adding to what I would owe for student loans.
Although it was embarrassing to confront, or even discuss at the time, Philip helped me get on a simple financial plan in order to work through these credit cards and eventually pay them off. I remember being on vacation with him, in Turks & Caicos of all places, and paying my final balance. I can’t even describe to you the weight that was lifted once I read that $0.00 balance…on BOTH cards.
Funny enough, my car at the time, a 2000-something Hyundai Santa Fe, was beginning to show signs of death and I knew that it was only a matter of time before it crapped out on me. I knew that I needed a new car and soon. Funny the way the universe works. Oh you just paid off your credit card debt? That’s nice. Now the undercarriage of your car is going to rust and fall out.

Finding Mini…
I had always loved Mini Coopers and it was once only a dream to own one. They were cute, compact, and had just enough sportiness that made them fun to drive. After discussing it, Philip took me to a dealership and spent the afternoon test driving some of their models. After driving a few, and over the next few weeks contemplating on which I liked most, the day finally arrived where I was in a position to buy my first brand new car. Finally I was about to embark on purchasing my dream car; making that dream a reality.

May 18, 2013

This was me almost two years ago to the day when my Mini Coupe arrived all the way from Oxford, England. Instead of purchasing something off the lot, I went with designing and creating my own coupe from scratch. I opted for the two-seater coupe because at the time I didn’t need the extra room since it was just me and Philip. Also, it was perfect for living in DC because you could park it anywhere. The coupe was a brand new model and I loved the fact that I didn’t see many of these driving around (I mean, EVERYONE has the two-door hardtop).

However, within that two year period of owning my dream car, my priorities had shifted. I had gotten married, we adopted our fur-baby Murphy, moved to CA and now we are in the phase of trying for a family. This all equates to needing to upgrade and find a more practical car for our growing family and accommodate my lengthy commute to work each day.

May 17, 2015

After many months, dealerships, test drives, and changed minds later we finally found THE ONE. I am so happy with our new Lexus Hybrid CT 200h because it’s a smooth drive, enough room for company (and an eventual car seat), saves on gas, and is oh so pretty 😉

So, what am I grateful for? 

I am grateful…
+ to my husband for providing me with a family I can’t do without
+ that we are in a financial position to buy a new car
+ for hybrid technology, which makes my commute so much easier
+ that my Mini will soon be someone else’s dream car

Most of all, God has been so good to our family and I am more than grateful for His love and blessings. Without His good work in our lives we wouldn’t have been in the position to make this purchase.

Do you have something you’ve worked hard to earn? What helped you reach your goal? What kinds of sacrifices did you have to make? Let’s talk!

Thank you to Ember Grey for hosting this wonderful Grateful Heart linkup! You can also find me linking up with Oak & Oats this week!

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Slim Down Saturday + Linkup {5.16}

Halleluja I’ve made it through week one and I am so excited with the results I’ve seen these fast five days. I know it’s probably more water weight than anything else but it’s weight loss nonetheless and we all have to start somewhere. Today I am excited to begin the first Saturday in this series Slim Down Saturday and will be posting and linking up every weekend for the next three months. 
Series Inspiration:
I chose this amazing quote to be the series inspiration because as women, we should love to be ourselves, aspire to do great things, TO LOVE OUR BODIES, and to believe in the things we can achieve even when we face challenges. So, if you are inspired to get healthy this season and want to share your journey, be sure to join the linkup as I would love to meet you and share in this experience together!
The Results Week One

Ultimate Goal
My ultimate goal is to reach my goal weight, which is to lose about 40 lbs.

Gain/Loss From the Week
-2.8 lbs!

Total Loss Since Starting
-2.8 lbs

Positives From the Week
Of course losing almost 3 lbs is a huge positive from this week because it hasn’t been the easiest start staying within my points. But a couple major positives is that I am sticking to my points and getting to the gym 3x a week.

Things to Work On
One thing I would like to work on is drinking the full 8 glasses of water every day.

One Goal For Next Week
Continue to eat more fruit (0 points!) and other healthy snacks for those hunger pings throughout the day and in-between meals. 

A good playlist for the gym. Nothing gets you in the mood to break a sweat more than a good playlist of your favorite artists. I love using the Top Hits station on Pandora because a lot of the music out right now have a great tempo for the gym and I love discovering new artists!
Here are a few of my favorites right now:
+ GDFR by Flo Rida
+ Hey Mama by David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj 
+ Where Are U Now by Skrillex & Diplo feat. Justin Bieber
+ Elastic Heart by Sia

Tip or Trick
One tip for this week that has worked for me, that even I was a bit skeptical about, was making sure to eat a healthy breakfast to start my day. One way I do this, especially when I don’t have the time to sit down and eat all the time, is breakfast smoothies. I found a recipe on Pinterest and it has been a great meal replacement option, keeps me feeling full, and is packed with protein and nutrients…oh and it tastes really good!
I got through week one and I’m excited to go into next week! Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!
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My Weight Journey

Weight Watchers is in no way affiliated with this post. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

I am going to begin with saying that I love my body. However, it took a long time to get to this place but, I’ve managed to find my inner Beyonce (or I guess it’s Meghan Trainor now??) and embrace my curvy shape regardless of what size is trending at the moment. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will always have double-digit pant sizes and I’ll never be able to look like the skinny women on hundreds of fitness inspiration boards on Pinterest. It just won’t happen and I’m okay with that. I have an amazing husband that loves my curves who finds new ways to make me feel beautiful and that is what matters. That is what makes me comfortable and confident in my body. I am happy. I am loved. And most importantly: I love myself.

