Monday, April 30, 2012

Greetings from the Darkness

 Alright, it's almost 7pm and I have spent all but 15 minutes of my day in bed, in my dark room.

On my to-do list I had a long line of fun things I was planning for today. When I woke up with my head feeling like it was going to explode I knew it was going to be an unproductive day. Not much I could do about it. My black out curtains were much appreciated today.

Luckily, I still have tomorrow off so I'm hoping to jam all those things into tomorrow.

The headache is finally fading, but at one point during my hazy day I realized I still have to grade all my papers for my clinical students by Wednesday so I am staying in this room until I finish them. As you can see by this blog post, I am easily distracted.

Tomorrow I am going to get acupuncture, go to boot camp, drink a smoothie, and finally get the massage/facial Jason gifted to me on our anniversary : ) In between all that bliss I suppose I have to put laundry away, do dishes, and run other errands...but those first things sound like they will outweigh the rest!

I have several photography sessions in the wings but they are in the coming weeks and I am antsy to do one soon : )

In a few weeks, I head to Florida to see my nieces too...can't wait!!

A few weeks ago I got my new lens I had been saving up for. I love it and the day it came in the mail I tested it out on one of my kitties to see how it worked. I forgot I took the pictures and just came across them the other day. Pierre is so cute...

I also found a few pictures of a recipe I tried before I went gluten free. It was so good it was worth sharing and I am sad that I hate gluten free bread and won't be able to enjoy this one anymore. But those of you who do like bread...try this!!!! I found it on is the recipe for the ham and cheese sliders....oh so tasty!

And then last week when I WAS gluten free I made a yummy meal that I wanted to share the recipe to as well. This can be made gluten free or non-gluten free very easily.

Breaded Pesto Chicken 


-1 package of Trader Joe's Pesto Chicken
-2 cups gluten free Panko Bread Crumbs (or non gluten free if you don't need to be!)
-3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-1 tsp garlic powder
-sprinkle of salt to taste
-3 tbsp olive oil

1. Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and salt in a mixing bowl
2. Dip chicken in mixture of bread crumbs and coat each piece well
3. Heat up olive oil in fry pan
4. Pan fry breaded chicken until cooked throughout

We served our chicken with steamed broccoli and Alexia gluten free potato wedges. It was delicious! Oh and don't forget the wine! And even though the breading got a little on the over-cooked side, it still tasted great! Easy and fast.  (my husband would like to add that it didn't look this burnt in real life....and HE was the one who pan fried it ; ) )

Well, I suppose I better get back to grading.

I want to thank Jason for a great weekend too : ) It was relaxing. On my birthday (Saturday) we went out for lunch, did some shopping, and relaxed at home with a movie that night. On Sunday we went to his grandma's and she made my favorite brunch of all time...chorizo! In the afternoon Ron and Katie came over, we grilled, chatted, and watched a movie as well. It was a nice, relaxing birthday weekend. I am surely not as rowdy as I used to be, but that is just fine by me : )

Hope everyone has a great week and thanks for all the birthday messages on Facebook!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baby, you're The One...

Last week Jason sent me a google invite to my own 'super secret birthday bash'. No internet research was allowed, all I knew was I had to be dressed nice by 5:15pm tonight.

I am not good with secrets or surprises. I usually always find out what they are...(and not always on purpose). When I was a kid I generally knew everything I was getting for Christmas because I was the world's best snoop (or worst...depending on your perspective). No fun, right? Well, this time I committed myself to no internet research and tried my best not to think about it so it didn't drive me crazy.

I worked last I slept during the day which passed the time nicely. When I woke up to get ready, I was instructed to wear something nice. Not formal....but maybe sexy (his words not mine). Haha. I had some gluten free Pei Wei food and some Caribou waiting for me. Great start! After that, we got in the car for what he said was a 2 hour drive. I guessed we were going to Mankato right away. I had deduced that we were going to some kind of show, but I had no idea what kind. I knew that sometimes Mankato had some good concerts, and it was the only place 2 hours away I could think of going for a show. He distracted me with conversation all the way there and fended off all my guesses of whose show we were seeing.  He said, ''you're not going to believe it. it's someone big''. But I couldn't think of who would go to Mankato (no offense) to play in a hockey arena that was all that ''big'' that he knew I liked.

