Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Sisters

As always, so much to be thankful for today. Being the middle child of three girls (my poor dad), I've been fortunate to grow up with women who are beautiful on the inside and out. I'm so incredibly thankful for my family, and today, I wanted to focus on my Sises!

I'm thankful for my sister, Laura (aka Mrs. Cheston!). She got married last month, and I had the AMAZING honor of being her Matron of Honor. While we have grown closer over the last couple years, our friendship has really transformed over the last year. I am so grateful for how involved I got to be in her most special time, and even more so for our relationship. Love you, Sis!!

I'm thankful for my sister, Ashley. She has grown so much over the past few years, and I love her dearly. She also lives a lot closer now (even on my running route), so it's nice to see her more. Ashley also gave us sweet baby B, and we all know how much she is loved.

I'm thankful for my sister-in-laws, Brittney, Taylor, and Christina.

Brittney is one of the sweetest and craziest people I know. :) I'm so excited to be an aunt once again, as she is pregnant with a precious boy (and in Ireland right now with her hubby...super J!). Wilson Cash Conroy will be here in November, and we can't wait to meet him!

Taylor, who was just 12 years old when Brent and I got together, now works with me. She is so goofy and fun, while also being super smart and absolutely beautiful. She has SO much going for her. I just love getting to see her pretty face every day...and letting her braid my hair when I'm too lazy to dry it. :)

Christina is Brent's brother, Ben's wife. She is gorgeous, fun, carefree, and one of the most genuine people I've ever met. Love her to death and love spending time with her (which is not often enough).

I'm thankful for my sister-in-law-in-law, Jennifer. We established this title during Laura and Cary's wedding festivities. She is one of the kindest, most beautiful (inside and out) people I've ever met. She has an incredible family, and I'm so glad I got to know her.

I'm so blessed to have so many amazing women in my life. Who/what are you thankful for?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Memphis Must-Dos!

I'm ashamed to admit that I have not taken advantage of everything our wonderful city has to offer...and so many of them are FREE! From here on out, on weekends we don't have anything planned (which are sadly few and far between), we're going to start exploring Memphis!

This past weekend, Brent and I made our first trip to the Memphis Farmer's Market downtown. It was just as fabulous as I hoped! Locally grown fruits and veggies, beautiful fresh cut flowers, herbs, organic produce and meats. Mr. Mom was in heaven! :) Let's not forget the fun garden/yard art, pottery, and handmade soaps/body products, which I of course spent too much money on. We even ran into a few friends down there. So fun!

And any time we're out and about in Downtown Memphis, we usually make a stop at our fave restaurant Local Gastropub. As usual, it did not disappoint!

Next on the list is Elmwood Cemetery. This beautiful, historic site interests me so much, and I can't wait to visit! After that, Ghost River Brewery Tour (Brent would surely have this as #1). This is offered just about every Saturday starting at 1pm.

The South Main Art Trolley Tour and a concert at Levitt Shell is on the list as well...I could kick myself for not having done either of these yet.

Check out this list of awesome FREE things to do: Also, for those who love Memphis, I highly suggest you follow this fabulous blog:

What's on your Memphis (or your hometown) to-do list?

Friday, July 22, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things!

I've been playing around with infographics on Wordle for work this week, so I thought I'd create one for my blog, too. Just a few of my favorite things...

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's time to disconnect!

Being in the marketing field, it's really hard to totally disconnect when I'm not at the office. I (with the help of my fabulous intern, Raquel) manage all of our social media, I'm constantly getting work-related emails, and of course, I'm obsessed with Facebook...and Twitter...and now Google+ (great, just what I needed: another social network). And it just so happens that I have a super awesome smart phone, so the entire social world is literally at the palm of my hand.

My husband, on the other hand, barely knows how to log on to Facebook. He has the oldest phone known to man, checks his email every other day, and...well, no need to bore you with any more. His job doesn't require him to be "connected" like mine. Sure he's on the phone 24/7, but rarely does that involve anything more than a verbal conversation.

Lately, my addiction to social media has become more than just a mild annoyance. The medication I'm on (combined with what I'm hoping aren't chronic kidney stones) already makes me oh so pleasant to be around, so adding my complete lack of attention to the equation is...let's just say it hasn't been so great for married life. The hubby actually brought this to my attention before realizing it on my own, and that upset me a great deal.

No more! Starting now After this post, I'm going to put away my laptop, plug in my phone, and just be me when I get home. We get so wrapped up in the new "normal" form of communication that we forget to talk and actually communicate...or at least that's how it's been for me. So I'm looking forward to disconnecting a little more often! :)

Anyone else feel this way?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One thing after the other...

I've contemplated blogging about this for some time, but always felt it was best kept private. But so many friends and acquaintances have told their stories, and I felt like it was time I shared mine...especially since the "you don't have kids yet?" question has come up more lately than ever.

