fill in the blank friday

1.   My current obsession is      detail cleaning my house (I vacuumed my bedroom walls, people)  .

2.    Chocolate      makes me happy.

3.  My greatest strength is   my ability to multi-task and get things done (stealing this from Lauren because this is actually one of my greatest strengths)   .

4.    My loss of patience and understanding with those who do not have the ability to multi-task and get things done   is my greatest weakness.

5.  My life is    blessed with so much love .

6.  In high school I was     a cheerleader, an average student, and Paul's girlfriend (seriously, I didn't have a name other than Paul's girlfriend, lol)   .

7.  When I'm super tired    I try to stay on my feet as long as I can to get things done and then colapse on the couch or in bed  .

Play Along at Laurens!

magazine shout out

My favorite magazine (and the only one I have a subscription to) Oxygen Magazine came in the mail over a week ago, and I just barely got to sit down and read it. To my delightful surprise, I read this...
Shout Out! Yep, I tweeted, and they published. How freakin' cool is that! 
Awww, it's the little things in life that make my heart skip a beat!

(PS, yes, that is my nail, my hand-painted nail. And if you're in the AZ area, you can see le'artist Becca at Salon Sanctuary... shout out!)

journal day

Following the promptings of Danielle of Sometimes Sweet and Elizabeth Haley I've decided to join in the soul-diving fun! Deep breath everybody, and exhale. Okay.

Looking at all of the life you've lived so far, can you pinpoint one time frame or instance that you feel truly contributed to your growth as a person? This may be a turning point, a positive or negative experience, a moment or collection of moments that stand out in your mind...something that changed you as a whole.

In all my 31 years of life, I can pinpoint several instances or lifetime events that have changed me as a whole. I'll try to stick with the 'big' ones.

The first was when I was little, no more than 9 or 10. I (like so many other children) experienced the sheer panic and torture of being sexually offended. While this was the first, and most traumatizing time, it unfortunately was not the last. There were other men, and older neighboring boys that took advantage of being alone with a girl who didn't know how to say no, or stand up for herself. When a person's sexuality is not naturally discovered, in other words when someone 'offends their sexuality' at a young age or otherwise, it forever changes the view and direction of that person. Sex and sexuality is such a personal and important part of life. It interlaces with love. It took me a long time to understand that. It has taken me a long time to understand a lot of things. I still have a lot of unanswered questions and guilt, but I have (thankfully) come to a place where I can say what I feel on the subject and not allow it to weigh me down, or define me. That took some time, getting to that point where I was no longer defined myself as 'tainted' (you know, the bruised banana. okay, bad reference, but still, gotta keep it light here. lol) Just saying, now as an (ahem) adult, and more importantly a Mama, I am (how do you say...) overprotective, when it comes to the opportunity of children being touched or molested or worse. I look over my own children, and niece and nephew, and some of the neighbor kids, and my friends kids... okay, kids in general. It will not happen on my watch.

The second lifetime moment was when I quite seriously went through the worst depression and downward spiral of my life. I believe that everyone goes through some form of depression in their lifetime. Call it being down, being sad, in a funk, but there comes a time where you physically and emotionally feel depleted, and buried and it feels hopeless on ever getting out of that hole that you are stuck in. Sometimes it lasts for a week, a month, sometimes long enough that when you come finally come out of the darkness you barely recognize your own reflection. This is where I was. And while it was very scary, and my relationships paid dearly, I thankfully made it to the other side. Essentially what happened is  I lost my mind. I had a snap, a break, no a breakdown, a nervous breakdown (aka mid-life, or rather quarter-life crisis). I didn't know which way was up or down, I tried using anything as a distraction (food, drinks, shopping, etc.) and to put it bluntly, I lost myself. I didn't know who I was or why I was here. Small step by step I was able to pull through, with the support of a therapist and some friends and family who love me dearly and stayed by my side (even when I least deserved it). In finding myself, and in finding balance in life, all that negative that I went through, all the dark... led me to the light, and positivity began streaming in my life again. Making positive choices, surrounding yourself with Gods love, and being able to speak so that you are heard are just some of the life lessons I learned in those dark years (yes, I said years... very long, painful years). Now, instead of hiding and masking my pain and problems, I stand right in front of them, accept them, deal with them, and move on. 

