About Ariella

As a not-so-newlywed, Ariella lives in the suburban countryside about 20 minutes south of Downtown Raleigh, NC. She shares her home with her husband and their two cats. Part time journalist, part time tutor, Ariella enjoys cooking, crocheting, gardening and taking pictures of her cats.

Were We on Budget?

Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. That’s my new header. Ain’t it pretty? My brother made it for me. At some point I’ll get around to changing the rest of the site over to the new look/name. Now that I’m officially done with Long Island and wedding planning on Long Island, I figured it was a good time to drop the name. 

Anyways….

Truth be told, I have no friggen’ clue if we stayed on budget.

I did a pretty horrible job keeping track of our expenses even though I had a nifty little Excel sheet that told me how much I could spend on stuff. I’m generally pretty bad with managing money. My brain just wasn’t meant to be dealing with numbers. You would think that my husband, the one that can do high-level math and has a degree in physics, would be the one that deals with money, but for some reason I got stuck with the responsibility.

Because of our lack of income and savings (our savings was washed away with our move) we put most of the wedding on our credit card. Some of our vendors were paid in cash, but the rest was on the Visa.

The Visa that was already full of moving expenses.

When I put everything together, I’m fairly certain that we were pretty on target with our $15,000 budget. We had cash to pay our vendors and our credit card bill was under budget. The credit card bill was paid off with wedding gifts (yes, that’s what we did with the cash our guests gave us. It’s what most people do with the cash they get. I don’t know why people refuse to admit it publicly).  Some was put aside for savings and a little was spent on fun stuff for ourselves.

After the credit card bill was paid, we were debt free (for the time being anyway). I have no idea if we stuck to our budget, but I do know that we aren’t still paying it off. For us, that was the ultimate goal. We didn’t want to be stuck paying for our wedding years after it happened. Even if our friends and family were less generous, we still wouldn’t be paying for our wedding when our kids were getting married.

I would advise you to be much more careful than I was because spending can get out of control quite quickly, especially in those last few months of planning. Keep your receipts to help keep track of how you’re doing. Use any budget program you wish and keep up with it. Enter in the amounts regularly and for the love of Zeus try to do whatever you can in cash. Credit cards are dangerous things.

I wish I had some other wise words of wisdom, but I don’t. Really, just don’t do what I did. Be more careful than me. In fact, do the opposite of everything I did.

Happy budgeting!

One Year Ago…

June 4 was a perfect day.

Everything about that day was perfect. Even the things that weren’t perfect, were still part of the most amazing day of my life.

Today, it’s been a year since I married the most amazing person in my life. I still think about that day and all the events that took place. I remember how I felt walking down the aisle and how my voice cracked as we said our vows. I remember a moment after we were husband and wife that for a brief second in time, it felt like we were the only two there. I remember trying to say hello to every single person there and feeling guilty that I couldn’t spend more time with them. I remember hoping that everyone was having a good time and having minor flashes as panic when I felt no one was.

Video by Signature Video

I really can’t say much about our first year of marriage. To be honest, it was probably the most boring year we’ve been together. In the four and a half years we’ve been together there was unemployment, illness, job loss (after having gained employment), a move back home, a move away from home and a severe cut in our income.

About 99 percent of that happened before we were actually married. Aside from a couple of trips to the ER recently, our actual first year of marriage was pretty, well, uneventful. So many people say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. For us, that wasn’t the case. Prior to being married, we endured some of the hardest moments in our lives. The first year of marriage was a piece of cake.

Of course, I don’t think every year will be like our first.

We continue to learn and grow, just as any couple would. We have moments of happiness, sadness, anger and frustation, all emotions that come with sharing your life with someone. We have always communicated well with one another and for us keeping that level of communication is vital to remaining happy.

As we head into our second year of marriage, I’m hoping for some good things to come our way. We’ll be moving out of an apartment into our first house and crossing our fingers for some good career changes.

