When Words Fail

I’ve been sitting on a big, long, apologetic post about how terrible it is that yet again I’ve lapsed into a pattern of ignoring my blog, and yet again I’ve failed to hold up the promises I made on here, but, well, all that really just doesn’t feel important anymore.

On Friday evening, I received devastating news. A wonderful friend and colleague of mine passed away, extremely suddenly and unexpectedly. It was cutting news in more ways than one — Colleen was an inspiring and gracious coworker, a generous and thoughtful friend, and just a really, really beautiful person.

Colleen was, without a doubt, the most vivacious person I’ve ever met. She put my own enthusiasm for life to shame. Her million-dollar smile could lift your spirits by a mile. Her hugs were legend. And even if you only saw her in person once or twice a year, it was like no time had passed every time you were reunited. She just always made things that natural, that easy, that wonderful.

She was also one of the most considerate and thoughtful people I’ve ever known. From little notes on social media to handwritten cards in the mail to completely unexpected gifts, love was a language that Colleen spoke fluently. She knew how to make you feel special… even though she was the special one.

I have experienced very little loss over the course of my years, and I fully recognize how lucky that makes me. So I don’t think there is a way I could have been prepared for what I would feel upon reading the news of Colleen’s passing. It was like a tsunami washing over me. Shock, grief, utter disbelief.

I’m an emotional person, you all know this. Crying simply seems to be my body’s default setting — tears come when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m angry… well, you get the idea. But for all the hours of my life spend crying, I can count on one hand the number of times I have really wept.

For the beautiful life of Colleen, I wept.

Tears fell, thick and heavy. My body heaved with sobs. I was just overtaken with this immense sadness at the loss of my friend, taken so young, so abruptly, so unfairly.

All weekend, I’ve read the words of others on this heartbreaking event. Words expressing heartache, words offering comfort, words celebrating Colleen’s magnificent life. And I’ve struggled to find words of my own that even start to express my own deep sadness. Because every time I tried to pull together something to say, put shape to my feelings, my words seemed to fail.

I questioned if I should even say anything at all. I questioned if it’s even fair for me to feel this loss so deeply. After all, Colleen touched so many people, she was a bright light in so many lives, and while I’m lucky enough to be counted amongst them, there are so many who knew her longer, better. Would it be better to grieve quietly, to let those who knew her best share aloud? Does saying something add to Colleen’s legacy, or… is it just selfish for me to be so affected by this?

I don’t know. I don’t have an answer, really. I don’t know what’s right or what’s wrong or what’s appropriate, I just know what I feel. I feel amazed by the community of people who loved and were loved by Colleen. I feel heartache knowing there won’t be any more legendary hugs or gushing sessions over our pups, that I won’t see her at Yelp’s annual CM Week in August, or during my trip to Orlando in November (something I had just emailed with her about a week or so ago.) I feel scared seeing how unpredictable life is, how it can be cut so short. I feel comforted knowing that Colleen will not fade out of our memories. And I feel inspired to live by her example — to laugh loudly, hug people with purpose, make every moment count, and to love — hard.

Eating through the Weekend

Guff, this weekend man. So much fun, and soooo much food. Which, you know, isn’t inherently a bad thing, but when you’re trying to make every calorie count, it can make things a little bit challenging. All things considered, though, I definitely think it was worth it.

On Saturday, I met up with the lovely Alicia, who was visiting DC from Florida! She was out in Northern VA for the day checking out the Air & Space Museum, so we met up at one of my favorite local restaurants, Chasin’ Tails, for some delicious seafood feasting.

Then, later that evening, Sean and I attended a pre-opening event for a new LongHorn Steakhouse opening up in the area. Despite the plethora of options available to me, I actually reigned myself in pretty well and went for salmon instead of steak (well, other than the bites of Sean’s steak that I snagged, heh.) Guess I’m just on kind of a seafood kick!

The portion of salmon was, as you can see, absolutely gargantuan (10 ounces!), so I ended up with a tasty lunch the next day as well. Well, truth be told, cutting myself off at just half the plate was actually more challenging than I like to admit, but I really wanted to save room for dessert, heh.

Totally worth it! This banana cream pie was bosssss! So, funny story, the banana cream pie was actually our second-choice for dessert, but our first choice (the “Chocolate Stampede”) was sold out for the evening. Turns out, that was a real blessing in disguise! When I was logging my meals in My Fitness Pal after dinner, I got a peek at what the Chocolate Stampede would have set us back. 2178 calories. FOR ONE DESSERT. Insane!