I consider myself pretty healthy. I exercise regularly, eat healthy for the most part, and do what I can to keep stress levels down. Running helps tremendously with that, as does Buster the Boston Terrier. :)

However, I’ve always had issues with acid reflux (severe when I was a baby and came back my senior year of college) and low blood sugar (I've passed out more times than I can remember and was diagnosed as being borderline hypoglycemic). Other than that, I haven’t had many issues.

In May of 2010, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Since then, it's been one thing after another. I got off birth control in the fall of 2009; for one because I was getting cysts and you shouldn’t being on the pill, and two because I had been on it for over 11 years and I knew we eventually wanted to start a family.

Brent and I briefly "tried" to have kids early last year, but obviously nothing happened. I promise you, I could buy stock in home pregnancy tests. My cycle was either late or nonexistent every month, complete with what I thought were pregnancy symptoms. One of the last tests I took messed with me big time, as the second (or "You're pregnant!") line showed up, but quickly went away a minute later. I finally had enough and made an appointment with my OB-GYN. I explained to her about some irregularities and minor pain I was experiencing, so she scheduled an ultrasound. Bad news...not only was I not pregnant, but I had a severe case of PCOS.

One of my ovaries from the ultrasound...the other looked just like it.
All the black circles are cysts.

Basically, I wasn't ovulating, making it impossible to get pregnant. I was devastated. Spending so much time and money wondering if (wishing) I was pregnant, only to find out that might not be in the cards for me. I was put on Metformin, one of the top drugs to treat PCOS and get me to start ovulating. It took quite a while for my body to get used to, as Metformin is also a diabetic drug which lowers your blood sugar (just what I needed since mine is already low). Dealing with painful cysts, night sweats, and at times what felt like mild depression has been very trying on me and just about every relationship from my marriage to friends. But I've done my best to recognize the symptoms and to not let them affect me.

Then, just before Christmas last year, I started having terrible pains and discomfort in my lower back on the right side. After experiencing numerous symptoms and becoming an expert Google searcher, I realized it was kidney-related. Blood in urine, extreme pressure when I had to use the bathroom, etc. After a few very expensive trips to the urologist and the most excruciating kidney-stone-trying-to-pass experience (imagine what's in the image below going through something the size of a straw), I thought that mess was behind me. Ha!

This is what my lovely 4mm stone looked like...

Just this weekend, I started feeling that awful, all-to-familiar pressure in the lower right side of my back. Every day it got a little worse, and then came blood in the urine again. I finally got in to see my urologist yesterday morning. Just as I suspected...two kidney stones. Thankfully, these are smaller and I have been assured they will pass without pain. I was so upset, as I've been following a low oxalate diet since February. That obviously didn't matter...I'm just one of the "lucky few who's prone to them." Super. So far, no severe pain, but there's still a good bit of pressure. I have pain meds to take when needed, as well as a Flomax-type medication to speed up the passing process (I just love feeling like a 70-year-old man). Fingers crossed that it works soon. This morning was not pleasant...and while I enjoy being able to work from home in my pjs, I'd much rather be at the office.

All that said, it's safe to say Brent and I decided it was best to wait on the baby talk. We're both crazy busy with work, and we're having a blast traveling when we can. Every time I feel like we might be ready to start trying again, my body goes through something else, and then I want to give it time to get back to normal. Not that I believe "the right time" will be on our schedule's ultimately not up to us.

Through all this, I still have to thank God for my health and so many other blessings. Things could be so much worse, and I know that. There's still hope that Metformin will work as it should when we are "ready." It's already done its job getting my cyst count down tremendously, as well as helping to regulate my cycle for the most part. SO thankful for that! Should it not work, I'll switch to Clomid for 3-4 months, fertility drugs after that, and if nothing happens by that point, we'll reevaluate what we want to do. Oh yeah...and every doctor I've been to says that all the running I do is excellent for me. So again, things could be a lot worse...I can't imagine not running!

Growing up, I always thought I'd simply decide when I wanted to get pregnant, and it would happen just like that. Having talked to so many friends and other women and read about how common this and problems like it are, I've remained hopeful. I also never thought kidney stones would be something I'd have to worry about either. Life is all about dealing with what you're given and making the best of it. So that's what I'm trying to do. :)

As usual, sorry for the long post.

Monday, July 11, 2011

2011 Road Races Series Begins!

Every year, I run 2-3 races in the Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series (RRS). However, I never sign up for the whole series. I finally did this year, along with several friends, and I'm looking forward to getting back in race shape (haven't been too concerned with time since the marathon).