Which leads me to the third life-changing event in my life. (C'mon, you all know what it's going to be). September 15, 2011. The day my father passed. Having a parent pass away is something that most everyone on the planet will have to experience in life. Knowing that makes me feel less like I'm the only person to know this pain. It is a pain that you can really only experience, and not exactly share or explain how it feels. Jokingly, it almost feels like a secret society, but I think it really does bring people together who have experienced it. Those newbies (like myself) are comforted by the people who have already been through it, and the cycle will be that when someone I know experiences is for their first time, I will comfort them, because I've been there. (Getting a little off track here). Having a parent die, or really having anyone that close to you die brings you closer to death that you ever had been previously. For me, the words 'die' and 'death' would send me into an instant panic attack. Truth be told, if I saw a hearse driving on the road, or a funeral procession, I would have to pull over because I would lose feeling in my hands, feet, and face and start to convulse. Seriously. Dying is such a touchy subject. It's uncomfortable, it brings up religion (which can also make people uncomfortable) and the crazy thing is, every single person WILL go through it. But when I got the call, and when we were going through the hours after, the day following, the week following, the funeral, the emails and cards and empty house and so on so forth, it was as if I were asleep. Everything, my reaction, my planning the funeral, making calls, dealing with the life insurances and utilities and everything, it was all automatic. Definite auto pilot. When the reality started to take over it wasn't a pretty site (and I will spare you the details). But now, a year later, even though it still hurts and I burn in pain, I have this very real ease about death and dying. I'm not as scared. There is almost a calm come over me about it. Like, 'see, everything is going to be okay. Daddy's on the other side waiting for you. He had to go ahead and reserve out table'. Yes, I am a Christian, and I believe that I will reunite with my Daddy (and my grandparents and other family) in Heaven. And while I am excited about that, and give all the glory to God, I'm not exactly rushing to meet up with him. lol. And one day, when it's my time to go, my children will experience this feeling as well, and they will grow from it too. 

Wow. I didn't quite plan on writing a novel. Or getting so personal. But there you have it. If you've made it this far, congratulations, you get a gold star! :-)

pumpkin : recipe one

Can you say, Yum! I made a batch of Chelle's Pumpkin Protein Muffins and can honestly say that they are delicious! I didn't change much from the original recipe, except that I substituted the dark chocolate chips for carob chips (because that's what I had on hand). And for the 'frosting' I made a double batch the other day and topped my kids french toast with it. Double Yum!
These are really great to grab on the go in the morning for some breakfast. (I always like to have something like this for those busy hectic mornings). And they are filled with protein and good-for-you oats and perfect-for-fall pumkin and pumpkin pie spice. Seriously, these are so good! You should definitely try them!

i'm high, i'm real high...

So much going on in life right now that I'm spinning fast like a top. But not to worry, if there is one thing I've learned, it is that finding balance within myself will make every thing and every one around me flow much more smoothly. I can only do my best, and my best is good enough. I must take care of myself as much as I need to take care of my loved ones. Taking things one task at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time. This is how I will accomplish all that needs to be done. 

How do you handle stress?

for the love of shoes

I don't think it's that big of a secret... I LOVE SHOES! I adore shoes! They always make me feel good, even when I'm having a 'fat day' or a sad day, shoes can perk me right up! If you love me or want to make it up to me, buy me shoes and I'm putty in your hands. (Getting off the point of this blog... moving on). So... while lusting after shoes I can never have 
I came across a shoe designer like no other... Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you...
Kobi Levi, Footwear Designer and Artist (in my book)!



I have been a huge fan of Adele since before she got so famous. The girl is soulful. Her music touches places within you so deep that you either smile, or cry, or laugh, or some combination of the three. She is an amazing artist. By far one of my favorites. One of her discs are always in my player. Absolutely love her.

