Flashback Friday – Stop and Smell the Roses (Or lilacs!)

As I was going through some old photos to inspire today’s Flashback Friday post, I noticed a pattern.  Check these out and I’m sure you’ll see what I’m talking about:

I'm mad at 1 year old self for not smiling in this photo!

I’m mad at 1 year old self for not smiling in this photo!

Me, my dad, and my younger brother Timmy

Me, my dad, and my younger brother Timmy

When I saw these pictures I just thought they were the most delightful and eye-opening photos (even if I am crying in the first one… grrr).  The photos are different years, and I’m sure that myself and my parents were in different mindsets at each of those stages of our lives.  I mean, I’m probably wearing diapers in the first picture and in the second I was already probably already bossing people around, organizing my own pretend classroom, and hoarding various collections of sorts, while trying to take over the world (yes, that’s the type of kid I was…)    Anyway, I just love this here photo evidence where my Dad is reminding us to stop… and smell the lilacs.

Before I get into that, let me backtrack on my original thoughts of this blog post – which have to do with my Dad.  It is so fitting that he is making us take a break from playing or whatever we were probably doing at that time to smell the flowers.  I am well aware that I get some amazing qualities from my mom… loyalty, a tireless work ethic, the mindset that I can do anything I put my mind to, and more, but I’ve always believed that my dad provided me with just the right amount of opposing qualities to keep me balanced and well-rounded.

My dad seriously being the coolest guy I know.  I mean, c’mon.. did you look at that first picture?  How much cool, calm, and collected can you get!  He’s rocking Ray Ban aviators and a plaid shirt, while holding flowers… lol.  That’s a real man!  He knows the coolest bands and music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.  He keeps an even tan year-round, and he rocks skate/surf tees and tanks.  Oh, I forgot to mention he owned a toy store on Main Street in our town for until I was 18.  The. Coolest. Dad.  Just try to compete with that one, lol.

Anyway, it is just fitting that this laid back, cool Dad is showing us how to appreciate the little things in life.   When life seems out of control, I need to remind myself to look at or think of these photos.  To remind myself to not get caught up in my crazy schedule, the next thing on my to-do list, or planning for the future.  I need to promise myself to stop and appreciate each and every little aspect of beauty in life – whether its nature, alone time, or the company of family or friends.  To not focus on material things.  To not worry about who is doing what or if I’m missing out on something.  Or maybe to stop worrying if I’m on the right path.  Maybe this photo will help me remember just to close my eyes, take a deep breath in, and appreciate where I am in the here and now.

Challenge delightfully accepted.  🙂

– Jessi

A Beautiful Morning to Begin a Weight Loss Battle

Since Patrick and I started dating a little over two years ago, I’ve gained 30 pounds.

I know, I know – it’s somewhat normal and expected to gain weight in a relationship but this isn’t good at all – not for me or for Patrick, who has weigh-ins coming up in a few months for work.  I don’t know about you, but this weight gain phenomenon has happened to me in almost every relationship I’ve ever been in.  Granted, this is my worst, and that’s exactly why I now need to put my foot down and focus on me.  Why do we let ourselves go?  Here are a few reasons that you are probably familiar with but I’ll remind you of these culprits for fun, or at least from my experience.

1) When we are in a relationship, we are comfortable!  We got the guy (or girl) and we aren’t “fishing” anymore in that vast sea.  No need to be in tip top shape to impress or attract a potential fish-mate.

2) We want to spend all of our time with that person.  Especially in my situation, where my boyfriend’s and my schedules rarely match up – when we are together, I want to be with him!  I don’t want to be running off to an exercise class or to go for a run and part ways with him.  So we end up relaxing in front of the TV together, or even worse… (continue to #3)…

3) Your time together usually involves meals, and those meals aren’t always healthy.  Conversations and memories are made over a meal, and these meals are usually had out out at a restaurant where you are “treating” yourself.  Therefore, the calorie intake is rarely paid attention to, or you justify your actions with a celebratory, or an “I deserve this” type of mindset.  Not to mention that random weekdays by the TV sometimes end in the venturing out for a “treat” such as ice cream.  Relationship or not – you could probably tell by my food posts that I love eating, and that’s not something I’m entirely willing to give up.  (And I haven’t even gotten into the calorie content of alcohol!).  So, I’ll have to find another way (or some additional activities) to help me battle this bulge.

As I was going to bed last night and thinking about these things, I prepared myself to begin to combat this relationship poundage.  I figured I’d at least start by taking a few extra steps outside of my comfort zone in order to prove that I mean business.  So, today I added in a run, but not just any run.  Today I ran BEFORE work.  I am 27 years old.  I don’t think I’ve EVER fit in exercise before school or work EVER, unless it was mandatory on a team (and normally any dance team, cheerleading, soccer, or lacrosse practices I had in the past would only be in the morning on days that we didn’t have school afterwards).  But the alarm went off at 6:00am, and around 6:40am I stumbled out of bed, brushed my teeth, threw on some workout clothes, and hit the pavement around 7:00am.  (Waking up on cue to my alarm and not using the snooze button is a whole other task I’ll try to combat one day… lol).

And let me tell you, I’m so glad I got out of bed and went out for a run.  It was beautiful!   I mean, it wasn’t even that early but there were very few people out and about and it was just so peaceful.  The sun was shining, yet there was a lot of dew in the air (or perhaps it had rained throughout the night).  I had tunes blasting in my headphones as I was working out my body.  It was wonderful!  Here are some of the pictures I grabbed during my peaceful run:

The run can wait... I couldn't help but stop and take some photos!

The run can wait… I couldn’t help but stop and take some photos!

