Aaron and I got our engagement photos back and we couldn’t be happier with them! Here are just nine of my faves. Click on the first photo to view them in better quality, slideshow style.

I can’t say enough good things about our incredible photographer, Kali Leenstra, who will also be shooting our wedding. She absolutely turned our in-person awkwardness into playful, love-filled energy on camera.

She also shot about half the photos with old-school film — as in one shot, no re-dos, no way to know what the photos look like until the film is developed and scanned by a lab. All the photos you see above with the lovely blurred backgrounds (#4, 5, 6, 8, 9) were shot with film. Crazy!

And how handsome and adorable is Aaron? Don’t even answer. I know the answer.

Psst… looking for fall boots? I’m obsessed with mine and they’re on sale at Nordstrom! I tend to have trouble finding boots that fit my calves, but a bit of hidden elastic on these makes them fit very comfortably. 🙂

BodyPump, Running, and Wedding-Dress Shopping!

On Thursday night I went to a BodyPump class at my gym. I only vaguely remembered from two years ago that I needed an assortment of equipment for the class, but I couldn’t remember what exactly.

I nervously chatted up a few girls who were waiting for another class to vacate the group fitness room, and they agreed to help me out with my setup. It turned out that one of my former co-workers, Shahaf — whom I didn’t even know went to my gym — was setting up his equipment right next to me, so he helped me out! Sweet!

For BodyPump, you need:

– an aerobic step (just to lie down on, as far as I can tell)
– a mat (to place on top of the step)
– a barbell
– plates of various weights to put on the barbell
– thingies to secure the plates to the barbell
– free weights (optional; you can also just use loose plates)

As far as how BodyPump works, the Wikipedia page explains it far better than I can. There are 10 sections, called tracks, each set to its own music: warm-up, squats, chest, back, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, abs/core, and cool-down/stretching.

Between each track, you adjust the amount of weight on your barbell to prepare for the next track. I had no clue how much weight to use at any point. Shahaf was so nice and would tell me stuff like, “Add more weight for squats,” “Use less weight for triceps,” etc.

It’ll take me a while to get the hang of the weight changes. The squats and lunges felt a little too easy (yay, strong legs!), but I used too much weight for chest and triceps and had to pause/skip reps because my arms felt like they were going to fall off.

BodyPump is definitely a great workout — I just stopped feeling sore TODAY — and it’s really fast-paced and fun, so I’m excited to continue going twice a week. Beast arms, be mine!

I ran three treadmill miles right after the class, which was… interesting?… but I endured it because I was able to watch “Say Yes to the Dress”! I got so excited to finally try on wedding dresses after being engaged for 13 months.

On Saturday, my mom, Aaron’s mom, and I had an awesome girls’ day visiting two bridal shops and having lunch.


I went into the first shop with a very definite vision of what I wanted, and left with a much more open mind! The first few dresses I tried on were gorgeous on the hangers, but very blah on me, so I started trying different styles.

Little by little, as I discovered what I liked and disliked about each dress, I carved out a new vision. The very-helpful and sweet sales girl picked out one last dress that fit the new criteria, and as soon as I walked out in it, I started crying… the moms started crying… and even two women who were there with another bride started crying!

It was the first dress I could really see myself getting married in. Whoa.

At the second shop, I had a much better idea of what looked good on me. It took only a few seconds to know when a dress didn’t work. And then… we found another one similar to the first tear-jerker dress, but different in some awesome ways! So now there’s another front-runner.

I also tried on some really gorgeous, over-the-top, but really not my style dresses. I wish I could share some fun pictures! But Aaron is firm on not wanting to see ANY photos of me in any wedding dress before the big day. Hrmph.

I got measured at each of the shops in case I decide to call and order either of the dresses I really liked, and I strangely wound up with totally different measurements — different from the ones I took of myself a few days ago, and from each other:

Shop #1:
– Bust: 33.5
– Waist: 27
– Hips: 39

Shop #2:
– Bust: 35
– Waist: 28
– Hips: 38

My measurements:
– Bust: 35
– Waist: 29
– Hips: 35.5

I understand why my own measurements would be wrong (eh-hem, no clue what I’m doing), but why would the measurements between shops be off by a full inch to an inch and a half each??

For my official record of progress, I’m gonna go with these measurements:

– Bust: 35
– Waist: 28
– Hips: 39

Just because.

Anyway, I have another bridal appointment next Saturday and two more the Saturday after that. I’ll either find another dress I love even more than the first two, or choose one of those two! Exciting stuff.

And definitely not as drama-filled as those crazy moms and daughters on “Say Yes to the Dress.” Yikes.

Day 1: Stats

Current weight (via the Withings scale):


5:00 is a stupid time to wake up, isn’t it? I got up an hour earlier than usual so I could get to work earlier, leave earlier, and make my way to the gym in time for a Body Pump class tonight.