I will keep trying to be patient and not petty, while I hope C learns to load the friggen’ dishwasher. Like I said, trying. Despite the fact I had a Yodel for breakfast, I want continue making healthy changes to my lifestyle so that not only will we be able to live a long life together, but so that I can see myself as he sees me.

Babies will come with our 3rd year of marriage, so don’t ask.

And for those of you that are still wondering if we kept to our original budget, I’m working on a post that explains why I have no actual idea if we did and why that’s not a good thing.

Happy June 4, everyone. It may just be an ordinary Monday to you, but it’s an amazing day for me.

To Have and To Hold: Writing Your Own Vows

I had decided long ago that I would write my own wedding vows.

I never had any emotional connection to the traditional vows. Some brides will say that they love the idea of saying the same vows their parents and grandparents did. My parents wrote their own vows, so unless I wanted to say theirs, we were on our own.

Because C and I were getting married by a friend, we had to write our entire ceremony from scratch, including our vows. A quick Google search would have gotten us some pretty nice things to say to each other, but it wouldn’t have been personal.

If you’re for tradition, then traditional vows are for you. But if you’re not, writing your own vows gives you a chance to add a personal touch on the most important promise you will ever make. You can include the things that are important to you, your partner and your marriage, while nixing the things that aren’t.

Personally, don’t think wedding vows are one size fits all, just like marriage isn’t one fits all.

You can go one of two ways.

You can write your vows with your partner, or you can write them separately, which seems to be the more common route to take. It’s also what we see on TV and in movies when you have a couple that has decided to write their own vows. Then there’s always that scene where the guy rips up the card and speaks from his heart, bla bla bla bla bla.

Like my parents did, C and I wrote them together.

Yes, you can actually write your vows together.

We sat on the couch and talked about the promises that we wanted to make to each other. We thought hard about the things that were important in our marriage and jotted them down list-style.

Then I took about an hour turning that list into something that sounded just right. Being that I’m a professional writer, I put a lot of stress on myself to make everything sound perfect. After sending to my friend, I ended up nixing proper grammar for something that sounded better rhythmically. Blasphemy, I know.

I … promise you …. to be your best friend and trusted companion. I will support your dreams and always be faithfulI promise to stand by your side in sickness and in heath, in times of laughter and in times of tears. I will honor these vows as our love grows stronger, every day of my life.

Getting Started with Yours

Since writing your vows is about as popular as chocolate, there are a number of examples on weddings sites and blogs. Google “personalized vows” and you’ll also find some nice things to say to each other.

But, I think your future life together with your spouse is all the inspiration you need. There’s a reason why you’re marrying this person. Consider all of those reasons and how they will matter during your life together.

Your vows be long or short, funny or serious, it’s up to you.

If you want to vow that you will clean the kitchen every night or that you’ll never get fat, go for it. These are your vows and yours alone. No one should judge. I don’t LOVE when girls vow to honor and obey their husbands, but if that’s an important part of their marriage then who am I to say it’s wrong?

The one thing I do ask, and this sort of goes against what I just said, is that you actually vow something. I’d say 9 times out of 10, the personalized vows I hear don’t actually include a vow. The couple talks about how much they love each other and why they love each other and all that wonderful good stuff, but in the end, they don’t ACTUALLY promise anything.

This is not a vow.

This is a proclamation of your love. And that’s fine, but call as spade a spade. Unless you promise something, at any time, your vows are not vows. If you want to proclaim your love and then do traditional vows, then you’re fine. But if your love proclamation is not followed by any sort of vow, then you have not vowed anything.

And if you don’t want to vow anything, that’s cool, but use the proper terminology.

I’m sorry for the rant. This has been a pet peeve of mine since my father pointed it out while we watched an episode of Bridezillas.

So key points:

  • It’s OK to write your vows together.
  • Look to your future marriage and your reasons for marriage for inspiration.
  • Don’t be afraid to add your personality to your vows. They are a representation of your and your partner.
  • Actually vow something.

Happy writing!

