Struggles, Success & Current Challenges

Cassie and Karissa are hosting a linkup today to share struggles and successes with losing weight & keeping it off! Considering this is definitely a "challenge area" for me, I was eager to join - though a little apprehensive, because I'm not always totally open about struggles. I mean, who wants to be on the struggle bus, right? 

I've never been teeny tiny in the weight category - I've always been short, and I've been in shape (you can't successfully show sheep weighing more than you if you aren't!) but when activity declined (ahem, college) my weight went up. I wasn't exactly a frequent visitor of the Colvin Center. In my sophomore/junior year I started going to Tan & Tone America - mainly because I wanted to tan, but it wasn't a super intense workout so I enjoyed it, and the employees were so nice! Every day I went, and slowly, I actually lost weight. I was refereeing Upward Basketball games and not dying running the court (half court, because I had little kid games, but still - there's a lot of running at that age!). I had also stopped eating ice cream with my freshman year bestie every night (we lived so close to the on-campus convenience store and had practically unlimited meal plans!) so that helped, too. By my junior year, I felt great. 

I bought the smallest size jeans I remember buying since high school in late October of my junior year. I wore them one time before I was hit by a truck while crossing the street and my activity level went from "active enough" to not at all. That "not at all" activity level continued for far too long, guys. I had knee issues for a year, and a lot of pain even after my surgery, which meant I simply didn't feel like doing anything. But in addition to no activity, I didn't pay attention to what I was eating. 

Fast forward a few years and I am just in general unhappy with how I feel - not how I look, not the number on the scale, but how I feel. No energy, still eating whatever, etc. I started doing Herablife shakes, and they helped, but honestly, I didn't love drinking a shake every meal (or 2 a day). I didn't feel great still. Then I started running. I enjoyed running. I am not a good runner nor am I a fast runner, but I was living at my parents' home with miles of open road around me. I did 5Ks! I was toning up and starting to lose weight and paying attention to what I was eating! 

Then life happened. Basketball games up to 4 nights a week happened - running straight from working in OKC to a basketball game 30+ minutes away didn't leave much time to eat, so concession stand food happened. Cheer practice was 2 mornings a week and I enjoyed my sleep the other days, so I didn't do any sort of activity in the morning, and having basketball after work meant I wasn't working out after work, either. 

Then I got engaged! Hi, doesn't every girl want to "get into the best shape of her life" for her wedding? Sure! I started working out with a trainer and drinking Zeal. I liked Zeal shakes better than Herbalife, but still, I was drinking my meals. I continued to drink the shakes off and on throughout the time I was engaged. While working out with the trainer, I was up 3 mornings a week doing crazy intense workouts. I was exhausted at night and the other mornings - no way was running happening. I missed it, but I figured I would just start again right after the wedding (since I wouldn't be working out with the trainer then). I bought an UP24 to track my activity. I hurt my back halfway through training and was out for two weeks - spraining all the muscles from the middle of my back to my tailbone from dead lifting. I started working out again when I was "feeling better." The Tuesday before my wedding, I did lower back exercises and while dead lifting, once again hurt my back - this time to the point I couldn't walk. Thankfully I was walking again by wedding time. 

Well, we got home from Disney World and I was going to start running, right? I mean that was the plan. But I was setting up our house, I was busy cooking, I'm tired from work, it was too hot outside, I was just busy with whatever - I seriously am an excuse machine! I've ran a handful of times since the wedding, including last night. And every time I do, I'm like OH MY GOSH YA'LL I LOVE THIS! and wonder why I'm not running every night, or several nights each week. It's not like I have tiny humans to chase around and it's definitely not as though my 30 minute runs are seriously cutting into time I would be setting up the house (evenings are for relaxing, guys!). I also have some light free weights, a kettle ball, a balance ball and stretchy bands that I used to use that I am determined not to let collect dust any longer.

And then there's the whole cooking thing. I'm like Paula Deen when it comes to using butter, and cooking for 2 is hard! I have a "rotation" of husband-approved meals and I'm trying to include more variety, but it's slow going. I can make cookies and rice krispy treats like nobody's business, though. I live only a few miles from my job, and I've discovered going home on my lunch break is AWESOME. So, eating a healthy lunch most of the week should seriously be easy. 

Also, as I said earlier this week, coke is not my hiney's friend, and I'm absolutely determined to get rid of my "gotta have it" attitude toward coke (for those of you who don't understand, coke = any soda type beverage). Water, Sparkling Ice and lemonade are my main drinks this week, with some fruit juice in the mornings (I just can't do water first thing in the morning!). 

My goal isn't to be a certain size or weight. My goal is to be in shape, feel great and enjoy life. So, the current challenges part of this #RambleBlog: 1. Run 2 - 3 times a week and use the weights 2 - 3 times a week. I could easily get up just 30 minutes earlier, when Matt gets up, and make some of this happen, instead of laying in bed treasuring a few more minutes of sleep, though I really enjoy my evening runs, so those'll probably stay the same.  2. Eat healthy lunches. Grilled chicken, spinach and grapes are oddly one of my favorite quick healthy lunches, but I don't want to limit myself and get in a rut (that's almost as boring as drinking my meals). 3. Kick coke to the curb. #EnoughSaid 4. Start logging everything in MyFitnessPal again - I've already logged breakfast! 