Thanks to the sweet Notebook Doodles (whos is ever-inspiring) posted these lyrics by Adele and had me check out this video on You Tube.
Are you crying? Are your insides aching? So powerful. You can relate to her lyrics or not, it doesn't really matter. The way she sings, she just gets inside of you, it is definitely something special. And yes, tear were streaming the first time I watched it, and the second, and every time after.


Happy First Day of Fall Y'all! 
Boy am I happy that Autumn is finally here! While I would love to say that the temperatures have lowered and the air is crisp, alas... it is not. Here in Phoenix we are still averaging temps at 104 degrees. But, the lows are getting cooler, and hopefully (fingers definitely criss-crossed) the highs will follow. I am so over summer (sorry summer, love ya, but you gots ta go!)
In celebration of the First Day of Fall, I thought I'd share some Pumpkin recipes that I seriously can not wait to try (most ingredients are already purchased... you know what I'll be doing this weekend!!)

I want to preface by saying this... most of these recipes are considered 'Clean Eating'... because that's just what I do now (actually that is what my whole family does now... and it's soooo worth it... blog more on that some other time). Here we go...

I've been a follower of the Recipe for Fitness blog for a while now. Chelle has some seriously yummy clean eating recipes, and her newest recipe will be nothing short of delish! 

The Gracious Pantry is another really really great Clean Eating read! So many amazing recipes and most are really easy to make (even getting the kiddos involved). I have a bit of a list from her site that I can't wait to make, starting off with...
Clean Eating Black Bean Pumpkin Chili
 The title even sounds delicious... I can't wait to make this... probably tonight. I love love love chili during the cooler season.

Clean Eating Pumpkin Spice Latte
Yes, you read that right. No, it's not from Sbucks. This is a super must make (considering I can pretty much live on these things during Fall and even into Winter, lol).

Pumpkin Smoothie! Don't mind if I do!

One of my all time favorite Fitness Models, Jamie Eason shows you how to make Pumpkin Spice Pancakes!  Yum!

Okay, I'm off to finish cleaning my kitchen so I can get to making a big huge pumpkin mess!!
What are your favorite Fall recipes??

fill in the blank friday

1.   The best thing I did all week was     make it to all my cycle classes and weight training  .

2.    Chocolate      make me super happy.

3.  Pets are   family members too   .

4.    My family   is the best thing about my life.

5.  With the cooler weather I am looking forward to    Hot apple cider, hot tea, soups and stews, and snuggling up .

6.  Something that's on my "wish list" right now is     a Mac computer, hehe   .

7.  This weekend I am going to    get this darn house clean from top to bottom come hell or high water, it's getting done!!!  .

Play along at Lauren's!

goodbye to my hero

One year ago today, we laid Daddy down to rest for eternity. I miss you Daddy.

funny ha ha

have done it again!! This time, they're taking it local... to Phoenix! Fox 10 News... This is sooo funny!

In case you are unfamiliar with The Gregory Brothers they became famous when they came out with this hit...

And another favorite of mine...

lol... i could watch every single video by The Gregory Brothers! They make me laugh so much! Cheers to a good laugh on Friday Eve!!

coffee review, third times a charm

Donut Shop Coffee (by Coffee People)... sigh.... I was really hoping to love this one. The packaging is so adroable, and my Mom really does love this coffee. For me.... it was brown water. No flavor, no color, no boldness what-so-ever and that is why I'm giving it...
+++ .5 out of 4 cups +++

Moving along the 'donut' theme... I love this coffee! In fact, this has become my 'regular cup' that's how much I really enjoy this coffee! It's got great flavor, bold enough and with just enough vanilla that creamer need not apply (not that I drink coffee with creamer anymore anyway!) 'Happiness is a cup' can be used to describe this coffee. Get ready... because it's getting...
+++ 4 out of 4 cups +++