Meanwhile, that banana cream pie ended up being a mere 390 calories. Quite a bit more manageable as a splurge… especially when sharing. 🙂

Anyway, as if my Saturday eating adventures weren’t enough, on Sunday I got to attend the DC Lamb Jam with my coworker Kimberly. We ate our way through lamb dishes from many of the area’s hottest restaurants, and it was, obviously, delicious.

Kinda made it hard to track everything in MFP later though, ahaha. I had to do not a small amount of guestimating on that one.

Sooooo, yeah. Now you kind of understand my “guff” from above, no? Between my Yelp event from last week, the Pentatonix concert, and this weekend, I’ve been eating a lot of deliciousness that’s not exactly on-plan. But, you know me, a life without eating out would, well, not be my life. And since it’s literally unavoidable in my kind of work, I just need to get comfortable with making healthy choices on a more regular basis.

Even I need a break from the constant barrage of food prepared by others, though! So tonight I shall feast on a delicious, homemade something-or-other, depending on what looks good in my fridge. I’m thinking… short ribs, roasted broccoli, and cauliflower puree, maybe? Stay tuned.

Weekend Update: It’s May!

Happy May, friends! (*cue obligatory JT-meme*) (*cue trite-but-very-real freakout over how quickly this year is flying by*)

So, my first official weekend back “on” the weight loss boat is over, and I think I came out the other side pretty well! Friday night was Sean’s company’s 50th anniversary party, so we got dolled up and spent our evening at the National Building Museum.

They really went all out for this party — it was amazing! We’re talking all gold errrrythang, 360-degree photobooth (!!), delicious dinner, live band, and boozy chocolate-dipped popsicle station. (I know. What!)

 
 
 

I loved getting a chance to visit the National Building Museum before. What an incredible place for an event! There’s a legit fountain INSIDE the main ballroom. Definitely glad we attended this event after our wedding, because blizzard or no blizzard, there was no way our Big Day was gonna be able to compete.

 
 

Speeeeeaking of the wedding, in what ended up being the best coincidence ever, I actually ran into my wonderful, fabulous, life-saving coordinator Caitlin at the party! Turns out her husband works for the same company as Sean — small world! Funny how while we were dealing with 24-inches of snow and hurricane-force winds, our husbands’ mutual place of work just didn’t come up… 😉

Other than our big night out, the weekend was actually pretty relaxing (a sad rarity these days.). Spent a bit of time getting my house in order, catching up on my video gaming, and grocery shopping, before ending the weekend with a lovely visit from my cousin Nicky and her boyfriend.

Even with the party Friday, I actually didn’t was able to manage my eating pretty well throughout the weekend! We obviously indulged in a little extra deliciousness at the party, and I also went out for breakfast Sunday, but otherwise I cooked up some healthy deliciousness throughout the weekend (and made sure I made extras for getting me through the week. Maybe I’m weird, but I love eating leftovers!)

Dinner last night – brown sugar & soy marinated salmon, zoodles, and cilantro-lime rice.

So, that catches us up! I haven’t quite figured out what day I’ll be officially reporting my weigh-ins, but stay tuned to see if I actually did as well this weekend as I think I did, haha. Here’s to kicking off the month of May right, I hope?

Breakfast, Onesies, and Technicolor Schnauzers

Well, it’s official: I am twenty-seven years old. Do you think that makes me an adult yet?

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Actually, don’t answer that.

As I mentioned in my last post, I celebrated this year’s birthday with a festive pajama jam breakfast party!

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Instead of my usual MO of putting together a themed excuse to get drunk birthday party, I opted to do someting more low-key and daytime-friendly. So, this year, friends donned their PJs and came over in the AM (well, late AM) for some scrumptious brunch treats!

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I put together a brunch table full of goodies, including a cereal bar, mimosa bar, little breakfast canapes, and even whipped up a batch of waffle iron hashbrowns.

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For the cereal bar, I put out four kinds of cereal (Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and four kinds of milks (almond, 2%, chocolate, and skim). In retrospect, I probably should have put out one non-sugar cereal, and skipped the skim milk (which apparently nobody likes, hahaha.)

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The breakfast canapes were made from mini Eggo waffles topped either with whipped cream and a strawberry or brushed with maple syrup and a small piece of bacon. They were the hit of the party! Super delicious and fun to eat.

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The waffle iron hashbrowns were outta this world, too. All you do is pick up a bag of frozen tater tots from the grocery store and pop ’em into the waffle iron. Squish ’em down and let them cook! They get perfectly crisp on all sides and turned out way better than cooking tots in the oven. I am a waffle iron believer now!

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The mimosa bar was a lot of fun, too! I got four different kinds of juices — orange, orange mango, grapefruit, and guava — and had some additional fruit for folks to pop into their glass. I kept the champagne on ice and, voila!