Want to join me in this renewed getting fit journey? Add me!
MyFitnessPal: shaekenokstate
MapMyRun & UP24: I'm not sure how to tell you to add me on these - so if you know how, let me know!
Twitter & Instagram - because it only counts if you post about it, right? 


Current Favorites

Back to back blog posts, and one being a real post at that?! I know, it's kind of shocking.

I've discovered some random favorite things lately and thought "man, I should share these with blogland," so here I am, sharing.

1. Two awesome lip products
I've always been a bright lipstick girl for two reasons: 1. I've never found a neutral that works and 2. lipgloss is sticky. However, I hated how drying lipsticks were and typically I would end up slathering on chapstick or not reapplying any lip color and looking like a zombie with stained, flaky lips.

Enter the lipstick that changed the way I viewed lipsticks and neutrals (you mean they don't have to be flesh toned??) and the lipbutter that changed the way I viewed glosses and neutrals: Mary Kay's True Dimensions Lipstick in Exotic Mango (it may not look neutral but on me it totally is) and NYX's Butter Gloss in Creme Brulee (definitely totally neutral), respectively. The lipstick is insanely moisturizing and seems to last forever, which I totally love. The gloss isn't a bit sticky, and gives nice color instead of being super sheer.

2. Awesome afternoon snack
I'm not going to lie, I saw a blog with SlimFast's meal replacement bar in Have Your Cake (birthday cake, basically) and instantly got excited: cake for breakfast? Sign me up. Well, no amount of searching has allowed me to find them in my area. Instead, I found an alternative: cake as my afternoon snack bar: Kidz Zone Perfect snack bars in Yellow Cupcake. I'm typically not a fan of meal replacement or protein snack bars because I think they taste like chalk and who wants to eat chalk besides a first grader? Not me! I don't usually have a specific time I go to lunch - it may be 11, it may be 1 - but if it's 11, that's a really long time between lunch and dinner...and sometimes I might get so hungry that while I'm cooking dinner I "sample" what I'm making...or whatever is in the cabinet next to what I'm making, which really does no good. My afternoon hangry-ness has been gone with my delicious little cupcake friend. Score!

3. Awesome drink
Dr. Pepper and Diet Cokes are not my friend. Or, to be more accurate, they're not my hiney's friend. So, in an attempt to quit drinking so much soda and infuse some healthy into my life (and my husband's, since I do the grocery shopping!), I picked up Sparkling Ice on my last trip to the store. They give me the fizz I love from pop but no calories or sodium. I haven't met a flavor I don't like yet (I haven't tried watermelon but I don't like watermelon things anyway).

4. Awesome face brush
A few months ago I was introduced to Mary Kay by a coworker's wife who I now consider a sweet friend, and after months of saying no, I finally tried it all - skincare, makeup, the works. I saw a dramatic difference and actually signed up to sell it because I love the products so much. So then, I bought the Skinvigorate brush, because 1. it's got an awesome name, 2. I'd heard great things about it and 3. I got a discount. 3 was the real reason because let's be real, I love a discount. Have you ever washed your face at night and been like "done!" - probably so, or at least I hope. I washed my face like normal before using the Skinvigorate brush for the first time (because I didn't want to get it dirty...silly me), then washed it again with the brush and was astonished at the amount of gunk (makeup, dirt, etc) that came off my face! "But it was clean!!!" I told myself. Apparently not, because I still to this day am amazed every day at how much cleaner my face gets with the brush. Plus, who wouldn't want to feel like your skin is coming alive and freshened every time you wash your face? Duh.

5. Awesome song
Matt and I are searching for a church to go to close to our new home, and when we went to one several weeks ago, a song was just so amazing that it's stuck with me for almost an entire month! It's Let It Be Jesus, by Passion. I finally downloaded it a few days ago because streaming it from YouTube every time I was in my car was eating our data plan.

And that's it! I've got a few more wedding posts planned, and I hope to be blogging regularly again very soon :) 

PS - I did not link to my personal Mary Kay website because I don't have a site - I don't sell enough product to make it worth the cost at this time :) All opinions of the products are my own. If you're interested in products or information, email me and I'd be happy to help! 


#MattAndShae: The Ceremony

I'm finally sharing pictures from the actual wedding!!! 

Our wedding was so, so special. We involved those closest to us from the very beginning and Marty, my youth pastor, brought a message using verses that we chose during our premarital education. I seriously couldn't have imagined a more perfect ceremony.