When we got close, he told me to open the glove compartment and there was a birthday card. Inside, the 2 Elton John Tickets shocked me. I screamed. I LOVE Elton John. He was my first favorite (non boy band) artist as a kid/teen. When I was in Jr. High, my mom brought me to see him in concert... it was my first concert ever. I have always wanted to see him again with Jason. We tried to go in Vegas but couldn't get tickets. I was starting to get worried I wouldn't get to see him live again before he retired or something. My worries were put to rest today!

I had no idea he was coming to MN, let alone Mankato. Seems kind of random, but I am not asking questions. So that lent itself to being a huge surprise. Well played Jason and Elton, well played.

We grabbed a drink before the show and headed to the arena. I was so excited, obviously....but wasn't feeling overly emotional or anything. Things quickly changed when Elton walked on stage. People went all crazy balls...screaming and jumping around. It kind of brought tears to my eyes. Jason was so sweet to remember my love for Elton's music, search these tickets out (went to a lot of trouble to get them), and bring me to his show when I knew he had to get up super early for work stuff tomorrow.

Elton sat down and as soon as he started playing, I started crying. He played my favorite song right away. ''The One''. 

It is not uncommon for music to make me cry, especially when it's beautiful. Music is something that is really important to me and effects me in a big way. Also, when lyrics hold meaning in my life...I get emotional. Basically, I cry a lot. Haha. I just felt excited, thankful, and overwhelmed!

And when he sang the words,

"in the instant that you love someone
in the second that the hammer hits
reality runs up your spine
and the pieces finally fit"

the tears didn't stop. I remember listening to this song after I realized Jason was the man I wanted to marry one day...and I felt even more emotional. I know everyone doesn't get the same thing out of music as others, but like I said, to me... it's huge. It can have such a calming and healing power for me.

Ok enough with the sappiness, sorry.

I do have to say one point during the song, I looked at Jason and he had a satisfied look on his face like....''yeah...i'm the master surpriser''....that he is, that he is.

After the initial tears, I enjoyed the concert with dry eyes. It was great. He is a crazy amazing piano player. You know someone is fabulous when they can entertain you with just their voice and a piano for 2 1/2 hours. : )

We had a ton of fun, and some more great conversation on the car ride back. 

Thank you so much Jasey, it was great and I love you so much!

Here are some pictures from tonight...(point and shoot camera)
before hitting the road

''where are we going?''...........''ahh....can't tell ya, sorry"


drinks to start it off right

he said I needed to give a big smile....

isn't he a stud?! : )


so awesome

crocodile rock
It was mega fun.

In the birthday card, he simply wrote...''here's to the year of concerts''...we already have some great shows we are going to this year (making up for our lack of concerts last year)...and this was the perfect one to start off with!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Back on the wagon...

It is with slight --> extreme embarrassment and a week or so history of horrible stomach pains that I declare my return to the gluten free world.

As I have said before in my blog, I ate gluten free for a solid 4 months last year and then on/off for 2 months after that. In August I stopped caring all together. All the symptoms that brought me to the decision to stop eating gluten in the first place were gone...and eating it again wasn't making those problems come back so why should I deprive myself of my favorite foods?

Since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed an exorbitant amount of gluten. And it was freaking tasty. No stomach aches, no diarrhea, I felt ok. I gained a lot of the weight back that I had lost but I was so busy with work, school, and work that I didn't really care. I was extremely exhausted and foggy though, and I guess I don't know if that was because of my busy schedule or because of eating the gluten again. But other than that tired feeling, I felt ok.

Last week, we went out for dinner with some friends and I got pasta. Ever since that night, any time I have eaten anything gluten filled, I have had a horrendous stomach ache, cramps, and many other unpleasant symptoms. It's like my symptoms laid dormant and then poof! Gluten hates Bri.

So Sunday night I sadly looked at Jason and said, ''I think it's time I try this again".

I felt/feel ashamed that I couldn't stick with the diet before. But truth be told, it's really hard to stick to. I love pasta, I love anything's always been my staple. I don't really like candy or sweets...but I love noodles! But once those stomach aches struck again, I knew I couldn't handle that for very long.