At 24, he hadn’t long to live … so they got married

Every few of months or so, and especially in the spring, we start seeing these kinds of stories.

The sad stories about a couple whose marriage was too short because of some unforeseen, or expected, circumstance.

I love and I hate these stories.

I hate them because I feel terrible for the suffering couple. I could never imagine the absolutely sadness I would feel if I lost my husband. The days that I try to, I get incredibly upset. I just want to take these couples and hug them.

But, I love these stories because as we get sucked into wedding planning it’s a reminder of what is really important. It’s easy to get crazy with the details, but ultimately those don’t matter. What matters is that two people who love each other are joining together for a lifetime. A lifetime that will be filled with happiness and sadness, riches and poverty, heath and sickness.

So when you find yourself stressing about the little things, and we all do, take a step back and remember why you are getting married in the first place.

At 24, he hadn’t long to live … so they got married.

Cat Blogging Saturdays: A Cat Named Puppidawg

Chuck named our cat Puppidawg, or for those of you who don’t speak with a Lawn Guyland accent, Puppy Dog.

Yes. That's our wireless router she's sleeping on.

I wanted to name her Sammich because when she was a kitten we would have to lock her in the bathroom while we were eating sandwiches. She couldn’t stay away from us and I, of course, always shared.

When I refer to Puppidawg, most people thinks she’s, well, a dog. And it’s followed by the phrase, “You have a cat named puppy dog?”

And my laptop.

Puppidawg’s newest fan is a student at the tutoring center, we’ll call her M. M finds it hilarious that we have a cat with a dog’s name and yesterday made sure to ask me how she was doing. She maintains that had Jameson been named something as cool as Puppidawg, he wouldn’t be so mean. He’s just angry he doesn’t have a cool name, she rations.

One day, Chuck and I will probably get a real dog.

And when that happens, his name will be Kitty Cat.

Girls Who Rock

I know the ladies in my bridal party know how much I love them and how much I appreciate everything they did for me during the planning of my wedding.

But sometimes I want to reach out and make sure the REALLY know how much I love them.

Growing up, I wasn’t popular or well liked. I had few friends I could count on and trust. Many teased me to my face and behind my back.

But, as I grew up I began to acquire a group of really awesome people in my life. So many, in fact, that if I had asked them all to be in my wedding, I’d have a much bigger group. I’m so incredibly thankful for this. We’ve had our drama, breakdowns and annoyances, but overall, I have some really awesome ladies in my life.

Even those that weren’t in my wedding played a major roll. They officiated, read poems and set up our ceremony site to make it comfortable for our guests. Even though they didn’t have a “title” they were still there to help where ever needed. For that, I’m extra thankful.

(If you’re wondering why I didn’t include some of these women in my bridal party, it was mainly because of logistics. With two girls getting married in the same year, it would be unfair to our friends to ask them to do double bridesmaid duty. We decided to split the group  and because my friends are AWESOME and not catty bitches, it worked out really well.)

My fantastic bridal party. I am so lucky to have such amazing women by my side.

My bridesmaids banded together and threw me an awesome bridal shower and bachelorette party and wanted to do so much more than I would let them.

And most importantly, they did this all without drama.

While most bridesmaids know well enough not to tell a bride there is bridesmaid drama during the planning of a wedding, my ladies continue to insist that everyone pulled their weight, got along and made the entire process a pleasure for each other.

Sabrina did an AWESOME job setting up our ceremony site. She's a newlywed too!

It’s always scary when you bring different women from different parts of your life together, but they came together seamlessly and it showed. I was thrilled because all I wanted was happy friends.

If I could give you any advice, it’s this:

Love and appreciate your bridesmaids and every single person who helps you with your wedding. They are doing so much and at the very least, they deserve to know how much you care.

Think about your wedding decisions and how it affects your friends. Demands like expensive dresses, shoes, hair, makeup, bachelorette weekends, can cause strain on a group of women.

Christine read a beautiful poem.