For those who aren't familiar with the series, it's 10 races, two a month, at various parks around the Memphis Metro area. It starts with two 5Ks this month and ends with two half marathons in November, perfectly spacing out an increase in distance. It's only $75 for 10 races ($55 if you're a MRTC member)! There are two 5Ks, two 5-milers, two 10Ks, two 10-milers, and two half marathons. I believe you can still sign up for the remaining races in the series for $95. If you're not interested in that, you can still sign up for the other races individually (just $15):

The first race took place this past Sunday. The heat was brutal, and my time was nothing to brag about. But I'm looking forward to working on my pace...and the cooler temps the further we get along in the series.

RRS is a great way to prepare you for an upcoming half or full. I'll be using it in preparation for my FAVORITE race, the St. Jude Half Marathon! This race is over 80% full, so be sure to sign up today if you haven't already. Go the extra mile to raise money for this amazing cause and become a St. Jude Hero or donate to my page! :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

All-Time Favorite Movie Quotes

I have a SERIOUS obsession with movies. Quoting them is a favorite pastime of mine. Sorry for the ridiculously long list, but I just couldn't leave any out. :) The ones in bold are my super fave.

"Surely you can't be serious."
"I am serious, and quit calling me Shirley."
- Airplane

"What is this? A center for ants?!"
- Zoolander

"Calling all cars! Calling all cars! UFO landing on Michigan Avenue!" {for you, Laura!}
- Running Scared

"Why is the rum always gone?"
Pirates of the Caribbean

- Caddyshack

"Two? Make it three. I'm not driving."
- Home Alone 2

"Stop looking at me, swan!"
- Billy Madison

"You are a smelly pirate hooker." "You look like a blueberry."
"I said...your hair looks stupid."
"...they named it San Diego, which of course in German means a whale's vagina." "No, there's no way that's correct. Doesn't it mean Saint Diego?" " No. No." "No, that's - that's what it means. Really." "Well, we agree to disagree."
- Anchorman

"Uh, what is the Soup Du Jour?" "It's the Soup of the Day." "Mmmm. That sounds good. I'll have that." {one of my FAVORITE quotes ever!}
"Woah, Big Gulps, huh? All right!"
"Kick his ass, Sea Bass!"
"Ooh, look at the buns on that one..." "Yeah, he must work out."
"We've landed on the moon!"
"...someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine...I'm talking about a little place called Aspen."
- Dumb and Dumber

"What's the password?" "New England clam chowder." "Is that the red or the white?" "Ah, I can never remember that...white? Yessssss."
"Oh yeah? What's all the pet food for?" "Fiber."
- Ace Ventura

"I'll have what she's having."
- When Harry Met Sally...

"Peter...what's happening."
- Office Space

"Let's go somewhere and drink lunch."
- Monster-in-law

"It's like I have ESPN or something."
"I'm a mouse...duh."
-Mean Girls

"You for scuba?"
"Dude, no. This is serious. I just sharted."
- Along Came Polly

"What? I thought we were in the trust tree, in the nest, were we not?"
- Old School

"You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?"
- Happy Gilmore

"I carried a watermelon."
- Dirty Dancing

"Holy rusted metal Batman."
- Batman and Robin

"I'm surrounded by idiots."
- The Lion King

"555-4102!" {another one for my sis!}
- Girls Just Want to Have Fun

UPDATE: The quotes below are from my sister, Laura...there were too many for me to remember, so thank you for helping (and making me laugh!):

- Money Pit

"I just...ate a bug."
"Ahhh, Tofuti....Tofuti where are you when I need you? Tofuti-Cline-nine-nine-nine."
- Overboard

"You're not my favorite person right now."
"Luccccy. You-got-ssssome-ssssplanin-taadooo."
- Fools Rush In

"Oh yo, oh yo, catch this!"
"Reg. Bev. Wil."
"Slippery little suckers. Happens all the time, Ms."
"In case I forget to tell you later, I had a really good time tonight."
"These are broken, mine are broken."
- Pretty Woman (my all-time fave movie!)

"Why are you came?"
- Ghostbusters II

"Your friend was magnificent."
- Top Gun

"I met a man in Rome, he's wonderful, brilliant...and we're getting married."
"He's just like you Dad, except he's brilliant."
- Father of the Bride

"Bueller, Bueller..."
- Ferris Bueller

"Are you talking?"
"Got that?"
"Brothers don't shake hands...Brothers gotta hug!!"
"Fat guy in little coat."
"Not here or here so much...but right here."
- Tommy Boy

"Top that!"
- Teen Witch

And, of course...a few sentimental quotes:

"Some days we love each other...other days we have to work at it. You never see the hard days in a photo album. But those are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next."
- Just Married

"You meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you. And then you meet one person and your life is changed forever."
- Love and Other Drugs

"If you're a bird, I'm a bird."
- The Notebook

What's your favorite movie quote??

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why are short weeks so long?

I have two schools of thought on this.