Of course, the very best part of having a breakfast-themed birthday party is the fact that for your cake, well… see for yourself.

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Isn’t it beautiful? Donut cake > regular cake.

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Ta-da! Birthday pajama jam brunch success!

If you’re thinking about doing a breakfast bar for an upcoming event, I say definitely do it! It was really easy to set up (the biggest thing is just having enough pitchers/serving bowls), and of course picking up supplies at the grocery store is easy and relatively inexpensive.

Plus, Pikachu onesie aside, I think it’s a very elegant way to present breakfast/brunch. This sort of thing would be perfect for a bridal shower, baby shower, or mother’s day celebration in addition to birthdays. It would also be really fun to do brinner (breakfast for dinner) for a nighttime party!

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Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that I dyed Daxter and Pixel for the occasion, heeeeeeeee. 😀

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Now they’re ready for Spring! (Don’t worry, I used completely animal-safe, vegetable-based dye.)

And so, alas, my twenty-seventh birthday has come and gone. But something tells me that 27 is going to be my very best year yet. I can’t wait to see what’s to come!

Well, OF COURSE I Said Yes!

Yesterday brought some pretty big news around these parts…

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I’M ENGAGED!

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Three years, two months, and one day after I first laid eyes on Sean, he popped the question and I, of course, without a second thought, tearfully accepted.

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Needless to say, I am totally, completely, and utterly blissed out. It brings me endless joy to know that I’m going to get to spend the rest of my life with my main squeeze, and even though our engagement is barely 24-hours old, I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy being engaged to this studmuffin.

Opposites Do Attract:

I’m sure it comes as no shock to the majority of you that I’m not exactly a, er, subtle person. In fact, I would often describe myself as having a rather ostentatious personality. I enjoy being the center of attention, I like making a splash, and I make no apologies (hardly any, at any rate) for living my life, well, loudly.

Sean, on the other hand, is the opposite. He’s much more introspective, much more reserved. Where I am loud and oftentimes obnoxious, he is quiet and respectful. Where I am all emotion, he is logic and reason. And where I am over-the-top, he is subtle and deliberate.

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That’s not to say that we are total and complete opposites. We do, in fact, align on a lot of things — we have common interests, we both acknowledge the importance of family, we communicate affection similarly, we have the natural bond that exists between Whasians (jk, jk), and we’ve both got a touch of weirdness (okay, maybe more than a touch in my case.) But, that being said, we do have fairly different natures that tend to balance each other out.

Sean’s proposal to me was the embodiment of everything he is: quiet, intimate, romantic, and subtle.

As a self-professed insane consumer of wedding-related media (damn you, Pinterest!), I’ve always tended to stray more towards the big, the loud, and the ostentatious. I imagine that if I were the one planning a proposal, it would include things like scavenger hunts, flashmobs, and solid gold piñatas. And while sometimes that sort of thing is totally fitting and appropriate, I do know myself. And I know that if I were on the receiving end of all the hubbub and pomp and is-this-Pinterest-worthy-ness of a proposal like that, it would totally eclipse the actual point of proposing at all.

Thankfully, Sean’s personality leads him more towards things like quiet moments, small surprises, and heartfelt words — all of which his proposal had in spades.

The Proposal:

Okay, so we’ve covered that I’m totally crazypants, right? Good. Because I feel like that is going to be an important point to remember as we move forward.

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See, I pretty much knew I wanted to marry Sean like, oh, I don’t know, six months into our relationship? That’s probably being quite generous, actually, but I’d like to try to keep myself in the category of “humorously crazy” rather than “batsh*t insane.” I mean, in my defense, they do say that when you know, you know, and what can I say? I knew.

That being said, I do believe that relationships require time to mature, people need time to grow together (and prove that they aren’t going to grow apart anytime soon), and so our decision to get married was one that grew out of our love and companionship, over time.

Once we reached a certain point, we started talking more seriously about getting married, ultimately culminating in Sean purchasing a beautiful loose tanzanite stone while we were on vacation last November. I’ve always known I wanted a tanzanite engagement ring (it’s my favorite gemstone), so I was thrilled when Sean suggested we take a look at some rings when we stopped in Nassau during our cruise. We didn’t end up purchasing a ring, of course, but Sean did set his eye on one particular stone and I certainly wasn’t going to argue with that!

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So we flash forward a couple of weeks. I knew he had a stone, and I knew he had intentions of designing a ring to go along with it, but that was pretty much where my knowledge ended. I had no idea what his timeline looked like, or what to expect. (He did tell me that he wouldn’t be proposing on a “traditional” day, like our anniversary, my birthday, Christmas, etc.) But, of course, I did have a general idea that we were going to be taking this next step at some point in the not-too-distant future.