Trust me. It is entirely possible for none of your bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup done and still look absolutely gorgeous.

And at the very least, don’t be a bitch. Seriously. Just don’t do it.

Lex, did, well, everything. She performed the ceremony, picked up breakfast at 7am, helped set up the ceremony site, EmCee'd and kept everyone organized.

Stress can get the best of us and when you see it coming, relax and remember why you are getting married in the first place. Don’t take it out on your friends. Don’t be bossy, demanding or insulting. If you want your friends to last past your wedding day, take your bad mood out on a punching bag at the gym.

To the amazing women in my life who helped make my day so, so wonderful and amazing, I thank you.

<3

Hi, 2012. I Will Rock You

2011 was pretty awesome. I kinda got married to the love of my life. There are few things that could really top that.

As I think about everything that I want for 2012, I need to go back to 2011 and take a look at what I’ve accomplished…or didn’t accomplish.

From 2011

Drink more water: I started drinking way more water once I got myself a Camelbak water bottle over the summer. I call it a sippy cup for adults because it’s spill proof. I would drink two to three of those a day and used it over regular glasses. Problem is, when I can’t find it, I go back to bad drinking habits. I haven’t seen the thing in three days, and my water consumption went down. Looks like I’ll be running to Target to pick up another one.
Eat better foods: Chuck and I began going to the farmers market for our produce over the summer and it really has been an awesome thing. We got local, in season fruits and vegetables, which we added to our diet. In the fall, we decided to focus on a vegetable-based diet, which has been a great switch. When we cut meat out of our diet, we opened up our budget for eggs and dairy from pasture-raised animals. When we do eat meet, which is only a few times a month, it’s also pasture raised.

Take care of my body:
Considering that I gained 10lbs recently, I’d call this one a raging failure. I’ve gotten a little better with some of the other things, including using more moisturizer, but if your body is a temple, I went at mine with a wrecking ball.

Improve wardrobe: 
I was forced to improve my look when I began working at the tutoring center. Jeans every day just wasn’t an option. In the fall, I began doing this whole, skirts with tights and boots look that’s in right now. I bought my skirts at Goodwill so I didn’t have to spend a lot of money. Not only do I look less frumpy, but I found that skirts – paired with tights – are more comfortable than pants. I’ve also started wearing more jewelry, which dresses up anything I wear.
Expand this blog: Umm…well, I’ve since revamped the look, but I never relaunched it like I wanted. The blog definitely grew, which is awesome, but I never did want I wanted to with it. My brother did create a logo for me, which I plan on using at some point.

Become a full-time writer: This was the most important resolution I made last year. I should be damn proud of myself for making it happen and making it work. Maybe I’m not “full-time,” but I do make at least half of my income by writing. I absolutely love it, but only time will tell it it’s going to be sustainable. Chuck and I have big plans for 2012 and most are contingent on an increase in income.

Become a better copy editor: I still suck at this. I really do. But, I’ve gotten better since working at the tutoring center where I’m constantly grading students’ writing. I’ve also starting learning all of those basic grammar rules that I was NEVER taught in school. Sachem – yeah, I’m calling you out on this – did a craptastic job teaching basic grammar (subjects and predicates??? Had no idea what a predicate was until recently) and despite not knowing anything other than what I learned playing Mad Libs, I was a good enough writer to place out of all of the basic writing courses in college. Those basic writing courses would have gone over all of this stuff. Considering I actually make my living as a writer not knowing any of these rules is nothing short of a miracle.
So, overall, I was fairly successful at keeping my resolutions in 2011. I may not have succeeded 100 percent, but I definitely made really great strides toward improvements.

Ok, 2012

For 2012 I want to continue with all of the good changes I’ve made in my life. I want to continue eating more healthy and drinking more water. I want to wear sunscreen every day and dress myself well. I want to continue life as a writer in whatever capacity we can afford. And I want to continue honing my writing skills.