Might as well take advantage of the free classes! Plus, I’ll get some high-intensity strength-training in. I tend to wimp out/not really care when I lift weights on my own.

As for my weight, I’m fine with it, but I know there are a few extra pounds (made up of Rolos, Skittles, etc.) that I don’t need.

Current measurements, in inches:

Waist: 29
Hips: 35.5
Bust: 35
Left thigh: 22.5
Right thigh: 22.5
Left calf: 15.5
Right calf: 15.5


I have no idea what’s “normal,” so I have no real commentary. I just wanted to have baseline measurements.

I may not be the most accurate measure-er, though, since I thought for sure my right calf and possibly thigh would be bigger than my left calf and thigh. The hip measurement might be low, too. I’ll have Aaron measure me next time for more precision and objectivity.

Current photo:


5:20 a.m., straight out of the shower. You are welcome.

I definitely see a difference from the photos I posted in March and April, when I was really on-point with my eating. I had a narrower waist (but no measurements to prove it) and a flatter stomach back then. Maybe it’s just me? But I know I can do better and feel more confident with a little extra mindfulness.

So there’s my baseline! I’ll check in every two weeks, methinks.

Cross your fingers that I survive Body Pump tonight! I tried it a few times in May 2011 while I was training for my first half-marathon with the American Cancer Society DetermiNation team; our well-connected coach set up some complimentary classes for us at a local gym.

I just went back and read my first impression of it. I had forgotten there were SQUATS.

Get After It

It is no coincidence that on Monday, November 4 — the day after Daylight Saving Time (did you know it is “Saving” and not “Savings”?) ended, I booked two round-trip tickets for Aaron and me to Maui.

In January.

For a total cost of $10.

Mileage plans are so awesome.

Hawaii is “our place” — we’ve been to Oahu (video!) and Kauai together, and we’ll go to the big island next October for our honeymoon — so I’m excited to visit another island together.

Speaking of our honeymoon, we’ll be IN KONA DURING THE 2014 IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. You better believe we’ll be spectating it. Best honeymoon EVER!

Sorry, I’m getting sidetracked.

With a beach vacation on the horizon (and wedding-dress trying-on starting THIS WEEKEND), it’s time to buckle down on my eating.

I’ve had the “I can eat whatever I want because I just ran a marathon!” mindset since the Chicago Marathon, which is really only valid for like one or two days after the marathon. Three-and-a-half weeks later… not so much.

All of my meals are healthy, but my main downfall is candy at work. Between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., when the workday is feeling loooong, I will not hesitate to grab the following:

– Chocolate-covered raisins: I can eat a million and convince myself they are healthy-ish because RAISINS.
– Starburst: Pinks and reds only. Unfortunately, my office stocks the “Fave-reds” pack, which has ALL PINKS AND REDS.
– Skittles: Like Starburst, these give me that instant, fruity-flavored sugar rush. I can never have just one “fun-sized” pack. (They should rename “fun-sized” to “a little less diabetes, maybe.”)
– Rolos: The office stocks these little 340-calorie bags of ‘em. I start out thinking I’ll just have a few Rolos, and them I’m all YOLO, life’s too short for just a few ROLOS. Whole bag, gone.

Oh my god. It must stop.

Tomorrow, I’m going to start using My Fitness Pal again (you can follow my food diary here). MFP doesn’t always deter me from snacking on candy — you’ll definitely find plenty of Starburst in the archives — but it does help me see how many empty calories and grams of sugar I’m consuming with my little candy binges.

I’ll also post my starting weight and measurements, not because I have a specific goal — I’m happy where I am now and all my clothes fit wonderfully — but just to see what happens when I rein in my food choices.

I obviously won’t deprive myself of delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas foods when those holidays roll around, but I don’t want to use the whole holiday season as an excuse to eat like crap.

I just want to feel great in a bikini in Maui! OK? OK.

See you tomorrow!

6 Charts That Show How The War On Fat Was A Gigantic Mistake

“Back in the year 1977, the low-fat diet was recommended to all Americans. Looking back, it is interesting to see that the obesity epidemic started at almost the exact same time the guidelines first came out.

"Although this graph doesn’t prove anything (correlation does not equal causation), this does make sense because people started giving up traditional foods like butter in place of processed ‘low-fat’ foods high in sugar.

"Since then, many massive studies have been conducted on the low-fat diet. These studies show clearly that the low-fat diet does not cause weight loss and has zero effect on cardiovascular disease in the long term (678).

"Despite the poor results in the studies, this diet is still recommended by nutrition organizations all over the world.”

Yeah, read this.

6 Charts That Show How The War On Fat Was A Gigantic Mistake