With all that being said, I, like many other women, have moments where I feel as though I don’t have anything to wear, I feel bloated and none of my pants seem to fit right, and the last thing I want to do is see my reflection in the bathroom mirror (which by the way, has horrible lighting and does nothing for my self-esteem). I’ll admit that the last few weeks months I’ve indulged in delicious foods, wine, and desserts while not keeping up with the gym or otherwise being active. This, by no surprise, has caused me to gain weight. So, as a lover of food and wine, I need to get back into portion control and learn to balance the cheat days with more greener, healthier eating days. Plus, seeing your weight for the first time in a year on a scale is enough motivation to at least get started.

I am of Irish descent and that means I come from a big big family; both figuratively and quite literally. I grew up always being the heavier one of my friends and although I am not overweight, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the scale (I mean, who doesn’t…please let me not be the only one!). I’m not so much into dieting because it’s not a realistic way for me to approach food. If I try to cut out my favorites such as sweets, coffee, carbs, or alcohol, I’m already setting myself up for failure (especially that last one). What I need is a plan that allows me to enjoy the foods I love meanwhile teaching me the skills for a healthier lifestyle. This is where my trusty friend, Weight Watchers, comes back into my life.

I first fell in love with WW when I was about six months out from my wedding date. I was going to wear a strapless, fitted dress and I wanted to look and feel amazing in it. So, like every other engaged woman out there, I hit the gym, registered for a half-marathon, and found a nutrition plan that worked for me. 
I am the type of person that needs structure to do anything and this applies to my health too. I personally love the point system because it holds me accountable for what I eat and drink in a days time. The first time I tried it, I admit, I was a bit skeptical but I was amazed at how quickly I was beginning to make better decisions about what I was eating. For example, if I really want that Chickfila meal with sweet tea, I can have it and it will be delicious, but I’ll be spending half of my point values on that one meal alone. Or it means I have to get my butt to the gym in order to earn some of those points back with activity. See how this works?? Amazing and yet so simple. Keeping track of my points is easy and even moreso with their free phone app where I can log my food and activity each day. I can even scan the barcodes on foods, or search for them, to know exactly how many points it’s worth and how it fits into my daily allowance. 
Here is what you can expect while on the points+ plan and MAKE IT WORK:
+ be prepared to drink water like a camel and pee like one too
+ it will motivate you to be more active with earning points you can use for food
+ you’ll find yourself eating more veggies and fruit because they’re worth 0 points
+ your grocery bill will be slightly more expensive because you’re eating fresh
+ you’ll save money on all the alcohol you won’t be buying
+ invest in a scale (you can slowly start to tolerate it in your bathroom over time) for your weigh ins each week
+ you’ll find over time that you become more comfortable and satisfied with smaller portions. But that first few weeks are hell (because you’re hungry. all. the. time)
+ although you may not see your progress from day to day…you’ll look forward to your weigh in day and see how your hard work is paying off
+ don’t weigh yourself every day. Just once a week otherwise you’ll be bummed out and it’ll take away from the excitement of seeing the scale drop each week
+ your first time you’ll become a little neurotic about the points
+ you will feel bad about giving in to your cravings but try to realize that you CAN have those cheat meals but it shouldn’t keep you from hitting your goals
+ you’ll have a greater appreciation for food
+ you’ll pick up some great cooking skills with easy ingredients and fun recipes
Every Saturday for the next three months I have a weigh-in and I get to see my progress for that week. It’s a chance for me to see what went well and areas I could improve going into the following week. I look forward to sharing this experience with all of you even though the discussion of weight can be very uncomfortable.
If you are looking to slim down or get to your fitness goal, I would love for you to link up with me each week on Saturday for the next three months to share how your week went; through the ups and downs of weight loss. My purpose for this is to empower, support, and motivate fellow women in their health lifestyle goals!
Feel free to grab this button and sample topic questions for the linkup! See you Saturday!
By no means do you have to subscribe to Weight Watchers to participate in this linkup. 
It is all about sharing your experiences as you reach your health goals from week to week.
Here are the topics that I will be discussing each week:
1. Ultimate Goal
2. Gain/Loss From the Week
3. Total Loss Since Starting
4. Positives From the Week
5. Things to Work On
6. One Goal For Next Week
7. Motivator
8. Tip or Trick

Ultimate Goal
What is the end result you are looking for? Is it a dress size, a goal weight, or something else? This will stay the same throughout the 3 month linkup.
Share the pounds you’ve gained or lost that week. It’s a great motivator to see your progress and even if you’ve gained, you can pinpoint what happened and how to improve the next week.
Total Loss Since Starting
This is the fun number to watch each week because it does nothing but grow even if you can’t necessarily SEE it happening.
Positives From the Week
What went really well this week that you’re proud of?
Things to Work On
We all have them and it will change from week to week. What is one thing you want to do better or begin doing?
One Goal For Next Week
If you could do one thing differently that would help you reach your ultimate goal what would it be? More sleep? Walk more? Drink more water? Pick something achievable in a week’s time.
What kept you motivated that week? Is it a photo, quote, or a feeling? Help others get motivated by sharing what motivates you!
Tip or Trick
Have you discovered a tip or trick that helps you stay on track towards your goal? Have a new recipe or helpful tip that could benefit others? Share here so we all can find new ways to make weight loss easier and not feel so much like a daunting task.
You can also catch me linking up with Oak & Oats 😉
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