Here are some others:

Get in touch with my inner old lady: I’d like to do all of those things that our grandmothers grew up doing, but are only now finding their way back to the mainstream. I want to learn how to sew, can vegetables and crochet things that aren’t in straight lines.
Get organized: My organizational system sucks the big one. It makes keeping track of things incredibly hard and something needs to be done. I have already created a list of things I will need to start doing this. From paying my bills to sorting coupons, I need to figure out a system that works and that is simple enough that my lazy self can keep up with.
Buy a house: With interest rates at less than 3 percent, how can we not take advantage of the housing market? We do lack a down payment but there are definitely things in place to help low-income and first time home buyers like ourselves. I’d really, really like to take advantage of that.
Increase our income: But to do that, we need to increase our income. We have reached a point that we can no longer scrimp and save. Sure, we could not buy pasture-raised milk, but the $2 extra per week is worth having healthy food. You can only cut so much before you have to start raising revenue (hmm…sounds familiar, don’t it?). I have my fingers crossed that Chuck will start school this semester, which would help us out much sooner than starting in the fall. That will bring our income up by nearly 50 percent. We could continue to live the way we do and put a considerable amount away each month. This would also help us eliminate the credit card debt we’ve accumulated. Either way, I have to find a way to increase my contribution to our coffers.
I’m hoping that by sticking with these resolutions we’ll be setting ourselves up to be in a pretty good spot for 2013. I’m hoping that will be the year we start growing our little family.
What are your goals for 2012?

Cat Blogging Saturdays: Meowy Christmas

Yup. I said it. Meowy Christmas.

How I found some guy to marry me is unbelievable.

As I help my mother prepare a traditional Christmas Eve dinner, I’m thinking of my kitties who are home in North Carolina. Jameson and Puppidawg aren’t traveling cats and the move itself nearly traumatized them for life.

While we’re away we have Jamie, our awesome cat sitter, taking care of them. I miss them, but I know they’re in good hands.

I hope you guys are having a wonderful and amazing holiday celebration of your choosing.

To my wonderful blogger friends who are also celebrating their first married Christmases, I hope you’re having an extra special and amazing day.

To my friends who are celebrating their first Christmas as a parent, I hope you are loving every minute of your first take at playing Santa.

And to my amazing husband, who may or may not read this, I love you and our little family so much. You are everything I ever asked for and everything I never knew I wanted.

This photo of Puppidawg was featured as our Christmas card last year. I don’t think we’ll ever get something as adorable until we feature an actual baby. 

I made a real honest attempt to get a good shot of Jameson, but between my lacking photo skills and the lacking natural light in our apartment, this was as good as I could get. 

Merry Holidays, everyone!

XOXO

Ariella

Goodbye 20′s

I’m turning 29 today.

I’m officially entering the last year of my 20s. 30 is quickly on its way and I’m not handling it very well.

My friends who are already 30 or turing 30 this year tell me to STFU in one way or another. My friends who are in their 40s also tell me to STFU. But, truth be told, I’m not handling it well.

I can actually feel my body aging and most of that has to do with being overweight. I’m sure if I get myself down to a healthy weight, the feeling of getting old won’t be so bad.

Not to mention that because I’m agnostic, I don’t believe in an afterlife. Death is totally more scary when you don’t have any place to go after you stop breathing. Aging is therefore scary as effing hell (ya know, the one I don’t believe in).

Most of my 29 anxiety stems from my current life status. I’m light years behind where I thought I would be. I think the only thing that did go according to “plan” was being married. I figured by now I would have gotten hitched and enjoying married life before starting to have children, which I wanted to do at 30.

The idea of attempting to begin trying for a baby a year from now is a scary effing prospect and probably won’t happen.

I’m in this weird, but awesome position right now where I absolutely LOVE what I do. I love my writing gig and I love the organization that I’m doing it for. I love my tutoring job and I love the company I’m doing it for.

Unfortunately, as happy as I am doing what I’m doing, I’m making very little money doing it. Over the course of the past few months, I’ve actually become OK with living a low-budget lifestyle. I’ve never been one for luxury or labels, but I’ve reached a point that I’m OK doing with less material things.