As our gusts arrived, they were greeted with two ladies who just simply radiate joy and love: my dear friend Brittany and my Keely Bug. When we started planning the wedding, that was actually one of the first decisions made. I knew I wanted our guests to be welcomed and feel love, since we were celebrating love, after all, and I knew Brittany and Keely were THE people for the job! Brittany and I became friends in Phi Lamb, and she's always been a friend to encourage me, inspire me, pray for me and love me. No matter the time that passes, our friendship is constant! Keely and Kaden became friends when the boys moved to AmPo, and soon she became like my little sister. She's crazy talented and a ball of fun. 
Brittany - isn't she beautiful!
My Bug - I didn't get a picture of her at the ceremony, so here we are celebrating America! 
 My cousins, Hunter and Jennifer, were our candle lighters. I was so impressed - they didn't even knock any of the candles over (ahem, groomsmen...). :)


When I was younger, I heard and loved this song, and just knew I wanted it played at my wedding. We're talking middle school, people. I was dedicated to this song, apparently. Rusty and Brooke seriously made this song perfect.. I may have cried when I heard them sing it during the rehearsal...


As our parents and grandparents were seated, we had them sign our family Bible, which now lives on our mantel. I have memories of my Grandma Sparks' giant family Bible on their coffee table, and love having one of our own.
Matt walked his parents down the isle.

My brothers escorted my mom in.

And then it was time for the ceremony!

The girls all decided to hug/high five Matt as they walked on stage - I missed this, but it was apparently hilarious! 

Kiera wasn't quite on board, and apparently gave Matt a look - maybe a precursor to her post-wedding cry that he was stealing her cousin??? :) 
I had six Honor Attendants - my 2 aunts, 2 of my cousins, and 2 friends who I consider family. They handed me pieces of my bouquet as my dad and I walked down the isle, then I handed my bouquet to my mom, who tied it together with the help of my Grandma Nett and Grandma Vickie.

Getting piece one from Cindy, one of my mom's best friends, who we consider family. Cindy took me to my first OSU football game when I was in middle school and I was hooked (even though I really didn't know everything that was going on). My parents got tickets a few years later, and I got my own tickets when I went to school. We've gone to bowl games, away games and too many trips to Stillwater to count!

Getting piece two from Christie, my cousin. Christie will always be known as the meanest babysitter ever (she's not really, ya'll!) and one of the best "show coaches" I ever had. Christie and Steve (her brother - yes, another cousin!) spent countless hours in the barn with me teaching me how to show sheep (or getting me in line when I wasn't doing what I knew to do...). 
Getting piece three from Christy. Christy is my mom's best friend who is also considered family. Christy took me to South Carolina when I was in 8th grade and we went to Wet Willies, which is a place to get "frozen drinks" but the cup says "a bar...a party," so... :) Our families also took Disney World trips together and made awesome memories and jokes that we still crack up over. Christy planned our Disney Honeymoon because she's a Disney Expert, too!
The fourth piece of my bouquet came from my beautiful Aunt Nell, who came all the way from Seattle, Washington! My Aunt Nell and I have always had a special relationship and I just think the world of her. I'm glad Bear lives here now (her son) because it means she will come visit us more often :) :) :) 

Getting the fifth piece of my bouquet from Katie, my cousin (in case you're keeping track, yes I have a lot of cousins. Katie is also Christie's sister). Katie was always my cool older cousin (she and Christie showed sheep, which obviously was why I wanted to!) but when I was a teenager we became besties. She bravely let me take her brand new car to take my driver's test, and slumber parties with her were the best. She makes the most awesome cookies on earth, Monster Cookies, which I now have the recipe to, yay!

The last piece of my bouquet came from my Aunt Kandi, who is my mom's sister, my best friend's mom, and a second mom to me. Her love and encouragement has always meant the world to me. Aunt Kandi is strength and determination tied with sass. She left a special gift in my bouquet which I will treasure forever.
Giving my bouquet to mom!


A kiss from my Momma

My girls!
Matt's guys!
When Marty asked who was giving me away, my mom cheered.  I thought it was hilarious (and so did she, obviously)!



Easton: "Is this thing over yet??" 
Saying our vows.
On the invitation, we asked people to "join in the fun" by wearing black or orange - hello, you can't have an OSU wedding if there's no orange present! I LOVE these back of church shots where you can see that literally everyone participated!! You see, we know plenty of OU fans and I wasn't so sure they wouldn't show up in crimson some offensive color :) But even my Uncle Bob, the most obnoxious OU fan there is (and he knows I say that in love!), showed up in ORANGE! Major WIN!

My Momma and Daddy
Matt's parents, Marty & Dianne
Lighting the unity candle

Signing our family Bible

Praying together

I just love this.
At one point, Magan leaned down to fix my train and said "Don't worry, I have the ring." Well, that immediately made me worry, because why would you tell me NOT to worry - that's your job!! Well, she was being for real - she had it - apparently just trying to ease any nerves. 

The groomsmen, however, had other tricks up their sleeves. Tyler didn't have it... 



Easton thought maybe he had it in the ring box (he carried the box holding my Little Mermaid engagement ring) - because none of the crazy big boys knew where it was... 


And finally, it was found, in the pocket of Kale. Whew! :) 


I really, really wish I could remember what was so funny here!! 

Hey, we're married!! 

Could two humans possibly be more adorable? I think not!!

Even Kiera and Kale made it back down the isle without tripping one another! 
Matt, me and Marty Williams, my Youth Pastor, who guided us through our marriage education course and performed our ceremony. 

Other wedding-related posts: