Lets Be Honest -- National Honesty Day

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Today is National Honesty Day! (There seriously is a designated day for everything!) The day was invented by M. Hirsh Goldberg, who chose the last day of April since the first day of that month, which is April Fools' Day, celebrates falsehoods.

On this day, anyone participating may ask any question they choose and the opposing person should give a truthful and straightforward answer. This is implying that the person who is answering the question has knowledge of Honesty Day.

Sometimes I find myself to be TOO honest – brutally honest in most cases. But I think that is what makes me, ME! I’m not afraid to share my feeling or my opinion on something. This is one of many character traits I have gained from the gene pool, from my dad in particular. (I also have his potty mouth, stubbornness and short fuse.)

So go ahead, shoot – fire away with questions in the comment box. I’ll be happy to answer and give my honest opinion! If you promise yourself anything today, make sure you’re honest with everyone! Good luck!

May A-Z Series Returns

Monday, April 28, 2014

I am so excited to announce that starting on May 1, I will be bringing back my May A-Z Blog Series. For those who don't remember or may have missed it, last year I created a May A-Z Challenge where myself and guest bloggers wrote themed posts mirroring alphabet letters throughout the month.

After looking at stats and hits on my blog, this challenge had hundreds of viewers over the 31 days. With topics on paleo eating, marriage and health, some of the top blog posts included:

 May Challenge: R is for Races by Jessica Lawlor of www.jessicalawlor.com
May Challenge: N, O & P - Nuts Online (Dating) Quest
May Challenge: H is for Health by Emily Benton of www.thenextdoorwellness.com

All of last year's posts can be found right here on Take Your Pic.

Interested in being a guest blogger for this year's May A-Z Series or know someone you think would be a great addition to this year's posts? Share this blog post with friends or click here to email me asking for more details. Be brave! Take "write a blog" off your bucket list. Share your artwork, write a poem, showcase your photography -- Take Your Pic loves it all!! 

Cheers to 27

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Well….27 is here.

I’ve been dreading it…REALLY dreading it to be honest. It’s been giving me anxiety and I don't like it one bit. Why am I struggling so much this year? I’m a bit unsure, but I think it’s because I’m creeping HARD on 30 and there is no going back. Am I where I thought I would be at 27? Not at all. Far from it actually.

I was going into discussion with my friend the other day about turning 27 and honestly sometimes you need a voice of reason to slap you upside the head and make you be grateful for what is currently going on in your life.

“i think that's a normal reaction ... but i don't think you're abnormal. 30 isn't a death sentence in the least, and you're still far from it! i know that sounds easy for me to say, but trust me - it doesn't get less scary to get older if you are married, or if you live on your own! you are your own person, you have your own timeline, your own goals, your own life. don't let anyone else's dictate yours!!”

She went on saying “if i were you, i think i'd think about all of the positive life changes you've made in the last year, and how far you've come. that's a really good indication that there are only more good things to come - if you ask me!”

And she’s right. 27 is going to be a great year and the past 26 years have been nothing but amazing. I have a great family, amazing friends, a man I am completely in love with, I’ve had a successful career and it’s only growing by the day. Pretty damn good life (besides the whole living at home thing.)

With a fresh slate for 27…
- I’m hoping it is going to be my fittest year yet. 30+ down, lets keep it going!
- I’ll be embarking a challenging race schedule, including my SECOND marathon – the Philadelphia Marathon in November. I hope to see you out on the streets that day!
- I hope to continue growing in my career, relationships and life experiences.
- And most importantly, I am excited to live another year where my head is in the right mindset, my heart is filled with love and positive thoughts run throughout my body. It’s been an amazing feeling – I NEVER want to go back! 

Cheers to 27!

Hoppy, I mean Happy Easter

Sunday, April 20, 2014

This weekend was a busy one full of excitement, blessings and fun.

On Saturday night I had the privilege to watch my 30-year-old cousin, Jackie, receive confirmation into the Catholic church. After months and months of adult CCD, Jackie was welcomed into St. Anne's Catholic Church in Bethlehem with open arms by several hundred members of the parish. This was the first Catholic (non-wedding) mass I ever attended and it without a doubt was entertaining and interesting. While I do not follow the Catholic religion, it was intriguing to watch the congregation and see how devoted to their religion they are. I had the opportunity to watch the service begin outside with a bonfire. We all then entered back into the church and illuminated the church by candlestick. I had my camera in my bag and wanted to desperately take a picture of how beautiful the setting was, but I thought it was slightly inappropriate at the time. (I'll be honest, I'm regretting I didn't do it!) Not knowing much of the prayers and lines to recite, I had my time to shine during the hymns. Although I do not practice religion, I felt proud watching Jackie receive her first communion. She has worked so hard to get to that point and FINALLY it arrived. Congrats Jackie, the parish is lucky to have a spit fire like you. Xo

Happy Easter!!! This was the first year Missy did not have the kids for Easter. Its been nearly two years and although we SHOULD be getting use to the three of them not being at the dinner table, I don't think it will ever get "easy." But like all other holidays when they are not with us, we press forward with our day. My family celebrated Easter last weekend with an egg hunt and dinner so this Sunday we found it unnecessary to celebrate again. To keep ourselves busy, my sister, mom and myself hit the road and headed to Hershey Park for one of their open spring weekends. The three of us had an absolute blast dodging and weaving throughout the park, going on every roller coaster they had.  All of the thrills, smiles and yells were contagious -- I had the happiest day ever, or should I say the sweetest day. I hope you all did as well!! Xox

RW Salutes our Furry Friends

Monday, April 14, 2014

I was super excited this morning when I saw that Runner's World is paying tribute to our four-legged friends this week. Dogs are without a doubt man's best friend and they make for great running partners.