But, I wish we had more money for things that I think the general population is deserving of.

  • Healthcare
  • A home of their own (whatever that means for you. For us it means a house.)
  • Healthy food, grown in a sustainable, responsible way
  • The ability to travel to see friends and family who live far away.
  • And a social life

I don’t care that we don’t have cable, but I’d like to be able to see my friends and family more often. I don’t care that I buy my clothing from Goodwill, but I would like to be able to go to the doctor when I’m sick. I’d like to be able to buy new sneakers when I need them and I’d like to be able to get by without help from my parents. They don’t help us a lot, but just the fact that I need the help makes me feel guilty and ashamed.

I figured that by the time I was 29 I would have made it to a mid-level position where ever I was working. Despite having been a professional reporter for almost four years, I still feel very “entry level” with so much to learn. I figured I’d be further along in whatever career I had.

I’m often told that I need to cut myself some slack considering we’re in the middle of the Great Recession. Jobs in media have been tough to find since I graduated and things have clearly just gotten worse. Jobs in the media are also traditionally low-paying so I never should have expected to be making a living wage as a writer anyway.

Sometimes I wonder how much my own work ethic came into play with where I am in life. I think I work pretty hard, but I’m no workaholic. I value my personal time that I spend with my husband or doing things that I enjoy. Sometimes that doesn’t leave time for networking or taking on an extra story. I know I’m easily distracted and can sometimes be downright lazy (which is why a job with deadlines is perfect for me) but I still feel like I work pretty hard.

Sometimes I think I should have tried harder. But, I don’t want to give up that personal time that I find valuable. Who cares if I’ve advanced my career if I’m constantly stressed out and don’t have time for my family? I’ve gotten to a point that I’m unsure if I can do both without sacrificing my personal life.

It’s not all bad

As much as a Debbie Downer as I often feel, I try to remember the awesome things that I have going for me at 29.

I have not one but TWO jobs that I enjoy doing. I don’t mind going to work every day. And I go to the most boring meetings on the planet, so you’d think I’d absolutely hate my life on those days, but I don’t hate it. I love the news organization that I’m a part of and I love that I’m in a position to help it grow and become something even more awesome.

I love teaching my students.

I love to watch them progress and get better at reading and writing. I love that I only do it part time so that when they finally start to stress me out, I leave for the day. I love breeding a new generation of young writers. I love making sure they know the difference between there, their and they’re because if they can master that, they’re already smarter than most adults (I definitely checked that sentence multiple times to make sure I used the right they’re).

And I’m happy and thankful that both my employers see some sort of potential in me.

I hate that my parents have to help us here and there, but I’m so thankful that they can and that they do it because they want to. I’m thankful that they recognize how far we’ve come and that we don’t take their help for granted. I’m thankful that they don’t see us as slackers who are looking for a handout. I’m glad that they were responsible and successful so that they could help me when I needed it. I hope I can get to a point that I can do the same for my own children.

I’m happy that despite living close to the poverty line, we are still able to pay our bills and keep a roof over our head. As much as I sometimes hate this drafty, old apartment, I’m thankful that I have it.

Most of all I’m very happy for being able to go through all this and not have it affect my relationship with my husband. So often money, or lack thereof, strains a relationship, but Chuck and I are doing fine. Our relationship is still fantastic and we’re taking everything one day at a time. Going through this together has aligned our priorities and helps us focus on what is really important to us and in our lives.

I thought I would be doing better, but I never expected to be super rich or successful by 29. And clearly I’m not. But, in all the important ways, I think I’m better off than many people.

Marital Weight Gain

As you read, I gained 10lbs since getting hitched. It was mostly acquired in the past couple of months as my work load increased and days became longer.

I’ve been struggling with my weight since college. For the most part it has been steadily increasing, with a few random years of decrease. I’m officially at my highest weight ever.