Weeks Road - Usually VERY busy yet it was so peaceful today.

Weeks Road – Usually VERY busy yet it was so peaceful today.

A canal/bridge that I passed over on my run.

A canal/bridge that I passed over on my run.

On any given day the Patchogue River is bustling with boats.  This morning?  So tranquil and not an engine to be heard. (PS - That's Patrick's boat right there) :-)

On any given day the Patchogue River is bustling with boats. This morning? Look at that tranquility.  Not an engine to be heard. (PS – That’s Patrick’s boat right there) 🙂

Guilty as Charged... here I am sweating but smiling.  So happy with my decision.

Guilty as Charged… here I am sweating but smiling. So happy with my decision.

My run. :-)  Love the Nike+ Running app!

My run. 🙂 Love the Nike+ Running app!

I am hoping that this is the start to getting back on track with my weight-loss goals as I commit myself to some additional training (and maybe even a little bit better eating habits).  I hope this post has inspired you in some way as well!  Especially you, Patrick – countdown to October weigh-in’s has begun.  Let’s kick some weight loss butt, starting now!!


Vacation Destination: Lake George, N.Y.

I’m back!  That’s right, we all deserve a vacation sometimes and that’s exactly what I did!  If you read my post about Rachael Ray and upstate New York then you may already have guessed where I was.  Sure, there’s internet access up there (not at our houses though) and it’s not the boonies by any means.  But nevertheless, when we go upstate (and as it should be on any vacation!) we try to appreciate the place we are visiting and squeeze in as many activities as possible; so blogging wasn’t even an option.

Now that I’m back, let me share some of my favorite things about the Lake George area in this “Vacation Destination: Lake George, N.Y.” post.

1) The house that we stay at.  Sorry, but this is one thing you won’t be able to experience but I have to say it first and foremost because it’s a great house!  It’s built right into the mountain so neither story feels like an upstairs or a downstairs.  Patrick’s parents did a great job when they bought this house two years ago, and his mom has a great HGTV-like eye for decorating.  The house has a cozy upstate feel without being too overly/commercially “Adirondack”.  The yard is huge – there’s a firepit way out back, and a smaller patio with a chiminea where you can sit and be near the house.  Bonus:  The bedroom that Patrick and I stay at is on its own floor so it feels like a little apartment.

2) The LAKE!  Here on the south shore of Long Island, I get to enjoy both the bay and the ocean but taking a dip in the fresh water lake is the most refreshing feeling ever.  Plus, it’s huge… and absolutely gorgeous!  There are so many things you can do on the lake – swim, rent a boat, kayak, canoe or row, jet ski, go tubing, just lay on the shore on a rock or on a beach.

Sharing a canoe trip on the lake with my love!

Sharing a canoe trip on the lake with my love!

3)  The laid-back feeling.  We never really pay attention to time or keep a tight schedule when we are up there – whether it’s just me and Pat, with his entire family, or even when I used to go up with my family!  We know the activities we want to do and may designate a day for them but for the most part we go with the flow.

Believe me, there are plenty of activities in Lake  George so there’s no way you can fit them all in but that leads me to the next thing I love about Lake George!

4) There’s lots of activities besides the lake for when you decide to stick to dry land!  For example, you just have to play a round of mini-golf while you are there.  Whether it’s at Pirate’s Cove, Around-the-World, or at Hillbilly Fun Park (where we went this time around), there is nothing like a little sport and friendly competition.  (PS – Click Hillbilly Fun Park for a coupon!  Also, if you play there – you MUST try their ice cream.  It was delicious, fresh, huge portions, and inexpensive.  The best of every world possible.

This is at the "Around the World/Around the US" golf course.  This hole is for Maine!

This is at the “Around the World/Around the US” golf course. This hole is for Maine!

Another must-do activity, or at least worth a visit is the Adirondack Winery.  I love going to the tasting room in the middle of Lake George Village where you can sample SEVEN of their wines for $5, and keep the glass too.  You can shop for their homemade cheeses, have a wine slushy, and shop their novelty gifts.  We love trying the wines every time and bringing some bottles back home with us – and represent the Adirondack wines here on Long Island!  *One disclaimer:  It is a tasting room which therefore has no chairs or public restroom.  Plan some time to stay and check out all the goods but not too much time!

There are so many activities that I haven't even mentioned hiking yet!  What beautiful views from the top!

There are so many activities that I haven’t even mentioned hiking yet! What beautiful views from the top!

5) Shopping!  Not that Patrick is ever happy with this one at all, but right off the NYS Thruway are a bunch of outlets and if the weather’s bad, it never hurts to check out the sales!  I also like checking out the stores in Lake George Village where you can get a nice piece of sterling silver jewelry, a souvenir t-shirt (I’m a sucker for souvenir t-shirts… especially tie-dye or a cool women’s cut), or any trinkets that will always remind you of your trip!  Or, hop in the car and go to Bolton Landing just north of the Lake George Village (be sure to visit the Indian Teepee gift shop!), or go exploring and stumble into some other small neighboring towns where you can go antiquing, or cities such as Lake Placid to learn about each town’s uniqueness!  🙂

Overall, there really is so much to do upstate that I could go on and on about… and I haven’t even gotten into the historical aspects of the land up there, or where the good places to go to EAT are!  I’ll leave more discovering up to you and www.lakegeorge.com but of course, feel free to comment if you are planning on heading there and have any questions such as advice on where to stay, etc.  I’d love to help you out!

Thanks for discovering Lake George with me, one of my favorite places to vacation.  I hope you get to visit soon!

Random Adirondack chair in a random town.  What's more Adirondack than this? lol

Random Adirondack chair in a random town. What’s more Adirondack than this? lol