So, this morning... being that it's a Monday, and I was up at the crack-of-dawn (actually 6am, which is only 30 minutes earlier than normal time) I decided to lay off the donut coffees and go for something with a donkey kick already in it... Tully's Coffee, House Blend. Definitely is EXTRA Bold, and a little on the bitter side. While I love nature, I don't care for the taste of dirt in my morning cup, and that's kinda what this was. It was successful in getting my butt up and moving around, but when you're grateful to be done with it (so that you don't have to take another sip) I count that as a negative point. 
+++ 2 out of 4 cups +++

fill in the blank friday

1.   You should always take time to    tell the people you love how special they are to you  .

2.    Family and friends      make(s) the world a happier place to be.

3.  I can hardly wait for   vacation   .

4.    Sunday   is my favorite day of the week.

5.  Something totally dumb and ridiculous that I love is    being goofy, especially with my sister .

6.  If I could, I would   roadtrip the entire USA    .

7.  I rather like    being alone in my office   .

Link Up At Lauren's

one year, daddy...

It's been a year Daddy. I've made it through. Now what. My heart hasn't magically healed. I still have to remind myself that the reason you don't pick up the phone when I call is because you're not there. The emptiness in my heart is so big that sometimes I feel as though it's trying to swallow me whole and keeps me from breathing. So difficult to even breathe most days. 
And then I take a deep breathe. For you. Because I am here. I am living. I am fighting each day. My efforts are for you. My focus, right now, to live each day is because of you. I will not waste my time here because you taught me that time is a very precious thing. 
I know you don't want me to sit and cry. Some days that can not be helped. But most days I find the strength to get out of bed, take care of my family, take care of myself, take care of my world around me. It is not easy. But it is necessary, and it is your request. This, I remember. I replay over and over in my head your words, "all I want to do is live". Chilling at first, haunting me until I was able to to hear what you were saying. Daddy, you will live. Through me, you will live, through Mom, you will live, through Lisa, you will live. Through Paul, and the grand kids, you will live. You will live on in the hearts of every person you've ever known. 
Daddy, I'm going to be okay. The days won't be easy, but I will be okay. My heart will not ever be complete, but I will be okay. I miss you like crazy, every single moment of every single day, but I will be okay. 
I love you Daddy. 
<3 Your Sunshine

it's not easy... to say... goodbye

To Terry, Love Rosalie

"Goodbye" by Lionel Richie
I wanted you for life
You and me
In the wind
I never thought there come a time
That our story would end
It's hard to understand
But I guess I'll have to try
It's not easy
To say goodbye.

For all the joy we shared
All that time we had to spend
Now if I had one wish
I'd want forever back again
To look into your eyes
And hold you when you cry
It's not easy
To say goodbye

I can remember all those great times we had
There were so many memories, some good some bad
Yes and through it all
Those memories will last

There's peace in where you are
May be all I need to know
And if I listen to my heart
I'll hear your laughter once more
And so I got to say
I'm just glad you came my way
It's not easy to say


best girls day ever

For Courtney's big teenage birthday, she wanted to spend it having a 'girls day' with me (her Momma) and her best friend 'Bri' (that's what we call her). I was so excited!
In the morning, before our 'girls day' started, Daddy took us out to The Good Egg (or as we like to call it in our house, the Huevo Bueno) for a Happy Birthday Family Breakfast.

Nothing like a little Strawberry Shortcake for breakfast dessert!

We picked up 'Bri' and went over to Kohls to score on some major deals (I paid $20 for two workout tops, one sports bra, and a pair of workout capris... saving $80... yup!) and then went down to The Shops at Norterra. We ended up at Victoria's Secret. Yeah, me and my newly teenage daughter. I think it was some sort of right-of-passage.... now she can go into the 'big girl' store to buy her chonies. lol

We all three scored some pretty good deals... these (matching) sweatshirts we picked up for 50% off!

The girls had appointments at Salon Sanctuary to get their nails done...

...Shellac is pretty much the coolest new thing comin' to town!

Speaking of Cool! lol

Then it was off to the The Mall where we made a beeline to Sweet Daddy Cupcakes & Frozen Yogurt. 