First, there are those "short" weeks that tend to drag on forever. I wonder why that is? Maybe the weekend was so wonderful that we're so eagerly anticipating the next one? This definitely hasn't been the case for me this week.

Second, when we're lucky enough to have a three-day weekend, we are blessed with a four-day week. Super! However, these are always the weeks when your boss decides to throw a few hundred projects your way (including one at 5:30 pm...that he needs done that day), and you end up working 12-hour days. So much for a short week! Not complaining at all Sorry for whining, because I love what I do and I'm so thankful to be where I am. But you know how it is...

One of my favorite quotes:

That settles it...attitude changed! :)

As a side note (and putting my changed attitude on hold for a sec), I just have to rant a bit. Not something I normally do, but it gets a little ridiculous sometimes. For the love of Pete, if you're incompetent in something (like IT for example), PLEASE do not pretend like you know what you're doing. You sitting at my desk looking up how to do or fix things on Google for 45 minutes, while I'm stuck trying to work on my smartphone (as feasible as that can be at times), is a complete waste of my time. Oh yeah, and if you're not willing to do the work you were hired to do, then what are you doing here? Not sure how you're getting paid for the work you do (or lack thereof), but more power to you, I guess. One of my favorite movie quotes (which I will have to do a post on soon) is from The Lion King; not that I really think this, as Scar would say, "I'm surrounded by idiots."

Okay, positive attitude is here to stay. :)

Happy Friday eve!! Can't wait to take Buster on a run in this amazing weather!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 4th!! Weekend Wrap-up

Happy Birthday, America! I hope you all had as wonderful of a weekend as we did. The first day back from a few days off (and lots of alcohol) is always rough, but I'm pumped for the short week ahead.

Around 4 pm Friday afternoon, we left for one of my top-five favorite cities: Chattanooga! Brent's brother, Ben, and his wife Christina invited us to join them at their friends' (they've become our good friends as well after all these years) beautiful home on a lake that connects to the Tennessee River for the weekend. We stay with them just about every time we're in Chattanooga, and they are the most WONDERFUL hosts in the world. The drive was long, but definitely worth it. We got there around 10 pm, after just missing the most beautiful sunset over the water (thanks for sending, Christina!). The girls were already making fabulous dips for the weekend when we arrived, so I helped with that and then we started drinking (or maybe the drinking came first, I can't quite be sure). After a few more couples arriving, a few games of corn hole, and telling stories while listening to Britney on Pandora, we called it a night so we'd be ready for a long two days on the lake.

I LOVE this place!

Saturday, a few of us woke up around 8:30 and went for a run. Where JJ and Amanda live is a gorgeous lakefront property that's still being developed, so it was a treat getting to run by and daydream about owning one of these magnificent homes. One day... :) Plus, I just love running in a new place. It's so refreshing. After that, the girls all pitched in to make breakfast, then we headed out on the lake. It took everyone about two hours to get moving in the right direction, but once we did, it was nonstop fun. Margaritas, all-day "beer thirty," Doritos, hanging out with some of the most wonderful, fun people, and doing back flips off the doesn't get much better than that. Add a hearty dinner, more beer and fruity drinks, and a few hardcore games of flip cup, and it just got better. Such a fun day!!

Christina and me goofing off on the golf cart

The boys being silly with the awesomely-oversized float!

Good times!

The grill master

Sunday was pretty much the same. A quick run, breakfast, waiting for the boys to get themselves together, boat time, and float time. Oh yeah...I was the only one who got up on the armless float the first time (twice). Ben so owes me $200. :) Dinner was once again scrumptious, and our hosts made us feel like we were at home. Another amazing day!

Some of the ladies


Christina and me

Being patriotic! :)

Several people dropped in and out over the weekend, and I just have to say how cool it is to be able to hang out and be around that many people who are so genuine and just want to have a good time. No drama, just good friends, good food, good drinks, and good times. And we met some new Memphis friends!! I loved every minute of it, and was sad to see it end.

Well, Brent did lose his car key Saturday morning, so that proved to be slightly dramatic. Thankfully one of the guys found it (right before the locksmith pulled up, I might add), which saved us over $200. This has become somewhat of a travel tradition with the hubs - be it keys, money, you name it. So next time we go anywhere, I'm confiscating all important items and hiding them until it's time to leave.

We got home in record time (obviously because I was driving), and then I went to the grocery store, did three loads of laundry, and gave Buster a bath. Brent rewarded me for being so productive by cooking an amazing (and my favorite) dinner on the grill: lemon pepper salmon, asparagus, shrimp, and cajun-seasoned bread. And then we caught up on True Blood of's totally following the book and I am SO pumped for this Sunday's episode!!

Tonight, Brent's making his incredibly tasty homemade pizza. Yum! I'm so spoiled.

Have a fabulous week!