Jason was as sweet as he was last time I did this and said he will eat whatever I eat and he is totally fine with it. It's just embarrassing to have the guy I love so much see me so weak and see me try something and give up, lose weight, gain weight...and so on. I know he's in it for the long haul and there will be many more weak and embarrassing moments that he will witness in our marriage....but I still don't like it! I want to appear confident and put together at all times! (Ha! Right...)

So it's Wednesday night. I started eating gluten free on Monday morning. And I am not lying, I feel better already. My works scrubs which I wear every week to clinical already felt looser (pretty sure gluten makes me really bloated), I have not had a stomach ache since Sunday night, and the ''fog'' is started to clear. (The fog is a hard thing to explain...but it's real). It makes me want to cry because I feel so much better. And it makes me want to cry that I ever gave it up in the first place.

But it's just food. There is plenty of food out there I can still eat. And luckily, my past experience with this diet gave me great insights on yummy recipes and things I do/don't like. So a lot of the work has already been done for me. I need to put this lifestyle change into perspective....things could be a lot worse and least there is something I can do to change how I feel. Now I just have to stick to it.

I am looking forward to the next week or two because I know I will continue to feel better, I will be working less so I will have more time to devote to exercise and meal planning, and I will be able to relax!

I am looking forward to having some energy back. For all the reasons stated above...

: )

Wish me luck....and by this time next week I will be all done with teaching!! Yahoo!! (I love it...but I need a break)

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Website!

Just a quick post to share the link to my new photography website! It's so exciting to have it up and running and feels like a big and important next step to growing my little business! : )

I hope you enjoy it and comments are welcome!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Where to begin?

Where to begin?

After I sent of all my discs of edited images out in the mail, mailed some things I sold on ebay, ran my errands, went to boot camp, and cooked dinner...I realized something. I have nothing to do. No papers to grade, no homework, no anything. What to do? Drink wine? Yes.

Also, dance in the kitchen with husband and watch a movie which made me sob (The Descendents). It was a great night. 

I have fully realized that I have done no significant life blogging in quite awhile. And to be honest it was fine because I felt totally overwhelmed with busyness and accepted that I had no time. You need time in life to reflect, or you will get weary! I can't complain. Everything I have had to do was self induced and really not all that horrible. And the light at the end of the tunnel is so visible I am nearly squinting...but not quite.

In two weeks I will be done teaching clinical...probably for a long time. I won't have any school classes of my own until September. I will be free. Free to work out more than twice a week (which has been hard enough to get to). Free to lay out and get tan, enjoy our boat, and really just be. Period. It really can't come soon enough. I am ready. I love teaching, don't get me wrong but the combo of working nights and teaching days is just not for me...and I know that now.

I also decided to reward myself with a trip to Florida in May to see my sister-in-law and nieces. I miss them like crazy. I told Jason it feels pretty special to feel so strongly for his family. I know how lucky I am. We are lucky we get half of his family here in Minnesota but it's hard having the rest in Florida. During the week that I am heading down there, Jason has a big trial going on. He will be busy and gone a ton and it's my week off from work so I figured it was the perfect opportunity. Plus airfare was insanely cheap for the perfect window of was meant to be. I went down last year when my niece Ruby was born for the first time by myself...and I think I may have to make it a spring tradition...until I have babies of my own someday.  I look forward to seeing everyone but especially my sis (in-law) Nikki, I always love our talks over morning coffee...heck I love our talks that last all day!  : ) Can't wait!

On the photography you may have noticed I have been doing a fair amount of photo sessions recently. This is yet another reason I can't wait to be done with clinical. Business is picking up and I feel so freaking excited about it I can't even explain it. I didn't know what would happen when I gave this a try but it's really working out well so far...this summer I will have so much more time to dedicate to it and that makes me giddy. I am still reading and continuing to learn but I have purchased some new equipment that will help make my pictures better and improve my skills as I practice more. Another exciting bit related to photography is that I am almost done building my website. It's going to be a light, fun sample of my work that is solely dedicated to photography while this blog will remain my personal blog with updates on my latest photo sessions as well. The website is coming along great and I hope to have it up and live in the next few weeks or so.