Here is Gats and I on a night run! Safety is first! 
Little Gatsby and I have gone on runs together and even though he is a small tyke, he kicks my butt!! How long is too long?
We go on short distance two mile runs and by the time we get back to the house he is never out of breath and looks at me with the "what, that's it??!?" face. Do I think Gatsby can go longer? Yes, without a doubt, but I am scared. This is a question I've always wanted to ask the vet.

Curious if your dog is a good running partner? Check out this article from Runner's World talking about the top running dogs. Do any of you run with your pup?

We Will Run

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I will never EVER forget the horrific images that are now embedded into my brain from the 2013 Boston Marathon. I balled my eyes out that day, feeling so much sorrow for those who lost their lives, those who were injured, those who finished and had their joy quickly vanished, and for those runners who never had the opportunity to cross the finish line.

Millions of others will never forget it either, but it's amazing to see that the city of Boston is pressing forward with its head held high and its heart full of hope and determination. Monday, April 21st will be a very special day for the running community. I'm looking forward to seeing our nation stand up together and I'll be honored to lace up my sneakers that day.

Goo luck to all of this year's runners!

Time For a Facelift

Monday, April 7, 2014

For a while now I've been contemplating whether I wanted to put the effort into updating my blog and giving it a little bit of a facelift to make it look prettier, more user friendly and a seamless look.

Well, as you can see I decided to pull the trigger and gave Take Your Pic a new look -- one that will be the face of my blog from here until indefinitely. 

So I don't have to keep bugging everyone with Facebook post, be sure to enter your email address on the right hand side so you can be updated when I post. Enter your email, click go and tada! 

I'm really loving this look and I find it very similar to my personality. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do. What do you think!? Let me know in the comment section. 

Thank You Emily

Friday, April 4, 2014

For those who don’t remember, back in November I wrote a post about how it is okay to ask for help and rely on others to make us better whether it is physically, mentally, spiritually, or in another form.

In my post I introduced you all to Emily, my wellness coach. Well, I am sad to say that this weekend marks the 6 month ending to my program with her.

It’s pretty funny looking back at my journey with Emily and how SCARED I initially was. Emily first 
approached me on June 6, 2013. She asked me if I wanted to participate and be her guinea pig. I was interested and said sure. She emailed me all of her information..and I never responded. She followed up with an email on June 30. I never responded. As I’ve told everyone before, it was at the end of August 2013 when I realized I needed to get my life together and I knew I needed help – I NEEDED Emily. So on August 29, 2013, I finally reached out to Emily and I have never made a better decision in my life.

Over the last 180 days, Emily has been my mentor and leader in helping me create a healthier lifestyle. We’ve made bi-monthly trips to see each other (often at the Starbucks or Whole Foods) for hour session. If we couldn’t meet in person we would have sessions via Skype or FaceTime. Each week Emily would educate me on food – the good, the bad, the ugly. I would go into the ugly but that’s a whole other blog post. Handout after handout I was learning about food and what my body really NEEDS, compared to what my body WANTS. Emily has taught me how to love myself, how to prioritize aspects of my life and how to look at my WHOLE self – physically, socially, financially, relationships. Our health and wellness is made of SO MANY components, not just what you eat or how much you work out. Your “ life circle” has to be balanced, you need to be centered.

Emily helped me transform into a better person – helping me grow as an individual and showing me new explorations through exercise and food. She had me try “weird” foods I would have never EVER tried before and now LOVE! She gave me INSANE physical challenges that I CRUSHED and others I didn’t. But I was always up the challenge.

In the pictures below you can clearly see the physical changes that have taken place since joining Team Emily, but for those who see me on a daily bases, I think my attitude and positive mind set is off the charts, something I was missing for a veryyyy long time. Do any of you agree?

Thank you Emily for all that you have done. I could not be where I am today if it wasn’t for you! To everyone else, stop waiting and saying one day – start today!


P.S..- For those who mock us individuals who post "transformation" pictures, you clearly need to get over yourself. People are allowed to be proud and show accomplishments for what they have achieved. If you don't care to see, then unfriend me/block me, whatever. But it takes A LOT of guts to expose your flaws to hundreds of people. To this day I hesitate pushing the publish button but if I'm helping at least one other person, it was worth it. 


Holy face difference! 

April Showers Bring...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I love April for many reasons:

  • The weather starts to turn.
  • We get those occasional OVER seasonal temperatures where you can get away with wearing only a t-shirt and jeans.
  • I don’t have to run on the treadmill anymore – I can FINALLY hit the streets. 
  • It’s the first time of the year where we get to see some greens and gorgeous flowers starting to perk up from a dreadful winter. 
  • April always makes me think about my Loyola girls and how we were finishing up spring season and that meant the end of the semester was quickly approaching.

But my all-time favorite thing about April – it’s my birthday month which means one thing: FREE BIRTHDAY COUPONS AND CASH!!!

Starting on April 1st the snail mail and email just blow up – some things pointless, some things awesome.  I get to use them whenever throughout the entire month – enough time to strategically plan purchases for items that are already on sale PLUS my birthday bonus. #winning

For instance, it’s only April 3 and so far I’ve gotten love from: Loft | Lens Crafters | Victoria Secret | The Rally House | McGillin's Olde Ale House

I’m anxiously awaiting my free Dairy Queen treat -- you guys would be SOOOO proud, in seven months I have only had two scoops of ice cream in a waffle cone ONE TIME in Savannah. NO ICE CREAM, WHATTTT?! A lot different than when I was crushing the 12 scooper at Friendly’s! Any other birthday favors from stores will be an added bonus to my mouth.

So cheers to April -- I hope everyone has a great month, you deserve it!

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