As you can imagine, that didn’t actually sit super easily with me. Crazypants McGee over here basically spent from mid-November until, well, um, yesterday, wondering, fretting, endlessly questioning when Sean was going to propose. Sean loves surprising me, so I knew it would probably happen when I least expected it, but that didn’t really stop me from expecting it… all the time.

I mean, okay, I wasn’t really expecting it ALL the time. It was just kind of there, hovering in the background of my brain. There was really only one time that I genuinely thought he might be getting ready to pop the question: Remember that amazing early Valentine’s surprise dinner he took me to at Sushi Taro?

Yeah… I may or may not have left the post-dinner breakdown I had in the car out of my original blog post, hahahahahaha.

Aaaaaanyway, given that I was still just generally aware of the fact that the whole engagement thing was sitting somewhere on the horizon, I really wondered how surprised I could possibly be when the time came. But, lo and behold, Sean did achieve that surprise factor. Somehow, he still managed to pull a fast one on me.

By proposing at 7 o’clock in the morning.

Yep. If you’re asking yourself, “Who in tarnation proposes to someone at 7 AM on a Friday morning?” Well, Sean does. And I love him for it.

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Sneaky punk.

I woke up to an absolutely breathtaking ring hovering in front of my face (attached to Sean’s hand, of course.) My eyes were half-filled with shock, half with sleep, as he launched into an amazing (and tearjerking) speech about love, the two of us, and our future together.

Most of what was said is an emotional blur at this point, but I do remember him saying he chose the morning not only to surprise me (mission accomplished, fyi), but because he wanted me to know he loves me just as I am — bedhead, smudged makeup that I definitely did not fully take off the night before, and all.

And then, of course, I remember the part where he said, “Will you marry me?”

I’m pretty sure you guys can guess what my answer was.

The Ring: 

As mentioned above, I’ve known for a very long time that I wanted a tanzanite engagement ring. The reasons follow as thus:

A) I enjoy being slightly unconventional (I mean, you have seen my various hair colors, no?)
B) I’m not a big fan of the whole De Beers diamond monopoly engagement ring scam thing. (This hilarious College Humor video explains it all.)
C) Diamonds are actually my birthstone (April baby), so if I do ever change my mind and want a diamond, I figure I have a lifetime of potential gift opportunities to get one.
D) Helloooo, have you seen that color?? Is it blue, is it purple… who knows? Who cares?! It’s a different color every time you look at it, and it’s so beautiful. I love it, I love it, I loooove itttttt.

And Sean, the lovely, wonderful, attentive listener that he is, knew that tanzanite had me by the heartstrings. So, after procuring one seriously gorgeous round tanzanite stone, he set out to design a special setting to go around it, just for me.

And. Dude. Special it most certainly is. I honestly cannot picture a more perfect ring for me! He done good. He done reeeeeeal good, y’all.

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My ring is comprised of a round bezel-set tanzanite stone in a cushion halo, set in a platinum split shank twist band, and some very special, custom, made-just-for-me details included. On one side of the ring there’s a surprise diamond, and on the other…

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… there’s a teeny weeny little lightning bolt!

It might be a little hard to see in these pictures, but I promise it’s there. I mean, does Sean know me, or what? Some of you might think it’s silly to have anything to do with The Boy Who Lived on her engagement ring, but true love is as true love does, my friends. And if I love it enough to have it tattooed on my body…

Anyway, it is a super thoughtful touch that makes the ring extra special to me (and unique in general!) There’s also an inscription on the inside of the ring: “Until the very end.” ::sob:: ::sniff::

Tanzanite is much more fragile than diamonds are, so I’ll need to take extra care with it (hence why the bezel setting and the halo are so great — they help protect the stone!) but I could not be happier. As most people who have seen the ring seem to say, it just feels very “me.”

Sooooo, there you have it! I’m engaged! I’M ENGAGED! Man, that sounds weird to say. I mean, I’m somebody’s fiancee! Which means I’ll eventually be someone’s wife. WEIRD.


Here’s to a life filled with unintentional outfit matching!

As if the proposal itself wasn’t enough, Sean finished off what was already the best day ever with another amazing experience: dinner at uber-romantic Alexandria restaurant, Restaurant Eve. Sean treated me to the tasting menu there, another thing that has been on my restaurant bucket list for a while, and it was absolutely perfect. I just can’t believe that I get to marry this Fox! 😉

Admittedly, I am pretty stoked to get started with wedding planning and whatnot, being that I definitely come from that whole “has been planning her wedding since she was eight” camp of thought, but I also hope to spend some QT with my love, just enjoying this phase of our relationship — and our life! After all, if what I hear is true, it’ll be over before we know it.

Let the whirlwind begin!