On the fitness I said above, I have been lucky to get in two workouts a week. This is freaking lame compared to this time last year when I was at my peak fitness level in years. I was boot camping it up at least four days a week in addition to doing some cardio at least once a week. I felt great and energetic which sounds utterly amazing compared to the sloth like state I am in now. I have started to re-watch what I eat because I realized I was going a bit overboard on the calories in my state of busyness...the grab, eat, and run thing can get dangerous....and it catches up to me quickly. Luckily, I know I can get back to where I was quickly too. And as soon as clinicals are over it's back to the four day a week (or more if I'm feeling a little crazy) boot camp plan. This belly has got to go buh-bye. So does my blah feeling.

It's funny thinking back to my blogs earlier last fall when I was raving about how I thrive on busyness. Yes, it's true in a way but I think I have finally realized and accepted that making health and fitness a part of my schedule and life has to happen in order for me to be completely happy. It obviously affects how I feel a ton and that in turn affects how I react to the rest of my life situations. Confidence, energy, and feeling good are priceless. It's not that I didn't know that's just that I got too busy to think about it...and dare I say? Too busy to fit those things into my life. That can't happen. But now I and learn and move on. I am hopeful that I can give happy update in a few weeks from my euphoric, workout obsessed state of mind!

A few other thoughts...

 I miss my dad. One of my best friends lost her dad last week and seeing her hurting and going through this hard time kind of brings up those old feelings that are apparently just brewing under the surface. Tears were rolling in the middle of the restaurant the other night when I saw her...we were a sight. I wonder if the people walking by just thought our husbands were just big assholes who made us cry or something. Haha. Certainly not the case. In fact, it was when I told her how losing my dad had brought Jason and I even closer together that I burst into tears. I know it was bound to happen...we girls need a good cry. I just love her and don't want anyone to have to go through that. It fucking sucks. That's all there is to it.

Also, we watched the Descendents tonight...probably a bad movie to watch when I was feeling fragile about my dad's death...but a great movie nonetheless. That would be where sobbing came into play in my wonderful evening.

In other news...I hate getting super mushy because I feel like I can't really fully express my feelings in a good way when I type them. At least not when it comes to my husband. I don't intend to sound braggy or superior in anyway...I just try to express my true feelings. Of course Jason and I don't have a perfect relationship, I know that. But it's perfect for me...for us. I just can't explain or express enough how much I love him, how much I love our life together and how incredibly thankful I am for him everyday. He supports me and encourages me to follow my dreams and also encourages me to just sit on the couch with a glass of wine when he knows I need to decompress. I'm pretty sure he knows me better than I know me sometimes.

I think a gift my dad's death has given me is that I truly don't take any day, or anything for granted. I know life is short and unpredictable. Therefore, I savor the man to treats me with such respect and who also can make me laugh til I almost pee my pants...pretty much everyday. No lie. I can't imagine where I would be in life without him. I feel like I can be an independent thinker and do what I want but I have a teammate helping me and cheering me on. It's exactly what I need! So lucky.

I think that's why it's so hard for me to want to take the leap of having a baby. I love our life. Just us. Doing what we want when we want and living in the moment. Someday when the time is right it will happen...but for now, I am loving and appreciating every second.

Holy bananas. I feel better. I think I just needed to get all that out. Word vomit. Whew.

Ok, now on to some mindless TV and attempting to stay up late for night shift tomorrow : )


Monday, April 9, 2012

Engagement Session: Meg & Jordan

This afternoon, I met Meg and Jordan down in Stillwater for their engagement session. was chilly! Despite that, we took advantage of great colors/architecture and got some nice shots! They are such an adorable couple. Meg, I love your style.

They are getting married this August and I am super excited to photograph their wedding
: )


my absolute favorite...this was on one of the windows downtown


went to the malt shop to ''warm up'' ; )

You two are the cutest. Looking forward to August!! : )

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Max: 3 year old Session

Yesterday, I got to meet Max, who is awesome(!)... and see his mom who I worked with a few years ago. She is pregnant with twins and almost ready to pop! Before their grand arrival, we thought we'd get some of just Max : ) He is a hoot! He did a great job being my model and showed me around his new neighborhood. His facial expressions crack me up.

It will be fun to see him again with his new siblings in the next month or so...but they can keep cookin' for now : )

Hope you enjoy the photos!

i dig the fedora : )

I love the blue light bulbs Max's mom put in for autism awareness : )

zoolander? : )

ummm...can we be done now??
So fun to meet you Max...see you soon!