Courtney had her all-time favorite... Red Velvet. 'Bri' had the Oreo cupcake! (I had the Cory's Fox 10 Cupcake... he's out local weather guy. The cupcake was chocolate with chocolate chip frosting and a half cookie on top.)

Look at the size of those bad boys!!

Thankfully we didn't have to walk far to the mecca of teenage (and cool moms) shopping... Forever 21! All I have to say is that all my hard work up in the gym has paid off... Courtney and I can SHARE shirts! Yay!!! (More on that some other blog. Prom-prom!)

Daddy took us 'girls' out to a Birthday Din-Din (my bday was 8/21. 'Bri's birthday was 9/2, and of course Courtney's was 9/10). We went to my new favorite place... Oregano's!!!! YUM!

Cuties ready for some grub!

We caught a late movie at the theater... we saw Crazy, Stupid, Love. If I were reviewing this movie I'd give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. It was funny in some parts, drug on in others, made me cover my eyes in embarrassment twice, but had delicious Ryan Gosling eye candy. Oh, and the end... Cluster F%#&!!!

The day was nothing short of amazing! I enjoyed every single minute of time with my girl! And we vowed to have more 'girl days' now that she's a teenager! Oh, how I love her!!
Happy Birthday, Mija!

elle's studio's sketch thursday

so, I rarely scrapbook these days. I really do miss it, but getting inspired hasn't been much of a priority this past year. when I saw this sketch, I really wanted to give it a try with these photos that have been sitting on my desk for months now!
So... here it is...

officially mother of a teenager.

I don't know where the time went, or how the days flew by so fast. But here you are, thirteen. Officially a teenager. Wow. So hard to wrap my head around it. The day you came into our lives, the first time I held you, I could barely see into the next hour, then slowly into the next day, the next week, the next year. I don't think I ever once fast forwarded to 'teenager'. And now, here we are. My sweet baby girl... my first born child and heir to my good looks and sparkling personality. hehe. Yes, we get alot of 'mini me' compliments, but you are completely your own person. You have so much love in your heart for your family and your friends. You care about those around you, you listen and give really great advice to your friends. You are thoughtful with your words. You are so smart. And I don't mean all book smart (although I can rarely complain about your grades). You are smart in a way that you learn from the mistakes and bad decisions that we all make in life, and you choose to change from them. You really are a good kid. Sorry, young lady. You have grown into a beautiful girl, both inside and out. I am so proud of you. I am so lucky that God trusted lil' ol' me to be your Momma. Thank you for being open with me, for sharing your life with me, for letting me be 'cool mom' and your friend. I promise to love you with all my heart and all my soul all the days of my life and eternity. Let's have fun today and celebrate together! xoxoxo Love, Momma

fill in the blank friday

1.   Somewhere someone is    chasing their dreams  .

2.    My kids      is/are my muse.

3.  It would suck if    chocolate    was no more because,    then what would I indulge in .

4.    Gym time   is/are my favorite thing about today.

5.  Life is kind of like     "riding a bicycle. To keep balance you must keep moving." -Albert Einstein .

6.  If I could have anything I wanted I would want   my dad back   .

7.  A funny thing happened the other day...    the hubs opened up a new bottle of sunscreen. As he squeezed it for the first time it shot straight up his nose! lol   .

fill in the blank friday

1.   One thing that is completely superfluous, but that I could never give up is     um, okay first... I don't even know what superfluous means, lol (Chino High education here), but after googling it, I'd have to say getting my nails done !

2.    Singing my heart out in front of people     makes me feel awkward.  

3.  I can't    sleep   without,    the tv on  .

4.    dark chocolate anythings   are my favorite snack.

5.  Lately I've been     feeling the anxiety of the one year mark coming up .

6.  If at first you don't succeed    take a break and do it again  .

7.  Fall is    quickly becoming my favorite season... as long as I'm up north (ahem, Sedona) and not stuck in 110 degrees .
© something Big is coming...
Maira Gall