I was heavier than I wanted to be on my wedding day and while I have learned how to make myself look skinnier in posed pictures, those candid ones didn’t help my cause, Particularly anything that showed me from the side. Ya know, like all of those photos of me saying my vows.

Out of all of those photos, I found one I like. Imagine hating every photo of yourself during the most important moment of your life. It was sad, depressing and I was ashamed of myself.

I’m ashamed because I have no one to blame but myself and my lack of discipline. I know that being overweight is bad for my health but that didn’t stop me from eating pizza with extra cheese. And it didn’t get me out of bed any earlier for a workout. It most certainly didn’t get me off my ass when opted for a nap earlier today.

So, I’m joining my blogger friend, Nicole at Big Day for 10K, in a virtual weight loss partnership and my husband for a physical weight loss partnership.

It needs to be done for a million reasons, most of which relate to keeping myself healthy and not just hating how I look. I feel like my body is starting to feel that weight in my knees and ankles. And most importantly, I’m uninsured so a healthy lifestyle is what is going to keep me out of the doctor’s office.

While I have no immediate plans to put a bun in the oven, I want to be at a healthy weight for when we decide to have a baby. The healthier you are, the easier pregnancy and labor you have. And considering I want to go all natural, I’ll need the easiest labor I can get.

I’m giving myself the next year and a half to get down to a healthy weight, which for my body type is between 115 and 125lbs. Right now, I’m looking at a 60-pound loss.

This was me almost exactly five years ago. I was hovering somewhere around 130-ish pounds, which is really close to a healthy weight for my small stature and frame. I lost 30lbs in 2006 I think mostly from stopping a medication that I had been on, commuting in and out of Manhattan and teaching swimming lessons. I’m an asshole for not maintaining this weight. 

Getting Back Into It

I have already started getting back into a workout routine. I decided a couple of months ago that part of the reason why I’m not sticking with my workouts is because I hate them with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

I hate most cardio, especially running. I have always hated to run. I have always been bad at running. I was an active, skinny child who HATED to run long distances. I was the girl who was stuck in the “non-athlete” gym class because my mile time always sucked. Instead of playing softball, I was doing non-contact sports with chicks who didn’t like to mess up their make up, just because I couldn’t run.

But, I love to swim.

Had I actually stuck with swimming, I probably could have gone to college for it. I probably could have done pretty well. I became one of those lifeguards that loved to swim but didn’t swim competitively. I maintain that lifeguards that did looked down on us, but whatever.

With some financial help from my parents, I joined the Y and shoved my fat ass into a bathing suit to start swimming again. I started out pretty strongly, going at least twice a week but have faltered a bit recently.

Swimming isn’t the type of workout where you can run in and run out. You have to change out of your clothing, do your workout, then change out of your bathing suit, then go home. All that changing adds at least 30 minutes onto your workout. 30 minutes that I might not have.

Along with swimming, I always loved to dance. I don’t do it very well and aside from a college ballet and Afro-Caribbean dance classes, I never formally trained. But, when I was 14 I would spend the bulk of my time with friends learning Backstreet Boys dance routines. I would dance to other bubble gum pop songs in my room. It probably helped me keep such a skinny figure.

I’d like to take a cardio dance class, like Zumba because that would be way more fun than getting on a treadmill.

I also don’t really care for weight lifting. I don’t hate it, so I’ll do it, but for strength training, I’d rather roll out my yoga mat and center myself with some hatha yoga.

I love yoga and used to practice in New York, but it’s been three years since I did it regularly, which means, everything I worked up to is gone. I have been taking at least one class a week at the Y. I would like to take more, but most of the other classes are in conflict with my work schedule.

When I can’t go to yoga, I’d like to try pilates, something that I’ve never done before.

In another post, I’ll talk about how Chuck have changed our diet from meat-based to vegetable based. Oh we’re not going veggie completely, but it’s been a great switch.

I’ll try to post my progress a few times a month but I encourage you to kick me in the virtual ass via Twitter.